Leo Morris: Free at last, 5 days later

First Posted: 1/3/2014

Lord. Tax Freedom Day — when we all will have handed over to the government enough money to have paid our average total tax bill for the year — isn't until April 18 this year:

That is five days later than last year, due mainly to the fiscal cliff deal that raised federal taxes on individual income and payroll. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act's investment tax and excise tax went into effect. Finally, despite these tax increases, the economy is expected to continue its slow recovery, boosting profits, incomes and tax revenues.

That's from the Tax Foundatuion, which also notes that if federal borrowing were included in the calculation, another 21 days of handing over our income would have to be included.

Fast and cheap

Are these people insane?

Hundreds of fast-food workers in New York City plan to walk off the job to protest low wages.The move is part of a campaign to unionize franchises in New York and raise wages to $15 an hour.

“I know people who have been there seven, eight years and they only make about 50 cents more than I do,” said Joseph Barrera, who makes $7.25 an hour at a KFC in Richmond Hill, Queens. “At this point I'm so fed up.”

Organizers with the Fast Food Forward campaign have met with workers at local McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy's and Domino's Pizza locations.

Hello, folks!

People patronize fast-food joints not just for the speed of service but also for the low cost. Fast and cheap make for a winning combination. Nobody is going to eat at a place and pay the prices a restaurant would have to charge for its food if it had to pay $15-an-hour salaries. When I worked at McDonald's as a grubby little high schooler, I was paid the gigantic sum of 85 cents an hour (yeah, yeah, I know, really dating myself). If anybody had suggested we go on strike to demand $1, I'd have thought they were insane.

But, hey, talk about changing times:

With colleges producing more graduates, and youth unemployment at a sky-high 11.5 percent, even landing a job selling Big Macs is getting competitive.

Consider: A job opening at a Massachusetts McDonald's restaurant for a full-time cashier requires one to two years experience and a bachelor's degree.

At least they'll get somebody who knows how to make change. Maybe.

Purple haze

The U.S. Army formally decided not to award Purple Heart medals to the victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, which claimed 13 lives and wounded 32 people. The Army preposterously claims that handing out medals would damage Major Nidal Hasan's “ability to receive a fair trial.”

The Army issued a “position paper” in which it expressed concern that awarding the medal to the shooting victims “would set the stage for a formal declaration that Major Hasan is a terrorist.” This is because the Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been “wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States.”

Hasan is a terrorist, and thus an enemy combatant, so what he did was an act of war. The FBI has called his rampage an act of terrorism, as has Congress. It's only the Obama administration's craven determination to never “insult” Islam that leads them to think of of it as “an incident or workplace violence.”

Hasan will be tried by fellow Army officers well-versed in military jurisprudence, not a gaggle of low-information goofballs plucked off the street for jury duty. Solders were wounded — giving them the appropriate recognition for that is not likely to have any affect at all on the trial of the man alleged to have done the shooting.

To pretend it will is an insult to our intelligence and an unforgivable slight of our fighting men and women.

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