Archive for the ‘progressive’ Category

Real World Graduation, #93: Actors and Dictators

RealWorldGraduation_Question_93_Actors_and_Dictators   <– PDF

A wealthy American-born celebrity Hollywood actor routinely visits a nation that is ruled by a ruthless dictator.  Although the dictator uses populist rhetoric, the economy and political system is actually run as a closely-held corrupt oligarchy, and the poor continue to be worse off each year.  Also, the people have no civil liberties to speak of (and in fact are prohibited from immigrating out of the nation).  However, the actor consistently praises the dictator as a man of the people, a champion of the poor, a defender of the rights of the common man, and as a model of what every government leader should be.  The actor and dictator are not related by blood or marriage, nor does the actor have business or family ties to this nation.  Why would a famous American actor bother to make any comments about the internal politics and economics of a nation run by a dictator?

a) The actor recognizes that poverty can only be alleviated if the government steps in and guides each persons work, ensuring that each person is assigned the work for which he is best suited.

b) The actor thinks it important to give dictators some positive publicity in the interest of fairness; the actor knows how it feels to be rejected since he had many unsuccessful auditions early in his career

c) The actor wants to help the poor people of the foreign nation by giving the dictator sufficient publicity so that the people can understand why the dictator’s programs are good for them

d) The actor admires the orderliness of the dictator’s nation, in contrast to the usual chaos on a movie set

e) Some combination of the above

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation, Question 78: Tax Rates

RealWorldGraduation_Question_78_Tax_Rates   <– PDF

The U. S. has a graduated personal income tax system.  This means that income levels are divided into several levels, and those income divisions are taxed at different rates.  The tax rates increase as the amount of income increases.  The tax rate of the lowest division of income is called the “base rate”, and all the other tax rates at the higher income levels are called “marginal rates”.  As a person’s income increases, the marginal rates become higher, hence the name “graduated tax”.  For example, in tax year 2014, the income level divisions and marginal rates for single persons and married couples were:

a) 10% rate for incomes between $0 and $9075 (single person), $0 to $18150 (married)

b) 15% rate for incomes between $9075 and $36900 (single), $18150 to $73800 (married)

c) 25% rate for incomes between $36900 and $89350 (single); $73800 to $148850 (married)

d) 28% rate for incomes between $89350 and 186350 (single); $148850 to $226850 (married)

e) 33% rate for incomes between $186350 and $405100 (single); $226850 to $405100 (married)

f) 35% rate for incomes between $405100 and $406750 (single); $405100 to $457600 (married)

g) 6% rate for incomes above $406750 (single); and above $457600 (married)

There are slightly different marginal rates for “heads of household”, but those are not relevant for this topic.

The overall size of the federal government depends on how much tax revenue it can obtain. It is clear from the tax schedule above that those who earn more must generally pay more in taxes.  Some activists desire to reduce the size of the government by using a tactic they call “starving the beast”.  The idea is that if marginal tax rates are reduced, the government will receive less income tax revenue, and thus will ultimately force the government to reduce its budget targets.  The claim is that in the long run, steadily declining revenue will require the government to reduce its spending and therefore its size.  In other words, nearly all taxpayers would have more money left over from their paycheck.  In what ways could this policy “starve the beast”?

a) Money that would otherwise go to the government can be spent on appliances, cars, etc; the benefit accrues to selfish individuals and deprives the government of some revenue.

b) Money that would otherwise go to the government can be spent on furthering one’s education; the benefit accrues to selfish individuals and deprives the government of some revenue.

c) Money that would otherwise go to the government can be spent on charitable causes. The benefits accrue to the less fortunate, but deprives the government of some revenue.

d) Money that would otherwise go to the government can be spent on vacations or saved for the future; either way, the benefit accrues to selfish individuals and deprives the government of some revenue.

e) All of the above to varying degrees, depending on individual preferences.

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation, Question 73: Basketball and NASCAR

RealWorldGraduation_Question_73_Basketball_NASCAR   <– PDF

Two men, one white and one black, are being interviewed on TV.   The two men are successful engineers being honored for their inventions and contributions to technology.  The interviewer, who (as usual) understands nothing of the technology and inventions made by the two men, decides to spend most of the interview on subjects not related to the two engineers’ expertise, focusing instead on two sports: basketball and NASCAR racing.

It turns out that the white engineer hates both basketball and NASCAR racing; he hates basketball because it finds it monotonous, and also hates car racing because he thinks there are too many phony rich people involved in the sport.

The black engineer also hates both basketball and NASCAR racing; he hates basketball because he thinks there are too many phony rich people involved in the sport, and he finds NASCAR racing to be monotonous.

Suppose the interviewer asks both about basketball and NASCAR racing. What responses should the two engineers give?  This is a family-oriented show.

a) Everyone knows that engineers are nerds who should not waste our time giving opinions on anything. Both should simply lie, and say “I don’t know anything about either one” and hope that the interviewer finally asks a relevant question.

b) The black engineer should give his honest opinion on basketball, since it won’t offend either whites or blacks. But he should not give an opinion on NACSAR racing because whites might find it offensive.  The white engineer should give his honest opinion on NASCAR racing, because that won’t offend anyone, but should not give his opinion of basketball so as not to offend black people.  In other words, they can comment on the sport they dislike so long as it is played primarily by people of their own race, but should each refrain from commenting on the sport they dislike if it is played mostly by people of the opposite race.

c) The black engineer can say anything he wants about basketball, and can mention that he doesn’t like NASCAR racing so long as he compliments a famous white race car driver (preferably a deceased one) for being a good role model. The white engineer can say what he wants about NASCAR racing, and can mention that he doesn’t like basketball, so long as he compliments a famous black basketball player (preferably a deceased one) for being a good role model.

d) The question is illogical because it is inconceivable that a black person could dislike basketball, or that a white person could dislike NASCAR racing.

e) Any of (a), (b), or (c) is acceptable.

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation, Question 52: Your Rights

RealWorldGraduation_Question_52_Your_Rights   <– PDF

A certain man was a successful politician for many years. He gradually rose through the ranks from a city council member to state Representative to state Senator to federal Congressman to federal Senator.  In all those years, he was a consistent advocate for gun control, including various proposals to ban all guns and ammunition held by private persons.  He himself always lived in places with strict gun control, but he also was always in violation of the existing gun laws: he owned many guns that were banned, he failed to register guns he owned, and he bought and sold guns without the legal reporting requirements.  He was called upon to serve as an under-Secretary of a cabinet-level department by the new presidential administration.  As part of the vetting process, he was asked if he had ever violated any gun laws.  He lied about his guns, and the administration believed him, since he had a “perfect” voting record promoting and enacting gun control.  But once he was confirmed by the Senate, it came to light that he had in fact owned many guns, some of them illegally, and had committed numerous violations of the existing gun laws (some of which he had helped to pass at the state and federal level).  What will happen next?

a) He will be fired by the President.

b) He will resign in disgrace.

c) He will be investigated by the federal authorities.

d) He will be indicted by state and local authorities.

e) Either a) or b), followed by either c) or d).

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, gun control, habeas corpus, progressive, Real World Graduation, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »