How is Obama's Julia Like Pristomyrmex Punctatus?

Before I answer that, a little science. Scientists study all kinds of things. One thing they study is ants, because ants teach a lot about communities.

In a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ecologists Shigeto Dobata and Kazuki Tsuji studied the effects of "cheaters" in a colony of Pristomyrmex Punctatus ants.

P. Punctati segment their society into two groups by age. Younger ants tend to hang around the house reproducing asexually. (And why wouldn't they?) As they age, the ants reproduce less and take on other duties like foraging for food and repairing the home. In other words, they mature and become more responsible for themselves and for their communities.

Both behaviors are cooperative. Both help the colony at the expense of some personal sacrifice, though I can't figure out what the kids give up by sit around reproducing day and night.

So what happens when scientists introduce a "cheater" ant or two?

Cheaters are like cooperators in all ways but one: cheaters don't stop reproducing to go out and forage. In short, they don't grow up.

But they do consume. And defecate. Right there in the house. And because their reproduction is asexual, the damn kids are just as horny and lazy as the parent.  Since cheaters reproduce more than cooperators do, pretty soon most of the colony is cheater ants. They eat, they sleep, they poop, and they  . . . reproduce.

Of course, this can go on only so long. As less food comes in and less waste goes out, the colony becomes filthy, poor, and overcrowded. The cooperators move out or die, leaving the cheaters to decay among their own filth.

Which brings us to the Julias of the world.

Julia was (semi) fictitious character sprung onto a waiting world by the Obama-Biden campaign. Julia is a cheater. From age of three, Julia sponges off the colony. From head start through social security, Julia eats the food others foraged and occupies the home others built and maintain.

Despite free birth control and copious, publicly supported family planning instruction, Julia, of course, reproduces. The Julia in Obama's video never marries--or even dates--a man, so I assume she reproduces asexually, like her P. Punctatus ancestors. Which would explain the failure of birth control. Julia's offspring, of course, imitate their parent. (Here's a video about Julia from The Five.)

Think this cheater behavior is unique to ants? Think again.

Researchers have recently evaluated these questions in systems involving viruses and cells (where cells may secrete protective substances, or self-destruct to form a spore-dispersing stalk) but not in multicellular organisms before. Yet the results are so similar, write Dobata and Tsuji, that they believe universal principles are at play.

What is one of those "universal principles?" Cheaters eventually eat out the substance of their cooperative cousins and destroy their society.

This phenomenon seems to be near a tipping point among us humans in the US of A. The punctatus is among us.

Consider:

More than half of Americans depend on government subsidies

and

Nearly Half of All Americans Don’t Pay Income Taxes

And

Disability is the New Normal

And

Up to 4 out of 5 disability recipients are frauds

If only Mitt Romney had seen the ant study before his infamous "forty-seven percent" statement during the 2012 campaign. He could have substituted "homo punctati"  for "forty-seven percent," and no one would be the wiser. A few ambitious reporters (if there are any) might have googled "homo punctati" and found nothing, since I just made it up by combining the word for man (homo) with the description of a type of ant (punctatus). But you get the point.

People are, of course,different from viruses and ants. We have intellects and imaginations that allow us to project the effects of cheaters on our human colonies. And we have the ability and the right to ostracize cheaters--to tear them off the teat, so to speak.

The question is, will we?

Our Tax Code: The Fustercluck From Which Everything Rancid Crawls

William F. Buckley proposed a simple tax reform in 1973. The language barrier that separates people like Buckley from that odd species we call Congress prevented his thoughts from finding fertile soil.  And in the 40 years between, the tax code has become only murkier and more dangerous.

4-Reforms

“Our tax laws were,” Buckley wrote in Four Reforms: A Guide for the Seventies, “designed historically to raise revenue for the operations of government.”  He continues:

Along the way the operations of government inflated in purpose and ambition, evolving from modest Jeffersonian instruments for effecting the safety of the state into the gargantuan instruments of the social perfectionists.

He points out that attempts to cure a social ill through tax code always and everywhere exacerbates the ill and sprouts new seedlings of destruction. For example, the ill-fated luxury tax of the 1990s, which intended to punish conspicuous consumers who spent their hard-earned dollars on boats, planes, and furs, ended up destroying several American industries and displacing tens of thousands of not-so-wealthy workers. The rich, meanwhile, could import luxury items from Latin America, Asia, and Europe, often cheaper than their American equivalent even before the luxury tax took effect.

Here’s a little history of how we got here, and a reiteration of Buckley’s modest proposal of 1973.

At the height Roosevelt’s New Deal, only about 3 million Americans paid any income tax at all. But World War II changed all that. To feed the war machine, Congress broadened the tax base to about 42 million Americans, most of whom viewed their new tax burden as a) worthwhile, b) reasonable, and c) temporary. Most Americans had one or more family members fighting in Europe or the Pacific, and paying a portion of their income to fund the war effort was something of an honor. At the time, there was but a single tax rate paid by all Americans, married or single.

When the war ended, some states created “community property” laws which stated that wives were entitled to half the husband’s income. This led to a change in the tax law which allowed men to deduct alimony payments, which led couples to divorce for the tax advantage, which created scandals as more couples lived openly in sin.

So Congress amended the law again to allow married couples to pay separate taxes which tended to drop them a few rungs on the tax ladder, reducing their overall tax rate.  This caused overall government revenue to drop about the time General Marshall’s plan to rebuild Europe needed funding.

In 1951 then created the unmarried head-of-household allowing single working parents to pay taxes at a lower rate, as if they had a spouse who didn’t work. This perturbed the single taxpayers who wrote the Congressmen (they were almost all men then). 

As Buckley points out, at this point it should have become clear to anyone that “to favor somebody is almost necessarily to discriminate against somebody else.”

The single taxpayer complaints led to more reforms in 1969. Now, single taxpayers could not pay more than 20 percent more than a married taxpayer in the same bracket.  (Confused yet?)  Now, dual-income households in which both husband and wife worked were furious that they were paying more taxes than single people in the same tax bracket. Congress responded, but now couples with children complained that they were paying the same amount as childless couples, discouraging family creation and giving the childless unfair economic advantage.

And on we go, until in the latest fiscal cliff tax cut/increase/pork festival, NASCAR owner get special tax advantage to compensate for their inability to turn right.

So the tax code is now heavier than health man can bench press, the IRS cannot explain what you should pay, and businesses spend as much on tax avoidance as they do on research and development.

It’s time to stop the madness.

While some believe the way to drum up broad support for change is to propose radical elimination of the income tax altogether, scientific investigations of political change reveal that people prefer incremental and evolutionary changes to revolutionary changes.  Therefore, I won’t endorse the Fair Tax, even though I like it better than what Buckley proposed.

His proposal?  A simple flat rate of 15% that applies to all income. No exemptions, no deductions, no brackets.

The flat tax should appeal to Warren Buffett and his ilk, because he and his secretary would pay the same damn rate for a change.  The formula, which I’ve blogged about many times, is stupidly simply: what did you make? Multiply by .15. Send it in. 

True, this would be a tax increase for many people. Sorry. We have a $16 trillion+ national debt to pay down.  When some future president phones into Dave Ramsey to yell “We’re Debt Free!” we can look at reducing the rate.

The biggest social problem this proposal creates is the displacement of thousands of tax workers at H&R Block, Intuit, and the IRS.

I think we can deal with that, though.

5 Ways Warren Buffett Can Take Personal Responsibility and Stop Relying on Government to Solve His Problems

Warren Buffett makes the erroneous claim that he pays less in taxes than does his secretary.  He claims that the government thus “coddles” the alg_warren_buffettrich.  He asks the government to increase his taxes, and the taxes of others like him, as if he is incapable of doing that on his own. Buffett is half right.  He proves that government coddles people by asking the government to solve his problem of guilt.

To help Buffett learn to take care of himself, without government help. here are 3 ways he can assuage his guilt and built his self-esteem by solving the problem himself.

1.  Pay all you want to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

2.  Go Galt. Make less money. Give away what you have.

3.  Refuse all corporate welfare and tax breaks for all Berkshire-Hathaway companies, saving the treasury billions.

4.  Return the billions in corporate welfare that your companies have claimed over the past 5 years.

5. Pay your poor secretary more. Increase her salary until she’s in the same, privileged, low tax bracket you enjoy.

There.  Three simple ways that you, Warren Buffett, can solve your little guilt problem without asking the government to fix your problems for you

BTW, Mr. Buffett, please realize that giving the government 100% of your wealth and all future earnings will have almost no effect on the national debt.  But it will add your name to the dole.

Now, since we’re all capitalists around here, and because I’d like to get closer to your low tax bracket, where do I send my invoice for $250,000 for this advice?

What’s Your FICA Score?

Your FICO score is a number between 380 and 820 (or something like that) that banks use to determine your credit worthiness.  The higher your FICO score, the better. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about your FICA score.

bi_weekly_stub

Your FICA score is the minimum payment on your federal loan.

You didn’t know you had a federal loan?  You do.

If you’re 18 years old, you owe the federal government about $46,000.  That’s before your take out your first student loan. 

You can see your FICA score on your very first pay stub. 

The good news:  you should earn enough in your lifetime to pay off this $48,000 loan that my generation and my dad’s took out on your behalf.

The bad news: we keep borrowing more against your loan.  You’ll never be able to earn money as fast as we can borrow it.

Your best bet? Here’s two rules for getting out of other people’s debt:

1.  Don’t trust anyone who tells you that you’ll be better off deeper in government debt.

2.  Don’t trust people born before 1982, since we’re the ones using identity theft to live richer lives and leave you poor.

And look at your FICA score every payday.  It’ll remind you of Rules 1 and 2 above.

80 Percent of Americans Read This Blog Every Day

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve lied. Usually out of desperation. I’ve lied to those closest to me—those most willing to forgive the thing I lied about. 

I’ve also told the truth to my own detriment.  In the long run, the latter works best. In fact, telling the truth works best in the short run, too.

So maybe Obama’s desperate. Maybe he knows that the debt ceiling debate is the beginning of the unraveling of Americum Sovieticum, his life-long dream. In desperation, then, he’s simply making stuff up.

How do I know Obama’s lying?

obama_big_lie-505x378The last time 80 percent of America agreed on something, the question was whether or not to get baby Jessica McClure out of the well. So when I hear that 80 percent of Americans support something, I assume it involves human life.

But somewhere, somehow, Barack Obama has found data revealing that 80 percent of Americans want—demand—a tax increase.

For the life of me, I cannot find these people.

I can find this Rasmussen poll indicating that 55 percent oppose a tax increase as part of a debt ceiling package.

I can also find a Gallup poll that finds only 32 percent would agree to tax increases as part of a deal.

Maybe the President saw this Quinnipiac University poll – with a questioned designed to elicit a particular response.  The question enticed 62 percent of 2,311 registered voters to accept some taxes on the wealthiest Americans. 

So, perhaps, Obama merely took that 62 and round up to the nearest . . . 80?

But there’s also the media defensive panic.

When conservative presidents are caught lying or being morons, conservatives tend to admit, well, maybe he shouldn’t have said “mission accomplished.” 

When leftists find their leftist president being a deceitful dolt, they obfuscate.  Huffington Post, New York Times—all the usual suspects—have scrubbed their sites of references to the President’s lie. (At least, my searches found nothing.  Then, again, I try to not to spend too much time on those sites.)

Instead, the left talks about this being the time to bring taxes into the equation.

Two people who get it . . . clearly:  Mark Steyn and Charles Krauthammer. 

Steyn, as usual, picks apart the stupid in “No Bargaining With Obluffer.”

Krauthammer destroys Obama’s credibility by pointing to Obama’s long and recent history of demanding more debt at any cost.

How about last December, when he ignored his own debt commission's recommendations? How about February, when he presented a budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade? How about April, when he sought a debt-ceiling increase with zero debt reduction attached?

All of a sudden he's a born-again budget balancer prepared to bravely take on his own party by making deep cuts in entitlements. Really? Name one.

So I lied again.  Eighty percent of Americans don’t read Hennessy’s View every day.  Not yet, anyway.

Bush Policies Balancing Budget

The White House announced yesterday that the 2008 budget deficit would be smaller than originally projected, as will the 2007 deficit. The reasons: 1) the economy is strong and 2) tax cuts stimulate taxable economic activity. We've know that that tax cuts increase federal revenue (to a point) since John F. Kennedy explained it in 1961. The Laffer Curve was the final word on the subject and should have earned Arthur Laffer the Nobel Prize for economics.

Ed Morrissey is worried the Democrats in Congress will raise taxes and drive the deficit up. They'll try, no doubt, but tax increases do not fly during election years. As Brent Baker points out at NewsBusters, the press is still trying to get Bush to commit to tax increases--proof that liberals have a pathological fixation on raising taxes that defies all economic reason.

I hope Giuliani and Fred Thompson continue to explain the relationship between marginal tax rates and federal revenue. They have done a great job so far. McCain and Romney might think like Giuliani and Thompson, but they don't communicate economic reality nearly as well. The next president must connect with the American economic mind the way Reagan did. And he must not listen to the likes of Bob Dole when they come to ask for a tax increase.