Atlanta Out Loud

Politics and rantings and just stuff that catches my attention.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Seeger's will close on Aug. 19 | AccessAtlanta

This is bad. Real bad. Atlanta will be less of a city if Seeger leaves.

Hopefully Bob Amick, as obnoxious as he is, can make it work and entice Guenter to stay.

Economic outlook: Georgia No. 1 in U.S. | Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Don't tell John Sugg, but there's even more expert support for the FairTax in Georgia:
Georgia's economic outlook is rosier than that of any other state in the nation, according to a new study by the father of supply-side economics.

Arthur Laffer, an influential adviser to former President Ronald Reagan, put Georgia at the top of his annual comparative ranking of state economies, a seven-category analysis that primarily focuses on tax and fiscal policy. That's up from fifth place in 2005 and a marked improvement from a No. 24 finish in 2002.


Laffer suggested the state might want to shift more of the tax burden to sales from property or income, an idea popular among state Republican lawmakers, who are currently examining the possibilities.


Perdue agreed that the state might do well to adopt a more consumption-focused tax system, perhaps after the fashion of the FairTax proposed by U.S. Rep. John Linder, a Republican who represents parts of north metro Atlanta.

Georgia Fair Tax submitted for 2007 Session

Representative Steve Davis has already submitted HB 1667 - the Georgia Fair Tax bill. You can read the entire bill here. This is a fantastic opportunity for Georgia.
What do Texas, Nevada and Oklahoma have in common? No income tax. What else do they have in common? They are the first, second and third fastest growing economies in the nation.

~ Clark Howard at the FairTax Rally
Although the Georgia economy ain't that bad, the FairTax can only explode this state as a powerhouse economy.

Like the national FairTax bill, Georgians will be able to keep more of their paycheck and will have more control over how much they pay in taxes. But, there are a few differences: It includes no "prebate" to cover the tax of life's essentials and it eliminates personal and corporate income taxes, but not other taxes.

I'll follow it closely...

Bus transit looks like the ticket for Beltline |

I've said it before... MARTA's involvement with the Beltline project will prove to be it's downfall. They have made much fanfare of the community's involvement and the identification of a "locally preferred alternative." But, it appears now that MARTA may be stacking the deck and, as the usually do, getting by with the cheapest upfront cost, even if the long-term costs point to a different direction.

Atlanta Larry has a first person account of the recent meeting where no community groups endorsed MARTA's leanings. This is an important decision and it's important for us not to screw it up.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What's the real federal deficit? | USA Today
The federal government keeps two sets of books.

The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005.

The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included — as the board that sets accounting rules is considering — the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion.

Congress has written its own accounting rules — which would be illegal for a corporation to use because they ignore important costs such as the growing expense of retirement benefits for civil servants and military personnel.

How is this ok? A small (but growing) number of Congress members are beginning to realize that it's time for the federal government to come clean and stop cooking the books.

If it did so...

~ The $318 billion deficit reported in 2005 would become $760 billion.
~ Each household's portion of the deficit would equal $6,700, more than double the $2,800 given last year.
~ The running deficit since 1997 would equal $2.9 trillion, rather than the official $729 billion reported by the government.

And... before my Democratic friends get started, it's not just limited to those rascally Republicans:

~ The Clinton administration reported a surplus of $559 billion in its final four budget years; the audited numbers showed a deficit of $484 billion.

In addition, none of these figures counts the financial burden of Social Security or Medicare. If they did...

~ The government would have reported nearly $40 trillion in losses since 1997.
~ The new Medicare prescription-drug benefit alone would have added at least $8 trillion to our financial woes (a conservative estimate).
~ The federal government would have had a $12.7 trillion deficit in 2000 because that was the first year that Social Security and Medicare reported broader measures of the programs' unfunded liabilities.

How can Congress operate in such a way? This makes the passage of the FairTax all the more crucial. Our economy will continue to deteriorate (although it is certainly not doing as bad as Democrats would like for us to believe) until U.S. businesses and citizens achieve a level playing field financially, which the FairTax clearly accomplishes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

S. Africans shiver through harsh winter | Yahoo! News

Damn that Global Warming!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Senate approves drilling in Gulf | Washington Times

Somebody finally grew some balls to get something done in Washington.... even if it is for the wrong reasons.
The Senate yesterday voted to open up 8.3 million acres of ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and natural gas exploration, but that sets up a tough negotiation with the House, which wants to expand exploration to an area almost 100 times that size.

With a vote of 71-25, many senators feared a political backlash in the November elections if they blocked a bill that promises to lower gasoline prices.

For the first time, lawmakers from Florida accepted a deal for exploration in the Gulf. The legislation grants the state a 125-square-mile buffer until 2022.
This is pretty cool too:
It also includes provisions to alter the federal-state split of oil and gas revenues that would net the highest-producing Gulf states -- Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas -- as much as $600 billion over the next 15 years.
Other than Texas, those states are among the poorest in the union, and need the revenue the most.

But you'll always have the bozos:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada kept Democrats from approving an expansion of the bill to include all coastal waters beyond the shelf.

Mr. Reid said the House bill or any version of it will never pass the Senate.

He said the United States "cannot drill its way out" of 60 percent dependence on foreign sources of oil and natural gas, but must look to renewable sources such as wind and solar power, ethanol and hydrogen fuel.
Can't we do both????

First, our media helps terrorists make shit up.

Then, CNN lets Hezbollah "control" their "news" and presents it as "fact."

And finally, Anderson Cooper amazingly discovers that Hezbollah is anti-semetic.

But, nah, our media isn't biased...

March of the 'Fair Tax' Sheep | Creative Loafing

I've wondered this aloud before: Why is John Sugg such an idiot? What exactly is his beef with Neal Boortz? And why is he such a sour puss about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G?

His latest selective "journalism" effort us to ignore the man behind the curtain (of the voting booth) and dismiss the phenomenal showing of the FairTax in Georgia's recent primary.

Sugg refuses to debate the FairTax on its merits and on the facts. He instead spews forth with all kinds of jabs against Boortz.

Sugg worries that politicians will be "stampeded on the very complicated issue of tax reform." He illustrates the "complexities of taxation" with examples that to most people would seem crystal clear. Like most opponents of the FairTax, Sugg banks on YOUR ignorance. The most beautiful aspect of the Fair tax is it's simplicity!

The few real arguments presented have been nullified many times over:
"Sales taxes by nature fluctuate with the economy. If we have a recession, revenues will nosedive."
Look at the data... wages almost always nosedive during a recession far greater than spending. So, your perfect little income tax is already an inferior solution to the FairTax.

Sugg worries about the "tremendous impacts on state revenue systems." Yes, there will be tremendous impacts.... positive impacts. There is no reason why Georgia -- or any other state -- can't continue to collect an income tax (even though they, too, should adopt the FairTax and see their economies explode) while the federal government implements the FairTax.

John selectively quotes the Cato Institute out of context:
"Even the libertarian Cato Institute stated in a 2005 report that the prebate 'would get Americans hooked on receiving money from Washington each month, akin to a welfare check.'"
True, the Cato Institute said that, as they abhor any dependence upon government for individual responsibilities. But, that was one line from a massive report that found the FairTax would create the biggest boon for the American economy ever seen.

And then there's the tired old argument that people will cheat. Sugg's money quote is from some tired GSU staffer who wrote a report and is quoted as saying "People are going to look for ways to avoid paying." Well duh?!? And do people not look for ways to avoid paying now? Right now I can cheat on my taxes and not tell a soul. Under the FairTax it takes at least TWO people to cheat. I'm not sure about you, but I don't have many friends that are going to help me cheat on my taxes, much less a random clerk at the QuickTrip.

Sugg completely ignores other benefits like taxation of the underground economy. What is most confusing is that these Democrats and liberals are always whining about how the "working class" need economic help. Under the FairTax, those people the Democrats supposedly want to help will keep 100% of their paycheck AND pay zero taxes on the basic necessities of life. Once they spend beyond those basic necessities THEY decide how much they will spend and therefore how much they will be taxed.

The thing that scares opponents the most is that the FairTax is transparent. Voters will know exactly what they pay in taxes, unlike today's system. It will be on every receipt and any efforts to monkey with the system will be immediately apparent to voters, unlike today's system. But politicians like for us to be hoodwinked. That's where their power comes from.

As Boortz says, the FairTax will constitute the largest transfer of power from government to the people in the history of our contry.

Watch this video, and then tell me what part you don't like about it...

John Sugg must be brighter than all the economists (representing diverse ideologies and political thoughts) from places like Yale and Duke and the Brookings Institute, etc.

Has John Sugg ever had an original idea of his own?