The Tax on Good Grades

Back in my day, we didn't tax the high GPA makers! That creates more students!

August 19, 2011

Well, it’s back to school again, and, as most of you know, those with the highest grades will be asked to give away some of those GPA points to students who didn’t try as hard so everyone can have a chance at a better education and job later on.

Oh, that’s not how that happens?

Fox sent out a camera crew and recent college graduate to a few campuses to ask students how they would feel if they were asked to give some of their GPA to lower students so the people with lower grades could have higher GPAs. Obviously, this did not sit well with ANY student. How then, Fox asks, do we justify taking MORE money away from the wealthy in the form of increased taxes and giving it to the lower and middle class? Isn’t that the same thing? Taking away from the people who worked for their money and giving it to people who don’t work hard so they don’t get as much?

I think you can already see the problem here.

Students by ~dpoephoto on deviantART

A student earns a GPA over a long period of time. It takes years. To get that grade, you have to study hard, do your work, and if you want to bulk up with transcript, you have to take AP classes that sometimes don’t even give you extra points or anything like that. They didn’t for me, and while part of the Honor Scholars Program at DePauw University, I had to take classes that were an order of magnitude harder than any other class I’ve ever taken, and said classes didn’t even count for extra points. And I still made the Dean’s List several times.

That’s not how taxes and economics work.

For several decades, the upper class has received what can only be called “corporate welfare.” They actually get taxed less than people who make WAY less and can write off any number of expenses. For Fox’s analogy to make sense, students with higher GPA should have had to do less work to get better grades over time AND people with lower GPAs should have had to give up a portion of their grades to people who were already getting good grades.

Let me put it another way. Billy works hard but can only ever get a 2.5 GPA. Tommy lucked out nearly on his freshman year and got a 3.8 average. The school then took some of Billy’s points and gave them to Tommy to keep him in the highest percentile. Now, Billy has to work harder for his points, but Tommy can cruise along knowing the points he gets from the bottom of the ladder will offset his lack of work and keep him higher up.

Fox News by ~Darren-Kelly on deviantART

Students with high GPAs generally work VERY hard to get those grades. I know I did. The upper class in this country gets a free pass and politicians in their corner to make sure they stay up there. There is an entire infrastructure just to keep the rich rich. There is no such system in place for students. Lower grades don’t always mean you’re not working hard. Most students give it their best. Job-wise, I work my butt off and make less per hour than the dean’s secretary. Stop pretending like people who are poor don’t work hard. Try teaching. Try being a sanitation worker. Try being a gardener, migrant worker, police officer, firefighter, or even a babysitter. That’s damn hard work.

People who rely on hedge funds to GIVE them money? Must be nice.

In short, Fox sucks, students rock, have fun on the first week of school, students and teachers, and I’ll see you Monday with the new Weekly Muse story. Keep voting!

first day blues by ~misternow on deviantART

The Rich Man’s Burden

Behold your god!

October 6, 2010

I’m going to warn you right now that this is a rant. Pure and simple. Also, don’t forget to vote on the poll to the right.

If you’re rich and you have to pay high taxes, I just have on thing to say to you.

Quit. Bitching.

For those of you who don’t follow tax regulations (it’s better than a Star Trek marathon!), one of the big debates on the political circuit has been whether to allow Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. These tax cuts are part of the “trickle-down economic model.” The theory is that if the rich have more money, they’ll invest it and it will eventually get down to the lower and middle classes. The rich, after all, are the job creators.

Oh, the rich! Were it not for them, we would still be living in trees, right?

Menacing Money… by =ThornsStoleMyRose on deviantART

My dad says something I always repeat to myself when someone complains about paying high taxes because of wealth. He likes to say that he’d love to have to pay half his salary to the government. Why? Because it means that he has more than enough left to live more than comfortably. And that’s just it. People have two thresholds for money as far as I’m concerned. You have the amount at which you can survive. For anyone not living on minimum wage, let me assure you that it’s not an easy feat. I’d love a few hundred more a month just to save up in case of emergencies.

At the same time, there is a point at which you no longer have to worry. We all have different standards of living and we’d all love to be rich, but we also have a point at which our basic desires, not just needs, are met and we can live without inconvenience. A recent study found that, for most people, this was roughly $75,000. Do you know how much I’d kill for that much money per year? Per two years?

The truth is that if you make enough to qualify for the Bush tax cuts, upwards of a quarter million a year, you’re doing pretty good.

Dollar by ~LostSoren on deviantART

“But isn’t taxing the rich more immoral? After all, they worked hard for their money!”


This is probably the most common argument against taxing the rich. It’s somehow wrong to deny the rich of their property. Guess what? A lot of rich people worked hard for that money. A lot of them woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning to build business empires that now span the globe.

A lot of them are also dead.

I could name names Paris Hilton and just say that Lindsay Lohan some people either inherited their money Glenn Beck or made it by selling crap to gullible people. Some wealthy people are using their wealth to get more money from the rest of us. Look at the Koch brothers or any lobbying firms working to screw the middle class. They are funding the Tea Party on daddy’s dollar to try and make a profit down the road.

That’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate, hard-working people in the upper echelons of society. The problem is that giving more money to those that have it is the complete opposite of what works. How do I know? Because we tried it before.

Women’s Bill by *digitalrebel-basel on deviantART

During the Clinton years, we had higher taxes on the rich and the economy thrived. Do you remember the Clinton years? The biggest problem we had to worry about was the fact the president of the United States screwed something besides the people that voted for him.

Actually, did Monica vote for Bill?

At that time, the economy was doing great. Why? The rich got taxed more and the middle class got taxed less. We had more money to spend. We GAVE our money to companies so they could go out and make more stuff for us to buy. Now, we’ve got companies exporting jobs out of the country and nothing stopping them from doing so. Any mention of regulation is met by shouts of “socialism” and “anti-business” rhetoric.

And let’s not forget the classic “class warfare” battle cry. Glenn, take it away!

Notice how he doesn’t specify that the tax cuts are for the wealthiest people in this country. Not for everyone. More than 98% of us have gotten tax cuts in the last few years, but the people who could afford to pay more don’t.

We know that taxing the rich more works and taxing everyone equally would be a catastrophe. If you believe, truly believe, that we should not tax the rich more than the middle class because it goes against some nebulous idea of fairness, then you’re ignoring reality.

It’s like saying that your car can’t possibly crash because you have an important meeting to get to. It’s like saying your teenage daughter can’t get pregnant because you want her to go to medical school. It’s like saying a tornado can’t wreck your house because you just got a new TV. Everyone is happier when the rich get taxed more. The middle class has money to spend and the rich get more revenue because people can afford to buy things. It’s that simple.

I swear that if I hear one more rich person complain about getting taxed too much, I will personally suck the money out of their bank account to mirror mine and make them live on that for one month and see how they like it.

Oh, I will do it.

Joker burns the money by *Trev-Murphy on deviantART

  • Ever wanted to know when the universe will end? Turns out it’s a lot closer than we thought. But don’t worry! We’ll all die in the nuclear Armageddon long before that.
  • Tiger Woods has done a lot of things (and mistresses HIYO!), but he’s just given us perhaps the greatest photograph in the history of golf. Ever!
  • And finally, what would happen if our old Disney cartoons tackle modern-day issues like right-wing radio paranoia? Check out this fantastic video to find out what happens when Donald Duck meets Glenn Beck.

Liar, Liar, Fox Lights a Fire

Only you can prevent OH MY GOD! What the hell, man?! What the HELL?!

April 14, 2010

Misinformation is one of the key causes of conflict in this country. We can disagree all we want. Some can say Texas is better. Other may foam at the mouth as they claim Chicago pizza is better than New York pizza. Argue about who should win American Idol. It doesn’t matter, but as long as we all have the same base, the same understanding of the facts, we should be able to, eventually, have a civil discussion.

However, three things have recently bothered me. Well, they’ve been bothering me for a while, at least one of them has. It seems like Fox News is both duplicitous… and an outright liar. They don’t even try to cover it up any more.

Liar by ~DrinkTheJuice on deviantART

The Tea Party

The Tea Party bills itself as the voice of America. They are a grassroots movement that fights for the little guy and have YOUR best interests at heart because without the individual freedoms we cherish so much, big government and runaway spending, along with higher taxes, will strip of the rights Jesus himself wrote into the Bill of Rights.

Except that the modern-day Tea Party has about as much in common with the American revolutionaries as Snoopy fighting the Red Baron has with World War I veterans.

If you ask any Tea Party member what the original Boston Tea Party was about, he or she will very likely tell you about how it was a protest against taxes. That person would be half right. The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation. The colonies had no say in what taxes got levied and the one that broke the deal for the colonials was a monopoly granted to the East India Trading Company. In essence, the British Parliament gave East India the ability to sell its goods in the colonies at a lower price because Parliament cut the taxes they would have to pay. Local tea growers in the colonies had to pay much higher taxes.

The Boston Tea Party was the most radical protest.

So let’s summarize. More than two hundred years ago, what would become America revolted against a government in which they had zero representation or power because the 18th-century equivalent of an international corporation was given a tax cut. At no point were the colonies themselves taxed.

This is one of the greatest jokes I’ve ever heard. A lot of conservatives, and yes the Tea Party is conservative and was heavily promoted if not started by Fox News, actively fight to get the rich the most tax cuts possible while moving the burden to the middle class. It’s the opposite of what the Boston Tea Party was about.

If the modern-day Tea Party actually did what the original Tea Party did, we’d have marches all over the country begging Congress to keep Bush’s tax cuts off the tax code. The rich and the companies would get taxed more, and there are companies, massive companies, that don’t actually pay taxes, instead getting massive breaks through loop-holes.

Given that the modern Tea Party has almost no ideological link to the original Boston rebellion, why even name it the same thing?

Psychological games.

Would people get so riled out if it was called “Americans Against Taxes for the Rich” or “Fox News Protest?” No. The Boston Tea Party is one of the most famous and iconic symbols of the Revolutionary War, and Americans pride themselves in that war. Frankly, it’s insulting to anyone who studies history that this group contains so many people who are fighting for the rights of the people in power and have perverted the original intent of this historic act in American history.

So, moving on from weapons of mass destruction to weapons of mass destruction.

NO TAXATION by ~kristineslife101 on deviantART

No Nukes

Last week, President Obama signed a treaty with Russia that would lower nuclear stockpiles by a third. Of course, this means that both Russia and the United States still have 1,500 nuclear warheads EACH. The treaty also states that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against a target that is not a part of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

As you can imagine, this will leave America completely defenseless.

Wow. I could fertilize my lawn with that report.

The treaty states, in no uncertain terms, that the United States will go full-blown General Ripper on anyone who uses weapons of mass destruction against us, nuclear or otherwise. If Iran or North Korea used a biological weapon on us and killed millions of people, we reserve to right to essentially turn the country into the world’s largest glass sculpture.

The way it’s been reported, though, Fox has made it look as though Obama has left us without any means to retaliate. But we DO have a means to retaliate! We have a few hundred megatons worth of firepower to use and the planes, personnel, and equipment to get said nukes to any part of the world.

This one isn’t even a half-truth. This one is an outright lie, and a “news” network gets to report it like it was the word of God Himself. In case you think that almost 1500 nuclear warheads aren’t even that much, I’d like to remind you what a measly low kiloton bomb (VERY low on the yield range) did to one city and please remember that most of our current bombs are several orders of magnitude LARGER.

Death Panels Claim Their First Victim

If you keep an eye on Fox News for the inevitable train wreck that will one day be left of Glenn Beck, you may remember a few months ago when Sarah Palin went on the defensive against the health care bill and shouted to the mountains that the government was planning on creating “death panels” to control who got health care and who didn’t. Specifically, they would come after her son with Down Syndrome.

If you didn’t serve a purpose or the government wanted to save some money, well, hey, grandma doesn’t need that oxygen tank, right? Little Timmy here has Republican parents, so he’s got to go. You are a member of the Tea Party? Sorry. No doctor visits for you know. Go set that broken arm somewhere else.

Of course, many in the media already debunked this, firstly by the fact that the phrase “death panel” is nowhere in the bill. Secondly, the idea that someone, somewhere, could deny you coverage ignores the fact that, if you have insurance, AN INSURANCE COMPANY ALREADY DOES THAT.

However, Fox recently ran a headline that asked, didn’t report, if the death panels had claimed their first victim.

I want you to pay very close attention that story. VERY close attention. The original story says nothing of government coming in and denying this woman any care whatsoever. This was a company, a privately-run company. If you want to get a headache, I recommend you read the comments below the Fox story.

Just by asking the question and placing a question mark after it, Fox News essentially claims that death panels do exist. The question is not whether the health care bill will kill you. That’s already been answered. The question is if this is the first victim.

Death Tie by ~Imp0stoR on deviantART

So there you have it. Fox News reporting blatant lies. Stay tuned for the report detailing how Glenn Beck is actually the second coming of Christ and Karl Rove is Athena reincarnated as a man.

Is there anything this news channel can do that will get it shut down for having the audacity to call itself “news” while ignoring reality? This isn’t just misreporting or getting a statistic wrong. This isn’t someone using a bad source. Every news organization does that from time to time. Sometimes they do things like subtly alter the perception of the news, but this goes beyond that.

These lies are having a very real effect on the public debate and discourse. People are going in without all the facts or blatant lies. It’s not a debate. It’s a fist-fight.

I find it appalling that these guys could get fined for saying “fuck” but nothing happens when they pull stuff like this.