Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Little Bits

There were several bits of news today.....that really weren't worth remembering but you do have to ponder over.

First, some smart guys came out and said eating five servings of fruit and veggies per day.....doesn't stop cancer or prevent cancer, period. So you can stop that crazy stuff that you were doing, and go back to eating Ho-Hos, Texas fries, bacon, and peanut butter from the jar. I realize most of you guys from Bama never knew about the suggested five servings of veggies and might have been eating seven servings of veggies because Grandma always said to do it.....but you chill a bit and just relax now.

Second, John Edwards mistress has decided that she will appear on Oprah in about four weeks. I paused over this and thought about what she would say. Somewhere in the first five minutes....she'll likely let you know that John is a stud, got awful lusty feelings, and likes special oils rubbed on his body. The question here....is.....do you really care? Frankly, I really don't want to know much about John's sexual habits, lusty feelings, or trailer trash hook-ups. I don't even want to know he wears boxer shorts or not.

Third, some airline decided it was time to charge you for carry-on luggage. Yep, just one bag could run you $45 for a carry-on. So even if you had a Wal-Mart plastic baggy that you tossed in a pair of socks, underwear and a t-shirt for a flight down to Orange Beach, Bama over the weekend.....they'd charge you $45 for that plastic baggy. Think about that, and then start asking yourself why you don't take Amtrak or Trailways buses?

Fourth, someone wrote up a list of the fifty most stressful colleges in America. I went down the list. These were all the fancy places where Johnny Junior pays $24k a year just for tuition (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc). I looked and looked for Bama and Auburn.....but just couldn't find them. So I'm guessing Bama colleges just aren't that stressful. Course, it could be that guys aren't that stupid who go to Bama or Auburn, and they don't feel too stressed out other than waiting for Grandma's beer money to arrive, or if the football coach quits.

Fifth, the LA mayor (Antonio Villaraigosa) has decided that his budget is so weak....that he's closing up shop two days a week at non-essential services (libraries, parks, etc). But the unions in LA came out today and said they'd investigate if he (the mayor) had the actual real authority to determine this and force it. The funny thing is that the city accountant also came out today and hinted that he thinks....unless something happens....that there won't be enough money to cover salary structure for May. It'll be curious how the union reacts then if there isn't salary money to cover things.

The Trouble with Taxes

There's talk now of a national sales tax.....a VAT....and the President's team is actually ready to push it.

It's kinda strange over the timing of this and why now it finally makes sense. So some observations are due.

First, I sat and watched the VAT in Germany function....it's now 19.5 percent. It used to be around 13.5 percent (before the wall came down). Most folks were accepting of the 13.5 percent....today, they question the necessity. The problem is that VAT has become the augmentation tool in Germany to go hand-in-hand with income tax. Yeah, they never got rid of income tax (figure 18 to 35 percent, depending on your income).

Second....the way that VAT works....is that they already figure the whole cost as you shop. So when you go up to buy a new Ford F-150 truck, and the sticker says $22k, that includes the VAT. If you were chatting on the actual real cost without tax.....(if it were 10 percent VAT), then you'd have a $20k truck in front of you.

Third....what would be a fair VAT? I'm guessing it'd start at five percent. They'd naturally keep all income tax continuing on. Your town, county and state currently running with a five percent sales tax? So we'd just add the two together..... totaling out at 10 percent. The key to acceptance is to start low, and simply build onto it every three years or so.

Fourth? VAT kinda invites people to negotiate (based on what I observed in Germany) and iron out a personal deal on services. You need a plumber to replace a kitchen sink.....it turns into a Saturday job and cash.....so you avoid the VAT. So within a year, you begin to notice that the services sector has decreased in nature and spiraling downward, yet no services company is upset.

Alot of Republicans are generally upbeat about a national sales tax, but their vision was to radically change the income tax rates and perhaps set up a plain flat income tax level of five percent for everyone, and then offer up the VAT rate of five to ten cents on the dollar. The VAT deal mentioned so far....doesn't say much about dumping or reducing the income tax rates.

What's amusing about this is that it has plus-up tendencies with Republicans and most independents. If the administration had come out in April of last year....before the universal health care bill.....a great deal of independent support would have gone with the administration and maybe stuck with them through the health care bill. As it is....the White House is backing up five steps and trying to recapture independent voters now....after they've lost so much support.

My guess? Republicans will smile over this and say sure.....you can have a national sales tax of eleven percent (instead of five), and we bring income tax down to a flat rate of around seven percent. The White House will say "NO".....because that messes up their fancy math work (they expected a massive gain against the public).

So the fight will continue on.....with no real chance to fix anything related to taxes because it all turned into a gimmick to make more tax revenue, instead of actual structure change.

The Conventional Big-Stick

I sat and watched some news clip this morning....two "experts" explaining how they were so happy about America finally giving up it's nukes and it's nuclear stance. They carried on for about five minutes and I finally just walked out of the coffee shop when I had enough.

There are people who will get all weepy and say how nuclear holocaust is now avoided. Frankly, I don't buy that story. You still have Pakistan and India.....who hate each other and probably will use nukes one day.

You also have various private groups who have nuclear technology and bomb notes.....and would like to attack various western nations if given the chance.

The curious thing is that the US hasn't used nukes since 1945....so the odds of us ever using them is kinda questionable.

I don't have a problem with this no-nukes plan.....but I don't see war coming to an end.....conventional bombs are the preferred weapon of any target expert. I sat once and watched a couple of guys pull out the results of the Bosnia War and our use of conventional weapons. These guys could point to one end of the bridge which was the actual target and how the bridge was simply disabled with one bomb (and not the 20 that we would have dropped in 1944).

So conventionally.....the US is pretty much king of the hill and nothing radically changes tonight as the no-nukes idea continues on.