Posts tagged ‘Economics’
It’s an old story — a legend since it opened its doors in 1917, principal employer for its home town, suddenly drifting into sinking sales and facing bankruptcy — until export markets opened up, and now the Izhevsk Machine Works is shipping its famously deadly old Kalashnikov rifles as fast as they can turn them out.
Not to the military anymore. The people that snap them up now are the insatiable American civilian gun owners.
So we’re bankrolling one more new growth industry, even if it isn’t on our own shores.
Dear pals and other people, is that not one hellishly handsome birthday cake? It was delivered at Windycon, a gift from Malcolm Phifer, and the only thing that isn’t exactly right about it is that I won’t actually turn 93 until the 26th of this month. But better early than never is what I always say — or more accurately, I’ve never said it before, but now for the sake of gratitude for a kind thought I’ll say it loud and clear. Thank you, Malcolm!
In fact, I’ll go further than Malcolm or anyone at Windycon may have intended. I take this cake to be a testimonial to the fact that people who live a long time and don’t lose the ability to recognize bunkum when somebody tries to sell it to them deserve to be listened to now and then.
Me, for instance.
Through this blog and every other way I have to communicate an opinion, I’ve been urging you guys to sniff what the employees of the Koch brothers have been handing you before you swallow any of it. They spent fortune after fortune on TV ads and hired “commentators” to try to make you and the rest of the American people believe that tax cuts equal prosperity. That’s not true, and anybody who has tried to understand our country’s history knows it isn’t true.
One of the most prosperous periods our country ever had was in the years just after WWII. There were a lot of reasons for that prosperity, but cutting taxes wasn’t one of them. Our highest tax rate now is 30%. The highest tax rate then was three times that — 90%! — and the prosperity sailed on.
Does anybody really believe in such other fictions as that making drastic tax cuts for the extremely wealthy helps anyone but the same extremely wealthy? Can you imagine that Mrs. Romney would have tripped down the White House stairs to where her husband was chuckling over the latest Wall Street Journal and said, “Oh, darling, thank you for that new tax cut. Now I can afford that fourth Cadillac, and maybe you won’t have to put Detroit in bankruptcy!”
Well, it isn’t good form to kick people when they’re down, although with all that money I can’t feel real sorry for the man. It’s an enjoyable sport, but I’m going to turn to other subjects, including a few ideas that I’ve been turning over in my mind.
For instance, there are a few hundred people scattered around the world who get up early every morning to try to save some of our wildlife. They check the ground around every skyscraper to take away the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of bodies of songbirds that have committed suicide during the night by flying head-on into the banks of fiercely bright lights aimed at the sky in almost every tall building. (If the seekers are very lucky, they may find a few birds that can be saved.)
So what do we do about it? We (1) create a tax on high-up lighting above a certain brightness which (2) gets more expensive every year, thus giving landlords time to make changes to lower the tax, at the same time (3) making our cities less deadly to wildlife as well as (4) slowing down the yearly increase in burning oil, coal and natural gas to generate electricity that has been increasing the carbon loading on the atmosphere and currently getting worse every year, and — oh, yeah (5), giving our mayors, governors and presidents what they’ve all been looking for so desperately, something new to tax.
Stick Up a Bank Today!
And then after you’ve been arrested and you’re on trial act as nasty and unrepentant as you can, because the verdict you want is life without parole.
For an example of the benefits you might receive from such a sentence, consider the case of Illinois’s senior convict, the late William Heirens. Until he passed away earlier this year at the age of 83, he had been in prison since he was seventeen. His expenses to the state, including medical care, had reached $73,000 a year, paid (with no deductibles) by the taxpayers of Illinois. A reasonable guesstimate of what Illinois taxpayers spent on feeding, housing, doctoring and containing Mr. Heirens since he was sentenced in the early 1950s would be around $2 million and counting.
Mr. Heirens wasn’t alone, either. In Illinois, the total number of prisoners is increasing at the tiny rate of 0.07%, but the increase for the subset of prisoners older than 65 is a whopping 63.0%.
Is there a sudden spike in lawlessness among the senior set? Or can it be that the elderly with crushing medical expenses have learned to take advantage of this new retirement package?
Some numbers about assorted people’s grasp of arithmetic:
% of population who think they know enough household mathematics to handle problems:
% of population who got at least one-half of test questions on a sixth-grade arithmetic test right: 42%
The less math people know, the more confident they are in their decisions.
Scores on a test of simple arithmetic of people who have already been foreclosed:
- Score in top quartile: 5%
- Score in bottom quartile: 30%
Willingness to seek help and/or do research:
- Best informed: most likely
- Least informed: least likely