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28 November 2008

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post.

It's Thanksgiving (well, the day after), and it seems apropos for everyone to write posts on their general thankfulness.

The past 30 hours I have fought this inclination to follow suit, but it appears I can no longer hold out.  So, here's what I am thankful for right now:

1. Ryan Adams
2. Tony Romo
3. Baylor Basketball (and the University as a whole, of course)
4. Ice Cream
5. Food to put under ice cream, such as apple or pumpkin pie

Okay, so I'm really thankful for much more than this, but I'm fighting the urge, remember? Besides, if you have ever met my wife, family, friends, dog, or seen Katie recently, you're well aware of all the blessings for which I am thankful.

16 November 2008

Katie's Shower.

I'm a little late in posting this, but last Saturday, Katie was thrown a beautiful shower for Caroline. Katie had an absolutely wonderful time, and we are both blessed by everyone's generosity but, more importantly, friendship.  Click on the picture above for photos.

14 November 2008

marketing to motherhood.

Today was Katie's last day of work.  I suppose my wife is technically retired now.  As most of you know, Caroline is due December 22, and our daughter will be blessed by having Katie steward, care, teach, clean, feed, and generally love her while I am away during the day...or at least until I can ditch the office and come home to help and share in the process.  Famously, Proverbs 31 speaks of a woman whose worth surpasses riches, and I am blessed to intimately know of whom this poem speaks.

Katie as a worker in the American labor force has greatly blessed our family. Katie's role of going to an office has truly enabled us to be where we are now.  Though it seems like long ago, it really was only six years ago when Katie and I became "Man & Wife." It was the summer after my junior year at Baylor University, and Katie had just graduated.  She took a job at a company in Waco and worked while I completed my tenure at Baylor.  We then moved to Dallas, where I went to DTS full time.  Again, she supported us as I was in school.  It wasn't until I left seminary and started at Turtle Creek that her role serving us as the primary breadwinner had ended.  She has been working part time the past few years and now has left the professional work force for the foreseeable future.  From WRS to Raub Cap, Katie has selflessly labored as my own academic life was being put to rest and professional life birthed.

Her presence now at home will be paramount in the growth and development of our daughter. Such is obvious. Katie, as a mother, has no replacement, and Caroline will benefit abundantly in qualities such as security and confidence through their time. I am grateful for this gift Caroline will daily receive from Katie, who will be doing the most important work of her life...and likely more important than anything I will ever do.

07 November 2008

Interesting Tax Stats.

From Vincent Farrell of Soleil Securities:

Top 1%
If you are lucky or hard-working enough to have earned $364,657 in 2006, the last year for which data is fully available, you are in the top 1% of earners.

That group earned 22% of all income and paid 40.4% of all taxes levied on individuals.

The top 1% paid almost as much as the lower 95%! The percent of taxes paid by the top 1% has increased from 19% of all tax to the current 40% over the last 25 years.

Top 5%
$145,283 in earnings landed you in the top 5% of earners, and the top 5% paid 60% of all taxes.

Top 10%
$103,912 was needed to qualify for the top 10%, and that group paid 70% of all taxes.

Top 25%
The top 25% of incomes (over $62,066) paid 86% of taxes.

Non Tax Payers
It’s estimated that, in 2009, well over 40% of American earners will pay no Federal tax.

(Thanks to Eddy)

05 November 2008


This post better sums up what I would want to say.

(Thanks to Angie)

03 November 2008

David Frum's Diary: Nov. 1.

For John McCain

10) No elected official in American life has contributed more to the security of the nation than John McCain. Latterly, McCain was the most senior and most forceful advocate of the strategy that has saved the day in Iraq. For that reason alone, he deserves your vote.

9) Over a quarter-century in public life, John McCain has defended the interests of the taxpayer, not only speaking for lower taxes (that’s easy) but fighting for the essential precondition of lower taxes, less government spending.

8) McCain’s healthcare plan is the first and essential step toward a market-based approach. If competition is to work, individuals must buy their own care. Barack Obama praises the employer-based system. But Obama knows full well that the employer-based system is dying – he’s just propping up its carcass until the time is ripe to insert full government control in its place.

7) As a man, McCain is more pragmatic and more open to compromise in substance (and not just in verbal formulas) than Barack Obama. It’s a bad reflection on the McCain campaign that it has allowed the less ideological candidate to be depicted as the hot-head – and the more ideological Obama to position himself as the moderate. But the failures of the campaign are reasons to punish the campaign managers, not the country.

6) The combination of a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and federal control of the nation’s financial system is dangerous to prosperity and freedom. Even if I weren’t a conservative, I’d believe that this government bailout makes balanced government indispensable.

5) To borrow an argument from Mona Charen: The best thing about a president with a military background is that he has learned not to show too much deference to generals. Let’s not forget: The brass hats were against the surge!

4) This country hungers for moderate answers on social questions from abortion to stem cells to same-sex marriage. McCain’s split-the-difference instincts offer the hope of social peace. Obama’s 100% down-the-line social liberalism will provoke reactions that will aggravate and sustain these social controveries, when we need to find compromises that can allay them.

3) McCain’s victory would be the most surprising come-from-behind victory in American political history. It would prove that money and endorsements are not everything. That is healthy for American democracy.

2) McCain has never compromised on free trade. Never. Not to win a primary, not to win a vote. Never.

1) John McCain is white, the son and grandson of admirals, married to a wealthy heiress – and yet he has experienced degrees of suffering, despair, and defeat that not one in a million of us can imagine. Barack Obama wears a black skin and carries an exotic name. In the United States, people of darker color have faced oppression and discrimination for centuries. But in Barack Obama's own life, he has known nothing but an easy and welcoming path to success since he was 18 years old. Privileged John McCain has known more absolute degradation than any man ever to contest the presidency. Obama was born in adversity, but he has smoothly risen to a place where he is most comfortable with those for whom things are most easy.

I do not fear Barack Obama. I even rather like him. I certainly feel I have much more in common with him than I do with John McCain. To lead this country, though, I prefer the man who has seen more and suffered more and felt more. For all his faults, it is John McCain who is the more universal man.

I vote for John McCain.

One final comment. As readers of this space know, I have been very critical of the selection of Sarah Palin. Yet I do not regard her as a reason to cast aside the principles of my life on voting day. She may not bring much knowledge to this ticket. Yet she is obviously no fool. Indeed, using the favored metric of Joe Biden ("I think I have a higher IQ than you"), my guess is that she would probably outscore the Democratic vice presidential candidate on a standardized aptitude test. To his credit, Biden has conscientiously worked to familiarize himself with the great questions of national policy. To her discredit, Palin has not. But on Tuesday, I will trust that she can learn. She has governed a state - and she did risk her career by defying the corrupt leaders of the Alaska Republican party.

Beyond that, it says something important that so many millions of people respond to her as somebody who incarnates their beliefs and values. At a time when the great American middle often seems to be falling further and further behind, there may be a special need for a national leader who represents and symbolizes that middle. And if worse did come to worst, who doubts that the whole country - including Colin Powell and Larry Eagleburger - would rally to the aid and support of the first woman president, thrust into office by some unexpected tragedy?

This is a great and greatly enduring country. It flourishes because of the genius of its institutions and the decent and moderate instincts of its people. I look to the American future with confidence always - under a President McCain preferably, under a President Obama if it must be.

(reposted in full from here on National Review).

Washington Posts' Charles Krauthammer.

Both excellent short reads:
McCain for President, part 1
McCain for President, part 2

(Thanks to Dan.)

02 November 2008

Mark Steyn: Obama in 2-D.

Again, from the National Review Online, a great article worth the quick read on the 3-D person behind the 2-D cartoon commonly portrayed.

An excerpt:

The Senator and his doting Obots in the media have gone to great lengths to obscure what Barack Obama does when he’s not being a symbol: his voting record, his friends, his patrons, his life outside the soft-focus memoirs is deemed non-relevant to the general hopey-changey vibe. But occasionally we get a glimpse. The offhand aside to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth around” was revealing because it suggests a crude redistributive view of “social justice.” Yet the nimble Hope-a-Dope sidestepper brushed it aside, telling a crowd in Raleigh that next John McCain will be “accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten.”

But that too is revealing. As John Hood pointed out at National Review, communism is not “sharing.” In a free society, the citizen chooses whether to share his Lego, trade it for some Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks, or keep it to himself. From that freedom of action grow mighty Playmobile cities. Communism is compulsion. It’s the government confiscating your Elmo to “share” it with someone of its choice. Joe the Plumber is free to spread his own wealth around — hiring employees, buying supplies from local businesses, enjoying surf’n’turf night at his favorite eatery. But, in Obama’s world view, that’s not good enough: the state is the best judge of how to spread Joe the Plumber’s wealth around.

(Thanks to Stephen)

01 November 2008

The Complete Tax Hike.

This is written by Victor Davis Hanson with National Review Online, original post here. It is excellent, though disheartening. I have posted the full text:

Among the many fuzzy statements that Obama has made about taxes none is more erroneous than his "asking folks who are making more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990s before the Bush tax cuts."

Note the nebulous phrase "tax rate" that conflates federal income taxes and FICA payroll taxes on income. As I recall, the Clintons never introduced legislation repealing the caps on payroll/Social Security taxes. Obama has; and so the new exposure to the 12.4% on self-employed income, coupled with the 2.9% contribution for Medicare, would mean that on self-employed income (and that would be the more likely target), we are talking about a 15.3% tax hike, added onto a 5% additional tax raise on income (34% to 39%).

One can support or reject Obama's plans, but he should at least admit he is not at all going back to the 1990s, but proposing something quite radically new: that anyone in America who makes over $250,000 (the targeted amount seems to change frequently), would pay a new additional tax of 19.3% on their income. And in some states with a 9% state income tax rate, coupled with the 2.9% Medicare rate, one can see that a total tax bite, federal, state, and FICA/Medicare, of at least about 65% of their income, aside from proposed increases in capital gains and inheritance taxes.

This is a radical effort at redistribution (in line with Obama's earlier statement that legislative rather than court action is more effective in redistribution), and nothing at all like the 1990s. The danger is that, coupled with exempting nearly half the wage-earning population from any federal income tax liability, we are going to discourage incentives at both ends of the spectrum. Human nature being what it is, the half of American wage earners exempt will not be so eager to work additionally if it means beginning to pay federal income taxes. The "rich" 4%, who now pay 60+% of the nation's aggregate income taxes, will not be so eager either, if it means giving 2/3s of their additional income to government(s) to give it back to those who are not paying any federal income tax.

Only the top 5%?

I've been delayed in posting this, but maybe you've noticed the trend as well.  The original line between "tax cuts" (see a few articles below) and the largest tax hike in history seems to be lowering from $250,000 to $200,000 . . . to $150,000 . . . to ?.

More Obama BS.

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