Friday, January 20, 2017

History: The Year is 1935

I've uploaded year 1935 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Soaking the Rich: The Second New Deal -- Government programs must be paid for so let's tax the rich!

Soaking the Poor: The Social Security Tax -- Government programs must be paid for so let's tax the poor!

Killing Schrödinger's Cat -- It's both alive and dead and a First Watcher may be required to bring the Universe into existence.

Notable Births -- Ron Paul, Geraldine Ferraro, Mahmoud Abbas, Tenzin Gyatso, Elvis Presley, Julie Andrews, Bob Denver, Sonny Bono

In Other News -- The vinyl shower curtain, "War is a Racket" and "It Can't Happen Here.

Soaking the Rich: The Second New Deal

FDR has come before Congress with a "Second New Deal". (What went wrong with the First New Deal?) We must help the poor, the sick, the elderly! (Am I in church or something?) We need workfare, not welfare! (He means the Works Progress Administration, or WPA which really stands for "We Poke Along" because when you are forced to work like slaves you act accordingly.) We need to put idle money to work! (What?) We need to clean up our city slums and relocate urban dwellers to rural farms. (Uh... what does a city guy know about farming?) We need to bring electricity to the farms and build new roads, bridges, dams, and ... you get the picture. In order to pay for all of these new programs, a wealth tax is imposed by your government benefactors. It's called the Banking Act of 1935 also known as the "Soak the Rich" tax. It increases the FDIC deposit guarantee, but also raises the income tax rate to 75% on people making $5 million dollars or more. Tax loopholes (otherwise known as tax deductions authorized by Congress) will be used vigorously, but most of those will go away in a couple of years. As the USA enters World War 2, the definition of "rich" will be changed to those making $200,000 or more. It is a large income for the 1940s, but it's not the Rockefellers. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Please note that politicians buying votes by sticking it to an unpopular group is an age-old tradition. Of course, forcing OTHER people to pay for programs from which YOU benefit is an age-old tradition too. The only thing that changes is who gets scr... uh... who has to pay for it. And the recipients are always deserving. "You must pay your taxes because I am the King chosen by God to rule you" or "I am working hard on behalf of the peepul," or "We must do it for the children," or "The rich have been stealing your money, so it is time to steal it back!" Uh... wait. If they are really stealing my money, how does taxing them benefit me? Do I get a tax break? I doubt it. I might get a benefit if I lose my job or break my leg, but nothing more than what my relatives or neighbors or church would have done for me anyway. So tell me again. Why are we taxing the snot out of these guys? I'm not a serf from the Middle Ages. Granted, my choices are limited, but with discipline I do have choices available to me. I am not a slave yet. Am I? (Sigh) I'm worried.

Soaking the Poor: The Social Security Tax

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
-- H. L. Mencken, 1915. [4]
As part of FDR's initiative to help elderly workers he imposes a special tax. (Thanks!) The tax money will be used to supplement the income of an elderly worker. If he continues to work as he is expected to do, then his benefit is reduced accordingly. The first recipients of the benefit haven't paid in very much, so they will benefit greatly. The next generation will also benefit, although less so, and so forth down the line. Currently this is only for the elderly who need some extra help. Later it will be sold as a pension plan, but in fact, it is a tax on income. It is also a "regressive tax" which means that the more money you make, the less you pay in taxes. It's like filling a bucket. Once the bucket is full you stop. If you fill it fast (with a higher income) you stop sooner. If you fill it slowly (with a lower income) you stop later or not at all. If this were really a pension fund then whatever you put into your bucket would be yours, but this is Social Security. You are filling the bucket of someone else. As you enter the workforce and pay the tax, the money goes to the person who came before you... to pay his benefit. Then workers who come after you will pay yours, but it is not a one-to-one payment. It takes several workers to pay your benefit and it will take even more to pay theirs. This is called a pyramid scheme and if you tried to sell this plan in the private sector you would be arrested, but this is government so it's OK... somehow. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Margaret Thatcher used to say (paraphrasing), "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." That includes Social Security. FDR must have known the system would run out of money eventually, but the Great Depression was on and it was an emergency! (It always is.) If they were honest, they would pay off the people in the current system with 40 acres and a mule, so to speak. New people could make their own retirement arrangements. It is important to remember the lesson of Germany and economic collapse. When the government could no longer foot the bill to keep the elderly in retirement, the elderly were retired the hard way. The letters still exist of fathers and mothers pleading to their adult children to take them in, but their adult children could barely feed their own families. It doesn't have to end that way for us, but for now, there is nothing to prevent it. [6]

Killing Schrödinger's Cat

Whatever is happening with quantum mechanics, it is clearly difficult to describe. Niels Bohr has gone a little too far with what is now called the Copenhagen interpretation. This prompts Erwin Schrödinger to mock him a little with a thought experiment using the idea of a cat that is both alive and dead at the same time. The idea goes like this (off the top of my head). You place a live cat in a box. A mechanism is attached which contains a deadly gas inside a glass tube, and a hammer set to fall upon the glass tube should a Geiger counter detect a cosmic ray. The sensitivity is set so that the chances of detection within 1 hour are 50-50. If a cosmic ray passes by, the hammer falls, and the poison is released and then the cat dies, but if a cosmic ray does not pass then the cat lives. According to Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation, before one can look inside the box, the cat is both alive and dead simultaneously. Only when the scientist looks inside to see the cat's condition will the quantum wave function collapse. As I said, the thought experiment was meant to mock Bohr's interpretation, but instead, Schrödinger's Cat seals its fate. That's exactly what is happening, or not happening. It's both. Later, people will point out that the scientist looking in the box could be part of the wave function and therefore we, his audience, waiting for him to look inside, are actually collapsing the wave function. But then again... who is watching us? Is a First Watcher required to bring a Universe into existence in one giant wave function? [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I apologize for not explaining this better, but Albert Einstein and Edwin Schrödinger clung to the idea of a deterministic Universe. They didn't like "spooky action at a distance" and quantum particles that could not be measured exactly. So they tried to eliminate such absurdities, but never succeeded. If fact, their mocking portrayals only heightened the public's awareness of probability and the odd nature of nature. Einstein was wrong. God really does play dice with the Universe and Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead until we look to see.

Notable Births

  • Ron Paul (Living): US Congressman (R), he has managed to teach Libertarian ideals without sounding like a kook. [8]
  • Geraldine Ferraro: US Congresswoman (D) and 1st woman VP candidate from a major political party: the Modale-Ferraro ticket. [9]
  • Mahmoud Abbas (Living): Chairman of the PLO after Yasser Arafat, and President of the Palestinian National Authority. [10]
  • Tenzin Gyatso (Living): The 14th Dalai Lama beginning in 1950 to the present. [11]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Elvis Presley: The King of Rock and Roll, after he died, he was spotted everywhere. (And my wife and I hired his babysitter.) [12]
  • -- Julie Andrews (Living): Best known as Mary Poppins, Maria in "The Sound of Music", and the Queen in "The Princess Diaries". [13]
  • -- Bob Denver: Best known as Gilligan on Gilligan's Island. [14]
  • -- Sonny Bono: Half of the singing duo, Sonny and Cher. As a US Congressman (R), he worked to extend copyright protection to "Mickey Mouse". Thanks a lot, Sonny. [15]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

In Other News

  • The vinyl shower curtain is invented. Waldo turns PVC into flexible sheets, but it has no practical use. Then, while watching his wife sew up new shower curtains, the idea hits him. [16] [17] [18]
  • "War is a Racket" is published. General Butler exposes war as a means to profit wealthy industrialists. Butler recently, exposed a plot by businessmen to overthrow FDR. (Apparently, someone had been recruiting Butler.) [19] [20]
  • The novel, "It Can't Happen Here," is published. As the story goes... a populist President is elected promising a return to patriotism, traditional values and economic reform and becomes a dictator. Golly! Where do they get these ideas? [21] [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1935, Wikipedia.

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