If it's on CABLE news, it MUST be true! RIGHT?

Depending on whether folks dogmatically believe Fox or MSNBC, clueless extremes on both sides of the aisle usually believe that all of our political, social, and economic chaos will suddenly dissolve into the serenity of Camelot if ONLY they obliterate the OTHER side’s nonsense. Mostly, though, it’s just windbag broadcasting.

The same applies to issue-oriented radio. Depending on whichever side you’ve chosen, the other side needs to go, PERIOD! But, it’s still just windbag broadcasting.

Of course, people can tune into CNN for what they now claim is their new tune: a middle-road perspective—from what I’ve viewed so far, neutrality is their new mantra. But, by the end of those respective programs, lefties track Left, righties track Right, and we still end up with windbag broadcasting.

However, issue-oriented TV and radio pundits are on the air to keep their audiences listening long enough to sell advertising. And, they do it well, even if they have to bruise the truth to make it a more CONVENIENT one.

And, herein is the real problem for the country. Aside from the rabid extremists (Left AND Right) the bulk of the country’s cable news fan-bases are conscientious, sincere, and committed. But, simply believing something does not make it so.

I’ve written this before; politics is rooted in emotions, not logic. And, as always, a strongly held, emotionally based pre-conceived notion will always trump a problematic fact.

It’s what prompted the late Martin Luther King to say, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Like it or not, we have income inequality in this country. We can continue choosing sides and pitting the poor against the rich, but it’s not going to solve a thing. Neither will outlawing capitalism.

Reasonable people arrive at truth by analyzing facts. Facts are true by their nature; there is no such thing as a FALSE fact! But, the media doesn’t adhere to this idea. They broadcast and/or print whatever sells the most advertising.

We’ve become so accustomed to people spouting personal opinion as etched-in-stone fact that we no longer realize it’s happening. But, it IS happening. People, including the media, think nothing of stating their proverbs as factual.

They often take them out of context so they sound right. However, in truth, they’re not based on anything more substantial than whatever myriad fixated view-holders think SHOULD be true.

I’m a fiscal Conservative and a social Liberal. I’m also a life-long registered Republican. These facts make me a MODERATE. This nation wobbles about the political, social, and economic middle; it always has, which is why primaries do not reflect the aggregate mood of the country.

When it comes to incomes, tax policies, and tax FACTS, I use only two sources for my research to dispel misinformation posing as hissy fit fodder between the haves and the have-nots: The Tax Policy Center (a nonpartisan group) and the IRS.

Millionaires, contrary to most reports, are NOT paying lower tax rates than the middle class. Of the 240,000 taxpayers with taxable incomes greater than $1-million a year, the average tax rate on income and payroll taxes for 2011 will be about 29%

The middle class rate for taxable incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 will be about 15%. And, while some millionaires do pay less than the middle class’s rate, those who do tally about 1 in 8, while another 3.5% (about 1 in 26) will pay no taxes at all.

The fault lies in the way the tax system is set up. The seeming tax break for the rich stems from the fact that they earn most of their money from capital gains on investments and other similar assets rather than from salaries or some other similar forms of income.

Salary-type income beyond $379,640/year is taxed at a rate of 35%. Capital gains are taxed at 15%. Of course, the point of low capital gains tax rates is to encourage investors into the economy. Bill Clinton dropped the rate from 28% to 20% in 1997. George Bush dropped it again, in his first term, to 15%.

The clamor today has nothing to do with forcing the “rich” to pay a lot more in taxes. It’s about forcing filthy-rich hedge-fund and other private equity managers to pay usual income tax rates on their obscenely high profits that most often exceed $1-BILLION and NOT so much as a dime of it hitting Market Street as available investment capital.

For this we can thank the Republicans in Congress—most notably Phil Gramm—for being such good friends to investment bankers by finally repealing Glass-Steagall. The Democrats deserve just as much credit for having made a financial disaster out of programs such as Fanny-Mae and Freddie-Mac.

The fact is, according to the IRS, the wealthiest 1% of our taxpayers pay 40% of all federal income taxes and 21% of total taxes (payroll, state and local). But, at the same time, 47% of Americans will pay ZERO taxes in 2011. George Bush started it with his tax cuts and Barack Obama continued the process.

Over the past 12-years in particular, the top 1% of Americans have earned 21% of the nation’s income while controlling ONE-THIRD of the nation’s wealth. If we include the top 10%, they’ve earned HALF the income and controlled 75% of the nation’s wealth.

Our economic woes have nothing to do with “lazy-ass” Liberals, “money-grubbing” unions (teacher or otherwise), “welfare-seeking” deadbeats, or the rich taking the rest of us to the cleaners. It’s about globalization, not being prepared to deal with technology, tax policies, and Congressional incompetence that lends new meaning to the word, CRIMINAL.

We’re looking at an annual deficit of $1.3-TRILLION! Even if Congress were to pass—they WON’T—Obama’s 5.6% millionaire’s surtax AND repeal Bush’s tax cuts on incomes over $250,000—they might, but not as long as Obama’s in office—at best, it would raise $132-billion. We’d still be looking at over a $1-TRILLION operating deficit.

Congress would have to end ALL tax cuts, across ALL brackets to raise about $400-billion in revenue just to put a healthy dent in the deficit. THIS Congress is not going to do it!

To be serious about the mess we’re in, ALL of us will have to participate: the rich AND the middle class. We’re going to have to take some serious hits in defense spending, as well as cuts across the board in Medicare, Social Security, and other entitlement programs.

Good luck! Congress lacks the guts. As well, the present Oval Office occupant has done little, other than make one concession after another to an opposition that’s far more interested in defeating him next year than they are in what’s NEEDED for the welfare of this nation.

Oh, and have you gotten a good look at the current crop of GOP yahoos? Romney can’t figure out what he stands for. Ron Paul believes the United States triggered 9/11. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann blame it all on the moral decay of the country, thanks to the gays, contraception, and forced vaccinations.

Herman Cain doesn’t know what he believes; he changes his views by the hour, not to mention the fact that he has no idea that a PRESIDENT does NOT sign a Constitutional Amendment into law.

And, let’s not forget that Rick Perry suddenly questions Barack Obama’s citizenship status—all the while using DONALD TRUMP as a leading authority!

And, the new outlets are either completely clueless or choose to continue catering to the lowest common denominator. RATINGS, you know!

There’s a reason why we have not been able to vote for the BEST candidates for Congress and the Presidency. The best candidates don’t run; they’ve got better sense.

Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.

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