Taxes are less about money than you think

Reuters reported yesterday that a bill about to be considered would raise taxes on investment fund managers, by treating some of their investment income like "regular" income. Will this raise a lot more money in the grand scheme of things? No. Why do it? Politics. It's a way to look "tough on" Wall Street. This week the unpopular people are the investment fund managers, so we are going to tax them extra, and not let them eat lunch at the cool kids' table. One of the reasons our tax system is so insanely complex is that it's not designed to be about raising needed money, it's not particularly "designed" at all in the sense that there's some overreaching vision that has created a coherent system. The tax system is our legislature's favorite plaything. They take away money from whomever isn't cool this week, and give it to whomever is. Meanwhile, in their great concern that we all be a little cooler, they tax ugly shoes (or whatever else they deem uncool) a little extra and provide tax credits for funky wallpaper (or whatever they think is cool). Since, like ditzy teenage mallrats, congress can't be bothered to think for a…

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<insert project here> Women???

It seems that having some sort of special program to "reach out" to women is the trendy thing in FOSS right now. Debian Women has been around for ages, but now we have Ubuntu Women, the Gnome summer camp for women, and Gentoo is talking about starting Gentoo Women. I suppose I should be impressed that in each case they say "women" and not "girls". I'm tempted to check out some of the above groups just to see what's going on. I've pointedly avoided them thus far because I totally and utterly fail to see how they can be a good thing for FOSS, or a good thing for the kinds of people whose involvement most benefits FOSS. In addition to being a FOSS geek, I have at least a passing interest and some experience in a number of other predominantly male activities, including politics, defense, motocross, home improvement, and automobile repair. At one time or another, I've been invited to a "girl group" or "women's group" for each of the above activities, with the following results: In an attempt to interest women who don't consider themselves particuarly savvy in a certain area, the well-meaning group de-emphasizes technical aspects of…

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