The oh-so important and serious fellows over at Powerline wrote an essay about taxes. I quote their conclusion:
In other words, the top 10 percent of tax filers were responsible for two of every three dollars paid in income taxes in 1999, while the bottom half of all those who file tax returns paid essentially no income taxes.
For the bottom half of tax filers who receive hundreds of billions of dollars in government benefits but pay essentially no income taxes, political debate about taxation has little personal meaning except insofar as they may aspire to earn higher incomes in the future.
Many Americans would see the present system of federal income taxes to be unfair if they knew the facts. These facts, however, are almost never reported in the mainstream media. The so-called progressivity of the federal income tax system is both fundamentally unfair and inconsistent with the principle of equal rights that underlies the Constitution.
I.E. more rich people complaining about the fact that it is not effective to tax poor people, as I write in my essay Progressive Taxation, from which I quote:
Bottom line: we should tax progressively because it is fair. It puts most of the cost on those who have benefited most and who will be impacted by it least. It is a tactic to fuel economic growth by turning people who are tax burdens into people who are tax payers. Any strategy which puts more of the tax burden on the poor ultimately hurts the rich, too, because we hobble our biggest potential of economic growth.
I agree with their facts — the rich pay more of the taxes than the not-rich. I personally don’t think this is at all unfair. But even if you agree with them that it is unfair, what is the solution? They do not prescribe a solution, but the math is pretty straightforward — to make the system “fair” you’d have to significantly raise taxes on everyone but the rich. The alternative is, of course, slashing spending to the point that we have a burnt out shell of a government.
Why are people who have better lifestyles than 99.999% of the people that have ever lived always bitching about paying taxes? They should be proud of their additional contribution and instead they bitch. Shut up you rich bastards. There is nothing wrong here.
OK, I’m getting the feeling that people think I am a rather unhappy, frustrated and pissed off dude. I’m really not. I just tend to write about things that piss me off. This is probably why mopsa calls me the “rant man”. Yes, my job here is to rant. In general, I am often misunderstood in electronic communications because I come across much more blunt or emotional than I am. I’m actually not very emotional at all.
So, on to some good things then.
1. Single Malt Scotch. I am an Islay guy. I like the really smokey scotches. My favorites are Lagavulin and Ardbeg. I also like Bowmore and Laphroaig. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but once so acquired, the shit rocks.
2. I am a bit of a gamer. Currently I’m playing World of Warcraft. I also have Far Cry and Half-Life 2 going right now. It’s kind of funny that a guy who is a father and studies astrophysics plays video games, but I do and I like it. It’s what I do when my wife zones out in front of the TV.
I’ll just mention those two for now since I should probably pepper something positive in here every now and then lest you all think I am an ever cursing ogre.
Smiles, people, smiles!
While this probably has no chance in hell of going anywhere, it is still funny/sad/scary that right-wingers want to censor college professors. It’s no secret — academics are overwhelmingly liberal. Big deal. Big business guys are overwhelmingly conservative. Should we muzzle them from speaking their minds? You think big business guys don’t have enormous influence over people? I’d say they have a hell of a lot more influence than a college professor.
You know what, Mom and Dad? Your kid may grow up someday and have different values than you. That’s called good parenting. Brain washing your children to believe exactly what you believe is bad parenting. Admire your kids for thinking on their own and be proud of them for their willingness to disagree with you. You have succeeded.
(Addendum — Oh no! It looks like this is closer to home than I thought! Check out this at Pharyngula.)
I’ve been thinking about what bothers me about the post below. Imagine a web site that said “Tired of black people answering your personal ad? Come to Whites-Only Singles.” We’d call that racism. Is there anything wrong with a white person wanting to date another white person? Not necessarily. Is there anything wrong with a conservative wanting to date a conservative? Not necessarily. Yet if we saw a web site like my example above we’d all probably have a problem with it. It may even be illegal. We have this notion in this country that discrimination is wrong. As a raging liberal white person, I would happily date a conservative and I’d happily date a black woman. No problem at all. Do I care if others are not so open minded? Not really. I do care when they are as blatantly offensive about it. The implicit statement is that liberals aren’t worth dating. We’ve taken our lame polarization out of politics and put it in everything now. How long until employers will only hire conservatives? How about a McDonalds that only serves Christians?
This is not a statement about conservatives or Christians, it’s a statement about people who are so close minded that they can’t even leave open the possibility of loving someone with a different political ideology. We are lame and getting lamer and apparently we are proud of it.
I’ll say it again, a Liberals-only singles site would be just as lame. A pagan-only web hosting provider would be lame. It is disrespectful, discriminatory and, I’ll say it again, lame.
The chosen ones are finally getting more serious about separating themselves from us heathen scum. You can now make sure you never have to date a stinking liberal ever again. That not enough for you? You can also host your web site with a Christian web hosting provider! Don’t let some pagan sinner touch your HTML.
There is not a big enough shitter in the world for me to barf into.
As pointed out by Boing Boing, the the New York Times Magazine has a great article about Intelligent Design. One of the more amusing passages:
Fewer than one-third of conceptions culminate in live births. The rest end prematurely, either in early gestation or by miscarriage. Nature appears to be an avid abortionist, which ought to trouble Christians who believe in both original sin and the doctrine that a human being equipped with a soul comes into existence at conception. Souls bearing the stain of original sin, we are told, do not merit salvation. That is why, according to traditional theology, unbaptized babies have to languish in limbo for all eternity. Owing to faulty reproductive design, it would seem that the population of limbo must be at least twice that of heaven and hell combined.
As I’ve written about rather often, intelligent design isn’t science by a long shot. Scientists don’t usually have theories that include supernatural all-powerful beings. I have nothing against supernatural all-powerful beings. They are pretty cool. It falls outside of what we call science.
Perhaps you’ve read my article on Frivolous Lawsuits. I think we should be very suspicious when the government takes away our ability to appeal to the courts. Perhaps you’ve also read my article on Judicial Activism. I think it is disingenuous at best to label every judge you don’t agree with an activist. They see it differently; get on with it.
This new law that Bush just signed may not be the worst thing in the world. We want smart courts and it is possible that there are loopholes that don’t make sense. I don’t know that class action law suits are one of them, but I concede it is possible. There are lawyers whose best interest involves enticing people to join class actions. To me this is similar to something like the ACLU — a necessary but sometimes annoying check and balance.
What is worrisome to me about this new law that Bush signed is it is clearly the tip of the iceberg in terms of the intentions of this president and congress. The right wingers want to erode your ability to seek remedy in the courts. That is a bad thing. It is clearly the big money special interests that are pulling the strings here. There is no benefit to your average everyday American and yet they are silent. Big corporations just got it a little easier at your expense. This particular one just moves things from state to federal court — the cases with undeniable merit will still be heard. But this is the first of what looks to be a series of maneuvers to erode your access to remedy via the courts and that is not in your best interest. Even if you work for or own a big corporation, it is not in your interest. These cases aren’t all greedy lawyers and it is irresponsible to create legislation as if they are.