Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday at the Hut - 10/22/11

I haven't written a blog post in a month and I'm not sure how to really recap the goings on at The Tobacco Hut this least without offending the more sensitive readers. Let's first start with the attendees: Joe K, Paul O, Ed B, Adrian, Lou, myself and, later, Bobby.

The discussions were fairly benign when it was just Joe and Paul and Lou and me. Some sports talk, some computer talk, etc. But then Adrian walked through the door and right away the topic changed to, well, sex. As I mentioned, I don't want to offend the more delicate reader, so I won't go into specifics, but let's just say that Adrian was fired up from certain recent activities. None of the rest of us were and some were lamenting that fact more than others. The talk even turned downright bawdy and would probably make a longshoreman, or even Tom L, blush.

Ed B brought his own twisted sense of humor to the festivities when he arrived and, before long, we were all laughing so much and so loudly that I'm surprised the sheriff's department wasn't called. Maybe it's because they were already represented.

I will say that Adrian is an expert pantomimist, adroitly (and somewhat crudely) re-enacting various, um, postures that he recently engaged in. Suffice to say that the more base and Neanderthal urges were on display throughout the afternoon. It is my hope that next week will bring more sophistication and culture to the establishment.

It wasn't all lust and fornication at the Hut, however. After Joe had left (he was mumbling something about taking a cold shower as he was leaving) the talk turned to the economy and, specifically the merits of a flat tax. It was at this time that Bobby arrived and he joined in the conversation as well. My position was that a flat tax (call it 15%) is actually a regressive tax, i.e. it takes a larger portion from the poor than it does the rich.

My argument is that while a flat tax sounds fair because everyone is taxed equally, it actually affects the poor more deeply than the rich. The way to think about this is that when someone making $20,000 per year is subject to a flat 15%, they are left with $17,000 to pay for their rent/mortgage, food, utilities, gas, etc., something quite difficult to do in today's economy. But if someone making, say, $1 million per year is taxed at that same 15%, they are left with $850,000 which is still a princely sum of money and they can still live more than comfortably on their net income. Therefore, a flat tax is actually regressive.

Lou was my ally in this debate and we battled valiantly against Adrian, Bobby, and Paul. The opposition argued that there is nothing to stop the person making $20,000 per year from improving his lot in life and working up to making a million per year. Moreover, their argument went, why should the rich be penalized with a higher tax rate for working hard. The debate evolved (devolved?) into how easy or hard it is, to work oneself out of poverty. Lou's and my argument was that the poverty cycle is extremely difficult to break out of. Adrian, Bobby, and Paul maintained that with a positive attitude, perseverance and hard work, one can indeed rise out of dire circumstances.

Several examples were offered as proof of the rags to riches story, but anecdotes don't tell the whole story. Indeed, there is a large body of evidence that the cycle of poverty is widespread and a growing trap for large segments of the population. The curious reader can view a short synopsis of the problem here.

The final debate was between Bobby and me. I was wearing my Tom Wahl's t-shirt, from a drive-in restaurant in Avon, New York where I recently traveled. I maintained that they have the best hamburgers anywhere, but Bobby quickly disputed that, pointing me in the direction of Alachua for a Stogie Burger at Conestoga's. It does get good reviews and if I'm up that way I may have to try it, but I also encourage Bobby if he's ever in the vicinity of Rochester to make the drive for a Wahlburger or, my favorite, the Hollywoodburger (pictured).

Well, we didn't solve any of the world's problems, but probably created a few, and had a great time along the way. Hope to see everyone next week!

 - Bob

1 comment:

  1. I miss the Saturdays at the Hut, last time I was in town no one else was...well I will be there on Nov 12th and since it is veterans day weekend I better get my choice of a chair and someone should by me a cigar!!!

    Don AKA the Coastie