Unmistakable Marks

Warranted Genuine Snarks

Bad Advice

The Wall Street Journal mentions a seemingly inexplicable fact:

State-sponsored 529 plans with the highest fees tend to have more investors and higher account balances, while those with lower fees and greater tax deductions draw fewer investors, according to a recently released study by two accounting professors.

This is the sort of thing that can have you sitting there scratching your head in puzzlement — why the hell would people be more likely to invest in higher-fee plans? — until you read one more fact from that article:

About 75% of 529 savings plans are currently sold through advisers, according to Financial Research Corp. in Boston. These broker-sold plans are generally significantly more expensive than their direct-sold counterparts.

Ah, right. Adviser-sold. You’ve got to love the whole financial-advice gig; it’s always great if you can get into a job where people pay you to do things that are directly against their interests. Take-home moral: Dude, just use the Internet. Buying things from friendly people is just asking to get screwed.

Comments | November 23, 2004

I stand by my election analysis

I’ve seen this basic poll before, but whenever I mention it, nobody ever believes the results, as they just don’t want to believe that people are, in general, this pig-ignorant and/or stupid. But check it out: Only 35% of people are confident enough to assert that evolution is a well-supported theory (and only another 29% have the decency to admit that they don’t have a damn clue what they’re talking about). Worse, 45% of people actually claim to believe in a form of young-earth creationism.

45%. Consider that number for a moment, and think about the implications it has on national elections. A near-majority of people have completely preposterous beliefs, and any politician who wants to win has to draw significant support from a group of people who’d object to the statement “dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago.”

If you’re trying to explain why the Democrats really need a sophisticated new policy on Issue X in order to win, you first need to contend with the fact that most of the people who voted for George W. Bush in 2004 are, in any meaningful sense of the word, completely batshit crazy. What the Democrats need isn’t a new policy; it’s a new citizenry.

Comments | November 20, 2004

Economic Justice For All

I am, in general, quite sympathetic to the plight of the poor and the working class, but my sympathy is strained to the breaking point for poor and working-class people who actively vote to increase their misery (and, as a side effect, impose it on the rest of us). So I’m awfully tempted to just wash my hands of caring, figure that they’re going to deserve every shafting they get over the next four years, and hey, my taxes will be lower.

But that’s unfair. After all, a lot of the poor and working-class — particularly those in urban areas — had enough sense to vote against Bush, and writing them off as collateral damage is more than a bit cold. After all, they’re already fucked enough with a Bush win; to deny them even sympathy is insult to injury.

But Angry Bear has a great idea — just end the federal subsidies that blue states give to red states. Adjust tax rates on a per-state basis so that each state is funding its own allotment of federal dollars, and the blue staters will have enough extra cash to help out their own poor; the red states, well, they’re strong, self-reliant people who don’t need to suckle at the government teat, right? And hey, they’re in favor of states’ rights — why should those Washington bureaucrats be telling people that they have to send their money off to someone all the way across the country? Fuck that!

Of course, this isn’t going to happen. Republicans may be stupid, but they’re also greedy and unprincipled, so there’s no chance they’re going to quit their parasitic feeding on the blue states. And I suppose it’s too late to let the South secede...

Comments | November 3, 2004

Corrections Dept.

We here at Unmistakable Marks have stated repeatedly and certainly that George W. Bush would not be re-elected in 2004. It now appears that, in defiance of all sense, this is not the case. We very much regret the error. No, really, you have no idea how much we regret the error.

Because here’s the thing: Kerry was a good candidate, and ran a great campaign. The Democrats had great organization, wonderful unity of purpose, and broad appeal to independents. You can’t blame Kerry for this, and you can’t blame the Democratic Party. The only group left to blame is the American people; and I don’t want to think about what that means just now.

Comments | November 3, 2004

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