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.

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.

April 9, 2009

Racist Republican representatives

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — dracil @ 10:36 pm

According to Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, apparently Asian-Americans aren’t Americans and I also know a few dozen European languages.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

“You and your citizens”?  “Easier for Americans to deal with”?  Learning names means learning the language?  Seriously, WTF.

January 15, 2009

Eightmaps

So eightmaps is a site that shows all the people who donated to Prop 8.

So some people are really worried about their privacy because of this.

Except all this information has always been public knowledge.  The moment you donate, you lose your right to privacy because you’ve gone beyond merely voting.  The political system requires transparency to ensure that there isn’t corruption going on.

But no, Yes on 8 people want special treatment.  Sorry, that’s not how it works.

Others have called for a map of No on 8 donors so they can boycott business and stuff.  I say go right ahead.  I’d like to see you boycott Google and Apple.

December 16, 2008

Evangelicals force leader to step down

Top evangelical resigns after backing gay unions

Well, looks like there’s still some hope for the evangelicals after all.

December 4, 2008

Prop 8 The Musical

Prop 8 The Musical.  It’s about 3 min long.  Contains quite a few big names in the cast.

While we’re at it, let’s ban divorce.

November 16, 2008

Nationwide Protest against Proposition 8 in San Francisco

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So… I went to the protest today.

Well, first I went to Calumet to try out a photography vest.  Decided not to get it ’cause they only had black (which can get really hot).  I mainly want one so I don’t have to keep bringing bags.

There were several protesters on the bus I took to city hall.  I arrived half an hour early but there was already a really large crowd.

There were a bunch of political and religious figures that gave speeches like Mark Leno or Amos Brown or the girl sent by Barbara Lee.  There were also LGBT people including a hermaphrodite.  For the most part, they tried to tell people to stop scapegoating other communities.  I think it helped the message that some of the people up there were African-American preachers and gay mormons.

I went to get lunch when it was over at 12:45 (15 minutes overtime) and saw the protesters march past while I was eating.  Went to get some books over at Japantown, then went back to downtown to go home and we hit the protesters who were basically marching on the streets and blocking traffic.

As I was heading to the Bart I saw a big crowd of people watching a performance by The Loyd Family Players.  They took a 5 minute break but the police came and made them go away during their break.

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