Sometimes when I have other things to do, I follow what is going on in the Alaska Legislature by checking Twitter. For those that haven't entered the Twitter age yet, people posting (or, in the vernacular, "tweeting") can put a "hash tag" on their post, which any of the usual Twitter applications will then aggregate and allow you to read separately, rather than diving into whatever else anyone on your friends list may be talking about.
Because today is the NCAA WBB semifinals, for example, a large part of the current posts in my Twitter feed are about how the Louisville - California game went, or how UConn is doing against Notre Dame. I knew all I wanted about that, but wondered how things were going this afternoon in the House Finance Committee hearings on SB 21, so I clicked on the column I have set up for posts that reference " # akleg.
That's when I ran across the above tweet from Shannyn Moore, a blogger, talk radio host and sometimes columnist for the Anchorage Daily News.
As I have pieced things together, evidently someone in the SB 21 hearings had brought up progressivity and someone else had suggested progressivity was not a good thing (which its not if you are concerned about staying competitive throughout the price range investors use to evaluate potential oil investments).
Shannyn then decided to add her two cents, talking to no one in particular (since she wasn't at the hearing) but reaching out to the Twitter universe in general.
The first thing that caught my attention was her use of the word "idiot." In the very few times in my life I have used that word in public, I have been very careful to make certain what follows is accurate. There is nothing quite as bad as referring to someone as an idiot, and then immediately proving you are a moron.
Shannyn, evidently, doesn't follow the same rule. Immediately following her opener, she posted "when the price of oil goes up, so do our costs to plow roads & heat schools. That's why you need progressivity."
Uh no. When the price of oil goes up, so automatically do state revenues. You don't "need progressivity" for that to happen.
To illustrate, if the state tax rate is 15% at $80/bbl, that produces state revenue of $12/bbl. Even at the same tax rate of 15%, if the price of oil increases to $100/bbl, so does state revenue (to $15/bbl). Even staying at the same 15%, if the price of oil increases to $120/bb, so does state revenue (to $18/bbl).
I recognized this was higher math, so I thought I should check it with the waitress serving us at the restaurant I was sitting in when I read Shannyn's tweet.
My question to her: "even if I am only going to tip you the same 15%, would you prefer me to have an $80 tab, or a $100 tab." Her quick reply, "$100." "Why," I asked. "Because I make more money at $100 than $80," she replied. "I'll be," I said, "even if I don't use progressivity [well, what I really said was, "even if I don't increase the percentage"] in determining my tip."
Looking at me like I was the idiot, she replied "yes sir. I make more money when the tab rises, even if you don't increase the percentage."
Huh. Shannyn must never have been a waitress.
(The really sad thing? Five people have retweeted Shannyn's tweet and three have "favorited" it since she first sent it. I guess there are less former waiters and waitresses wandering around than I had thought.)