DC Bumper Sticker

Saw a great bumper sticker on a car parked outside my rommates’ apartment building in DC this weekend:

“Obama & God have only one thing in common: No birth certificate! The difference is God doesn’t think He’s Obama!”

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin intrigues me.

During the 2008 campaign, I “liked” the
McCain/Palin ’08 Facebook page. After their loss, the page split into a McCain fan page and a Palin one. It took me a while to realize the split, but I eventually removed Palin’s page from my profile. I though, “Eek, she doesn’t represent me as a conservative”. It seemed almost shameful and a threat to my credibility to have any sort of link to someone portrayed by the media as anti-intellectual and crazy.

But how do I really feel about Sarah Palin?

As time moves on, I’m more and more torn. At this very moment I think she would be a terrible presidential nominee. She’s viewed as too ideological and could never win the all-important Independant vote, no matter how upset voters are with the way things are going in government today.

But the attention and following she commands is incredible and impresses me greatly. Add her name to the roster of any event and thousands mob the scene, worshipping their idol. Endorse a candidate and that candidate wins. Say anything about her and the media is in a frenzy. That’s real power.

I only wonder now how effectively she can harness that power into an official political future over the next years. She has already spearheaded what seems to be a female GOP revolution of sorts in politics, in addition to stoking the ongoing Tea Party revolution. What’s next?

Also: See Roger Simon’s article from Politico today,
“Sarah Palin is at the top of her party”. Very insightful.

Despicable Me

So I saw Despicable Me with my dad the other night... Highly recommend. Ya, ya, ya, it’s a PG kids movie. I know. It was still hilarious. Check it out.

Taxes and the Black Market

A few times this week family members have mentioned that they’ve noticed businesses doing more work under the table. A local bagel shop has switched to cash only and rarely enters purchases into the register. A salon owner likewise takes payment in cash and simply puts it in her pocket instead of recording the sale. A computer programmer will only work if it’s hidden from Uncle Sam.

Now, I’m no tax expert. I’ll leave that to my friends who have become accounting slaves post-graduation. But, based on near-universal complaints from individuals and businesses, United States tax code is mired in complexity and impartiality.

In tough economic times it makes sense that business owners are desperate to increase revenues and decrease expenses. And what an easy way to do just that by asking for cash, which is almost untraceable, and subsequently not paying taxes on that revenue.

So, what’s the big deal?

Local and national budgets, which rely heavily on tax revenue, are wracked in these tough economic times. Rosy tax projections and wasteful spending put into place during the boom years have lead to unsustainable budgets in all levels of government. Thus, the government needs to be able to collect all due taxes in order to continue to function.

Taxes that are too high or a tax code that is too unwieldy does just the opposite. It creates a black market for goods and services that seriously harms government at all levels and citizens’ quality of life by straining budgets and services. The current debacle in Greece proves just that, as agencies have been unable to appropriately collect taxes because of a long standing culture of opacity instead of a culture of compliance, prompted by unfairly burdensome tax rates and distribution.

As the United States looks head on into a continuing economic crisis, federal and state governments owe it to both themselves
and their citizens to promote and enforce a fair, growth-oriented tax code aimed at increasing business and investment.

This is What Happens When You Walk Away From Your Boat at the Spit