Flaws and all, I'm glad he's in the White House.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Jack Balkin Said

He says it better than I could. Take a look.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Taxes on the Wealthy

Last night, I read this article in The New York Times about Warren Buffett. I don't know as much about him as I would like--although there's a new biography out about him, so perhaps I could start with that--but I do know he's spoken out in favor of the estate tax and against what he feels is an unfairly skewed tax system. Indeed, if this article can be believed, he thinks it's time to raise taxes on the wealthy:

To help pay for the rescue, the government should raise taxes on the wealthy, Mr. Buffett suggested. “I’m paying the lowest tax rate that I’ve ever paid in my life,” he said. “Now, that’s crazy.”

I understand that the issue of taxes is complicated, not just for reasons of economic theory but also for political and ideological reasons. I'm not in favor of higher taxes simply because I think the government needs to be purposefully big and because I resent others being wealthy. Yet, I do think taxes should go up, and they definitely will, because spending has gone up.

I do wonder, however, why Buffett is saying this with such ease. I doubt he's calling for a top marginal rate of seventy percent. Even this amateur realizes that would be probably be a disaster. But while Buffett is not an academic economist that specializes in tax policy, he certainly knows more about finance and economics than almost anyone outside of academia. Because he's saying that taxes should be raised the wealthy, I'm led to believe that it's not going to grind the economy to a halt, like some on the right would suggest. My guess is, if he felt something was going to be an incredible mistake, he would speak out against it.

I don't know if this a faulty logical appeal to authority. Perhaps it is. I just have to wonder if the Grover Norquist types of this world have poisioned the debate so thoroughly that an honest discussion of tax policy is really possible.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My First Post

Welcome to Thinking Before Speaking, my first attempt at a blog. I'm a fairly avid reader of blogs, but for the longest time, I've resisted starting one. Since I'll do just about anything to avoid studying for a graduate level test, going to the gym, or making a dent in housework, it makes sense to give it a shot. At the very least, I will now avoid looking like a crazy man who talks to himself, or so I hope.

Think about how this might affect the rest of the world. After many people making snarky comments about me going home to update my blog, I can finally live up to their expectations, or lack thereof. Hopefully, this sort of outlet will cut down on the amount of time I make people wish they were struck by lightening in order to avoid my ramblings about politics, economics, or sex. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

Thinking Before Speaking is so named because, well, it looks like all of the other good names were taken. Actually, that's part of it, but it's also because, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I can shoot off at the mouth quite a bit. I'm the sort of person who would receive notes in his desk in elementary school that read, "Please think before you speak today. Let's have a good day. Love, [Teacher's Name.]" Depending on the circumstance, I'm more than willing to speak my mind, but I also have a habit of talking when, as I joke, I should instead just Shut My Dirty Hoebag Mouth. In large part, it's because I don't think before I speak. It's not the worst of habits, but it's nothing to be proud of. I'd like this blog to live up to the idea in its title. We'll see what happens.

I intend for this blog to be a mix of politics, economics, and anything else than seems interesting, whether it's about pop culture, personal experiences, or what goes on in the lives of others. I'm far from an expert on anything, but I think I know more than most people my age; as time goes on, I hope that blogging will allow me to grow intellectually.

I'd like to be both serious and full of snark, depending on the topic. I don't have any particular high-minded standards, but I don't want this to be on the same level as a conversation that occurs when college guys are waiting in the drive-through line at Taco Bell at 1:50 AM completely hammered and stoned. I doubt I'll have many readers at first, but for those who want to comment, please feel free to say whatever you'd like, within reason. Don't post anything terribly offensive or nasty, unless it's clearly facetious, or I'll delete what you say.

So that's it for now. Until next time...