Sunday, December 12, 2010

Percentage of income going to the top 1% has nearly tripled since the 1970's

On Nov. 30, 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, made a Senate floor speech about the gap between rich and poor in America.  Here's a portion of that speech:

"Mr. President, in the year 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income," Sanders said.
"The top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income--more than the entire bottom 50 percent. That is apparently not enough. The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent has nearly tripled since the 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the top 1 percent earned about 8 percent of all income. In the 1980s, that figure jumped to 14 percent. In the late 1990s, that 1 percent earned about 19 percent."

And the facts seem to be true!  Here's part of the explanation from

To keep matters simple, we'll stick to checking Sanders' claim that "the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income," which is "more than the entire bottom 50 percent."
When we asked Sanders' office for a source, they pointed us to a study dated Aug. 5, 2009 by University of California (Berkeley) economist Emmanuel Saez, "Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (update with 2007 estimates)." We looked at the paper and found this line: The top 1 percent "has gone through enormous fluctuations along the course of the twentieth century, from about 18 percent (of income) before WWI, to a peak to almost 24 percent in the late 1920s, to only about 9 percent during the 1960s-1970s, and back to almost 23.5 percent by 2007." An accompanying chart confirmed the 23.5 percent figure for 2007.

You can read the rest at:

Sounds like those upper 1% really need a tax break!


Coffee, Tea or Beer? Parties of all flavors

One of the values Americans seem to hold dear is the right to choose.
So I was delighted to hear about some new choices in political parties.

If you're fed up with Republicans, Democrats and the Tea Party,
take heart!  There is now a Coffee Party and Beer Party.

What's next?  I'm sure big business will want in.  How about the Pepsi Party?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It pays to be a right wing pundit!

Looking at the rankings, it seems to really pay to be a right wing pundit!
No wonder they back tax cuts for the wealthy -- here's what they make:

Rush Limbaugh $58.7 Million
Glenn Beck   $33Milion

Sean Hannity  $22 Million
Bill O’Reilly $ $20 Mil

Sarah Palin $14 Mill (I can see why she quit being governor, it doesn't compare to being on Fox)
Don Imus $11 Mil

Rudy Giuliani  $7 Mil
Newt Gingrich $5.5 Mil

There are some from the other side, but they don't really compare.

Here are the top progressive pundits:
Jon Stewart $15 Mil  (he's really a comedian, not sure if he counts)
Bill Clinton $7.7 Mil (former President makes less than a former candidate)
Keith Obermann $7.5 Mil

(For more on the list, pick up a November 8 Newsweek.)

Wow -- do you think they represent regular people?

All the best,


Saturday, October 23, 2010

More are working -- jobless rate falls for seven months in a row

The N.C. Employment Security Commission announced yesterday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in North Carolina fell from 9.7 percent in August to 9.6 percent in September.

The jobless rate in NC has now fallen for seven consecutive months since standing at 11.2% in February, and indicator that things are slowly getting better.

Good news, I hope for my friends and acquaintances that are unemployed. 
I know quite a few of them as I spent 10 months actively looking for a job.  
When I say looking for a job, I mean all day, every day, looking for openings, following up with anyone at the company I could contact and networking.  

So I know what it feels like to be unemployed.  And just because I was fortunate enough to have capabilities that some organization needed doesn't mean I've forgotten.

So, first, a note to the unemployed.  Keep  trying!  Keep talking to people -- they might not have a job lead, but they could have a new idea you could try.  

Second, -- a big thank you to President Obama and the Democrats in Congress that extended unemployment benefits and passed the COBRA subsidy (that unfortunately has expired).  Those measures helped my family weather my unemployment.  Without it, we may have had to go without healthcare coverage, and the small amount I collected helped at least pay for food as we watched our savings dwindle.  

So I really get upset when politicians say that the unemployed are lazy and unemployment is some type of hand out.  
I hope all those politicians who said that have to look for a job themselves soon.  

So don't forget to vote, and choose wisely!



Monday, October 18, 2010

Shadow groups spending big this election!

According to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute —non-candidate groups will end up spending around $564 million this year.
That's up 40 percent from two years ago. Most of the additional money appears on the conservative side.
The  institute projects that ultimately about $334 million will be spent to help Republican candidates.
That's about $100 million more than pro-Democratic groups are likely to spend — a reversal from 2006 and 2008.

Just think if they donated all that money to charity...

all the best,


Would repealing health reform be healthy for the economy?

From an editorial in the News and Observer in Raleigh, NC:

My granddaddy had a pack of hunting dogs, some of which liked to chase cars. One day we were trying to break them of doing so, and he stopped short and said with a twinkle in his eye, "I wonder what that dog thinks he is going to do if he catches a car?"

So it is with Republicans who say they want to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). What are they going to do if they catch the car?
Before health care reform was passed, our health system was unsustainable and was going to bankrupt our nation. If the act is repealed, our health system will again be unsustainable and will bankrupt our nation. If PPACA is the last step, we still won't have a sustainable health care system. However, it is a step in the right direction and can be improved upon.
The law has many flaws, but does two important things.

Read the rest at :

 Here's to thinking about issues this season!

All the best,


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Voter checklist

Since researching candidates can be somewhat dry, and watching debates sometime frustrating (depending on the questions and how the candidate you thought you liked is answering those questions), I was thinking that a quick checklist for candidates would be helpful.

So watch for the next post -- Tracy's checklist for a productive (and sane) government.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Before you vote, read...

You've probably noticed by the number of political ads that an election is drawing near -- November 2.  In many places, early voting will also be available.

But before you leave for voting, be sure to check out the candidates and their records.  

There is a great deal of negative ads out there -- if you see or hear one sponsored by a third party with a nice sounding name, be suspicious!  Special interest is pouring money into the campaign to get candidates elected that will do what they want, which might be not in your best interest. (This is worse than usual due to the recent Supreme Court ruling)

So where do you go to get accurate information?  

The League of women voters lists forums and events: 

A great voter guide is available from UNC TV
Some overlooked but important posts are county commissioners and judges.  There is also something new this year, a ranking type / instant runoff race for in the NC Court of Appeals.  

So good luck, and please do your research...

Or if you'd rather not, subscribe to the blog for Tracy's picks in the next post.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Judging Too Soon Can Be Misleading

Too often things are latched onto by the media before all the facts are in.

This week, articles blasted health reform -- claiming hourly workers at MacDonalds would loose their mini-med plans due to the fact that the carrier claimed to not be able to make the 80-85% medical loss ratio (or conversely, they spend more than 15-20% on administrative costs, (including executive bonuses).

"Horrors!  It's due to that health reform bill, we knew it would have bad effects." said the ever-present critics.

Step back a moment. 
Maybe the hourly workers aren't getting a very good plan. 

In fact, the next day, that was the judgement.  The workers weren't getting much for the hard earned money they were paying -- in good faith that their employer was offering something worthwhile.
In fact, they were paying over $700 dollars a year for coverage that maxed out at $2000.

So health reform isn't to blame, and in this case is a good thing -- and plans like these should be investigated.  They are either inefficient, or someone's making too much money. 

If they had car company reform back ten years ago, maybe the car industry wouldn't have been in such a mess.  And if any oversight had been applied to the investment community, maybe the banking system wouldn't have been near collapse. 

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need government oversight.  But you see, it isn't a perfect world.

all the best,


Links to articles on mini-meds:

To read more:

Article on the GOP and lobbying against regulations:,0,4869233.story

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes little things can make you happy

I've got a blue button on my hair dryer.
The instructions said that when you push it, negative ions* come out in the air.

I have no idea if it really works, but even so, every morning when I'm drying my hair (I start with my head upside down) I push the button and I smile. :)

It's automatic -- I don't know if I'm smiling at myself because I'm pushing a button that does nothing, or if it really works.

It doesn't matter.

Bottom line, I always feel just a little better.

So, look for your blue buttons of happiness. They're out there!

And smile.

Have a great day,


*negative ions are the good kind -- they are also produced by falling water, like your shower or a water fall. I think its why people love waterfalls so much.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just say no to negative political ads!

Haven't you had enough of these ads with no substance, only negative appeals to emotion?

For example, in NC, Richard Burr has been airing ones with people talking about wasteful spending and the problems we are in. They forget that Burr, as the incumbent, bears responsibility - he voted for the bank bailout and a little cooperation would have made the stimulus and the health care bill more effective.

Why doesn't he have an ad listing his accomplishments in the Senate?
(fill in your guess here)

Just say no to negative ads! Write your candidate that you'd like to hear facts, and if they don't listen, don't vote for them!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to stimulate the economy

Everyone (well, not everyone actually) wants our economy stimulated. You hear quite a bit about it on the news, but no one seems to have an answer.

I don't claim to have the answer either (but keep reading anyway) but I would like to recommend a few things and refute some of the ideas I've heard one too many times.

Before I go any futher... here is my pet peeve.

"Letting the tax cuts expire on people who make more than $250,000
will hurt small business."


I've heard this enough that someone must believe it!

Here's reasons why those people are either purposely misleading the public (lying) or ignorant of economics and human nature:

1) We are talking income taxes, not business taxes. Having been a business owner, I know the difference between the two, and can explain about LLC's vs. S-corporations.

2) What small business person have you ever hear say "Wow, I have this great opportunity, but I just don't think I'll do it because I might have to pay a bit more in taxes" ?

3) If a small business owner is lucky enough to clear $250,000 as income after all their business expenses, they have ample opportunity to reduce their income to lower their tax rate. Two methods to do this (that I can think of off the top of my head) are paying their employees higher wages or a bonus, or investing to grow the business. Both of these would help the economy.

4) The people that are fighting against letting the Bush era tax cuts make over $250,000 and usually work for the government or a political party.

So, the next time you hear this, please note who says it, and let me know!