Sunday, December 09, 2012

Fiscal Cliff thoughts

     This thing we are approaching is so ridiculous.   Democrats and Republicans alike have to grow up and get real about this.  It is throwing a cloud over everyone’s future.   We are supposed to be world leaders in some aspects, although I realize that is fading.  But nevertheless, can we not try and get this done?  Here are a few of my ideas for what it’s worth.

       - Restore the payroll tax to 6 percent.  We made it on that before, we can do so again.  It is no big deal - and this is coming from a guy that made 21,000 last year.   If I can do it, everyone should be able to do it. 

      -Place a.5 percent tax on most stock purchase or sale transactions, effective as soon as possible.    Little investors won’t notice, and the big institutions are wealthy enough to absorb it.  Day traders will have to absorb it.  It is only .5 percent, for the survival of our national economy.  Also raise the capital gains tax back to what it was in the early 1980’s.   Please.

      - Make some modest cutbacks to Medicare.   Leave Social Security alone - it is supposed to be self-funded. 

     - Make cutbacks to Defense, and every other program - modest ones.

      - raise taxes slightly on the top 2 percent of wage-earners.

      -Impose a national sales tax of 1 percent, and earmark every last penny of that to deficit reduction.

      - no more stimulus funds, for now.  Things are moving along better. 

      If these things are done, and done swiftly, the reaction on world financial markets should be positive.  We are finally getting our act together and dealing with our financial problems.     Then we wait a year and see how things play out.   

      Our housing market is in recovery, and we are discovering new supplies of energy.  Our electronics and aerospace, as well as pharmaceuticals and consumer goods sectors are all doing good.     If we take the modest steps outlined above, we can stop borrowing every day to make a budget, and get ourselves back on track.  Worth a shot.   But nothing is sacred, whether it is Defense, Entitlements or whatever.  Nothing.   Those are one working-class  guy’s ideas.   Thanks for reading. 


Sunday, December 02, 2012

In the Wayback Machine - Again


When 3.5 floppies were the standard, files were smaller, and it was a novelty to connect a digicam to a computer.   Then something called a Zip drive came along, and all of a sudden we could store up to 100 megs on a cartridge, or 250 megs later.   About the same time, the first commercial CD writers came on the market.   These rapidly sped up, so 1x became 2x and 4x and 8x and so on.  


     Now we could store up to 700 megs of data on a CD, or write up to 70-80 minutes of music.   Amazing, to a generation that had cut its teeth on the 5 1/4” floppy things, containing something like 360 kilobytes of storage capacity.    If one of us could jump ten years in the future from this time, around 1998-99, to 2010, they would be pleasantly astounded.


     The cd had morphed into a 4 Gigabyte DVD, then a 25 GB blue-ray disk.    Now you could store tons of pictures and videos, many taken on the compact new point-and-shoot cameras coming out in droves.   Kodak was flirting with bankruptcy, film cameras were by now all but dead.  


     And then the flash drives  (or thumb drives) increased rapidly in storage.  In 2007, a 4 GB version could be had for around $70.00 in a local office supply store.  But I recently purchased a 64 GB one online for much less, around $40.00 (in 2012) .     I can load it up with music, and go out to my car, a 2010 model, and plug it directly into a USB port on the console and play music for a couple days if I want.   My 1999 self would be very happy indeed, to have that kind of capacity, erasable and re-writeable, portable “Ram in a stick” in a quantity that would make early mainframe builders drool.   


Perhaps a virtual tombstone is in order.   “Here lies the CD-RW.   1997-2012.  Once the most cutting edge technology, now relegated to history.    No technology caught the sunlight or held drinks as well.”


Perhaps in the future instant wireless access to the Internet from the car will render thumb drives obsolete.  Even now, cellphones linked with cars can grab music and play it on demand.    And those 3.5 floppies?  Hopefully being recycled, more likely taking up space in landfills.    But perhaps some of that will be revived for the cache, just like vinyl records are now.   Do the bits look better coming off of a magnetic media?  I doubt it, but  beauty is in the eye of the beholder.     


;-) thanks for reading.