Recent comments

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    Their is a point where taxes can be too low

    Yes there is. But there is no evidence we have reached it.

    [addition] Also David, if you look at that chart you will notice that the top tax rate is at or above the top rate we have seen for the last 30 years. Also, in periods before that, you had to be making in the millions (2011 dollars) to hit the top bracket. Today, you get there at the equivalent of $388k dollars. We are hardly at historical lows when it comes to tax rates.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    ecbuck, my point is how many times can you lower tax rates while expecting to make ends meet. Their is a point where taxes can be too low. When this happens you create a backlog of things that need attention. If you look at the history of tax rates in the last 50 years or so, you will see we are at about the lowest rates ever. Look at this chart "History of income tax rates adjusted for inflation (1913-2010)"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States

  • Traveler Housekeeping: Take A Minute To Get Caught Up With Us   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    Kurt, the FORUMS seem to have disappeared -- or am I just missing something?

  • Rebranding Logos For National Park Service Centennial Draw Criticisms   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    Some of us remember the near revolution in the ranks when Nixon tried to replace the Arrowhead and Buffalo on the badges with something "modern."

    http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/workman1/vol1c8.htm

    But in seeking some pictures of those things, I came across a very interesting item in Glacier's website and was surprised to learn that the arrowhead apparently dates back only to the early 1950's.

    http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/history-of-the-nps-arrowhead.htm

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago
  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    This was a RESOLUTION and not a BILL. Doesn't that mean it will not and cannot become a law? It won't even be sent to the Senate, will it?

    Isn't this just more political puffery by our Congressional blowhards as they try to convince their more radical supporters to vote for them in November?

    I hope I'm right in this . . . but we'll still need to be very wary and work hard to keep the Rethuglican party from gaining even more power in the coming election.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    David, you need to take an economics class and learn about "diminishing returns" and "equilibriums". Economics isn't linear.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    OK, you're quoting numbers from the Bush White House to me to support the Bush tax cuts.

    No, the numbers are from the Office of Management and Budget - nothing to do with Bush. They are the facts.

    I said that the primary beneficiaries of the tax cuts were the wealthy.
    . No, you said the wealthy where the only beneficiaries. The Bush tax cuts were across the board. Even the piece that Kurt cited concluded the middle class was helped. Not to mention the massive increase in tax revenues that went to fund ever increasing entitlement programs.

    Going back to the initial (off) point, which Lee originated with his Tea Party attack, the Bush tax rate cuts led to a huge increase in tax receipts. Similar tax rate cuts would likely generate additional gains that could be used to fund things such as the parks.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Sara - so what?

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    ecbuck according to your math if we lower taxes to zero we would have all kinds of money for gov't expenditures.

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    What a great idea by Rep. Bishop! NPS has a $5MM maintenance backlog on the lands they currently manage. Do they really need more lands, buildings, rivers, lakes cemeteries, etal that they cannot maintains, staff or otherwise manage with a declining budget?

    Or do we allow the supplementing of NPS budgets by special interests.......like Coca Cola in the Dasani bottled water wars in Grand Canyon? Toyota donations for special consideration along with many others?

    Maybe Bill Gates or Warren Buffett would like to have a treehouse built in Sequioa NP as an observation point to view the canopy of these majestic beauties. How much money would NPS require to make it happen?

    NPS is fleecing the off road permit money at Cape Hatteras to fund normal infrastructure needs because of budget cuts. Maybe some large corporate sponsor will step in and help NPS close the beach access to all Americans under the guise of helping NPS

  • Rebranding Logos For National Park Service Centennial Draw Criticisms   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I agree with all the comments on the poor 'rebranding' of the NPS logos.

    The emptiness inside the arrowhead is a reflection of the current NPS leadership. NPS and DOI top leaders have lost their focus on the reason for the Parks and Seashores.... America's recreational access to the beauty and splendor of what belongs to the American taxpayer.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Discretionary budget authority increased by 26% from $849.5B in FY03 to $1.072T in FY07. However, the Interior Department's discretionary budget authority only increased by 4% from $10.6B in FY03 to $11.05B in FY07.

    NPS's total BA went from $2.52B in FY03 to $2.68B in FY07. The Congressional appropriation for NPS increased from $2.24B in FY03 to $2.3B in FY07.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2009/pdf/hist.pdf (pg 114 discretionary BA)

    http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY_2009_greenbook.pdf (Overview-71)

    http://www.doi.gov/budget/appropriations/2005/upload/Appendix-A.pdf

    http://www.doi.gov/budget/appropriations/2009/upload/Appendix-A.pdf

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    OK, you're quoting numbers from the Bush White House to me to support the Bush tax cuts. Apples and oranges here. I said that the primary beneficiaries of the tax cuts were the wealthy. Are you trying to tell me that these OMB tables helped the little guy? You'll have to draw me a little closer to the little guy picture of the benefits.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    EC, you're going to have to cite your claim.

    Kurt (and Rick) you have to stop listening to the spin misters and go to the facts.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/historicals

    Click Table1. The White House statistics show that receipts in 2003, the year the primary portion of the tax cuts were enacted were $1,782 billion. By 2007, the number had increased to $2,567 billion, an increase of 44%. Rick, you are wrong. But keep drinking the Kool Aid

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    MarkK -

    Land acquired for any NPS area from private landowners can sometimes be a very emotional topic, but such land cannot be taken without fair compensation. If the owner disarees about what's fair, he has the right to have that value determined in court, not by the buyer. Will sellers of land included in a park sometimes not want to sell, or disagree with the eventual price? Yes. You may choose to classify that as "theft." I'm not aware of any land acquired from reluctant sellers that wasn't first authorized by congressional action - not a Presidential declaration.

    Unless there is some pressing circumstance, such as a piece of land being absolutely essential for park operations or land which is threatened by development or other activities that would reduce or destroy its value to a park, the NPS approach is to wait for a willing seller rather than get into condemnation proceedings.

    As to land included in new national monuments designated under the law in question (the Antiquities Act), I posted the following information on a separate thread, but since your comment is posted here, it seems to bear repeating.

    Land included in a new national monument established under the Antiquities Act must either already be in federal ownership (which covers the vast majority of designations) or transfered with the consent of the owner. In all cases that I'm aware of, this has been by donation, or as Kurt explains above, acquired from a non-profit group that is holding it in trust until the monument is established.

    Private land cannot be forcibly "taken" from private landowners to create a new monument under this Act. Here's the pertinent language from Act.(Emphasis added below is mine.)

    The monument can include landmarks, structures or ojbects "that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States...When such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fide unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

    I believe you'll find from a legal standpoint, the word "may" above indicates that the transfer of ownership is optional.

  • Reader Participation Day: Should Congress Restrict The President's Ability To Use The Antiquities Act To Create National Monuments?   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Kurt. You are correct. Land included in a new national monument established under the Antiquities Act must either already be in federal ownership (which covers the vast majority of designations) or transfered with the consent of the owner. In all cases that I'm aware of, this has been by donation, or as Kurt explains above, acquired from a non-profit group that is holding it in trust until the monument is established.

    Private land cannot be forcibly "taken" from private landowners to create a new monument under this Act. Here's the pertinent language from Act.(Emphasis added below is mine.)

    The monument can include landmarks, structures or ojbects "that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States...When such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fide unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States."

  • Reader Participation Day: Should Congress Restrict The President's Ability To Use The Antiquities Act To Create National Monuments?   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Mark, I can't recall any case where private land was "taken" for a national monument.

    Most cases I can recall involved designations on federal land (ie, owned by the Bureau of Land Management) or donations of land, such as in the case of First State National Monument, in which a non-profit trust held the land until it could be transferred to the Park Service.

  • Reader Participation Day: Should Congress Restrict The President's Ability To Use The Antiquities Act To Create National Monuments?   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Isn't this bill about naming NEW National Monuments? Seems in that case, it's more a matter of transferring PRIVATE property to public, possibly by force, rather than the other way around.

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    The actions of the current administration re: National Parks during the government shutdown pretty much ensured that "national parks and monuments are being treated as a political football" and will continue to be. Never again will I believe the BS line that these are "my" national parks when a government shutdown results in large scale security to keep me out.

    Presidents have been claiming more and more power for themselves for years and it's time for it to stop.

    Also, I frequently hear and read that many National parks need money to meet what are considered essential maintenance items? Seems absurd to add more when we can't afford to maintain what we have.

    Lastly, taking private property from someone against their will is theft. Paying them what the buyer says it's worth when the owner disagrees is still theft.

    I haven't read the bill other than what is excerpted above, but those points make a lot of sense to me, especially, given our financial situation, "Require within one year of a declaration, a feasibility study and an estimated cost to taxpayers associated with managing the monument in perpetuity, including any loss of federal and state revenue."

  • House Of Representatives Asked To Dilute Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, seem to be thinking of themselves and behaving as Kings, rather than being responsible to the people. Less power for them (and for the federal government as a whole), regardless whether Democrat or Republican, is a good thing.

  • House Of Representatives Votes To Gut Antiquities Act   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Thankfully, it's DOA in the Senate.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Nice documentation, Kurt.

    And ec old buddy, I'm comfortable enough with myself that somehow a person shilling for the dark side online telling me that they think I'm 'wrong' doesn't really rock my ego much. Especially in cases like this where there is no uncertainty at all about my opinion.

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    EC, you're going to have to cite your claim. Here's how the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution casts the impact of the Bush cuts:

    The Bush tax cuts contributed, along with underlying economic conditions, to a historic decline in federal tax revenue. In 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years.

    In recent decades the federal tax take has generally fluctuated between 17 and 19 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2000, however, total federal tax receipts had reached 20.9 percent of GDP, their highest level since 1970 and matched only in 1944, when the federal government collected 20.9 percent of GDP in taxes at the height of fighting World War II. By 2004, however, federal tax receipts had fallen to 16.3 percent of GDP, which is not only the lowest level since 1970, but the lowest since 1959.

    Most of the decline in the ratio of federal tax revenue to GDP can be traced to the individual income tax. From 1970 to 2000 these taxes were typically in the range of 8 to 9 percent of GDP. In 2000 individual income taxes were 10.3 percent of GDP, their highest level ever. By 2004 individual income taxes had dropped to 7.0 percent of GDP, their lowest level since 1951. Total federal tax revenue declined by 4.6 percent of GDP from 2000 to 2004; of that total, 3.3 percentage points, or almost three-quarters, was due to the decline in individual income tax revenue.

    Most of the remaining decline in the revenue-to-GDP ratio resulted from a drop in the share in total revenue coming from corporate income taxes, which fell by 0.5 percent of GDP from 2000 to 2004, and a drop in the share coming from the payroll taxes that finance Social Security and Medicare, which declined by 0.4 percent of GDP over that period.

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/re...

    And then there's this:

    Economic Downturn and Legacy of Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Deficits

    Federal deficits and debt have been sharply higher under President Obama, but the evidence continues to show that the Great Recession, President Bush’s tax cuts, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain most of the deficits that have occurred on Obama’s watch — based on the latest Congressional Budget Office projections as well as legislation enacted since we last issued this analysis of what lies behind current deficits and debt.

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3849

    And this:

    The legacy of the Bush tax cuts, in four charts

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/02/the-legacy-of...

  • Lawsuit Against Backcountry User Fee At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Can Proceed   3 weeks 1 day ago

    That economic bounty from Bush's tax cuts was only a bounty for the wealthy to whom he is beholding.

    Wrong. Tax receipts went up 50% in the years immediately following the Bush tax rate cuts giving room for substantial increases in expenditures. Libs just can't get the concept that lower tax rates stimulate business activity, raise tax collections and make funding of things like the parks more possible.