Like most Americans, I have very little money, which means I should use caution when electing to use the money in exchange for goods and services. That alone should probably end the conversation, right? Can’t spend when I don’t have.
I could also spin my inactivity as an act of political participation, a protest against capitalism and consumerism like all those people at Occupy Wall Street keep chanting about. Then again, I do have a huge fear of being violently pepper sprayed, so let’s not go there.
I do love Black Friday, though. Part of my affection is from the built up hype, the mass hysteria over discounted flat screen TVs and other electronics is highly contagious, like SARS or a vicious sexual rumor in high school. It’s richly satisfying to buy something at a heavy discount
This ritual is one of the few seasonal traditions I get authentically excited about, as Thanksgiving food is not a huge draw for me and I’m rather indifferent to Christmas. Growing up a decidedly secular household made for a rather traumatizing childhood - when I was 8, I refused to believe my mother’s claims that Santa was not real, and waking up December 25th, a small part of my soul might have died that day.
Much like Christmas, I suppose I’ve outgrown the day commonly referred to as Black Friday. After spending four months in Manhattan, I’ve grown wary of the giant amount of people everywhere, everybody constantly in my way, and of cold temperatures that cause me to shiver and require skin lotion and lip balm. A part of me still wants to get up early to go out into the cold, spend money I don’t have, and lug home several unnecessary new purchases on the subway, but a larger part of me wants to stay inside and sleep in, where it’s warm and I won’t max out my credit card.
The thrill of buying things below retail has decreased dramatically. I can’t think of anything I really need - or at least anything I am willing to battle massive crowds and cold temperatures to buy at a discount. The cheap DVDs that I would pluck from shelves are fairly irrelevant, as I can easily access TV shows and movies online. Any big ticket items such as TVs and GPSs and whatever have already been acquired over time through impulse purchases, sweepstakes, game show winnings, and settlements from class action lawsuits. (But mainly impulse purchases.)
Sorry Uncle Sam, I hope you forgive me. I’ll try to make it up to you by voting in the next election or something.
Sam Meek, 27, who was laid off in September when his Connecticut hedge fund decided to downsize, used to spend $500 on charity dinners and lavish golf outings. Now, it’s home-cooked meals and beer on the sofa. Recently, Mr. Meek and his roommate, another unemployed banker who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his job search, sat together in the kitchen filing for unemployment and drinking a bottle of Champagne.
Joining the battle over California taxes, a group of billionaires and political insiders say they will place a $10-billion tax increase on the November 2012 ballot.
The Think Long Committee, which includes Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, former governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, says its proposal would provide $5 billion more for public schools every year and billions for public universities and local governments.
Although the group has prepared a report outlining its proposals, it has not taken the preliminary steps needed to place the ideas before voters. Members have not filed any potential initiatives with the state attorney general’s office or created a campaign committee to finance such an effort. A spokesman for Think Long said those moves would come in the next couple of weeks.
The group’s plan is based on a reshuffling of California’s tax system. It would lower the state’s personal income and sales tax rates and create a new levy of more than 5% on services that are not currently taxed, such as legal work or accounting.
Think Long spokesman Nathan Gardels said members want to “maintain California’s progressive tax system.” Under their proposal, families earning up to $45,000 a year would pay no state income tax, while those making up to $95,000 annually would pay 2%. This would lower some taxpayers’ obligations significantly.
The group also wants to double the current exemption for homeowners and renters on their state income tax and eliminate most other California income tax credits.
“There are two ‘L’ words that apply with Newt, lobbyist and liar. Mr. Gingrich was reprimanded for lying. He has a history of doing that and this is nonsense that he was being paid $1.6 million and maybe more to talk about history.”—Rep. Barney Frank • Pulling no punches in his condemnation of Newt Gingrich, over Gingrich’s claim that his $1.6 million in income from Freddie Mac was earned not as a lobbyist, but as a historian. Frank and Gingrich are former colleagues in the House, and it doesn’t seem they terribly care for one another — at a previous debate, Gingrich suggested Frank and financial reform law co-sponsor Chris Dodd should be jailed. source (via • follow)