Independents 42%, Democrats 31%, Republicans 25%

Forget Democrat or Republican. Americans who say they’re politically independent hit a record-high 42% on average last year, the Gallup Poll says.

In a year when attitudes about Congress and trust in government plunged to new lows, Gallup says the percentage of Americans who considered themselves independent in 2013 was the highest in the 25 years it has measured it.
Americans who identify with the Republican Party dropped to a record-low 25% last year while Democratic identification stayed at 31%. The high point for Republicans was in 2004 when George W. Bush won a second term and GOP identification was 34%, Gallup says.
Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones says more independents “adds a greater level of unpredictably” to the battle for Congress in this year’s midterm elections.
“Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it’s not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes,” Jones writes in his analysis on Gallup’s website. He says candidates “who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.”
Gallup’s findings are based on more than 18,000 interviews it conducted last year for 13 different polls.


US National Debt Is Just Fine

The debt ceiling debate continues but it is really a silly conversation.  The capital structure of virtually every fortune 500 company includes the use of debt even although most make a profit.  The capital structure of the US is no different (except that governments are not supposed to make profits). Growing the balance sheet is good! Think of it this way, McDonalds, GE and Coke all issue debt and alot of it. Do you think they issued more debt this year than last year?  Last century? Of course they did and the United States is no different.  Debt is not the problem, as long as our GDP continues to rise along with it.  The US deficit is the problem but that's another story.


Individual Tax Rates Per Country

Here in the USA, many of us are starting the daunting task of doing our taxes.  While we all whine and complain about taxes, bottom line is that everyone pays them, worldwide.  Below is a list of the maximum tax rates per country then the GST (goods and services tax) since we all buy goods.  These are approximate since there are sometimes additional local taxes.  Property taxes are not included since this is a very local tax, to be sure the USA is among the lowest in this category.

Australia 46% + 10%
Canada 55% + 5%
China 45% + 17%
France 66% + 7%
Israel 52% + 18%
Japan 50% + 5%
Singapore 20% + 7%
South Africa 40% + 14%
UK 45% + 20%
USA 40% + 11% (varies locally)

A full list along with detail available HERE.  Interesting to note that the USA is second only to Singapore on this list and one of the lowest in the world.