Tax Incentives Toward a Living Wage

There has been much talk recently about a living wage and potentially mandating it.  While I believe the drive toward a living wage is good, I don’t believe mandating it is.  Henry Ford decided on his own to double the wages of his workers, and I believe that was one of the most significant contributors to higher wages in the US.

How about tax incentives toward a living wage?  If people are on a living wage, they should be off public assistance.  Thus, it seems to make sense to pay for that with tax incentives to stimulate it.

It would go something like this….  Offer businesses a tax credit per employee on a living wage as long as ALL their employees are on a living wage.  We would need to figure out the size of the incentive, but I believe it would need to be quite high, like $10K, to be effective.  There would need to be some exceptions like people under 18.  I would say that anyone over 18 or with a high school diploma should be on a living wage.  Dealing with part-time would be difficult.  We would want to allow it, because some people can only work part time, but want to avoid encouraging it.  To qualify, the part time people would still need to receive a prorated living wage.  We would cap it at something like 50 employees.  Living wage be calculated by the federal government and based on the local economy.

I say give this to the economists to study and determine if such a scenario is viable.

My Glass

Yes, I have been a Google Glass explorer since Monday. Some observations….

1. I didn’t really have to adjust them. I haven’t moved the nose pads at all. Of course, I have to move the prism slightly to see the whole picture.

2. I decided I want to get my prescription lenses in and ordered the frames to do so which I received yesterday. I am momentarily off to the eye glass store for that. I am in somewhat of a dilemma as to what to get. I was considering single vision versus my normal progressive. I believe I am going to go with the progressives. I am not going to do my normal Transition lens thing though. I am afraid they might interfere with the eye sensor when they go dark. I am going to hope someone comes out with clipons which have the cutout for the eye piece.

3. I took a couple of days to get used to the interface since I am not an Android guy. (More on that later.) I believe I have most of it now though.

4. I discovered early on that Glass does not connect to a WPA2-Enterprise network. Fortunately, I found an app for that. GlassWifiConnect.

5. In order to get the above to work, I had to learn how to “side load” apps. I found this explanation to be very helpful though I did have to fill in a few blanks. I don’t know if that is just because I couldn’t follow the instructions exactly or there really are some missing steps. In any case, I found the explanation very helpful, and I was able to figure it out.

6. I have been a iPhone guy since the very first one! I don’t know that will change, but because of needing to do the above, I found out that the Android IDE in Eclipse based and programming language is Java. Both of which I know. I may need to change my religion! I am seriously considering adding a line with an Android phone. Not only because of this but SMS and GPS seem to be compatibility issues with iPhone.

7. In addition to side loading the above. I also side loaded SpeedHud and Drive Safe for Glass. I’m still experimenting with them. I am having some issues. I believe some may be related to my iPhone versus Android thing. Between getting heads up turn by turn directions and these two apps and others to come, I hope states don’t legislate these away. I agree that texting and email and movie watching and other such distracting applications should be illegal while driving. However, if you ban Glass altogether to stop these abuses, you eliminate the important legitimate uses as well. I’ll already have a blog entry on this so that I will stop there.

Anyway, interesting so far. There is yet much exploring to do.

Return of the Thick (Fat) Client

In the beginning, of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) at least, all applications used a thick (or fat) client. That means the client controlled all aspects of the user experience in regards to using an application. Developers tended to like them because they allowed them to provide a generally richer experience and better control of said experience. As Web browsers matured, though, enterprises began pushing developers for Web (or thin) clients. That is because thick clients normally required a visit by a desktop technician and keeping up with the versions was very difficult.

Fast forward to today. Today, we have multiple browsers and multiple versions thereof. Furthermore, the browser developers are pushing out new versions faster and faster. Now, we have a very difficult situation for the enterprise to manage. Thin client X required browser version N where thin client Y requires browser version N+1. If a user needs to run both, we have a real problem. This leads to pressure by enterprises on developers to keep up with the browser versions.

I believe this will lead to the return of the thick client. I am already seeing some of this. LogMeIn, which is remote desktop software, used to be all browser based. It now requests to load a thick client when you select to remote control. It downloads and installs said client with your permission. I also am working with Forms inMotion from Keymark. It currently only has a thick client though a Web client is on the horizon.

Why can this work now when it didn’t previously? Well, first, there is more bandwidth now making downloading and install on demand more viable. There is still the potential problem of needing admin rights to install that needs to be licked though. Second, software like LanDesk (link taken down at their request) allows enterprises to originally install software without a desktop technician visit and keep it up to date.

The bottom line is I believe we will see the return of the thick client.

Google Glass and Driving

I’ve seen many articles on line regarding the evil of using Google Glass while driving. I noted, though, a couple of applications which could change people’s minds. One application is one that shows your speed. Ask a fighter pilot whether it is better to have your instruments on a heads up display or needing to glance in the cockpit to see them. Another application is one that detects you are falling asleep at the wheel and wakes you up. Ask a state trooper how many accidents they have investigated where the cause was falling asleep at the wheel.

Most technologies can be used and abused. If you legislate to prohibit the technology to control the abusers, you eliminate the uses as well. Please be careful with the legislation.

Hosting by GoDaddy

I’ve been self hosted on a Fedora Linux machine at my house for years.  I have taken the plunge to move to GoDaddy Web Hosting.  It just has too many good attributes to resist.  A monthly fee that allows hosting of multiple sites, adaptable templates, and no worries about keeping my machine up.  Now, I can finally take my former hosting machine to the latest version of Fedora and re-purpose it.  It was just too much trouble for me to upgrade the OS before.  Hopefully, you will like the changes to the Web site.  I tried to keep the content much the same while fitting it into the new template.

Share the Pain and Share the Gain

I have heard calls recently for lenders to “lower the principal” of loans.  I don’t think that is likely to happen or if it is even a reasonable request.  If people were duped into taking out the loan, the request might be reasonable.  However, in that condition, I would like to see even more drastic action taken against the lender like prosecution for fraud.  If the both the borrower and lender went into the loan in good faith, should they not both be treated fairly?

How about this?  Set up a program where lenders can lower principal in exchange for an equity interest in the house.  If the lender lowered the principal by 25%, they would get a 25% equity interest in the house.  The borrower would gain immediate relief and the lender would have an investment.  When the borrower sold the house, they would pay off the mortgage and the lender would get their percentage of the net proceeds.  The lender and borrower both would share in the pain and the gain.

Direct Voting Republic

When I was in high school in the late 60s, I wrote a paper called Administrative Democracy.  It formulated the premise that citizens should vote directly on proposed law with the purpose of Congress being to draft legislation, not vote it into law.  I recommended kiosks where citizens would stop on their way to or from work to vote.  Now I am thinking of a name more along the line of Direct Voting Republic or just Direct Republic.

Remember the only computers in widespread use at this time were mainframes.  This was before widespread use of mini-computers and long before personal computers.  With such devices and the Internet, I believe this proposal has become practical.  Of course, kiosk-type access would still be necessary as not everyone has access to a computer or the Internet.  However, many do and could take care of business on-line.

In my original proposal, I proposed the laws be written and then one paragraph descriptions for and against be drafted for voters to consider when they voted.  We would need to decide how often to vote.  Maybe every Tuesday.  We would also need to decide how long a law went through public debate before voting.  Perhaps there could be a  normal track, a fast track, and an emergency track.

Note, also there would be no more executive veto.  That is not necessary in such a purer democracy.

The Constitution would still be in force so that laws would still be held to judicial review.  We would need to fold the amendment process into this system as well with appropriate two-thirds and/or three-fourths requirements.

We would need to develop rules for Congress.  Maybe 10% of members of either house could initiate action on a law.  Maybe all members who voted in the action initiating group would be allowed to participate in the drafting of the law consulting other members as appropriate.  When the law is drafted, of course, there would be room for debate in Congress.  Maybe the law goes to a vote of the people based on a vote of 25% or more of both houses.  Maybe any group of 25% or more is allowed to draft a paragraph, for or against, which would appear on the ballot.  Maybe a majority vote of those paragraph writers are needed to report the paragraph out.  Of course, on the normal track, there would be a deadline for that.

Anyway, we would need to draft appropriate rules for Congress.

Well, that is all I can think of right now.  When should we get started?

Copyright © 2008 Richard L. Mitchell

A Proposal for Progressive Payroll Tax to Replace Income and Sales Tax

I propose a progressive payroll tax, which corporations would pay, to replace personal income and sales tax.  Corporations would pay tax on their total payroll.  The percent tax would rise as the payroll rose.  That is the “progressive” part.  Note, most payroll tax proposals I have seen earlier are a flat percentage.

There would be no tax withholding from individual pay as the individual pays no taxes.  I am not, however, recommending this to replace payments for social security and medicare insurance at this time, but maybe.  This withholding would thus continue.  Corporations would continue to pay tax on their profits, but, of course, the payroll tax would be an expense as payroll itself is.  Subchapter S corporations and such would pay progressive payroll tax on their earnings.  The advantage of being a Subchapter S would tend to lessen.

Individuals may still file “tax” returns to claim credits that Congress might deem to be needed.  Adjusted gross income and taxable income would be a thing of the past though.  Your income is your income.  The individuals would then claim the credits they are eligible for based on the situation and income.  If you are claiming no credits, no “tax” return is required.  This should greatly reduce the number of tax returns as corporations already do one, many individuals would not do one because they are not eligible for any credits, and the individual returns would be much less complicated.

I haven’t decided what to propose for interest and dividend income, but perhaps that also would be paid by the entities paying the interest and dividends.  It would, of course, be progressive based on the total of interest and dividends paid.  Then there are capital gains.  Perhaps that would require an individual return.

The transition would be difficult and would need to involve “guidelines” as to how this affected pay.  Basically, people’s current take home pay would become their pay i.e. gross and net (except for SSI and Medicare) would be the same.  There would need to be “guidelines”, however, as there would be some market forces and “fairness” to account for.

The bottom line is this should provide the same income to the government as income and sales tax, be more easily enforceable, and make some corporations think twice about executive pay.

I would think this is appropriate for all levels of government i.e. federal, state, and local.  Maybe it could even replace property tax and, instead, do everything tied to property as fees appropriately allocated.

Copyright © 2008, Richard L. Mitchell

I Have Seen the Light! I Have a Macbook!

Yes, I did all my research and bought a Macbook.  I went with the Macbook and the 13.3″ screen as a backlash from owning a Sony Vaio 17″ screen laptop.  I wanted something lighter.I figured if I wanted more screen real estate, I would plug into my widescreen monitor.  That meant I wanted to make sure I had the Santa Rosa chip set.It was everything I wanted except I started looking for Quicken.  I found out that I could not get a 2008 version.  That led me to VMware Fusion to run Quicken.  It works excellently in the Unity mode where the windows look like they are running on the Mac!I then bought 2 GB of Crucial memory to get to a total of 3 GB.Also, I found I needed 1Password to save my important information.I am enjoying Time Machine saving on my USB drive.Things are going well. 

World Series Champion Boston Red Sox

Yes! Boston did it again!

It wasn’t 86 years for me the first time as I had only been a fan since 1978. That meant it was only 26 years for me.

However, I could get used to them taking it half the time or even more!

And, remember, the NY stands for Next Year!

B is for baseball!!