I built a spreadsheet to model the effect of California state income tax rates on after-tax income and compared California with Washington State, which lacks an income tax.
I would have to earn about $12,000 more in California in order to earn the same after-tax income that I make in Washington State, and even if I did earn that income premium in California, I would likely not be able to save as much money each year because housing is more expensive in big cities in California. If I were to account for all of the cost of living increase, I’d probably need to earn $20,000 more each year in California to save the same amount each that I can in Washington State.
This spreadsheet really illustrates the power that income taxes wield over all of us…who knows, maybe this spreadsheet will even cause someone to move to a lower-tax state!
Click here to see the spreadsheet in a new window.
Note: Someone tipped me off soon after publishing this spreadsheet that I did not account for the fact that earning a higher pre-tax income in California would also potentially put you into a higher federal income tax bracket, and this scenario is not reflected in my spreadsheet (maybe in version 2.0?).
To those of you in disbelief that a deadly shooting could take place at a trashy bar/nightclub in Bellevue (Munch Sports Grill), let me teach you a lesson about trashy nightclubs: they tend to draw a dangerous crowd. As a result, your chance of getting shot there is MUCH, MUCH HIGHER than if you had gone out to the Irish pub across the street. This regrettable occurrence should come as a surprise to no one. If you value your life, you might consider avoiding the following venues:
-Most nightclubs in Pioneer Square
If you’re not sure whether the bar you’re going to is dangerous or not, a rule of thumb is that if you answer ‘Yes’ to two of the following questions, you should head elsewhere:
1) Is there a dancefloor inside the venue?
2) Is there particularly loud music anywhere inside the venue?
3) Is the venue charging a cover?
It is unfortunate that we all need to make conscious decisions in order to avoid danger, however, in that respect, choosing a nightlife venue is no different than selecting a mountain to climb: if you choose to climb Mount Everest (or go out to a nightclub full of lowlifes), you should expect a certain amount of risk (and even death).
More unfortunate still is that those who enjoy dancing must be extra vigilant. Is dancing something that people should be afraid to do? Of course not! Unfortunately though, dancefloors and loud music tend to attract trouble, and just because you wish things were different does not make it so.
Please stay safe and consider where you go partying before you get yourself into unwanted trouble.
They have Church for that.
Catholic Bishops would like women to be unable to plan or time the birth of their own children, but it appears Catholic Bishops haven’t really given the subject much thought. Had they done so, I believe they might have a different opinion about the effects of birth control on a society. Here’s what Ludwig von Mises had to say on the subject:
Those fighting birth control want to eliminate a device indispensable for the preservation of peaceful human cooperation and the social division of labor. Where the average standard of living is impaired by the excessive increase in population figures. irreconcilable conflicts of interests arise. Each individual is again a rival of all other individuals in the struggle for survival. The annihilation of rivals is the only means of increasing one’s own well-being. The philosophers and theologians who assert that birthcontrol is contrary to the laws of God and Nature refuse to see things as they really are. Nature straitens the material means required for the improvement of human well-being and survival. As natural conditions are, man has only the choice between the pitiless war of each against each or social cooperation. But social cooperation is impossible if people give rein to the natural impulse of proliferation. In restricting procreation man adjusts himself to the natural conditions of his existence. The rationalization of the sexual passions is an indispensable condition of civilization and societal bonds. Its abandonment would in the long run not increase but decrease the numbers of those surviving, and would render life for everyone as poor and miserable as it was many thousands of years ago for our ancestors.
-Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, pg. 673.
So much for humans breeding like wild animals, we humans have moved past that. Or have we?
A year and a half ago, I was conversing with media commentator and web-celeb Julia Baugher (better known as Julia Allison / @juliaallison) about the challenge of paring-down the size of your network to something manageable. In the end, we decided that it was a topic ripe for a dissertation:
Enter 2011. The indefatigable Eric Koester, a published author (his most recent book can be purchased here), well-known technology attorney, and tireless supporter of innovative non-profits, graced me with a nugget of wisdom on this topic that is so inspirational I simply must share it. Mr. Koester, the humble man that he is, would be the first to tell you that the ideas I’m about to explain are not his own, but rather came to him from his mother, who is obviously quite wise herself, so all credit goes to her.
Years (perhaps decades) ago, Mrs. Koester approached her blossoming young son Eric, and kindly asked him to sit down for a moment, for she was going to teach him about his Yellow School Bus.
“Eric,” she began, “everyone on this planet has their own school bus. Each person’s bus is of a different size, seating a different number of people.” Eric listened intently, trying to ascertain what exactly it was she was getting at.
“The people seated on your school bus are the people you interact with, the people who you respect, the people you make time for. Going through life, you’ll meet thousands of people, and if you try to stuff them all onto your bus so that you can keep in touch with them, you’ll find that invariably, some of them will be forced to stand in the aisles. If your bus gets too full, you neglect the relationships you have with the people you value most.”
“I see,” Eric said, signaling his attentiveness and politely awaiting the conclusion of the story.
“The solution,” she continued, “is to maintain a bus with the appropriate number of people on it such that nobody is left standing in the aisle, and also to have a section at the front of your bus for your closest relationships, your inner-circle. These seats at the front of your bus are permanent seats. By making it clear to these cherished people that they’ve got a permanent seat at the front of your bus, they’ll be likely to reciprocate in kind. This mutual respect will pay dividends, and together you will thrive with the help and support of the riders seated at the front of your bus.”
Eric pondered the wise words he’d just heard from his mother. He thought about the many relationships he’d built over the last few years, and the fantastic people he’d met. He realized that she was right–it would be impossible to stay in touch with all of those amazing people. It was time to be more selective, it was time to decide how many people could be safely seated on his bus, and who he would select to sit in the front.
It’s time to take a look at your own bus. Do you see anyone who has been neglected, who has been relegated to standing in the aisle? How many people can safely fit on your bus? Who is on your bus, and do each and every one of them deserve to be there?
If so, I feel sorry for you.
Try reading this and tell me you’re still proud:
Cameron: “Man, it’s a really bad time to call yourself a Catholic. I’d be ashamed if I called myself a Catholic. It is sickening.”
Ryan: “That’s quite the blanket statement, bud. If that’s your logical [sic], there’s no group, nationality, etc. to proudly associate with.”
Cameron: “Catholicism isn’t a group to proudly associate with, unless you’re in support of child rape.”
Excel model not attached (I don’t want to be labeled sexist when I run for [and consequently win] a US Senate seat in 2022).
“Let those who remain captives of ancient superstitions and fairy tales have their churches, chapels, synagogues, mosques, rituals and liturgical mumbo-jumbo; just don’t confuse the (pseudo)knowledge they traffic in with the knowledge needed to solve the world’s problems.”
-Stanley Fish, Are There Secular Reasons? - NYT
(Full disclosure: this quote was taken slightly out of context).
Religious people have over 1,000 years of music to call upon, but now, science is coming up with its own anthems.
A guest post by Steven J. Patrick.
The Narrowing of Mars Hill Church: How Humans Screw Up Theology
When Mars Hill Church started, it was a grand idea: eliminate the window-dressing and ceremony of conventional Protestant churches and embrace aspects of pop culture: rock music, sports, films, and current popular issues. Dress down. Bond as a like-minded brotherhood…what’s not to like?
But, as time went on, with young people today being generally either agnostic or indifferent to religion, the task of finding pastors became a process of Whomever Shows Up. Finding anyone, in any arena of human endeavor, who can speak, be confident, command attention, and maintain at least a facade of logic and rationality, as any HR recruiter will quickly tell you, is like looking for your lost cuff links in a gravel quarry. Those who speak without fear or self-consciousness in front of large groups of people tend to fall into four categories: bosses, con men, actors, and psychopaths. And, on the surface, they all look pretty much the same.
Enter guys like Mark Driscoll; people who have few, if any, real ties to the mores of this generation and a fierce, zealot-like belief in “traditional values”, that code phrase for “Let’s turn the clock back to 1956!” What Driscoll says and preaches is no different at all, in essence, from the old-time religion that Mars Hill claimed to reject. Driscoll’s Seattle area messages to the flocks of the local Mars Hill Churches are really no different from what Jerry Falwell advocated, all those years in Lynchburg, VA – minus his $1000 suits and the White Shoulders spume hovering over the chapel. Having attended and/or watched both those churches and seen them in action, I find it crystal clear that Driscoll is attempting – maybe even subconsciously – to elevate himself to the status of the “New Jerry Falwell”; an effort rooted in the fact that The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease. Driscoll appears to have a soul-deep understanding, as Falwell did, that the path to personal stardom as a minister/politician is to say whatever outrageous, controversial thing pops into your head, as long as it produces SOME reaction. THAT is how Liberty Baptist Church grew: Falwell ticked people off with his carny antics and his followers rallied around him, forming an “Us vs. Them” bond against the outside world. Every simple, vaguely-disillusioned person within that area of Virginia who felt that the world was not quite “right” gravitated to his message of Assigning Blame for their ills to something, ANYTHING outside themselves. There’s comfort in the idea that the world is to blame and that this crap in our own heads, that gets us odd looks and confrontations when we verbalize it, is actually Right, while the rest of the world is perverse and ignorant of The Truth.
Anyone who imagined that this new generation of Believers would be any smarter or more evolved than the generations of gullible folks who came before them is simply deluding themselves; indulging their egos with a self-serving view of their peer group as more enlightened than the ones that came before. Average, angry people will ALWAYS find a sympatico group who will tell them that Liberals, pop culture, Brittney Spears, American Idol, Avatar, and the media is to blame for their lot. The real truth – that the problems we ALL deal with are almost always of our own making – is exactly what congregations like Mars Hill has become are designed to avoid.
I saw Rob Bell, one of the founders of the Mars Hill “movement” onstage with the Dalai Lama at Hec Edmondson Pavilion during his last Seattle visit. I was taken by his gentleness and direct ideals and started to look into him and Mars Hill. I watched all of his videos on youtube and admired their style and content and simple, elegant truths. This, I thought, is a wonderful idea: religion which recognizes us and doesn’t judge all us rock ‘n’ roll-era kids and try to tell us that the things we love, the lives we lead, have to be gutted, purged, and reassembled to make room for God. No authoritarian old guys in suits, no fancy robes and collars and surplices, no thees and thous – just people of the generations after Elvis, trying to communally reach toward God. I wrote a previous entry in this very blog, dedicated to the idea that this concept can work, despite the wholesale vilification that Mars Hill was already incurring. I got angry emails from people who told me that I didn’t know what Mars Hill was really all about. And, full of myself as I frequently am, I chalked it all up to the Zeal of the Easily Offended.
I was wrong.
As a Christian, I can state without reservation that what comes out of the three Mars Hill Churches I have visited has NOTHING to do with any God I know. ANYONE who preaches confrontation, division, wholesale disdain, chauvinism, or the superiority of their own Truth has automatically disqualified themselves, in my eyes, as a Christian. There is ONE guiding principle with which NO real Christian can argue:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
Not when it’s convenient, not only when the cameras are rolling, not just when you agree with the other guy. ALWAYS. Mark Driscoll gets, as his followers do, a bit testy when anyone criticizes Mars Hill. But, apparently, as in this latest dust-up over the movie “Avatar” – “the most Satanic movie (Pastor Driscoll) has ever seen” – he feels it’s just fine for him to dump on whomever and whatever he wants. Those who defend him cry that he was only talking to his congregation, that it was a sermon and nothing more. The problem with that reasoning is that Mark Driscoll, for reasons I guess I am not equipped to understand, has Followers – followers who listen to his judgments and then go out among the rest of us and repeat what they heard, use it as a social weapon, and create artificial divisions based on nothing more than the views of one very ambitious, ladder-climbing, normally-imperfect man. I guess, when you’re angling for stardom, as Mark Driscoll certainly appears to be, the rules are supposed to be a little different for you.
Originally published on Seattlepi.com: link
A little exchange I had regarding privacy (which I do not really value as highly as I value transparency). I learned that not everyone shares my values, and that, for many, eschewing Google products is the most appropriate choice:
Thanks for allowing me to learn something new, Steve!
Was coffee’s introduction into Europe responsible for fomenting the Enlightenment?
“…when coffee originally arrived as a phenomenon in the mid-1600s, it was not seducing a culture of perfect sobriety. It was replacing alcohol as the daytime drug of choice. The historian Tom Standage writes in his ingenious A History of the world in Six Glasses:The impact of the introduction of coffee into Europe during the seventeenth century was particularly noticeable since the most common beverages of the time, even at breakfast, were weak “small beer” and wine….Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol began the day alert and stimulated, rather than relaxed and mildly inebriated, and the quality and quantity of their work improved….Western Europe began to emerge from an alcoholic haze that had lasted for centuries.”
Steven Johnson’s The Invention of Air, pages 59-60.
Yitta Schwartz died in January 2010, but she is perhaps the most dangerous woman on the planet. She is dangerous not because of her demeanor or her smile, but rather her unique set of values, and what those values drove her to do: she excessively over-bred, leaving 2,000+ descendants, and consequently quickened the destruction of the biosphere that we call home. Mrs. Schwartz’ individual actions affected us all–she took from all of us, and gave us nothing in return.
Yitta and her husband Yosef had 17 children over the years, living in Antwerp and finally settling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Those 17 children produced 170 grandchildren. Amazingly, Yitta could name all of them. Two more generations sprang forth from the loins of her grandchildren, and it is believed that she has at least 2,000 descendants, and perhaps 2,500, if they were to counted systematically. It is unlikely that Mrs. Schwartz knew of the outsized negative impact her progeny has had on the planet, and the commensurate setback in human sustainability.
Let’s not mince words; Mrs. Schwartz’ behavior is abhorrent. Her religion (Orthodox Judaism, or more specifically, Satmar Hasidic Judaism) gave her a belief that she should produce a brood as large as her body would allow. Her family planning behavior–that of having no control whatsoever over the number of her offspring–puts her squarely on the same level as wild animals.
The lack of strategy and planning that Mrs. Schwartz employed is an affront to the human intellect, and it also sets a dangerous precedent. Is it okay, in this day and age, to breed uncontrollably, to breed irresponsibly? If we were all to breed like rabbits (as Mrs. Schwartz certainly did), our species would be doomed to perpetually fight over dwindling resources, and our society would crumble. Law and order would vanish. All the work of our species, put in over thousands of years, toward the aim of building a more prosperous human condition, would be wasted.
If such a dystopian future is as detestable as I think it is, why then do we continue to allow humans to breed like wild animals? Why do we sign-off on the atrocious behavior of some solely becausee they subscribe to a particular brand of prehistoric beliefs? Is our desire to avoid offending religious and ideological groups responsible for putting society on a course toward its eventual ruin?
If our planet wasn’t overpopulated, then sure, overbreeding would be A-Okay, at least for a while. But in 2010, with a world population of 6.7 billion stretching the planet’s resources thin, excessive procreation hurts everyone. When anti-social behavior comes about, humans do the right thing–they ban and punish it. Perhaps it’s time that we ban excessive procreation.
Wow, I didn’t know they made crimson hip-waders.
My thoughts on this infographic, posted up by Jenny:
“Interesting graphic; however, the President (or the party he/she is a member of) has little to do with any job gains or losses during his/her term. The economy is a beast much larger and more complex than the federal government, and consequently cannot be lorded over by the chief of the Executive Branch.
A good example is the economy under President Bill Clinton, which soared (but some or much of it was a bubble). There is no way that such a massive rise in wealth could be attributed to one man (such as President Clinton). His influence is relatively small; a drop in the bucket.
Actions that affect the economy are so numerous (the Fed’s interest rate policy, the behavior of private-sector banks, changes in regulatory policy/legislation, consumer behavior, currency fluctuations, behavior of other central banks/treasuries, the business cycle, et cetera) that it would be overly simplistic to isolate a single action (the election of one President, or another) as the root cause of an economic malaise (or an economic boom), as this graphic clearly attempts to do. But considering the source of the infograph (it was created by Obama’s own administration, right?), I’m not surprised that it’s so self-congratulatory…it’s really downright propagandist and sort of (intellectually) disgusting.”
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