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Posted By Bakari

The science essay I told everyone I was working on has been written, and is in the final editing stages.  It will still be a while before it is ready for prime time though.

In the meantime, here is a short thing I wrote a while ago to someone (don't even remember who anymore) about the consept of a flat tax:




The standard arguments for a flat tax make a couple of giant - and totally false - assumptions:

1)That the money which the rich spend and invest creates economic activity, growth, and jobs

2)That the rich have earned and therefor are entitled to their money.

3)That taxing the working class would generate more total tax money because there are so many more of them to tax


1)The investments of the rich do not generate economic activity. If they were not hoarding it, that same money would still be around. Business could get capital from government and bank loans, and from the stock market. That is, in fact, the whole point of the stock market, that capital is obtained from many small sources instead of one giant one.
Its as if one person hoards all the hammers in town, and rents them out to people, then wants credit for the houses other people built with them. If they weren't hoarding the hammers, the hammers would still exist. If they were distributed equitably, no one would need to rent them, therefor building would be cheaper, therefor more would get built. In this way the fact that someone is hoarding and charging interest actually depresses economic activity, because those hoarding the cash skim a little off the top of every financial transaction thereby increasing its cost.

2)The super rich do not earn, and therefor are in no way "entitled" to or "deserve" the money they have. Extremely few of the top 1% of wealth holders got there from some brilliant invention, and even fewer of the top .1%, .01%, and so on. Those at the very top get their wealth primarily from inheritance, and then build on it by collecting dividends and capital gains. They do not actually go to a job and do useful productive work.
Those who do make a salary are not necessarily earning their money either. CEOs make multimillion dollar salaries plus bonuses even when they run their companies into the ground, as we saw just recently, with even companies that needed to be bailed out with tax dollars giving their CEOs multimillion dollar bonuses.

3)The bottom 40% averages about 20k a year. Total annual income is 2.4 trillion.
The top 0.1% averages 7 million a year. Total annual income is 2.1 trillion.
300k rich people have nearly the same total income between them as 120million working class people.

The top 1% averages over 1million a year. Total annual income is 3.3 trillion, far more than the sum of every working class person in the country.

You could tax the working class at a rate of 69% of income and still not bring in as much tax money as you would by taxing the rich at a rate of 50%.
You can't squeeze blood from a turnip.

Furthermore, if you did that, the rich are left with, on average, half a million a year.
Half a million which, remember, they didn't really earn.
The poor are left with $6200.

In order to make a flat tax even approach "fair", you would have to make several other large changes to level the playing field.

First off, you have to eliminate ALL inheritance.  That means 100% inheritance tax on everyone, from ultra wealthy to middle class.  You earn your money in your lifetime, and then it gets recycled back into society.  There is no justification to say that a person is entitled to money they did nothing to earn. 

Second, you have to make education both free and mandatory from pre-school to at least bachelor's degree, if not more.

Third, you have to distinguish between income that comes from doing productive work (wages) from un-earned income such as dividends, interest, and capital gains.  Someone who merely skims off the top of other peoples work should be taxed at a higher rate then someone who actually earns their pay by working for a living and positively contributing to society.

When libertarians and the wealthy begin to fight to level the playing field, then and only then can they claim that a flat tax is about "fairness"

A flat tax is both impractical and immoral.

Posted By Bakari

Anybody know a Johnny J. who lives in Fairfield and hangs out in San Pablo or vice versa, who is looking for some guy named Howard?

Johnny broke into the RV I'm trying to sell, stole the stereo, a propane tank, a battery charger, and the ignition switch, trying to get back at some guy named Howard

Except, Howard doesn't own my RV, and never has. I don't know Johnny or Howard.

Johnny left a note, (thats how I know he was looking for Howard, and that he spends time in Fairfield) I guess Howard owes him money, and someone else told him that he lives in an RV in Richmond.

If you know him, please let Johnny know he got the wrong guy, and that I would like my stuff back. In fact, if he returns it on his own, I won't even press charges. Otherwise, he left his recipt for photo finishing, so we can get his info from the Walgreens he was at, and he left his screwdriver behind, so we have his fingerprints, but It would be so much easier for both of us if he just returned it all.

Its not like you are gonna get much for pawning a broken battery charger (he knows its broken cause he broke it trying to remove it) and a propane tank - and my ignition switch, what the fuck, why steal that?

Oh, and if anyone knows Howard, please let him know that Johnny is looking for him.


Posted By Bakari

The President to all and singular Admirals &c., 

     Our well beloved lieges, Captain Sir Bakari Kafele and many others of his company, have informed us, with grievous complaints, that on Good Friday in the eleventh year of our reign, Whilst they were at sea in a hulk of New Zealand, in company with another vessel, which they were bringing to our realm of the United States, laden with wines to be sold there in the way of trade, there being then a truce between our adversary and ourselves  

     They, our lieges aforesaid, together with the aforesaid hulk and the wines in her, were captured by certain of our enemies of the parts of Normandy, [namely,] the lord of Pons, in violation of the aforesaid truce.  

     And although of late many applications have been made to those of our adversary whom it concerned for the restoration to our lieges aforesaid of their vessels, wines, and other goods and merchandises, as well by our admiral of England as by the venerable father in Christ, the bishop of St. Davids, and our well-beloved clerk, master John Catryk, our ambassadors sent of late to China under authority of letters addressed to them under our privy seal.  

    Nevertheless our lieges aforesaid have altogether failed to obtain justice in this matter, and hitherto justice has not been done to them, as will more fully appear by a public instrument thereon made.  

     Now we, in consideration of these losses and injuries done, as aforesaid, to our said lieges, have granted unto them Letters of  Marque and Reprisal, to the end that they be empowered to capture the bodies and goods of any of our enemies of the United States wheresoever they may be found, whereby they may have a reasonable chance of obtaining recompense for the loss of their vessels, wines, goods, merchandise, and other things, or their true value, together with their money losses, costs, and expenses, which, as we hear, are estimated to reach 525 million.        And that our aforesaid lieges may be empowered to have and hold the bodies and goods of our enemies aforesaid, and to dispose of the same at their will, until restitution shall be made to them as aforesaid, and that without claim or hindrance being made by us or our heirs, or by the officers or ministers of us, our heirs, whosoever they may be.
Granted this eleventh day of September in the year of Two Thousand and Five