I have not done one of my short lists of observations in a while and I was thinking about it yesterday – what could I do as a theme for something around the middle of April. And then it occurred to me that it is that most dreaded day of tax deadlines. It is also, close to the day when the typical middle class American stops working for the government for the year and instead starts working for themselves, having usually paid the rough percentage due to the IRS by sometime close to mid to late April as well. Since those things are going are both current happenings, I thought it would be appropriate to express a few scattered thoughts about some things I have observed in that direction of late.
- Republicans who claim they want physical responsibility but at the same want to continue with loopholes for the wealthy, who then pay a less than equal share of the federal government is an oxymoron of epic proportion. Do not get me wrong, I am all for cutting a lot of things in the government, especially at the federal level, where I see a lot of waste and lot of programs that I really question. I could give a long list of programs that need to be cut severely and about as many that should be turned off completely. Also the extra pork that it slipped in by all in Congress should be completely eliminated. However, you can not legitimately claim to be in support of cutting the budget and willing to give extra tax cuts and incentives to wealthy. I am still a major advocate of a flat tax system. You made A amount in wages, interest, earnings, etc. The tax amount is B percent. A*B=C. C is what you owe. Then everyone pays a fair share and there are no loopholes. Oh, and it needs to apply to corporations and business in the save way if they have any standing outside of an individual or partnership.
- Starting to be a trend with companies bringing the making of things back to America. Cost in labor is going up in what used to be cheap places (think China, Pacific Rim, Mexico). The lack of lack of quality control is bad and causing a negative impact as well. Add to this the extra costs with shipping, import costs, and especially the apparent often used next day air to get things here to the USA on time and it is becoming a major and responsible option. It is good for America to return to being a country that makes somethings once again. I am all for the global economy, but only when it makes sense to do so and I will pay a bit extra (as apparently will a good deal of Americans) to get American made. On the other hand, try to purchase an American made television and see what you can get. A side note, the major labor here is not assemble widgets, but rather to set up and maintain the automation that assemble widgets. Hopefully this reversal to America making stuff again is not so late that we have lost our ability to do so.
- The most absurd analysis of the healthcare system was heard on NPR yesterday. Someone was comparing health care as we currently have it to a Dell computer. All the different components are provided by different manufacturers, like the processor is Intel (though it could be AMD), maybe Seagate or Western Digital is providing the drives, the O/S is from Microsoft, etc. Bottom line is, in this environment to improve things is a bit more complex as each group is more concerned with their own profit then the overall design of the system He then suggested to consider the Apple computer in comparison, where that Apple controls everything to deliver an integrated system. He suggests that by the integrations they build a better system overall. Two major flaws in his logic, without arguing if Apple is the better system or not. First, Apple has been using Intel chips for a number of years in computers, the same ones in fact that Dell uses. Second, Mac computer is more than twice the price of that same processor styled Dell computer – that is the moving the opposite direction. Especially since the show was all about getting health care and especially Medicare cost under control.
- Social Security – Just take the money and stop taking used to be my opinion. That is an opinion I had up until the last couple of years. I was willing to just cut bait on what I had paid in and run to speak proverbially. Now I instead say really consider the privatization of the system, only because I have paid so much into it over the years. Let the government take the hit now for the folks in the system and we will make it up in budget cuts and flat rate taxes, but for anyone under say 50, just take the total they have paid in over the years and put it in an account for them. Set it so we can only control certain options on it, how it is invested and with what firm. Time to get real and take an action.
** – Image from public domain.