Friday, February 13, 2004

Current Tax System Favors the Rich?
There's very few things more annoying these days than listening to the class-baiting democrats decry George Bush for enacting 'tax cuts for the rich'. Has anybody bothered to research the issue, to see who foots the bill for our federal government?

The IRS website is an excellent source for comprehensive tax data. Here is what I discovered after about 30 minutes of research, based on 2000 tax data which is the most recent year available for this data. The lower earning class (under $50K) pays on average $2,160 per year. The middle class ($50K - $100K) pays on average $8,890 per year, and the upper class (over $100K) pays a whopping $59,164 per year on average. So when George Bush's tax relief act was passed, and the upper class saved several thousand per year and the lower class saved only hundreds per year, some dim-witted politicians cried foul.

During the past year, middle and lower class tax payers received checks for child care tax credits. Upper class payers received nothing. Yet the Democrats still cry foul. I suppose they won't be happy until taxes are eliminated for all citizens making less than $50K.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Fresh off the wire today, scientists have harvested stem cells from cloned 'embryos'. Sure to create controversy, this technique could unleash countless medical advances over the next 5 - 10 years.

USANow's opinion? The technique announced today does not seem to be odds with pro-life thinking, which of course seeks to protect all life from the moment of conception.

Here's an excerpt from today's announcement:
"In the experiment, Hwang and his colleagues cloned each woman using her own egg cell and her own cumulus cell, so the clones were 100 percent copies of each woman. They activated the egg cells using a chemical process, which started the eggs growing as if they had been fertilized by a sperm and got 30 embryos to grow to the blastocyst stage."

Since no conception has taken place, this doesn't seem (on the surface) to be a practice at odds with the pro-life agenda. Given the strong political and commercial forces behind stem cell research, it's clear that scientists will be harvesting stem cells one way or another in the not-too-distant future. Let's hope this technique or one similar proves to be fruitful, because it will be a sad day in America if embryos are created purely for the imminent destruction brought on by stem cell harvesting.

With the inaugural post on USANow, I'd like to simply say that I'm proud of our great nation. The growing tide of anti-Americanism around the world has me a little confused, saddened, and angry.

We have German politicians getting elected due in part to an anti-American platform, we have Mexicans chanting "Osama!" at US soccer matches, and we have the Brittish slamming George Bush at every opportunity.

Considering our great nation employs hundreds of thousands of Mexicans (both legal and illegal)who in turn send $ back home, and considering the fact that we have rolled out the proverbial red carpet to Mexican families settling in the US, the American backlash in Mexico is quite disturbing. We spend tens of millions of dollars annually publishing documents in Spanish, programming ATMs to support Spanish, programming customer support lines to respond in Spanish, all in an effort to make our country comfortable for Mexican immigrants. We also spend millions of tax dollars every year teaching English as a Second Language in our public schools. We, as a nation, have more or less encouraged Mexican immigration to the point where Mexicans are no longer a minority in many southwest cities. Make no mistake - the US/Mexico relationship has indeed proven to be mutually beneficial, and the influence of Mexican family values and religious devotion has been quite positive. Yet our young athletes travel to Mexico to compete in soccer, and they're taunted with the name of history's greatest murderer of American civilians? Who/what is to blame for this? George Bush?

There can be no argument that the United States has been Great Brittain's greatest ally over the past century. Newspaper headlines from the U.K. which read "REDNECK ALERT" and "We Just Don't Like Bush" are therefore incomprehensible. Can you imagine Tony Blair or Margaret Thatcher, or any other U.K. leader being greeted like that, regardless of whether our media agrees with his or her policies? Isn't some minimum level of respect warranted when our president travels overseas? It seems the French have always had a disdain for America (and to a lesser extent, Americans), but when did the Brittish adopt this point of view?

Is this backlash justified? Does the rest of the world have legitimate reasons to hate the USA? Is George W. Bush to blame? Is it a specific policy, such as the war on terrorism? Will the rest of the world hate us until we as a nation take a political and moral turn to the left? My answers would be No, No, No, No, and unfortunately, Yes.