Friday, April 23, 2010

Value Added Tax?

This is an interesting possibility. I have my doubts that we'll ever really get an actual debate that airs the important points of the issue, but here are a few cautions I would throw out there.

  • Unless this tax replaces the income tax we ought never even consider it.
  • Given the hidden nature of a VAT, it becomes far too easy for the kleptocrats of all stripes to hike taxes without being as obvious as would be a change in the withholding on our paychecks, or the sales tax added on the end of a cash register receipt.
  • One general rule is that if you tax something, you get less of it (cigarettes are a good example, and gasoline is being targeted in the same way). Think of the name of this tax: Value Added tax. This means that the (unintended?) consequence of such a tax is to yield less value added in the economy. That doesn't sound like a good idea, does it?
If we're going to move from an income tax to a consumption tax, let's be fair and honest about it, and go with a national sales tax on everything but food, medicine, and shelter.

Frankly, I think the main attractions of the VAT for our politicians are that it's hidden, it taxes every part of every chain of production, and it's European.
After all, they know more about having a dynamic economy than we do, right?


Monday, April 19, 2010

Carnage du Jour - 17 Apr 10 - Guess Who Came to Dinner

Well, that was a great evening.

At our church (Grosse Pointe United Methodist), the Witness committee came up with a very fun event. Batches of folks signed up to eat together, but without knowing with whom they'd be eating, nor where, for that matter. Some of us offered to host (the others offered to guest, one supposes), the hosting responsibilities being (in general) providing the entrée and beverages and sometimes a starch.

Heidi and I hosted, and I know you're all dying to know what entrée we served. Well, after much thought, debate, and surveying of the grocery adverts, we determined that many of our hosting compatriots would be serving beef tenderloin. We briefly considered the porcine alternative (after all, there are endless possibilities there, no?), but finally rejected it for a simple recipe from our family camping history - coq au vin.

Yes, there was even bacon grease in the freezer for browning the chicken and the pearl onions and carrots and mushrooms and all that.
Once the skillet had finished its duty, all went straight into the old roaster we inherited with our house and simmered away happily for a few hours before serving time.
Oh, not being certain of the status of our meal's starch element, we also roasted some nice red and white new potatoes with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then dressed them with freshly minced parsley at service. They were quite tasty as well.

The cleanup of the baconage was less onerous than I had expected, after seeing how splattery everything tried to be, thanks in large part to the double spatter-guard technology I employed, using both the screen type cover on the skillet and the metal shoji to create a walled garden around it as well.

All in all, the food was excellent (not just mine, but all the contributions were top rate), and the company and conversation even better.

Again, a great evening, and an event that deserves to be repeated.