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Change?... yeah, right.

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    Posted: 02 February 2009 at 1:27pm
So, I've been fairly silent on the amazing job Obama has done in his first few weeks... I figured with the medias constant articles on the second coming, I'd wait until the facts piled up.
 
Lets look at some facts.
 
We were promised change. No lobbiests, and a "transparent" white house...
 
We got, Geithner (a tax fraud, now leading our Treasury)
 
Now we are being forcefed another tax cheat. But since he is "highly respected" this will just be a speed bump in his nomination process... yes, I'm speaking of Tom Daschle.
 
I wonder if I "forget" to pay my fica tax if they would not charge me penalties like they did him... Even after he got busted in an audit, he ignored the previous two years since "they didn't audit those years...". Until he was nominated, and then he tried to quietly pay them... with no penalties.
 
 
 
 
But, the biggest problem is, the US economy is falling off a cliff, and the media is largely ignoring it. I got the opportunity to lay off three of my employees last week, and cut everyone elses pay... As our customers are so nervous now, that they aren't buying...
 
read this article, and you will see why they are so nervous.
 
 
Maybe because we are spending money we don't have... (hmm, maybe it is a good thing to have a theif and liar in as the head of the treasury, because someone with ethics would have a problem just turning on the money presses)
 
 
And this is BEFORE the next big bailout bill...
 
I'm sure you trust the government, Uncle sam only wants to take care of you... But, really, check out this article, or watch the video.
 
 
This stuff has already started, look at California, they decided not to send back your overpayment of taxes, because... THEY need it more than you. Oh, and they are now giving IOU's instead of payment, I bet vendors will love those...
 
Oh, its not a big deal Free. Other countries will keep buying our debt and let us keep making more, right?
Ahh, Wrong. China and Japan are wanting out. So the brilliant Treasury dept will now start buying its own debt...  So, let me make this clear. They print money, then print IOU's to pay for it.
 
 
 
Wake up America.
They tremble at my name...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 1:33pm
I was going to start a thread on this, actually.
 
I will go on record as declaring that Obama's first ten days in office are the BEST first ten days of ANY Presidency, EVER.
 
He has gotten more done, more started, more finished, had more conversations, shown more positive intent, and generally been more effective in his first week and a half than any other US President I can name.
 
He has a very long way to go, obviously, but so far he off to a truly amazing start.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 1:48pm
you are only blaming the new guys for turning on the money presses?  hate to break it to you but that has been standard practice ever since we threw out commodity based currency.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 1:57pm
Originally posted by FreeEnterprise FreeEnterprise wrote:

 
We were promised change. No lobbiests, and a "transparent" white house...
 
More than promises.  Executive orders were signed on the very first day in office.  This is basically law at now.  Direct reversal of Bush policy. 
 
All the government watchdog groups are falling over themselves with giddy joy.
 
We shall see if the policies stay in place, but for now it is a lot more than promises, as the actions have already been taken.
 
Quote We got, Geithner (a tax fraud, now leading our Treasury)
 
The Geithner thing is very unfortunate.  Clearly we all wish he had gotten his taxes right.  But, frankly, I gained a lot of sympathy for his position when I learned the details.  He uses TurboTax and had trouble with the self-employment tax.
 
I was chatting in the hallway about this, and we all had a good chuckle (including many who are no fans of Obama), because many of us (including me) use TurboTax, and every single one of us has problems specifically with the unemployment tax.  The unemployment tax is very complicated to get right - I see large swings every year between my first go and the final product when preparing my taxes, usually centered around the unemployment tax.  So I have a lot of sympathy for that.
 
Regardless, calling him a "tax cheat" is clearly incorrect.  The IRS is non-partisan and has no sense of humor.  If they thought there was any actual cheating going on, Geithner would have been charged with a crime by now.
 
That said, I don't know the full extent of Geithner's circumstances, and will not make excuses for things where my information is incomplete, but I am certainly not willing to hang him on it either, without more information.
 
Neither, apparently, were at least 10 Senate Republicans, who voted for his confrmation.
 
 
Quote Now we are being forcefed another tax cheat. But since he is "highly respected" this will just be a speed bump in his nomination process... yes, I'm speaking of Tom Daschle.
 
Again, "tax cheat" is not the correct term.  Lots of people restate their returns and pay penalties and back taxes.  That does not necessarily make you a cheat.  Doing taxes is hard.  While I don't know the full story on Daschle yet, it appears that at least part of the issue is from incorrect documentation submitted TO Daschle regarding the car and driver - Daschle apparently filed correctly based on the documentation he had.
 
Again, this is certainly unfortunate, but based on current information I find no moral turpitude.  Of course, I don't particularly care if they confirm Daschle or not (I think he is one of the weakest appointments in the cabinet), but this does not strike me as the kind of thing to hold people up for.
 
Quote ... we are spending money we don't have... [etc]
 
Yes, it's bad out there.  What's your point?  Can I presume you disapprove of Keynesian economic theory?  If so, do you have an alternate approach, and can you please explain. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reb Cpl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 1:58pm
The only thing I see is that its okay for me not to pay my taxes right away as long as I apologize for it later. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 2:07pm
Originally posted by Reb Cpl Reb Cpl wrote:

The only thing I see is that its okay for me not to pay my taxes right away as long as I apologize for it later. 
 
And that is generally the rule.  Of course, there is penalty interest and so forth, but unintentional errors are generally not criminal.
 
I have paid many a penalty over the years, and restated my return more than once.  Once you move beyond a single salaried position for income, it gets very messy very fast.  Other times one might intentionally owe a penalty - I will owe penalty interest this year for sure, and I did it on purpose.  Nothing illegal about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote agentwhale007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by FreeEnterprise FreeEnterprise wrote:

the US economy is falling off a cliff, and the media is largely ignoring it.



This may be the most bizarre thing from your post.

I don't have the quarterly Poynter tracks, but I am willing to bet that stories about the economy are the dominate news-hole in the big four (Television, print, radio, online).

If anything, I always hear that it is the media's fault for covering the economic crisis too much.

To say the media is ignoring it is just very odd, and I would suspect not true in the least.

But you know what is funny? You say the media is ignoring it, and then:

Quote
read this article, and you will see why they are so nervous.
 


Link to a newspaper's Web site.

Clap
 

"So when Romney wins in a landslide, what will the liberal media do?"
This Ma**edited**hine Kills **edited**as**edited**ists.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote choopie911 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by Bruce Banner Bruce Banner wrote:

I was going to start a thread on this, actually.

I will go on record as declaring that Obama's first ten days in office are the BEST first ten days of ANY Presidency, EVER.


He has gotten more done, more started, more finished, had more conversations, shown more positive intent, and generally been more effective in his first week and a half than any other US President I can name.


He has a very long way to go, obviously, but so far he off to a truly amazing start.


Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaiNTbALLfReNzY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 2:44pm
I heard Ahmadinejad (or however his name is spelled) slapped Obama's hand concerning the "talks". Confirm/deny?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpbnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:09pm
Originally posted by Bruce Banner Bruce Banner wrote:

 
The Geithner thing is very unfortunate.  Clearly we all wish he had gotten his taxes right.  But, frankly, I gained a lot of sympathy for his position when I learned the details.  He uses TurboTax and had trouble with the self-employment tax.
 
I was chatting in the hallway about this, and we all had a good chuckle (including many who are no fans of Obama), because many of us (including me) use TurboTax, and every single one of us has problems specifically with the unemployment tax.  The unemployment tax is very complicated to get right - I see large swings every year between my first go and the final product when preparing my taxes, usually centered around the unemployment tax.  So I have a lot of sympathy for that.
 
Isn't comparing your lack of understanding of the self-employment tax with Geithner akin to me comparing my lack of understanding of the String Theory with Steven Hawkins?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldsoldier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:11pm
I do remmember a quote: "You can spend your country out of exsistance." refering to the Soviet Union. Where is all this money going to come from for these new programs and policies. I am though totally amazed at the pass Obama is getting on many of his promises, and yes, the lack of true transparency as promised. Even the people here have fallen into the trap that every polititian has used, win the admiration of youth and you can lead them anywhere. This "Cult of Personality" is not unique, and has usually lead to diaster for the believers. I still remmember the admiration that Lyndon Johnson recieved, Civil Rights and the Great Society, the mass following, and the turmoil once youth understood they were duped into believing all the promises. Call me blinded by my belief system, but what is so differant about this new President.
"Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss...and the banners they all flew in the last war..."   only the nametags have changed, there still is a great sucking sound coming from Washington DC as our economy circles the bowl.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:27pm
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

 
Isn't comparing your lack of understanding of the self-employment tax with Geithner akin to me comparing my lack of understanding of the String Theory with Steven Hawkins?
 
Yes and no.  I am a finance professional, and complete my taxes based on point-by-point instructions from an excellent tax lawyer, with specifics prepared just for me, including numbers.
 
While I am not a tax professional, I suspect I interact with the tax code more directly on a daily basis than Mr. Geithner does.  His formal education also does not (I believe) include any tax training; mine does.
 
Moreover, I believe I also mentioned colleagues who had experienced similar problems - some of them are in fact tax lawyers, others are banking lawyers, and so on.  Several are also accountants.
 
Tim Geithner is a banker.  He is not an accountant, he is not a lawyer.  While he is now technically in charge of the IRS, he would not be qualified to actually run the IRS. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:31pm
Originally posted by oldsoldier oldsoldier wrote:

I do remmember a quote: "You can spend your country out of exsistance." refering to the Soviet Union. Where is all this money going to come from for these new programs and policies.
 
And clearly the spending is very scary.  Very scary.  But to me it falls in the "do something" line of reasoning.  We are on a path to some very bad things.  If this will shake us out of it, then it is worth the spending.
 
Of course, if it doesn't work...   :(
 
Quote I am though totally amazed at the pass Obama is getting on many of his promises, and yes, the lack of true transparency as promised.
 
You are the second person in this thread to make this point.  Where are you guys getting this?  Can somebody please point to broken promises or lack of transparency? 
 
The closest thing to a broken promise I have seen so far is that undoing the Bush tax cuts has been postponed.  Other than that, he has already delivered on half a dozen very specific campaign promises.  That's a pretty good start.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Benjichang Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:41pm
Didn't Obama reinstate the Freedom of Information Act? How is that a lack of transparency?

I would just like to point out the irony of Bush-supporting conservatives talking about a "lack of transparency".


Edited by Benjichang - 02 February 2009 at 3:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:47pm
Originally posted by Benjichang Benjichang wrote:

Didn't Obama reinstate the Freedom of Information Act? How is that a lack of transparency?

 
FOIA has always been around - the question is to which extent government officials cooperate.  Obama issued a White House memo directing basically everybody to be as open and forthcoming as possible when faced with FOIA requests.  "Give what you can," as opposed to "give what you must."
 
Not a change in law, but a change in policy.
 
We will quickly find out the practical effects, as several FOIA requests have been filed under the new policy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FreeEnterprise Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:49pm

Let’s look at facts, not spin.

 

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzJjOGQyODY2ZjhhMWY4Y2U3YmVkMjhlMWQ2MWZiNTA=

 

Geithner got a statement every quarter, that he had to sign, stating how much IMF was paying him to cover all his taxes. This had a line item, with money involved that showed his obligations.

 

He took the money, and then didn’t pay it to the government.

 

That is a fact. He signed his name stating that the forms were correct, and they were paying him enough to cover his tax obligations (must be nice to have a job where they pay you your salary and your taxes…)

 

He signed it 4 times a year. He cashed the checks. He didn’t pay the government this money. That is 12 times he got this form (that he had to sign).

 

He got busted when audited, for 2003-2004. So he paid, but since they couldn’t audit him for 2001 and 2002, he just kept quiet about those years…

 

Until he was nominated and vetted for this new job… Then he “figured out” his hiccup…

 

Yeah, right.

 

Fraud, liar, cheat.

 

Ethics matter.

 

Now we get Daschel who “forgot” to claim his free car and driver on his taxes… (sounds like a lobbyist job to me, as most employers don’t give you a free car service just for consulting)

They tremble at my name...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FreeEnterprise Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 3:53pm
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=42700
lots of lobbyists, lots of "exceptions to the rule"...
They tremble at my name...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 4:02pm
Originally posted by FreeEnterprise FreeEnterprise wrote:

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=42700
lots of lobbyists, lots of "exceptions to the rule"...
 
So, Obama issues an executive order setting in place the strictest rules EVER for lobbyist interaction with the administration, and you declare it "not change" because there are a few exceptions under the policy?
 
Frankly, his executive order went FAR beyond what I expected on this point.  Far.  In fact, if this sticks, it will be one of the most staggering changes to the fundamentals of Washington in a very long time.  This fundamentally changes the way K street works. 
 
Holding up a few exceptions to a new rule is hardly tantamount to proving that the rule does not exist.
 
As with all things Obama, I withold final judgement until we have some more facts, but when this one was announced my jaw dropped.  I expected something about lobbyists, but nothing this drastic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Banner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2009 at 4:16pm
Originally posted by FreeEnterprise FreeEnterprise wrote:

Let’s look at facts, not spin.

 

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzJjOGQyODY2ZjhhMWY4Y2U3YmVkMjhlMWQ2MWZiNTA=

 

 
I will spare you my giggle when I saw a link to NRO after your intro...
 

Quote Geithner got a statement every quarter, that he had to sign, stating how much IMF was paying him to cover all his taxes. This had a line item, with money involved that showed his obligations. [etc]

 
I also get a nice schedule K-1, prepared by the firm, that contains all the information I need to prepare my taxes, including self-employment tax information.
 
And you know what?  I still get it wrong half the time.  I started my taxes last weekend, and expect to work on them pretty much until April 15, because I want to get it right - and I am going to guess that Geithner's taxes are a lot more complicated than mine.
 
Again, I don't completely absolve him of blame here, but nor are these facts sufficient for me to condemn him - to the contrary, they gain my sympathy, for I recognize my own plight in them.
 
Quote (must be nice to have a job where they pay you your salary and your taxes…)
 
Isn't that the whole point of salaries...?  If there were no income tax, salaries would be lower (assuming everything else stayed the same).  Besides, the "extra" income meant for taxes is also taxable.
 
Moreover, having a salary that is graded in part based on local income taxes is fairly standard for international organizations.  Hardly unique to the IMF.  Heck, my brother gets extra money for taxes, and he works for an oil company.
 
Way to make a perfectly normal business practice sound like something sinister that it isn't.

 

Quote He got busted when audited, for 2003-2004. So he paid, but since they couldn’t audit him for 2001 and 2002, he just kept quiet about those years…

 

Until he was nominated and vetted for this new job… Then he “figured out” his hiccup…

 
Now this I agree is more in the moral gray area.  Yes, he "got away with it" for a while.  But let's be honest - if the IRS came to you and said that you underpaid your taxes five years ago, and would you please pay them $15,000, even though you are not obligated by law to do so any more - how many of us would pony up the dough?
 

Quote Yeah, right.

 
Indeed.  Morally questionable, perhaps, but I have a hard time condemning a man for something I would probably do myself.
 

Quote Fraud, liar, cheat.

Nope.  None of those.  At least not based on current information.
 
Quote Ethics matter.
 
Indeed they do.  And the only ethical issue that I can see is the early returns past the statute of limitations.  And while that does give me pause, for the reason set forth above I am inclined to get over it.
 

Quote Now we get Daschel who “forgot” to claim his free car and driver on his taxes… (sounds like a lobbyist job to me, as most employers don’t give you a free car service just for consulting)

 
And in fact the lobbyist angle is more troublesome to me than the taxes, and I am surprised that hasn't gotten more attention.  I may have to poke around some.  But here again, as I said above, my information is that Daschle did his taxes perfectly based on the documents given to him.  If that is correct, then it is very hard to fault the man for any errors.


Edited by Bruce Banner - 02 February 2009 at 4:17pm
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