Check it out SpareInk.com.
Which leads to the question: What will happen if conservatives succeed, as part of their push for an Ownership Society, in redirecting much of the payroll tax from federal coffers into the personal accounts of workers? Most Americans would then be directly supporting the federal government only through the income tax and the few federal sales and excise taxes (e.g., on gasoline). The result: Most Americans would no longer be making any significant contribution whatever toward the maintenance of the federal government.
Any new programs that Congress might adopt would cost the average American little or nothing. He already pays scant income tax, and he would be getting much of his Social Security and Medicare taxes back in the expected personal accounts. So at that point the relatively small number of citizens who make significant income tax payments would be carrying our whole federal edifice.
And there’s the rub. “Rebating” a big chunk of payroll taxes back to workers in the form of personal accounts is devoutly to be wished for in most ways. But one troubling side effect of such a transformation would be to nakedly expose the tax burden that our personal income tax disproportionately lays on the top 5 percent of Americans.
Our Founders had no confidence that voters, unmoored from financial responsibility, would refrain from pillaging the wealth of their neighbors. If most of Washington’s costs end up piled on just a few backs, the only thing preventing a sharp ratcheting up of the income tax will be the decency and political principle of ordinary Americans.
This pessimism is unwarranted. The untaxes would refrain from raising taxes because they know that they benefit from revenue collection. A rational population that was untaxed would stil choose taxes that maximize revenue rather than taxes that maximize “justice”. Obviously if taxes are 100% no one would would bother to earn money. If taxes are 0% no revenue would be collected. The truth is somewhere in between and rational revenue beneficiaries would choose it. Actually they might choose something slightly lower corresponding to their hope that they themselves will eventually earn enough money to pay taxes.
Love this one
Critics of cooked foods, and there is a raw foods movement in the world, Wrangham pointed out, say “Look at chimpanzees. They eat raw and thrive.”
Chimpanzees, he re-emphasized, spend far more time eating than humans do and as a result don’t have time or energy to expand far beyond their range. In German research studies on the effects on humans of following a raw food diet, the results show that humans eating only raw food are hungry, experience weight loss and, in the case of women, quit having regular menstrual cycles, which means that the rate of reproduction is precariously lowered.
“It seems difficult for me to deny the evidence that the evolution of man came with the discovery of fire and cooking,” Wrangham said. “Cooking changed the biological design of humans, and that fact is the basis of paleo-gastronomy,” he added.
“Being able to spend a low percent of time eating made hunting possible and expanded the range of humans out of Africa and into Asia,” Wrangham said. Cooking also prompted the sexual division of labor: men, being bigger and stronger, hunted, and women provisioned and cooked.
Cooking created the human family or civilization, where humans not only assumed tasks suited to their skills but also put those skills to work in taking care of one another. You hunted for the group or family, as well as yourself. Or, you cooked for the hunter, as well as yourself.
Great interview from Nick Shulz of William Lewis author of “The Power of Productivity, Wealth, Power, and the Threat to Global Stability.”about how poor countries become rich. Its all about productivity and productivity is all about protecting the rights of consumers against producers. Structuring a political system so that producer lobbyists don’t win control appears to be the key to success, but that turns about to be very difficult. If you are at interested in any of any of these things, I strongly recommend you read the whole thing.
Friends know that for a while I have been skeptical about the whole software outsourcing to India story. The real value in software is the connection with the customer/user and that can’t be outsourced. Now Half Sigma does a really good job of generalizing the point:
But what is left for the United States to do if both manufacturing and information jobs are moved overseas? The answer is marketing. Marketing is the craft of linking producers of goods and services with customers. And the customers exist in the United States because we are the world’s richest nation.
Only Americans know what other Americans want to buy. Only Americans know how to create the perception of value where none actually exists. Two days ago I wrote about an $88 t-shirt. The Chinese can manufacture a t-shirt for $1, but they will never be able to figure out how to get Americans to pay 88 times what it costs to manufacture.