On Place I've Lived: The Hurst, A Child's Bedroom, and My Childhood Home

@andnowlights I wouldn't necessarily say that living off-campus was only for rich people. I mean at $490 a month including utilities, a year's rent is less than the boarding cost at Yale, not to mention the money you could save if you cook a lot. The Elmhurst and similar apartments had their issues, but they weren't drastically worse in terms of living conditions or convenience than some of the housing in the colleges. Sure there was the Taft/Cambridge-Oxford for the rich kids, but the Elmhurst and others were generally no more expensive or cheaper than living on campus.

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm 0

On Taxing the 2 Percent

My one problem with that is that the person at $250k is going to be making a much bigger sacrifice for the "good of America" than the person with $15 million in income. Obviously someone always has to be the loser, but the way deductions work and also the way that the person making $15 million in income is probably making their income (probably from bonuses/the stupid "carried interest" thing that treats PE and hedge fund managers bonus for doing well with the funds they are managing as a capital gain/actual capital gains) means that those at the $15 million level are far more able to avoid taxation than someone at the $250k level. It would be more fair to set the highest tax rate at an income level that would specifically target those who can offset their income through deductions/expensive lawyers or accountants/other shenanigans than the arbitrary 2% highest income earners.

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm 0

On The Extended Trip

Aren't you paying change fees each time you push your date back? Also, if LGA is really the problem, most airlines will let you change to a different NYC airport for the same price as changing the LGA flight. Since it's MSP and I'm assuming you are flying Delta, they have flights to all 3 NYC airports. Change to JFK and your transpo problems are solved. Another alternative is trying to get on a JFK-bound flight standby once you get to the airport. So long as you aren't checking bags, just get to MSP early and see if you can standby on a JFK bound flight instead of your own. You might even get lucky and your flight to LGA will be overbooked and then you can get bumped and ask to be rebooked on a JFK flight + get the voucher to be used on future flights.

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm 0

On When Ordering Food Online

I was thinking about this earlier today when I was ordering on Seamless. I pre-tip online because I assume that the tip is built in and there is no option to express that you will tip in cash when the delivery guy gets there. I don't want them to think I'm not tipping them or something. I do factor in that I am tipping on credit card and throw in a little more. Also, I am often ordering for just myself and have discovered that tip is often a good way to get around order minimums, since Seamless allows you to submit an order once the total amount (including tax and tip) has crossed the minimum threshold. Especially when I am within a dollar, I'd rather overtip than buy food I don't need or an overpriced can of soda.

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm 0

On Wedding Costs from the Dude's Perspective

@WaityKatie I mean what do you propose they do with the money instead? We live in a capitalist economy that only works when people SPEND money. This is not a trickle-down economics argument. Trickle-down economics is when rich people argue that they should have to pay lower taxes because then they will have more money to spend which will boost the economy. The problem is that they don't spend the money in ways that directly employ more people, but invest it into things that largely serve to make them even wealthier. Here, we have an example of people actually putting the money directly into the economy, which if all wealthy people did then the trickle-down argument could potentially work. As I mentioned above, I like taxing the wealthy! But you can't tax them if they donate all their money to charity. The more these people donate their money the less the government gets to have. We have no control over where people donate their money (you get the same tax deduction for donating to Focus on the Family as you do for donating to the HRC). For example, wouldn't you rather have Dan Cathy (President of Chik-Fil-A) spend all his money extravagantly and be taxed than donate it to his borderline hate groups? I understand the distaste at extravagant displays of wealth, but it's not like these people are lighting their money on fire when they throw a massive wedding. It all goes back into the economy. What would you propose they do as an alternative? Most charities wouldn't be able to as effectively help as many people as the government could with that money anyways. Also, to be honest, $600 for a custom-made suit that the author will wear again is a bargain. Go into most department stores and their off-the-rack suits (which need tailoring costing $20-$100) will cost more than that. Even suits at Men's Wearhouse hover around the $300 mark before factoring in tailoring costs (except during sales) and they will never look as good or last as long or be as comfortable as the custom made suit (which considering they still cost $300 is problematic).

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 3:28 am 4

On Wedding Costs from the Dude's Perspective

@WaityKatie Right, but if people don't spend that kind of money on consumer goods, then the people who make those goods would be out of a job and there would be more people in need and the cycle would spin out of control. Remember all that money spent means people got paid. The LA economy in particular, is especially dependent on lavish events. If it makes you feel better, by spending the money that means that the government can tax it as income (and probably at the highest marginal rate) and get further sales taxes, funding a lot of the social welfare programs less advantaged people need to survive. If they donated that money they would be able to deduct it from their gross income (which potentially means lower tax brackets and thus less taxes overall on the remaining money) and we would have no control over where it goes (and most individual donations go to churches and religious organizations). TL;DR version: Our economy basically requires that rich people spend their money instead of hoarding it/donating it all away to charities of their own choosing. To criticize people for doing so is wrong-headed and terribly destructive.

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm 0

On I Rent My Apartment Out for $200 a Night, And I Feel Great About It

If Anon rents out this apartment full-time, he is most definitely violating the no subletting clause of his lease. Yeah there is the clause about no visitors for more than 30 days, but most courts would ignore that since he would effectively be moving out and subletting to a string of various new tenants (none of whom have been approved by the landlord) and treat him as though he were subletting. His landlord would have every right to evict him and potentially sue for a share of the profits (less likely, but if I were his lawyer I would definitely sue for it). Also, if Anon rents another apartment specifically for the purposes of renting it on AirBnB that is fraud. The landlord could definitely tear up the contract and evict him at anytime since Anon would be misrepresenting his reasons for renting the apartment no matter what provisions the contract contained.

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm 1

On I Rent My Apartment Out for $200 a Night, And I Feel Great About It

@NoReally They don't really need to pass laws, this can easily be stopped by contract. I imagine we will see the standard lease agreements including a clause that altogether prohibits AirBnB use by tenants or severely limits it. I'm sure someone would try to sue, but they would most likely lose since its a perfectly reasonable thing for landlords to include in a lease agreement.

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm 0