An Article on How Progressive the American Tax Code Is

“Taxes and the rich: Looking at all the taxes” What I found most intriguing about this article is that it makes the point that if we want to talk about taxes and tax reform, we need to look at the whole picture. Looking at just the numbers related to “income” is not enough because the rich have a lot of sources of money that don’t get taxed because they don’t count as income. Plus, the income tax isn’t the only thing that comes out of people’s paychecks- there’s payroll taxes for Social Security that the rich get to skirt. Good food for thought, anyway. Continue reading An Article on How Progressive the American Tax Code Is

What is Community Service?

Suffolk’s public schools are considering making community service (50 hours) mandatory for high school students. They’ve considered making exceptions for transfer students, or those with extenuating circumstances, but that’s not the issue I have with the proposal.

The problem I have is with the general principle of the thing.

If community service is mandatory, is it really still community service? Continue reading “What is Community Service?”

Somewhat Rambling Thoughts About Meritocracy and the Education System in the US

I don’t see how anyone can claim that Americans are equal when there is a clearly evidenced lack of equal opportunity. I mean, equal opportunity is one of the basic tenants upon which our society is based, but the reality is that it no longer exists.

A typical elementary school classroom. (Pic | Liz)

I ask that you please don’t misunderstand me when I write against the meritocracy. I’m not saying that anyone who has made a success of their lives has not worked very hard to get there. (I’m also not saying that everyone considered successful did.) I’m just saying that to think that because things worked out the way they did to allow you to become a success, that everyone else automatically had access to the same opportunities as you.

Whether or not you succeed in life is not so much determined by your personality as it is determined by your origins. Studies show this time and time again. You can chalk this fact up to whatever you want, bad parenting, poor schools, but whomever or whatever you try to blame, you will never be able to make a reasonable argument that it is the fault of the children themselves. Continue reading “Somewhat Rambling Thoughts About Meritocracy and the Education System in the US”

A Handful of Energy Links

I would like to share some interesting information about energy and the environment. Debate Surrounds Race to Export America’s Natural Gas by Bill Lascher This is an interesting article about the debates surrounding the issue of the export of American natural gas. Lascher argues that market volatility will mean that energy prices will not go down as companies export liquefied natural gas (LNG). He notes that the high prices outside the US are not guaranteed to last. Others think that the energy surplus should be kept within the borders of the US to keep domestic energy costs down. The Sierra … Continue reading A Handful of Energy Links

Sommer

Harvest: An Examination and Application of Definitions and Connotations

The word harvest may not mean what you think it means. In this article I explore the word’s origins and then apply the meaning to Rep. Scott Rigell’s recent announcement regarding permitting drilling for oil off the coast of Virginia. I do not think it is fair to the word harvest to use it in such a context. I believe other words are more appropriate and promote a stance that views our energy needs in terms of harnessing rather than owning. Continue reading Harvest: An Examination and Application of Definitions and Connotations

More on Rigell and Congressional Reform

Rep. Scott Rigell sent out his ‘Wisdom of the District’ poll about Congressional reform on Jan. 11. (That’s when it popped up in my inbox.) The next day I posted in my blog about it, saying why I did not like the poll and none of the options felt like they would really bring about long-term, successful reform. Jan. 16th, Rigell and Rep. Reid Ribble, representing Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District, ran an op-ed in Politico titled “How to reform a failing Congress.” Jan. 17th, Rigell sent out an email about the article, ‘In Case You Missed It.’

I had missed it, in fact, so I read it as soon as I had a moment. I was honestly looking forward to hearing his arguments and reasoning. Unfortunately, the article is not as illuminating as I had hoped.

Well, gentle reader, I promised I would keep you informed if I heard anything further from the land of Rigell about the issue of Congressional reform. Now I present it and my thoughts to you. Continue reading “More on Rigell and Congressional Reform”