By now you have perhaps been hearing stories about how the highly touted Trump tax cut isn’t working so great for some in the middle class. Tax season is off to a slower start this year, with early filers seeing smaller average refunds. The average refund is down about 8% under the first full year of the overhauled tax code, according to data released by the IRS on Friday. Refunds averaged $1,865 compared to $2,035 for tax year 2017. Per CNN
I’m back in the game, I’ve got a few weeks of public accounting under my belt, and tax season is underway. Thankfully it isn’t too crazy yet, we won’t be swamped for another week or so, which is good because it gives me time to adjust to my re-entry into the atmosphere of public accounting — and thus far it’s going pretty well. I did my homework before starting this gig, to refresh my memory and get myself up to speed on the new clusterfuck of changes that are the Trump tax cut, and in the process of my research I came across a ranty but funny article on public accounting by a disgruntled former CPA worker: …These people live, breathe, eat, and sleep accounting. They’re the accounting equivalent of Ultra-marathoners in a world of 5K bumper stickers…. My own journey into and out of (and now back into) public accounting has been an interesting one, and probably not typical of most public accountants.
Short animated video by David Graeber, economist with a wry and witty anarchistic inclination. I think he’s really onto something, here, in terms of analyzing a certain shift that a lot people seem to be having, in our perception of work. For example, how people seem more aware that their jobs don’t really have value and how more and more people are looking to do work that matters and/or that benefits humanity and/or has some greater meaning. It certainly isn’t the first time that workers have felt disgruntled with work and/or disenchanted by corporate bullshit. The potential, though, now, is that people seem to be connecting their underwhelming experience of work with the bigger picture and with politics. For example, A lot of the folks who got active with Occupy, a few years back, were from “caring occupations,” which caused Graeber to view Occupy as a sort of revolt of the caring class. So, could this shift toward more meaningful work completely change how we structure society, poltically and economically?
Amazon packaging… Like a Russian nesting doll.
“Drugs are menacing our society. They are threatening our values and undercutting our institutions. They are killing our children. From the beginning of our administration we’ve taken strong steps to do something about this horror.” ~ Ronald Reagan, 1986 speech, with Nancy Reagan by his side
Good reading in The Atlantic on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal. It highlights one of the overarching differences in the political strategy of the old Democrats (Obama/Clintons) versus the new progressive/leftist breed. The difference isn’t so much about policies as it is about how these policies are framed. The new progressive wave is based more on story and narrative, and this makes it an exciting time to be on the left because the leaders of the movement are appealing to something that can inspire a movement. It’s an approach that could win, and that means there is hope.
Procter & Gamble, the household products company, has applied to trademark acronyms common in textspeak including “LOL” and “WTF”…. P&G board member Nelson Peltz told CNBC in March that younger consumers did not want “one size fits all” brands but products “they have an emotional attachment to”. According to the statistics portal Statista, millennials in the US are expected to increase their annual spending to $1.4tn (£1.09tn) by 2020. From The Guardian
Facebook took a hit on the stock market, like big time, record setting stuff. I’d like to take credit for that, since it came within a week or so of my announcement that I was Phazing Out Facebook, but I’m not sure that I have that much influence.
There is a movement. The Democrats have been forced to shift to the left, on economic issues, which naturally feels like a threat to Dem insiders as well as centrists of all political persuasions. There will be a consistent parade of folks like Comey, warning of the dangers of economically progressive ideas and policies. These will generally be people with privilege but not imagination. A better idea? Join Democratic Socialists of America and work for solidarity and a fair shot for all Americans. =) https://act.dsausa.org/donate/membership/
John Oliver had a fantastic bit on taxes, and I meant to post it on April 15th. I forgot, somehow, but then resolved to post it anyway, albeit a few days late. Now we are well into May, and I realize that I completely spaced this post. So even though this post may not have the same punch as it does on tax day, when we lament the amount of money that we have to pay to fund Trump’s increased security needs or Jeff Sessions’ quixotic renewal of the absurd “war on drugs,” it’s still worth taking a look.
Quite the fascinating article today by Chris Hughes, one of the group of plucky young Harvard students who founded Facebook. In response to the recent Facebook fracas, Hughes suggests not merely that we regulate Big Data companies like Facebook but that we find a way to share the revenue with the pubic, with the users. Here’s how Hughes puts it: “the principle underlying it should be clear: companies that benefit from the data we voluntarily provide should be required to protect it and to share that wealth with the people who made it possible.”
Elizabeth Warren was an accomplished scholar and law professor before she got pissed off enough to run for the Senate. In 2012, she became the first female Senator from the state of Massachusetts. The video posted below went viral, in 2011, and helped launch Warren’s campaign. It also gained her a great deal of respect among progressives. “There is no one in this country who got rich on his own” ~ Elizabeth Warren
As Trump and his cronies are busy rolling back environmental regulations, many are appalled and up in arms, shocked by the audacity! But I’m a socialist, so I’m one of the few Americans who are not really surprised. We’re just watching capitalism at work. And in truth, it’s always been that way, it’s just that now Trump & Co. are too brazen and/or too stupid to hide it. In a sense, I suppose, they are doing us all a favor by making it all very obvious. One recent example of all of this is that mining companies no longer have to promise to clean up their messes. #thankscapitalism
Armed with a massive bill that no one took the time to read — a bill filled with last minute scrawls and scribbles in the margins and with pages crossed out with a ball point pen — Republicans passed a tax bill that will put us at least a trillion dollars in debt. Woohoo! #thankscapitalism Here are 5 quick thoughts: