What Facebook has become

I’ve been meaning to write this out for a while, but life has gotten the best of me over the past couple/few months.  I really need to get back on a regular blogging schedule, but we’ll see how that goes.  Hopefully my next post will be about what I’ve been so busy with (buying a house and moving across town), but we’ll see.

If you’ve followed me on Facebook for at least a year, you probably know that I make political posts sometimes.  You may have noticed that after the election was over, I slacked off, and if you’ve been following me since the last presidential election cycle, you’ll probably notice my political posts have generally waned.

This wasn’t an accident.  Politics are always relevant, and discourse is great, but Facebook has become more toxic than ever lately.  I’m not sure if that’s due to the current political climate or my own perception of the platform – and perhaps it’s both – but I lean toward it being the latter.  A lot of the people I am friends with were not politically involved until this election, or at least they weren’t vocal about it if they were.  I am pretty positive the 2012 election did not have this much Facebook commentary, but I’ve learned from 2008, 2012, and 2016 that political posts on Facebook are only good for fights and confirmation bias.  No one changes their mind on any heated issue because of what they read on Facebook.

And this leads me to the point of this post:  Facebook has become depressing.  When the platform first launched (or at least, back when my peers first started having kids, which was shortly after the Facebook launch), I used to groan when people posted pictures of their kids.  You know how cartoons and movies sometimes joke about the guy that’s always pulling out his wallet with an ever-expanding photo album of his kids inside of it?  He shoves it into someone’s face and the other person is awkwardly bound to look at the pictures and make comments.  That’s how I felt.

But Facebook was sort of different at the time, as Twitter wasn’t popular at all (that’s when my boys Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose (Internet famous tech nerds) ruled the Twitter roost instead of Lady Gaga or some other pop-culture celeb), Instagram didn’t exist, and neither did Snapchat or any other photo sharing social media platforms.  It was Facebook and I guess MySpace, and since that’s basically what my idea of social networks were, it didn’t feel like that’s what they were for (and it wasn’t just me; lots of friends complained about the same things).  I think what I use Facebook for now is basically short-form of what I used to use my blog for.

These days, I am more than happy to see pictures of my friends’ kids.  It’s good to open Facebook and see people spreading their joy amidst all of the negativity.  This recent election may have gotten a lot of people politically involved, but I hope they realize their friend circle can be a bubble of self-affirmation.  Let’s be real, when you see something you agree with, it reinforces that belief, and the more you see those things, the more negative the opposite viewpoint can appear.  It’s something we’re all susceptible to, including me, and maybe years and years of exposure to politically active communities before other people actually started caring last year is what has suddenly made Facebook feel so toxic.

It’s particularly frustrating for me because of how partisan the conversation is.  Every time the letter behind the name of the president switches from D to R or R to D, the conversation flips, and people that have been quiet for 4 or 8 years are now angry, while the previously angry people are now happily apologizing for any promise the president doesn’t keep.  The “Team R” and “Team D” mentality is absolutely infuriating, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that may be my biggest gripe about Facebook.

Anyway, it’s hard to say, and I definitely don’t want to block myself from opposing viewpoints, but the more I analyze it, the more I feel like Facebook isn’t the place for this kind of discussion.  Really, I’m not sure where that place is, but if I’m being honest, it’s much easier for me to ingest political posts on Twitter because Twitter doesn’t lend itself to debate.  It feels like nearly every time I’ve gotten involved in a political discussion on Twitter with someone that holds an opposing viewpoint, I end up excusing myself from the conversation because it takes two tweets to respond to one tweet, and then they take four tweets to respond to your two tweets, and so on until critical points are being missed and the “conversation” becomes unmanageable.

I think the bigger reason I find political posts easier to digest on Twitter is that on Facebook, you see a political post and then a war raging under it in the comments, likely involving many people you don’t know.  Twitter doesn’t show replies in your feed unless you follow both people.  Because of this, you end up seeing less garbage.

So, I’ve been unfollowing people on Facebook.  Honestly, it kind of sucks, but I’m tired of wading through 10 posts about how much Trump sucks for one post about someone’s personal life that I actually care about.  It’s not worth bringing your negativity into my life.  Sorry.  There’s nothing objectively true about your opinion (or mine) no matter how much you (or I) believe it, and while I may be more forgiving about posts that lean toward something I believe, those at least don’t frustrate me as much.  I’m sure that sounds terrible or whatever, but honestly, I don’t care anymore.  I don’t want to read your political opinion, especially if you only care to have one when your team isn’t in the White House, and even more so if I wouldn’t talk to you about politics in real life.  Actually, probably more that last part.

This is my commitment to my Facebook friends until further notice: unless there is a serious reason to post something political (the definition of “serious” will be up to my discretion), I won’t do it.  You may see me liking some political posts in your feed, but I don’t control how Facebook’s algorithm delivers updates to you.  If something that I like bothers you, please use Facebook Messenger to talk to me about it.  In fact, please use any messaging service (I’m on many of them) to talk to me about anything in general.

Pokémon Go…or something, whatever

A lot of things have happened since I’ve last updated my blog, but each time I think about writing a post, I realize I’m not entirely sure what I want to share here anymore.  Twitter is the best resource to keep up with what’s going on my life right now, to be honest.  My blog has turned into more of a place for me to dump long-form thoughts.

That said, time to dump some thoughts. :D

I’ve been playing a lot of Pokémon Go, and despite its tumultuous rollout, I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.  There’s a gym down the street from where I live, and three more within reasonable walking distance, where I can also hit 9 Pokéstops along the way.  It’s a long walk, but I enjoy it.

A lot of the game mechanics are sort of…broken, or “unbalanced” is a better word, I guess.  Stardust doesn’t scale very well, evolved Pokémon trade in for the same amount of candy as their unevolved counterparts, Pokéstops have seemingly recently all but stopped dropping hyper potions…the list goes on.  Niantic has had, and continues to have, their heads in the sand for the most part, especially with the tracking issue, which was made even worse by their complete lack of communication for weeks.

I think a lot of people quit the game, but even with certain things still broken or very unbalanced, I continue to play.  I won’t spend any real money on the game until they address the issues, but the game is still very much playable (which is not something I could say with much confidence for the first few weeks).  Right now, what’s fun for me is collecting Pokémon and specifically focusing on keeping the gym down the street.

Oh, and I guess I should mention that I’m dumb and didn’t realize the teams were based on the legendary birds.  I chose Team Valor (red team) for a completely dumb reason (didn’t understand how gyms worked), and totally didn’t realize I should’ve been on Team Instinct.  (Anyone that knew me back in the day knows Zapdos was my favorite Pokémon).  Valor is the last team I would’ve picked if I had understood gyms, because Moltres is my least favorite legendary bird and red is my least favorite color of the three.  Sigh.  At this point though, even if they introduce a mechanic to switch teams, I’m not sure that I would.

In non-Pokémon-related news, I bought a new car about a month and a half ago.  It’s been at the point for a long time now that with my back/nerve problem, driving a sports compact with a manual was making less and less sense.  This is one of the few things I haven’t posted about on social media, mostly because it almost feels like bragging, when in reality I liked my BRZ a lot and had planned to keep it for a long time otherwise, and now I just want to be comfortable.  My new car has Apple CarPlay, by the way, which I will say is awesome and I don’t think I’d buy another car that didn’t either come with it or couldn’t be upgraded to it via an aftermarket unit.

Also, I think it goes without saying here that this election is ridiculous.  Anyone that knows me probably knows who I’m voting for, but I will say it is nice to have Bernie out of the picture.  To me, he’s been the most frustrating politician to emerge out of the woodwork this season, demagoguing his way into relevancy in a near-Trumpian fashion, only to sell out in the end to the very establishment he claimed to be so separate from.  What a joke.  He honestly cannot fade back into obscurity quickly enough.

So that’s that for a while.  Happy Pokémon hunting.  :)

I don’t like subscription music streaming services

I tried Apple Music, Google Play Music, and am now currently working my way through a 3-month free trial of Spotify, and I have to say…these subscription music streaming services just aren’t for me.  I think the best of the bunch was Google Play Music, with Apple Music being the worst solely because of the app, but it’s not really so much any of that as it is that I think it’s a bad deal financially for me and a lot of others.

For a family of two or three that doesn’t already have a music collection, I get the perceived value.  $15/month for three people to have access to unlimited music is a good deal if at least two of those people normally buy at least an album a month (or spend the equivalent ~$10 on individual tracks).  It’s probably also a pretty good deal for a single person to pay $10/month if they usually buy three or more albums in a month.

The major problem to me is that even with a subscription to one of these services, you still might have to buy music somewhere else.  Want to listen to Adele’s latest album on Apple Music?  Nah, gotta buy that.  Want to listen to Taylor Swift’s 1985 on Spotify?  Nah, you gotta have Apple Music or buy it.  Heck, there was this album by a no-name band (Allstar Weekend) that Amazon Prime Music and Google Play Music have but that Apple Music doesn’t.

So no matter if you’re listening to mainstream stuff or little unknown bands, you’re never guaranteed that your service is going to 100% fulfill your listening needs.  So suddenly, you might be paying $10/month for streaming plus an extra $10 to buy an album that’s not on your streaming service.  And then, you might not be able to listen to all of that music in the same place if you have something like Spotify, so you’re juggling collections between two apps.

Oh, and if you cancel your subscription service in, say, three years, you’ve paid $360 and have nothing to show for it except memories.  And hey, maybe that’s worth it to you.  But the thing is, in 2006, I was buying two or three albums a month, and now, I’m buying one album every two or three months.  So nine years ago streaming would’ve made sense to me, and now, it doesn’t.  So if I had been using a streaming service for the past nine years, I couldn’t even cancel it now or I’d lose all of my music (which, yes, I do still listen to my old catalog – everything from random 90’s country to my amazing 2006 pop-punk bands).  People’s music listening habits change, so what you do now might not be what you do next year.

So yeah, I’ll pass on these services.  Right now, buying albums I like (sometimes on sale for $0.99, $7.99, or half off sales), then uploading it to Google Play Music so I can stream it anyway is the best option for me.

Microsoft is on fire, guys. For real.

Four months ago, Tim Cook and other various higher-ups at Apple got on stage and showed us the Apple Watch.  The watch, they explained, was incredible, and that pinching and touching the screen with your fingers was awkward on such a small device because it covers up the content.  So, to fix this, they explained in a grandiose way that only Apple could, that they’d invented an amazing new way of interacting with a smartwatch – a digital crown.

A crown, that thing on the side of the watch that’s been there forever.  Apple translated it over to a smartwatch.  That’s basically it.  And then the demo consisted of some other Apple employee touching the screen a whole lot and barely using the crown.

Yesterday, the higher-ups of Microsoft got on stage and said they’d invented an amazing new interface for technology.  Ten years ago, this would be an eye-rolling moment.  Did they invent a mouse with 5 buttons and 3 scrollwheels?

No, Microsoft has suddenly made untethered augmented reality a, well, …reality.  Out of nowhere, they busted out this augmented reality headset called the Microsoft HoloLens that will project what they call “holograms” into your daily life.

So Apple puts a crown on a watch, and Microsoft is putting us one step closer to making every nerd’s childhood dreams come true.  Am I taking crazy pills?  As Engadget said, “When did Apple become the boring one?”

And look, maybe Microsoft Holographic and the HoloLens will be rough for a while and not be perfect, but this technology is so exciting.  The fact is, Microsoft is putting money into something that has incredible potential is anything but boring.

Of course, Microsoft can’t just do this one thing and suddenly be amazing, so I want to make something pretty clear: using any tech company’s products over a long period of time may be a roller coaster ride, and for the past year or so, Microsoft has been cruising on up, and Apple has been coasting down.  Windows 8 may have been a low point, but most people I know that didn’t like 8 do like 8.1, including me.  In fact, I freaking love Windows 8.1.  I love it on desktops, and I love it on my Surface Pro 3.  Oh, and I love my Surface Pro 3.  And Windows Phone.  And how cross-compatible all of Microsoft’s apps and devices are.  It’s just awesome.  And Windows 10 looks amazing.  I can’t wait for it.

Really, the one misstep Microsoft has made recently has been the Microsoft Band, which is not a smartwatch, but a fitness band.  It’s kind of big and clunky-looking, and far too expensive.

And Apple?  Yosemite bugs everywhere, iOS 8 bugs everywhere, this stupid new iPhone hardware that’s prettier than it is functional with software that is not designed for one-handed use (“reachability” is a kludged-together pain in the ass).  Their hardware on the laptop side looks nice, but where are the freaking touchscreens?  Oh, but OS X isn’t touch optimized, so even if they did have a touchscreen Mac, it would probably be a pretty crappy experience.

I love my MacBook Pro.  It’s a really solid piece of hardware that’s served me well for years, but going forward, buying any kind of computing device without a touchscreen just seems stupid (exceptions given for desktops).

I really hope this is just a bump in the road for Apple, but I also hope this amazing stuff Microsoft is doing never stops.  Competition is awesome and drives companies to be better and make better things, and man, I can’t wait to try a freaking Microsoft HoloLens.

Oh, and I’ll wait and see if Microsoft does a smartwatch too, because the Apple Watch is far too boring to pay $350+ for, only to be locked into iOS to use it.

Customer Service: Uniqlo, D-

I was really excited when Uniqlo finally opened their online store and arrived fully in the 21st century with eCommerce.  I’m not a chronic shopper of theirs, but since they opened in October of 2012, I’ve placed four orders, two of which were around $60 and two of which were around $120.  I mention this only to drive home the fact that I’ve done about $350 worth of business with them, making purchases regularly every few months.

In these orders, I’ve gotten some pretty good stuff.  Their clothes aren’t of the highest quality, but their designs, fits, and sizes are exactly what I like.  It is very hard for me to find 1) clothes that fit 2) that aren’t ugly for 3) a reasonable price.  It’s usually a “pick 2 of the 3” situation.  For this, I am thankful.

However, I’ve also had a couple of negative experiences before my previous order.  The product descriptions and pictures on their site are very lacking.  I’m not sure how they’re taking pictures, but I’ve never received an item from them that matched the color on their site.  (Note that I have looked at their site on many displays, tablets, and phones.  Their colors are off; it is not my computer).  Luckily most of the time, it’s close enough that I don’t care.  But in one order, I really wanted this nice pastel yellow Henley.

Henley

The color was labeled merely as “yellow,” and it looked perfect in the picture.  Yet when I got the item in, the color was actually neon.  How annoying is that?  They could’ve at least labeled the color appropriately.  Does that look neon yellow to you?

In another order, I got two pair of “blue” color jeans.  Why do I put “blue” in quotes?  Hopefully this will explain it:

Uniqlo colors

 

 

How can both of those be called blue?  Hovering over the color palette clearly showed both of these as being “blue.”  Well, I decided to test it out because those particular jeans were on sale for $9.90.  Can’t really hurt at that price.  The first pair is much greener in person than they look on the site.  They’re a dark turquoise or teal – certainly not blue.  The second pair is essentially gray.  It’s not gray, but to anyone walking by, they’re gray.  If you look really closely under the right light, you can see how they’re a very light – almost white – shade of blue.  But to call them blue is simply deceptive.  I’d have accepted “washed out blue” or “stormy sky blue” or a plethora of other bullshit color names that are more accurate, but “blue” alone is not one of them.

 

But I didn’t make a big deal about these color issues.  Uniqlo’s return policy is kind of crappy ($7 return shipping fee, or choose your own parcel service and pay the fee yourself), even though exchanges are supposedly free (I’ve yet to make an exchange).  I didn’t bother with trying to exchange any of those items because I knew I was gambling on the pants in the first place, and the Henley was on sale and at the time, I didn’t feel like dealing with it and decided to wear it to sleep in, since who the hell wants a neon yellow Henley?

But my last order with Uniqlo was for another pair of slim color jeans in their “wine” color.  I knew exactly what to expect in this order, because I already have straight fit color jeans, and I already have some of their wine chinos.  There was certainly no way they could surprise me on this order.  The color jeans are sort of lightweight, but they look enough like denim and feel enough like to denim.  Their wine color looks more purple online, and more red in real life.  But this is fine, that’s what I wanted, and also what I was expecting.

So what did I get?  Chinos with casual pockets and a casual fly.  I couldn’t believe it.  The material is literally identical to the many pairs of Uniqlo chinos I have.  There’s nothing rugged about them.  They’re not even close to looking like denim.  In fact, if my chinos hadn’t been washed a few times, I guarantee you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them in this side by side picture of the fabric:

Uniqlo "jeans"

I was immediately annoyed at the misrepresentation of these pants on their site, because – yet again – I’ve wasted money on a product from Uniqlo that their site poorly describes and poorly pictures.  There was not enough detail on the product page to be able to tell in either the description or the picture that these are not really jeans.

This time, I emailed Uniqlo for a refund, and I skipped past the bullcrap.  I told them straight up that this product is not advertised properly on their site and asked for my money back and the return shipping fee to be waived.  I emailed with three different reps, two of which talked to their supervisors, and I was denied getting the return shipping fee waived each time.  The responses grew more and more annoying.  The reps constantly apologized for the inconvenience, repeated themselves, and sounded more and more robotic.  I offered up the picture above comparing their chinos to the “jeans,” and still got robotic answers.  The entire dialogue from their customer service department sounded very insincere, as if they were told “be disgustingly nice, but don’t ever try to make a situation right.”

Knowing that phone calls usually get more done, I called them.  I shouldn’t have been surprised; really, I shouldn’t have been, but I got the same exact bullshit on the phone.  I asked to speak to a supervisor, and holy shit, he was even worse.  This is a situation that had a clear resolution: waive the return shipping fee, give me my money back, and in the long term, improve your website so that customers know what they’re buying.

rarely, if ever, go off on people over the phone, especially not over $7.  I’ve worked at help desks, I’ve done and do customer service, I know exactly what it feels like so I try not to give customer service people a hard time.  But holy shit.  This supervisor was the biggest robot of them all.  He argued with me that the pants are actually jeans.  He passive-aggressively “apologized” that the pants didn’t live up to my expectations (excuse me for ordering jeans and expecting to receive – I dunno – a pair of jeans?).  Is it really that hard to say, “We’re sorry about the misunderstanding.  We’ll waive the return fee to make this right.”?  I was nice-neutral in tone throughout the entire conservation, though I grew slowly agitated until the end, when I threw his crappy passive-aggressive tone back at him and said, “Thanks for the poor customer service,” and hung up.

Let me put this situation into perspective.  You walk into a restaurant and look at the menu.  You want a steak, so you turn to the steaks section.  “Sirloin steak, 100% beef.”  Perfect, that’s what you want.  There’s a small picture there, and you think “perfect!”  So you order the sirloin steak.  In this restaurant, you pay for your food before you get it, so you pay.  The waiter comes out 10 minutes later with a hamburger patty.  You look confused and say, “this isn’t what I ordered.  I ordered the sirloin steak.”  The waiter says, “Sir, this is a sirloin steak.  It’s just been ground up.  This is 100% ground sirloin.”  You point at the picture on the menu and say, “The picture looks like a steak,” and the waiter apologizes very insincerely, points to the low-resolution, undetailed picture and says, “That’s ground sirloin formed into the shape of a steak.”  You get annoyed and ask that you be brought a real, unground sirloin steak.  The waiter says they don’t have any of those, but he’d be happy to exchange your current sirloin burger patty for another one.  You say no, and demand a refund.  The waiter says, “Sorry sir, it costs $7 to send food back to the kitchen.  This policy is clearly labeled on the menu.”

This is a very long-winded post about a very annoying customer service situation that should’ve never happened.  Uniqlo’s customer service is extremely poor, and whereas a good company would try to make such a situation right for a tried and true customer, they decided to give me the middle finger, but with a nice little smiley face drawn on it.  I won’t refuse to buy products from Uniqlo in the future, but I will only buy them if I can see the actual product first.  Otherwise, I don’t want to be lied to and then stuck with the return shipping bill.

I filed a dispute with my credit card company over this on the grounds of a “misrepresented product or service.”  I doubt I’ll win the dispute, but at this point, I’m more annoyed with their shitty service than I am with the product I got or the small financial impact.

Government misaligns priorities and values

Here is an informal poll that I would like any readers to take in their heads before continuing on to the next paragraph: while driving, why do you try to closely obey speed limits?

Got your response?

If you’re like most people, your answer is probably “I don’t want to get a ticket.” It’s an innocent enough answer, but why is the government fining you for going 67 MPH in a 60 MPH zone? What are you doing wrong? You’re not harming anyone, and if your immediate thought is “you have a greater potential to harm someone,” then since when is Minority Report-like pre-crime an actual crime? And furthermore, you have greater potential to harm someone simply by getting behind the wheel of a 2700+ pound hunk of metal than you do by walking or bicycling. If you would try to make the argument that you are for speed limit laws because they save lives, then you should inherently be against driving in general since car accidents kill so many people.

The hard truth is traffic laws like speed limits misdirect our priorities. Why do you not drive extremely fast in a residential zone? The answer should be that you don’t want to risk any lives or property, not that you don’t want to pay a tax to the police department. If people were concerned about other people rather than paying a ticket, we might all be safer on the road.

Slightly Belated Independence Day Reminder

The 4th of July is typically a celebration of American freedom, but on this July 5th, I’d like to share a tale from a Veteran’s Day celebration in elementary school.

I was in 6th grade, and I was asked to get up in front of the school and say a prayer for freedom. I don’t remember the first few lines, but I’ll never forget the last two because I messed them up. It should’ve gone:

Make us brave and keep us free,
For our country and for thee

But in my nervousness, I managed to change one of the words and said:

Make us brave and make us free,
For our country and for thee

6th grade me was slightly embarrassed at the mistake, but 27 year old me realizes it wasn’t a mistake at all. Here’s to hoping that one day we are free from an oppressive and tyrannical government once again.

Economics Lesson: Made in China is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

edit: Okay, so apparently this isn’t 100% accurate, but I’m leaving it up anyway. I read “Economics in One Lesson” about 9-10 months ago, which is mostly what this post was based on, and currency exchange doesn’t exactly work like this, since according to multiple friends, Hazlitt was writing theoretically and something has happened regarding currency exchange since the book was published.

First off, don’t get me wrong – there are legitimate reasons to buy products made in America. The quality is typically higher, or perhaps you’d prefer some particular American product that just doesn’t have a similar enough foreign equivalent.

However, the argument that it’s better for our economy to buy American products over “Made in China” is fundamentally flawed (I’m picking on China in this post, but realistically, I mean made anywhere that isn’t America). We have to keep in mind the way that money works. When we buy things from China, we are giving them US dollars that are completely worthless in China. The only thing they can do with those dollars is to buy things back from us (or from some other country that will eventually buy something back from us with the dollars), because, simplistically, that’s how currency exchange works. Sure, when $100 of your money goes to a Chinese factory for the manufacture of the iPhone you just bought, you’re not directly creating an American job, but then that $100 in China has to eventually be used to purchase an American product, which does create an American job.

Furthermore, though quality may sometimes suffer, that isn’t always a concern. If I have $50 to buy a shirt, and my options are a $50 Made in America shirt or a $20 Made in China shirt, the American shirt may last twice as long, but at that price, you could buy two of the Chinese shirt and still have money left over to spend on something else. Eventually, the $20 or $40 you spent on the Chinese shirt will be used to purchase American products or services, and then you can use the remaining money to buy something else.

Now, here’s the important part. If you buy the $50 American shirt, that’s it, you’re done. But if you buy one or two of the cheap, Chinese shirt, you have money leftover to purchase something else, and you still have the item you originally wanted. That means you can create demand (and thus jobs) for another product that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to buy. Even if that extra demand is for a Chinese product, the dollars will still have to come back to America to purchase something, and when they do, that creates jobs here.

Importance

I’ve tried getting into football before, and it was fun while it lasted.  The NFC championship game was a good time the season the Saints won the Super Bowl, and football is an interesting game of numbers if you feel like sitting through a 3-4 hour event for 60 minutes of actual play.

And football isn’t bad by any means.  Maybe a little rough and dangerous, but that risk is for the players to voluntarily assume.  But what bothers me is when I see my Facebook feed blowing up season after season about football.  These people get so into this game – this thing that really has no bearing on their lives other than the amount of time they spend watching it and talking about it – but it seems like not nearly as many people care enough about things that legitimately affect everyone.  If people cared to research economics and political theory as much as they speculated and celebrated the next big game, I wonder how different things would be in America?

Don’t get me wrong.  Again, football is a harmless hobby that I’m glad so many people can enjoy, but I wish that enthusiasm translated to other things that are really just so much more important.

Taxing the Rich

As I’ve written about before, I think income tax is theft, but since getting rid of the income tax isn’t in the spotlight as much as tax rates themselves are, I thought this may be a good thing to write about.  There are a lot of people out there that would advocate taxing the rich at a higher rate than others because “they can afford it.”

This is an awful idea, because taxes themselves harm the economy.  How, you ask?  It is an extension of the broken window fallacy.  If you want to stimulate the economy, you wouldn’t go break your neighbor’s window to create business for the local window installation company.  All you’d essentially be doing is making your neighbor spend money that he would’ve spent on a new pair of shoes, for example, on a window instead.  Now the window installation company is getting that money instead of the shoe company.  You haven’t created work by breaking your neighbor’s window; you’ve just diverted that money to another purchase that your neighbor wouldn’t otherwise have had to make and caused more harm than good.

This, essentially, is what taxes are.  If you start taxing a rich person at 75% like France is doing, then you are taking money away from them that they would’ve used to create jobs.  You can argue that rich people don’t create jobs if you want, but they do, even if they don’t own businesses that actively employ other citizens.  When a rich person buys a yacht, who do you think makes it?  Who cleans it?  Who fixes it when it breaks?  All of these things are jobs that are created when money is spent instead of taken away through taxes.