Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In Honor Of Earth Day, Awareness, and Support Campaigns


Well, it's Earth Day, apparently, and I am already annoyed with all the Facebook posts, tweets, etc., especially from news sites and organizations trying to gain some viewers. By the way, here is an excellent post about all the information and mis-information about Earth Day: truth and facts matter! (read the comments for first-hand stories).

Here's a thought: be like Dave. My habits include turning off lights not in use, managing the thermostat, recycling as much as I can, creating little garbage, watering with rainwater when I can, not watering my lawn, only flowers and crops, no pets (except for two goldfish in an outdoor water feature), timers on some lights, if it's yellow let it mellow, not washing most clothes after just one wearing, brushing my teeth with the faucet turned off, always using the cold water rinse setting, ceiling fans, combining trips whenever possible, eating leftovers.

I have mentioned before that my family of five routinely produces less garbage than the much-more-progressive-liberal-Democrat couple that live next door (who are fantastic neighbors even though their dogs dig and poop in my yard occasionally), and it's true. Granted, part of the reason is that we eat out so much because of the crazy kid-driven schedule, but we just don't create a lot of waste. It's not that hard to do, frankly. I've always said about recycling "it's too easy to not do." (feel free to google "stupid recycling rules" for some notable exceptions)

Ok, now, "Awareness." I am SO SICK of Awareness Campaigns. Everyone knows about cancer, ok? Everyone knows about AIDS, Diabetes, Juvenile Diabetes, MS, ALS, drunk driving, hunger, abuse, cigarettes, ALL OF THESE THINGS!!!!!! About the only thing most people aren't aware of is just how much human trafficking is actually going on everywhere.

Secondly, are the "I support blah blah blah" crap posts everywhere. This was lampooned on Facebook recently and many people didn't even get it. The probably think Swift was serious about the baby thing, too.

If you have a pet cause, write a check. If you want to affect change, raise some cash. We are aware, and we support sufferers everywhere, so instead of "liking" or re-tweeting DONATE. Quietly.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Subway, Yoga Mats, Chemicals, and Fascism

So, an article popped up on Yahoo (I have a yahoo mail account) about Subway and their intent to remove azodicarbonamide from their breads ASAP after pressure from a "food blogger." It was ridiculous and fascist, the bullying Subway was subjected to, in my opinion.

I've been wanting to say this for a while: if I were Subway, I'd say exactly this.
We use a dough conditioner called azodicarbonamide in our breads, as most commercial bakeries do. It is an FDA-approved ingredient that can also be used for things, as has been mentioned, such as making your flip-flops and yoga mats more cushy. Maybe the "food blogger" should have titled the story "Yoga mats use edible additive to increase cushiness."
Think about it, though, you are listening to a person that has the title "food blogger." If I were you, I'd be embarrassed. Please feel free to hide your embarrassment while eating one of our delicious subs at your local Subway store.

I'm not the only one saying this, and here is the second ever link to a huffpo piece I've ever used. This writer calls the creds of the food blogger into question, and finishes strong:
Besides, as I said earlier, you don't actually ingest any azodicarbonamide when you eat bread made with it. During the mixing process, it breaks down into a compound called biurea, a comopund that is readily excreted from the body. Other byproducts include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.
Ethyl carbamate used to be used as a medicine until it was discovered that it caused cancer in rats. Although it's not used as an ingredient in foods, it is a natural by-product of yeast fermentation. Accordingly, you'll find trace amounts of ethyl carbamate in almost all wine, beer, whiskey, soy sauce, and breads (whether or not they are made with azodicarbonamide). Ethyl carbamate cannot be completely eliminated from these foods but efforts are being made to limit consumer exposure.
Although there is some concern about the total amount of ethyl carbamate that people might be exposed to from all the different dietary sources, the primary source for most people is alcoholic beverages. Consider it one more reason to enjoy alcohol in moderation or not at all.
But, let's get back to the protest against Subway. It's true that using azocarbonamide as a dough strengthener increases the amount of ethyl carbamate you're getting. But removing it wouldn't completely eliminate your exposure. And here's the real point I want to make:
Removing Azodicarbonamide Doesn't Make Fast Food Healthy
Americans have been eating fast food sandwiches made with azodicarbonamide for years. If you don't eat that stuff very often, I doubt you have anything to worry about. And if you do eat a lot of fast food sandwiches, I'd venture to say that azodicarbonamide is probably the least of your concerns. Take this chemical out of fast food and what do you have left? Food that's still low nutrients and high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. 

Amen, sister, amen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Who Pays Taxes In The United States

So, a lunchtime conversation about stuff led me to re-researching these numbers.

According to Tax Foundation: 

In 2011, the top 10 percent of taxpayers 

(with AGIs above $120,000) accounted for 45.4 percent of all AGI and 68.3 percent of all income taxes paid.

Taxpayers in the top 5 percent accounted for 33.9 percent of all AGI and 56.5 percent of all income taxes paid.

The top 1 percent of all taxpayers accounted for 18.7 percent of all AGI and 35.1 percent of all income taxes paid.

A more Democrat leaning group puts it this way: 


In fact, when all taxes (state, local, excise) are considered, the share of taxes that each fifth of households pays is similar to its share of the nation’s total income.[22]  
ITEP data show that in 2011,
the bottom fifth of households received 3.4 percent of the total income in the nation and paid 2.1 percent of the total taxes. 
The middle fifth of households received 11.4 percent of income and paid 10.3 percent of taxes. 
The top 1 percent of households received 21.0 percent of income and paid 21.6 percent of taxes.  The tax system as a whole is only mildly progressive.[23]

(don't you like how they use "received" instead of "earned?")


This is from Table 7, near the bottom of the page. It's not apples to apples to the numbers above, as it's using something called "1979 Income Concept" Income Excluding Dependents (Finding this info is a nightmare, so go for it if you don't believe me).

Total income tax share (percentage):
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2010
100.00
35.93
57.89
69.76
86.51
97.47
Income share (percentage):
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2010
100.00
20.10
35.94
47.33
69.00
88.57


More fully,

Descending cumulative percentiles


Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
Income floor on percentiles (current dollars):






    2001
N/A
338,608
136,580
97,538
58,195
31,185
    2002
N/A
328,275
136,465
97,466
58,491
31,065
    2003
N/A
340,175
138,852
99,177
59,298
31,207
    2004
N/A
377,837
147,206
104,106
61,878
32,284
    2005
N/A
418,709
157,306
109,543
63,929
33,035
    2006
N/A
452,917
167,342
114,981
66,401
33,971
    2007
N/A
479,542
174,409
119,564
68,487
34,989
    2008
N/A
444,522
171,470
119,542
68,594
34,754
    2009
N/A
394,632
163,619
115,951
66,785
33,573
    2010
N/A
424,734
169,181
118,957
67,412
33,800
Income floor on percentiles (constant dollars): [1]






    2001
N/A
249,895
100,797
71,984
42,948
23,015
    2002
N/A
238,572
99,175
70,833
42,508
22,576
    2003
N/A
241,602
98,616
70,438
42,115
22,164
    2004
N/A
261,479
101,873
72,046
42,822
22,342
    2005
N/A
280,260
105,292
73,322
42,790
22,112
    2006
N/A
293,720
108,523
74,566
43,062
22,030
    2007
N/A
302,359
109,968
75,387
43,182
22,061
    2008
N/A
269,898
104,111
72,582
41,648
21,101
    2009
N/A
240,483
99,707
70,659
40,698
20,459
    2010
N/A
254,637
101,427
71,317
40,415
20,264
Total income tax (millions of dollars):  [2]
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2001
884,931
284,927
455,272
557,726
717,266
840,233
    2002
794,282
253,551
411,671
507,083
652,529
759,423
    2003
745,514
242,869
392,561
478,771
613,326
713,728
    2004
829,096
290,915
459,555
552,298
691,364
795,814
    2005
931,693
352,361
540,674
640,865
788,316
896,842
    2006
1,020,438
389,673
596,816
707,802
867,486
983,924
    2007
1,111,872
429,288
654,793
774,831
947,875
1,072,649
    2008
1,028,669
371,962
586,042
703,879
874,955
995,045
    2009
863,486
301,881
492,834
595,962
743,117
840,401
    2010
949,144
341,053
549,474
662,135
821,104
925,107
Average tax rate (percentage): [3]
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2001
14.20
25.29
22.14
20.38
17.64
15.71
    2002
12.96
24.63
21.14
19.29
16.44
14.46
    2003
11.84
22.18
19.28
17.51
14.93
13.18
    2004
12.01
21.50
19.20
17.57
15.02
13.30
    2005
12.33
21.43
19.32
17.78
15.31
13.59
    2006
12.43
20.89
19.01
17.63
15.29
13.64
    2007
12.54
20.65
18.94
17.61
15.35
13.73
    2008
12.21
21.02
18.94
17.46
15.05
13.36
    2009
11.15
21.43
18.74
16.88
14.11
12.28
    2010
11.46
20.49
18.46
16.89
14.37
12.61
Income share (percentage):
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2001
100.00
18.07
32.98
43.90
65.23
85.79
    2002
100.00
16.80
31.77
42.90
64.75
85.73
    2003
100.00
17.39
32.33
43.43
65.27
86.03
    2004
100.00
19.61
34.69
45.56
66.70
86.71
    2005
100.00
21.76
37.04
47.71
68.16
87.32
    2006
100.00
22.73
38.24
48.91
69.13
87.89
    2007
100.00
23.45
38.99
49.61
69.67
88.13
    2008
100.00
21.01
36.72
47.83
69.00
88.41
    2009
100.00
18.20
33.97
45.60
68.00
88.39
    2010
100.00
20.10
35.94
47.33
69.00
88.57
Total income tax share (percentage):
Total
Top
1 percent
Top
5 percent
Top
10 percent
Top
25 percent
Top
50 percent
    2001
100.00
32.20
51.45
63.02
81.05
94.95
    2002
100.00
31.92
51.83
63.84
82.15
95.61
    2003
100.00
32.58
52.66
64.22
82.27
95.74
    2004
100.00
35.09
55.43
66.61
83.39
95.99
    2005
100.00
37.82
58.03
68.78
84.61
96.26
    2006
100.00
38.19
58.49
69.36
85.01
96.42
    2007
100.00
38.61
58.89
69.69
85.25
96.47
    2008
100.00
36.16
56.97
68.43
85.06
96.73
    2009
100.00
34.96
57.08
69.02
86.06
97.33
    2010
100.00
35.93
57.89
69.76
86.51
97.47


Or, in a sentence, in 2010:

the top 1% earned 20.10% of the income and paid 35.93% of the taxes,
the top 5% earned 35.94% of the income and paid 57.89% of the taxes,
the top 10% earned 47.33% of the income and paid 69.76% of the taxes,
the top 25% earned 69% of the income and paid 86.51% of the taxes,
and the top 50% earned 88.57% of the income and paid 97.47% of the taxes.