[thechat] Dont tax

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Sat Oct 30 15:28:51 CDT 2010

On Sat, Oct 30, 2010 at 9:23 AM, Mohan Arun L <marun2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> You people in America dont have to deal with real headaches like these.
> You can worry more about things like Tea Party.
> These are nothing really. You people have it good, if you havent
> realized it already.
> I envy you.

Exactly. If there is one thing we can probably all agree on, it's that
the arguments we have here in the US are pretty petty in the grand
scheme of things. And our definition of "poor" is just ridiculous. How
many poor people in other countries have cell phones?

There is an eternal debate between whether it is better to reduce
income disparity or improve median standard of living. There was a
famous psychological study of which I always forget the name that
asked participants whether they would rather have $70k when their
neighbor had $90k, or $60k when their neighbor had $50k. The majority
of people picked the latter, even though they personally are worse
off.* There is no answer to the question, because it is an opinion
question, and we seem to be hard-wired in the US (at least) to want to
do better relative to peers than to do better in absolute terms.

* Some people try to say that this is actually the better decision
given a relative-value currency. I do not buy this argument. In the
scenario presented, there would be no measurable effect since we are
talking only a $50k difference in total currency.

Also, while politics is a hot button issue, I reject the idea that we
must take a vow of silence. What we need to take is a vow of civility.

Matt Warden
Austin, TX, USA

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