Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 5, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 5, 2012 

A House Divided? By Cliff Schecter

In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, a satirical map of “red” 
and “blue” states became an instant online hit. On it you could find 
“Jesusland,” or the states where George W. Bush somehow convinced 
the populace that his part Calvin Coolidge, part Kardashian-marriage 
presidency deserved four more years (Mission Accomplished!). 
Meanwhile, mostly to the north of these states, “The United States of 
Canada,” was born, where Senator John Kerry windsurfed his way to 
victory. For those well versed in American history, the state-by-state 
breakdown possessed an eerie resemblance to another more somber map: 
That of the free states, slave states and territories permitting slavery just 
before the Civil War.

President Barack Obama shook up this equation somewhat in 2008, winning back 
some antebellum “free states” in the Midwest (Iowa, Indiana, Ohio). He also carried 
Southern (Virginia, North Carolina, Florida) and Southwestern (Colorado, Nevada) 
swing states that have seen their electoral leanings migrate leftward due to a large 
influx of Hispanics, youth and Northeastern snowbirds retiring to their environs. 
Yet, it is still somewhat dispiriting to look at the map from pre-1860 and realize how 
relevant it is today, when predicting who will have racially-tinged immigration laws, 
collective bargaining rights, kill-at-will Stand Your Ground laws or comedy clubs where 
people actually laugh at Jeff Foxworthy.

In fact, as blue states move in the direction of progress while those of a more crimson hue 
embrace antediluvian delusion, it would almost be irresponsible not to wonder what, if 
anything, will hold the United States together in 20 years time? 

The answer used to be simple: the federal government. But with a right-wing assault on the 
very concept, from Justice Scalia’s self-satisfied, blarney-based reading of the Constitution 
that state’s rights make might, to the Republican default position that the federal government 
has no role in protecting women from workplace discrimination or violence, times have 
clearly changed. 

This is not hyperbole. Two thirds of the Republican Senate Caucus voted against reauthorizing 
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last week, because according to Senator Mike 
Lee of Utah, “...the real danger is of the federal government unduly interfering with the 
ability of states and localities to address activities and concerns in their communities.”

Of course, if you were a woman and potential victim of a violent assault you might see things 
differently. You might--and I’m just spitballing here-- view “the real danger” as coming more 
from someone about to beat or kill you than the federal government’s “interfering.” But hey, 
all 31 Republican Senators who opposed VAWA were men, so you know, no worries bro!

While Oklahoma and Tennessee were working on legislation to actually ban the teaching 
of global warming and evolution, Connecticut was abolishing the death penalty. While 
“Republican legislators in Texas have voted to eliminate funding for any women’s healthcare 
clinic with an affiliation to an abortion provider -- even if the affiliation is merely a shared 
name, employee, or board member,” the California state legislature is pushing to liberalize 
abortion laws, increasing the eligible pool of those able to assist a woman in exercising her 
right to choose. 

Meanwhile, Arizona, not one for being shy about their crazy, has passed legislation (which 
is clearly unconstitutional) saying, “life begins at menstruation” for potential mothers-to-
be. I hear next they’re looking to change the standard to “when she has that gleam in her 
eye” or after the first Milwaukee’s Best at a frat party.

States have a common history, but a very different view of it. We do share language, but 
then again, we also share a basic dialect with New Zealand. Blue states might even start 
questioning why their tax dollars disproportionately fund red, welfare-hating, “welfare” 
states that take in more federal dollars than they send back to Washington.

Of course the only answer is to push back against assaults on the federal government. 
Just as it was needed to end slavery and enact civil rights, is the only force that can give 
this country a common cultural understanding of what is acceptable and what being a 
democracy means. 

We must either defeat the ideology of anti-government zealotry ascendant among today’s right-
wing Randroids, or I don’t see what will be holding us together a generation down the road.
© Copyright 2012 Cliff Schecter Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive 
public relations firm, and the author of the 2008 bestseller “The Real McCain.” Email Cliff at


 This past week, we received yet another forewarning of the left’s 
ugliness, ignorance and hypocrisy, which will characterize this November’s 
presidential election. Bill Maher, popular comedian and poster child for 
hip-left-media types, was served a softball question on Romney, the man, 
not the candidate. Asked about Mitt’s substantial charitable contributions, 
Maher could easily have taken the high road – disagreeing with conservative 
policies and positions but graciously acknowledging what the man has given back to the country 
he loves. Instead, Maher put on center stage for all to see the lengths to which liberals will twist 
fact and principles to retain power.

 In response to the question about Mitt Romney’s charitable contributions, Maher proceeded to 
tell a national audience that they don’t count. The gifts were given to the Mormon Church, which is 
a cult, so the gifts don’t count. Secondarily, even if gifts to this church did count, they still wouldn’t 
count because none of them actually went to the poor. Strange as it may seem, Liberals don’t think 
that any Mormons are poor. Rarely, do you get as stellar an example of the flawed Liberal world 

 Let’s take the most obvious issue which troubles the left: the separation of the personal and the 
political. To Liberals, there is no such separation. Everything is political, so there is no room for 
acknowledging political differences and yet complimenting a fellow human being on his or her 
good deeds. Liberals don’t just have policy arguments. They have personal arguments with their 
political opponents. Conservatives aren’t just wrong; they’re evil. They have to be demonized, not 
just debated and beaten in a fair political contest.

 Second, Liberals like Maher just ignore facts which are inconvenient or contradictory to their 
beliefs. Liberalism is based on feelings, not on logic. Conservatives are mean-spirited in their 
view, so it can’t be possible that conservatives might actually give to charity. In fact, study after 
study points out that Conservatives are several times more likely to give to charity than Liberals. 
The reason is simple. When people believe taking care of the poor is the government’s role, they 
naturally act less charitably. Those who see charity as an individual obligation naturally give more. 
The greater the role we give the government in caring for our neighbors, the less individual citizens 
will care for their neighbors. 

 Third, Liberals tend to draw the wrong conclusions, even about the facts they think they 
know. Let’s for a moment grant Maher’s “fact” that Mormons aren’t poor. The overwhelmingly 
Liberal audience to his show applauded this insight but failed to realize that it was a tremendous 
compliment to Mormonism. If indeed Mormons are so good at teaching their members to work 
hard and to take care of each other to the point where no Mormon is poor, wouldn’t we want that 
same ethic practiced across the ethnic and religious checkerboard? How great a world it would 
be if blacks took care of their own, Catholics took care of their own, or Muslims took care of their 
own to the point where there were no poor blacks, Catholics or Muslims. Wouldn’t that be a 
good thing? Wouldn’t you want to encourage other ethnicities and religious groups to follow the 
Mormon example? Of course you would, unless you were Liberal.

 Last, but certainly not least, is the rank hypocrisy exposed by the left’s reaction to Maher’s 
statements. Prejudice and bigotry is OK so long as the target is acceptable to Liberals. Imagine 
the fallout if Maher had called Islam a cult, or if he had criticized a prominent black for giving to 
a black church, or a prominent Muslim for giving to his Mosque. Maher’s entertainment career 
would be over and his life in danger. But because Maher’s target was on the right, it probably got 
some pretty good ratings.

 Someone once said that being a Liberal means never having to say you’re sorry. You can 
implement policies that are injurious to the poor, castigate whole religions as cults, and slander a 
decent man’s character so long as you do it in support of the right Liberal cause. I’m getting tired 
of saying it, but this election offers yet another stark choice: between the decent and indecent. 

Gregory J. Welborn is an independent opinion columnist. He writes and speaks frequently on political, 
economic and social issues. His columns have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Daily 
News, The Orange County Register, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He can be reached at


By Tom Purcell

Sheesh! People who hope to win the lottery sure are stingy about paying 
their "fair share" of taxes.

I refer to a fascinating Motley Fool article by Rich Smith.

Say you win big and take a $100 million lump-sum payout. The highest 
federal tax bracket, which kicks in at about $388,000 in income, is 
now 35 percent.

You will owe roughly $35 million in federal income taxes. But you'll also owe state and local 
taxes that can exceed 10 percent in some states.

Thus, you'd pay about 45 percent to 50 percent of your windfall in taxes. Out of your $100 
million jackpot, you'd get to keep $50 million to $55 million.

Most folks would be happy to receive $50 million. And to hand over half their jackpot to 
various governments. Right?


According to a recent poll by the Hoover Institution, average Americans believe lottery winners 
should not be required to pay more than 10 percent or 15 percent of their windfalls in 
taxes -- well less than what they must pay now.

But Smith points out something even more interesting: Most average Americans also support 
"raising" taxes on America's wealthy. The Hoover Institution also finds that 62 percent 
of respondents support the "Buffett Rule," which would require that millionaires pay at least 
30 percent in taxes.

That is, average Americans want people who earn big money to pay higher taxes than people 
who win big money in the lottery should have to pay.

However, I think many average Americans are confused about how much the well-off are 
actually paying in taxes.

The rich already pay the lion's share of taxes in America, according to the Congressional 
Budget Office. The top 10 percent of income earners pay more than half of all federal taxes 
and more than 70 percent of federal income taxes.

According to the Tax Policy Center, those making more than $1 million already pay, after 
deductions, 30 percent of their income in total federal taxes (income, payroll and other 

There are about 1,500 Americans who earn more than $1 million from investments. On that 
income, they're paying only the long-term capital gains tax of 15 percent -- and no federal 
income taxes. That's how Mitt Romney earns most of his money and why his effective tax 
rate is relatively low.

President Obama has been talking about such people a lot of late. But even making them 
pay 30 percent on their capital gains would generate only about $5 billion a year -- a paltry 
sum when you consider America is spending hundreds of billions of dollars more than it is 
taking in every year.

Meanwhile, says USA Today, households that make between $50,000 and $75,000 pay an 
average of 15 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $40,000 
and $50,000 pay an average of 12.5 percent in federal taxes. Households making between 
$20,000 and $30,000 pay 5.7 percent.

Those percentages are considerably less than what the "rich" are paying.

If Obama wants to fix our messy tax system, he could embrace the recommendations of his 
self-appointed Bowles-Simpson deficit commission.

It recommends that taxes be simplified, that rates be lowered and that most deductions be 
removed -- which would result in the "rich" paying more.

Sure, big-time lottery winners would still have to pay a top income-tax rate of 28 percent. 
That is a far cry from the 10 percent or 15 percent that average Americans want them to pay, 
but it sure beats the current 35 percent rate.

©2012 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh 
Tribune- Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper