Posts Tagged ‘taxes

Cost of Washing Reusable Bags

Posted in Insightson Aug 20, 2014

According to this USA Today article, you should wash your reusable grocery bags once per week to avoid getting sick.  How much does it cost to wash your bags?

Suppose you wash all your bags in a separate load of laundry, once per week.  That load of laundry requires:

  • About 1.1 kWh of electricity to wash in a front-loader and 1.4 kWh to dry for just 20 minutes.
  • About 15 gallons of water for your front-loader washer
  • Laundry detergent.

In Fort Collins, water rates are $2.53 per 1000 gallons, sewage rates are $3.34 per 1000 gallons, and about $0.09 per kWh of electricity.  Member’s Mark liquid detergent from Sam’s Club costs $0.11 per load.

For an entire year of washing reusable bags every week, you would use:

  • 130 kWh of electricity
  • 780 gallons of water (and sewage)
  • 80 ounces of laundry detergent.

For a total cost of: about $22 to wash your reusable bags once per week.

Fort Collins recently passed an ordinance requiring stores to charge $0.05 per disposable bag.  For the $22 cost of washing bags, a person could instead “buy” 440 plastic bags.

Environmental Cost: The main motive for charging for disposable bags in Fort Collins was the environmental impact of those bags.  What is the environmental impact of washing the reusable bags?  What is the environmental impact of producing the reusable bags?  What is the environmental impact of reusable bags that are worn out and thrown away?

I noticed that some of my payroll taxes were a little higher this month.  Yes, in spite of President Obama’s promise not to raise taxes.  Since I budget, a decrease in my take home pay requires me to cut some of my budget categories.  So I’ll be spending a little less on entertainment, personal care, travel, groceries, and hobbies.  Yes, when taxes go up, my spending goes down, dollar per dollar.  And that is how the economy is struggling to improve.

The war on the rich

Posted in Business, Politicson Dec 28, 2012

It seems that there is a war on the rich.  President Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich.  Occupy Wall Street was willing to camp in their own poop in order to protest the rich.  Even the latest Batman Rises movie had an apathetic theme about the rich.  But who are these people that so many people are so ready to hate?  A couple of the names from the Forbes 400 list:

  • Bill Gates – Founded Microsoft which directly employs 94,000
  • Larry Ellison – Co-founded Oracle which employs 115,166
  • Walton Family – Family of Sam Walton who founded Walmart which employs 2.2 million
  • Michael Bloomberg – Founder of Bloomberg LP which employs 13,000
  • Jeff Bezos – Founder of which employs 69,100


Why are taxes complicated?

Posted in Politicson Apr 3, 2010

I have a new theory why taxes are so complicated. They are purposefully complicated because the government wants you to use a tax return preparation service. They want someone else to do your taxes for you because they want you to be less aware of how much taxes you actually pay, and if you aren’t crunching the numbers yourself, then fewer people are going to know how much they really pay.

It follows the same reasoning why taxes are deducted before the pay check is cut, because people tend not to miss money they never knew they had.

I think people should have to send the government a check every month, in the same way they might pay a utility bill. If people inked out a large dollar amount to the government each month, I think they would be less supportive if new government programs and the politicians that sponsor them.

You would think that the federal politicians who helped create the enormity of confusion called Federal Income Tax would be able to figure it out better.  But that is not the case for former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.  Daschle was all set up to be confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services, a cabinet level position, when a volcano of reports about his late and unpaid taxes erupted.  Daschle withdrew his name from consideration for HHS Secretary and expressed regret about his tax problems.

Although I’m certainly not a Daschle fan, I felt sorry for anyone caught up getting all confused about taxes.  That was, until I remembered that this was one of the guys who was elected for quite a long time to solve problems like complicated taxes.

The U.S.  needs a more simple tax system, one where you don’t have to choose between 3 different forms with 4 digit idenfication numbers with double digit lines each referring to pages of instructions which refer to completion of other forms which is JUST TOO MUCH!

Tom Daschle was in a prime position to solve this sort of problem, but didn’t.  The fact that he got caught up with late and unpaid taxes I credit to the fact that he didn’t make the system more simple when he had the chance.

I think of it as just a little bit of irony.