Death & Taxes

The US tax system is really screwed up. I technically work for an accountant (computer biz I work for is a side company of his), but I am quite far from an expert in such things to be upfront about it. Still...

A business gets to right off any kind of operating expenses when doing their taxes, this can be anything from paying employees and the power bill, to advertising and "business meetings" at fancy restaurants. However, you don't get such liberties with your personal filing (as far as I'm aware). In theory, I should in all fairness you would think, be able to write off all my rent, food, power bills, gas, clothing, etc...as they are all operating expenses of my daily life.

I'm curious if I could get away with creating a small LLC called Derick's Life or something, and have it registered as the owner/operator of all my personal expenses. I could even go so far as to contract myself so that I am employed by Derick's Life, LLC and then my real employer pays a contractors fee equivalent to my current pay rate. Then DL corp could pay me officially only what's left of my paychecks after all my bills and living expenses are paid for and budgeted out. Now, at the end of the year Derick's Life, LLC could list my rent, doctors bills, phone bills, car note, etc as expenses (even my sub-paycheck I receive from the LLC ..aka.. spending money/disposable income) and a gross profit of whatever my real employer paid for me to work there.

In theory the company should have to only pay a very small pittance in taxes, compared to what I might have to. Now of course this rant is all silliness in the end as I'm actually getting a refund this year, but still...if I were to actually make the average middle-class wages (which are double what my wife and I both made combined in 2008) I wonder if one could be better off in such a scenario. To sum up my sentiment here if you haven't already inferred it on your own...it seems like the US government give businesses and organizations a better deal than individuals when it comes to taxes...and I just think that's totally backwards of the way it should be ;)


Addendum: Yes, I know you can itemize your deductions for personal taxes, but I'm pretty sure things like food, rent and insurance don't count....otherwise why would politicians have even been talking about tax credits for insurance in this past fall's election?

PPS: I'm an odd Libertarian....I guess you could call me a left-leaning, moderate libertarian, as I'm not against taxes completely...I just think they should be minimal and fair ...aka... the poor to lower-middle class shouldn't have to pay any, and the same goes for very small business ;)

I may post my theory on what I consider to be a fair "Dynamic Tax Graduation" in a future web log...


To blog or not to blog

I honestly have never been a big blogger. I guess putting a big long winded rant or article up where everyone can read it, makes me feel compelled to put a lot of time and effort into it, as well as the general obsessing over wording and typos. But, now that I've been tweeting for the past 9 months it seems more apparent what the division is. Most of the time I, and probably you too, want to express an opinion/ideas about something, but don't feel like putting all the effort into a big long blog post...so now with the magic of "micro-blogging" we can say our opinion simply, not worry about explaining ourselves so well, and move on.

I'm honestly tweet crazy these days, I check for Twitter updates about once an hour if not more frequently. I post things constantly there, and I don't worry so much about typos and such since I'll just end up posting something else pretty soon thereafter. It's really kinda freeing. Somehow the limitation of characters has helped me be able to express more than a blog ever did. For example, I haven't really said too much in this post yet the total character count is 1425. I'm thinking that blogs now can be reserved for the few topics that actually need a lot of explaining and going on about, and 99% of the time we can just spurt out whatever we really wanted to say in a little status update.

PS: the "statusphere" sounds much more clever to me than "blogosphere" ever did ;)

Preditions for Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles (season 2)

I'll try to be as spoiler free as I can with this, but if my predictions turn out to be true...then I guess that would technically make them spoilers too ;)

So I've been thinking this for a while now, but what "Ms, Weaver" said to Ellison in the elevator in episode 20 makes me almost certain of it now. Through out the series they have hinted and alluded that perhaps there are some computers/robots/ai that wish they could find a way to live in peace with the humans in the future. I believe Weaver/T1001 was sent back to create a new AI that would be able to stop SkyNet from starting the war. The only way to beat a malevolent AI, is to make a benevolent one with empathy and compassion that will defend us. This is what I think John Henry is meant to be. This is why they have now revealed his "evil brother." That AI, which is apparently already killing people in full force and mighty powerful, is the one that will become SkyNet. John Henry's purpose is to prevent SkyNet from ever setting off Judgement Day. This would also explain why Weaver has shown no interest in looking for the Connors.

Unfortunately, what will probably happen is that Sarah, John and/or Cameron will kill John Henry by the end of the season, only to learn afterward he was meant to be their protector.

If I'm right, I'll be extremely happy with this narrative-wise. It has always bothered me that people just assume a SkyNet/Matrix like future is inevitable if we create true AI one day...but no one ever thinks about how to prevent it, offering a solution rather than just an empty warning. iRobot (the recent movie, not neccessarily the book as I've yet to read it) kind of hinted at this before, but I think it needs to be explored more. Why do humans not kill all the "lesser" life forms below us? Sure we need food, and we have the forethought to know we couldn't live without some of them...but the real core reason is empathy. It's built into our dna. When we empathise with things, when we humanize things that arent human, we give them some sort of importance. We value their life. So if we're going to create real AI someday, even if it's hundreds of years from now...empathy must be a fundamental feature of that program. And perhaps the writers of TSCC have realized this too?

Update 2009-04-11 (Spoiler Alert!):

Ha! I was totally right about Weaver and John Henry....and I'm very glad to see they didn't kill him off like I was expecting. I also just realized that Weaver is the T1000 that was in "the box" on Jesse's sub. Now where they've taken it...wow, I have no idea what's next. It's looking like we get to see a future without John Connor. I'm loving this show right now, I really hope Fox doesn't kill it off