RBT: A Space Oddity

Okay, I admit it. I’m definitely odd in some respects. Barbara commented on one of them last night, and threatened to post about it, so I’d better get my side of the story in first.

You know those novels that have italicized sections, often at the beginning of a chapter, but sometimes in the body of the chapter? I never read the italic sections. Never. And I haven’t done for at least 30 years. I remember reading Niven’s and Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer back in 1979, and I remember skipping the italicized sections even then.

The only italicized text I’ll read is short sections like a book title or a foreign word or phrase. If the italicized part is longer than a phrase, I just skip it.

I was reading a mystery novel last night that Barbara had just finished reading. I commented about how much I disliked italics, and she pointed out that if I skipped them I’d be missing important parts of the story. I told her, smugly, that I’d already figured out who the killer was when I was less than halfway through the book, and without reading the italics.

Tax fairness

Obama and the Democrats seem determined to raise taxes even further, while the Republicans refuse to budge on new taxes unless they’re offset by reduced taxes elsewhere. I have a modest suggestion. As things stand, fully half of Americans pay no income taxes whatsoever. In fact, many pay a negative tax, because tax credits offset any taxes due, resulting in a “refund” of taxes they never paid.

So, how about we remove the personal exemptions and standard deduction, and begin taxing that untaxed 50%. At the same time, we can reduce the tax rate to reduce the taxes due from middle-class taxpayers by an amount sufficient to offset the loss of the personal exemptions and standard deduction. That would make the Democrats happy, because we’d be increasing taxes, but it would also make the Republicans happy because those tax increases would be completely offset by tax reductions elsewhere.

We can then get to reducing the deficit. I suggest a 100% reduction in deficit spending the first year and every year that follows. Economic growth should then allow us to begin cutting down the existing debt.