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Health and economics August 16, 2011

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Twins conjoined at the head, and the poorly-understood connection that seems to be going on between their brains. See also video of them in action.

9/11-related PTSD, and the difficulty of measuring and quantifying it.

Living with schizophrenia — the real thing, not someone-confused-it-with-DID-again.

When the anti-choice choose, sometimes followed by going right back to picketing Planned Parenthoods the next day. (Not always, thankfully.) The cognitive dissonance resonates throughout.

Debating the ethics of reducing a pregnancy, having multiple fetuses and aborting one or some but not all.

Well, this makes me feel good about my college degree. Pertinent quote: “Women have to have a PhD to make as much as men with a BA.”

Things the US’ richest households can buy that you can’t. Another pertinent quote: “The richest 400 could pay your rent, and the rent of every single renter in the entire United States for three years.” Get on that, Warren Buffett.

The world’s oldest commercial record, created in 1890. Creepy, but amazing.


1. X - August 16, 2011

“The 400 richest households COULD buy these things, or they could, you know, continue funding the businesses and enterprises that keep you and your friends employed as well as bolster your retirement stock portfolio.”

That “richest household” article author fails economics so hard it’s hilarious. Wealth achieved through production (Warren Buffet’s qualifies) should be celebrated, since the act of production creates wealth that benefits us all (it’s why the poorest in America have TV’s, cars, cell phones, clean running water, and other luxuries that the poor of other countries can only dream of). That article is just more of the tired “Oh, man, I hate that they have money and I don’t” Kindergarten-style jealousy that people outgrow when they become adults.

Erin Ptah - August 16, 2011

Warren Buffett himself thinks his wealth would be better off being taxed more, and that it wouldn’t discourage him or his fellow ridiculously-rich people from investing. I’m inclined to take his word for it.

You think the poorest people in America have TVs and cars? And you’re criticizing someone else for being out of touch with economic reality?

X - August 18, 2011

What Warren Buffet wants to do with his own money is his own choice. The problem is that under the current tax code there’s no difference between him and the family whose struggling small business has a seven-digit gross but only a small net. It’s they who are driven out of business when politicians ramp up taxes on the so-called “rich.”

Those are also the business types you’ll find run by recent immigrants and those in lower SES neighborhoods. Thus, “taxing the rich” has as a consequence the further impoverishing of minority households (along with plenty of young entrepreneurs).

There was a study from not too long ago concerning the state of the nation’s poor. It found the average person living below the poverty line had at least 1 TV, a cell phone, a car, and several other items. Given my observations working with numerous economically disadvantaged students (my current school is 70% from this background), I can definitely confirm the TV and cell phone part. And these aren’t because of government handouts – it’s because innovations in the private sector drove down costs and increased availability.

The fact you find it hard to believe is a classic symptom of the misleading information many are fed about the economic class issue today. The need for the welfare state is largely justified through exaggerations about the people it would supposedly benefit, when its primary accomplishment throughout the decades has been to make lives worse by being put under the thumb of petty bureaucrats.

Anyway, that’s a basic econ tutorial on why “taxing the rich” is a such a radical, and inherently flawed, position for people to take. As a self-proclaimed moderate, I hope you see just how out-of-sorts with good reason that kind of suggestion is, despite the misleading emotional attraction it might present (said emotional overtone is why “tax the rich” is one of the top economic fallacies in America today). Since I know you like humor, I recommend PJ O’Rourke’s “Eat the Rich” for a funny send-up of the myth.

X - August 18, 2011

As a follow-up, here’s an article documenting all the ways Warren Buffet is wrong:


If you don’t think the rich are being taxed more, here’s a take-away that disproves that notion:

Several weeks ago Euro Pacific Capital Chief Executive Officer Peter Schiff compared a couple earning $250,000 with a couple in 1950 earning an inflation-adjusted equivalent amount and then looked at what they would pay in federal taxes taking the standard deduction. He included income taxes and payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and concluded that today’s $250,000 couple would pay 40 percent of their income. The 1950s couple would have paid 22 percent of their income.

“In other words, despite claims that taxes are at their lowest levels in 50 years, today’s high-earning couple pays over 80 percent more in federal taxes than their 1950 counterpart!” Mr. Schiff wrote.

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