Taxes, Universal Healthcare, and Entrepreneurs

There was a lot of discussion in last night's presidential debate about how lower taxes will help to generate jobs. I keep hearing this mantra over and over again and it drives me crazy because I don't think it is based in any type of reality.

I spend a lot of time thinking about leaving my current job to start a company, therefore becoming a job creator. At this point in my life this is the one thing I am positive that I want to do. Why haven't I made the jump? Is it the unfair tax burden placed on entrepreneurs? Absolutely not. I already do some contract work and I'm actually used to being taxed at the super-high rate of someone that is self-employed. In addition, the tax code is a known quantity. I can work with an accountant to minimize my tax burden within those rules. Would it be nice if taxes were lower? Sure, but it would also be nice if I were in Guided By Voices.

What keeps me from starting my business is healthcare. I need healthcare. I have a family and want them to have the best coverage possible. The same coverage I get from my employer today would probably cost well over $25,000 per year if I were able to buy it on the open market. I'm not even sure if I could get insurance on the open market because it seems like even the smallest medical condition can be considered a pre-existing condition. The older I get the harder it is to take the risk of not having healthcare.

I believe universal healthcare would do more to create jobs than tax reductions. Universal healthcare would empower more people to start their own businesses without the concern of being ruined by a medical emergency (like spending $23,800 for a bug bite).

Can the government afford universal healthcare? Probably not. Would it mean cutting a lot of existing government programs to make it happen? Probably. The government is here to protect us from external threats, that's why we have a military. I think universal healthcare is an extension of that charge as it protects us from internal threats. How is a mutated gene, or a virus, any less dangerous than a terrorist?

Lowering taxes will only result in increased profit taking if businesses don't feel good about the current national economy. At least from the entrepreneur's perspective, universal healthcare could create a secure personal economy that could lead to a massive increase in new businesses and future hiring.

Mourning in Eve Online

From The New York Daily News

Smith, a U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer, was killed Tuesday night alongside Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other Americans in an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

As the U.S. mourned the deaths of those who worked toward a freer Libya, a worldwide community came together to remember “Vile Rat,” as Smith was known in EVE Online.

It's interesting how much attention the press is giving to Smith's participation in EVE Online. This is definitely a sign of the growing importance of games in our culture. I hope for a day when we can use games to resolve conflicts instead of violence.

So much needless death. Such a horrible loss. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of those killed.

Richard Branson Gets It

Richard Branson has been writing a lot about the futility of the war on drugs. His latest blog post discusses the new documentary "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" directed by Matthew Cooke.

The documentary is framed as an educational film and takes a satirical look at the drug world - often the best way to get a serious message across. It investigates drug dealing and drug enforcement and includes interviews with everyone from top-ranking government officials to rappers Eminem, 50 Cent and Rick Ross.

I think Richard sums up many people's feelings on this issue, mine included, in his December 2011 piece "Time to End the War on Drugs." It's worth a read.