Monday, January 21, 2013

Sneaker Taxes

I was traveling from Point A to Point B. Well Point A was dropping of a borrowed car and Point B was the bus station. On the way to the bus stop there was a no pedestrian sign. Now it would have been nice for it to a corresponding sign at the other end warning of the upcoming sign. Unfortunately there wasn’t and of course I ignored it and walked right past it.

Well it does bring up a worthwhile topic of taxes. I think it’s time to institute a Sneaker Tax for the purpose of constructing and maintaining sidewalks. Cars are expected to pay for their roads and highways through gasoline taxes, so why isn’t walking expected to pay for it’s on way? Surprisingly there are 300 million to 2.4 billion pairs of shoes sold each year. This means the shoe tax could be fairly reasonable at $5-10 per pair of shoes which would raise billions of dollars for sidewalk construction. We could spend this money to improve sidewalk travel throughout the country. Making safe routes for kids to make it to school and for pedestrians to safely make it to the bus stops.

Many lives could be saved and injuries avoided if we improve pedestrian travel. Around 4,000 pedestrians are killed each year and 59,000 injured. Wouldn’t it be worth it if we taxed shoes from 1% to 200% of the cost of shoes?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Large Corporations

I’m consuming some vittles at a Family Owned and Operated Restaurant. Some say we should frequent small family owned businesses over large corporations. But is that really the case? I make a case that we should favor large corporations over the family owned. Large corporations are more likely to have, and enforce, health and safety standards. This is due to an extra level of watching that occurs in some chains, whether it be district managers who come and check in operations, or secret shoppers.

If your goal is enacting environmental changes for the better, such as using less materials, then you can’t beat large corporations. If you’ve ever been in a McDonald’s and grabbed some napkins and noticed marketing of McDonald’s working with a environmental company to reduce the number of napkins used? It’s much easier convincing one corporation with tons of locations to enact a change then it is convincing tons of individual locations on why they should do something you think they should be doing. I feel its much better to enact changes in individuals by convincing them what to do rather then legislating changes.

There’s also the knowing what you are going to get, or at least a general idea of what it should be. Going to small business can be hit and miss to a greater to degree. If it is a great big miss it’s more likely you will get a good resolution to the problem. I recently received a milk bottle cap in my morning beverage from Starbucks. Even though I left the store I was able to get resolution of the issue through their website. A resolution that I’ll be able to use at an location. Where if it’s a small business I won’t have that same opportunity. This is especially important since I was travelling and probably wouldn’t have been able to get resolution otherwise.

Lastly aren’t all small businesses fledgling large corporations? Why should we favor the small and then despise when they grow?

What strike this post. I own a small business, you should definitely shop with my small business. But then again you might just turn the small business into a large business and put me out of business moving on to the next small business. I guess it doesn’t make much sense to choose to do business based on the size of the company. Maybe we should just do business with good businesses, both big and small.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Going Out to Eat

It’s nice the President thinks the Federal Budget is like going out to eat. Unfortunately his analogy isn’t quite right. The correct analogy is that you go out to dinner with all of your friends and some acquaintances. Everyone orders what they want. When it comes time to pay the bill, everyone throws into the center what they think they owe.

You have the people who knowingly throw in more then covers what they order. Other people throw in far less then what they owe, and others get it just right. When all of the money is collected in the center it becomes apparent there isn’t enough money to pay the bill. Some of the under payers usually make a quick exit, not wanting to pay their fair share. Others stick around and try to sort it all out to cover enough money for the establishment. If you go out with your friends enough times at some point it’s time to make all of the friends and acquaintances to pay their fair share. The Federal Budget is crafted in much the same way. Wants are put above means.

Why isn’t it the same with the Federal Budget? Isn’t it time to tax everyone with a Federal Income Tax? Shouldn’t we stop giving a free pass to people instead of running massive deficits? So lets raise taxes across the board sufficiently to cover our Country’s obligations. This would make budgets real for the 47% of people who don’t pay income taxes. It’s easy to say you want $4,000 per capita of Federal Services when you don’t pay a dime to provide those services one indicates is necessary to operate the Federal Government. It’s much more effective to tax 100% of the population then it is 10%.

Maybe you don’t think it’s fair that all people don’t pay their fair share. Maybe then we could institute a check box on the tax forms indicating how many people you are willing to cover and then charging you for the taxes. A fair solution to problem, where those who think not everyone should pay are given an opportunity to pay more. It would be interesting to see how much Warren Buffet would put down. After all he is always complaining his tax rate is less then his secretary's. This would be a put or shut up tax. It would give Warren Buffet the choice to pay the same tax rate as his secretary and in the process cover the less wealthy then himself. We do live in a democracy so lets have people vote with their dollars on how much the poor should get discounted rather then force the payment by gun point.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I don’t get homelessness. How does one get homeless? This week I’m semi-homeless. I’ll be working in Orange County this week and my usual accommodations are somewhat unavailable. This means I’ve been displaced into a hotel. Now it’s like I’m slumming it, and many business travellers are in the same predicament. Making working in Orange County really depends on the free accommodations I usually get from my parents. Since they are between homes, so are my accommodations. Now I probably could contact some old friends in the area and stay at their home. I’m fairly certain, even though I don’t communicate with them often, they’d be willing to let me sleep on a couch and catch a shower in the morning.

This is the part of homelessness I don’t get. Have the homeless burned all of the bridges in their life that family and friends are no longer willing to help out? Or is the free government money outweigh getting a job? When I worked in Downtown San Luis Obispo I took the bus into work most days, mostly because the City of SLO picked up the bus pass (but that’s another post). The bus route I took in the morning picked up many passengers freshly departed from the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter. I was always amazed at the stories I overheard on the bus. It wasn’t about getting unhomeless, but usually was topics that continued on the homelessness. One such story was the person who quit the night shift, and then complaining about not having a job. I’m fairly certain keeping a job long term eventually would have brought a day shift instead. For some reason they couldn’t sacrifice a short to medium term pain to get a long term benefit. Is this one in a series of bad decisions that person made to continue to be homeless? This was at a time the City of San Luis Obispo had a three percent unemployment rate.

I recently read a blog post on the internet indicating that we spend enough money on Christmas to solve the homeless problem. I don’t think they understand the homeless problem if they think only money is needed to solve the issue. Since the Great Society  push we’ve been spending money to solve the homeless issue. If anything this spending has proven that money won’t solve the issue. To solve the problem maybe we need people to make the correct decisions on both sides of the problem, but mainly the homeless. Having the focus on the government’s responsibility to the homeless only deflects the responsibility of those who are homeless in solving their own problems and making the decisions to not become homeless. But then again maybe I’m just wrong.

Are the people who say we need more government spending just making a decision to lessen their responsibility? After all odds are 50% of their friends and family are democrats who support additional homeless funding. It seems to me they are wanting the government to foot the bill rather then they themselves helping out. It is after all a lot cheaper for them to offer a couch, or since houses are getting bigger, a spare room then having the government dole out tax money. I guess it’s easier to blame the GOP for wanting to cut government spending rather then offer up a portion of their living space to solve the issue.

I’m going to head to my hotel room now, get some late night work done tonight so I can have ample time to work 8 hours for a client tomorrow.