Feb 27, 2011

Feb 21, 2011

Right wing media bias & confusion over taxing the rich

A letter writer in the right leaning Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities. (er- I'm sorry, Minnesota's Top News Choice.) points out that the top 5% of earners pay 60% of the income taxes in the country. Patrick O'Keefe of Maple Grove doesn't give a citation but, seems to think this proves the rich are way over taxed. However, this doesn't begin to take all factors into account.

Do the rich make 60% of the income? No, it's closer to 80% isn't it? And, what about property taxes. Perhaps they pay 60% there to but own 70% of the property & control huge swaths of public land's mineral or right of way rights. Oh, then there's Social Security & Medicare taxes. The rich probably pay about .05% of these because they're capped at about $108,000 in earnings. And sales taxes? Clearly the rich don't pay a fair share of these. Another, the gas tax. The rich use way more road subsidies living out in private enclaves & driving huge cars that chew up our highways. Plus many of these privileged folk tend to speed, creating more pressure on our common right of ways. In so many ways the rich are greatly under taxed. One only need look at how much their income has increased in the past forty years. Our Former Governor Tim Pawlenty was fond of pointing out how fast government spending had gone up over some period of years, say 10% then asking, "how many of you know anyone whose salary has gone up 10%?" I always thought the answer was obvious, "not many of us because we don't rub elbows with the richest members of our society." It is their income that has gone up, while the working people of our country have lost ground, paid more in taxes, and seen their jobs, their homes, their communities and their way of life destroyed by Republican leaders and their rich friends in media, finance, and warmongering.

So, Mr. Patrick O'Keefe, please don't think your use of statistics convinces everyone of your delusion that the rich pay too much in taxes or even cover the cost to society of maintaining their life-style. I may be an atheist but, How I pray for the day that the rich man's behavior is treated like a gay man was in the last part of the 20th century. We can be better, but we need to be better aligned with one another first.

Feb 18, 2011

The Gift of a Decade.

It's been 3,652 days since President's Day 2001. GW Bush had been in office almost four weeks & the MPRB was planning to close the skating rinks after the evening skate. I rushed over to skate one last time for the season. Hockey stick in hand, I was involved in a friendly, pick-up game when, making a routine turn behind the net, I fell, perhaps my skate stuck in a short crack.

I knew immediately as I was going down,
"I broke my leg!" I said, as I fell.

"You did not!" replied of the skater next to me, as he looked down at me on the ice.

He continued, "I'll call 911!" seeing at a glance that something was not right with the configuration of my bones. The game stopped while players became caregivers, propping up my leg, bringing me water & my cell phone. I called Mary, had my Handspring PDA (like a Palm Pilot!) delivered, & within ten minutes I was being transferred from the ice to a stretcher. Soon, I was in the back of an ambulance, the EMT said, "I'm going to take off your skate, this could hurt." As he firmly grab both parts of my leg I could feel the two parts of the broken bone grind against each tour under my skin. Simultaneously, the other EMT injected Morphine into my arm. A warm, clam, relaxing wave washed over me. "Pain?!? What pain?"

I had surgery the next evening. A titanium rod, four screws, a pulmonary embolism, three months of rat poison, & countless hours of rehab later, I was able to skate an in-line marathon in June of 2001. I still have a file of the event:

I was lucky to out of work and living in MInnesota, the State Dept. of Health & Human services helped us pay the $37,000 bill. They also negotiated it down to about $7,200. (wish I had negotiating skills like that.)

The gift in this episode? Well, ten years on I'm fitter, thinner, healthier, & this morning when I slipped on the ice and felt my left leg bend awkwardly beneath the full weight of my body, I sensed the titanium protecting me from another catastrophic fracture.

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