Taxes are easy to criticize, because the rules and the rates are horrible. No person making under $100,000 adjusted for inflation should need more than a page to file his taxes. All income should be treated the same and taxed after simple deductions and exemptions. Social Security should never be taxed. We already were taxed on money we didn’t receive. A case can be made for not taxing businesses because the owners or stockholders pay taxes on the profits. If they are taxed, it should be on generally accepted earnings, not a political definition. A national sales tax with exemptions for food and more would ensure that everyone pays something, but the poor who don’t spend much wouldn’t be hit hard. Taxing wealth is a horrible idea for many reasons. A couple—wealth is hard to determine and it depends on the date of determination. Hypothetically, one could be worth $100,000,000 on June 1 and broke on December 31. Whatever taxation method is used, the rich should pay much more than the middle class.

The many government subsidies and breaks to individuals and businesses have become absurdly complex. A universal basic income (UBI) with the termination of the many of those breaks and subsidies could provide better equity and simplification. Reparations for African-Americans has problems. What about reparations for Irish and indigenous? Rich Black Americans? How does one determine “Black?” UBI would solve some of those problems and should replace many of the welfare programs  Before UBI or any other expenditure is adopted, federal expenses should be cut extremely. So many governmental functions such as education and police which should be handled and paid for by the states get federal money. The Defense (really War) Department should be cut severely while relinquishing its world cop role.

Urban renewal, freeways and other civic projects have been really good at two things: as urban renewal (sometimes known as Negro removal), and the rest have been good at breaking up neighborhoods, particularly Black ones. Portland is now trying to make amends way too late. The other thing those developments accomplish is getting rid of cheap housing and then deciding it needs to make public housing which has a good chance of turning into slums. First create the problem and then try to solve it. Remember a few years ago when government tried to raise depressed house prices? Now government wants cheaper houses.

Here in Portland, Oregon, USA, successive governments wring their hands about what to do about the crazy, violent, and others who camp all over the streets. Those on the streets, one presumes, can’t do it themselves; it is society’s job and perhaps fault, particularly of businesses. In the past, there were poor farms. One started in 1911 east of Portland was known as Edgefield. It became a part of the McMenamin’s pub/hotel/spa/empire in 1990. Before that, it was a largely self-sufficient farm with a peak population of 614. No one has suggested doing anything like that again, but it makes sense to me that people could live in a comparable area and take care of themselves rather than be the responsibility of the state. Everything else that has been tried in Portland has failed miserably.

Of course there are the many who have mental or addiction problems. I make no pretense of a solution for the mental problems. I wonder why I should be responsible for those that willfully drink or drug to the state of addiction. I was in the ‘60’s, so I know a little about drugs, but I didn’t indulge to the extent of impairment. More recently, I was treated for pain with fentanyl. I didn’t immediately rush into the streets for a continued supply. If you are an addict, who do you blame?

Before Medicare for All or any other universal medical plan is adopted, medical spending should be cut. The use of high-paid specialists, unnecessary testing, and billions in fraud needs to be limited. The high price of health care isn’t totally the fault of insurance companies, as proven by the many cases of abandoned markets because of losing money.

Many people believe that profits or greed is the cause of society’s problems. I’m not one of those people. Microsoft has aided cheap word processing and email. Apple got me iTunes. Amazon gets me entertainment and books (mostly anthologies that I’m in, printed on demand, that would be unavailable otherwise), Twitter gets me free information like iStockHistory and a way to communicate ideas. Twitter also blocked my account for some stupid reason and would not unlock after weeks of trying. I have no use for Facebook, don’t see its appeal, but I see no reason why it should be penalized for its incomprehensible (to me) draw. There is no doubt working in Amazon warehouses is difficult and it should have a better safety record, but since slavery was abolished, no one is required to work there. Should Facebook and Twitter be considered public utilities? I don’t think so, but it can be argued either way.

A previous “Curmudgeon” mentioned environment degradation. A major cause of pollution, hunger, malnutrition, war, and so many of society’s evils is overpopulation. When there was enough prime living space to go around, groups could move somewhere rather than run into conflicts or run out of resources. Now people around the world are in conflict, short on drinking water and subject to a number of ills. Other than not reproducing, I don’t have an answer, but do not imagine that things will get better with another few billion people.

I missed a few of language’s hall of shame in “Curmudgeon 1” and “2.” Stan—just why? Receipts for evidence? It is just as clever as “optics” for “appearance” after the 3,987,454th use. Shade and drag will be scorned by me when used in any way other than the original.

A really important movement is calling out evil cultural appropriation. The theft of white women with great butts and movements twerking as if they were black, Doncic thinking that he can play basketball, the late Pelvis trying to sing the blues such as “Reconsider Baby” (suggestion—play his and the original then decide), white guys rapping (no matter that it is all bad—don’t they know better?)

It’s important to mention some cultural appropriation which has escaped our righteous scorn: Ray Charles singing country and Western “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” Fats Domino doing the pop “Blueberry Hill,” anyone who isn’t Scots golfing, and anyone who isn’t Algonquin playing lacrosse.

Let’s end with something simple. When the government floods the economy with money, we get inflation. Don’t act surprised. Economics 101.