Taxing Begins at Home

Taxing Begins at Home (reprinted from the Metro Spirit 2-14-13)

Taxing Begins At Home – In honor of my good friend Josh Ruffin, this week I wanted to write some sort of commemorative piece on the 100th anniversary of the income tax.  In short, the 16th Amendment was ratified February 3, 1913.  The income tax was, and still is, a key tool of the progressive agenda.  Any social justice program must be well funded in order to ensure an equitable distribution of outcomes.  Over the last 100 years, we’ve done a great job of creating systems designed to produce equal social outcomes:  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, just to name a few.  Unfortunately, our country is beginning to encounter the major flaw in liberal politics that was best expressed by Margaret Thatcher almost 40 years ago: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Now I’m not going to bore you with all the political cliché’s or class warfare propaganda.  You can turn on MSNBC, the Daily Show or even read Josh’s column to get that.  I would like to point out something a bit subtler.  If you heard some of the local history types around town, you’ll understand that a young Woodrow Wilson spent his formative years in Augusta.  During that time, he began to demonstrate the traits and habits that followed him his entire life.  Am I saying Augusta is responsible for the progressive income tax?  Of course not, but it is interesting to think what influence our city may have had.

Dick Tracy At Last – Rumors are circulating that Apple is poised to jump into the wearable computer market with a smartwatch design.  I know what you are thinking – “Huh?”  But it actually makes a good play for Apple.  Market predictions project sales of 90 million wearables by 2017.  Right now, Apple has a hole in that space since it recently dropped its wrist-wearable, square-shaped iPod nano.  The whole wrist-computer idea also plays well with Apple’s investment in curved display technology.

Apple’s reputation for revolutionizing market segments is consistent.  The iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad all redefined the market of each item.  Interestingly, Apple is not typically the first in the market, but rather waits for the right time and right technology to enter a promising market.  Such may be the case with smartwatches as well.

The market leader is a successful Kickstarter project called Pebble.  The Pebble features a 144×168 ePaper display, vibrating motor, 3-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth for connecting to your Android or Apple phone.  We’re still in Wild, Wild West land for use cases, and more are being created everyday.  A typical use case involves connecting the watch with your phone using Bluetooth and using the phone to display alerts, email, texts, etc. The watch possesses an SDK that allows users to develop apps directly against the watch.

Pre-orders for the Pebble should start shipping in April and May 2013.  Any Apple smartwatch, if one exists, would not start hipping until later in the year.  Stay Tuned!

Until next time, I’m off the grid.  @gregory_a_baker

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