Yesterday morning the phone rang, and I looked at the caller ID: US Govt. Given that we are the bosses of the US Govt, it could be a bit surprising that I am not delighted to see that they are calling me.
I am used to getting calls and letters from the US Govt, having had several disputes with them over filings for both The Brand Strategy Group (aka Garvey plus Gramann Inc) and Lanikai Bath and Body. I have had only one (small) personal dispute in more than 40 years of paying taxes, and I settled that one because they were right. All others: no settlements. (I win)
The call yesterday was regarding a difference between the 941 filings for 2011 and the Social Security payments on behalf of my employees and the deductions from their checks. I told the U.S. Govt representative, Monica, that I would call back. Shortly thereafter, I remembered that 2011 was the year my accountant’s basement office got flooded and that I have no copies of my 941s for that year.
I busied myself with the General Ledger for Lanikai Bath and Body and the Employee Earnings Summaries to cobble together an approximation of what the 941s might have said. This is extra confusing to me because all 941 filings are now online, and the US Govt should have copies of same. I will phone Monica of the US Govt back tomorrow.
Here is a hint about what I learned from dealing with the US Govt. Once they find you, they really like to correspond with you. They are anxious to hear from you, and while they may not want you to write back, if you do, and you should, they will write you and say that it will take them 90 days to look into what has been described in your reply. Never, never ignore your mail from the US Govt. They do not take kindly to that.
Since they work for us, it is interesting that they never say thank you. What if each person from the IRS called five people a day to say thank you? What would it be like if you saw US Govt on your caller ID and picked up the phone to hear someone say thank you for paying your taxes (which you obviously have) or they would most likely not be in touch with you by regular mail or telephone?
The number of employees of the IRS part of the US Govt was about 50,000 in 2012. The US population is currently 314.69 million people. Let’s say that half of them are children, and therefore not taxpayers. That leaves 157.345 million people. And, according to Mr. Romney, 47% of us consider ourselves victims and do not pay taxes. That leaves 73,521,150 people.
If 50,000 IRS workers make 5 calls a day, or a total of 250,000 calls per day, it will take 296 days to call everyone who is a likely taxpayer and thank them. Less than a year.
When it was reported that the White House was cancelling the “spring tour” season, our intrepid reporter wanted to look into other savings the President and his family were prepared to make in light of the sequester.
First of all, its important to know that the Easter Egg Roll will proceed as in years past. The one minor change this year is that children are being asked to bring their own eggs. The White House estimates that this will save the country 18 cents per person attending the egg roll, a White House tradition since 1878. The number of people expected this year, selected by an online lottery system, is 35,000. Total savings is estimated to be $6,300.
The White House will also begin selling vegetables from its garden to local grocers. The White House chef told reporters that they are currently giving 1/3 of the vegetables to organizations that serve people in need. Now, instead of having vegetables from the garden, the Obama family will take up a diet of kimchee and rice so that the remaining two thirds can be sold at a premium to area grocery stores.
In order to distinguish them from other vegetables, the White House vegetables will be branded “The White House. America’s House.” Currently a contest is underway for developing a logo for the vegetables from the White House garden. The winner will be able to bypass the lottery and come to the Easter Egg Roll. What’s more, an egg will be supplied for rolling purposes. Other entrants will receive the pleasure of knowing that someone at the White House may have seen their design.
America looks forward to other savings being made by the White House — doing its part for the sequester — and everyone in these United States of America is being encouraged to make their own savings as a contribution to the nation’s staggering debt. The money you save can be donated to the America’s newest 501C3, The Super Sequester Pac, organized to raise funds to offset the cuts of $85 billion. Corporations can donate as persons, but expectations in this area are low.
I was still in high school when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. I am quite sure it did not enter my privileged consciousness in any profound way –and neither did the Civil Rights Act which was signed into law by President Johnson in 1964.
As it turns out. in order to insure the passage of these two bills, Johnson used all of the considerable tool case he had acquired in the Senate, knowing all the while that he was giving up the South for the Democrats for the foreseeable future.
Ironically, Johnson had been “re”-elected in 1964 by Republican widows who owned stock in electric companies — owing to his having been involved in the concept of wheeling power across grids to prevent blackouts and use electricity to maximum advantage. In July of 1964, Johnson asked Congress for $45.5 million in order to link the Pacific Coast and the Southwest in a massive power-sharing grid. Republican widows everywhere took notice.
Back on topic. The Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress on August 5, 1964 and Johnson signed it into law the next day. It was again powered by Johnson’s adroit political skill and underscored by the public revulsion at the recent violence in Selma, Alabama. The Voting Rights Act enforced the fifteenth amendment to the constitution, some 95 years after it had been passed.
“Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required. [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)]
The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.” (from www.ourdocuments.gov)
I only learned these things when I was in college and afterwards: it horrifies me to think that Republicans in this country are now trying to undermine the critical accomplishment of the Voting Rights Act, through both gerrymandering (something I learned about in high school, but with no “real world” examples) and “voter I.D.” laws.
The right to vote is a core value of this country (no taxation without representation) and the republican legislatures which are trying to modify its power are hoping no one will notice. A lot of this went on before the 2012 election, and it will only get worse in 2014 if Americans everywhere don’t realize that with regard to some of our most basic rights, this country is now way off the mark.
I was oblivious in 1965. But no longer.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been in the news lately because serious research on gun violence, which would be under the NIH’s purview, has been minimal in the recent past because of the NRA.
The so -called sequester would make it almost impossible to initiate any funding for research on gun violence, regardless of the national outrage after Newtown. Funding for the NIH will be cut by about $2.5 billion if the sequester is actually enforced. This represents roughly 8% of the NIH budget, and would be made in addition to any other cuts made in the regular funding process for the coming fiscal year.
Federal investment in medical research has been decreased every year since 2003. The cut NIH faces in th event of the sequester would revert funding to 2004 levels, and cause a 2,300 reduction in the number of NIH grands and a potential job loss in the United States of 33,000.
The cost to economic activity in our country would be a reduction of $4.5 billion. This directly affects research on all of the “big” diseases and most certainly on the more obscure diseases which are nonetheless important.
Everyone knows someone with an incurable disease. Only increases in funding have the chance to find cures. If you want the NIH to recover its funding levels, inflation adjusted and increased — write to your Congressmen and Women and your Senators. Tell them to erase the sequester, start from scratch and support the needs of the American people
Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.