In 2003, George and Laura Bush paid an effective tax rate on their income of about 30%. I estimate that I paid an effective tax rate of 28%. The average middle-class family paid an effective tax rate of 20%. Billionaire couple John Kerry and Theresa Heinz Kerry, with an income ten times the Bushes, paid an effective tax rate of just 13%.
It's awfully hard to soak the rich. They know how to work the system to their advantage; that's one of the ways they got rich. Our best chance at a fair system is a simple, flat tax, with a generous individual deduction that frees anyone at a subsistence level of income from any taxes.
IPac - "A PAC for balanced intellectual property policy"
A new PAC which electioneers for more sensible intellectual property laws has launched: IPac. Its tagline: "Defending the public interest where culture and technology meet."
Good idea. Unsure of the name, though. Should it be said "I-Pac," like IPod? Such an association -- while cute now -- could eventually seem dated as fads change. They might also be misheard as AIPAC -- though that might not be such a bad thing when phoning legislators to get a meeting.
Or is it "I.P. Ack!", an exasperated exclamation?
Or should it be said "I.P. Action," like their domain name if not their logo? (What's up with promoting a name different from the domain? That tends to dilute the identity-juice...)
But these are nits. Whatever the name I'm rooting for them.
("IPac" also somewhat reminds me of Robin Gross's IPJustice, whose name has always struck me as a little funny. "Hey, take me out for a night of beers around the corner from the RIAA's offices, and by the end of the night I'll pee a little justice, too!")
A 2-part interview with Thomas L Friedman of the NYTimes highlights Friedman's sunny view of outsourcing and offshoring. His cutesy coinages -- "glocalize," "the world is flat," "Globalization 3.0," "the McDonald's theory [of peace between nations]" -- get a bit cloying, but he has an important message. Meanwhile...
A 5-part travelogue which, seeing brutal poverty in India from a tourist's perspective, finds dark humor in it. Slate may get indignant nastygrams, but levity can be a legitimate way to face horrors honestly, rather than simply turning away or adopting a hypocritical solemnity.