One of the biggest issues facing members of Congress and in the headlines is tax reform.
But from where do the tax dollars come?
Who is paying the biggest slice of the tax pie?
This new study from Pew Research paints a clear picture.
For all the talk about making sure the Middle Class reaps the lion’s share of benefit from reforming the tax code, it is not that sector of American society which pays anywhere the most of the tax burden. In fact, the Middle Class does not even contribute 5% of the haul each April.
Yet when looked at from the perspective of who has the means and stash of disposable cash to shell out in taxes, the Middle Class does come up short. A cut in the rate would be a boon for most in the mid sphere of the US economy.
Some 48% of the money sent to the government comes from individual income tax returns. Compare this to the lament about the corporate rate, reputed to be among the highest in the world, but only results in 9% of total federal revenue.
Do we need tax reform?
Should the Middle Class get priority?
Based off the percentage from corporations flowing to the government coffers, is a tax cut needed? Will the theory of “trickle down economics” produce or prove to be “voodoo economics“?
From the Cornfield, read the full study (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/06/a-closer-look-at-who-does-and-doesnt-pay-u-s-income-tax/).
Then, answer these questions.
The hottest show in the digital air continues to be the Realty TV show – The Prez!
The show received a bump this week (as if it needed one) from retiring Republican Senator Bob Corker.
Corker stated the obvious to The New York Times that President Donald Trump is hamming it up in the White House as if he was a Reality Show TV President!
Remember this from March 20, 2016?
Or this from March 6, 2017?
Then there was this on June 23 of this year:
Compounding it all, the national press corp has yet to learn not to swallow hook, line and sinker.
From the Cornfield, from your surprise about the Prez, perhaps it is a confirmation that now is the time to retire, Senator Corker.
By virtue of having been born on the soil of the United States of American at Welborn Baptist Memorial Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, I can proudly proclaim I am an American.
But – what does it mean beyond being an offspring fortunate enough for my nativity to be in this country?
What distinguishes a person as an American other than the site of birth?
How can we tell who is an American versus who may be, say, a Canadian, who speaks and looks like most Americans?
There is no singular ethnicity to set us apart as American.
There is no particular racial classification, but a hodgepodge of all races and sub-sections.
There is no single country of colonization of this portion of the North American continent.
There is no official language.
There is no particular genetic marker to trace who is and is not an American – such as eye or hair color, skin pigmentation. An American, as the words in a children’s song, may be red and yellow, black or white.
Physical characteristics, speech and dialects, none of the usual suspects define an American.
New Americans come into the world almost every day – and not – by birth.
Americans are not persuaded or aligned with a state religion or practice of faith and spirituality. In fact, one can be an American without any belief system that envisions a power greater than ourselves.
Other than a predominance of democracy and federalism, Americans do not pledge allegiance to a universal ideology or political persuasion. Political leanings are all over the map.
Some Americans amble through life with no basis in the alter-verse of politics or ideology.
From the Cornfield, I can beat my chest and swell with pride by virtue of birth to be an American.
But what other than that marks me as an American?
Some can lay hold to the honor of being an American through the process of naturalization, denouncing any and all allegiance to the country of their birth or country of last residence.
Many of these Americans are more patriotic and willing to lay down their lives for their adopted country than those who are homegrown, to their shame.
The belief in and living up to the radical idea ascribed by the Founding Fathers that an American will defend to the death, pledging honor and fortune to protect and uphold the belief that all humans are endowed by their Creator with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what makes me able to crow, “I am American.”
Not – because I was born in the Cornfield.
If you are an American, what makes you – other than birth – an American?
My ratings and comments on the new shows I have seen so far this season:
Star Trek Discovery – 👏👏👏 Not worth paying monthly extra for CBS All Access, but good escapism if on regular network
The Orville – 👏👏👏 Delightful escape from the reality on the news, leave critical thinking on the shelf
Wisdom of the Crowd – 👏👏👏👏 Well done, intriguing idea
The Gifted – 👏👏👏👏👏 Smart, attention grabbing, do not miss
The Brave – 👏👏👏👏 Action-packed, thrilling, worth tuning in
SEAL Team – 👏👏👏👏👏 David Boreanaz lures you in and the writers and cast keep you glued, putting down the remote
These are shows which are in their first season. I have not seen all yet – such as Young Sheldon.
The refrain from the classic song by Argent has added meaning, not just for me, but Americans everywhere today.
For me on a personal levels hearing, Hold your head up,” pushes me to keep up the fight.
For the millions of us Americans, following senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the words us the strength to not be cowed by a madman.
We will weep.
We will mourn.
We will struggle with survivor’s guilt. We will not quit living.
We will not back down.
We are Americans!
Perhaps it is indicative that I am having trouble keeping my eyes open this morning when considering this is the sixth month.
Back on May 9, 2017, my pulmonologist, Dr. Ajay Deshpande, gave me the word. If the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progressed as expected, I would die within six months.
Today, I am stronger than I was then.
My spirit burns brighter than it was then.
But, this is the sixth month.
My love, prayers and thoughts go out to the victims and their families impacted by the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For the victims:
That’s the way it is as I wait on home aide Bambi.
And how is your Monday going?
When Mary Olive Bush Powell made her debut in the world on September 25, 1917, the telephone was in very few homes.
There was no rotary dial. People would pick up the receiver and tell the local operator with whom they wished to speak. The local operator was the source of gossip and news, the Twitter of the time.
Men would gather to discuss everything at the local barbershop. This was the hub of social networking at the time or that age’s Facebook.
Outhouses were in use for most in the Cornfield. Potbelly stoves, burning coal, provided warmth. Hand-held fans provided relief from the heat.
Mary Olive’s father, Jim Bush, was the local barber in Helmsburg, nestled in the beauty of the hills of Brown County, Indiana. Jim aka Great-Grandpa Bush was the barber there for over 60 years.
Grandpa Bush was also one of a few renown artists capturing the beauty of Brown County on canvas.
Mary Olive lost her mother shortly after the birth of her younger brother, Jimmy, who is now deceased. Her older sister, Dorothy, who passed on too soon, helped Grandpa raise Mary Olive and Jimmy.
I recall listening in awe Grandma talking about having met and hinting that she had gone on a date or at least took a ride with the infamous gangster, John Dillinger, who hailed from a nearby county. But it was the brash, handsome oldest son of Postmaster Ancil Powell, who caught her eye and heart.
She and Luther Crockett Powell wed. The couple soon had a daughter, Sharon Lynn (Mom). A few years later came along Allen (now deceased) and few more years came Nancy.
Life change dramatically one night when the couple with Mom in tow attended a revival at Greasy Creek Church. The couple met Jesus. Grandma, Mary Olive, has never wavered or turned from her commitment that night.
For over half a century, Grandma was a preacher’s wife. Pastorates took her and her family throughout Indiana to West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois, including to two stints at the Church of God right here in Sullivan.
Many say it is the famous Bush stubborness that has allowed her to reach the young age of 100. That stubborness and determination can plainly be seen looking back at when she received her driver’s liceense in her 60s.
Shortly after receiving her license, she and Grandpa went their separate ways. Grandma never remarried.
Grandma continued to drive until finally being convinced to give up her car a little over a decade ago. Though her big day is not until tomorrow, the family is celebrating her life today at the community room in her apartment building.
Grandma continues to live alone, in her own apartment. Daughters Sharon and Nancy, her granddaughters – especially Michelle – and Bill help attend to her needs each day.
Here is to you, Grandma Powell –
HAPPY 100 YEARS YOUNG!
It seemed to be a quiet, sunny day in the dwindling hours of summer. People going about their business. Children rushed off to school. Flights of pleasure, business and fancy were seemingly soaring the skies peacefully.
Tranquility and a sense of safety were shattered in an instant as a commercial jetliner plowed into the World Trade Center (WTC). What first seemed to be nothing more than a tragic accident was quickly revealed to be more diabolic in nature.
The world watched horror-struck as a second jetliner in live airtime was shown deliberately crashing into the second tower of the WTC.
The unthinkable, that which seemed to only be comprehensible in a movie script, lifted from the page of fiction into the horrifying fact of reality. Life changed forever.
I rolled over. Opened my eyes. With blurred vision, I looked at the clock. 10:48 a.m. I sprang out of bed, shaking my head, wondering why I had slept so late.
I grabbed my robe, moving between my loveseats to turn on the television. I made my way back around what I called, my loveseat, to make my morning coffee.
Strangely I heard the voices of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. In disbelief, disconcerted and shocked, I listened and learned about the attack on America.
Nearly spilling the water, I finished making my coffee. I stumbled back to my loveseat to watch and listen to the unfolding events.
I yelled at the troubled young man sleeping on my other loveseat, “Wake up! We’ve been attacked!“
Frightened, not knowing what to do, how to react, what to say, the young man took off on his bike. Running, trying to find comfort, peace and some sense of what was happening.
I stayed glued to the TV.
Not only had two commercial planes been used as guided missiles exploding into the WTC, but another had been fatally directed at the Pentagon.
But, this was not the end.
The news revealed a fourth jetliner, its objective still unknown, was deflected from further mass destruction by the heroics of passengers. Passengers, who followed the highest law of Love.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)
The unthinkable had become a deliberate, thought-out scheme of murder, destruction, mayhem, pain and suffering.
What had happened to America’s tranquility and safety?
Gone in moments.
What were and are we to do?
What could and can our leaders do?
What was and is America to do?
Life changed forever.
From the Cornfield, we pause, as we do each year, and remember the lives lost, the heroes, the resolve of a nation to not back down, to rise from the ashes and press on for a better day filled with peace, liberty and justice for all.
We will never forget.
We will never crumble.
We will stand tall.
We will cross any valley, climb any mountain, ford any stream and remain forever that shining city on a hill to which the world looks to find light in the darkness of ignorance, fear, intolerance and injustice.