Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Ides of AprilTaxes are done! Actually, they were done and mailed off yesterday, and unlike the past few years, I didn't have to pay any this year.
But in thinking about taxes (via The Duff Wire and as of this writing, you still have fifty-nine minutes to finished them up and get them postmarked, so hurry up!) and the flat tax proposal or even other forms of tax reform my gut feeling is that they won't get very far—all the proposals are just too radical a change for most Americans. A better method would be to take a longer view of tax reform and take smaller steps that would be easier to push through Congress and past the President yet get them a step closer to a true tax reform.
One such step could be the elimination of tax withholdings; I'm not talking about repealing withholding of Social Security (the very real Sacred Cow in Washington) or Medicaide or Medicare but the other taxes that are withheld when you fill out the W-4 form. It can be easily sold to the government as a way to jump-start the flailing economy as that will give people a bit more discretionary money to which to spend on consumables (after all, that's what a good consumer does, right? Consume?). It is too late to get it repealed for this year, but target a repeal date of say, January 1st 2004 that companies will no longer be allowed to withhold taxes (other than Social Security and Medicare); I think that's doable.
The payoff of such an act towards tax reform won't really be felt until January 2005, with a total tax meltdown come April when people realize just how much they really owe! And you can bet that tax reform will be all that much easier to push through!
Granted, best results would occure if the sticker price of income tax (for lack of a better term) were to hit during an election year; even better during a Presidential election year, but if we're willing to take the long view with a bit of paitence, this one small step could be the break needed to get real tax reforms going here in the US.
Perfection, thou art the retrofitted Enterprise NCC-1701
The Starfleet starship registry prefix “NCC” doesn't officially mean anything other than it is the standard prefix for starships in service. There have been other prefixes, notably “NX,” denoting a prototype, or experimental vessel. The two most famous ships with this prefix would be the U.S.S. Excelsior NX-2000 and the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205. Once the U.S.S. Excelsior was rendered operational, the prefix changed to the standard NCC.
Star Trek: FAQ: What does the starship registry prefix “NCC” mean?
Of all the Star Trek ships called “Enterprise,” the one I find most beautiful (and one I would love to own—either as a model or the “real thing”) is the retrofited NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The model used for filming was seven feet in length and according to the artist who painted that model, it is indeed white although it's hard to tell.
And while I would love to have that seven foot model, I'm not sure where I would stick the darned thing …