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Good News

Though the numbers aren’t yet in full agreement, it appears that divorce is going out of fashion.  For years it was almost fashionable to get divorced, particularly for women who were now earning a good living and wanted to spread their wings and independence a bit.  It appears things are changing.  There’s a growing realization of the harms, often significant, that divorce has on numerous people far beyond the divorcees themselves.  People getting divorces are starting to be viewed negatively instead of congratulated.  Between the realization of the harms and the negative attitudes, people are beginning to think thrice before considering divorce.

Since the mid 1980’s there’s been an increasing number of women not taking their husbands last name when they marry.  This appears to be taking a rather dramatic turn with the number not taking their husbands name beginning to decline rather quickly.  The reasons, according to women, is both to simplify routine paperwork and because taking your husband’s name signifies a greater level of commitment and family cohesion, particularly to children.

California Driving

I was just in Laguna Beach for a few days.

Driving down “the 5” from Orange County Airport.  I was quite surprised when I got to the toll booth to find that they don’t use EZ-Pass.  I thought most states in the U.S. were on this now so people don’t have to get a bunch of different transponders for every individual system and so visitors who bring their EZPass don’t have to use manual toll booths which cause backups, are expensive for the state to operate, and are a PITA.

Surprise number two came at the toll booth – they don’t accept plastic of any sort, cash only.  I had to scrounge through my bag and pockets to come up with enough.  Many of us view California as fairly advanced, clearly not from this experience.

Driving in California is quite different from anywhere else in the U.S.  On the plus side, they don’t drive overly slow on highways.  From Laguna Beach to Carlsbad I drove 80 (in a 65) and was with the flow of traffic.  I think I got passed by more people than I passed, a rarity for me in the U.S.  On the other hand, California drivers rank among the worst for left lane blockers and not using blinkers.  I was quite amazed how often I and others would be stuck behind someone blocking the left lane (of 3 or 4 lanes) with a good chunk of clear highway ahead of them.  The weaving that this causes is extremely dangerous.

Modern Offense

Good thing this gal didn’t grow up prior to now, when most people lived in one-room homes or at best homes with a very minimal wall for a master bedroom.

Florida teen calls cops to report mom having sex

Cops are so mature.

Yesterday morning I was in a café working.  After a bit, a guy and gal sat at the table next to me and proceeded to have a fairly loud conversation, mostly about her life as a plainclothes cop.  There were about 30 people in the café and she was far and away the loudest (and one of the loudest I’ve ever heard).

After about 45 minutes and my head beginning to hurt I asked her, very nicely, if she could talk a bit quieter.  “Whatever” she replied.  The guy commented to her that I must think they’re 5-year-olds (after all is said and done, yep).  She replied to him, clearly for my benefit, that maybe she should look up my license tag and police record.

And cops wonder why they’re losing respect from others so quickly.

Mitt’s Taxes

A lot has been made about Mitt Romney’s seeming low tax rate.  A few thoughts.

  • Romney gave over $7 million to charities.  This brings his effective tax rate to nearly 19%.
  • Romney paid additional taxes in the form of sales taxes, vehicle taxes, and likely the biggest chunk, real estate taxes.
  • Most of his earnings and the cause of his supposedly low tax rate are from capital gains.  A low capital gains rate is critical to all of us.  It’s people investing in new and existing companies that makes us the wealthiest country on earth.  It is these investments that make it possible for all Americans to have a higher standard of living than their counterparts elsewhere.  There is a lot of risk in these investments and while we’re quick to talk about the winners and how low their taxes are, we neglect to talk about all the losers, how much they lost, and how many taxes they didn’t pay.  When the capital gains rates are increased, the rewards begin to be not worth it for the risks involved – and investment and employment declines.
  • It’s not just the uber-rich who benefit from capital gains.  By many estimates about 40% of Americans have capital gains income.  AND, much of that (EG, for the not so uber-rich) is actually taxed at about one-third the rate Romney paid.  5% instead of 15%.

 

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