Income tax advice from Will Rogers

March 25, 2012

COLUMBUS: This is income tax paying season. It opens right at the end of winter and lasts until April 15. Even thinking about is exhausting. In fact, to save my energy I’m turning the rest of this column over to Will Rogers. (These quotes on taxes are from 1923 to 1935. All these years later, has anything changed?)
“This is income tax paying  day. There is going to be no attempt at humor, for it would be mighty forced. No two can agree on what is deductible. When it’s made out you don’t know if you are a crook or martyr. It’s made more liars out of the American people than golf.  By the way, did you charge off money given to the Democratic campaign? You could; it’s a legitimate charity, not organized but a charity nevertheless.
No one that made enough to pay a tax this year (1931) should kick. In fact it’s increased taxes on incomes of over one hundred thousand net where the money should come from to supply work during slack time.
Our financial ills will never be settled till you fix it so every man will pay an income tax on what he earns, be it a farm, grocery store or municipal or government bonds.
You can’t legitimately kick on income tax, for it’s on what you have made. You have already made it. But, look at land, farms, homes, stores, vacant lots. You pay year after year on them whether you make it or not. Every land or property owner in America would be tickled to death to pay 45 percent of his profits, if he didn’t have to pay anything if he didn’t make it.
I have always claimed that the farmer will get no relief by legislation, for there is more people eating than there is raising, so he is a minority before he starts. His relief should come through taxes. When a farm don’t (make) anything, it shouldn’t be taxed.
We got a long-sighted government. When everybody has got money they cut the taxes, and when they’re broke they raise ’em.
We owe more money than any Nation in the World, and WE ARE LOWERING TAXES (1926). When is the time to pay off a debt if it is not when you are doing well? Seventy percent of every dollar paid in the way of taxes goes to just the keeping up the interest… Why don’t we do our best to try and cut down the principal, so it will lower that tremendous interest?
There is a tremendous movement on to get lower taxes on earned incomes. Then will come the real problem, “Who among us on salary are earning our income?”
There is some talk of lowering it, and they will have to.  People are not making enough to pay it.
Say did you read in the papers about a bunch of Women up in British Columbia as a protest against high taxes, sit out in the open naked, and they wouldn’t put their clothes on? The authorities finally turned a sprayer on ’em. That may lead into quite a thing. Woman comes into the tax office nude, saying I won’t pay. Well they can’t search her and get anything. It sounds great. How far is it to British Columbia?”

President Obama and Will Rogers combine for some silliness

COLUMBUS: President Obama made some curious comments this week. He took a jab at Republicans by saying they would have not supported Christopher Columbus when he set sail from Spain in 1492. In fact, Columbus had great difficulty rounding up a crew for his three ships because not only Republicans, but Democrats too, thought they might sail off the edge.

Well, Columbus traveled by wind power because he knew it was too far to row. If he could have bought some diesel engines, believe me, he would have used ‘em. He set off to find India, and when he accidently landed on our shores, he thought he had done it. Now, us Cherokees and Seminoles already knew who we were, and where we lived, but he insisted we were Indians.

If this continent had not gotten in his way, Columbus would have spent another year or two sailing toward India. But I doubt even the Democrats would have stuck with him that long without a mutiny.

President Obama was in Illinois for another fund raiser and he reminded Republicans they could learn something from Lincoln. He likes to compare himself to Lincoln and I don’t blame him. The whole state of Illinois is proud to be the Land of Lincoln, but I don’t remember Lincoln being overly proud of the politicians from Chicago.  I guess this fall we can decide who is more like Lincoln: a Democrat from Chicago, or a Republican from Massachusetts.

Then the President took a swipe at Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican from Ohio, by saying he saw no future for the telephone. Well, in fact President Hayes had the first one installed in the White House in 1879, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented it. The White House phone number was 1. I think the Democratic National Committee had number 2. Mr. Hayes may have been frustrated that the line was often busy, mainly because the Democrats were constantly calling their campaign contributors asking for more money.

I wonder if President Obama realizes that Bell received no government funds to invent the telephone. It took a few decades for the telephone to become more popular than the telegraph, but no one in the White House ever claimed that the cost of sending a telegram should be raised to $9.99 to help it along.

Yes, Columbus’ trip was one hundred percent government funded by Queen Isabella, but with the stipulation that he return to Spain with double the dollar amount in gold.   Well, us so-called Indians had no gold to steal, so he went home with nothing but a few trinkets, a hundred muskrat hides, and a dozen pairs of alligator boots.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you that personally I am sorry Columbus ever found us. The discovery of America has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all our land. I am proud to say that I have never yet seen a statue to him in Oklahoma.” 
WA #190, Aug. 1, 1926

President Obama, cheap oil and Model T Fords

COLUMBUS: We can’t get away from the argument over oil. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has stated several times that he wants gasoline prices to rise. A Congressman asked him if he happens to own a Chevy Volt. Mr. Chu said, “No, I don’t own any car.”  Can you imagine if someone questioned the Secretary of Agriculture about rising food prices and he replied, “Doesn’t bother me. I don’t eat.”

Speaking of eating, I read where a young woman won a million dollar lottery last fall, and has continued to receive food stamps. When a TV reporter caught up with her she said, “After taxes, I only got $500,000 in the bank, and I have to eat.” Well, the government finally cut her off because she won the lottery. I think they should go farther: no one who PLAYS the lottery should receive food stamps.

Last week a reporter asked President Obama if he favored higher gasoline prices. The President responded, “Do you think any president running for re-election wants higher gas prices?” He didn’t really answer the question. To be honest, what he should have said was, “I do not favor higher gas prices until after the election.”

I read on the internet that he likes Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Only for the President, it’s “$9.99 a gallon.”

I don’t like to complain about a president, but his plan to eventually shut down oil production makes no sense. Suppose he had been president just over a hundred years ago when Mr. Ford invented the assembly line and started building Model T Fords so cheap that almost anybody could afford one. He might have said, “This won’t do. Mr. Rockefeller and the Oklahoma oil men are selling oil for less than a dollar a barrel, and with millions of cars, why, look at all the roads and bridges we would have to build. People can ride street cars and trains. We don’t want more cars belching out exhaust fumes. Besides, with all those cars, in 20 years we would use up all our oil and have to go back to harpooning whales.”

You can cuss oil and gas and coal all you want, but you won’t find anything cheaper to power the country. When we run out, whatever replaces it will cost more.

Here’s an odd newspaper report. It seems the federal government has been paying students to walk to school, or at least paying the schools. And because we’re $16 Trillion in debt, from now on they may have to walk for nothing. Think of all the old-timers who walked to school every day, through rain, mud, snow and ice, uphill and down, and never got a nickel from the government.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“What a great territory (Oklahoma) we had before we struck oil and Republicans, followed by mortgages, foreclosures and impeachments.” DT #670, Sept. 18, 1928

Republican candidates invade Ohio

March 4, 2012

This week was Ohio’s turn to get acquainted with the candidates. I got 7 calls from Mitt Romney and 4 from Rick Santorum. I don’t mind hearing from them, but whenever I asked a question they would just say, “I approve this message,” and hang up.

With several million voters in these “Super Tuesday” states the Republican candidates are like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve: everywhere at the same time. But some folks say they are more like Scrooge because they want to reduce our government checks and free services.

So many people are out of work or looking for better jobs they don’t seem to care about our $16 Trillion debt. If the Chinese aren’t complaining, why should we?

And it looks like Obama and whoever the Republicans pick will spend over a Billion dollars each on the November election. That’s nothing new. Before the 1928 election I said, “So much money is being spent on the campaign that I doubt if either man, as good as they are, are worth what it will cost to elect him.”

Two or three Billion for an election seems like a lot of dough. But I read in the paper that last year we spent $50 Billion on pets. Two-thirds went for food and veterinarian care. But we spent $15 Billion on non-essentials like a Halloween costume for Fido, and professional groomers. Whatever happened to the day when the dogs ate leftover biscuits and table scraps? And cats lived in the barn and kept the mice and rats under control? We loved ‘em just as much, and they thrived in the great outdoors.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Washington to talk turkey with President Obama. The President gave a good speech today proclaiming his total and unwavering support for Israel, but he still does not want them to bomb Iran. Military experts say Israel can’t fly a thousand miles to bomb Iran. But if Israel decides to kill Iran’s nuclear plans they won’t drop bombs. No, they will quietly sneak in through a back door. Ahmadinejad is liable to wake up one morning and see that all his nuclear experts have vanished, along with all essential nuclear equipment.

The big debate here, besides picking a Republican candidate, is over gas prices. The Energy Secretary said he doesn’t want lower prices and feels high prices would help us drive less. The President said that in 12 years our cars will get 55 miles per gallon and we’ll save $8000 on gas. But I’m not sure how we’re going to save much if gas is $8 or $10 a gallon.

What he forgot to say is that in order to make cars light and fuel efficient, they’ll make the bodies out of paper-thin plastic. The only way we’ll save $8000 is if we’re so disgusted with the miniature cars we’ll park ‘em and walk.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“I’ve been reading about the Primary Elections. Looks like everybody that remains honest is getting beat.” DT #43, Sept. 20, 1926
“(A war) over religion is really the most bitter.” WA #350, Sept. 8, 1929
“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” 
 Dec. 3, 1933