Monthly Archives: November 2012

Raise Taxes on the Rich?

Spread the wealth. Close the income gap. The Robin Hood effect. Take from the rich to give to the poor. On the surface this seems most admirable, but I am not entirely convinced raising taxes on the rich will do the American people one iota of good. Let me explain.

Loopholes:
I work for a consulting firm that earns millions by exploiting the shortcomings of our tax system. There is no perfect system and anyone who has accumulated any amount of wealth has a team of tax professionals finding the “dreaded” tax loop holes for their clients. It’s not immoral either. It is the fiduciary duty of any corporation to do this – to maximize the value of the stakeholders investments. It would be ignorant to believe that any system can be devised in which this can be avoided.

Incentive:
Fact: The best way to eliminate poverty is via capitalism. We want to bring wealth and jobs to this country and keep it here – not drive it away. The only way to do that is to make it advantageous for businesses to do business in America. We do not want our wealthiest citizens to move their wealth off shore, to invest in countries like China and India, to keep foreign bank accounts, or to move their money and jobs away from the people who desire that capital and employment here. Increase taxation aimed at the rich in the name of the social good is counterproductive.

There is a hole in our bucket:
We are a nation in debt. Not because we do not have enough tax revenue, but because we spend too much. We have a variety of social programs and the largest military in the world. The truth is our tax rate is as high as any country in the world – even highly socialized countries (~ 2.5% GDP). An increased tax on the rich will not solve our debt problem, it won’t even slow it down. We have to reevaluate the way we run this country from top to bottom. You can try to fill a bucket as fast as you can with tax dollars, but when the bottom of your bucket is a hole you can never fill it.

The Government Does not Create Wealth:
The Government does not create wealth and it usually does a poor job of transferring it. I think of the Government like a pipe transferring warm water. The water starts out hot, but as it travels loses heat before it reaches its destination. Similarly, when compared to businesses, because of inefficiency and ineffectiveness, the Government loses wealth during the transfer from the top to the bottom. Sometime the deserving never even see the money and those willing to exploit the system abuse it. Businesses’ sole purpose is creating wealth through innovation and production, thus it is the most efficient method to create and spread wealth. Taxation hinders the creation of real wealth.

We Should do a better job managing what we have before asking for more:
If a bankrupt person request a personal loan would you concede? Would you give a horrible co-worker more responsibility if they had already filed multiple times? Would you promote a person not ready for additional responsibility? No.

Similarly why do we advocate giving a Government, already trillions in debt, more of our hard earned money. Our Government has proven time and time again our tax dollars are used to fund foreign wars and pay for services that do not benefit our citizens. When you ask for more of our tax dollars – however noble the gesture – I just can’t agree.

Why I Blog

Sometimes I share extremely person things on this blog – that’s one of the advantages of anonymity. I think I do it because it’s theraputic, but I also know (and hope) that some of my little rants help others or at very least make them feel a little less isolated.

I revealed that my mom attempted suicide a few months back and received several comments of reassurance and advice. It seems like we all pitched in to help. I received this comment today that makes it all the more worth it:

My mom also swallowed a bottle of pills today. It’s not the first time, and although she has suffered from severe depression most of her life you’d never know it. She is the kindest, most caring person I know surrounded by people who love and support her, and my 5 year old son is the light if her life. All this seems to be meaningless, now lying in a hospital bed. She will recover (again) but for how long this time? How do I manage my life and my family (which is amazing)? These are impossible questions, but I found your blog by searching moms and suicide and your post and all the comments were really helpful and I wanted to say thank you.

Sometimes the answer you are looking for is on some blog no one reads out there on the internet.

An update about nothing

The last few weeks have been busy. Busy at home and busy at work. The Holiday season brings family members to my house and deadlines at work. All of which I enjoy, ironically. I prefer to stay at capacity at work and whenever I have the opportunity to see my wife’s eyes light up because we are hosting a house full of friends and family it makes my day.

It’s funny how things change over time. It was only a few years ago I found myself piling into someone else’s home for the Holidays; now I have someow inexplicably claimed the right to host holiday get-togethers. I think I actually enjoy it to some degree too – which is also surprising. As long as I keep my refrigerator full of premium beer and invite at least one friend over to keep me sane I survive. It also helps that my wife and mother-in-law are excellent cooks.

I didn’t even mind having to drive over an hour each way to pick up my insane Mother – which turned into a lot more work than I had planned. It seems a non-religious guy who largely thinks most holidays are built by corporations to trick the world into spending money they don’t have CAN actually find a bit of value and appreciation for the institution. At a minimum – this Thanksgiving did provide me with a lot to be thankful for and this Christmas season has given me the opportunity to treat my wife and friends to a few gifts I normally wouldn’t be able to talk myself into purchasing.

Perspective

I’m a realist to a fault sometimes. There are occasions I can’t even enjoy the holidays because I see them for what they are. FAKE. They are built on a foundation of consumerism, materialism, and greed – an evil ironic twist to a holiday made to supposedly celebrate one of the most minimalist, “wealth is bad”, characters in history (I’m talking about Jesus here, folks). The irony seems to be lost on most Christians – most demanding more “black Friday” deals and cussing their fellow religious zealots for taking their coveted parking spot at Wal-Mart. I digress.

I have found a glimmer of hope for the holidays. A change in perspective.

While it is true that the holiday season is mostly an ironic pile of dog-shit, all is not lost. It is also a time to see family and friends, appreciate eachother’s company, feast over good stories with good beer, and show your love and appreciation for everyone in your life.

Of course we don’t need the holidays to do all that, but if we have to put up with it – may as well make it worth something…

So this holiday season I will put up Christmas decorations, feast with family I only see once a year, and watch my wife’s face light up with pleasure. I suppose you can’t change the truth about the nature of this beast, but you can at least change what it means within yourself. Change your own perspective, fight fires when you can, and try to enjoy what’s good about it all.

When did freedom of speech become so unpopular?

People should never do anything but fight for freedom of speech. Even dumb speech, hate speech, and bad speech. The good thing about free speech is that there is always someone there to call you out on your stupidity (with their free speech) – unless you are the Government or the media…

Step Back, Be Reasonable

Sometimes it’s entertaining to be a little extreme. I find myself doing it all the time when I blog. Sometimes it helps me vet myself for the real world. I can work out ideas, write stuff down, and then look back on it and decide with a clear mind whether I agree with everything I wrote. Sometime I look back on something I wrote and think “Genius!”, but other times I look back over the words that came out of my mind in confusion or embarrassment.

That’s what this little blog is for – its a research and development portal for ideas. In real life I think I’m much more agreeable. I would never take on an issue such as healthcare, atheism, or the economy with an casual friend. People (including myself) sometimes get too emotional about certain issues.

I think sometimes we people get too caught up in an idea. An idea like “I support Romney” or “I support Obama” and forget the essential issue of taking care of you neighbor and doing the right thing. It’s ultimately not about Republican or Democrat. Realistically, those guys and gals running things (most of them) care little or nothing about our neighborhoods, our lives, or what we do from day to day. What we can control is how we treat each other.

Reasonable Requests

I want people to have easy access to healthcare. I don’t want to watch Americans (or anyone else) kill each other in war. I want every child in America to have the opportunity for an outstanding education. I want every adult to be able to marry whoever they want, engage in any activity they want, live anywhere they want, and act any way they please – as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else in the process.

I want people to be able to believe as they please and practice those beliefs, but respect those who believe differently. I want people to be able to spread those ideas, say what’s on their mind, and criticize those they think are wrong – as long as it’s peacefully. I want privacy in my own home, I want my tax dollars spent on projects that promote the longevity of this country, and I don’t want to burden the future of America with a debt that cannot be repaid.

There may be different ideas about how to get there, but I think all of these ideas are reasonable. We are all Americans – above that and more importantly we are all People. Let’s take care of each other.

Different Ideas – Same Goal

There have been many a time I have witnesses two intelligent, good people become enemies because of different ideologies. At our core most of us want the same things. We don’t think its fair when a kid goes hungry and another kid gets an iPad. We want every sick person to get better. We want everyone who has to live in project housing in bad neighborhoods to rise above it.

I was that kid, I know first hand it’s not fair! I’m thankful everyday for the teachers, people, and even Government that helped me get through it. I can testify to the fact that any one of those things on their own could NOT have saved me. I needed all of them. I think it’s important to remember that.

Maybe you disagree who or how we can get past these obstacles, but when you meet a person who cares enough about these ideas to do something about it – don’t discount them because you disagree about the politics of an issue – embrace them because you both care enough about humanity to do something to fix it.

Liberal Zinger

I know none of this means much, but sometimes its funny just to give a little jab to a jerk.

Book Recommendation

If you are looking for a book to read I highly suggest Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng.

It is admittedly a pro-capitalist, anti-communism manifesto, but what makes it interesting is that it is a true story. The Author recounts her life in China during Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution”.

There are some important life lessons to be learned from her story and at very least – the lesson to appreciate the Liberty we enjoy today.

Recommended to people across the political spectrum or for people who just want a good story to read.

10 things that will probably happen in the next 10 years

1. Marijuana will become legal in several states including Colorado, Washington, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon.
2. Same Sex marriage will become legal in most states including those in the Northeast, West Coast, and Colorado.
3. Puerto Rico will become a state.
4. Iran will become nuclear and soon after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will lose power to a U.S. friendly party leader.
5. The economy will have light overall growth over the next four years. The deficit will grow. A Republican will take office in 2016.
6. Hilary Clinton will represent the Democrat Party the next election cycle.
7. The internet will become more regulated under the guise of anti-bullying and anti-terrorism. Website promoting “terrorism” will be outlawed, access to websites in hostile countries will be prohibited, and the Government will track, store, and mine all internet data.
8. Marco Rubio will represent the Republican Party for President.
9. The U.S. will negotiate a trade with China to forgive the debt. This will probably involve energy or a natural disaster (oil or nuclear). The media will play this as an act of goodwill, but it will actually be an act of hostility. This will worsen relations between the US, Russia, and China.
10. A country in the EU will go rogue (Germany or Italy, probably) resulting in conflict or economic collapse for several countries in Europe. The EU will become a totalitarian socialist regime or collapse completely.

People, NOT Government

President Obama will be our president for the next four years, the House of Representatives is still controlled by a Republican majority, and the Senate is still controlled by a Democrat majority. Nothing has changed since yesterday. This morning I still got out of bed, shut off my alarm, put on my clothes, and went to work.

For now, I’ll rake the leaves at the beginning of my neighborhood when no one else will, I’ll buy a homeless guy a meal and treat him like a person, I’ll offer to fix my neighbor’s front porch when they need help, and I’ll lend my friends a few bucks when times are tight after they’ve been laid off work. In the end, its the people that make a difference, not their Government.

Did you get that?

As a 25 year old man, with several decades left to live, I believe no idea is more important to perpetuate than our sense of responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors. We have to fight for it!

As it stands it seems we as a population have slowly come to rely more and more on Government. Not just the poor, not just as a social safety net, and not just for emergency – but to such an extent we are losing our sense of community.

Ask yourself: “What is my relationship with my community?” and “What do I think when I see someone in need?” Do you think “How can I help?” or do you assume the Government already is?

We text “Red Cross” during a hurricane instead of preparing a meal for our neighbor. We wait for FEMA instead offering water to the thirsty. We assume “they get food-stamps” instead of offering someone a way to feed themselves. Republican or Democrat this is a trending theme everyone must be worried about.

Help yourself, help your neighbor, don’t wait for anyone else to do it.