3 thoughts on “What Is The Most Interesting Thing You’ve Learned In The Last Six Months?”

  1. Most Americans believe our country has a progressive tax system. In fact, conservative rhetoric sometimes claims that the poor don’t pay taxes, neglecting the local consumptive and property taxes the poor pay a higher share of their income to.

    To dispel the myth, I just completed reading “The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay” by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. I learned that when you combine all taxes at all government levels, the U.S. has close to a flat tax system, (roughly 28% of income) — until you get to the 400 richest Americans, who pay a much lower rate than the rest of us (roughly 23%).

    How is this so? Two things. First, while the federal income tax system is progressive, it does not offset more regressive local (e.g. sales, property) and state (e.g. income and excise) taxes. Second, wealth — which, of course, the wealthy have more of — for the most part, is untaxed and gives the rich a place to funnel their higher incomes.

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs?” Sorry, no.

  2. About six months ago my wife and I got to visit London and Ireland with my daughter, son-in law, and their two girls age 9 and 12. Just hanging out with them, and seeing the girls expanding their horizons, was probably the most interesting thing I’ve learned in the last six months.
    That said, a close second would be learning how the Minnesota legislature (and advocates including the Lt. Governor) worked to pass the first increase in 33 years in the amount needy families receive from the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

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