Archive for the ‘income tax’ Category

Lower taxes, higher revenue.

February 18, 2007

Hi Brit,

Considering the tax rates y’all have, you should send a copy of, Sharp fall in US budget deficit, to Blair.  It seems that, even though our Government has lowered taxes over the past several years, revenue flowing into the Federal coffers is at all time highs, $834 billion in the last quarter.  Of course, our politicians are still managing to increase spending fast enough to fritter away the gains, but that’s nothing new.

the Grit

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MP travel expenses

February 14, 2007

Hi Grit

All of the debate about travel costs, its effects on Global Warming and the need to conserve energy is generated by politicians. However, today figures have been published that show just how two-faced these people can be, especially in the UK. You need to bear in mind that there are around 634 MP’s and that the travel expenses are in addition to their salary and other expenses.

The current report reveals that the cost of MP’s travel for 2005-06 was a staggering £4.5 million ($9 Million). Of this £2 million was spent on car travel, £1.5 million on trains and £1 million on Flights. This equates to over £7,000 per MP, or £136 per week, and these figures are rising. However, as can be seen from the report, some MP’s are claiming as much as £44,000 per year, an incredible £850 per week!

There are a number of issues here. Firstly, these same MP’s are telling us to cut down on our road travelling, whilst at the same time failing to take their own advice. On the one hand the government is saying that the congestion on the roads is reaching a gridlock position, yet at the same time over 44% of their own travel is adding to the problem. The difference is that we, as lowly citizens, will not be able to reclaim any “rush hour” mileage cost imposed upon us, whilst the MP will be reimbursed. Every £1 an employee spends on mileage costs them £1.30 of gross income.

Secondly, they keep saying that we need to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption, at the same time as they are increasing their own (or perhaps we should all walk so that they can travel in luxury!). Our tax authorities penalise us for the type of vehicle that we drive. For example, the tax levels on a 4×4 (SUV) are far more stingent than a small saloon. For an MP this is not a problem as they reclaim all of their expenses direct from the government.

Thirdly, there are no budget constraints on MP spending. They do not have to answer to anyone regarding the level of their expenditure. Any family is aware that they have to budget their expenditure to match their disposable income, or they will suffer the problems of escalating debt. Similarly, every employee knows that their expenses will not be sanctioned by their employer if it is considered to be unreasonable, and that continual extravagance will be rewarded with unemployment. A corporation is aware that cost control is vital to attracting business growth. An Mp’s attitude is directly opposite to all of these, safe in the knowledge that Joe public will be made to pay for their representative’s extravagance through the tax system, either directly or by stealth.

Standing alone, the MP’s travel expenses are bad enough, but when you add to this their other annual expenses, which on average work out at £110,000 ($220,000) each, and their salary of between £57,000 and £150,000 depending upon their position, it all adds up to an enormous public cost. What is worrying is that this represents just a small fraction of the cost of our government and civil service. In my view the time for “accountability of government” is NOW!

the Brit 

   

British are ignorant on sex!

February 13, 2007

Hi Grit

The family planning association has recently undertaken a national “Sex Quiz” for British people and found that we are generally ignorant when it comes to sex facts. (I hasten to add that I was not asked to take part in this quiz!).

Results from the quiz revealed that 1 in 3 of Brits believe that rigorous exercise, a visit to the bathroom and/or washing will stop a lady getting pregnant; Half of the people responding (I assume this was the males), did not know when a lady was most fertile; And 90% haven’t a clue how long the sperm remains active inside a lady. The answer to the last question is one week. Thus bearing in mind that tomorrow is Valentine’s day, the love activity could produce a mini baby-boom by the 21st.

However, before we all over here start running around blaming the poor education systems for all of our sexual deficiencies, we should look further into the survey carried out. It transpires that the questions were only asked of a representative sample of 500 people. Bearing in mind our population of 60 million, I would hardly call 500 representative, nor would I say that it could be called a national quiz. In addition, something around 16% of the population are over 75 with a similar number over 65. What the heck do they care about the reproductive cycle?

It does annoy me when the Media respond to these type of reports by creating headline news, giving the impression that we are just a bunch of uneducated neanderthals (even if some of us are). 450 people don’t know how long a sperm is active? Take another bunch of 500 people and it is quite likely that the reverse would be the position. Probably more to the point is how many people know how much of their tax money was spent on this report in the first place?

the Brit

PS: for those who want to know the questions and answers click here.

Pay as you go driving

February 12, 2007

Hi Grit

It seems at last that the UK public are actually trying to get their voices heard over government laws that are, to say the least, crazy and unacceptable. The regulation causing the problem is their intention to charge £1.34 per mile for drivers to use their vehicles during the “rush hour.” As the average distance for rush hour drivers in the affected areas is around 10 miles a day return, this could cost over £60 ($120) per week. No one but a fool (which obviously includes our government ministers) could suggest that this would work.

However, a petition drawn up against this measure has already attracted well over a million signatures. Mind you, so far this does not faze the transport minister who said recently “of course we will listen to people. But parliamentary democracy doesn’t just involved the expression of views.” Well, that is news to me! I thought democracy was all about expression of views.

Let’s hope the petition numbers continues to grow.

the Brit

How long can you hold your breath?

February 9, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just read this, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change, and immediately asked myself “how long can I hold my breath?”  After all, each of us expel the Evil Greenhouse Gas CO2 with each breath, and, now that Nanny Pelosi has the issue firmly clinched in her dentures, I expect that soon we will be faced with a Breath Tax, to encourage us to slow down our individual contributions to Global Warming.  By my quick, and not necessarily totally accurate, calculations, we in the US can offset her jet set life style if we each take 30 fewer breaths per day.  Of course, this increased interest in decreasing our breath rates will have at least one benefit, that being, getting some of the joggers off the road.

Although, considering that:

The White House said Snow was referring to figures from the International Energy Agency that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent.  From: U.S. cuts emissions better than Europe: White House.

It would seem obvious to any rational person, thus excluding most Democrats I admit, that we are on the correct path to achieve the liberal agenda of reducing CO2 emissions without further Government meddling.  With liberals in control, of course, they will ignore the facts, raise taxes and piddle around in our lives until they manage to, not only, increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, but, also, screw up our economy.  Typical.

the Grit

Who do you love?

February 5, 2007

Hi Brit,

Joy, oh joy!  It’s Federal Budget time!  Let’s see who the Government loves:

(as proposed by President Bush)

Health and Human Services: $699 billion
Social Security: $655.6 billion
Defense: $624.6 billion
Treasury: $525.9 billion
Other agencies: $148.7 billion
Agriculture: $90.9 billion
Veterans: $84.4 billion
Transportation: $67.4 billion
Education: $62.6 billion
Labor: $50.4 billion
State: $37.4 billion
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion
Justice: $23.3 billion
Energy: $21.7 billion
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion
Interior: $10.1 billion
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion
Commerce: $6.7 billion
Judiciary: $6.7 billion
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 
For a total of a bit over 2.9 TRILLION DOLLARS!  This is right at $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

After taking a few minutes to let that sink in, you may be wondering just what these departments are going to spend their share of the loot on, so (from their sites) here’s what they think they do:

Health and Human Services: $699 billion

THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

THE DEPARTMENT INCLUDES MORE THAN 300 PROGRAMS, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:

  • Health and social science research
  • Preventing disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Health information technology
  • Financial assistance and services for low-income families
  • Improving maternal and infant health
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Faith-based and community initiatives
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
  • Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.


Social Security: $655.6 billion

We pay retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families and administer the Supplemental Security Income program. We also issue Social Security numbers. 
Defense: $624.6 billion

With our military units tracing their roots to pre-Revolutionary times, you might say that we are America’s oldest company. And if you look at us in business terms, many would say we are not only America’s largest company, but its busiest and most successful. 
Treasury: $525.9 billion

The mission of the Department of the Treasury is to promote the conditions for prosperity and stability in the United States and encourage prosperity and stability in the rest of the world.
Other agencies: $148.7 billion

These are all the other agencies and departments that didn’t get enough funding to make the big list. 
Agriculture: $90.9 billion

 We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
Veterans: $84.4 billion

 Our goal is to provide excellence in patient care, veterans’ benefits and customer satisfaction. We have reformed our department internally and are striving for high quality, prompt and seamless service to veterans. Our department’s employees continue to offer their dedication and commitment to help veterans get the services they have earned. Our nation’s veterans deserve no less.
Transportation: $67.4 billion

 Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
Education: $62.6 billion

ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. Its original directive remains its mission today — to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. ED’s 4,500 employees and $71.5 billion budget are dedicated to:

• Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
• Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
• Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
• Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
Labor: $50.4 billion

The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
State: $37.4 billion

 Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.
Housing and Urban Development: $36.2 billion

 HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships–particularly with faith-based and community organizations–that leverage resources and improve HUD’s ability to be effective on the community level.
Homeland Security: $34.6 billion

 We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce.
Justice: $23.3 billion

 

To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Energy: $21.7 billion

Discovering the solutions to power and secure America’s future
 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: $17.3 billion

We explore and discover
Interior: $10.1 billion

The Mission of the Department of the Interior is to protect and provide access to our Nation’s natural and cultural heritage and honor our trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes and our commitments to island communities.
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.1 billion

 The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
Commerce: $6.7 billion

 The historic mission of the Department is “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce” of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation’s economic development and technological advancement. The Department fulfills this mission by:

a. Participating with other Government agencies in the creation of national policy, through the President’s Cabinet and its subdivisions.

b. Promoting and assisting international trade.

c. Strengthening the international economic position of the United States.

d. Promoting progressive domestic business policies and growth.

e. Improving comprehension and uses of the physical environment and its oceanic life.

f. Ensuring effective use and growth of the Nation’s scientific and technical resources.

g. Acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating information regarding the Nation and the economy to help achieve increased social and economic benefit.

h. Assisting states, communities, and individuals with economic progress.
Judiciary: $6.7 billion

Funds the Federal Courts.
Legislative branch: $4.8 billion

Funds the Congress. 
Corps of Engineers: $4.8 billion
 

Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including: 

  • Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)
  • Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)
  • Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)

Today, as always, we stand ready… engineers, scientists, real estate specialists and administrators alike to meet national security, emergency and other national requirements.

While I have different concepts of the true purpose of some of these Departments and Agencies, that will have to wait until another day.  Now, don’t you feel better knowing a tiny bit about where your tax dollars are going?

the Grit

Can you say “buying votes?”

February 4, 2007

Hi Brit,

While y’all have almost completely sunk into the warm, smothering embrace of the Nanny State, we still have a few vestiges of freedom and self determination left, such as worrying about our own health care.  That is, until John Edwards gets elected, and this evil rich guy isn’t afraid to spend other people’s money buying votes: Edwards: raise taxes for healthcare.  It’ll be interesting to see how many votes he can purchase with a promised $180 BILLION of looted cash that will, supposedly, come from higher taxes on his fellow fabulously rich country men and women.  The targets of this bribe are the 43 MILLION Americans who are without health insurance.  Mr. money bags doesn’t mention if he is going to weed out those who could afford coverage, but decide not to do so.  Of course, if we get into details, it seems that our trial lawyer champion of the people is playing tricky games with the meaning of words.  “Rich” for example, appears to mean anyone making more than $200,000 per year.  His rather expensive plan also calls for an attack on our economy through adding more regulations and costs on business. 

Not to be outdone, I have a health care plan of my own.  I say we confiscate, ah, that is tax at 100%, Edward’s new super luxury estate, and put that $6,000,000 in a fund to buy health care for poor people.  Just the interest on that should cover decent insurance for 50 to 100 people.  Be a sport John, use your own money to buy votes.

the Grit

Damn this good economy!

January 31, 2007

Hi Brit,

Sorry to swear, but our insanely good economy, Economy Grows 3.5 Percent in 4th Quarter, is causing lots of problems over here.  The people are not happy:

“An AP-Ipsos poll in early January found that 55 percent of Americans disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy, while 43 percent approved.”

 Obviously, we miss the recession at the end of the Clinton Administration.  It’s Bush’s fault, his and the evil Republicans.  They were warned that the American people wouldn’t stand for having the strongest economy in the world, strong growth in personal income, lower taxes, and almost complete employment, but they went ahead and pushed it on us anyway!  I say it’s time for a good riot in the streets!  Down with Bush!  Down with the economy! 

the Grit

Bat out of hell, bite me world!

January 29, 2007

Hi Brit,

I was in a bit of a nostalgic mood this afternoon, so I put “Bat Out of Hell” on and cranked it up.  Man, what perfect timing!  Global Warming, extremest Muslim terrorists, liberals, Jane Fonda, Britney’s beaver, Big Brother racism, Hillary Clinton, the United Nations, President Bush, AlGore, Iraq, Iran, nuclear bombs, blood in the streets, and the end of the world; screw it all!  So, take a few minutes, put the CD on, crank it up and sing along!

Bat Out Of Hell lyrics

The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling

Way down in the valley tonight
There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye
And a blade shining oh so bright
There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in the sky
And a killer’s on the bloodshot streets
And down in the tunnel where the deadly are rising
Oh I swear I saw a young boy
Down in the gutter
He was starting to foam in the heat
Oh Baby you’re the only thing in this whole world
that’s pure and good and right
And wherever you are and wherever you go
There’s always gonna be some light
But i gotta get out
I gotta break it out now
Before the final crack of dawn
So we gotta make the most of our one night together
When it’s over you know
We’ll both be so alone
Like a bat out of hell
I’ll be gone when the morning comes
When the night is over
Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone gone gone
Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shining through

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you
I’m gonna hit the highway like a battering ram

On a silver black phantom bike

When the metal is hot and the engine is hungry

And we’re all about to see the light

Nothing ever grows in this rotten old hole

Everything is stunted and lost

And nothing really rocks

And nothing really rolls

And nothing’s ever worth the cost

And I know that I’m damned if I never get out

And maybe I’m damned if I do

But with every other beat I got left in my heart

You know I’d rather be damned with you

If I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Dancing through the night with you

If I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

If Gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Dancing through the night

Dancing through the night

Dancing through the night with you
Oh Baby you’re the only thing in this whole world

     that’s pure and good and right

And wherever you are and wherever you go

There’s always gonna be some light

But I gotta get out

I gotta break it out now

Before the final crack of dawn

So we gotta make the most of our one night together

When it’s over you know

We’ll both be so alone

Like a bat out of hell

I’ll be gone when the morning comes

When the night is over

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone gone gone

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes

But when the day is done

And the sun goes down

And the moonlight’s shining through

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you

I can see myself tearing up the road

Faster than any other boy has ever gone

And my skin is raw but my soul is ripe

And no one’s gonna stop me now

I gotta make my escape

But I can’t stop thinking of you

And I never see the sudden curve until it’s way too late

I never see the sudden curve till it’s way too late

Then I’m dying on the bottom of a pit in the blazing sun

Torn and twisted at the foot of a burning bike

And I think somebody somewhere is tolling a bell

And the last thing I see is my heart

Still beating

Breaking out of my body

And flying away

Like a bat out of hell

Then I’m dying at the bottom of a pit in the blazing sun

Torn and twisted at the foot of a burning bike

And I think somebody somewhere must be tolling a bell

And the last thing I see is my heart

Still beating

Still beating

Breaking out of my body and flying away

Like a bat out of hell

Thanks Jim; thanks Meat!  Still love it; still a fan.

the Grit

Taxation – the heart attack creator of the 21st Century

January 23, 2007

Hey Grit

You expect me to advise on the complexities of the US tax regulations when, according to a survey 66% of Americans haven’t a clue what they mean and, according to the American Bar Association,  a large number of the IRS employees don’t have a clue either. Covering over 2,300 sheets of paper, it is a wonder that any of you owe the IRS anything after paying the professionals to compute your liability.

However, we do not seem to fare much better in the UK. Here we have Income Tax, National Insurance Tax, Value Added Tax, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp duty, Self employment Tax, Council Tax, Road Tax and Excise duties. (I am sure I have forgotten some!).

Our Finance (Tax) act is 517 pages. The Income Tax Act has more than 826 sections,  and on top of that there is about 18-20 other acts.

Why the heck do people want to immigrate to here?

the Brit