|Re: Sounds sensible! (until one thinks about it)|
Message #19 Posted by John L. Shelton on 11 Apr 2005, 1:02 a.m.,
in response to message #17 by Karl Schneider
I promise this is my last posting in this thread. After this, back to calculator thinking, mostly.
America has an unfortunate history of majority ganging up on minority. Until relatively recently, we had overt discrimination against blacks and other "minorities." Today, we have "politically correct" discrimination against meat eaters, smokers, big-car drivers, etc. But we are still ganging-up on the minority.
To be fair, rules should apply to all, not just a minority. Special taxes on only smokers, or only cheeseburger-eaters are wrong. Some cities in California are debating extra taxes on plastic surgery. Good grief. Perhaps the worst example is extra taxes on travelers - let's soak the visitor, because he/she doesn't vote here. (Hotel taxes of 15% or more.)
Most government meddling to tinker with a problem turns out to have unintended consequences. Tax breaks for blighted zones turn into "loopholes" for the rich, and the need for AMT to fix the problem. The very idea that tax breaks for some are good lead our politicians to invent tax breaks for the really special, like the Frank Perdue Chicken tax break, benefiting guess-who and no-one else.
As for charities, I'm very concerned that only the politically correct charities survive. Others, those whose advocacy may be less respected, get shot down. Does it really make sense to say that we question an educational charity because its students might be terrorists (i.e. Middle Eastern descent), but it's OK to have the millionaire's Opera Club be tax exempt? In reality, a good charity would owe little or no taxes as a regular corporation, because its expenses would match its income, leaving no net profit. Charities survived just fine before 1920, when there was no income tax. There's no need for an income-tax-deduction now to keep charity alive.
Health care is no more necessary than food or housing. Yet we are expected to shop for those. Indeed, our food choices influence our health. Imagine a world where food was treated like health care. Dining out would cost $50 per person minimum, but we'd expect 80% refunded by our food insurance plan. Anyone practicing "cooking at home without a license" would be considered suspect. We'd need a prescription for groceries, or at least for protein. People without food insurance couldn't afford food, so would go to the emergency kitchen, wait 5 hours for a meal, the cost of which, $500, would be billed to the county as a necessary expense. Give me a break. Medicine was free-market, mostly, until WW2. Insurance plans for medicine used to cover catastrophe, not routine visits. Doctors charged reasonable prices, and were reimbursed promptly by patients, rather than charging some $500 per visit to cover the loss of taking medicare patients at $20 per visit, and having to pay a full-time person to negotiate the insurance bureaucracy. (Yes, I do know about this, having a bro-in-law who runs his own medical practice.)
I'd love to continue debating all the points, but this is the wrong forum. Thanks for everyone's patience. Time to finish reading the manual for my new HP-28S, a daunting task.