Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

We'd like to welcome our new viewers in Lansing, Michigan, on AT&T Cable.  We hope you like The Factor.

Money is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

The sad truth is that money is the most important thing in America right now.  It dominates politics, and it can cause major problems.  We all need money to live, and the pursuit of currency is intense for many of us.

This Enron mess is all about money, and so is the war against terrorism.  Many fanatics hate us because America is a capitalistic society, and our materialism offends some of the have-nots around the world.

Money is also dividing Americans at home.  The Democratic Party and the liberal media continue to pound the drum of higher taxes for the rich, and attack those who don't support that philosophy as insensitive to the poor.

It is a classic class warfare tactic used throughout history by those seeking power from the masses.

But listen to this.  IRS data shows that the top 1 percent of taxpayers in the USA pay 36 percent of all federal income tax, and the bottom 50 percent of wage earners pay just 4, that's 4 percent of federal withholding.  That means most Americans making a below-average salary pay on Social Security taxes to the feds.

Now, many Americans believe that's fair, that the wealthy should carry the burden, and they are Americans making more than $100,000 a year, are giving about half their earnings to Uncle Sam, and the Democrats want more.  The Bush administration believes that the government is taking too much money from its citizens, and that philosophy, in a way, does protect the rich from paying even more tax.

There's no question that we have creeping socialism right now in the USA.  We have huge government programs designed to help the poor and provide each American with the basics.  Soon the elderly will have a government-paid-for prescription drug allowance.  Soon there will be free health insurance for the poor, who already have entitlements in housing, food, and education.

The problem is, there's little oversight in how this tax money is being spent, and fraud and waste abound.  Remember, in California the Medical program for the poor loses more than a billion dollars a year to criminal fraud.

So the question becomes, how much more can the government demand of the well off?  Will the so-called progressive tax rate continue to cry -- climb?  Talking Points believes Colorado has the right idea.  Any tax raise has to be put to a vote in that state.  In that way, the people decide what the state government is entitled to.

The same thing should be done on the federal level.  If Americans want a socialistic approach, let us vote on it.  The tax rate should be set by the people, and the government would then have to live within that mandate.

That would be fair, and spending accountability would have to rise.  Right now, we have as a never-ending tax gravy train that is in direct conflict to our capitalistic system.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day,"

As you know, very few people are banned from The Factor, but Alan Dershowitz is one of them.  The latest involving Dershowitz appeared in a New York Post editorial.  It said he may be working as a consultant for the legal appeal of one of the Libyan terrorists convicted in the Lockerbie bombing of a Pan Am jet.

The Scottsman Newspaper reports that appeal is being paid for by Libyan dictator Qaddafi.  Dershowiz says he's only working for a British law firm.  Think Klaus Von Bulow knows the real story?  Could be ridiculous.

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