A Washington family’s nightmare year.
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.
People have been demanding a simpler tax system for a long time. We’ve had various presidential candidates promise that the IRS could do your taxes or the code could be simplified down to a postcard or whatever. But what people say they want and what they actually want are sometimes two different things. People want a simpler tax code … except for the mortgage interest deduction. And the charity deduction. And state/local taxes, definitely. And daycare, obviously. And healthcare expenses. And retirement contributions. And is it really fair to tax capital gains like income?
Therein lies the rub: the tax code didn’t get complex because of a ancient Egyptian curse. It got that way because we wanted it that way. We want our special deductions and social-engineering credits and alternative systems and all the other jazz. We will never simplify the tax code until a majority of Americans decide that it’s worth giving up their favorite deduction for. Or worth giving up a refund for. And this outcry is a reminder that we’re not there yet, if we ever will be. I suspect, after a year or two, most people will get used to the new system and this hubbub will die down. But this portends a tax system that will mostly go on as the shambling drunken mess that it is.
Of course, in the long run, nobody’s taxes have been cut. As Harry Browne argued in the 2000 election, a tax cut without a spending cut is not really a tax cut; it’s a shell game. Eventually, things have to be paid for. The deficit is surging right now and we are on a completely unsustainable fiscal path. Trump’s tax cut has not reduced the tax burden, Laffer Curve misrepresentations not withstanding; it’s re-arranged it so that the burden falls on the future rather than the present.
So if you’re upset that your refund is smaller or non-existent this year, better hold on to something. Because it’s only going to get worse.
President also says Democrats would leave Israel ‘out there by yourselves’ in comments to Republican Jewish group; asks how they could back Obama, apparently referring to all Jews
And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separate among the peoples throughout all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws differ from [those of] every people, and they do not keep the king’s laws; it is [therefore] of no use for the king to let them be. (Esther 3:8).
Unfortunately, we know where this all too often ends. But don’t worry Mr. President, when the bigotry is inevitably stirred up, (as it always is after you drag out anti-semitic tropes when they suit your agenda), you’ll have plenty of supporters who will be all too willing to sweep this under the rug, as they always have. And if the stirred-up bigotry results in enough deaths, you’ll find an opportunity for another political photo opp, and probably a token to serve to cover your ass.
The parents indicted in the college-admissions scandal were responding to a changing America, with rage at being robbed of what they believed was rightfully theirs.
This post is a twitter thread I wrote today.
I’m waiting on kitty ultrasound results and trying to distract myself a little bit so I’d like to tell you a story about something that happened last night, in the hopes that I can process my feelings around it.
I met a girl on the train last night.
When the news came late Thursday night that denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea had broken down without a resolution, it didn’t take long for the president’s media allies to arrive at a consensus: Trump had demonstrated strength by walking away from a bad deal.
When my mother took the flustered German filmmaker to see her elderly shrink, I snuck into the bedroom and called my father who had recently moved to Palm Springs, California. “Did you know that you and mom had an open marriage?” I asked him. We had a sort of jovial relationship; we shared the experience of having a crushingly powerful parent and it was a sort of bond. By the time I was three years old, my parents embarked upon the hippie version of irreconcilable differences. As a consequence, I don’t remember them ever being together, which is probably a good thing. There was a brief pause on the line. “Oh, is that what she’s calling it now?”
“I’m fucked up.”
Imagine you’re looking for a home on AirBnB. You’re doing your due diligence, reading the description of the home, and looking through the pictures. One of the 20 or so photos on the listing is: “A view of a corner of a living room. It’s really hard to see, but there is a little camera up in the corner.”