Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taxation - Thinking about a Fairer System ???

Thinking about how we tax all of us in the US, I'm left with the feeling that:

1.) Those who work - and don't earn a huge amount often pay a lot of their income in taxes and
2.) Those - with substantial - "assets" - often appear to have ways of paying far less in taxes than they could easily afford to.

Thinking initially in these areas, I wonder why we don't tax: "assets" ?

Assume that Couple X owns:

1.) Two or more houses or condos or similar,
2.) A stock portfolio/ bonds/ bank accounts - with a value of $1-10 Million or more

vs. Couple Y who:

1.) Own a single residence (or rent) ,
2.) Have stock portfolio/bonds/bank accounts - with a value of $100,000 or significantly less.

Why shouldn't Couple X - have an exemption of some of their assets and pay taxes - on the remainder? Such a tax could be lessoned by (taxable) income that they received from the asset.

It often is stated that we should Not significantly tax capital gains or interest/dividend income because it will discourage investment and similar. I suppose that people can hid money under their mattresses and always there are incentives to look for the weaknesses in tax law to "save people money".

It seems that we should figure out ways to create as simple a tax system as possible which is progressive and requires people who have the ability to pay taxes to pay them, and those who have less of such an ability to pay significantly less.

I can't instantly construct a tax system to do what I am suggesting. I do think however that we should move towards more equity and fairness for all - and that such ideas could lead us on such a path.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maleness - and Control of our lives

Recently I read an excellent, very lengthy biography of the noted British author Kingsley Amis. His life seemed dominated by his writing and his party life at least until he was around 50 years old. The party life seemed predicated upon his abilities to "score" with most any woman that he was attracted to. Into the early days of his second marriage, around age 50, his world was in many ways turned upside down. His new wife was greatly bothered because Kingsley was losing his abilities to "get it up".

It was interesting to see how this and general aging changed Amis. Clearly his masculinity was important to him and his lack of "potency" turned him around in his life. His wife didn't appreciate the new sort of "mother" role he sought with her. He lashed out in various ways with various people as his entitlement seemed no longer there.

As men we often feel that we have entitlements which we see as based upon "merit". We believe that we've paid our dues. We see ourselves as brighter than others. Traditionally we may have seen ourselves as physically stronger than others.

As we age and as we face what we perceive as challenges to our perceived power, we often react lashing outward at others we may love or simply at others. Women often seem to take out their hurts inwardly.

Learning of our own aging, our mortality and our being a part of larger worlds around us is important. The tip of my elbow has tendinitis which is mildly painful at times and not bothering me at others. It may simply not go away. As I move towards my 60's and beyond, such things may grow and gradually take over more and more of my essence. When younger I could pretend that I could control my body. Gradually my body teaches me the fallacy of such imaginations.

As men we need to learn more of how we are part of worlds around ourselves and not the Center of things. We need to feel the feelings and the being. We need to not see ourselves as powerless when we have power, nor All-Powerful, when we rarely are.