Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2008

An Allegory About Our Tax System

I stumbled across this neat allegory that compares (in an oversimplified form, of course) the US income tax system to 10 guys drinking in a bar. While some call it right-wing propaganda, I think it is a fairly good representation of our income taxes.

Here it is:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
"Since you are all such good customers", he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still …

What Do We Expect To Get From This Election?

Change has been the big theme of this election. Both candidates are promising fundamental changes from the current administration. People are worried and frustrated and the prospect of change seems to be giving them some hope. However, I have to ask, what changes are we hoping for?

It seems to me that we got ourselves into this mess by spending more than we earn and creating a lifestyle that we can't afford. Wisdom says you can't borrow money forever and not expect your debt to come due, but that seems to be what the entire country is doing. Where did this credit crisis come from?

Selfishness and Greed.

Millions of people bought homes they couldn't afford. Now, when they can't pay for them, they blame "predatory lenders" and "greedy bankers". Sure, some were simply victims of circumstance. They lost jobs or had other things happen that rendered them unable to make payments that they could previously afford. That always happens but those ar…

AZ Proposition 102 - Does it discriminate?

For those that have read my earlier post on marriage, it should be obvious that I support proposition 102. What's great is that I can support it unequivically. Why? Because it doesn't have anything else tacked on. It doesn't restrict benifits, it doesn't outlaw civil unions, it doesn't have any of the riders that killed the last attempt. It simply defines marriage to be what society has defined it as for thousands of years.

There may be concerns with some that defining marriage in the State Constitution is somehow an attack on alternative lifestyles. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, proposition 102 is a defensive move. Marriage has been relentlessly attacked for years. It has become progressively weaker as the laws have changed. Marriage now requires less commitment and less responsibility. It has become a more of a selfish than a selfless thing. However, deep down, people recognize marriage and families as the building blocks of society and ye…

AZ Proposition 105 - Does it take away our vote?

Proposition 105 is very controversial.  On the face, it looks to take away the power of the voter initiative by forcing 50% + 1 to pass any initiative that has spending provisions.  We all know that just getting 50% voter turnout is pretty good (some elections have less than 11%) so isn't requiring 50% + 1 the same as taking away the voters' right to approve an initiative?I've gone over it quite a few times in my head.  At first it was obviously bad.  After all, it virtually insures that no voter initiatives pass.  However, as I found out more about it, I found that it only applies to initiatives that raise taxes (like a cigarette tax, property tax, etc.).  OK, so it's not as bad as I thought but still very limiting for any initiative that costs money.  So I talked to my legislators about it.  The result was very interesting.As everybody knows, we're in a bit of a bind on the budget.  However, billions of dollars of that budget can't be touched because it's…

AZ Proposition 202 - Stop Illegal Hiring?

The "Stop Illegal Hiring" proposition (202) sounds great at first.  After all, it makes the penalties more severe for hiring illegals, it gives the money collected in fines to hospitals, and increases the penalties for identity theft.  Doesn't this sound like a great proposition that everybody should vote for?  It sure does and that's the problem.As I understand it, proposition 202 actually makes the employer sanctions law virtually unenforcable.  It makes is harder to prove that a business knowingly hired an illegal which makes it easier for a business to get away with it.  The information I heard from my state representatives and senator is that the law is basically sponsored by low-wage employers that have been profiting from illegal labor and it's purpose is to sound like it's strengthening employer sanctions while in reality, it's hobbling our current law.I encourage everybody to read this one very carefully before voting on it.More information can b…

Some Perspective on the Credit Crisis

I saw a blog today that really got me thinking about the credit crisis and how we're all caught up in worrying about our bank accounts, mortgages, etc.  Sure that stuff is worrisome but, most of us have a roof over our heads, food for our families, leisure time to relax, cars for transportation, AC and heating to keep us comfortable.  How many thousands of families don't have any of that?  How many struggle just to have enough to eat?  How many spend their nights at the mercy of the elements?
My point (and I believe the point of the blog), was that we get so concerned about ourselves that we forget others.  Is our house big enough, are our cars new enough, should I go to restaurant a or restaurant b?  We think we have it tough when we have to waste all that time taking one of our cars in to get an oil change.  We base our votes (we can vote! there's another privilege!) on what the candidate has promised to do for us personally.  I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves, th…

Who Pays for Healthcare?

I know what you're thinking, "We do!!!"  However, that's not exactly true.  You see, I recently did an analysis of the healthcare industry for a graduate course I'm taking and I was surprised at what it showed me.  As I gathered information, one of the things I asked was "why does quality of care seem to be going down while prices are going up?"  That's just the opposite of what a capitalist economy is supposed to produce.  What I found is interesting.Everybody who has health insurance knows that costs are skyrocketing.  Not only that, doctors seem more and more interested in moving you through as opposed to really getting to know you.  Why is that?As I studied how things work, I found out something very interesting.  We (individuals) are not the customers of healthcare (doctors, hospitals, labs, etc).  Sure we go in for treatment but who writes the check that actually pays for the services?  The insurance companies.  Healthcare providers, like all …

McCain Obama Debate

So I just finished watching the second debate between McCain and Obama and I have to say that I'm impressed with McCain.  I'm not a big McCain fan.  While I'm a Republican from Arizona, I really haven't been that impressed with our senator.  He was my last choice in the primary (I liked Romney - who would do really well at dealing with our economy) and it was disappointing to see him win.  But he's getting better.On the other hand, I've always liked Obama.  His calls for hope and change are infectious.  He's smart and charismatic.  He had my vote.  That is, until the specifics came out.  His policies are change in all of the wrong directions.To shore up the economy, he would expand government and increase regulation.  His logic is that any business left to itself will crumble.  However, I have to point out that one of the most regulated economies in the world is that of the former Soviet Union.  When pitted against a far freer economy (the US economy) it co…