Trump Dances with China

I realize this cartoon is a bit ambiguous. Perhaps Trump is wrestling with China. Maybe Trump is “facing off” with China. Maybe there is something sexy going on with China that we can’t quite see. It is hard to tell. I went with “dance.” The USA will soon be adding another $250,000,000,000+ of tariffs to Chinese imports, which will move China to retaliate in other ways.

I draw lots of Trump-critical cartoons, but this one isn’t one of them. I think Trump’s approach to China is long overdue. I even posted this one as a “Trump Friendly” cartoon on our CagleCartoons.com newspaper syndication site – although, that is probably ambiguous too.

I’ve drawn Trump and a Chinese dragon before.

Dragons don’t have to represent China, although the chinese style dragons are more fun to draw. Here’s the dragon cartoon I drew the day after the election, when Trump defeated Hillary.

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TRUE Stupid Stuff 2!

Here’s another new batch of my old TRUE cartoons from the 1990’s – at least the ones that look like they could still be true. This is from a batch about government.

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Tariffs for China

In the crush of cartoons criticizing President Trump for his trade war with China, I haven’t noticed any that are supportive of Trump’s tariffs. Trump’s promises about tariffs and renegotiating more favorable trade agreements around the world were a driving force in his election. Frankly, I don’t mind the tariffs and the approach.  I consider this to be a mildly pro-Trump cartoon.

China had all they wanted in their trade relationship with the USA; Trump’s tariffs give China new and different things they want from America, that Trump should be willing to give up. That’s a negotiating tactic I see all the time as an artist working with businesses, but it seems to be lost on the pundits.

And I love drawing Xi Jinping as Winnie the Pooh – I’m going to stick with that. Here’s an earlier one.

 

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The Only Group in History to Request to be Taxed More

Americans hate taxes. It’s not a right or left issue. It’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s not an old or young issue. It’s strangely not even a rich or poor issue. It’s an American issue. It’s our biggest peeve. We all agree on some level: Our country is great, but we feel very cranky about forking over our money to the government.

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - msnbc.com (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - msnbc.com (click to reprint)

This is an odd character trait in Americans. For example, we happily pay for cable even though television is free ““ we clearly have no problem signing up for more bills.

The average American credit card debt is around $10,000 and the average APR is 14% – we clearly have no problem doling out loads of cash with nothing to show for it.

We don’t even pay out that much of our income to the government when compared with other industrialized nations. An average family with children pays about 20% of their income to taxes. For singles it’s 37%. Belgians pay close to 55%.

But Americans hate taxes. We always have. We hate even the idea of them. We want to believe freedom and taxes absolutely contradict one other. Like improv and comedy.

Other colonies of Great Britain (e.g., Canada and Australia) simply asked for their independence. But not us. Americans were so outraged about the King’s raising taxes we started a costly and bloody revolutionary war lasting nearly a decade.

Yes, it all started with a tax hike. “No more taxes!” is the original American battle cry. In a way, our country’s birth was a giant scheme to avoid giving up a fraction of our salaries to bureaucrats.

We simply despise taxes.

Taxes are so loathed by Americans that politicians have to come up with new phrases in order to talk about them. That’s why “fees,” “tariffs” and “tolls” are used to “balance deficits,” instead of just putting it plainly: Taxes are needed to fund the government. It’s an attempt to make taxes palatable to American sensibilities. This prettier word tactic is combated by calling anything you disagree with the ominous “hidden tax.” A hidden tax is something lurking in the bushes that can jump out and bill you. Very scary.

Notorious tax-phobe Grover Norquist requests conservative candidates sign his heavy-handed pledge not to raise taxes. He wants them to be like 1981’s tax-cutter President Ronald Reagan. Not like 1982’s, 1983’s, 1984’s, 1985’s, 1986’s and 1987’s tax-raiser President Ronald Reagan. Because when it comes to taxes ““ always accentuate the cuts.

For politicians, raising taxes is taboo. It’s an unmentionable.

But if you talk with the average weed advocate ““ er, marijuana activist ““ er, cannabis enthusiast, one of their selling points is if pot were legal you could tax it.

Yes, a sin tax! A sin tax is what the government puts on things like gambling, booze or tobacco. It’s designed to discourage people from doing it – because taxes are just that revolting. A sin tax is punitive. It’s monetary punishment for being a sinner – quite literally “hell to pay.”

Could pot smokers be the only group in the history of the world to want to be taxed? To hope to be taxed? To specifically ask the government to tax them more?

“I can’t remember the last time an interest group volunteered to be taxed,” admitted councilwoman Janice Hahn of Los Angeles, the semi-legal weed capital of the country.

This might be a first. Historic. A group of Americans are actually lobbying the government asking to give more money to the government in the form of a tax. Weed is rumored to expand your mind in all sorts of unspecified ways. We may have found one of them.

Volumes of political theory have just been challenged. We’re witnessing history here. Someone notify the media!
“””“

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer, editor and columnist for Cagle Cartoons. Follow Tina on Twitter @TinaDupuy.

Want to run Tina’s column in your publication? Contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail [email protected], (800) 696-7561.

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Hey, Big Spenders

I don’t know who they are, but I’ve got to hand it to them. I’m too cynical to do what they do.

I speak of the Americans who, every year, donate money to pay down America’s national debt.

The Bureau of the Public Debt — part of the Treasury Department — began allowing such donations in 1961. According to Title 31, Chapter 31 of the U.S. Code, any citizen is free to give a “gift” to Treasury, under the condition that the money will be used only to pay down the debt.

irs form 1040 taxes

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons - Arizona Star (click to purchase)

Last year, the government received $3 million in such gifts. Who are the gift-givers? Nobody knows for certain.

Mckayla Braden, senior adviser at the Bureau of the Public Debt, told me that all the bureau does is tally the totals. It keeps no records on the number of individuals who give or the average amount.

Braden was able to share some interesting details and anecdotes with me:

. Gift-givers generally mail in checks — rarely do they include a note of any kind.

. Sometimes they donate their tax-refund checks, after signing the checks over to Treasury.

. Occasionally, someone leaves a large portion of his or her estate to the government. That happened in 1992, when the largest gift on record, $3.5 million, was received.

Over the years, Braden was able to learn about some of the givers.

In the early ’90s, a teacher sent in a large jar of dimes and nickels. The teacher explained that she’d conducted a class exercise on the national debt. Her students had contributed what they could.

Braden remembers one gift-giver who mailed a small money order from a convenience store.

She remembers another fellow who mailed in $10 or $20 every payday. He did so for years.

Though little is known about the gift-givers — it isn’t entirely clear what motivates them — Braden got a sense that most are patriotic people who want to do their own small part to help their country.

“Small” is, unfortunately, the right word.

For the past decade, Treasury has received between $2 million and $3 million in gifts every year. But our debt, growing a few trillion a year, now stands at $13 trillion.

If our debt remained fixed at $13 trillion — and if we applied $3 million every year to pay down that debt — it would take 4.3 million years to pay it off.

And that is with zero-percent interest.

Besides, the gift donations technically aren’t paying down the debt anyhow. All the donations are deposited to the receipts ledger of Uncle Sam’s general fund.

Since we’re running large deficits, the donations simply reduce the amount of money our government will borrow.

The last thing I want to do is give our spendthrift government an opportunity to spend even more.

Nonetheless, I wish more people were as thoughtful as the silent givers — particularly the people who are so eager to expand our government and raise our taxes.

Hey, big spenders, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. You can send your own money to Treasury right now. Just go to www.pay.gov.

How about it, big spenders.

Hello?

Just as I figured.

No wonder I’m such a cynic.

©2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email [email protected] Visit Tom on the web at www.TomPurcell.com or e-mail him at [email protected]

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The Republican 20 Percenters

During the long cold winter of January 2009, Republicans were dreading the impending thaw of an Obama Administration. It was just after the massive “compassionate conservative” bank bailouts, the economy was hemorrhaging millions of jobs and yet a CBS/New York Times poll reported President George W. Bush still had a 22% approval rating.

Tea Party msnbc.com GOP

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - msnbc.com (click to purchase)

It was the end of a disastrous second term, a bitter end to a bitter era. It was back when the best thing anyone could say about Bush was, “He showed some great reflexes when he dodged those shoes, huh?” So one could guess around 22% is pretty much the core of the Right. The die hards. The ones who will forgive anything (i.e. Katrina, no WMDs, children left behind etc.). Biker gangs have their “one percenters” ““ Republicans have their 20 percenters. They too should get a patch. Republicans like leather, right?

Speaking of respectable Republican cloth coat’s, even President Richard Nixon had a 27% approval rating months before he resigned, of course that was a more polite era ““ less slander more assassinations. The point is, the nucleus of Republicans is absolutely committed to their guys regardless. Twenty percent is the baseline number ““ the base.

Put a necktie on a German Shepherd who’s strong on defense and hates taxes and if he’s a Republican he will get at least a 20% approval rating nationally (as long as he’s not openly gay or Mormon). He doesn’t even have to be running for anything. Just wearing something that has a flag pin attached so people will know he loves freedom.

Last year an Associated Press-GfK poll found only 21% of adults now identify themselves as Republicans. This is much smaller than just a couple months prior at 28%. And since the now sainted and intellectually irreproachable President Ronald Reagan said the 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,” the party now has tons more Americans they can speak ill of. They are less than a quarter of adults currently; leaner and meaner.

So it is not surprising to hear a Gallup Poll report that 28% of Americans support the Tea Party. One can assume that it’s mainly Republican support and so it’s not a coincidence the devout of the GOP hovers around that same number.

What is surprising is to hear is Republicans or Tea Partiers calling themselves the “silent majority,” a throwback to the some Republican Revolution rhetoric back when family values House Speaker Newt Gingrich was still on his second wife. Now “silent majority” is a double misnomer due to their decibels and their numbers. Even if no Tea Baggers were Republicans and vice versa, if you added the two groups together currently, according to the data, they would still not be a majority of Americans.

The majority of Americans voted for Barack Obama. They did. By an overwhelming margin. He was the better candidate. Our economy was in a freefall. They voted for a policy wonk. They voted for the candidate who won the debates. They voted for a dude whose middle name is the same as an evil dictator’s last name we took out because it wasn’t relevant. That’s the actual majority.

According to a Winston Group study that came out this month, 86% of the Tea Partiers are over 34 years old. Are they the “new” GOP? For the most part they put the “old” in the Grand Old Party. They’re older Americans who are upset their candidate wasn’t good enough. They’re angry. They’re afraid of “change” but like to threaten revolution and secession. They get so much press because of the novelty of America’s crotchety great-aunts and uncles shaking their Medicare covered fists at The Man. It’s like the soda ads where old people drink Pepsi and start acting like crazy teenagers. But it’s tea!

But no matter how much attention they receive, they are still the 20 Percenters.

—–

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor of FishbowlLA.com. Follow Tina on Twitter @TinaDupuy.

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Enough Chirping

I hate birds when they chirp. It’s the government’s fault.

I am sitting by an open door, with a nice spring breeze, the sun shining, the birds chirping. But I cannot enjoy this beautiful day.

I am surrounded by a sea of receipts, you see — receipts of every kind. I keep every receipt for every transaction that I make all year long because my government says I must.

irs taxes tax code

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons - The Arizona Star (click to purchase)

I have spent the last few days organizing the massive pile of paper. I must organize each receipt into its appropriate folder and then tally those receipts with great precision — not easy for an English major — into numbers that my CPA can then transform into a long return, which we send to the government along with a big fat check.

My CPA has the more difficult job. He must keep up with the massive tax code so he can determine what I can and cannot deduct and how I must go about it. Considering the tax code is some 70,000 pages long, I have no idea how he does this. I suspect alcohol is involved.

I’m running way behind this year. And so, as the weather has broken and the birds have begun singing, I sit here in the middle of a sea of paper, overcome by powerlessness and wondering what the heck has happened to America.

America is supposed to be the land of the free, after all. It’s supposed to be a dynamic, bureaucracy-free place where any fellow can easily start his own business — any fellow can chase his own dream, unburdened by regulations and an incredibly burdensome tax code.

Yet, as our tax code grows ever more complex, a new narrative is forming: that our country is so in debt and our spending so egregious that the only way to keep things afloat is lots more taxes.

It’s maddening for a fellow drowning in a sea of paper to contemplate this when, as we move toward European-style, economic-growth-killing policies, former communist countries have moved in the opposite direction.

Come check out our collection of Tax Form cartoons!

Come check out our collection of Tax Form cartoons!

Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Estonia and Serbia all have ditched their “progressive” income-tax systems for a much lower flat tax — one that makes compliance simple as it spurs economic growth.

Slovakia, says BusinessWeek, “swept away 21 categories of personal income taxes, five tax brackets, and scores of exemptions and deductions, replacing them with a flat 19 percent rate.”

That action led Hyundai Corp. to locate a Kia plant there. How about that: Low taxes result in investment and growth. Only the former communist nations understand that concept now.

Sure, here in America, the FairTax people have the right idea. They want to repeal our incredibly complex income tax (the 16th Amendment) and replace it with a simple, progressive national sales tax.

It makes so much sense it will never be embraced by the birds running our country now.

Sure, they love the idea of a national sales tax — a national value-added tax is suddenly being bandied about — but only if they can keep, and raise, our income taxes, too.

It’s more than a fellow surrounded by a sea of receipts can bear.

And so, as our country embarks on an insane course — more spending, more regulations, more bureaucracy, higher taxes, more complexity — I am filled with dread.

I have come to loathe the spring breeze, the blooming flowers and, most of all, the annoying chirping birds.

—–

©2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email [email protected]. Visit Tom on the web at www.TomPurcell.com or e-mail him at [email protected].

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Tan & Tax

My family and I are taking the new tax personally.

One of the many items tucked into the government overhaul of America’s health care system is a 10 percent sales tax on tanning salons.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the tan tax was added so that the Botox tax could be removed.

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Buffalo News (click to purchase)

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Buffalo News (click to purchase)

As it went, our politicians, looking for ways to make it appear their massive bill would be “paid for,” had to come up with all kinds of gimmicks — such as a 5 percent sales tax on Botox.

Botox, however, is administered by plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons have the dough to hire expensive lobbyists. The expensive lobbyists were able to get the “Botax” removed from the bill.

Politicians found it much easier to tax tanning salons instead.

For starters, tanning lamps, much like the sun, generate ultraviolet rays. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.

Since politicians haven’t figured out how to tax the sun, a “sin” tax on tanning beds was the next best thing.

Besides, tanning salons are easy targets.

If the Web site The Medical News (news-medical.net) is to be believed, most tanning salons are owned by women – including women who drive 1998 Camaros with the T-tops off, as they chain-smoke Marlboro Lights and yell at their boyfriends.

Such business owners aren’t as organized as plastic surgeons. They have fewer funds to pay for expensive lobbyists, which made it easy for politicians to slap a 10 percent sales tax on them — one that goes into effect this July.

And my family and I are taking the whole thing personally — because we are cursed with fair, freckly skin that burns easily in the sun.

One year, in the 1970s, our parents took us to the ocean for the first time. The temperature was in the upper 90s that week. My father begged us to be wary of the hot sun.

Nonetheless, we raced to the beach as soon as we arrived. We got scorched so badly the first day, we spent the rest of the week inside our condo, soaking in Epsom salts, the blinds drawn, my father grumbling to our mother, “For godsakes, Betty, I told them to be wary of the sun.”

If only the tanning bed had been available then.

When I was in my early 20s, in the 1980s, it was available. I used one every summer to tan just enough so that when I went to the pool or the beach, I never got burned.

But that was long ago — before the government overhauled our healthcare system.

Our government doesn’t want us to use tanning beds (though it does want the tax dough). The 10 percent sales tax is intended to dissuade us from doing so.

As the economy is being made ever more uncertain by unprecedented government meddling, that doesn’t bode well for my fair-skinned family.

Tanning at a salon was an unneeded expense in a good economy. In this economy, it is a costly extravagance — and that was before it got 10 percent more expensive. We can’t afford the cost.

Thus, as the summer nears, my family and I have one less weapon in our arsenal to fend off a nasty burn.

My mother, desperate to try something to achieve a tan look, purchased a can of spray-on tan. It didn’t work out so well.

“For godsakes, Betty,” my father said to her. “You look like they plucked you out of a Florida orange grove!”

The law of unintended government consequences strikes again.

Now you know why my family and I are taking it personally.

—–

©2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email [email protected]. Visit Tom on the web at www.TomPurcell.com or e-mail him at [email protected].

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Census 101

“I’m a busy person. Why do I have to fill out this U.S. Census form anyhow?”

“The U.S. Constitution says that every 10 years, the federal government must count every resident in the United States. It sounds simple, but what it really comes down to is politics and money.”

census

Cartoon by Jeff Parker - Florida Today (click to purchase)

“How does it involve politics?”

“There are 435 seats in the U.S. House. The government uses the population count to determine the number of seats your state will have. In 2002, after the 2000 census results were tallied, 12 seats moved across 18 states.”

“Change happens. What’s the big deal?”

“When a state gains or loses seats, the political party in power redraws congressional districts with hopes of making it impossible for the other party to win.”

“Politicians would do that? I’m shocked. But what does the census have to do with money?”

“It determines, says the census form, the ‘amount of government money your neighborhood will receive.’ The idea is that the more people the census determines to be living in a region, the greater percentage of federal dough that region will receive. You better fill out the form to get your fair share.”

“Wait a second. I work hard and pay taxes to the federal government. The government skims off its share, then sends what is left back to me based on the number of people who live in my neighborhood?”

“You’re beginning to understand. The government sends your neighborhood money to fix roads, build bridges and fund all kinds of government programs — so that your House member can take credit.”

“That doesn’t sound like a very efficient way to use my money.”

“It’s much worse than that. Our government is spending hundreds of billions more than it is taking in. It is borrowing that money. Your children and grandchildren will be saddled with the cost of that debt.”

“People not yet born are already in debt? But how does this tie into the census?”

“If the people in your neighborhood don’t complete the census form, some other neighborhood will receive your children’s and grandchildren’s hard-earned money — that would be immoral!”

“I’ll complete the form as soon as I get it. Is it difficult?”

“Not at all. There are 10 questions. You are asked to state your name, sex, age, race, telephone number and whether you own or rent your home. There are no questions about your religion, whether you are a legal U.S. resident or if you have a Social Security number.”

“That figures. I’d be happy to say what my religion and Social Security number are, but I’m touchy about giving my age. What if choose to keep some of this information private?”

“If you don’t complete and mail the form by April 1, census workers will come to your home. If you don’t cooperate with them, criminal charges may be filed or you may be fined up to $100. Besides, the information is to be kept private.”

“OK, then let me get it all straight: I need to complete the entire form by April 1 to ensure that my state counts as many people as possible, so that my representative will be able to take credit for as much government spending as possible, and so that my neighborhood will receive its fair share of my children’s and grandchildren’s hard-earned money?”

“Now you’ve got it.”

“Too bad the census people can’t collect information of people who aren’t born yet.”

“Why is that?”

“If we had their future addresses, we could send them cards to thank them for so generously advancing us billions of dollars of their hard-earned dough.”

—–

©2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email [email protected]. Visit Tom on the web at www.TomPurcell.com or e-mail him at [email protected].

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