Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tax Refunds and Obamanomics

Laissez-faire economics is NOT a zero-sum game, but socialists either think it is or pretend it is - so they're either being stupid or mendacious.

I like the parable of the group of men who go to lunch every day. I'll try to get the math right:

10 men go out to eat lunch at their favorite restaurant every day. The bill always comes to $100. They decided early on to divide the bill based on how much each of them earns: The investment banker earns the most money and pays $70 of the total bill. The lawyer and the doctor contribute $8 apiece. Then the architect and the small business owner pay $5 each. The next four men pay $1 each and the unemployed man pays nothing for his meal. Note that no one but the rich man pays more than his share of the bill - $10.

One day, the owner of the restaurant decides to reward his loyal customers with a discount. He offers to take $10 off of their bill: He pays out the refund as a percentage of each man's contribution. The rich man gets $7, the next two men get 80 cents, the next two 50 cents, then next four 10 cents and the last man gets nothing.

As they prepare to leave the restaurant the rich man stops off in the bathroom, leaving the other nine to their own devices. The two men who got an 80 cent refund start talking about how the rich man was "given" almost 9 times as much money as them. The two men who got 50 cents complain even louder, having received only 1/14th of the rich man's "windfall". The next four men wail even louder at the injustice of only having received 1/70th of the rich man's "payout" and the poorest of them complains the loudest of all, having received absolutely nothing.

When the rich man returns to the group, the others jump him and extract their "fair share" from the rich man: one dollar apiece. So going forward, the rich man would be paying $69, the next two $7, the next two $4, the next four nothing and the poorest man would actually be PAID $1 to eat lunch.

The rich man says screw you to his erstwhile friends and decides to stop attending their daily outing - so the next day, the nine men are forced to figure out who is going to pay the now $81 total bill.

This is how federal tax revenue is actually paid - here's a quick chart:

  • Top 1% = 39.89% total federal revenue
  • top 5% = 60.14%
  • top 10% = 70.79%
  • top 25% = 86.27%
  • top 50% = 97.01 %
  • bottom 50% = 2.99%

So the parable is accurate, except in real life, the rich man doesn't get to "opt out" of the whole fiasco.

What Barack Obama is proposing is cutting taxes on the bottom 75% and raising taxes on the top 25%. If we take him at his word, this would translate to people who don't even pay taxes getting "refunds" and the companies who employ all those people and produce the goods and services those people consume will pay even MORE than they already do.

And keep in mind that we're not just talking about an transfer of tax liability, here - for Obama to pay for all the the new, big-government programs he's proposing, he would have to raise taxes *substantially* for the top 25%. Nationalized health care, more money being thrown at various problems and a new sort of Americorps rivalling the size and budget of the defense department don't come cheap. (Although he may have meant that last thing the other way around: shrinking the defense budget DOWN to match the funding of Americorps...)

How WILL those companies deal with the extra expense? By cutting expenses (like payroll) and raising prices. The net effect is that the poorer folks will lose jobs (or fail to find them) and find higher prices for everything. So a lowering tide strands all boats.

THAT, in turn, will do *wonders* for the economy. We could "change" from a stumbling economy that nonetheless still manages to grow to a *real* recession. Yes we can!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Environmentalism

No one knows what the effects of various emissions are. Scientists build computer models and run simulations based on various assumptions. Some of those computer models predict things like a 15 foot rise in oceans over the next 10 years and those scientists get truckloads of money delivered to them to continue their research. Some models show a negligable effect or even a positive effect in the form of preventing the next glaciation cycle (ice age, if you will - although we're still in one) and those scientists get tarred and feathered by their numerous detractors as tools of "big oil".

The money, by the way, comes primarily from various groups who use "climate change" or "global warming" or "environmentalism" as an excuse to promote their anti-globalization, anti-technology, anti-human socialist agenda. THEY get the money from well-meaning but ultimately foolish people who believe as gospel the pronouncements of the research that suits their agenda; what we might call "useful idiots". Just be sure to do everything they say and everything will be allright: sort your plastic, trade in your safe, comfortable car for a moped, live in a thach hut with no electricity, or if at all possible just kill yourself now, you vile parasite.

Al Gore goes on and on about this subject - I figure when he stops using more electricity in a month than most households use in a year and stop flying around in private jets to promote his agenda - when HE starts *acting* worried, then I'll consider worrying. Until then, based on the actual lifestyles of all of the big "environmentalism" boosters, I'm going to assume it's not an actual problem.

I'll just add that we all want our environment to be clean and free of toxic pollutants. The more wealthy a country is, the more it can focus its surplus energies and resources on such problems. So promoting free trade and the advancement of technology would be the best approach to increasing the resources available to make things ever cleaner. 99% of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct and yet various greenies would have us prevent the extiction of any life form from now on. Assuming that could even be accomplished by some advanced civilization, it wouldn't be "natural" at all - it would be a garden. But it seems like a lot of the leadership in the environmental movement ascribe to an agenda that would have an effect opposite their stated goals - making everyone (but them) poorer and more obedient to an enviro-priesthood (them, again). If you want a real example of a made-up hazard being used by modern-day facists to seize control of state apparatus, look no further than the environmental movement.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's Happening Now

No, not the show. I never post on my own blog - mostly because I imagine no one ever reads it - so I'll post something .... now!

My kid is just over 19 months old. He's pretty cool. He knows the names of lots of things - like: cat, dog, fan (as in ceiling fan), ceiling, floor, wall, "no", up, down, "lay down", "night night", sofa, fish, and on and on and on. And he hasn't really hit his "language explosion" yet - he's known most of the words he knows now since he was about 10 months old.

We can get him to say please and thank you and he'll even say it without being prompted - though not necessarily correctly: He'll hand you something and when you take it he'll tell YOU "thank you". So he's missing a nuance to the whole affair at the moment.

My Transformers collection is coming along nicely. I'm currently awaiting the leader class (larger $40 toy) Brawl character from the movie to come out. He turns into a tank. He was spotted in California initially (as usual) at Target and was spotted most recently in Ohio, so Virginia has to be soon. Here's hoping!

I got the new "BioShock" game for PC and it's a pretty damned good game. I've been staying up way too late playing it the last few days. Also, I'm trying to learn German.

Anyway, that's all I have to say at present about myself.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It Walks!

Our son, Alex, has begun to walk. He's still at the stage where he only takes two or three steps before losing his balance, but you have to start somewhere. He also is managing to stand unaided for however long he manages to not notice he's doing it. So far the longest duration seems to be about 15 seconds. He also likes to push around his cousin Jack's walker and is just pleased as punch with it until he hits the wall - he doesn't know how to steer yet.

Here's a quick rundown of his vocabulary:

Kat (whispered for some reason) = cat
Guh or Daaa = dog
dat = that (?)
ba ba ba = bye (he's learned to wave, sometimes at himself)
muh muh muh... = I'm upset (unfortunately, it doesn't yet mean "mom")
da = dad (maybe)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Updates

Hi, it's me again. I just rediscovered that I actually have a Blogger account, so I guess I'll blog some. My son is 11 months old as of yesterday and we're coming up on his first Christmas. We got him a FisherPrice piano and a bouncing Tigger thingamajig. The wife and I in a fairly typical failure of delayed gratification went ahead and exchanged gifts last night. The rationalizations were many, but the clincher was "If we exchange gifts now, we can put our full focus on our oblivious 11-month-old" - followed closely by "Hey, it's just an arbitrary date, after all"

That's all.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Evil Corporations

Any time a corporation can get its hands on the machinery of state, we often end up with anti-competitive outcomes. At which point leftists point to this as an example of how evil corporations are and how we need the government to protect us from them. All the while failing to understand that it is the government and its monopoly on force that allows the corporations to do naughty things with our freedoms. ("Freedom of Speech, can you show me where the mean Senator touched you?")

There are plenty of captains of industry that have no more respect for rule of law and a properly functioning competitive capitalist economy than the bandana-wearing anarchist at your local Move-On rally. The key, since we the people ultimately make the hiring and firing decisions in the legislature, is for us to work to keep some people's grubby hands off of the controls of the "do it or I'll shoot you" machinery. The problem we encounter is that we can hardly agree whose hands are grubby and whose are pure.

I propose we limit the powers of the national government to a very limited list of roles we can all agree on, and leave all other powers to the states or the people themselves. (We used to call this "The Constitution") This includes limiting the power of the judiciary to invent new, controversial federal powers by "interpreting" the "living Constitution", and chucking those earmarking career politicians out of office. And yes, that means voting out the likes of Robert Byrd if you're a West Virginian even though he does "so much good" for your particular state. (Read: "he takes everyone elses money and funnels it to us"). Ask yourself: Why do politicians start their careers rich and end them spectacularly, obscenely wealthy? Politicians should not be allowed to make *any* income other than their salary. And that salary should be equal to the national average. Eliminate the lucrative career path.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Notice to Social Conservatives

Here, in a nutshell, is how to eliminate homosexuality and abortion, if you were so inclined.

Homosexuality: It is suggested that one's being gay is influenced by genetics. Thus, the only way a "gay" gene could be passed along is if a carrier were forced into a heterosexual relationship and hence reproduced. Therefore, allowing gays to marry each other (and adopt) would seem to be a great way to gradually winnow down the gay population.

Abortion: People with deeply-held convictions who oppose abortion are going about it the wrong way. We get a lot of our social, religious and political views from our parents and therefore the best way to winnow down the number of people who support abortion is to let those who currently support it go right ahead and do it. Presto: In 100 years hardly anyone will support it - or for that matter, I suspect, be a Democrat.

Back to Normal

Last Monday we discovered our 5-week-old infant, Alex, had developed a cough and a fever. We were told by our pediatrician to go to the emergency room. They determined that he had RSV, or Respiratory Syncitial Virus, and admitted him. RSV is pretty common and we get it in the form of a minor cold even as adults, but in young infants close monitoring is the order of the day. After a week (!!!) in the hospital on oxygen, being monitored, they finally decided to let us go home (with oxygen). That was Wednesday the 1st. Today, at our checkup the pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to drop the oxygen. So now, after just over a week, everything is back to normal.