Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Precipice...Fiscal and Softball

The Fiscal Cliff has dominated the headlines for the last several months. Monday the tax portion of it came to and end with an agreement where neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted:
  • The deal will grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way – by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthiest to pay  more.  The deal gives Obama bragging rights for raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans -- the first rate increase for any Americans since 1993 -- it also leaves him breaking a promise. He vowed to raise tax rates for the top-earning 2% of Americans, including those with household income above $250,000 and individuals earning more than $200,000, but the House voted to stave off widespread tax increases and deep spending cuts by accepting a compromise. It makes permanent the Bush administration's tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year and couples earning less than $450,000. It will raise roughly $600 billion in new revenues over 10 years.
  • Raising the threshold for higher tax rates shrinks the number of Americans affected. While nearly 2% of filers have adjusted gross incomes over $250,000, only 0.6% have incomes above $500,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
  • The bill also extends unemployment insurance 
  • Despite the last-minute fiscal cliff agreements, Americans are still likely to see their paychecks shrink somewhat because of a separate battle over payroll taxes.The government temporarily lowered the payroll tax rate in 2011 from 6.2% to 4.2% to put more money in the pockets of Americans. That adjustment, which has cost about $120 billion each year, expired Monday. Now, Americans earning $30,000 a year will take home $50 less per month. Those earning $113,700 will lose $189.50 a month.
  • The legislation also caps itemized deductions for individuals making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000. Taxes on inherited estates over $5 million will go up to 40% from 35%, and that threshold will be indexed for inflation.
  • The alternative minimum tax, a perennial issue, will be permanently adjusted for inflation. Child care, tuition and research and development tax credits will be renewed. 
Do I know what all of this means. - Not exactly, but what I do know is this:
  1. They had to cut a deal. More taxes on everyone? No fucking way dude. C'mon they would have stormed the White House with pitch forks if that had happened.
  2. Forget counting on your Social Security money 20+ years from now as the budget had been shot for years. All this drama has caused more social security to come out of your check, like your really going to see that money anyway? Don't count on it
  3. Like I said above the budget is a mess and spending has to be cut. We have seen this before, but instead of cutting social programs like health care and education, how about unnecessarily military spending  for example.  Social change is more important.
As a recent comment of one blogs reminded me that Softball parallels politics in many ways
 "Rangers are a very good team but with Armando pitching, can be the best team in the league most of the time. A perfect example of how pitching has ruined the league. Armando hides this team's deficiencies as much as any other pitcher. Without him and the other pitchers who dominated the season and the playoffs, there are 7, maybe even 8 legitimate contenders for the league title, and the standings would be a lot closer. The games are so much more exciting with some scoring and with each team's strengths and flaws on display. Ironic how a league that has more parity than ever on the field is more polarized/elitist than ever because of pitching. "

The reader is referring to  The Central Park Big Apple League where the modified pitching fell off the cliff years ago. This was no more evident that in their championship game where Brother Jimmy's outlasted Radio Free in 19 innings. 19 innings? Get the fuck out of here. No way any modified 10 man game goes 19 innings. No way. Some players love the league this way. Others hate it. A compromise is needed.

Face it the richer teams can afford the better pitchers, but like I insinuated above social change is more important than finance. Some good, weird, and unique softball ideas I have ideas are :

  1. 2 Leagues 9 man softball (open pitching) and 10 man (modified)
  2. Limit Ace Pitchers to one game a week, Even playoffs
  3. Impose a radar gun. Say of you throw over X speed your in the 10 man league, else 10 man
  4. Hire New officials with the balls to enforce pitching rules. The Ombudsman idea was OK, but never got going
None of these ideas are probably good alone, but perhaps some out of the box compromise combination will work as you cannot let the league fall over the cliff,

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