Friday, May 11, 2012

Education and Real Estate: Tax Girl Asks at Forbes: Why Does Congress Love Houses More Than Students?

Kelly Phillips Erb has the story at Forbes in Why Does Congress Love Houses More Than Students?, writing:
"[T]hey’re making it harder for the middle class to go to college.

But we’re making it easier to buy a house."
The reason for this is very simple. 

Houses viz. "homes" (actually, it takes inhabitants to make a home) are commercial properties that can be bought and sold at a profit and constitute an important form of real estate investment for those who have the money to invest. That is why things like the real estate bubble happen, because some people and companies do not buy houses as residences to live in, but rather as investment properties, thus driving up the price of residential property far above what it should be if houses only served as people's domiciles.

The purchase of houses is thus promoted by beneficial tax laws to encourage people to buy houses -- whether as domiciles or as investments. It is a very active commercial business, especially since the purchase of a house is the largest purchase most humans make in their lifetime, and thus it can be a very lucrative business for those dealing in real estate.

Otherwise, if we wanted to limit house purchases, we could easily make laws penalizing anyone for buying more house(s) than they actually need to live in.

Just imagine what house prices would be then -- if you could not invest money in residential properties and only buy them to live in them.

Students on the other hand are like people in the desert who need water. The encouragement required to be a student comes from life itself -- it requires no special tax benefits to get people to try to improve their lot in life by getting a college education.

Hence, the market takes what they can out of students. Just look at college student-athletes, who make great profits for colleges and universities but are themselves actively denied remunerative payment because of their "enforced" amateur status. Either you play as an amateur or you are not allowed to play.

Of course, compensation is also denied to these amateur students (but not to administrators, educators or coaches), allegedly so that colleges and universities do not lose THEIR tax-free status as "educational" institutions. The principle is the same.

Institutions get tax benefits. Students get them rarely.

Gee, the rules are clear and the system is quite transparent.

It is a very sophisticated form of exploitation.

Of course, everything pales in comparison when we look at the tax-free status "gifted" to so-called "religions", who pay no taxes, but whose institutions and members use all of the services paid for by taxes (roads, public services like police and fire protection) of course, paid for by taxpayers who have no exemptions from taxes.

And that too is exploitation and tax discrimination of the kind that the Constitution presumably prohibits, or should prohibit, but NOT with the present Supreme Court, you can be sure.

Social Networking as Joyful Self-Disclosure: Facebook and Blogging as Bennies for the Brain: Reward Psychology at Work

Robert Lee Hotz has the story at the Wall Street Journal Health & Wellness in The Science of Bragging and Boasting, writing inter alia:
"About 40% of everyday speech is devoted to telling others about what we feel or think.... Harvard University neuroscientists have uncovered the reason: It feels so rewarding, at the level of brain cells and synapses, that we can't help sharing our thoughts....

"Self-disclosure is extra rewarding".
So there you have it.
Facebook posting and blogging are their own rewards.
But we knew that.

Plus, you share information to boot.
Or maybe it is the sharing and not the telling that make the reward?

On the other hand, Hotz writes about the study:
"Generally, acts of self disclosure were accompanied by spurts of heightened activity in brain regions belonging to the meso-limbic dopamine system, which is associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction from food, money or sex."
But would blogging or facebooking be as much fun if no one was reading it?

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