Monday, April 18, 2016

tax day 2016

for Tax Day, I give you an AEI study that looks like an impressive effort to compile survey data on public perception of taxes...

The three most misunderstood and important things about taxes:
1.) Although you probably pay little attention to them, you probably lose a lot more of your income to FICA taxes. If you earn less than $118,500, round your income down to the nearest $10K and multiply by 15% to give you an idea what you lose from that nasty tax. 
2.) Remember that "April 15th" only represents an *adjustment* to your "federal income taxes". You've been paying too little or too much throughout the year-- and they don't know what you should pay. The 1040 helps you/them figure it out.
3.) The current income tax code is also a tax on your time, since it's done so inefficiently. Americans spend billions of hours and dollars to fill out needlessly-complex tax forms. Crony capitalism and all sorts of regressive subsidies (some of which you probably enjoy) are responsible. A flat income tax; the "Fair Tax"; or simply the elimination of loopholes would be a great improvement in this regard.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

the economics and politics of the ACA (and an update on its impact)

Since the ACA (at best) deals with symptoms rather than 70 years of underlying govt policy causes, it could not do more than band-aid and distort the market for health care and health insurance in other ways. Here's a report on the latest, six years into it...

What would one expect from such an approach? Exactly what we've seen (and will continue to see)-- as we often see with govt policy:

In terms of the economics:
-some short-run, obvious policy benefits
-some short-run, relatively obvious policy costs
-longer-run, subtle policy costs

In terms of the politics:
-those who avidly defend it: partisans and fundies; cronies who directly benefit; and those who (reasonably) don't do much in terms of policy analysis
-those who avidly oppose it, quite a few as partisans and fundies

Friday, April 8, 2016

on daily devotion...

I've never felt big pressure on this metric. But I've seen it on occasion and do what I can to share my testimony and dispel the legalistic tendencies of that view-- that I have (relatively) rarely done "daily devotionals".

The closest I've come to daily: running for Congress, I read the Gospels over and over again, a few chapters per day. I've also had a few runs where I read devotionals, mostly daily, over a long period.

Two big caveats: I went through a long period where I was studying Scripture ten hours per week-- in chunks, typically over 2-4 days. Presumably, I'm living off of the capital accumulated over that run. And my prayer life is a lifestyle more than an event, so I'm talking with God regularly.