Tuesday, October 07, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup = Bad For You!!

While thumbing through my new FamilyFun magazine today, I was appalled to come across this ad. Basically, the Corn Refiner's Association has decided that they aren't making enough money now that many people are aware of the health risks and detriments of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and has decided to go on an 18 month long ad campaign letting the American public know the "facts" about HFCS. They say that HFCS is "nutritionally the same as table sugar and honey" and spout off a bunch of other mistruths on their website, conveniently leaving out a lot of important information (such as the fact that fructose [like high fructose corn syrup] is converted into fat after reaching the liver instead of being broken down before like glucose [table sugar is half glucose and half fructose]).

So, sure, I eat HFCS sometimes, like most people, although it's not a regular part of our diet. But I definitely DON'T fall for the idea that HFCS is "natural" as the Corn Refiner's Association asserts in their commercials. That's just a bunch of bull honkey.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Handy Dandy Tax Graphs

[from mandamommy and trogonpete]

Here is a fantastic unbiased [facts are unbiased], nonpartisan evaluation of Obama's and McCain's income tax policies [we won't get into child tax credits and other stuff].

We've noticed that there are a lot of people who don't know that there is complete objective, verifiable information about the two major candidate's tax policies online [and other policies as well]. The figures shown on the link display this information in instructive ways. Here's what we took from it:

[The current tax code is already progressive [the bottom bracket pays ~10% and the top bracket pays ~35%]. What is displayed in the linked page is the change in the amount of income after taxes if the candidate's plan replaced the current code.]

1. From the first graph there's a big philosophical distinction between the two plans. McCain is for cutting taxes; more so if you're rich. Obama's for cutting taxes especially if you're poor, except if you're rich, in which case your taxes will rise [above $600,000 post-tax salary]. If you think the economic stimulation provided by a wealthier upper class is more important than society's obligation to assist the poor, then McCain's plan is the plan for you. You might be tempted to make further generalizations about income redistribution and other issues but the other figures crush a lot of the old cliches.

2. The second graph shows the total number of people [represented by the height of each bar] getting each tax change. McCain's plan gives a tax break of 1% or higher to 39% of the population, and Obama's gives 1% or higher to 90% of the population. Additionally, the area of each box represents the product of the number of people in that bracket times the tax change for that bracket. So a bigger box on the negative side of the scale means more people are getting more money. Since Obama's total area is significantly more "negative" than McCain's, the conclusion would be that Obama's plan provides a greater overall tax relief to the whole population than McCain's.

3. The third graph shows the total amount of money generated for the government for each tax bracket. This time the area of the box shows the total change in revenue for each bracket, positive or negative. So a bigger box on the positive side means the government gets more money. McCain's plan--since it calls for no tax increases--results in a net loss for the government compared to the current tax code. Obama's plan will generate a large amount of extra revenue. The amount of money given back to the poorest brackets in Obama's plan is miniscule compared to the extra revenue generated by taxing the very wealthy [compare the size of the boxes on the positive side to the boxes on the negative side]. So Obama's plan is not income redistribution; it is revenue generation.

In short, Obama's income tax plan calls for very little income redistribution and a large revenue increase by selectively taxing the wealthiest 1% of Americans--people who make significantly more than half a million dollars a year after tax. Obama's plan also calls for significant tax relief for the poorest Americans. McCain calls for reducing taxes for everybody, but especially for the wealthy. We believe that the cumulative benefit to the 99% of Americans who will see no change or an increase in tax relief from Obama's plan outweighs the extra "burden" on the wealthy. Furthermore, McCain's tax plan reduces government revenue which will increase the national debt--a debt our children will bear through higher taxes and decreased government expenditure on programs such as social security and education.

From one of McCain's many ads:

Obama will "raise taxes on the middle class... I'm John McCain and I approve this message."

Many people are believing this, but it's just plain not true.

We haven't been able to find an Obama fib about McCain's tax plan, but if any of you can find one, by all means share it.