$45k/yr is the “New Rich”

Implemented in 1969 to make sure upper-income Americans pay their share of taxes, the AMT has increasingly snared more middle-income Americans over the years because it was never indexed for inflation.

During the 2011 tax year for example, the higher tax hit single taxpayers with incomes as low as $48,450 and joint filers making only $74,450.

But millions more Americans could be subject to the AMT in their 2012 returns if Congress fails to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff before year-end. That’s because the AMT is currently scheduled to hit individuals making as little as $33,750 a year and joint filers making $45,000.

via CNBC.

Being married and making over $45,000 a year is the “new rich.”


2/3 of Millionaires Avoid 50% Tax Rate

Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate

Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.

via Telegraph.

Shhhhh…  This is a secret.  No one tell the U.S. media.  They think the “rich” will just stay and give Obama all their money.

A General Lack of Regard for Einstein’s Brain

There’s a story about Einstein’s brain over at the Washington Post.  It’s your basic nature vs. nurture about how this guy got to have this unique piece of gray matter between his ears.

It appears quite a few Wash. Post readers don’t think much of Ol’ Albert or his accomplishments.  One particular genius wrote:

He didn’t invent, or come up with, relativity. That has existed since time began … he was the person that first -realized- it existed and then fashioned working mathematical relationships to describe it. If it wasn’t Albert Einstein, it would have been someone else that first put 2 and 2 together ….

Brilliant!!  Because yes, yes, the work Einstein did is really nothing more than 2 + 2.

This leads another commenter to write something I’ve thought for a long time:

So amusing to read the pronouncments of our typical modern day (Obongo supporting) clueless clowns with a little knowlege passing judgment on one of mankind’s greatest thinkers. Utterly underserved confidence in the most meager of abilities has been the only discernible triumph of the US liberal dominated dysfunctional education system in the last 50 years.

via The Washington Post.

The combination of arrogance and ignorance is very dangerous and  has infected a significant portion of the population.  People — you know who you are — have become so enamored with themselves that they either cannot or simply refuse to see real genius in others.

I’ve taken four college semesters of calculus ending with differential equations.  These classes would not begin to cover the mathematics that Einstein did without the assistance of a computer or even a hand-held calculator.  To imply that just anyone would come along and discover 2 + 2 shows just how little the average person walking down the street actually knows about math.

It’s very very sad.  Ignorance is truly bliss; but at least years ago people knew enough to keep their trap shut when they didn’t know anything.

China To Build World’s Tallest Building In 90 Days

It all started simple enough.

Six days. That’s how long it took to build this level 9 Earthquake-resistant, sound-proofed, thermal-insulated 15-story hotel in Changsha, complete with everything, from the cabling to three-pane windows. The foundations were already built, but it’s just impressive.

While still in basking in the glow of success the same group decided to up the stakes a little …


The hotel is so solid that it can resist a 9 magnitude earthquake, as tested by the China Academy of Building Research (there’s a scene in which you can see the testing process, at 1:49). They claim this is five times more earthquake-resistant than conventional buildings.

The company also says that it is five times more energy efficient, with 6-inch thick glass curtain wall insulation and four-paned windows with built-in shades, a heat recovery system and 3-stage filtration air conditioning process that purifies indoor air to be 20 times purer than the air outside. They even have air quality monitoring in every room which, given the pollution problem in China, seems to be an important selling point there.



I guess since the two proof-of-principles have worked out it’s time to go straight to the head of the class.

According to its engineers, this will be the tallest skyscraper in the world by the end of March of 2013. Its name is Sky City, and its 2,749 feet (838 meters) distributed in 220 floors will grow in just 90 days in Changsha city, by the Xiangjiang river. Ninety days!

via Gizmodo.

For those too lazy to click, the magic here is that the building is pre-fab.  Not so much like a trailer but more like a very cool and very complicated erector set.  There’s video at the second link.

If this project goes off it will be time to seriously think — or re-think — about how we build things.  This technology appears to be something incredible.  Something we should be using here.

Racists Blacks Fret About Sole White Lady

Black leaders are growing increasingly worried that a white candidate might seize the seat of former Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson in the upcoming Illinois special election.

With a host of black candidates announcing their intention to seek the seat, the concern is that they could split the African-American vote and provide a plurality to a white contender. The worries escalated this week after former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a white Democrat and veteran of suburban Chicago politics, threw her hat into the ring.  …

“There’s a great deal of concern that Debbie Halvorson would win because the black vote would be split 18 ways,” said Delmarrie Cobb, a longtime Democratic political consultant in Chicago who formerly worked for Jackson Jr.“The battle we have is that we can’t afford to lose a black voice in Congress,” she added. “It would be a terrible loss in many ways.”

via POLITICO.com.

Where’s MLK or even Malcolm X when we need them?

It’s just so sad.  I fear we’re heading backwards.  This attitude is not going to help blacks and whites get along.  It’s politics of division.  It’s only making the problem worse.

Everyone Wants a Drone – Zero Concern For Your Privacy

Are unmanned aircraft, known to have difficulty avoiding collisions, safe to use in America’s crowded airspace? And would their widespread use for surveillance result in unconstitutional invasions of privacy?

via SFGate.

Yes, and no seem like pretty straightforward answers to these questions.

But the elected idiots who man the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus have taken over $8 million in campaign contributions from drone developers.

So do you feel safe yet?



Black Friday Gun Sales Hit New Record High

Black Friday gun sales hit an all time record high last week with demand for new firearms so overwhelming that it caused outages at the FBI background check center on two separate occasions.

Fueled by fears that the Obama administration will go after gun rights during a lame duck term, the FBI reported 154,873 background check requests on Friday – a 20 per cent increase on last year’s record total of 129,166 checks.

via Infowars.

Good time to be in the gun manufacturing business.

Illinois’ Pension Time-Bomb Too Big Too Fix

So says the Commercial Club of Chicago.

In a memo to its members, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago said last week’s elections didn’t bring in an influx of lawmakers willing to deal with the pension crisis but instead leaves taxpayers with “more legislators who aren’t prepared, or willing, to make the tough decisions necessary to save our state.”

“We are writing today to let you know that the pension crisis has grown so severe that it is now, unfixable,” said the letter co-signed by Miles White, chairman of the Commercial Club; Jim Farrell, chairman of the Civic Committee, and Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee and Commercial Club.

via Sun-Times.

Miles White is the Chairman and CEO of Abbott Labs.  Jim Farrell is the retired Chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works.  Ty Fahner is a partner at Mayer Brown where he handles tax, bankruptcy, and securities matters.  These are not dumb guys.  They understand finance and are used to dealing with large numbers.

The headline is of course misleading; the problem is fixable.  It’s really just that every week that’s wasted means the solution will be more painful.  The Commercial Club outlines what it thinks needs to be done:

  • All cost-of-living increases need to be eliminated for retirees, who now get annual 3 percent pension boosts.
  • A cap on salaries must be imposed upon which pensions can be based.
  • The retirement age for full pension benefits needs to be raised to 67.
  • Downstate and suburban school systems must be forced to take on pension payments from the state for educators over a 12-year phase-in.

This is pretty painful for the pension members.  Naturally there will be some pain on the taxpayers as well.  It’s a bad situation that’s only getting worse by the day.

Union Workers Turn Against Organized Labor

As organized labor loses leverage in a race-to-the-bottom global market, some workers are becoming so disillusioned by what their unions can, or rather can’t, do for them that they want out. The disaffected include dozens of machinists at Caterpillar Inc.’s plant in Joliet who crossed the picket line during a strike last summer and are planning unfair labor practices complaints against the union.

Organized labor’s slippage is most acute in the manufacturing sector, which has lost 4.7 million jobs and seen membership shrink by almost a third since 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, private-sector union membership stands at just 6.9 percent nationally and 10.6 percent in Illinois. …

Many rank-and-file employees have opposed unions all along, of course. Despite organizing drives, workers have turned down collective bargaining at automobile plants across the South. Legislatures in 23 states have enacted “right-to-work” laws that allow employees to opt out of dues-paying membership at union shops; Indiana joined this camp early this year.Now some workers in union-friendly states are turning on their brethren over strikes.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

These are good jobs that pay well.  Most people really want to work.  Yet the unions get in they way somtimes… and yes, sometimes it’s the companies that get in the way.  The big difference however is that the company is the one taking the risk.  The shareholder or owner is placing his or her money on the line.  The union is not.

Successful risks should be rewarded.  Bad risks are punished.  That’s how people learn; how the cream rises to the top.

You can take all the money in this country and redistribute it equally to each person.  In ten or fifteen years those who are “rich” will be rich again.  Those who are “poor” today will be poor again.

It’s very much like the story of the talents; Matthew 25:14-30.