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Comment Re:Sequestration is a gimmick (Score 1) 720

That's because when most people suggest a flat tax, they only mean replacing the income tax with a flat tax and not including the payroll tax. A flat tax PLUS a payroll tax is tremendously unfair to the poor.

If your flat tax replaces both the federal income and federal payroll tax, and applies to all income, and maybe has an exemption for the first $X of income per adult, then you have an actual fair tax.

Comment Re:Sequestration is a gimmick (Score 1) 720

The Republicans love the rich, that's why they try to make it easier to become rich.

Except that's not true. Republicans make it easier to *STAY* rich. They make it quite difficult to become rich, because if you're not already rich, you have to pay the federal government 43% of your income in taxes on the way to becoming rich, while the people who are already rich pay 15%.

If Republicans really wanted to make it easier to become rich, they would replace the income and payroll taxes with a flat 25% tax on all income. Maybe let everyone have their first $10k tax free.

Comment You're making a common error. (Score 1) 720

and see that the higher income groups do, in fact, pay more in income taxes.

Except they don't. The problem here is that politicians are very sneaky, and it appears you've fallen for the trick: There is the Income Tax, and then there are taxes on income. They are not the same, but people (especially republican politicians) like to use them interchangeably. Most of the time, when a politician says "income tax", they are excluding the payroll tax, which is a big federal tax on all income... from wages, i.e. actually working.

To get an idea of the net effect of federal taxes, below are marginal tax rates for different types of income:

Income from wages: 25.6 to 43.6% (income tax plus payroll tax)
Interest: 10% to 35%
Short term capital gains: Same as interest.
Dividends and Long Term Capital Gains: 15%
Carried Interest: 15%
Tax-exempt municipal bonds: 0%

So while SOME of the "rich" (like doctors) pay a pretty high tax rate, most of the filthy rich ("investors") pay a very low 15% rate on their income. That's why Romney's rate is so low.

Again, many of the rich pay a much, much lower federal tax rate on their income than most of the middle class.

Comment Re:Just so you know what you're in for... (Score 1) 290

I'm not talking 4G coverage. I'm talking any coverage at all.

I do a LOT of traveling, and have both Verizon and T-Mobile plans. In urban areas, T-Mobile is fine. But it doesn't work many places, including my parent's house in the Chicago suburbs, and several spots along I-94 from Hudson to Madison, and even where there is coverage, it'll regularly drop calls while driving.

In rural areas, it won't work at all.

I'm aware that T-mobile has a coverage map. So does Verizon, and it's far, far larger.

Again, if you spend all your time in urban areas, not an issue for you, but if not, T-Mobile can be quite annoying. (There's a technical reason for this - due to the frequency T-Mobile has a license for in the US, they need more towers to cover the same area.)

Comment Re:Sequestration is a gimmick (Score 4, Interesting) 720

The dems only wanted to raise taxes on the rich

The problem is raise is the wrong word here. The correct word to use is RESTORE taxes on the rich.

I'm a small business owner. By the time I pay my federal taxes (income and payroll, which is really all income) I'm paying 43.6% of every additional dollar I own to the federal government.

How can I lower my tax burden?

Well, I just need to become FILTHY rich. The problem is that I actually work for my income. If I already had enough money that I just needed to "invest" for my income, I could knock my federal tax rate down to 15%. Even less with some nice accounting tricks.

I think it is perfectly fair that people who "invest" to get their income pay the same tax rate as those of us who actually WORK for our income.

Republicans, however, are not interested in this concept. They are a party whose #1 priority is helping the rich get richer. The Republican position isn't "low taxes", the Republican position is "High taxes for the middle class, low taxes for the rich." And they have been successful at advancing that position - the Bush tax cuts heavily favored the wealthy. Now that the Republicans already managed to get the rich to pay lower taxes than the rest of us, they are working very hard to make sure the rich keep that advantage, at the expense of everything else.

That's not to say Democrats don't have their own problems, but until Republicans agree that the rich should pay the same taxes as people who work, it is silly for me to support Republicans.

And if a bunch of generally wealthy people have to spend a lot more time sitting around airports to get rich people to pay their fair share, I'm good with that.

Comment Just so you know what you're in for... (Score 1) 290

T-Mobile has the most affordable service in the US.

It also has the worst coverage. If you're in urban areas all the time, this won't effect you much, but if you travel outside urban areas, dropped calls and areas of no coverage at all are common.

I drive along interstate 94 through western Wisconsin fairly frequently and while I can place calls along the way, I can't keep a call going more than a couple minutes until I get into the MSP metro area. 94 down to Madison is even worse.

"Can't talk on phone while driving on interstate" is a pretty big negative for me.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 108

Google Docs, like LibreOffice, can insert equations written using LaTeX notation.
http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=160749
I don't think you can write while never having your hands leave the keyboard (you must at least tap/click the "New Equation" button) but I don't know how easy it is to operate that way in any desktop program that renders input.

BTW, MS Word's Equation Editor lets you enter LaTeX also, it's not some superpower only open source software has.

I'm not promoting any one of these choices, just pointing that by writing math & notation as TeX is useful feature in a number of document creation programs, online and offline.

Comment Re:Uhm, no. (Score 1) 288

So, if I actually only need to be there 30 minutes in advance, why am I told that I need to be there two hours in advance?

The 2 hours is published as a recommendation, not a requirement.

And you're told that because if you don't know when you actually need to arrive at the airport, you're probably an infrequent traveler, and then you may need to be there 2 hours in advance.

That 2 hours includes finding a place to park, getting into the terminal, waiting through the check-in line (which may be short or long, depending), getting through security (which may be short or long, depending), and getting to the gate.

If you know what you're doing and are fit and able, you can clip that down to 45 minutes. I do it all the time. In fact I've checked a bag 31 minutes before departure more times than one might think possible. But if the airline is publishing a number for Jane and Joe Public, 2 hours is a good recommendation.

Comment Uhm, no. (Score 4, Informative) 288

Antiquated rules on the requirements for how long people need to be there before the flight are maintained to ensure there is a large number of trapped people sitting about who want to buy food/drink and who get bored or are addicted anyway to buying things they don't really need in shops.

There are three sets of rules about when you need to be at the airport:

- Check-in time: Usually 30 minutes. This cutoff is to both give you time to get through security and the airline time to put other people in your seat if you don't show. But, since you can check in online anytime within 24 hours of your flight, this doesn't really put any requirement on you as to when you have to be at the airport.
- Back Check Time: Usually the same as the check-in time, and usually 30 minutes, although at some airports it's more. This is to make sure that the airline has time to get your bag to the plane and loaded on it. 30 minutes is pretty reasonable here (and the airports where it's longer, like Las Vegas, there's a reason.)
- At The Gate time: 15 or 30 minutes prior to departure, depending on whether you're doing domestic or international departure. As a practical matter though, this is really "before they are done boarding the plane". If it's 10 minutes to departure and they've still got a line of people getting on the plane, they won't know you're not there. But if it's 25 minutes before departure on an international flight and you're not on the plane and they are done boarding, they're going to pull your bags from the plane.

Why 30 for international but only 15 for domestic? Because the airlines are not required to fly your bags on the same plane as you domestically, but they are required to do so internationally, so they need the extra 15 minutes to get bags off the plane.

So, yes, there are rules about when you have to be at the airport and at the gate. But they have nothing to do with getting people to shop.

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