Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Immigration Reform - Illegal Aliens and Jobs for Americans

The thing I cannot seem to get over is the fact that the United States has immigration laws. Let me restate that. I cannot seem to get over the fact that the United States still has immigration laws. There, that's much better. After all, if you aren't going to enforce them why have them on the books. I am not talking about the impossible, I am talking about the simple and easy. It is so simple and easy that there seems to be a few immigration officials that __actually care enough__ to go out and raid a few locations. See:

October 2003
November 2005

And of course there are a few seemingly legal tactics by citizens that seem to work. See:

June 2005 Minutemen
Herndon, VA

Why categorize these paperless border crossers as having committed something illegal at all when you do nothing about it? If someone robbed a bank, that would be an illegal act. You'd arrest them and do soemthing about it. You don't give them additional rights and privileges. A convict has lost their right to vote unless a judge restores it. Put these illegals into jail - even for a day and take away their right to vote even if they did become legal later.

Another problem I have. We are supposed to be in a free market economy - meaning that government generally does not interfere in the market. Note qualification - generally. The claim that Americans don't want to do certain jobs (even if true) just means that the wages are not high enough to get Americans to take the jobs. Read that last sentence again.

Let the natural market forces decide what levels these wages should be and how many Americans will be willing to do them. Don't let an illegal source of labor be the factor that artificially forces the wages down. Another way to look at is is this:

These jobs will pay more if there are no illegals to fill them. The resulting higher wages will attract more Americans to take them. The wages will continue to go up until the equilibrium point between the supply (American workers) and demand (the employers) is established. It might still be low but it will be higher than with illegal immigrants.

Put another way, illegal immigrants are stealing higher paying jobs away from American citizens.

The main ones being hurt by not having illegal aliens around are the employers - but then Walmart should be able to afford to deal with contractors that hire legally don't they? After all, they made $10 billion (not million) net income for the year ending Jan 2005.

After the Kathy-Lee Gifford (testimony) + WalMart debacle of child and underpaid labor in Central and South America was exposed on the media, WalMart REQUIRED their suppliers to no longer underpay or use child labor if my memory serves. Why not REQUIRE that your contractors no longer use illegal workers WalMart?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Randall "Duke" Cunningham - From Hero to Criminal

Seems like lots of places like here are already getting on former Congressman Cunningham's case for his crime.

Normally, I would not want to even mention a corrupt politician case as I am more interested in the politics for the country's sake. However, in this case I decided to deal with it some because of what Randall Cunningham did before and how this changes things.

The Republican's are having a hard enough time as it is and aren't exactly winning the polls. Doing foolish things like this is doing nothing more than handing ammunition to the Democrats and media and saying "Shoot me."

You see, before Randall Cunningham was a congressman, he was a veteran. Not just any veteran but he was one of supposedly only two Vietnam war pilot Aces. As some of you know, the Vietnam war was a horrible one for air force fighter pilots and Naval aviators alike. That was until the Navy created Top Gun. Cunningham trained at Top Gun, graduated and in time shot down five enemy aircraft. His place in history was set. He appeared in news, documentaries and was written about in books like Scream of Eagles by Robert Wilcox. He was a hero.

Now this. Fall from grace anyone?

Why? Why? Why did you do it? You didn't have to.

Cliche time: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Yes as he said, now he knows shame.

Consolation: At least he knows shame. Others that have passed before have no shame.

I find it hard to feel sorry for you but I do feel sorry for your family and friends and your constitutients. I feel sorry for this nation.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Income Tax Loads - Soaking the Rich?

The other day I was listening to the radio of a well known conservative talk show host. One caller brought up an interesting topic - the Federal income tax load. The key point he was trying to make was that the higher income taxpayers pay the higher percentage of the Federal income tax load. I decided to do little more research.

I found out that was a common claim and it goes like this (for the year 1997 as an example) :
1. The top 1% of income earners pay 33.2% of the total income tax load.
2. The top 5% pay 51.9% of the total income tax load.
3. The top 10% pay 63.2% of the total income tax load.
4. The top 25% pay 81.7% of the total income tax load.
5. The top 50% pay 95.7% of the total income tax load.
6. The bottom 50% pay only 4.3% of the total income tax load.

The basic claim seems to be true. It sure looks like we are hitting the rich a lot harder than we should. However there are those that like to point out that those numbers give the wrong impression. The counterexample goes as follows:

Imagine a population of 10 people - 9 earning $10,000 and 1 earning $100,000. The breakdown for income would be:

  • The total amount of income is $190,000.
  • The bottom 90% of income earners make (90/190)*100 = 47.4% of the total income
  • The top 10% make 52.6% of the total income.
Let's say the tax rate for the $10,000 earners is 10% and for the $100,000 earner is 20%. Then the tax load will become:
  • The total amount of taxes is $29,000.
  • The bottom 90% of taxpayers carry (9/29)*100 = 31% of the tax load.
  • The top 10% of taxpayers carry 69% of the tax load.
From the percentages alone, it sure looks like the top 10% of earners carry an unfair amount of the tax load. However, their claim is that the top 10% still get to keep $80,000 while the remaining 90% of tax payers still only get to take home $9,000. They are also concluding that the huge disparity of an income difference of 10 times between the high and low income is what causes the numbers to be what they are. Keep in mind that I am using a simplified model here - only one tax. In reality of course, there are far more kinds of taxes with far more complications but I am analyzing the claims being made based on pure numbers alone.

Well, I get the point of the example and it is a good counterpoint. However, would it stand up to further analysis?

The fact is that, the population is not properly represented by an example of 10 people. An example of 100 would be fairer or even 1000 or 10,000. So, I broke out the spreadsheet and made a population of 10,000 that had:
  • a uniform distribution of incomes from $10,000 at the bottom to $1.4 million at the top.
  • a tax rate of zero up to $15,000
  • a tax rate of 5% up to $30,000
  • a tax rate hike of 1% per $10,000 topping out at 40% from $370,000 on up.
The experimental results were:
  • The top 1% income earners made an average of $1.45 million
  • The top 5% income earners made an average of $1.31 million
  • The top 10% income earners made an average of $1.16 million
  • The second 10% income earners made an average of $707,000
  • The third 10% made an average of $429,000
  • The fourth 10% made an average of $260,000
  • The fifith 10% made an average of $157,000
  • The remaining 10% tiles made $96,000 - $58,000 - $35,000 - $21,000 and $13,000 respectively.
  • The top 1% earners carried 5.53% of the tax load.
  • The top 5% earners carried 25.1% of the tax load
  • The top 10% earners carried 44% of the tax load
  • The second 10% earners carried 27% of the tax load
  • The third 10% earners carried 16.2% of the tax load
  • The fourth 10% earners carried 7.25% of the tax load
  • The fifth 10% earners carried 2.81% of the tax load
  • The remaining 10% tiles carried 1.12, 0.47, 0.21, 0.10 and 0.014% respectively
What this tells me is that the 11 person example is not a good counterpoint to the initial claim such as that using the 1997 figures above. Looks like we need to look at actual incomes to see how "fair" the initial claim is. We do know that the counterpoint has a real problem though.

Loudoun County - Part II

So as time passed, they got all those services and stores and new equipment and law enforcement presence. As the County Board of Supervisors approved more and more building permits on the eastern half of the county, some of those living in the western half were afraid of a possible increase in crime due to a larger population in the east. They said that Loudoun County was no longer as safe as before because it was no longer a rural county. Of course, that larger Sheriff's department was ever so useful.

Soon enough came the ultimate in shopping convenience and low cost – Wal-Mart. All they had to do was pop into the Volvos or Land Rovers and take a short drive to the eastern half of the county to go to Wal-Mart. After shopping there they would hop back into their Volvos or Land Rovers and drive back to their nice home in the country. The only minor inconvenience that they have to bear with was a little bit of traffic near Wal-Mart but that was the price of progress. Never mind that the rest of those living in the eastern half of the county had to put up with the traffic every day. It wasn't their problem.

Of course the newcomers to Loudoun County moved into the eastern half because that was where all the building permits were approved and little if any permits were approved in the western half because the official reason was “We need to keep part of the county’s character intact.”

As the eastern half developed property values went up. The first to feel the impact of increased taxes were of the new suburbanites but the farmers that lived near the eastern half of the county. Suddenly, the tax bills will much higher than before due to no fault of their own. Running a farm became more expensive with each year thanks to their neighbors who wanted substantial development to happen in the county.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Loudoun County - Part I

I remember when Loudoun county was still somewhat rural. Actually, large parts of it are still rural. However in the last couple of years, things have taken not a turn for the worse but have proceeded headlong towards a developer's dream county. Suburban sprawl is not just here but is going everywhere. This county has been one of the fastest growing counties in the entire nation. Efforts have been made to slow down the development or even stopp it but it doesn't seem to matter who is elected to the county Board of Supervisors, development continues unabated although at different rates during different times of the year.

There was a time when most of what you saw were farms and horse ranches/farms. Then thirteen years ago, the first new developments of single family homes and townhouses started popping up. Of course there were contributions made by the developers to the politicians. The real power and the real money then was not in the farms but in what is called in these parts "Horse Money". Some would refer to these individuals and families as elitists. Their money and influence certainly bought a lot. It was well understood what their campaign contributions meant. Generally, their will was done. The farmers didn't mind what was going on because it generally never affected their pockets.

As time passed, these so called elitists wanted a few more comforts of the better populated area. They wanted more stores, newer equipment for their schools, more government services and a better law enforcement presence. Well, it would take money to make it all happen. So, what was the easiest way to get more money? Well, there's a whole bunch of new families on the eastern end of the county that moved in.

Do see where this is all going?

Next Up - Loudoun County - A Short Political History

Check back soon for my short version of the politics of Loudoun county and how it got to where it is today.

Oh, an interesting new piece of news about part of Loudoun county is that the 32nd district has a new delegate headed for Richmond, David Poisson. He beat incumbent Dick Black in a race in which many would have told you it would have been an upset early. In the later stages however, Poisson's campaign engine made a few good moves and overtook Black.

In fairness, Dick Black's website is here.

Those of you interested in more Virginia politics from a conservative viewpoint can go to Virginia Conservative

Monday, November 21, 2005

Political Topics for the Present

Before we get going on some of the topics that might be interesting, it would probably be helpful if we were to brush up on what specific words mean. So we have our first Definitions of the Day:

Third Parties - bet you didn't know there were so many did you?

Some of the topics which I hope to delve into and try to cut through without being sidetracked include:

  • Taxation
  • Immigration
  • Dependence on oil
  • Pork barrel politics
  • Lazze faire assumptions
  • Spin versus logic
  • The World Bank - what is it anyway?

I fully expect to change my mind as I learn and verify new information and I hope that you will allow me the luxury of objectivity. Perhaps it isn't a luxury at all. Perhaps it is something we all need to have if we are to better ourselves, those around us and our nation.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I think it is time for some critical analysis of some policies that this country is perpetuating. Over the weeks, we will address some of the common misconceptions and challenge conventional thinking about what is true or false as well as discover why some debates go on and on without resolution.

This blog is going to be focused on not one party but both parties as well as third parties and where they stand on the various issues. It is going to be a service for the public and not for any one given viewpoint. If Wikipedia can be objective, I think the general public can appreciate a neutral analysis of the facts as well as an analysis of the responses.

The other focus will be on local politics - particularly the one in Loudoun County in Virginia which is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. Lots of interesting activity here which do doubt can serve as a lesson for those that will experience population growth (both controlled and uncontrolled)

As such, I do not expect that there will be many fans from those that have chosen parties but I hope that the truth is still worth something when discovered.