Happy Birthday, USA. It’s Time to Shine!

1-10259236_10153515755787925_696162760111206077_o“Fireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal.  Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art.

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They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger;

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above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.” ― Jan StrutherMrs. Miniver

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Yep, that quote would be me. Next to Christmas, the Fourth of July is my absolute favorite holiday. First of all, I love fireworks. Period. But I also love the way it draws my nation together. We have a complex history and a lot of problems, yes. But there is and there never has been a country like ours. Most of us learn and grow from our nation’s mistakes. Though very diverse, there is one thing of which we are in solid agreement: America is great.

If you’ve never visited you won’t understand. And if you live and grew up here, it’s so easy to take for granted. Think about it. In the history of nations, never has a country had freedom and prosperity like ours. Never has a country cared for the world like ours. Never has there been an economy like ours.

I don’t blame anyone for leaving their country of origin to come here. Many go through great peril and cost to do that. As a citizen, I just ask a few things. Please follow our laws and do whatever is necessary to become a citizen. Be honest. Work hard. And learn our history. Take a Civics class to learn how our government works. Be educated on our current events.

Don’t believe everything you read in the media. Investigate the facts. In other words, become a well-informed citizen and think for yourself. Don’t let anyone “spoon-feed” you. America will offer you and your children the best life they could ever have. And don’t ever take that for granted. I don’t know any American that does not welcome you if you do this.

Now, onto the fireworks! I cannot close without drawing attention to these photographs posted on Dan Pope’s Facebook page.  He is a real top-notch photographer and friend of our family and I’ve featured him before. His link is on my sidebar. Dan is a fireworks nut like me. He captured these Friday night. And of all things, he caught this last one with a train rolling through. Nicely done, Dan!

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In closing, I’m posting this link to a  video of the Katy Perry song “Firework”, still an all-time favorite of mine on our Fourth of July. I think the words capture the human spirit quite well.

Shine everyday because–baby, you’re a firework!

Taxes Made Simple, Part II—I’m a Little Depressive over the Regressive

photo: Alexandria Sage

The email rocked me a bit. I thought it surely embellished. Its column format drew my eyes. Oh good. A quick read. Turns out, it was a  loooong column. But the hook set and its simple title captured with clarity.

“None of the These Taxes Existed 100 Years Ago”

That was a bold statement. It can’t be true. Or could it? I’ve accepted these regressive taxes as part and parcel of life, telling myself well, there’s nothing you can do about it so just shut-up and pay up. How many times have I laughed at that quote—“Two things in life are certain—death and taxes.”?

Suddenly a new thought surfaced—This seems excessive.
But had I ever questioned before? 

To be fair the list deserved some fact checking.  I checked several sources and, with exception of an outdated few, they are all unmistakably true. I read through some comments on Snopes and couldn’t believe one person excused them away and called them “fees”. Fees, taxes, tax credits (yes, we pay for those, too)—call them what may but they are money out of my paycheck above and beyond what I already pay. The list also included the line, “I think we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes.”

Boston Tea Party.

Boston Tea Party: Wikipedia

I’m willing to pay my taxes and agree a few are necessary. But the term “fair share” is a bit out of hand when I look at this list of “regressive” taxes that all of us pay. Several caught my eye … IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax), IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax), Luxury Tax (what is that???).

And have you heard the latest? The United Nations wants to impose global taxes on citizens of developed countries to give to Third World countries to “end poverty.”
Yes, do an internet search. Somehow this one’s not getting the attention it deserves. {See related articles} We Americans know how our own “War on Poverty” worked. And now we might be liable to pay leaders of Third World nations who’ve demonstrated their own deficient use of their own resources? As Thomas Jefferson said, “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.”

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

Thomas Jefferson

How did this happen? I think another Jefferson quote says it well. If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

Are we still inattentive?

I believe these regressive taxes are nothing more than Jefferson’s wolves’ in sheep’s clothing. In fact, I think the regressive tax needs a new name.
How about the “repressive” tax?

coins

Here’s the list. Try not to get too depressive.
{Yes, I know that’s not a real word. Too much Dr. Seuss!}

Peace,
Alexandria

The List:
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt.
We had the largest middle class in the world.

What happened?

Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Related articles:

Continuing along the same thread of Something New and Different by the Daily Post, the Tax articles a bit different than my usual inspirational fare:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-and-now-for-something-completely-different/

Photos courtesy of Zemanta and Alexandria Sage

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