Dracil’s BlogJournal

October 27, 2010

Fair Tax: Supporting the Rich and the Poor on the Shoulders of the Middle Class

Filed under: Controversy, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — dracil @ 6:14 pm

This is just warmup.  I want to write about the Taxes are Theft idea and general thoughts about government spending but I’ll start with the Fair Tax first.

The idea of Fair Tax is to abolish all federal taxes and replace it with a national 23% sales tax.  And then give some money back based on the poverty line (adjusted for marriage and kids).

The biggest problem with Fair Tax is the assumption that your income = your expenditures.  This is only really true for the poor.  As your income goes up, the percentage of expenditures to income goes down.  Oh, the Fair Tax people will say rich people buy more expensive things and it all works out, but there’s still a limit to this.  Even if you eat lavish expensive meals all the time, there’s still only so much food you can eat in a day.

So what’s the net effect here?  The situation for the truly poor won’t really change.  The rich will pay even less since instead of paying a percentage on income, they pay a percentage on their much lower expenditures.  Since the Fair Tax claims to be revenue neutral, guess who’s footing the bill?  The middle class.  It also means their 23% number is total bullshit.

Except, it turns out their 23% number is bullshit anyway, because it’s intentionally misleading.  The 23% sales tax does not work like regular sales tax.  It means for every $100 you spend, $23 of that goes to the government and you only get $77 worth of goods.  What does that work out to in terms of what people normally think of when they think of sales tax?  It means for every $100 worth of goods you buy, you pay an extra $30 in taxes (30/130 ~ 23%).  So this is really a 30% sales tax.

I actually completely glossed over that myself until I read the FactCheck analysis of it: http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html  Lots of good stuff here too.  Worth a read too so you know the real numbers and consequences of what these Fair Tax people are proposing.  TL;DR: If you make between $15,000-$200,000 your taxes will go up.  If you make over $200,000 your taxes will go down.  Is that what you expected and wanted from something called the Fair Tax?

It does have its merits though.  It does mean no more annoying tax day.  And it closes some tax evasion, especially with people who make money in underground economies that still buy stuff from normal stores.

But to actually be practical and not simply widen the income gap (a term noticeably absent on a lot of Fair Tax proponents’ sites), it would probably need to be set to something like 50% and with a lot higher prebate.  Unfortunately, all this does is shift who carries the burden.  And the people above the (pyramid shaped) curve will still continue to increase the income gap with anyone below the curve.  The only point where this won’t happen is at 100%.  And well, we know what THAT’s called.

August 23, 2009

Monthly update

Filed under: Controversy, religion — Tags: , , — dracil @ 12:18 am

Alright, let’s see, haven’t blogged in a while. *looks at one line summaries of what he’s supposed to blog about*

going away party
movies with jenny and lin
fanime meetup 2

Ok then.  So going away party, Aug 1.  It was for David and Joyce.  Joyce to Seattle, David to NY.  We decided to meet up at Berkeley since that’s where it all started.  Had some fun with the “death star” sculpture.  Saw Eric’s photo on one of the banners.  Then we had dinner at Chez Panisse since we’d wanted to go there for a while but never did it so it was our last chance.  Then we went to karaoke and I got annoyed at Music Tunnel’s new system.  If I enter in “a” in Japanese in the title search, I do not expect to be greeted with a blank screen. :P  We loitered around a bit more and then parted ways.

I’ll do the second #fanime meetup next.  This was August 15.  Met up with them at the bart station, and after almost losing people a few times, we finally made it to Japantown.  The actual event was sorta blah, but it was cool seeing Amano (who did FF artwork) and bumped into BayAnime people there.  We then ate at Shabu-sen for lunch before loitering for several hours in Japantown and parting before dinner.

Finally movies.  Wanted to watch Harry Potter, but Jenny hadn’t seen the previous one, so August 8, we used a card she had to rent out HP 5 and Coraline and watched it at her place with Lin.  I thought I would’ve been bored but I guess not.  And Coraline was a cool horror movie for kids.  Today, we actually went and watched HP 6 in the theaters.  But first, I went to the SF Street Food Festival and waited a long time for Jenny to show up (:P) then waited an even longer time to get to the end of the line to get Pizza Frita from the Pizzeria Delphina booth which turned out to be too salty.  I also got onigiri from Onigilly which wasn’t bad.  We met up with Lin at the Farmer’s Market at the Metreon and had our lunch before watching the movie.  Despite knowing about The Event, I still thought it was kinda moving when it happened.  After that, we had dinner at Katanaya and their BBQ pork is so good.  Then we went to find Jenny’s ex-roommate to give her her birthday card, which led to an interesting experience of Scientology.  We tried to be polite and just watch their vid, but the receptionist was kinda pushy so I pushed back, and I think she probably deemed me as a SP, or at least labeled as “very skeptical” which felt a lot like codeword for “avoid this guy, he’s bad news” :P

The ironic thing is, I’d actually be interested in watching their video (the same way I watch Creationist videos).  Just leave me alone and don’t try to start trouble yourself and we’ll all be happy. :P

June 3, 2009

20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square and the Chinese censors are running amok

http://www.danwei.org/net_nanny_follies/twitter_domain_blocked_in_chin.php

http://www.danwei.org/net_nanny_follies/chinese_websites_under_mainten.php

Those are the two main articles to look at.  The funny thing is, while trying to post these links on Xiaonei, I ran into some interesting censorship.

The link to the second URL, the google spreadsheet link inside it, a tinyurl link to the spreadsheet, and the words “tiananmen” and “中国网站维护日” all cause the following error to pop up:

“请不要发布政治敏感内容、色情内容、商业广告或其他不恰当内容”

Edit: Looks like even “June 4” and “20th” is blocked.

May 7, 2009

10 reasons why gay marriage is wrong

Filed under: christianity, Controversy, Politics, religion — Tags: , , — dracil @ 8:50 pm

Oh, I have seen the light now.  Yes, yes I have.

1) Being gay is not natural. Real people always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in the world.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans

May 5, 2009

Stupid question-dodging Republicans and conservatives

First up, we have Mike Pence spending 5 minutes weaving left and right to avoid answering the question.

Then we have Kevin James yell at the top of his voice for another 5 mintues refusing to answer the question before finally slipping up and saying he didn’t know.

May 1, 2009

WWJD about waterboarding?

Depressing really.

March 5, 2009

California Supreme Court Prop 8 Court Case Rally

Filed under: Controversy, events, News, photography, Politics, religion — dracil @ 11:19 pm

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This is why I’ll never be a good photographer.  I can’t just pick one or two pics to display. :P (Though this was narrowed down from 17 pics, which was narrowed from 45, which was narrowed down from 101).

Anyway, I took these photos in the morning before work.  Which is the other thing.  There’s only so many photos you can take during the daytime on a weekday when you have a job. :P

One thing I noticed about the Yes on 8 people was that none of them would look at my camera directly.  Shifty eyes and looking everywhere but here.  There was a definite sense of unease about them.  Even when I asked them to show me their signs and stuff.  Then again, this is not their home territory.  Didn’t have the same problem with No on 8 people.

About the actual court hearing, it was kinda disappointing, since it seems Justice Joyce Kennard may be siding with the Prop 8 people this time.  That guy standing in for the attorney-general, Christopher Krueger, didn’t do too well IMO.  Kenneth Starr basically tried to argue that the marriages would not be invalidated, just not recognized.  Which is like if Taiwan declared independence, but every other nation in the world ignored them.  It would make it meaningless.  You can read some argument summaries here.

Other thoughts: I like how so many Christians think it’s ok to blackmail the judges.  WWJD?

Eve of Justice

Filed under: christianity, Controversy, photography, Politics, religion — dracil @ 12:59 am

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Didn’t want to leave work early to attend the march (a shame, I heard Cleve Jones was there).  I did get to see Mark Leno, David Chiu, and Stuart Milk (Harvey Milk’s nephew) though, amongst others, including the people who’ll actually be at the Supreme Court tomorrow.  I may check it out tomorrow before work to see if I can catch some more bigwigs though.  They’re going to have a JumboTron there tomorrow for people to watch too.  There was one disruption where a foul-mouthed Christian conservative (ironic huh) took the mic.  They organizers called for the police to intervene and invited the guy to debate afterwards.

News is that the California Supreme Court may have already reached a decision and will announce it tomorrow.  We’ll see what happens.

You can watch it live on Cal Channel from 9AM-12PM.

March 4, 2009

Traditional Marriage

Filed under: christianity, Controversy, Politics, religion — dracil @ 12:43 am

What is it with all these activist Christian conservatives trying to redefine marriage?

Pepsi boycott fun

Filed under: christianity, Controversy, News, Politics, religion — dracil @ 12:17 am

So Pepsi donates $1m to some civil rights organizations.  Then they put out some funny commercials recognizing that hey, there are homosexuals in the world, and they could very well be your friends!  AFA throws a hissy fit and militarizes religious conservatives to boycott them.  Ever wonder why they don’t boycott Google and Apple?  They each gave $100,000 to No on 8 too you know.  Oh that’s right, it’s so much easier boycotting stuff that is already normally seen as bad (junk food).  None of these people have the integrity to do the hard sacrifices.  It’s especially funny seeing so many of these boycott posts on Google owned property (Blogger/blogspot) with google search boxes and maybe even using Google Adsense.

Now here’s the funny thing.  PepsiCo has decided to partner with the Rockstar energy drink.  Which means now they’ve ALSO pissed off the homosexuals, who are also now calling for a boycott of Pepsi-related products.  Why?  Because Rockstar was co-created by Michael Savage, who’s this conservative radio host who calls homosexuals names and stuff.

So does that mean AFA should be telling people to buy Pepsi now?

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