Friday, November 30, 2012

Notes: the week after Thanksgiving 11/30/12

1.  I am incredibly thankful for modern science, the development of antibiotics, and access to medical care.  This week my wife had a sudden asthma attack (last one twelve years ago).  I took her in to our doctor, and after an x-ray they determined that she also had pneumonia.  She is now receiving meds that would not have been available until recent years.  Today she was still feeling “crummy” but better.  We had virtually no wait time before seeing the doctor, having an in-office treatment, getting the x- ray, and picking up the meds.  The doctors visit and x-ray, and the high tech drugs were provided with only a small co-pay.  I can only think of the large number of Americans that would not have health coverage or access to affordable drugs without “Obamacare”. A medical problem like this would be a real crisis if you are poor and without access to help.

2.  Real prolonged rain!  After our year of drought last year, it seems like it has been a very long time indeed since we have seen a proper storm. Here is the weather map image at the moment and there is more coming after this!  My rain gauge reported 1.25 inches since yesterday.

Add your own zip code to see your weather "loop"

3.  Thoughts on fall... I grew up on a farm in northeastern Kansas- Our life as a family was much influenced by the natural cycle of nature – and fall was a season of harvest. My Uncle Joe Zlatnik’s family lived a few miles from us, and they had a stand of black walnut trees down along the pasture below the farm house, right along the creek.  On a crisp November afternoon family and friends would walk down in the afternoon to pick up the black walnut nuts. The thick fallen walnut leaves and husks have such a distinctive sweet smell.  I’m always amazed how memories of certain odors can reach back across a lifetime! As we worked, the juice of the husks staining our hands would last for many days. When we finally had collected enough nuts, we gathered piles of cottonwood branches and built a roaring fire.  As the fire burned down to hot coals we searched for weenie roasting sticks long enough and strong enough but not too thick...then the hot dogs,  buns and mustard emerged from the bags.  Roasting hog dogs sizzle and make the air fragrant!  Oh my goodness – what can taste better than a slightly charred hotdog in a bun on a crisp cool November evening! Then came the marshmallows. Toasting a marshmallow was really an art... brown and puffy – without catching on fire and becoming charred.  We kids tended naturally toward the flaming ones. 

4. Issue of the Week:  Understanding the fiscal cliff:
a.  If a number of laws are not changed by the end of 2012,  changes in the tax code put in place under George W.Bush would disappear.  As a result, taxes for the wealthy would be increased, and there would also be a reduction in the budget deficit due to the additional tax revenue.  The 2011 Congress chose to postpone making a solution by passing spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. .  Now the issue has once more come to the fore.
Comparison of deficit or surplus budget plans ( Congressional budget office )
b. Eliminating the Bush tax cuts, would raise enough revenue to reduce the federal deficit for 2013 to  roughly half. Further, over the next ten years, projected increases in the United States public debt would be lowered by as much as $7.1 trillion or about 70%, resulting in a considerably lower ratio of debt relative to the size of the economy.

Top income shares and average income in the US 1981-2010  for income groups (posted on Daily Kos) trickle down here...

c.  Republicans in Congress refused to approve an increase in the ceiling unless there were deep spending cuts in order to come closer to a balanced budget and reduce the amount of national debt that was building up.
d.  Mr. Obama is seeking to end the tax break for the wealthiest Americans.  He is seeking to extend the tax cut for those making less than $250,000 annually.  This would benefit the middle class in America and would generate much needed revenue to reduce the national debt.

Average Incomes US 1961 - 2010 - Posted on Daily Kos
...Also no trickle down...
e.  The great curiosity to me is why the Republicans have such a fixation of reducing taxes.  A modern, safe, well-maintained infrastructure requires money.  Jobs are created when we use tax money to build and maintain our systems.  Good school build our economy.  Health care benefits everyone. Fair and equitable taxes mean a higher standard of living for all. I conclude from their own statements that Republicans are truly against raising taxes on the wealthy but they also make it clear that they are not opposed to raising taxes on the middle and lower wage earners. Just look at the graphs above to see how much the wealthy have to lose is they pay their fair share.  Also see that giving them more money has historically by the numbers not helped the poor. 
f. It has been proven multiple times that Trickle Down economics don’t work – to learn more go to:

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