Tuesday, August 22, 2006


“That’s not right, is it?” said Mrs. Possum to no one in particular – me – as we sat in our office going through e-mails on our respective computers and listening to 103.7 FM in the background. I knew what she was referring to – she took the words right out of my head… We had just been treated to Mike!™ McGavick’s new commercial…

““You know, by deducting their sales taxes from the federal income tax, the average Washington family saves $550 a year. That really helps families get by,” Mike says in the ad.”

That’s not from memory. I wouldn’t do that. That’s a quote from Mike’s!™ website:

“Campaign Launches New Radio Ad — Mike Expresses Disappointment with Sen. Cantwell for Following Party Over State’s Interests”


The subject was Cantwell’s vote on the so-called “trifecta” tax legislation. And as far as I’m concerned, the ad is the end of any claim Mike!™ McGavick had to being the honest campaigning good guy…

He’s just one more fact manipulating, lying politician…

I wasn’t going to get into this race…

I don’t like Cantwell and I don’t understand people who do. I voted for Slade, I’m still suspicious of the last minute returns that cost him the election, and I’m still disgusted that the people of Washington would be stupid enough to retire someone with Slade’s seniority and connections in favor of a bubblehead dotcommie who epitomized everything that was wrong with the dot.com opium dream – someone whose biggest private sector accomplishment was bailing out before the shit truly hit the fan.

And nothing she has done since her election has impressed me either….

I liked Slade. He was my kind of Republican – a Republican from the time before the party deserted me with its disastrous right turn.

As for McGavick, I know very little about him, but I won’t support anyone who accepts a 20 million dollar goodbye kiss from an insurance company. Oh, I’m sure it was legal, opposition rock throwing notwithstanding, and I don’t care. It isn’t ethical. The insurance industry has a captive market: Unless you are rich enough to tell the whole world to kiss your ass, you have to patronize them. That being the case, I think it’s immoral for them to make even a dime of profit.

I think it should be a matter of law that insurance companies make zero profit. And I think the salaries of their upper level execs should be set by law… Set low.

That 20 million was stolen from the policy holders, IMO, in the form of inflated premiums… And I’ll be proud to be a bigot on this one…

So I was going to keep my mouth shut. I really don’t have a horse in this race. I won’t vote unless the race is really close, in which case I will vote for the bubblehead, her mediocre record notwithstanding, because I think the Nation desperately needs a Democrat majority in Congress right now.

But I sure wasn’t going to promote her… And I’m still not. But this ad pisses me off, because it, and the bill it refers to, says so much about what is really wrong with American governance today.

First the bill. The nick-name says it all: “Trifecta.” Let’s lump a bunch of vaguely related stuff together in such a way as to try to make political hay… Screw the people – they’re not important… And screw the merits of the individual ideas. This isn’t about bettering the Nation; it’s about bettering the Party’s position…

It’s dirty, and the fact both parties have done it when they were in the driver’s seat doesn’t make it clean.

Even if it takes a Constitutional Amendment, this sort of thing should be stopped. But it never will be, because the one thing neither party will ever do is surrender a way to twist arms.

The damned ad… That excellent example of lying by telling half the truth… That excellent insight into the Republican mindset…

True: Cantwell voted against the bill. I’m not interested in her reasoning right now.


“You know, by deducting their sales taxes from the federal income tax, the average Washington family saves $550 a year.”

You only get this deduction if you itemize. Again, from Mike’s!™ website:

“[the deduction] will benefit an estimated 940,000 people who itemize deductions — about 22 percent of the state's federal tax filers.” — “Tax break for nearly 1 million in Washington,” Seattle Times, 10/12/2004

22%... The average person will get zero benefit from this… Who will benefit? The itemizers. Who are they? Here’s an older analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:


In this 2001 analysis, 34% of Washington’s taxpayers are expected to benefit. Of those, 17.8% earn less than $50,000, and 29.9% earn less than $100,000.

Two-thirds of the itemizers make more than $100,000… 93% of those making over $200,000 itemize.

That’s Mike!™ McGavick’s “average” Washingtonian…

You know, it’s funny…  Just about everyone wants to be rich, but nobody wants to be known as the “party of the rich.” I guess we now know who makes up Mike’s!™ party…

And who he is willing to lie for, to distort the facts for. He’s happy to try to bullshit people onto his team with his “average Washington family” shtick.

The hell of it is, this proposal will just screw the real “average” Washington family. It’ll cut into Federal general fund revenues, forcing the government to borrow more to meet its obligations, driving inflation, pushing interest rates up and dragging the overall economy down… Depressing buying power still further for those “average” taxpayers as it raises their borrowing costs…

As it pushes the burden to pay off the debt onto everyone’s kids…

As far as I’m concerned, the Republicans are going in the wrong direction. The deduction should be yanked out from under everyone. Sales tax shouldn’t be deductible. Neither should State income taxes. The whole system is designed to benefit those who need it least while bleeding those who haven’t got the blood to give.

It’s a big part of why the middle class is vanishing, with a tiny few rising and the vast majority – the real average – sinking into serfdom…

But then I doubt Mike!™ gets that… After all, when you’re one of Mike’s!™ party, where a 20 million dollar golden parachute seems “normal,” it must be hell to try to make it on only $200,000 a year…

Dont forget that the sales tax deduction can be taken two ways - the standard deduction, or an itemized deduction.

If a person buys a car, or a starter home, or any other large ticket item, they can choose to itemize their sales tax, and get the bigger deduction.

The sales tax deduction is a simple case of fairness: If I pay Federal tax on monies that I earned, but had to pay to the state, I am being taxed TWICE on the same dollars.

As you point out, fair is fair. If the State Income Tax deduction remains, the Sales Tax deduction should remain as well.

Of course, the simple answer is to junk the whole Tax Code and IRS system, and go to a National Sales Tax, collected by the States. The State keeps their cut, and forwards the balance on to the Feds. Much cleaner, simpler, and harder to cheat. Of course, the lawyers and accountaings that soak up the billions of dollars spent annually on tax prep and compliance would be out of a job...
Possum, This is way too indepth for August. This time of year I just can't digest this level of analysis. It's just too damn hot.

Personally, I'm going to vote for McGavick (at least that's my plan now) for one main reason. He's catching lots of flack from the left for his very golden (titanium) parachute. Maybe that is warrented. But taking a step back - McGavick turned around a struggling company. Cantwell, on the other hand, was given a lucrative marketing job at Real Networks by a political pal after getting bounced from Congress. Her main accomplishment there was to cash out her stock options before the price totally tanked.

I'll take the builder over the opportunist.
From Senator Maria Cantwell's website, concerning the (then) passage of the Sales Tax Deduction:

Q: How many Washingtonians will benefit?

A: About 970,000.

Q: What will the total benefit to Washingtonians be?

A: The Congressional Research Service estimates the total economic benefit to be somewhere between $488 million and $541 million. The Washington state Office of Revenue Forecast also estimates that it will create between 2,000 and 3,000 new jobs and more than $200 million in economic stimulus. Also fifty cents of economic activity will be created for every dollar in tax cuts.

Q: How much will the average tax cut for those who itemize be?

A: Between $519 and $575, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Link: http://cantwell.senate.gov/issues/sales_tax.cfm
Thats right it is a tax cut for the rich which means it should be removed. Why not remove the tax deduction for Interest payment on homes. How about remove the tax deduction for the taxes for owning the home. You can only afford a house in KC if you are rich. So lets remove these deductions.
May reason why is because it does a lot of good for the economy. We are constantly taxed on the already taxed money. Look at Oil. Tariffs when the oil goes to the refinery. Taxes paid by the refinery(added to cost of gasoline), Taxes paid by the distribution company to get the gas to the gas station(Added to the cost of gas), Taxes paid by the Gas Station Owner. Then gas tax added to the price of gas we buy at the pump. Still people want more taxes added to bring the cost to $5 per gallon (Al Gore wrote this in his book on the enviroment). The ultimate goal only the rich can afford to keep a car.
The effect less gas tax money collected. Less road work fixed. Roads crumble and Mass transit can not work anymore because not enough money spent to maintain the road infrastructure. Cause and effect. Cut taxes Tax revenue goes up. Proven in the 80's and 90's and the latest tax cut under the Bush Administration. Increase taxes less revenue. Cause and effect. Get the big picture any tax cut helps. Making the standard excuse that is only for the rich is just wrong. Any home owner can use this tax cut. Why because they have enough deductions to make this work.
Thank you aurelius for the data from Cantwell website. I guess the good for the state takes a back seat to Political bickering. Thank Maria the next time you see her for her support to improve the economy of Washington State. Or is this just an excuse to demand a state income tax so people can get a deduction on their taxes.
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