10-5-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Century of Federal Looting

CNBC reports that the income tax turned 100 yesterday:

"In 1913, the tax code consisted of 400 pages," said Timothy Nash, a professor of free market economics at Northwood University.

"By 2012, the tax code was 73,608 pages," he said. "We have gone from a simple tax system to a complex, unfriendly system."
It is interesting that nowhere in the article is any moral objection to taxation raised -- and that Nash is the "small government" guy. The "opposing" expert speaks of huge, unsustainable entitlement programs as if they are immutable facts of nature.

Until our culture changes enough that the moral legitimacy of entitlement programs and theft from individual citizens are regularly called into question, it would appear that we are in store for another century of parasitism, unless its enormity or further growth causes it to kill its host first.

Weekend Reading

"[T]he government may have a vested interest in definitions that err towards undertreatment, rather than overtreatment." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Why the Federal Government Wants to Redefine the Word 'Cancer'" at Forbes

"Over a quarter-century of clinical experience has convinced me that hypnosis - as it's popularly understood - is a fraud." -- Michael Hurd, in "Sexual Fraud" at The Delaware Coast Press

"The two of you will come out of this with one of two outcomes: Your friendship will either be stronger, or you will experience a disappointment deeper than a normal bad business experience." -- Michael Hurd, in "Can You Mix Business With Friendship?" at The Delaware Wave

My Two Cents

It is interesting to consider the politicization of disease Hsieh discusses in his article. Hsieh notes that some researchers, wanting a better place at the government trough, are lobbying for obesity to be declared a disease. (Conveniently for them, this happens to be Michelle Obama's pet cause.) I also strongly suspect that, partially spurred by feminist stereotyping, ADHD is already being overdiagnosed among boys. ObamaCare is already proving to be a Pandora's Box of bad medicine and worse government.

Caveat Vendor!

Some time ago, I ran across an article that debunked the myth of "passive income". Among the interesting points it articulated was the following:
Again, no leader worth her salt will be attracted to such an opportunity. And anyone you do hire to lead the value creation, if they have two brain cells, will see that she's the one adding all the value. Sooner or later she will simply find a way to cut you out of the value chain, either by requiring more and more compensation, or by going off and competing against you (and actively at that.) Why does she need you? You're not adding any value anyway!
This morning, I ran across an amusing exchange posted at Clients from Hell that perfectly illustrates this point:
Client: I want to make a social networking website which I can earn profits from.

Me: Can you provide me with more details? What ideas do you have?

Client: I want it to be like Facebook and Twitter but people will have to pay to use it. I really can't tell you any more than that. [link in original]
This story has zero value to most people who are so clueless as to make such a pitch, but much for someone hearing one. Yes. There are people out there who will pitch an amorphous blob as an opportunity and leave the details -- all of them! -- to you.

This sort of "opportunity" is a tar baby and should be avoided like the plague. Often, the difficulty lies in recognizing these for what they are, especially if there actually is a good, less-than obvious idea involved. Determining the scope of the work is vital.


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