If one is to believe the stormy petrels--and that includes Pope Francis--income inequality is pervasive and is due, in large part, to Western (read: U.S.) capitalism. Millions of people across the globe are suffering at the hands of greedy capitalists who care more about mammon than they do about humanity.

The trouble is that characterization is not based upon fact, as income inequality is decreasing globally, according to Marian Tupy of the Cato Institute in a Washington Post article.

The facts:
  • In 1820, the United States was 190% wealthier than the rest of the world.
  • In 1960, the United States was 410% wealthier than the rest of the world.
  • In 1999, the United States was 480% wealtheir than the rest of the world.

Yes, indeed, that's income inequality! No doubt about it. "Guilty as charged."

However, that gap has narrowed markedly.

The facts:
  • In 1960, the United States was 1100% wealthier than Asia.
  • In 2013, the United States was 480% wealthier than Asia even though US GDP was at an all-time high.

Much of this increase in Asian wealth is due to China's privatization reforms and trade liberalization which have increased China's GDP 1250% since 1980 and China's poverty rate from 84% to 10%.

The narrative is the same across the globe--consider the African continent and the Indian subcontinent--as incomes as well as life expectancies are rising dramatically because nations have increasingly adopted and adapted the principles of free market capitalism.

Don't believe this narrative?

Then study the Cato Institute's HumanProgress.org website which provides statistics and figures concerning all the progress that's being made globally--from greater access to food to the marked decline in poverty--as leaders of nations adopt and adapt the principles of free market capitalism for the benefit of their citizens.

Everywhere they're adopted and adapted, the principles of free market capitalism work.


Let the discussion begin...




To read Marian Tupy's article in the Washington Post, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/08/stop-obsessing-about-inequality-its-actually-decreasing-around-the-world/

 
 
Why do liberals believe that raising taxes on the wealthy--especially the capital gains and dividends taxes--is the best way to improve the lot of the poor?

After all, doing so makes no sense when the data are soberly and objectively examined, which requires starting the examination from the position of the rich, not the poor.

Let's try that experiment.
  • The current top capital gains and income tax rate is 20% for rich couples (those earning $450k+) and for rich singles (those earning $400k+).
  • Investment income currently is subject to an additional 3.8% tax (thank you, Obamacare).
  • The curent combined tax rate for rich people is 23.8%.

Now, the capital gains tax is a tax on the sale of an investment. So, what is a rich person going to do when Congress raises the capital gains tax? The answer doesn't require a whole lot of thought: The rich person will retain not sell his or her assets to preserve wealth rather than fork it over to the federal government. Thus, revenue to the federal goverment decreases.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he wants the rate on capital gains and dividends raised to 28%. That's a 4.2% increase in taxes which, the President believes, will bring more revenue into the federal government that he can then distribute through his new "social programs" (aka, "vote getters").

Should that 4.2% pass Congress and be signed into law by the President, what are the rich folks going to do?

This isn't the stuff of rocket science.

But, that's not all.

President Obama actually believes that increasing the capital gains and dividends taxes will only impact the rich. That's because the President uses "static scoring," meaning that he doesn't consider how changes in tax policy impact economic behavior just how much more or less revenue will flow into the Treasury.

Using "dynamic scoring"--which does coonsider how changes to tax policy impact economic behavior--the folks over at the Tax Foundation have found that the President's proposal:
  • will lower the after-tax incomes of all groups, not just the rich;
  • federal revenues will fall, not raising the $20B that static scoring predicts but losing $12B in revenue;
  • the nation's GDP will lose $142B/year; and,
  • wages will decrease, resulting in $461 less/year for families earning between $50k-$75.

That's really taking care of the middle class, isn't it?

Talk all he wants about "helping the middle class," the President's economic policy of redistributing wealth from the nation's rich to its poor will hurt the people he's proposing to help. Not only that, the President's policy will shrink the economy and decrease wages for all, effects that are masked by static scoring models but unmasked by dynamic scoring.

It really is too bad that, as Dr. Jonathan Gruber opined, Americans are basically stupid when it comes to economics. However, rather than castigate them and prey upon their stupidity while at the same time regaling in his status as one of the nation's "rich," The Motley Monk would politely suggest to Dr. Gruber that he might use his money and platform to inform his fellow citizens of these and other important economic facts.


Let the discussion begin...




To read the Tax Foundation report, click on the following link:
http://taxfoundation.org/blog/what-dynamic-analysis-tells-us-about-president-s-tax-hike-capital-gains-and-dividends
 
 
In the State of Illinois, "means-tested" welfare programs--where government aid is provided to individuals based upon need--creates disincentives for recipients to move off of welfare and toward self-sufficiency. In particular, these disincentives affect two particular groups: Single-parent households with 2 children and 2-parent households with 2 children.

Examining  a range of welfare benefits--tax credits, food stamps and similar programs, housing assistance, cash assistance, subsidies for child care and health care benefits--the Illinois Policy Institue found that in 3 Illinois counties:
  • For single-parent families, benefits could reach ~$48k. For 2-parent families, benefits reached up to $41+k .
  • Combined income and welfare benefits peak at a wage of $12/hour wage. Above that, benefits begin to drop. Single parents would have to make between $35-$38/hour to make up for the benefits lost when they earned $12/hour.
  • If a single mother working for $8.25-$12/hour receives a pay raise of up to $18 per hour, she receive 33% fewer benefits.

So much for the disincentivizing poor in such a way that they need to stay home and live on the dole rather than seek higher-pay jobs.

But, then, courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times, there's the story of politicians who use their years of "public service" so they can retire young and live on the taxpayers' dole.

Consider the Better Government Association's analhysis of State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and State Reprepresentative Tom Cross, two Illinois Republican politicans who lost elections for higher office in last November's elections.

After leaving office a couple of weeks back, Rutherford will begin receiving $115k+/year and Cross will receive $81k+/year. By 2035, both might pocket millions having contributed <$200k each to the General Assembly Retirement System, which is a branch of the State Retirement Systems. If Rutherford lives to be 80 and cashes in his annuity immediately, he could collect ~$3.3M in pension payments the 3% annual cost-of-living adjustments that are part of the package. Likewise, Cross could collect $2.3M+ in pension payments, assuming he elects to take his annuity immediately with the same 3% annual cost-of-living adjustments. In addition, Cross has ~10 years in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, having contributed $7k+ to that pension system which  will reap an additional annual pension of ~$6.4k/year. 

Talk about "welfare queens"! This isn't a "generous taxpayer-supported" pension plan but a scheme that legislators like Rutherford and Cross set up so they could  live high on the hog care of the taxpayers for their yers "public service" while the truly needy barely scrape by on the "means tests" they legislated.

Worse yet. The State of Illinois has failed to make payments to the funds and assumed investment returns didn’t materialize. The State’s five employee-pension funds collectively carry an unfunded liability of $100B+, the worst in the nation, meaning that the systems don't have enough $$$s to pay future pension obligations and the taxpayers will be left holding the bag for those "public servants."


Let the discussion begin...




To read the Illinois Policy Institute study, click on the following link:
"Modeling Potential Income and Welfare Assistance Benefits in Illinois: Single Parent with Two Children Household and Two Parents with Two Children Household Scenarios in Cook County, City of Chicago, Lake County and St. Clair County."

To read the Chicago Sun Times article, click on the following link:
http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/279346/cross-rutherford-electoral-losers-pension-winners/

 
 
The Motely Monk has read the articles blaring what are being touted as conclusive data vindicating the "the end of the world is near" thesis, all due to global warming.

For those who haven't read the articles, here's the synopsis:

  • 2014 was the hottest year on record."
  • NASA data and a GISS press release noted that  the "record" was established from data generated from the GISS's 3k+ measuring stations across the globe.

According to Michele Malkin, what hasn't been reported (conveniently) by those who worship at the altar of environmentalism is that all scientific findings are subject to a margin of error. In this particular instance, the margin of error is ~1.0 degress centigrade.

What exactly does that mean? The "record" differs by 0.02 degrees centigrade, making the findings statistically insignificant. In short, the so-called "record" is clearly uncertain and certainly is meaningless.

Informed of this "oversight," the Director of GISS, Gavin Schmidt, adjusted the findings. Schmidt now reports that the chance 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is 38%.

Meanwhile, the glaciers are not receding. The ice pack on the Great Lakes has also increased over the past few years. Far from "warming," these data indicate that the globe is "cooling" a bit.

All of that doesn't matter to those who worship at the altar of environmentalism, of course. Once again, they haven't allowed the facts to interfere with the tenets of their ideology. Instead, they've cherrypicked data to support their ideology and, then, their stormy petrels continue promulgating those data on MSNBC in an attempt to "prove" their ideology.

All of this reminds The Motley Monk of Shakespeare's Ophelia who cried out in Hamelt"O, woe is me, T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see!


Let the discussion begin...




To read Michele Malkin's post, click on the followign link:
http://michellemalkin.com/?p=162882

 
 
Remember when President Obama famously said after his first election, "Elections have consequences"? And, in the State of the Union message last Tuesday evening, when he responded to his Republican hecklers, "I know, because I won both of them"?
Crucial to President Obama's two electoral victories were the so-called "Millennials." Well, the President was 100% correct on both counts. Elections do have consequences and he did win both races. Obamacare. Increased federal entitlements. "Free" community college.  And now, it's not going to be all that long before the Millennials find out exactly what all of that really means.

Take California, for example.

The Golden State's public employee retirment system currently has an unfunded liability of $60B+. That's to say nothing about the $70.5B unfunded liability from the state teachers union or the ~$14B unfunded liability for the University of California. According to a Reason Foundation analysis, as of 2012 California's defined benefit pension system (guaranteed payments based on funding formulas, not contributions) had $142.7B in unfunded liabilities. In 2013, the  state paid only 65.6% of the required contributions into its pension funds...meaning, the state left 34.4% of its obligation unfunded. That bill will have to be paid.

California is only one example. Illinois is another. With only 7 states requiring balanced budgets, the total amount of unfunded state liabilities in 2014 was $4.7T, according to State Budget Solutions. Divided among all Americans, that amounts to $15k/individual. And that's to say nothing about the $18T federal deficit.

Someone is going to have to pay that bill and when it comes due, there will be fewer Americans to pay it, meaning, the Millennials will bear the burden of what their votes really meant.

Within the next decade, they'll be paying for the promises made and enacted into legislation by those Democrat Party politicians the Millennials helped to elect. The time to be wary was prior to casting those all of those votes to increase the size and scope of government. The time to be disillusioned will be when the "tax man cometh" and requires the Millennials to pay for the crushing debt their big government has accrued.


Let the discussion begin...




To read the Reason Foundation analysis, click on the following link:
"Millennials and Pensions - Do They Know Public Pension Systems need Reform?"

To read the State Budget Solutions report, click on the following link"
http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/publications/detail/promises-made-promises-broken-2014-unfunded-liabilities-hit-47-trillion
 
 
Over at CaseyReport.com, adventure capitalist, author, and freedom advocate, Paul Rosenberg, offers some of his thoughts about the current state of gender politics:
Let’s start with two facts:
1.    Men like women and are generally best off living happily with them.
2.    Women like men and are generally best off living happily with them.

Nonetheless, public discourse on this subject—for several decades—has been overwhelmingly adversarial and wasteful. The women and men of the West have been fighting amongst themselves and have resolved almost nothing.

In light of this, I decided that it might be helpful to address the subject openly and reasonably; there might be a lot to be gained from it. But the more I worked on the idea, the more I saw that I would be tiptoeing through a minefield and resolving almost nothing.

However reasonably I might touch on a subject, there would be one group or another that would erupt before I hit the second sentence. People are so wound up by these fights that if you don’t open with the right conclusion, they’ll brand you as an enemy before you can say “also.”

Given that, I’ve abandoned any type of ordered discourse for this week’s post. When it comes to this subject, serious words are fighting words, and I’m not interested in fights. So let’s just pretend that I’ve been drinking at the keyboard and ranting indiscriminately. Here goes…

Assorted Ramblings

  • Sure, I know that young men are naturally attracted to healthy-looking women… and yeah, I was young once, and I remember that we looked at girls long before we learned how to talk to them… but seriously, how long does it take to figure out that girls are actual people? A lot of grown men still haven’t grasped the fact that women are full-scale, authentic, complete human beings, with dreams, desires, and pains just like ours.
  • Occasionally I refer to women as “girls,” just like I sometimes refer to men as “boys.” That’s just the way we talked when I was growing up in Chicago, and I’ve given up caring about the sensitivity police. Explain to me how it destroys lives and I’ll care enough to retrain myself. Until then, it’s just a word; any insult resides in the mind of the hearer.
  • On the other hand, I’ve started going out of my way to use “women and men,” “he or she,” and phrases like them. I don’t want my female readers to think I’m not taking them seriously. Fully half of humanity is female, and it’s kind of stupid that so many of our words exclude them.
  • How can I take any women’s group seriously when they protect serial abusers like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton? They should’ve been doing everything in their power to expose these bastards. Instead, they shielded them and sucked up to them like craven sycophants.
  • When was it that raising children became a bad thing for a woman to do? Is there anything with more potent implications for the future?
  • It used to be that “mother” was a term of honor. Why did that change?
  • Hey dads, have you ever tried switching roles with your wife for a week? Give it a shot sometime; you may find it… educational.
  • Who’s addressing the evils done to the women of Africa and the Middle East? Millions of those women suffer genital mutilation and/or are murdered for making their own sexual decisions. Those problems are a lot worse than gender role complaints.
  • No one—male or female—should be forced or intimidated into any kind of gender role. “Girls should play with dolls” is [expletive deleted]. Lots of girls prefer to play with dolls, and that’s just fine, but telling them that they ought to—or that they ought not change the oil in the car—is flatly wrong… and the same goes for boys. Let the kid discover what she or he wants, and don’t thrust roles upon them.
  • Likewise, most of us prefer living in fairly traditional family groups, and that’s not only okay, but probably an excellent arrangement. But no one should be forced into it. It may be best for most of us, but most is not the same as all. No one is obligated to live that way. We are obliged to do no harm, and that’s about it.
  • War toys—habitually given to boys—are a mistake. (And living in a war culture just makes it worse.) It’s a true saying that war is hell. We need to get that hell out of our kids’ heads, not put it in.
  • There may be just as many rotten women as there are rotten men… though they sometimes display their sins differently.
  • Where are the fathers and brothers and uncles of abused women? Shouldn’t they be doing something about it? The male instinct to protect women can be a good thing.
  • The reproductive imperative (AKA sex drive) is necessary in humanity, but it also makes us a little crazy at times… and that goes for both women and men. Whether we call that a glitch in our programming, incomplete development, or whatever, it’s something that we should address directly.
  • It’s kind of sick to use that programming glitch as a sales tool.
  • Women are afraid to report sexual abuse, and the problem isn’t theirs alone. We men have to start fixing our end and make them unafraid to tell us.
  • Femininity is not weakness.
  • Maleness is not thuggery.
  • I’ve been blessed to have had a number of exceptional women in my life. I’m not sure where I’d be without them.
  • What often passes for being a “strong woman” these days bears no resemblance to the real thing. Volume, hard drinking, and tattoos are cheap substitutes for true female strength. Neither does femininity diminish it.
  • My teenaged experience with the abuse of women was the opposite of what is publicized. I remember being at a party with my good friend John and learning that one of the girls had too much to drink and was lying half-conscious in a spare bedroom. We stood guard in front of the door for a couple of hours… and felt righteous about it.
  • I also remember a friend telling me that an older man had groped her. I volunteered that John and I could beat him up. (I figured that two teenagers could handle one old guy.) She thanked me and declined, but I kept my eyes open for that guy.
  • Do you have a plan for making your husband or wife a better person?
Okay, there you have some thoughts on this subject; I hope they’re of some use to you.
Overall, Rosenberg is raising some important points to consider.

But, there are some questions. Consider this observation:

     "Likewise, most of us prefer living in fairly traditional family groups, and
     that’s not only okay, but probably an excellent arrangement. But no one
     should be forced into it. It may be best for most of us, but most is not the
     same as all. No one is obligated to live that way. We are obliged to do
     no harm, and that’s about it.

The Motley Monk isn't quite sure what Rosenberg means here. Yes, all humans are "hotwired" to procreate. But, that doesn't mean that every human is capable of undertaking the obligations associated with marriage. Also, what definition of marriage is Rosenberg using?

Furthermore, his question, "Do you have a plan for making your husband or wife a better person?" Again, The Motley Monk isn't quite sure what Rosenberg means. Marriage isn't about hitching up with the goal of changing the other person. Too many of those marriages end up in divorce court. But, then, maybe Rosenberg means something else.

The Motley Monk doesn't agree with everything that Rosenberg writes here, but would observe that he is onto something important...perhaps it's best called "manliness" (that is, "stepping up and being a man") and "womanliness" (that is, "stepping up and being a woman"). Are those virtue now obsolete?


Let the discussion begin...




To read the "A Free Man's Take," click on the following link:
http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/i-tried-to-write-an-article-on-feminism-but-couldnt

 
 
The ideal of a "global community," one that's characterized by diversity, inclusion, and kumbaya--the multicultural ideology--is great...as long as it's not a one-way street.

But, when it comes to some practitioners--the "extremist wing"--of the so-called "religion of peace," non-Muslims are expected to extend an exception.


To wit: Consider these 5 "immigrants."
According to the GatewayPundit.com, here's what happened:

     A [Catholic] man was kneeling in prayer before the statue of the revered

     Madonna, with the photograph of a loved one in hand, in the small chapel
     of St. Barnabas in Perugia (Italy), when he was attacked by five “immigrants.”

Ostensibly, the man was asking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin on behalf of a beloved family member or friend.



A couple of items:
  1. "Immigrants" in this article is a euphemism for "Muslims," practitioners of the so-called "religion of peace."
  2. "Christians" in this article is a euphemism for "Catholics." Remember it was those Catholics who led the Crusades against the infidels when they imposed their rule throughout the Middle East, much like ISIS/ISIL is doing today.
  3. When The Motley Monk was growing up, he was told "visitors mind their place." That is, "realize your place, because this isn't your home." Superadd to that advice, "If you don't mind your place, be prepared to suffer the consequences."
  4. Respecting others' religious beliefs, especially those of the natives when you are a visitor or immigrant, is paramount. Disrespect those beliefs and be ready to pay the price.

So, here's what the five "immigrants" did.

First: They ripped the photo from the man's hands.

Second: They unleashed their venom against the statue of the Virgin Mary, crushing it.

Third: They urinated on the statue.

Now, imagine this: 5 Catholic immigrants to a Muslim-majority nation--like Saudi Arabia--decide to do the same to an image of the Prophet!

But, no, Catholics are to "tolerate" such sacriliges when they comprise the majority population. Why? The "immigrants" are merely expressing their religious-cultural sentiments. Don't take offense but, instead, give them the space they need until they acclimate to the culture or their children grow up in that culture and are tolerant of (or adopt) its practices.

Here's the twist in this story: Guess who's on the hot-seat? None other than Pope Francis whom locals accuse of pacifying immigrants. After all, it must be remembered, the Pope did caution that “Migrants, through their own humanity, cultural values, expand the sense of human brotherhood.”

Even the Diocese of Perugia, though condemning the sacrilige, absolved the religion of peace of any responsibility for what happened.

Before disappearing from the scene, the 5 immigrant practitioners of peace kicked pieces of the statue down the street.

Yes, indeed. Once again, it's a one-way street when it comes to forming that global, multicultural community of diversity, inclusion, and kumbaya.

Isn't the rule "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me"?


Let the discussion begin...




To read the GatewayPundit.com article, click on the following link:
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/01/muslim-immigrants-smash-urinate-on-virgin-mary-statue-in-italy/

 
 
Guess what? Between 2008 and 2014, tuition and fees at the nation's insitutions of higher education increased 27%. That's an average of 4.5% per academic year.

Think that money is going into classroom instruction? Better think again.

According to a report from the National Center for Policy Analysis, the largest increase between 2000 and 2012 has been "staff" (that is, administrative and professional workers)...an astounding 28% increase! Between 1987 and 2012, those institutions have hired an additional 87 administrative and professional workers every day! Consider what that means in terms of increased salaries, benefits, and pensions. And that doesn't include all of the $$$s that are being spent to turn campuses nationwide into veritable Disneylands!

The report notes that this increase in administrative spending has forced institutions to cut the cost of instruction by hiring increasing numbers of part-time faculty. In fact, 50% of college and university faculty in 2012 were adjunct professors. So much for quality, as adjuncts oftentimes have other jobs and  much less time for their students as well as to prepare for class.

Is a college education really worth what it costs today? 

Perhaps not. An article in Real Clear Education article argues that the importance of college has been overblown and college degrees have lost their value:
  • 44% of 2012 college graduates took jobs that did not require the degrees earned.
  • 33% of bachelor's degree-holders are underemployed, that is, meaning that their jobs are not commensurate with their skills or qualifications.
  • Of the top 30 jobs that are expected to have the highest levels of job growth by 2022, only 5 require a bachelor's degree. Only 10 require some type of postsecondary education.

Graduate from college with an average debt of ~$30k and be underemployed or unemployed?

Might be time for many young people to reconsider higher education.


Let the discussion begin...




To read the article in Real Clear Education, click on the following link:
"College for All Would Set Many Up for Trouble."

To read the National Center for Policy Analysis report, click on the following link: "The Higher Education Bubble."

 
 
The Motley Monk enjoys his morning coffee, with warmed milk mixed in...the milk must be heated first--ideally in the mug in which it's served for 30 seconds in the microwave--or the milk will cool the first cup of coffee to an unacceptable degree. (The Motley Monk has been told that this is pure foolishness, based upon the laws of physics. Well, that may be true according to the laws of physics, but the laws of taste dictate otherwise.)

It's a ritual. Second thing each day--Einstein the cat demands attention first--The Motely Monk grinds 3 tablespoons of freshly-roasted, French roast Costa Rican coffee beans from Sun Burst (read about Sun Burst here). Grinding the beans is a must, as the aroma from the freshly-ground beans in the early a.m. is unlike anything else. Then, too, as the coffee is being brewed, the aroma from the press or the coffee maker provides the perfect set up for the first taste of one of Nature's most precious gifts and product of human ingenuity.

The Motley Monk's maternal grandfather had a daily ritual, too. An immigrant to the United States from Germany just prior to World War I, "Papa" provided for his family as a unionized painter and wallpaperer. Each day after work, Papa would arrive home around 4:30 p.m., take a shower, and make an Old Fashioned that he would enjoy while watching the network news (CBS, Walter Cronkite, no other) with "Grandma" at 5:30 p.m. She'd have everything ready for dinner by 5:30, but would watch the news with Papa and perhaps imbibe of a small Old Fashioned herself, serving dinner promptly at 6:00...every weekday, it seemed. (On the weekends, it was a "dirty martini.")

All of this history is a set up for the topic: When The Motley Monk read over at Bon Appetit about an "Espresso Old Fashioned" that was invented and served at Everyman Espresso, he was intrigued. Having observed Papa making his Old Fashioned countless times over the years, sometimes after going asparagus "hunting" in the field across the street, The Motley Monk knew the ingredients by heart: Bourbon, bitters, and orange peel.

Picture
The Espresso Old Fashioned
So, what's an Espresso Old Fashioned? Simply swap out the bourbon for a double espresso and it's a non-alcoholic coffee for the a.m. hours or perhaps a post-dessert treat. For the p.m. hours, try using both espresso and bourbon!

One caveat: An espresso machine is required and is the best way to make the Espresso Old Fashioned not only because the espresso is fresh, but also because the cost of purchasing expresso at the local barrista adds up pretty fast. Think about it: The cost of buying enough espresso for 10 Espresso Old Fashioneds would surpass the cost of purchasing a low-priced espresso machine.

Having tried the Espresso Old Fashioned himself both in the a.m. and p.m., The Motley Monk recommends giving the Espresso Old Fashioned a try in the p.m. 



Here's the recipe:

     Ingredients for 1 serving:
  • 1 double shot espresso (about 2 oz.), room temperature
  • 1 ounce bourbon or rye whiskey (for p.m.)
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 1" piece lemon peel

     Preparation:
  • (for the a.m. hours) Combine espresso, simple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Stir--don't shake--until the outside of shaker is frosty, ~30 seconds. Strain into a lowball glass filled with ice. Twist lemon peel over the Espresso Old Fashioned to release oils, then rub over the rim of glass. Discard the peel.
  • (for the p.m. hours) Combine espresso, bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Stir--don't shake--until outside of shaker is frosty, ~30 seconds. Strain into a lowball glass filled with ice. Twist lemon peel over cocktail to release oils, then rub over the rim of glass. Discard peel.

One thing is certain: This surely isn't The Motley Monk's maternal grandfather's Old Fashioned!


Let the discussion begin...




To learn about Sun Burst Coffee, click on the following link:
http://www.sunburstcoffee.com/

To read the Bon Apppetit article concerning the Espresso Old Fashioned, click on the following link:
http://www.bonappetit.com/drinks/cocktails/article/espresso-old-fashioned-cocktails?mbid=synd_msnfood
 
 
The most recent set of data complied by the Internal Revenue service--from 2012 --provides a portrait of exactly who is paying U.S. federal income taxes.

According to a Tax Foundation report:
  • In 2013, 136M+ people living in the United States filed tax returns. Their overall earnings were $9.04T. They paid $1.1T in U.S. federal income taxes. That averages to ~$8.22k/taxpayer.
  • The top 50% of taxpayers (68,040,177 of filers) paid 96.7% of all federal income taxes. That's why their federal tax bills are much higher than ~$8.22k.
  • The the bottom 50% of taxpayers (the other 68M+ of filers) paid 3.3% of federal income taxes. That's why their federal tax bills are much lower than ~$8.22k.
  • The top 1% of taxpayers paid 38.1% of all federal income taxes, an effective tax rate of 22.8%. That's higher than the rates any other group paid. "Yah, that's fair! Screw those rich bastards!" is the battle cry. "Gimme my fair share! I'm entitled! End the social injustice!"

So, come April 15, 2015--the due date for filing U.S. federal income taxes--realize that for every 53 persons who are filing and paying federal income taxes there's another 47 persons who aren't. To make matters worse, those in the top 50% of wage earners will be paying 2930%+ more in taxes than those in the bottom 50% of wage earners.

Remember this: In the United States, that's called tax "fairness."


Let the discussion begin...




To read the Tax Foundation report, click on the following link:
"Summary of Latest Federal Income Tax Data."