Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trident Vitality Awaken review



I recently picked up a three-pack of this for 99 cents (at the 99 cent store no less). Suffice it to say, I was blown away by how good it is. It easily matches up to more expensive mint gums of similar flavor, like Stride Peppermint, or 5 Cobalt.

Inequality for All Review




Unsurprisingly, income inequality was at its highest in 1928 and 2007, or in other words right before the Great Depression and Great Recession.


Robert Reich's new documentary argues that both the Tea Party and Occupy Movement formed to overcome the same issue: the super rich strangling us and our economy. 

Reich's main evidence is some research that reveals how income inequality has been highest in America right before two major economic disasters: the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Reich argues that America experienced economic growth when there was more of a focus on growing the middle class. This was highlighted by the 90% tax rate on the super rich in the 1950s. (As an aside, I am curious to what research would say about income inequality during the Gilded Age, where America experienced many now forgotten economic disasters.)

Best of all, Reich criticized both Democrats and Republicans. Clinton did not do enough, and Obama has decent rhetoric but never follows through on it, as seen through his inability to raise the income tax on the highest wage earners in America and grow the middle class. Republicans were called out on their faulty logic that cutting taxes creates jobs. 

Reich emphasizes how the rich do not use their money to create jobs. They use it to create more wealth. And, based on what I see going on today in Washington and on Wall Street, that seems to be what is actually going on.

As such, a 35% tax rate on them is far too low, especially given that many of them find a way to weasel themselves out of that rate (see Mitt Romney and capital gains).

Who really creates jobs if it is not the rich? Us. The middle class. We make up the majority of consumers in the United States. If we are healthy economically, so is the rest of the country. 

On the flip side, if a rich person invests all of their wealth in some speculative endeavor, that money is essentially useless in terms of building up society. Whereas, if it were taxed, it would go to improving education, healthcare, etc. So it basically comes down to this: is the excess wealth the one percent has better served making them even richer, or in funding an infrastructure that will make the country as a whole stronger?

I think the answer here is clear. You cannot rely on the charity of billionaires, a common conservative argument. The federal government must delegate funds towards things that benefit all of us. 

Politics aside, I think that most of us, whether on the right or the left, can agree with Reich's primary message: that we need to find some way to help the people who used to be the backbone of America. The easiest solution would be to turn to what we know has worked already in the past: asking the super rich to pay just a little bit more. This should not be seen as a punishment. Only a return to the status quo. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Leave the Galaxy S5 alone


Now that the post-release cacophony of tech articles relating to the S5 is dying down, I'd like to put my two cents in. I'll preface this by saying that I wrote an article a year ago referencing what I saw as severe diminishing returns in the smartphone industry. The Galaxy S5 did nothing to disprove the trend I noted in that article, and yet, I am writing today to defend it. Why? Read on.