Archive for February, 2013

The Unkindest Cut

There are a lot of things that bother me about the “sequester”, not the least of which is the fact that it is completed unnecessary and could be fixed with a quick repeal of the law. But another thing I hate, which I hated just as much when it was used at the state level, is the across-the-board cut. It’s akin to cutting out ten percent every organ in your body when you have a diagnosis of lung cancer to see if that works.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Deal II

So I finished reading the The Deal (it took a couple hours at most), and the result was a fleshing out of pretty much everything that was in the original blog post. The long-term deficit isn’t hard to understand: it’s caused by health-care benefits that are out of whack with taxes. It’s really that simple. Medicare is not paid for. And if we don’t raise taxes, we will have to cut benefits for the elderly.

So what’s it going to be? Higher taxes or Medicare cuts? Your move, America.

The Deal

I saw this article a couple of days ago and it piqued my interest so much, I had to buy the e-book (it’s only 1.99!). I haven’t yet read it, so I’ll give my full review later, but the top 10 takeaways from Ezra Klein were true enough to make me want to comment already…

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Incidence Reviewed

I have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning than go over finances. In doing so, I realized that I had miscalculated the tax incidence graphs I had previously created. The biggest change is for payroll taxes in college: instead of looking at my W2s I just assumed I was paying full Social Security and Medicare taxes on my student jobs. In fact, I was not. This reduced my tax burden in the late 90s. The 2012 blog post has been updated with the most accurate figures.


I’m with Atrios on this one. Last night, I heard a story on Marketplace about a guy who was long-term unemployed, and then got a job writing for Mad Men. The end. It was a wholly unfulfilling story, essentially saying nothing other than “This guy found a way.” Nothing on how, or what is happening to those who aren’t as lucky. Incidentally, this is not really surprising for Marketplace of late: last week I heard somebody say “Not paying your mortgage is a moral choice” and I wanted to smash the radio.

These stories are far more common than the guy who came out all right. People who did the right thing, who went to college, who had good jobs, who saved some money, and now can’t find a job to save their lives, literally. Sure, it’s easy to poke holes in each individual story, saying “Maybe you should have gone to a cheaper school” or “Maybe you shouldn’t have bought that house”, but let’s be honest: these are the decisions that we all make in our lives, and there is nothing wrong with them. Except when the economy falls apart and we collectively let it.

There are millions of people who can contribute to society and are unable to right now. This is not only an economic disaster, it’s a human one. Productivity is being lost that will never, ever return. Years of making, innovating, and creating are being lost. This is a national emergency and nobody in power is doing anything about it.

2012 Tax Incidence

So I’ve done our 2012 taxes, and as such, I can update my last blog post on tax incidence. Graphs below…

Read the rest of this entry »