"How fortunate for
governments that the people they administer don't think."
"Only two things are
infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the
usc won the pac-12 championship
so that's good news. good team this year overall. they had some injuries
to the o-line and both their lines actually had a few rough games, but
they lost to two pretty good teams so i think they're back to competing
at a high level again and last year wasn't a fluke. darnold is the real
deal, but turns the ball over way too much. not sure where they'll end
up. rose bowl is taken this year so that's kind of a bummer. they're forecasting
fiesta bowl vs. tcu, which isn't very exciting because they're not a big
name. i always feel like those are lose-lose situations. the perception
is that usc should beat any team out there other than big name schools
like OSU, TX, ND, AL, etc. even if boise state or TCU or whomever is really
good, it feels like it should be a win. that's the downside of being a
storied program. the upside is that you have a built-in recruiting advantage
had my biggest concrete
pour to date today. didn't go well. i called the concrete company a couple
days ago for a delivery and they couldn't get it out to me until today
at 1:30p. i knew that was going to be pretty late and i wanted to get it
done today. instead of shopping around i stupidly decided to go to the
landscape supply yard and have them mix up some for me and tow it in their
trailer. they do this all the time and i used it once before to do the
slab in the garage at picardy. well, this time the mix i got was super
wet and since the weather has been cool and the slab didn't get any sun,
it stayed wet and the bleed water didn't go anywhere. finally we tried
to finish it at about 430p and it was still soupy as fuck. there was no
way of saving it. i troweled it out and as best i could tell (it was dark
by then) it looks like crap. guess we'll see what the customer says. they're
putting a hot tub over it so maybe they won't be too picky, but i have
a feeling i'm going to be jackhammering it all up and doing it again next
week. these are the joys of owning your own business. as an employee there's
nothing you can do that will lose you money. you can be malicious or completely
incompetent over a long period of time and get fired, but you'll never
lose money, or pay someone to do a job for them (if you really fuck up).
luckily i think i've only
paid someone to work at their house once before. i was fixing a cabinet
that she put together incorrectly and as i was taking the back off to rebuild
it, it collapsed and was instantly destroyed. cost me $200 and i still
had to build it and install it. so i basically paid her about $100 to do
that job for her. if this slab needs to be taken out i'll be out the cost
of labor to demo, the dump fees, more concrete, and the labor to reinstall.
heard a stat from freakonomics
that 25% of people who make 100-150k/year "can't come up with $2,000 in
30 days." i find this to be astonishingly pathetic. in other words, they
can't scrounge up 1 week's earnings in 4 weeks. the researchers purposely
worded it as "come up with" because they wanted to allow for people borrowing,
using credit cards, using social resources, etc. if you make that much
money and you can't come up with 2% of your salary because you have a bad
transmission, then you're making bad decisions.
here's the thing when it
comes to personal finance, and a lot of other life decisions, these days.
i find that there are fewer and fewer legitimate excuses for not taking
control of your life to the extent that a quarter of people who are pretty
damn well off can't come up with $2k. when you're making that much money
it has almost everything to do with your decisions and these days those
decisions are so easy to farm out. the amount of good personal finance
advice out there is ridiculous. there are sites and communities dedicated
to eating cheap and healthy, to establishing emergency funds, to living
frugally, to bettering your credit, etc. all of which would allow you to
manage a problem on the order of 2% of your yearly income. all that said,
i guarantee that there are people who will see that 25% number and feel
sorry for those poor people making six figures who must live in expensive
cities or have such awful lives that they can't even afford to fix their
transmission. at some point, we have to start holding people accountable
for their decisions. right?
college football is looking
at some potential chaos scenarios that are pretty interesting. 538 said
last week that USC had about a 25% chance of getting into the playoff,
but i still consider that to be bogus.
alabama should be out,
but you never know. wisconsin holds their fate in their hands. same with
oklahoma. there's a decent chance that a two loss team could make it in.
ohio state could beat wisconsin and they would have a decent claim to getting
in. i don't think they deserve it, especially after how they showed up
last year against clemson. of course i'd like to see usc in there, but
they don't deserve it even if they win out. anyway, lots of interesting
scenarios to consider.
watching the WA/WA ST game
and found i was actually learning a few things from the color commentator.
turns out it was brady quinn. this is the second time i've noticed he's
done a good job, so i guess he's pretty good, even if he's from ND.
here's an interesting thought
experiment - would you rather vote for bill clinton or mitt romney? assuming
they're the same age. basically everyone i know is liberal so i assume
they'd all instantly say bill clinton. you can say he's more experienced
or he's better on the issues or he's not out of touch like romney. what's
interesting about all this, though, is that the cause du jour is sexual
assault against women and bill clinton has been accused of sexual assault
and rape multiple times. enough times that you have to assume there's something
to the charges. i'm wondering if i know anyone who would be able to hold
their nose and vote for someone like mitt romney over an alleged sexual
assaulter like clinton. i think thinking about it like this allows you
to view the republicans' ability to vote for a despicable person like trump
over someone like hillary. party and political issues win out over personal
the big one that got legs
against clinton was monica and the typical response was always that it
was consensual and no one should have asked him about it (which is why
he ended up perjuring himself). but as louis c.k. recently pointed out
in his apology, it's about power. he had power over the women he entrapped.
he had their respect and admiration and took advantage of that. surely
this is true of clinton times 10.
i think the outrage over
the issue from the democrats today is in contrast to their defense during
the clinton era. this is why this issue with clinton is getting relitigated
again today. at some point the republicans have to stop bringing this up.
they really do seem to be obsessed with the clintons for some reason...they
bring up hillary in their coverage even today. but, i do think it's fair
of them to bring up the obvious and relevant hypocrisy of democrats on
the sexual assault issue. democrats have long been up in arms about this
issue with trump, but they have some splaining to do when it comes to their
like of outrage during the clinton years and the issues that have been
coming out lately with weinstein and many other prominent democratic celebrities.
imagine an alternate universe
wherein ronald reagan encourages his secretary/mistress to get an abortion.
republicans say you shouldn't meddle in his affairs. 20 years later a bunch
of koch brother, ted nugent, chuck norris types are found to have also
encouraged their mistresses/wives/whatever to get abortions. the cries
of hypocrisy would be never-ending (and well-earned),
since i'm talking about
the past and hypocrisy. what about ice cube? he went on bill maher's show
a while back and chastised him for using the n word. gave him a hard time
and said it was our word now and you can't use it. he said he likes maher,
but you can't get too comfortable and use that word. okay, that's fair
imo. but to what extent should we look back at ice cube's lyrics and see
if he applies the same thinking to his music? obviously he uses the n word
all the time, but i'm not talking about that. what about his treatment
of women in his songs? what about his use of the word fag? he's called
easy e a faggot in at least one song i can think of and he's used the word
fag derisively elsewhere as well. what about how he treats asians in a
song like black korea?
i wonder where this stuff
is going to end. everyone seems to be getting caught up in this endless
looking back nowadays. everything you've ever done is likely to be on trial
if you're a public figure. and it's only going to get worse as we move
on because more and more stuff is online now and cameras are everywhere
and critics grown on trees.
i really think identity
politics are tearing us apart more than anytime since i've been alive.
i think the democrats are actually pulling these strings more than the
republicans, but both are playing this game and it's dangerous and unhelpful.
i could go into this a lot more, but i just don't have the energy right
haidt is someone i've been following for a few years now. this guy
really seems to get the political landscape in a way few people do because
they are so wrapped up in their own team's righteousness that they're blind
to the other side.
right thinking people know
why trump is so dangerous. but what i wish more of those people got upset
about was the expansion of executive power during those times when their
team (democrats) are in power. obama uses the executive order to an unprecedented
level and they say it was necessary. democratic congress uses the nuclear
option and they turn a blind eye. this kind of stuff normalizes bad behavior
and makes the executive more powerful. seems acceptable when it's for a
good cause and seems horrible when your worst enemy has that same power.
another thing right thinking
people need to get under control is their sense of outrage and fear mongering.
i remember people talking about bush being the worst president ever (i
actually almost agree with this one). "he's going to institute martial
law." "he's going to suspend elections." "diebold fixed the election for
him." etc. romney came along and he was morally corrupt, the worst of the
1%, he's got binders full of women, who knows what he's hiding in his taxes,
etc. trump comes along and it's the same song and dance. at some point
both sides need to dial back the rhetoric or else normal people aren't
going to believe them anymore. i've wised up. i never really believed the
republicans when they said that shit and now i don't believe the democrats
either. and i think most smart people probably get that this is just the
game they play. "chris, you're taking it too seriously...of course they're
going to smear romney as badly as bush and trump even though he may not
be as bad." but at what point do they pay the price for this? the answer
is never. because those same people won't ever hold their party accountable
for muddying the waters with bullshit. and then they wonder why politics
is such a dirty business. why both sides are so scummy. because it works
and they never pay the price. some people sit out of the game entirely,
but that doesn't bother the parties.
i think all the harvey
weinstein and related outings is great. the paradise papers, too. there's
no such thing as privacy for these people anymore...at least it's getting
to be less and less. the downside is that you can't believe in people like
bono anymore. all these people are tainted. so many of them hide their
money or molest people or whatever. it was good to see ben affleck confirmed
as a piece of shit. i've suspected as much for a while now.
i'm hoping that the child
molesters in hollywood are going to get outed next. corey feldman has been
rumbling about this for a while. elijah wood also commented on this a while
back. i don't doubt that there's more to this waiting to be outed like
the weinstein thing.
something that gets peoples'
blood boiling is talking about the fairness of our tax system. this is
getting debated a lot now with the gop tax plan. it also came up a lot
with romney and trump and their taxes either not being release or finding
out that they don't pay very much in taxes. i think there are some issues
like this with individuals on the margins (hedge fund managers are a classic
example), but, from my research, it looks to me like 1) our tax system
is more progressive than many liberals would have you believe when they
talk about anecdotes like romney and 2) if should be thanking the rich
who pay more than their fair share. so, i'm not talking here about hedge
fund managers who get by on the carried interest loophole or romney/trump
types who make a lot of money on capital gains which used to be taxed at
a lower rate. what i'm going to talk about is the broad group of people
known as the rich...i'll just present some facts and hopefully that will
give a view that isn't really talked about in most of the mainstream media
when it comes to sound bites and platitudes and horse shit about this topic.
people who earn $250k+
a year make up just 2.7% of all the tax filers yet they pay 51.6% of all
the income taxes. that's according to pew.
"In 2014, people with adjusted gross income, or AGI, above $250,000 paid
just over half (51.6%) of all individual income taxes, though they accounted
for only 2.7% of all returns filed, according to our analysis of preliminary
IRS data. Their average tax rate (total taxes paid divided by cumulative
AGI) was 25.7%. By contrast, people with incomes of less than $50,000 accounted
for 62.3% of all individual returns filed, but they paid just 5.7% of total
taxes. Their average tax rate was 4.3%."
the lowest quintile pays
an effective tax rate of 3.9%. the top quintile pays an effective rate
of 24.9%. the top 1% pays an effective rate of 31.9%. source.
so, we can look at that
and surmise that the rich do pay a lot of taxes. maybe that's never been
the argument. maybe the argument is that the rich may pay a lot, but they
get a lot more. so, let's look at that....
the top 25% earns about
69% of all income and pay about 87% of all income taxes.
the top 1% earns about
21% of all income and pays about 39% of all income taxes.
the top 1% pays 39.48%
of all the income taxes and the bottom 50% pays 2.5% of all income taxes.
in every case the top earners
are paying a greater share of the taxes than the income share that they
earn. table below.
these are data for income
taxes, but even when you take into account payroll taxes, which are less
progressive than income taxes (some would argue they're regressive since
only the first $118,500 of earning are taxed), the trend is the same -
the rich pay much more than everyone else and pay a greater share of the
total taxes than their earnings.
so, it's clear to me that
the issue isn't in the broad strokes of individual income taxes. it's in
the details and the recesses where the ultra-rich are able to hide and
where corporations are able to crony their way into low tax burdens. off
shoring earnings, getting tax loopholes written for them, etc. but, like
identity politics, this shouldn't be a rich vs. poor or black vs. white
thing. i think most of the rich are paying more than their fair share.
we need to do a better job of going after the weasels who find ways to
avoid paying what they should.
here's how pew puts it
(emphasis mine): "Still, that analysis confirms that, after all federal
taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive. The
top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20%
have negative tax rates (that is, they get more money back from the
government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes)."
there's one other thing
i'll say beyond getting the tax avoiders to pay up, and that is the death
tax needs to stay around. call it an estate tax or death tax or whatever,
and in principle i kinda disagree with it because i think you should be
able to pass on your wealth to your kids, but it's really destructive in
the long run when you have accumulations of wealth and power. the death
tax needs to limit these powerful families from being multi-generational
hoarders of wealth and influence. i think the point at which it kicks in
should be fairly high (it's about $5 million now) and i would probably
raise that lower limit to $10 million or something, but the tax rate should
be pretty high when you talk about billion dollar families passing on their
wealth to their progeny. under $10 million estate being passed on gets
a very low tax rate, like 5% or something. above that and it gets taxed
at 50% or higher.
don't listen to them enough,
but rage against the machine are still awesome in my book.
as busy as ever trying
to juggle so many projects and competing interests. trying to take fewer
jobs and focus on bigger things.
been getting back into
metal lately. judas priest, megadeth and the classics. there's a lot of
stuff i don't really like, but there's a decent amount of really good stuff,
too, if you don't mind being 30 years behind the curve.