ask not what he meant when he wrote it, but what you felt when you read it
I would say, for the most part my life has been low key, but I do have some experiences not everybody has. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Business degree majoring in accounting. I have worked for two of the components of the Dow Industrial Average index. I was briefly a member of the 1% club and misplaced my membership card. I have ridden motorcycles, wrecked a 40’ boat, had a 36’ boat destroyed in a marina fire and spent two weeks in court being sued for $500k (I won). As a self-employed builder, I built over 300 homes and had 20 people working for me. I still have a couple of dragons to slay, this blog being one of them.
Usually, when I post poetry, it is light or inspirational. I have read the human brain has fifty thousand random thoughts a day and a certain percentage of them can be a little dark. I am posting two poems today that might not be considered “light”. You be the judge, as you always should be.
Pain is the universal teacher It can guide us into a different place It shows us the light It shows us the dark Sometimes it’s just a spark Its contrast helps us life to embrace It revels in its might It caresses us with its deception Sometimes we miss the inception It travels like the wind Its consistency can be like a friend It can be an evil addiction We must fight to make the transition It blocks the road to our wonder land It troubles the human race All who are familiar are not our friend
The subconscious has an agenda It consistently travels towards the goal We can’t guide it Where would we send it? Experience is a callous teacher We are learning the direction of the flow Examine your perceived goals Are they sending you down a rabbit hole? Manage your life, it’s your soul
I sometimes have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary. I will try to resist that here because Income Tax is already as complicated as it needs to be. My purpose in this post is to show the history of income tax rates to have a basis for future discussions. To do this, I made some arbitrary assumptions to have a thread to follow. All the data in this post is based on that fabled family of four. As the baseline income, I used the poverty level as defined by the US Census Bureau. They first reported this number in 1959 and the latest data readily available is 2020. The values correlate .9968 with the June through June change in the Consumer Price Index, so I used these values to fill in 1952-1958 and 2021 on my chart. I plotted six different levels of income to show the relative effect of the rate structure on their tax liability. The case I call INDV1 is the poverty level as defined and reported by the US Census Bureau. INDV2 is twice that level, INDV5 is five times the poverty rate, etc., INDV25, INDV50, INDV100. Their 2021 gross income before exemptions and standard deduction is shown below:
I also publish some poetry on Quora.com. According to them, I have 35 posts. Most of them have less than 100 views. One of them has 1800 views. I have previously published it here, but I am going to publish it again. It’s something we need more of in these trying times.
Man looks up with a vacant stare He knows there’s hope, just not where It came to him one night In a blinding flash of light A smile came across his face There is hope for the human race Knowledge is the path to what is right It scrapes away the simmering blight Leaving the raw beauty without a trace
Poetry doesn’t have to make sense. That’s part of the beauty. The books I’ve read on how to write poetry recommend reading a lot of poetry to become better at writing it. That advice makes logical sense which is why it doesn’t seem to work for me. I have been able to find so little poetry I enjoy reading. They say one should spend a lot of time editing. I generally don’t. What is the point? They talk about writing for the reader. I believe a writer should write for their own reasons and if someone else finds it worth reading, that would be great. I write to explore what is in my brain. When the words appear on the screen, then I know. When I start writing, especially with poetry, I’m not always sure where it’s going. We can discover together. Some people do crossword puzzles. Some people do Sudoku. I write. I leave you today with a couple of those explorative poems:
Death of innocence The end of childhood Becoming an adult Who said, “it’s a good thing”? To escape from it all Some go to the mall We can try, but can’t have it all Cleanse your mind Banish the mundane The alternative is to be insane
The sweetness of a mountain meadow Life is more than looking out the window The music of a mountain stream The song of the forgotten A patchwork of emotions The life of the unexpected Not a life of making plans The allure of the unknown The seduction of the soul The ecstasy of the new The anguish of the forgotten The stream as cold as an ogre’s heart The window becomes the mirror of life We all have a song Sing it so all can hear With it, life becomes clear
Some other poets might , at times, have a hard time saying what I write is poetry, but that is the beauty of poetry, almost anything qualifies. I have been writing some serious stuff the last few days and wanted to post this as a contrast. We need more of this:
I have compiled the corporate income tax rates since 1952 through 2021 and put them in a chart I hope is easy to understand. In doing this, I plotted the hypothetical tax bill of two corporations: one making $500K per year and one making $20M per year and plot the percentage of taxable income the tables said they should pay. I also decided to put per capita GDP in constant 2015 dollars on the chart, because I could. Here is the chart:
The chart shows the steady downward trend in the tax rates since 1952. The picking of 1952 was a little arbitrary, but I hoped it would be after the effects of the wars were out. The thing that struck me right away is the negative correlation between per capita GDP and the lowering of tax rates. So much for “trickle down”. I must say here, one of the tenants of statistical research is: “correlation is not causation”. As I was doing my research, it became clear rates were only part of the story. I will go into that soon, on another day.
I’ve completed the data preparation portion of my upcoming post on Income Tax. In studying the chart, I had a thought. There’s no question in my mind and in many others, Trump was the worst president we have had. What became clear to me was number two must be Reagan. When you combine what he did to the FCC Fairness Doctrine and the tax cuts he pushed through, the stage is set for the arrival of Trump and the ensuing economic blight and hatred he has brought on this country.
It is going to be a monumental effort to unwind this mess and just get back to a reasonable starting point. I remember waking up the morning after election day in 1980 and thinking: “OMG, what have we done?” Now we know.
One of the people I happen to follow on Twitter is Richard Saunders. On May 18th, he Tweeted a thought that mirrored one of my thoughts, so I am just going to quote him here:
“Stand back fellow citizens and get some perspective. If there is not an immediate, massive redistribution of wealth in America to cure the overwhelming inequity which exists for all to see, our institutions including our form of government will continue to buckle and then fail”.
The biggest problem in US politics is sources of money. Our political system is extremely expensive. Money buys outcomes not consistent with the wishes of most of the population. Look at the unexplained increases in wealth of many of the more influential people in government such as McConnell or Kavanaugh. This is a self-perpetuating, self-defending problem that has more thorns and traps than imaginable. To make any real progress on the betterment of the population, this is a problem that must be addressed and fixed. The technicalities of enforcement of any reform are formidable. I don’t have a ready-made solution. The influence purchasers are very resourceful. The reason I bring this up is I don’t want us to lose sight of this amongst all our other problems. This is the actual source of most of our problems.