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Joe Lee III
One More Time
A Comment by Joe Lee III

   There’s good news, and there’s bad news.
   The good retail news is that early Christmas shopping is up. Shoppers spent almost $60 billion over the “Black Friday” weekend.
   The bad news is that over 40% of that money was spent on the internet.
   The really bad news is that most internet sales escape local sales tax, so our local governments will have to find other ways for local citizens to pay for new roads, new water wells, and government services.

City loses 40%
   What city or county can well serve local citizens with a 40% loss of tax revenue?
   The really, really bad news is that by extrapolation of these figures, one would deduct that 40% of local business is gone -- possibly gone forever -- a 40% decline in local retailers and local store jobs.
   These are folks that support local churches, local civic clubs, the local chamber of commerce. These are the local volunteers that make up the fabric of a small community.

Social media is no-show
   Perhaps the biggest surprise of the shopping season is the failure of so-called “social media” to generate sales.
   According to IBM Smarter Commerce, social media made up less than 1% of the online traffic and sales on Black Friday weekend. This was in spite of a 40% increase in social marketing campaigns by Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sears, and other retailers.

Golden Goose in peril
   We are hearing a lot of political rhetoric about the rich not paying their fair share and, for the record, this writer does not give a hoot if Washington raises taxes on $1 million earners or $250,000 earners. Such a tax rate will have no affect on the amount of cat food consumed at the Lee household.
   Before the administration runs the risk of killing the goose that lays the golden egg, however, the math is worth a closer look. (The goose being, of course, a business or individual who takes risks, makes investments, and tries to create jobs.)
   In the U.S., last year the top 1% of all taxpayers, those earning about $370,000, paid over 37% of all federal income taxes.
   The top 5%, those making over $161,000, paid over 59%, and the top 10% of wage earners paid over 70% of the federal income tax bill. To qualify for the top 10%, a family must have a combined, adjusted gross income of about $116,000.
   The bottom 50% of tax filers paid less than 2.5% of the tax burden. Many of them actually get money back under the “unearned income credit” provision.

Eight day plan
   If the so-called “Bush tax cuts” are eliminated on all those who make over $250,000, the increased revenue would pay the interest on the national debt for about eight days.
   OK Washington, tax those rich rascals -- those nasty villains -- but what are you going to do for an encore when the money runs out in eight days?
   Everyone knows Washington’s answer -- slip the bracket lower -- tax everyone more. Gradually let the $250,000 floor sink until it covers all wage earners.
   Unfortunately, sending Washington more money is not the answer. We are not facing financial disaster because we don’t tax people enough.
   We are nearing fiscal Armageddon because the government spends too much.

Thursday at Taylor Hall
   Next time you pass by Taylor Hall check the time and temperature sign. At Taylor Hall the day is always Thursday, and the temperature is always 20 degrees Celsius.
   Consistency is a good thing, but the city could have saved thousands by just painting the information on an old board, rather than spending taxpayer money for expensive LED apparatus that does not work.

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