Archive for Political

Another 4 years.

Well, the elections are officially over. Honestly, I’m glad to be rid of them. Some of those political calls were very persistent. Perhaps in 2016 I’ll disconnect our land line. They called from 5 pm to 9 pm even though it is a matter of public record that my ENTIRE household had voted already. Two things really need to happen soon.

1. Electronic voting. I am shocked this hasn’t happened yet. Yes I know the possible dangers of backdoors hacking and general issues arising from corruption. However, perhaps we could outsource this to a neutral country, ideally one with nothing to gain from manipulating the election. Either that or have EXTREME oversight on the project by having multiple companies work on each element and open the source to the public.

2. Popular vote. While this year it didn’t apply, some years the president with the most votes doesn’t actually win the election. Some states have amended their constitution to give votes proportionally. This needs to be enacted across the board.

We’ll see how future elections are handled, but we should be able to do these within my lifetime.

Populist non-committal speech

How can you tell if a politician is lying? He's moving his lips.

Dear god. While I missed the first few minutes, there was nothing good in the president’s speech tonight. He made vast generalizations and talked about programs that he has no intention to commit to. It was nothing more than a 2012 campaign speech. While I support the wealthy “paying their fair share”, it is the wealthy that make jobs, that drive large corporations and offer retirement benefits and general employment for perhaps thousands under them, from the janitor to the secretary. Stifle that drive to achieve and amass more wealth and you cause more harm than good.

 

Now, what alternatives do I offer? A flat tax rate across the board would be a nice first step, but lower-income people would suffer. While I could afford to pay 30% or more of my income, others might not be able to. If we make a line in the sand as it were of who pays this “normal” tax rate, where is that line drawn? $20,000? $30,000? We have a tiered system now. What I propose is a suspension of income tax, and instead increase sales taxes to make up the difference except of course on groceries and fuel. This would encourage people to save significantly more, and then, those who could afford these new things, would pay for it. In addition, sites like Craigslist and eBay would become havens because the tax would only apply to new items. This would encourage “recycling”.

 

Every year, my friends get big refunds and I usually get either $100-200 back, or I have to pay. I fall on that middle line of income apparently. It just seems that the people who get the refund, run out and make a big purchase. While a car might be a good investment, a new TV is not. I propose that refunds come with stipulations. The checks can only be used for certain items(car, health care, investments etc), or deposited into a savings account and cannot be moved for a set period of time or limit how much can be withdrawn. I know that the appliance industry is probably sending a hit squad to get me right now, but if people saved more, we would have far less issues than we do now.

 

Admittedly, something has to change. With the wealthy taking tax breaks and the poor getting refunds, the only people who support the system is the vast middle class.

 

Full disclosure, I traditionally vote Republican, not due to sheer ideology, but I usually relate to the candidates more. After the President’s speech, I did listen to the Republican rebuttal. What was said by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels resonated with me. He spoke of social security that we need to patch right now, and mend for the future. He spoke of the idiocy of instituting more programs to fix issues. Overall, I agree with his views, though the candidates this year are somewhat lacking. Let’s see what happens as we get closer to election season.

SOPA

In case you hadn’t noticed (and I didn’t want it to intrude) I put a small ribbon on the upper right corner of the site a while ago (well, day one that I relaunched this thing). As is most of the internet, I am against SOPA as well. It’s dangerous and people who think that it won’t be abused, are kidding themselves. There will always be lawyers out there willing to argue for the bill in just about any situation. However, in the recent week, there have been some key victories against this bill. Firstly, the DNS provision has been pulled, which is a major step. Secondly, the White House has voiced its non-support of the bill. Thirdly, several key senators and representatives have distanced themselves from it or called for “further study”. Fourthly, sites like Wikipedia and Google are going to protest this bill by either going dark or featuring a message prominently displayed. There is still time to chime in. Click on the banner in the upper right and tell them NO to SOPA. Together we can get this bill pulled.