Can we please have an adult conversation about the payroll tax?

Larry Kudlow, recently named the stupidest man alive by Brad DeLong, never tires of saying that it’s unreasonable that wealthy people like him should have to pay the same percentage of their income in payroll taxes that working stiffs do. Kudlow marshals a number of inane arguments, among them that blue collar couples frequently make $200K/yr (huh??) — but the most irritating part of this discussion, at least to me, is this bizarre criticism of Obama’s social circle, for heaven’s sakes:

(Incidentally, I don’t think Mr. Obama knows any cops or fireman. How about that? That is the problem. In other words, his economics are bad and his social circle is very limited.)

I think it’s vulgar to cast asparagus at someone’s social circle. If “his economics are bad,” then let’s discuss that,  and not who’s in his address book.

And while I’m on the topic, could we please have a rule that members of the global elite are not allowed to complain that other members of the global elite are elitist? It’s just too much for me to take.

Missing the point completely

Without a hint of irony, on the same day, NPR did  stories on declining enrollment in computer science and Bill Gates’ efforts to increase the number of H1B outsourcing visas.  Uhhh, fellas?   There’s actually a correlation here.  High school seniors and their parents actually do read the paper.

In related news, proving beyond a doubt how completely disconnected he is from the lives of ordinary Americans,  Bill Gates posted the following question on LinkedIn:

“How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?”

Gee, I don’t know – how about not outsourcing their parents’ science and technology jobs?

Maryland moves to tax computer services

NetChoice covers the bad news. In a related note, Virginia contractors are jumping for joy.  🙂

Will it actually go into effect? A quick Google search for Maryland Computer Tax reveals a pretty significant amount of opposition, including a snappy little site called Fight The Tech Tax.

Why do politicians always seem to believe that their little fiefdom operates in a vacuum, completely immune from external forces? This sort of thing never ceases to amaze me.

Chris Anderson on Free

We get a sneak peek at Chris Anderson’s new book Free on Free is a fact of life, and if you’re a software developer like I am, you’re competing with free. This is also true for other media and content developers – so instead of whining about how it’s impossible to compete with free or make money off free, the thing to do is start doing it. Dasani is tap water, yet they make money selling it. JBoss and Red Hat both offer free software – and yet they’re very profitable businesses. Wired has a wiki page for content providers describing ways to make money from free content. For service providers, I would add the following ideas:

  • Upsell and cross-sell additional products and components
  • Sell warranty plans.
  • Sell customizations
  • Sell professional services, such as installation and support.

Mommy, where do budget deficits come from?

OK, now that both Artie Laffer and Greg Mankiw have come out and said that tax cuts don’t pay for themselves, would Rudy please stop asserting that “he knows they do?”  I’d even be satisfied with his saying “it’s only a theory.”  You know, like evolution.

And speaking of believing in bizarre things, Mike Huckabee gave us this gem:

Mr. Huckabee, for his part, responded with trademark humor. “The Air Force has a saying that says if you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target,” he said. “I’m catching the flak; I must be over the target.”

Errr… actually Governor, (!A -> !B) does not mean that (A->B).   But I guess that’s only a theory too.

I’m an equal opportunity blogger; I’ll post the Dem whoppers after Tuesday’s gabfest.