Overtaxation? Underutilization of representation?

Please post your thoughts and arguments for or against having tax brackets based upon income levels.  

Tax brackets would prevent people from making so much money that it is a detriment to civilzation. Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo Semler states in one of his books (Maverick or The Seven Day Weekend) that everyone on the planet could make twelve million dollars before their activity causes problems for anyone else. I would suggest heavily taxing everything about twelve million and then using a gradual bracket system for everything less. Rates comparable to the World War II and Cold War eras would be appropriate to prevent people from hoarding resources and cash. Under that amount, the rates should depend upon what kinds of services people want and are willing to pay for them. If there is a general mandate for healthcare, then we would pay significantly more than if not. We could look at European countries with higher tax rates and higher satisfaction with their services than here for benchmarks.

 

Also, should tax rates ever be able to be raised?  Why or why not?  If you argue that they should, under what circumstances should the government be able to raise the tax percentages?

Raising taxes should be a last resort. It is much easier to be more efficient than it is to raise taxes. Raising taxes just encourages greater inefficiency. It is inconceivable that we should require more money to do what we already do. We should run the government like a scrimping household – the only reason we do not already is that people think they do not have time to be aware of where their money is going and do something about it. Greater participation in democracy would help significantly.

We should raise taxes to fund projects that permanently improve infrastructure and reduce costs elsewhere – funding a sustainable food system to reduce welfare dependency, for example. Also housing, education, healthcare. We should not raise taxes to fund bailouts of entities that have already proven they are failures. I also doubt that we need to raise taxes to fund war. We already spend incredible amounts of money on it. It would be easier to eliminate the causes of war by spending on infrastructure. We could also eliminate lobster lunches for Congress until they eliminate the deficit.

 

At what tax level do you believe the citizens would rebel, if any?

I agree with other posters who have said that people are already going to rebel. I think people might not do it overtly, but over time, the kinds of economic conditions we are currently facing take their toll on people. If people do not receive something substantive in return for their tax dollars, then it is not unreasonable to affect changes in the organization spending the money. I also think that people have a duty to become much involved in their government now before a situation that warrants that kind of response emerges. They need to know what kinds of jobs they want and push to have funding encourage their creation. They need to know how their schoolsystems should look, their food systems, healthcare, and utilities and go to their representatives to get what they want.

Known in silence, stays in silence.

I’ve been thinking that maybe the reason I forget revelations is because it’s rude to reveal them. Like peaking under a saint’s skirt. They forgive because of their extraordinary patience but it is still not constructive to go poking there and telling the world.

Mysticism is about relationship moreso than telling. Than knowing. If I put another human in a box by knowing and telling about them, I do the same with the divine.  Right?

It’s been way too long since I put a post up! I’ll have to do it more often.

Hope you’re having fun.

May all beings and things be happy.

Creating Worlds

Looking at ruby courses. Ruby and rails are separate courses from the people who wrote the pragmatic programmers book. Looks good so far.

I was looking also at the books they have for sale and they reminded me of Edible Forest Gardens. The two volume set. Permaculture is a way of consciously creating a space to live, even a planet, really. It seems that a few ways of thinking or philosophies have that goal in mind. It’s a wonderful thought to me that a creature would look at nature, at the species in its environment and their interactions, and find so much inspiration in them that they would imitate the process of creating a landscape, ecosystem, etc. People can do it to themselves as well – choosing what they put in their minds, to some extent what they continue to experience, what they do with their lives. Crafting a life. I’m going to dovetail this way of thinking with the ruleschange work and write up a little plan for what we could do in this country in the areas that Gar Alperowitz (What Then Must We Do?) identifies, and probably some others.

Would be fun to do a little permaculture app – you aim to create a certain type of consciousness and certain steps get you there while others don’t. It’d be totally up for discussion what works and what doesn’t but it would get people thinking. Engender a sense of moderation in personal property: ten points. Competition goes down, thinking goes up, greater intellectual development and thereby more efficiency in society in general. Twenty points. Efficient spending in the process: another ten points plus the tax rebate that results leads to higher GDP and lower unemployment – another ten points.

Message me if you want to work on developing this game.

May All Beings and Things Be Happy.

 

Permaculture Festival Sustainable Business Info

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a super fun time at the event today. I was there in spirit. I’ve moved to Boston to focus on sustainable finance and got ill trying to do too much.

Anyhoo, the discussion was going to be about using permaculture principles to develop an approach to the economy and running a business that promotes the highest quality of life possible for everyone and everything involved.

I was going to focus on tools and information for business owners.

Here are the key points to keep in mind and resources regarding each:

1) What is the difference between a sustainable and non-sustainable business? You could substitute the word “resilient” or “thriving” for “sustainable.”

One important point is that thriving businesses focus on stakeholders and are accountable to everyone and everything they affect. Other businesses focus on shareholders and are accountable solely to the people who invest monetarily, whether or not they have a close relationship or direct impacts mutually.

Please read The Shareholder Value Myth by Lynn Stout for more info on the distinction. Also Strategic  Management by R. Edward Freeman. Both books explain the limitations of shareholder thinking and explore how to actually improve the quality of civilization through business, as opposed to running businesses at the expense of civilization.

A general idea to keep in mind is that businesses “create value.” They can create value for a limited group of investors, or they can create value for everyone and everything. The latter approach yields many benefits for the business and its owners, and is really the only way make a profit since one isn’t really making money if taxpayers are covering for one’s disasters and employee healthcare.

The groundbreaking book One Report details an approach to financial reporting that will give business owners further ideas about for what a business is accountable and how more meaningful reporting could usher in an era of thriving businesses. (Businesses have done well, or thrived, in the past, but generally as an exception in a landscape of poverty and compulsive work.)

Another general point is to keep in mind whether your business embodies the permaculture values of “People Care” and “Earth Care.” Do you contribute to the quality of life of your employees, customers, board members, community members? Are you just a neutral influence? Are you detrimental? How about the environment? Do you respect the carrying capacity of natural resources? Contribute to sensible and nourishing urban planning? Externalize environmental damages such that your income statement shows a profit whereas you’re actually sucking value out of society? Are you improving the environment? Thriving businesses co-create thriving communities and their environmental context.

2) Entity types –

It’s worth taking some significant time to research and consider what entity is right for you. The entity is the legal form of the business and the form you choose affects your liability related to the business (what people can say is financially your responsibility personally even though the issue in question might be a result of business activities) as well as taxes. It also affects the extent to which and ways in which you control the business.

Google these types of entities:

- C Corp

- S Corp

- L3C

- B Corp

- LLC

- 501(c)’s: 501(c)3 is a well-known form of nonprofit. Certain forms allow for political activity while others do not. Ditto for agricultural activities. You can mix revenue generating activities with a nonprofit structure but you have to be very careful about how you do it.

- Associations and cooperatives

I’m creating an educational nonprofit with agricultural and political activities and am getting advice from Cutting Edge Capital in California (http://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/). Their fees are reasonable and they can at least help you understand what you should ask a lawyer and where to look for more information.

Michael Shuman’s Local Dollars, Local Sense has case studies about different kinds of businesses of different entity types and some of the fundraising approaches they’ve used as well as issues they’ve encountered.

Business Model Generation is a very popular book that guides entrepreneurs through the process of developing a concrete structure as to how one does business, or one’s “business model.” The business model is particular to each business and at least exploring ideas about yours will help you to understand the type of entity that is best for your needs.

Your accounting systems and financial reporting requirements will also be different depending upon the entity you choose. The B Corp organization offers some basic consulting on whether the B Corp status is appropriate for your business. Otherwise, get a good accountant. It’s worth going the extra mile in your accounting so that you know what you’re really making and where, and so that you’re complying with the law and paying the right amount of taxes. You can ruin your business through inaccurate accounting.

 

3) Where to get money and for what:

Again, it’s worth finding someone like Cutting Edge Capital to help you to write a fundraising plan. Michael Shuman’s book also details ideas, as do Owning Our Future by Marjorie Kelly and What Then Must We Do? by Gar Alperovitz.

I would suggest reading these books and jotting down what you find interesting.

Write a basic business plan through liveplan.com. An affiliated site has sample plans – bplan.com. Focus on start up funds – what you need to get started – and on how you can maximize your efficiency so that you are making money as quickly as possible instead of relying on further investments.

For example, say you want to start a business that needs $150,000 in the first year for a facility and payroll (include healthcare and tax calculations in your projections). You’ll make $125,000 in the first fiscal year because you’re operating only part of the year but then the next year you’ll make $500,000 and net $250,000 such that you can pay everyone back (you might make much less profit on your revenues – just an example. Please look up and research the difference between revenues and profit.). Not too bad. If you find that you’re taking several years to pay people back, you need to find a way to make more profit sooner to pay people. Or, for nonprofits and other eligible entities, get more grants and similar funding.

Then, when you have an idea of what you need to start the business, look into how you can raise the funds through your community. Direct public offerings, self-directed 401(k)’s, memberships, pre-payments, and crowdfunding are a few increasingly popular options.

Find a good lawyer and someone to help with the fundraising (an organization with a large mailing list, legal know-how, and expertise in securities issues as well as options for investors and business owners – Cutting Edge Capital is good) and raise your money.

The Foundation Center has online directories of funders to which individuals and organizations can subscribe. You can research organizations and particular grants and other funding and apply for the money using the info from the site. The Foundation Center also has online and live classes in issues related to business development. I enjoyed their grant writing class.

Also check out organizations like the Solidago Fund and Proteus Fund – there are many organizations out there that fund specific projects, initiatives, and individual endeavors that support certain missions.

That said, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded is worth looking into for ideas about how dependency upon foundations affects the success of altruistic organizations.

 

4) The next item to consider is your organizational development.

Everything is really interesting but I like this part a lot.

The key points:

- organizational structure: is it hierarchical or lateral? Are you all about top-down authority or do employees self-govern? Do they work in teams?

- compensation: who determines it, how does performance affect it (bonuses, commissions, stock options, other performance incentives), what kind of benefits can you offer, do you have other non-monetary compensation?

- ownership: this issue goes hand in hand with the entity selection. Do the employees own the business? Members? Founders? Some combination? You can do some really interesting things in this area.

Check out Valve’s employee manual: http://newcdn.flamehaus.com/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf. It is inspiring and hilarious.

Also Ricardo Semler’s Maverick and Seven Day Weekend. Semler’s company in Brazil has achieved significant rates of growth with extraordinarily low turnover and what sounds like a very interesting workplace by empowering employees to self-govern, including setting their own compensation and vacation time.

This Skillshare class on alternatives to hierarchy was interesting:

http://www.skillshare.com/classes/marketing/Killing-Hierarchy-Organization-Design-for-Startups/465270004

I’m not sure when they’re offering it again, but I think the teacher has other resources available on the subject.

 

Additional resources:

Check out Coursera for free classes in finance and related topics.

Stanford offers free classes online in entrepreneurial subjects – organizational analysis (the development part above) as well as technology start-ups. http://online.stanford.edu/courses. Permaculture based business definitely has room in it for making money through technological innovation, perhaps including apps.

Ruleschange.org has some detailed writings on sustainable finance and information about an upcoming conference in DC in March that may be incredibly groundbreaking – some of the most significant thinkers in finance, economics, politics, business, education and the media as well as students and entrepreneurs will come together to streamline decades of work in all of the above areas so as to realize a modern American Dream of abundance and peace of mind.

DreamChange (Dreamchange.org) is a an organization bringing permaculture to business and is definitely worth checking out.

 

Also, read about the Mondragon cooperative online and in the book Making Mondragon.

There are tons of examples out there of employee owned businesses as well – the books above detail a bunch.

Your local independent bookstore might have some great progressive business books and events as well. Food For Thought in Amherst, MA, had some good suggestions for me the last time I was there.

 

I hope this info was helpful and I wish you success with your business and in all things that bring you happiness.

Please email me at katherine.policy@gmail.com to discuss specific issues.

Also, paolucciinstitute.com has some information on the business I am starting that I mentioned above. I welcome your comments! I’m looking for a campus in the first or second quarter of 2014, in Central Massachusetts.

May You And All Beings and Things Be Happy,
Katherine

 

“Back in five – on another plane.”

I learned recently that autism used to have the diagnosis of “childhood schizophrenia.” I found this fact interesting as I had heard of a study that stated that autism, schizophrenia, and alcoholism tend to run in the same families.

I grew up reading the DSMV out of curiosity – my mother is a therapist. The diseases that involve experiences of alternate realities or difficulties being in “reality” always interested me – bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism. The sense I have is that what we call “reality” is one possible experience, a break from which can make apparent that there are infinite possibilities that all have in common, perhaps, something – that we connect through the same point in the nervous system to the infinite range of potential realities. I think it’s the top of the head. Carlos Castaneda refers to something called the “assemblage point” behind the chest.

I was just reading that schizophrenics who “actualize the Light body” in time might avoid deterioration: http://www.alchemyrealm.com/schizophrenia.htm

What does this phrase mean? I’m not sure by my experience is that we can shift our identification to various aspects of ourselves throughout the course of our lives, and depending upon what we do, we do or do not die – like Jesus raising from the dead and ascending as a body of light. At some point, perhaps He knew not to identify with what he learned to call the “body” when it would “die” and instead He identified with something that would survive the process and undergo a much deeper, more transcendental death.

Though, of course, identifying purely with the body – the solid, heavy kind – might take us to the same or a similar place.

I have seen a body made of light before and experienced shifting my identity to various aspects of what we contain – the solid body, the psyche, the intellect, the observer of the psyche, some sort of light/energy body that leaves the solid one or integrates with it into another sort of body – what I think Jesus did when He ascended.

The article above points out that the process isn’t even very difficult. It would be helpful to have these techniques and processes available to the severely mentally ill. I wonder if schizophrenics don’t in fact have a different trajectory in life – one in which they enter and leave a consensual reality for others at certain points in their lives, and, when they do so, they seem absent from and nonfunctional in this one.

I have some more specific experiences to relate in my upcoming book that seem to me to corroborate the possibilities above, including target ages for certain developments – though some beings could probably have everything in the bag before they can talk. Ammaji, for example, was apparently born enlightened.

May you and all beings and things be happy – free from suffering, ignorance, and compulsion.

Home again, home again.

Back from Quebec and the Northeast Permaculture Convergence after falling in love with the place and the people there. My heart hurts – in a good way. A growing ache, from better and greater use.

I picked up my framed poster of the 99 Names of Allah today from the local shop, after stashing my rainbow bowtie from NYC Pride out of the sun in my car. I never would have guessed that this is how my life would have turned out. It is lovely, the contrasts, and the love in unexpected and wonderful places.

I graduated from college ten years ago and am quite pleased with where I am today. The future is going to be super.

May you and all beings and things be happy.

Slow Living Summit, BALLE, Yestermorrow.

Got back from BALLE 2013 and Yestermorrow’s Tiny House Fair after beautiful drives through the Northeast.

The Slow Living Summit in Vermont was also really awesome – very well organized, comprehensive topics, good follow-up. It was great to catch up with some folks and meet new ones as well.

Wonderful people, great info, super ideas that will lead to a super future.

Plus a stack of great books and one of Yestermorrow’s organic t-shirts. Who said materialism is all bad?

More as I do more research.

May you and all of creation be happy.