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[links] Link salad falls into another week - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-06-25 05:21
Subject: [links] Link salad falls into another week
Security: Public
Tags:books, christianism, climate, cool, language, links, personal, politics, religion, science, tech
Some Books Are More Equal Than Others — A middle school teacher is snotty about the classics versus that genre trash. Because, you know, you can't learn anything from reading genre.

The secret of nym — Ah, words.

You Will Want Google Goggles

Do You Really Believe What You Say You Believe? — A question I have often asked myself, as the vast majority of faith claims are so staggeringly improbable on the sheer face of things that I never quite believe the believers. A failure of my own imagination, obviously, but a sadly persistent one.

Here are some of the death threats sent to a climate scientist — Because when you don't have reality on your side, you're pretty much stuck with invective and lies. C.f. the entire conservative movement, essentially. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Members of Congress trade in companies while making laws that affect those same firms — Mmm. Ethics. I expect no less from conservatives, but come on, Democrats. You're supposed to be the good guys.

Old vs. YoungThe Generation Gap is Back. Politics, American style.

US citizens leaving the country to avoid stiff tax bills — Now that's trickle down economics. (Via David Goldman)

Scalia's 'intellect and integrity' — He's a conservative. The ends will always justify the means, all the while decrying the evil of situationalist liberals. 'Nuff said.

?otD: When is your Monday?




6/25/2012
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.25 (solid)
Weight: 240.2
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

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User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-06-25 14:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Re: the middle school teacher?

She's sneakily promoting the cause of the new national Common Core standards. Common Core requires a heavier emphasis on nonfiction readings than on literature--in fact, according to my current understanding, it actively downplays literature.

Hidden agenda, my friend, hidden agenda.
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2012-06-25 16:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If significant numbers of American citizens are leaving the country to avoid high taxes, doesn't that imply that the taxes are too high? Also, since America is thereby losing some or all of the taxes they would have paid, doesn't that show the limits of taxation as a means of government revenue collection?

There is no way that the US government can prevent this short of either (1) lowering taxes, or (2) adopting totalitarian controls on emigration.

We should see this as a warning: the decline of postwar Europe included a tendency for rich Europeans to emigrate -- often to America -- due to high European taxes.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-06-25 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not that simple. Taxes on the wealthy are the lowest now than they've been in generations, I believe the entire 20th century in fact. Why didn't the wealthy emigrate during the Eisenhower years? Or the Kennedy years? Or the Reagan years?

My personal (and unsubstantiated) opinion is that this trend is the apotheosis of the past two or three decades of conservative rhetoric and policy which can be summed up as "I've got mine, fuck you." The Right has completely abdicated any loyalty to the common good (which was certainly not always true of the Right) in favor of the individual.
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2012-06-25 17:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Taxes on the wealthy are the lowest now than they've been in generations, I believe the entire 20th century in fact.

This claim sounds more than a little dubious. Are you measuring "taxes on the wealthy" in terms of tax rates, revenue collection per capita or total revenue collection? If you are measuring it on either of the last two metrics, revenue collection would of course be down because we are in a depression, but tax burden on the individual wealthy might be quite high compared to their income.

Also, I'd note that the Bush tax cuts are due to expire and Obama has said he won't be renewing them. This would be an obvious motivator for those with money to leave the country, at least until Obama is safely out of office.

Regardless of the cause, what would you propose to do about it? The only two options that I could see working would be either lowering taxes or instituting emigration controls.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-06-25 17:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Absolute tax rates, actually.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213

With the exception of 1988-1992, top marginal tax rates are currently the lowest they've been since 1932. And the exemptions and loopholes are *much* bigger these days.

My point is the fix for this isn't in lowering taxes. They *are* lower. It's a larger social problem with significant roots in conservative rhetoric and ideology.
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2012-06-25 17:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The drop to 35% comes in 2003. That's George W. Bush's tax cuts. That expires this year, which perfectly explains why rich people would be leaving the country.

The table also doesn't support your claim that "top marginal tax rates are currently the lowest they've been since 1932," as they were at 28% in 1988-89 and 31$ in 1990-92, as compared to 35% now. They are merely the lowest they've been since 1992, and have been that low for the last 9 years -- and are scheduled to rise.

Yes. A lot of Americans have lost faith that the government is spending their tax dollars at all wisely, and hence will go out of their way to avoid taxes. What solution do you propose for this?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-06-25 17:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The table also doesn't support your claim that "top marginal tax rates are currently the lowest they've been since 1932,"

Erm, hence my statement "With the exception of 1988-1992". That was my original error, which I amended in my last comment. You seem to have read past that.

You're also cherrypicking your dates to avoid my point, which is that from 1932 to 1987, and since 1992, they were higher or the same as today, without this problem coming forward.

What you identify as a loss of faith in government spending is precisely the problem. Which I pin firmly on conservative ideology and rhetoric, which can be boiled down to "government *is* the problem". Blame the government loudly at every turn, and spend several decades deliberately sabotaging its effectiveness while trying to drown government in the bathtub, and hey, presto, you get a government people don't trust.

To blame the government now for a problem deliberately created by 30+ years of conservative political strategy is disingenous. And no, I don't know how to solve it. I do know how to stop making it worse, which is to call bullshit on the people who created the problem, and stop them from further deepening it.
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