Taxed Enough Already!

T.E.A. Taxed Enough Already!

  • Building Permit Tax
  • CDL License Tax
  • Cigarette Tax
  • Corporate Income Tax
  • Dog License Tax
  • Federal Income Tax (Fed)
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
  • Fishing License Tax
  • Food License Tax
  • Fuel Permit Tax
  • Gasoline Tax
  • Hunting License Tax
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Inventory Tax
  • IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
  • IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
  • Liquor Tax
  • Luxury Tax
  • Marriage License Tax
  • Medicare Tax
  • Property Tax
  • Real Estate Tax
  • Service charge taxes
  • Social Security Tax
  • Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
  • Sales Taxes
  • Recreational Vehicle Tax
  • School Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
  • Telephone Federal Excise Tax
  • Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
  • Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
  • Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
  • Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
  • Telephone State and Local Tax
  • Telephone Usage Charge Tax
  • Utility Tax
  • Vehicle License Registration Tax
  • Vehicle Sales Tax
  • Watercraft Registration Tax
  • Well Permit Tax
  • Workers Compensation Tax

(And this is still only a partial list of all the taxes you are subject to.)

WANT MORE?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had no national debt.
We had the largest middle class in the world.
And one income was enough to support the whole family.

What happened?
People of the Government, by the Government, and for the Government.

The world is upside down. It’s time to turn it right again. Learn about the Fair Tax plan today by visiting FairTax.org!

IN GOD WE TRUST; ALL OTHERS SUBJECT TO WITHHOLDING.

Be a Hero

Obama, Pelosi and Reid tie a damsel in distress to railroad track
Won't someone save me?!

I am a child of the sixties. I learned at an early age that there was no danger, no threat, no villain that could not be defeated or foiled in thirty minutes or less. No matter how many and how ruthless the rustlers the Lone Ranger would always find a way to outsmart or out-shoot them just in the nick of time. No matter how powerful or ingenious the villain Superman, somehow, always foiled their evil scheme with no time to spare. And, regardless how huge the mess or dire the circumstances Samantha Stevens could fix it all with a magical twitch of her cute little nose. Ah yes, I learned at a very tender age that there was nothing to fear. Good would always triumph over evil. But, more importantly I learned that there would always be a hero or heroine who would swoop in at the very last second and set everything right again. Unfortunately, it is not so.

For fifty some-odd years, going on four generations now, we have been raised in a haze. Through television and movies, the fodder most of us grew up on, we have been slowly impregnated with a sense that somehow some way everything will work out. Some benevolent  hero or as yet unknown force for good will ride over the hill and save us from all the lowlife outlaws. All we have to do is hang on until our savior arrives.

Many of us thought November 4, 2008 was that day. We voted for hope; we voted for change; we voted with our emotions and ignored our own common sense. We bought in to political rhetoric and campaign slogans and abstract goals. We believed because we needed so desperately something to believe in. Many of us believed that the Obama Administration was our hero riding in to save the day. Few voters on that fateful day recognized or comprehended the power that a Whitehouse and Congress controlled by the same party would have, and now…..

Our government is out of control. We all, as well as several future generations, are laying on the railroad tracks and the train is coming fast around the curve. we hear the whistle; we see the steam and we can feel the vibration of the churning wheels on the track. We look imploringly about for surely our only chance is that our hero will race to our side, release us from our bonds and whisk us away to safety. But wait! Our hero is the deaf and blind train engineer madly shoveling coal into the firebox. What ever will we do?

For starters, we can recognize that we are not actually tied down. We only imagine that we are. All we have to do is rise up and stop the runaway train of government from crushing us under its iron wheels. This is a time for heroism. But, this sense of waiting to be rescued is not only childish it’s foolish. We must become our own heroes. We must contribute to our own future and the future of our country. And, not by looking to someone else to lead us but by looking within and choosing the direction we wish to go. A hero is someone who chooses to do the right thing when there is an easier choice to be had.

We all know right from wrong. we may disagree in the methods and means, but we know what’s right and what’s not right.

It is not right to saddle future generations with our debts.
It is not right to regulate freedom.
It is right to protect ourselves by whatever means possible.

Just over a year ago we asked for change. Now, it’s time to demand it. Our government will continue to take control of our lives as long as we continue to allow it. Never before have we had so many methods from which to choose to make our voices heard: make phone calls, write letters, write blog posts, post video online, attend meet-ups and meetings. You can make a difference. You can make your voice heard. You can be a hero.

The choice is yours. Stand up, shake loose the imaginary bonds before they become real, and take responsibility as a citizen of these United States. Or, lay there on the railroad tracks and wait to be rescued.

The time to choose is now. Which will you be, the hero or the damsel in distress?

Regards,

Tim Couch

New Spelling of “Politician”

Opossum wrapped in American flag
Trust me

In general I believe in giving people second and sometimes even third chances to get things right. For the most part I believe people are good and decent, and yet afflicted with human frailties. I believe that given a choice most people will choose to do the right thing.

And then, there are politicians.

The politicians of today bear no resemblance to those that founded and fought for this Country. Our modern politicians bear a closer resemblance to the opossums we had back home. They would sneak around in the shadows getting into anything that smelled good to them; when they sensed conflict they’d lie down still as death until the threat passed and then scurry away; when cornered with nowhere to run they’d raise an awful stink; they’d turn and fight, but only for their own survival. I think perhaps, given the character our present day politicians evince, a new spelling of the word is called for: Opolitician.

Ray Stevens – We the People

I’ve been a fan of Ray Stevens since I was old enough to laugh, and he has done it again with this new music video titled, “We the People.” Granted, there’s nothing funny about the subject matter or the message, but Ray Stevens has a funny way of dealing with serious matters.  I foresee this becoming the theme song for a lot of us in the coming months.  Anybody who doesn’t love Ray is just not a Straight Up American.

Simple Health Care Reform

Our Health Care Dilemma
Our Health Care Dilemma

So, I got a call from my health insurance agent this morning. It was a bit of an eye-opener. When my current policy renewed this year the premium increased by nearly forty percent. I was expecting an increase as I turned fifty recently, but forty percent seemed a little extreme. I deal with an independent agent who has been very good to watch out for me, so when I received a letter from him suggesting we apply to a different company where the premium would likely be less I was all for it.

But first, a little background. I turned fifty ten months ago. I have been fortunate and blessed with good health most of my life. My blood sugar is good; my cholesterol is within acceptable limits; I take no prescription medications on a regular basis. Most of the medical services I have required have been the result of injury or accident, and those have been relatively few. My most recent episode was a little over a year ago when I suddenly found myself in a wrestling match with a kidney stone that eventually had to be forcibly removed. The horror stories are all true. All this is to say that I have no serious health issues.

So, we applied to the other insurance company hoping and expecting to be accepted at a lesser premium. The call this morning was to let me know that while they would insure me, the premium would be even higher than my current policy because of my little kidney stone friend. While they didn’t actually refuse me coverage, they did effectually price me out of the market because I have apparently become a higher risk. So, now I am faced with the same dilemma many are facing. If I choose curtain number one I get to pay thousands of dollars this year for basic medical insurance that I may not need. If I choose curtain number two I risk everything we have worked decades for should I suddenly need insurance that I don’t have.

On the one hand, I despise the very idea of the government taking over our health care. The government is lousy at running things, and the thought of a bureaucrat deciding which medical services I am entitled to receive really perturbs me awfully.

On the other hand, the insurance industry is not going to put patients before profits. It’s a business, and the business of business is profit. Thus, the dilemma: neither the open market nor government-run healthcare is going to provide a real solution.

So, here’s my super simplistic suggestion.

Let me preface this with this statement: I do not presume to understand the intricacies of the health insurance industry; nor do I comprehend the complications of government. I’m a simple man and I like simple solutions. Basically, adding more soap to dirty bathwater is not going to make it clean again. So, with that being said here is my offering.

  • Make it fair to the people. Base insurance premiums on age. Everyone of a certain age, regardless of the state of their health, pays the same amount. I’ll leave the amounts to the bean-counters, but basically our premiums would start out low, increase through our more productive years, and then decrease as we enter the later years of life.
  • Make it competitive. Let the insurance companies compete on services. The more or better service they provide the more business they get. Instead of competing for more and more dollars let them compete for the same dollars.
  • Make it optional. If you don’t want health insurance, fine, but don’t expect heroic measures when something does happen. If you can’t work to pay for it we’ll support you. If you won’t work to pay for it you’re a burden we don’t need. Get off the boat.

I know this is a very simplistic plan. I know there are many other points that would have to be considered. But, our government is out of control and it’s not going to rein itself in. It will continue to spiral out of control until we put a stop to it or it topples and takes us all down with it.

The insurance industry is equally out of control because it has for so long successfully evaded control. It has grown and expanded unchecked and unfettered because it has made itself necessary. Insurance is not rocket science. It can’t be or it could not have existed during much simpler times. It began as a very simple concept: responsibility in exchange for value. But, the insurance industry has managed the system so that it accepts less and less responsibility in exchange for more and more value.

The current healthcare insurance system is overly complicated and broken. The bill presently under consideration in Washington will only make matters worse. The future, if we truly have one, lies in simplicity. The success of any endeavor lies in the ability of those involved to understand, envision and embrace the process. The only purpose served by complications is to conceal truth.

Regards,

Tim Couch

Live Free

baby-flagI stepped outside a while ago just to drink in the day, and what a beautiful day it is. The neighbors to one side, a young recently married couple, chatted intimately while grilling their supper. Beyond them, another neighbor meandered about with a garden sprayer tending his lawn. To the other side neighborhood children played and laughed and squealed with joy or excitement or surprise; their lilting laughter wafted across the valley like birdsong.

I looked down the hill to another neighbors home. With one arm he was loading construction tools into the back of his truck in preparation for the coming workday. In the other he cradled his infant son not willing to put him down even long enough to load his truck.

Kids wandered between houses; neighbors stood in their yards and conversed; tires sang on the far-off highway as more-distant neighbors went to and fro. And, as I stood and watched the world evolve around me I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

This country we live in is the freest the world has ever known. The time in which we live is among the most productive, prosperous and progressive in the history of mankind. Few of us have known what it means to go hungry. Most of us have never known mortal fear. All of us have the freedom to pursue that which we believe will fulfill us.

The freedoms that we take so much for granted may be given by God, but they can be taken by man. I wonder what it must be like to live only at the will of another, to live without hope, to live and yet not live. Freedom is a precious thing, even more precious than life itself. It must be earned everyday, guarded with diligence, protected with ferocity, and endowed with generosity.

The freedoms that we have, and have enjoyed for only the last two hundred and thirty three years, are the one thing our descendants can not live without. Live Free.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Where’s apology from Letterman Show joke writer?

Who is the puppet master?
Who is the puppet master?

As far as I’m concerned the Letterman apology is too little too late. If he truly regretted telling the joke he wouldn’t have gone around telling it over and over during the days following. He only decided to make a serious effort at apology when he realized he had gone too far publicly and it was likely going to hurt him professionally. But, this post isn’t about Letterman. It’s about the person who has, so far, been overlooked in all this hoohaw.

This post is about the person who actually wrote the joke. Letterman is just a mouthpiece. He doesn’t write his own material. This became evident during the writer’s strike of 2007-2008. Sure it was poor judgement on his part to deliver the joke and late night T.V. would be better without him. But, somewhere out there is a comic writer, or team of writers, who actually thought the implication of statutory rape of a fourteen year old girl was funny. This is the person, or people, who really need to be fired.

Anybody that clueless about what constitutes humor has absolutley no business getting paid for their drivel. I say fire the writers. Maybe if they don’t have to spend their time coming up with stupid jokes they can go back to school and choose a career path that actually suits their talents. Something like, oh I don’t know, boat anchor.

Or, if they’re really determined to make it as a comic writer I think a little homeless time is just what they need. Some of the funniest and wisest people I’ve ever known honed their wisdom and education while domiciliary challenged.

So yeah, flush Letterman. He’s been floating for years. But let’s not forget, while we’re at it, the people who put those words in his mouth, and those who downplayed it in the media, and those who promote such bad behavior. The puppet may appear to sing and dance, but forget not who pulls the strings.

Sincerely,

Tim Couch

Unintended Consequences

Cats on election day
Cats on election day

Why is it that good intentions always seem to lead to unintended consequences?

For example: A while back a black and white cat wandered through our yard. It was kind of skinny and hungry looking, but not unhealthy. My wife, being the kindhearted and generous soul that she is, coaxed it onto the porch and gave it some table scraps and a heaping helping of affection. It came back the next day, and the next. We decided it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have a guest cat around the house so we brought home a bag of cat food and began putting out a bowl of food and water for her. It was a good arrangement. She didn’t belong to us so we weren’t responsible for her, and yet we got to feel good about taking care of her and enjoy her company when she deigned to visit.

A few days later she brought a friend over for dinner. He was well behaved and kind of shy so it was okay. We could handle another guest cat. We hadn’t bothered to give the first one a name but now we needed to call them something just so we’d know which one we were talking about. To make it easy we decided to simply call them Thing-One and Thing-Two. They were good neighbors. They stopped by every evening to say hello, have a bite to eat, a quick rub, and then they were on their way.

Then came Thing-Three. She was pretty much a feral cat. She made it clear she was only there for the free food and wanted nothing more to do with us. We felt sorry for her and accepted her into our little group. After a few days she began to calm down and act as if she might consider a scratch behind the ears, when along came Thing-Four. She was a blond haired, green eyed beauty who thought she could swish her tail and get anything she wanted. Unfortunately, for us, she in turn attracted, Thing-Five.

We drew the line at Thing-Five; enough was enough. We tried to be generous and offer a better life to a few stray cats but they were just going to keep coming until there was nothing left. And, where they once came for a few minutes in the evening as part of their neighborhood prowl now they were staying all the time. Once their nourishment needs were taken care of they just wanted to lay around in the shade all day. So, the bowls went empty and dry, and you know what? The cats did just fine on their own. In fact, they seem much happier now than when they were lounging around on our porch. Thing-one recently had kittens. She sent us a card.

Diligent labor for labor’s sake is not in our nature. When we realize we can vote ourselves the fruits of another’s labor the knell of democracy has begun.

Sincerely,

Tim Couch

Obama at the wheel

Once the bus is over the cliff who cares who's driving?

Once the bus is over the cliff who cares who's driving?

Everywhere I turn lately someone is asking me to sign a petition or urging me to contact my elected representatives regarding some issue or other. Most of them are excellent causes and worthy issues. Some, I believe, are critical and I readily take action.

I believe our current income tax system is the biggest roadblock and heaviest anchor to our economic recovery. I believe paying taxes to support my government is a duty, but paying taxes on my earnings turns that duty into a penalty. It is fundamentally wrong to penalize people for striving to succeed. I believe a national sales tax, such as the FairTax plan, is the best solution, and so I gladly write my representatives concerning tax reform.

I believe energy independence is vital to our security as a people and our sovereignty as a nation. There are people in the world who want to conquer us, enslave us and kill us, and every time we put gas in our cars we are sending them money to support their efforts. And so, I contact my Congress-people regarding energy issues.

I believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and so I shout helplessly into the wind as I watch our government grow ever larger and take liberties and use powers that are not theirs to take or use.

And so it goes, signing petitions, writing letters, making and taking calls. On the upside I have witnessed more civic minded action and sincere discussion in the last ten months than I did in the previous thirty years. Or perhaps, it’s just that I am more in tune with societal happenings than I was before. On the downside I see people wringing their hands with worry and wonderment at the actions of our government leaders. We’re frantically signing and writing and calling and trying to make our voices heard, but it seems no one on the hill is listening.

It feels like we’re all on a bus and Obama is at the wheel. We’re headed straight for a cliff and all the people are shouting, “Stop! Turn! Slow down!” But, he can’t hear because he has his I-Pod cranked up and his vision is set on the blue sky beyond the cliff. And the Democrats of Congress and the media are all standing between Obama and the people and shouting just as loudly, “Sit down and shutup! He knows where he’s going.” And we shout and we shout until there’s nothing left to do but scream as we hurtle into the abyss.

My Spanish Language Lesson

So, I was sitting in the cafe´ enjoying a cup of old fashioned coffee and a piece of homemade apple pie. We still do that here in the heartland. The young couple sitting in the booth behind me was carrying on an animated conversation, in Spanish. They seemed to be having a great time; they certainly had a lot to say; and, it all sounded as if it were probably very interesting. Not for the first time, I found myself wishing I knew Spanish or conversely that they knew English. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to eavesdrop but they were two feet away and I couldn’t understand a word. For all I knew they were planning anything from a double date with friends to kidnapping the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

Patty, the waitress, came over to ask if they wanted anything else before delivering their check, and suddenly the young man in the booth was speaking clear and quite understandable English.

Huh, I thought, maybe they were speaking Spanish because the girl doesn’t speak English. But then, I heard her say something to Patty in plain and clear English. They conversed momentarily and after Patty left the two slipped easily back into Spanish.

I couldn’t help being impressed. These two were very young, and as our town is not at the height of cosmopolitan style it was impressive that they should be fluent in two languages at this age. My curiosity got the better of me and I turned and struck up a conversation.

They were polite and respectful, even to the point of calling me sir which seldom happens these days. They became obviously uneasy when I asked where they were from so I didn’t push it. We chatted for a bit, and I complimented them on their English and asked where they had learned to speak the langauge so well. The young man, Joe was his name, shrugged and told me they had learned here, in the school.

It turns out that our public school offers English language classes to those students for whom English is not their native tongue. I also learned that our community offers, free of charge, a similar class for non-English speaking adults. Rosa, the young lady, told me her mother attends the class at the local library. I thought this very interesting; I wished them a nice day and went back to my pie and coffee.

As I was leaving the cafe´ I was thinking about these classes and wondering why I hadn’t heard about them before. I was headed for my truck when the question popped into my head like a single kernel of popcorn.

I cut across the square and climbed the steps to the library. As I approached the counter the pimply faced kid imitating a librarian looked up from his computer screen.

“Hi,” I said, “I’d like to sign up for the next Spanish class.”

“Excuse me,” he said, looking more than a little confused.

“Yeah, I just heard ya’ll have free language classes over here and I’d like to learn Spanish. So, sign me up.”

“We don’t.. have a Spanish class,” he said.

“Huh. Well, that’s okay. What other languages do you have? As long as it’s free I might as well learn one. I’ll just take whatever you got.”

“We don’t… I don’t know… Umm…”

“Well, what language classes do you have?”

“The only language class we have is the English one,” he managed to stammer while looking around for somewhere else he had to be.

“Huh,” I said on my way out the door.

On the drive back to work I pondered this for a while and finally just had to chuckle at the irony of it. People come to this Country unable to speak the language and in order for them to better assimilate into society our tax dollars are used to provide classes for them. The net result is that they become bilingual while we remain mono-ignorant. Is this a great Country or what?

Here’s my idea. Let’s use our tax dollars to provide classes to Americans so that we may learn the languages of the immigrants. Because we will be better able to communicate and explain the ways of American society they will more easily assimilate through direct and daily interaction. And, if they do not wish to assimilate we will be better able to understand that when they’re sitting behind us in a booth talking in a language they think we don’t understand.