FORMAT FOMENT

Ethert Hagen: “Hate it.  Please change back.”

Rick Thompson: “I welcome change as long as everything remains exactly the same.”

Larry:  “I guess everyone finds a change of their favorite interface a little unnerving.  I especially dislike it when a new version of, say, my operating system or browser has changed, seemingly only to demonstrate that the new version is, indeed, substantially different than the old one — even though all they did was hide or obscure previous functions that I use. BUT, your new webpage adds info (previous titles), clarifies content (e.g., special fonts for quoted text), and overall makes many helpful improvements.  Thanks for a nice surprise.  Your version change should be a model for Microsoft.”

☞ All kudos go to Whirled Pixels‘ Luann Vodder (with gracious assists from Marc Fest, who pioneered this for me before there were blogs, and Jason Alphonse).

 

CONSERVATIVE THOUGHT

Bryan N.:THIS is the root of the problem. They can’t think.”

Conservatives, particularly those with college educations, have become dramatically more skeptical of science over the past four decades, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review. Fewer than 35 percent of conservatives say they have a “great deal” of trust in the scientific community now, compared to nearly half in 1974.  . . .

Interestingly, the most educated conservatives have led that charge. Conservatives with college degrees began distrusting science earlier and more forcefully than other conservatives, upending assumptions that less educated people on the whole are more distrustful of science. . . .

 

TAXES TO BEAT THE AXIS

Rob N.:  “I saw this, in which Donald Duck has been enlisted to introduce the income tax to the masses in 1941. And owes $13. Amusing bit of Americana.”

☞ Thanks, Rob!  Who can resist a Disney cartoon?  Amusing — and food for thought.

Yes, the duck owes just $13 on a $2,501 income (he lists Huey, Dewey, and Louie as dependents) — in 2012 dollars, that would be like paying $201 on $38,734.  But it’s hard to argue Donald was living better then, with that low tax, than than he would be living now.  Despite today’s tax burden, most lucky ducks now have TV sets (in 1941: none did), air conditioning (in 1941: virtually none), penicillin (virtually none), indoor plumbing (only 55% — don’t miss this history of plumbing, if you take sewers for granted),  not to mention interstate highways, cheap jet travel, cell phones, computers, Wikipedia (none, none, none, none) . . . you get the point.

Disney has Donald embracing his patriotic duty to pay for guns and war.  The same Republicans who decry taxes today mostly support today’s military budget — anywhere from $700 billion or so up to $1 trillion or more, depending on how you look at it.  That compares to the roughly $25 billion 1942 military budget that 1941 income tax form Donald fills out was meant to help finance.  Even adjusted for inflation, where $25 billion becomes $349 billion in 2012 dollars, we’re spending more than we did in 1942.

(As that military spending ramped up in 1943 and 1944 and 1945 , so did Donald’s tax rate: from 10% to 23%.  And so did the top rate — it might have been called “the Donald’s” tax rate if he had been living and having one of his good years at the time — to 94%.)

It’s just a cartoon, but the takeaway might be that patriots are proud to pay taxes.  And some of us might add that the truly conservative approach to national finance is pay for what’s spent by taxing today’s adults rather than borrowing it from tomorrow’s (our kids and their kids). That’s what Clinton did: he raised taxes and balanced the budget.  He left office urging that we “save Social Security first” — meaning that, rather than spend the budget surpluses on tax cuts, we should first shore up our national balance sheet.  The Democrats would have eagerly gone along; the Republicans would have none of it.  Controlling the White House and both houses of Congress for six years, they sent us onto an entirely different course, handing incoming President Obama a $10 trillion National Debt (it was under $1 trillion when Reagan took office) and a $1.5 trillion 2009 fiscal deficit that had been baked in even before Obama took office (the 2009 fiscal year began October 1, 2008, more than a month before he was elected).

OK.  I feel better now.

Here’s the duck:

MARRIAGE

So the anti-marriage-equality people got 22,000 followers to pledge to boycott Starbucks (Starbucks supports equality) and the pro-marriage-equality folks got 281,000 folks to sign a THANK YOU, STARBUCKS card.  Here’s the story.  Go have a latte.

 

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