Monthly Archives: June 2015

WHAT NALTREXONE DOES AND WHY YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T HEARD OF IT

To start out this rant, let me tell you what naltrexone does. It decreases an alcoholic’s craving for alcohol, and if an alcoholic drinks when on naltrexone, it blocks the part of the brain that provides the buzz. You drink and you feel just like if you haven’t drunk. Now to be sure your body will still react in the same way. You will still slur your words and lose your motor skills and be a bad driver, but you won’t get the high or buzz you are looking for. Now to be totally honest, if you drink enough to put yourself in a coma or kill yourself, you will eventually reach a point where you start to feel the buzz maybe just before you become comatose.

Naltrexone was originally developed for use in combating heroin and other opioid addictions. Like with alcohol, it blocks the brain receptors which provide the high from opioids. In fact, if you’re on naltrexone or Vivitrol, like A is, you need to wear a wrist band or carry a card which indicates that you are on the medication because if you are in an accident and require surgery, in order to use an anesthetic, they must first give you a shot to block the effect of naltrexone. For history on the development of naltrexone see http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/gazorpa/History.html. I suggest you check that link out. You’ll find that the US government was instrumental in getting this medication developed and approved by the FDA and marketed.

If you go to http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org,  you will see that it is presently being evaluated for a large number of purposes.

So if what you say is true Curmudge (and it is) why haven’t I heard of it. The answer is twofold. First and foremost, the AA Kool-Aid drinkers consider any medication to help alcoholics as an anathema.

From the American Council on Alcoholism website, 2005:

“Many physicians and non-physicians in treatment programs are unaware of the usefulness of naltrexone or how to use it. In other areas of medicine, it is highly probable that the development of such an efficacious medication would prompt physicians to use it readily. The biggest obstacle to using naltrexone for the treatment of alcoholism is the ‘pharmacophobia’ of many alcoholism-treatment professionals. This near-hysterical resistance to medication for treating alcoholism (or other substance-abuse disorders) has deep and tangled roots. Many recovering professionals learned in their recoveries that MDs and their prescription pads were evil purveyors of pharmacological lies and temptations. This attitude is often accompanied by a deeply rooted and strongly held belief that recovery has only one successful formula (usually the 12-step program) and that any modification to that approach is unethical. Scientific evidence is irrelevant to these individuals. They believe they have the ‘truth’ about recovery and don’t want to be bothered with other points of view.” http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/gazorpa/History.html.

It is incredible to me that a group with what they consider the answer for alcoholics, would oppose medication that really helps those they profess to want to help. Could it be they want to protect their monopoly? And they know, as Dr. Dodes points out that there is no scientific or medical evidence to support the 12 step program, so they would naturally want to block any medical solutions.

The truth of the above can be confirmed by any of you who watch TV. How many commercials have you seen for shaky leg disease or other “illnesses” urging you to get your doctor to write a prescription for “getbetterol” or something, but you’ve never seen a commercial for naltrexone – a drug that could save lives! I heard from two friends yesterday that had actually heard a commercial on the radio for Vivitrol, so maybe there is hope the word will eventually get out and a significant number of people can greatly improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

I have personally experienced this phenomenon. During A’s second stay at the rehab facility in NC, after 2 weeks I was allowed to visit him on Sunday, but only after listening to an hour of AA speak. At one point the woman giving the spiel began to talk about the changes alcohol made to brain function, and I asked is this where naltrexone comes into the picture? She turned and gave me a look like I had just peed on her cornflakes. After a long pause, she scowled, “Well that’s very expensive.” Not when compared with the cost of unsuccessful after unsuccessful rehab attempts! How many times has Lindsey Lohan been to rehab?

For a little background on this subject, let me tell you that at one point in my career in the federal agency, I was the attorney responsible for advising our labor, EEO, and human resources offices. One result of this was that I conducted training of agency employees on the Rehabilitation Act, which is the federal equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The training often dealt with how to deal with alcoholics under the act and usually involved me discussing the legal obligations and our alcohol abuse counsellor talking about alcoholism. The counsellor was always someone who had gone through AA. The point here is that as part of the counsellor’s speech, it was always stated that it was expected that alcoholics would relapse after rehab, perhaps several times.

Now I know some or maybe all of you are thinking, I know people or know people who know people who have benefited from AA, so how can it be true that AA is not effective. This is because the 12th step commands converts to go forth and proselytize. What you don’t understand is that for every person you know who “recovered” there are 13 or 14 who didn’t recover, but they’re not going around bragging about their failure.

The second reason you probably haven’t heard about naltrexone is because the rehab industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Cadillac rehabs like the Betty Ford or Hazelton or Promises Palisades and others charge $50,000 to $90,000 for a one month ineffective stay. Can you imagine a better business model? We’ll convince you to come here at great expense, do a bunch of ineffective meetings, and then you’ll come back multiple times to pay us again and again, and it’s your fault if you don’t get better. WOW that is genius! As Deep Throat once said, follow the money! Now these facilities do usually provide counselling and I’m sure psychological evaluation and counselling, but at their core they are just fancy 12 step programs that offer additional goodies like horseback riding.

Earlier I indicated that I prefer Vivitrol, an expensive 30 day shot over a much cheaper daily dose of naltrexone. The reason is simple. If you’re a parent or a spouse or significant other, you can go to the doctor with the alcoholic and make sure he/she takes the shot. It is a lot more difficult to make sure someone takes a pill every day. And if you’ve ever lived with or were concerned about an alcoholic, you know the constant fear that the disease will rear its ugly head again. That’s why having them get the shot gives you peace of mind.

I don’t profess to be any kind of professional in this area, but from what I’ve seen and heard, and from what A’s last counsellor told me, naltrexone and Vivitrol are the best bets for treating alcoholism at present. If you know someone with a problem and rehab and AA are not working for them, I suggest you try to get them to a physician who deals with naltrexone treatment and give it a try. You can find a list of such professionals on the Vivitrol website. Www.vivitrol.com. I am not a paid spokesman for these medications. I am simply someone who has seen the results they produce after having suffered through the nightmare of having children with alcoholism.

In my last rant on this subject, I will be discussing what needs to be done to fix the situation. The need to rethink how we deal with the problem. The ineffectiveness of the mandatory DUI laws brought on by MADD and how they can have the opposite effect from what’s intended. It will be up next week because I want to take a little more time to properly present it.

 

AA VERSUS VIVITROL

In the next few rants I will be exploring the “science ” of Alcoholics Anonymous – another there is no there there – versus medication that can actually greatly help alcoholics beat the disease. As indicated at the end of my last posting, this is a very important issue and the information contained in this rant could actually help save lives, families and careers. Therefore if you are reading this, please pass it along to anyone and everyone you know. We all know someone with a drinking problem, and this information could greatly help them in tackling the problem. [As an aside, my definition of someone with a drinking problem who may be an alcoholic is pretty simple. If once you start drinking you can’t stop, or if your drinking causes you to miss work or adversely affects your job performance, or if your drinking causes you to miss or neglect family obligations and responsibilities, or if your drinking causes you to miss your tee time, you have a problem and may be an alcoholic. This is a very practical definition as opposed to the kinds of checklists sometimes used by AA and others with questions like: Do you drink alone? People the Curmudgeon lives alone, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to hop in my car to go to a bar because I’d like a glass of wine. Not to mention the fact that that would greatly upset MADD – about whom I’ll have more to say later in this series of rants.]

Let me explain how I came to be interested in this subject. I have twin sons, we’ll call them A and P. My ex and I believe they are identical, but we never had them genetically tested as the doctors at the time said all you had to do was look at them and it was obvious, and it was. [This could be important in a later rant on an entirely different subject.] For the first several months after we brought them home, it was virtually impossible to tell them apart, so we tried to make sure that we kept them in the correct cribs etc., but it’s entirely possible that A is actually P and vice versa. For the first couple of weeks, we kept their hospital wrist bands on them so we could tell them apart and when we finally removed them, their sister who is about 3 ½ years older asked, “How are we going to tell them apart without their price tags?” Truer words were never spoken! I eventually noticed that one of them had a double cowlick and the other had a single cowlick.

Now back to the subject at hand. Both A and P have had drinking problems and are alcoholics. P’s problems started six or seven years ago and resulted in me putting into to detox and short term treatment programs a number of times, and then finally putting him in a 30 day treatment program. Following completion of that program and without going to any AA meetings, he was successful in stopping drinking except on a few occasions of short duration, one of which was recently. A’s problem began about 3 years ago or so when he would binge drink on occasion – usually it seemed to be on about a 6 month basis — and eventually led to putting him in detox and then a rehab facility on 2 occasions about 6 months apart. During his first stint in rehab, I came across an op-ed piece in the Washington Post which indicated the lack of effectiveness of the AA approach, and that there were FDA approved drugs that could greatly help. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-right-medicine-for-alcoholics/2013/08/30/291ddac6-ffac-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.htm. I sent the info to his then girlfriend, but didn’t want A to know so that he would continue counselling. Following his second rehab stint, he was good for only about 3 months which resulted in the loss of his job and necessitated his brother and I driving to Florida to pick him up and drive him up here to the rehab facility that P had gone to. A month later he came to live with me briefly, but had a relapse only 3 weeks later and was back at the rehab facility for 2 or 3 weeks. At this point he agreed to try Vivitrol, as he realized he couldn’t do it on his own. I had wanted him to try it the first time I put him in rehab up here, but A has an aversion to drugs of any kind and refused.

Also, on his second rehab stint in NC, he was fortunate to have a counsellor who hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid of AA and pointed me to a few sources for information on the effectiveness of AA. He was also a proponent of using medication to fight the disease of alcoholism – an anathema to the AA establishment. A has been getting a shot of Vivitrol once a month for the past year and has had no problems whatsoever with alcohol and by all indications is much happier and much more content than at any time in the recent past. The only problem that A experiences is a sore ass for a day or so after the shot. After P’s recent relapse, he’s started taking a daily naltrexone pill – naltrexone is the drug at issue — Vivitrol is the injectable 30 day form of naltrexone – until we can find a way to get him on the Vivitrol regimen. Vivitrol is expensive and can cost up to $1600/month without insurance. Naltrexone is much, much cheaper, but you always have to worry if the alcoholic is actually taking the pills.

One reason I am writing this rant is because a number of people have asked me after finding out about A’s treatment success what medication he was on because they have friends and loved ones that aren’t being helped by AA. Many are people who when I told them of the poor success rate of AA poo-pooed it. But then reality set in and they wanted to know so their friends or relatives might get actual help.

Now before I get into what naltrexone is and how it was developed, I want to talk about what AA is and its extremely poor track record in actually achieving the desired outcome. AA came into existence in the 1930’s when one of its founders, Bill Wilson saw a bright flash of light when he was in a hospital room. I guess it was his “Road to Damascus moment”, but at any rate following this incident the founders of AA drawing on the Oxford Group – a fundamentalist religious group — developed their 12 step program. There is no scientific or medical evidence to support the AA bible. It is purely a religious movement which managed to worm its way into the fabric of American life as the only accepted treatment for the disease of alcoholism. Bill Wilson became a 3 to 4 pack a day cigarette smoker which eventually killed him and also a serial adulterer. Perhaps the only real advance that AA provided was to get alcoholism recognized a disease.

For anyone interested in the background of AA and its success rate, I suggest that you read – “The Sober Truth – Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and The Rehab Industry”   Lance Dodes, MD and Zachary Dodes —   Beacon Press Boston. Dr. Lance Dodes is a retired professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. This is one of the sources recommended to me by A’s last counsellor. According to Dr. Dodes research, the actual success rate for AA participants is between 5% and 10%. His estimate is that approximately 1 out of 15 participants are successful. Curiously, the rate of spontaneous remission for alcoholics is approximately the same as the success rate of AA. Spontaneous remission means that without doing anything your disease goes into remission, just like we are all familiar with the concept of some cancers going into remission, the same is true of alcoholism, and may explain why P was able to avoid alcohol for approximately 5 years until his recent relapse without going to AA meetings or any other counselling or programs. This of course begs the question is AA at all helpful or is any success just spontaneous remission.

The real problem with AA is that its only answer to a disease is to ask God to cure it. Imagine if you were diagnosed with breast cancer or prostate cancer and your doctor told that what you needed to do was spend a couple hours a day for the next 90 days with similarly situated individuals talking about all the moral lapses in your life and asking God to heal you. No radiation, no chemo, just prayer. You wouldn’t stand for that nonsense, and the doctor would lose his or her license. But that’s exactly what AA prescribes, and that’s the accepted practice for alcoholism. And the AA bible says that if you follow the program and relapse anyway, you failed not the program. Wow what a face saving bunch of BS. That’s like saying if you take a certain drug for a disease and you don’t get better, the drug worked but you didn’t.

Now AA may in fact work for some who are fundamentalists, and this would fit in to their vision of the world, or if you are someone like my father was, we were Catholics not fundamentalists, but every time he got a cold or the flu, he would walk around the house asking what he had done wrong for God to punish him like this. Just so you know, if AA works for you, then by all means continue with its fiction. I’m all in favor of anything that helps anyone!

Tomorrow I will discuss what naltrexone is, what it does, and why you don’t know about it. I would have done this all in one post, but people have indicated that some of my posts are long. Please check tomorrow and pass along to others because as I said, this info could save families, careers and lives.

EULOGY

As you may have surmised by now, I am not a fan of President Obama.  I think he is way to self important, not nearly as smart as he and his sycophants believe, and way in over his head as president on virtually everything, but you got to give the devil his due, he can deliver one hell of a eulogy.  Except for a few minor attempts to inject politics, it was brilliant.  And he can sing!

HIGHWAY ETIQUETTE ON I-95

People it’s time to show some concern for your fellow motorists on the interstates.  You’ve got cruise control.  Use it!  I am sick and tired of passing your dumb ass 6 or 7 times because you speed up and then slow down and then speed up and then slow down etc., etc.  And if you’re using your cruise control and you’re going a tenth of a mph faster than me, and you are coming up to pass me while I’m closing in on other traffic — hit the gas and speed up a little instead of making me hit the brakes while you crawl past.

Likewise, if you’re in the right lane and using cruise control and you’re coming up on traffic in front of you and there’s a car coming up on you in the left lane but still back several car lengths and not going much faster than you, hit the gas and pass the cars in front of you.  Don’t pull into the left lane and then take a mile or so to pass blocking traffic.  And this goes doubly for trucks.  I once had a truck pull into the left lane in front of me to pass another truck and it took him over 10 miles to do it.  If you’re the truck being passed, and you see a truck slowly trying to pass you, have the courtesy to slow up a bit and let him get around instead of backing up traffic.  I’ve seen this done on a few occasions, but more often than not I think the truck drivers take some kind of perverse pleasure in backing up the traffic.

So just pay attention to other drivers around you and show some common sense and courtesy.

And now my award for the dumbest traffic sign goes to the great state of Georgia.  They have signs posted all along I-95 that read — SPEED CHECKED BY DETECTION DEVICES.  Duh, what else would they be checked by, some patrolmen bending over and judging the wind blowing up his butt.  But wait, even that might be viewed as a detection device — some kind of redneck pitot tube.

Reminds me of when I first started flying as a government employee.  I used to take United from Dulles to San Francisco, and in the exit rows they had cards that said — IF YOU CAN’T READ THIS CARD PLEASE NOTIFY THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS.  So I hit the call button and when she got there I said I can’t read this and it said to tell you if can’t read it.  A few months later they had changed it to say something like if you can’t follow or understand these directions to notify the flight attendants.  Not much of an improvement.

Anyway enjoy.  The next series of rants will be on AA versus Vivitrol.  They will be very important, and I would encourage you to read them and pass them around to everyone you know.  The information contained could save lives, families and careers.  FOR REAL!

UPDATE

In a Wall Street Journal Op-ed piece today, Sen. Rand Paul announced what he calls his Fair and Flat Tax plan.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/blow-up-the-tax-code-and-start-over-1434582592.  It’s a start, but it’s not fair, it’s flat.  Your first dollar of taxable income would be taxed at 14.5%.  To try and make this fair, he’s proposing what I said would have to be done to try to make a flat tax fair, namely, a family of 4 making $50,000 would pay no income tax.  So once again a large portion of the population would get a free ride.  That’s not fair.  And of course, he’s proposing to keep the home mortgage deduction and the charity deduction  —  read that as you can still contribute to my campaign and get a tax deduction at the same time.  The funding of the political class always trumps everything.

And speaking of Trump, maybe we’ll get to see how Bulworth works in reality and not just in  the movies.

DEATH AND GIFT TAXES

As I indicated in an earlier rant, the Republicans have won the word war by labelling estate taxes as death taxes. This was a good move and an accurate description. However, the debate continues and The President continues to play class warfare by calling it only a tax on the one percent. Republicans have countered that it can destroy small family owned businesses. To me the real issue is why my death would be a taxable event in the first place. It can only be understood from the perspective of the liberal/socialist mind-set — namely that all the money belongs to the government and they decide what they deign you are allowed to keep. This is the “you didn’t build that” (Obama) and “companies don’t create jobs” (Hillary) view of the world. [Check Europe to see how social democracy has panned out.] But I digress, in what parallel universe should your death be viewed as an opportunity for the government to act like a pack of scavengers and gorge off someone else’s work?

It has been said that death taxes serve to prevent the concentration of wealth in a few hands. How’s that working out? The truly wealthy always make sure there are ways to get around the tax, and they have plenty of attorneys to help them craft the loopholes that they can get the politicians they bankroll to pass.

So Curmudge, why do you care about this issue, you ask? It’s simple. While the likelihood of the death tax ever applying to my estate is remote, I don’t begrudge those who have made or inherited money or won the lottery their good fortune, and I don’t view death as an opportunity for the government to engage in its favorite pastime — income or wealth redistribution. You’ve already paid income taxes on the money and that should be enough. And for those of us who would never have to worry about this, let me provide an example of what could happen. Let’s just suppose for a minute that you live in a state with no state income tax, because that makes the calculations easier, and you get lucky enough to hit the powerball when the cash value is $100 million. The feds would want 40%. Leaving you with $60 million. Now suppose after getting your check, you over do it at a celebration party you throw, and you’re an old fart like me, and you croak. The feds are going to want another 40%.   Why should they be able to do that? Under what alternate reality does that make any sense!!

The same is true for the gift tax. You made the money and you’ve paid the income tax on it, so why should you have to pay another tax on it if you decide to let someone else spend it for you. Now, I know that it is extremely unlikely that anyone reading this will ever have to pay the gift tax, but it’s the principle of the thing. I look at it as having designated someone else as my proxy to spend my money.

The thing that makes the gift tax issue even more egregious, is the hypocrisy involved. If you gift your money to something the political class approves, like for example a political organization or the Bill and Hill slush fund or some other approved charity, not only is it exempted from the gift tax but also will result in a deduction on you income tax!! So that’s why I’m against both these taxes that will never apply to me. It’s the principle, something the political class is sadly lacking.

The next rant will be on a decidedly lighter and hopefully more entertaining subject – Highway etiquette on I-95.

If you would like to receive an email notification every time a new post goes up, just drop me a note at the_neuse_river_curmudgeon@nc.rr.com. I’ll add to a group and send a notice whenever something new goes up so you don’t have to keep checking the site.

TAX REFORM AND A FAIR TAX PLAN

Politicians spend a lot of time claiming to be in favor of tax reform and simplifying the tax code. They all lie through their teeth. They are the reason for the abomination that we all have to deal with every year. DIRTY LITTLE SECRET ALERT – I believe that it would be fair to estimate that the majority of all laws written are tax laws in disguise. The unAffordable Care Act is a massive tax bill in the guise of health care reform. Politicians use the tax code to pay off supporters, pick winners and losers, and engage in social engineering. Revenue is an afterthought since they can always go to the ATM of China.

A good example of the kind of nonsense that led to this mess was a statement made by Eric Bolling on The Five last week. I believe he was discussing subsidies for green energy projects, and the liberal panel member for that day mentioned that oil companies get subsidies too. Bolling responded that they didn’t get subsidies they got tax credits and that’s different. No it’s not!! Sure they’re spelled differently, and in one case the government gives you money via a subsidy, and in the other the government allows you to keep money you would otherwise owe the government. But the end result is the same. What is the difference between the government giving you $1000, and the government telling you that you can keep $1000 that you owe it. Both result in the treasury being out $1000. It’s this type of linguistic gymnastics that result in the incomprehensible behemoth that is the tax code. By the way, I agree with Eric the majority of the time.

[Bolling’s statement reminded me of a similar knee-slapper by John McEnroe a couple, three years ago at one of the tennis majors. One player hit a really poor shot at 30-30, and John said, in effect, he’s lucky he didn’t do that at deuce. For those who don’t play, deuce is 40-40, but there is no difference whatsoever in what you have to do to win between 30-30 and 40-40. None.]

Repeat after me: “The sole purpose of the tax code should be to raise revenue — not social engineering or paying political debts.”

The entire personal income tax code should be completely thrown out and replaced with a plan like the one set out later in this rant.

You need to also understand that, except for the ATM of China, personal income tax revenue needs to be viewed as a zero sum game. If the country needs x trillion dollars, then for every tax dollar you save via some exemption or deduction, someone else has to pay a dollar more. Thus, ALL exemptions, deductions and credits would be eliminated. Individuals should make life decisions based on what they want not on potential tax consequences.

If you wish to get married, it should be for love and should have no tax consequences. Thus if one spouse makes all the money, it will be taxed just like a single person making that income. If both spouses work, then each spouse’s income will be treated separately just like they were two single individuals for tax purposes. There is no reason why a couple living together should pay more tax on the same income than a married couple. (In thinking about this, the one exception I would make is for alimony. The spouse who pays the alimony should be able to deduct that from income and the spouse that receives the alimony should pay the taxes on it. And this is not sour grapes. Yes I’ve been divorced twice, but I didn’t pay alimony either time.)

Similarly there will be no deductions for children, if you want children, and I have three, you shouldn’t expect someone else to pay more tax because of your decision. You should make an informed decision based on your circumstances, and then live with your decision.

Ditto with home ownership. If you want to own a home as I do, and can afford it without a government bailout, then by all means buy a house. But don’t expect someone who doesn’t want to own a home or can’t afford one to pay more tax because of your decision.

Likewise, if you tithe or give to charities or political parties, it should be because that is what you wish to do. It will have no tax consequences. There is absolutely no reason why someone who is an atheist or maybe a believer who doesn’t participate in organized religious activities should have to pay more tax to support your personal obligations. Same for charities and political donations. If you want to give and can afford it then by all means do so, but there is absolutely no reason that someone else should pay more tax to indirectly support whatever it is that you support.

Furthermore, all distinctions between types of income will be eliminated. Whether you receive your income from blue collar labor or in a white collar office or from clipping bond coupons or corporate dividends or interest on municipal bonds– it’s all just plain old income and will be taxed at the same rates.

Like all other deductions, state and local income tax deductions would be eliminated. You need to understand that by having such deductions, we are all paying more to cover the liberal/progressive/socialist/nanny state agenda of California and New York. They have high rates to cover their failed programs which effectively reduces their federal income tax, and guess who has to make up the difference? If you choose to live in Florida or Texas or Nevada or the other 4 or 5 states that don’t have a personal income tax, you shouldn’t have to subsidize the excesses of other states.

AND lastly, but most importantly, EVERYONE who earns INCOME will pay INCOME TAX – hence the name.   There will be no 47% who pay no income tax unless 47% of the people in this country have no income.

One advantage of adopting my plan or something similar is that you could eliminate much of the IRS and the industry that has grown up around it to help people shelter their income from tax. Not going to happen under my plan! It is completely ridiculous that people need to pay someone to tell them how much they owe the government. To be fair any plan should be simple and transparent.

Furthermore, if you work a job, wage or salary, and receive a regular pay check, then your taxes will be deducted from each check and your take home pay is in fact yours! Come April 15th, you should owe nothing and need no tax advice. If you cash in stocks or bonds or 401(k)’s or earn interest on your deposits then you will have to pay the taxes on them, but that should be real easy to figure out.

So here it is:

On the first $5000 of income you will pay a tax of 2%.

On your income between $5,001 and $15,000 you will be taxed at 5%.

From $15,001 to $30,000 the rate will be 7.5%.

From $30,001 to $60,000 the rate will be 10%.

From $60,001 to $120,000 the rate will be 15%.

From $120,001 to $250,000 the rate will be 17.5%.

From $250,001 to $2,000,000 the rate will be 20%.

And everything over $2,000,000 will be taxed at 25%.

[On a $100,000 income you would pay at an effective rate of just over 10.7%. Before you decide you will get hurt by this plan if you’re in the middle class and have to give up your pet deductions, I suggest you run the numbers. I have close to $30,000 in deductions, exemptions etc. and pay an effective tax rate that is 4% higher than it would be under my fair tax plan.]

It is simple, fair, transparent and straightforward.   When I ran it against figures I got off the internet for the year 2003, it would have brought in significantly more income, while resulting in tax savings for most middle class tax payers. I couldn’t calculate total revenue because the distributions above $250,000 are not in the data, but given all the talk about millionaires paying less than the middle class because much of their income is capital gains, it is safe to assume that eliminating the distinction between capital gains and other income would result in a significant revenue increase for the federal government   —   which would hopefully be used to reduce the deficit. [I used 2003 data because when I first developed this proposal several years ago, it was the most recent data I could find, and I did not take the time to redo the calculations because they are really not that important to the plan.]

And let me address for a second, the fairness aspect. As indicated earlier, everybody will pay, and all income will be just plain old income. Unlike flat tax plans, which are not fair, this plan is graduated and if you make more you will be taxed at a higher rate. There is no sane argument for a plan that would apply the same tax rate to someone making $10,000 and someone making $10 million. That’s not fair. The only way you can make that even remotely fair is to exempt the first $40K or $50K from tax and then you’re right back to a lot of people paying nothing, and if you live in this country and enjoy its benefits and protections, then you need to contribute.

I don’t expect anything like this will ever pass because our elected officials wouldn’t be able to reward their pet projects or donors or social engineer their preferred view of how our society should look. But maybe if enough people start to talk and pass on ideas like this something might get done to fix the absurdity that is the tax code. The only way to make that happen is by eliminating the perpetual political class by applying term limits — but that will be the subject of a future rant.

And just so you know, I have no problem with Congress passing a law that would require the Treasury to issue a check for $2000/child/year to families. That would be a subsidy, and I have no problem as long as politicians are willing to stand in front of the public and say to those who don’t have kids, sorry you’re screwed. Ditto for any other deduction. As long as they’re willing to campaign on a platform that says tough luck to anyone who can’t afford or doesn’t want to own a home, then have the Treasury cut a check to homeowners for 15% of their mortgage interest. That would put it all out in the open, and I suspect would eliminate a lot of the nonsense in the tax code.

Next rant will be on death and gift taxes.

Feel free to comment and pass this along to others. It turns out that while you can comment, they only get posted with my approval. So I can eliminate nonsense from the internet trolls and spammers and keep things civilized.

UPDATE

Before moving on to the next rant, I would like to thank all of you for your words of encouragement. And to some of you who responded favorably but from your comments or questions, it was apparent that you didn’t click on the links I supplied, please check out the links because they contain the data to back up my assertions. I’d also like to add another link that supports my position that the settled scientists are on the government dole. It turns out that some folks who claimed to be independent were actually $45 million worth of bias. https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/harvard-researchers-in-cahoots-with-epa-caught-lying/. If you liked it or it amused you, please pass it along to others, particularly anyone in the 18 to 30 year old group, because most of what they know or think they know is sound bites from the left. I’ll be posting the next rant tomorrow.