A couple of weeks to estimated tax time, a quarterly reminder of the painful yearly session of calculating income tax. I used to do this on Macintax, but a wonderful man who was somewhat of a surrogate father to my wife after her own father died young, generously gave her fractions of limited partnerships in pistachio orchards during a period when he was developing such things in the San Joaquin valley. Welcome to K-1 forms, and making decisions as to whether the money spent for many small quantities of such things as fertilizer, water, pesticides, machine maintenance, and labor, and therefore duelly reported to the government was tax deductible, and to what extent. So now for that reasons and others, our tax is no longer simple, and we have an accountant to help.
Why does everything having to do with money become more difficult over time? My brother, having sold a piece of property, is agonizing over delaying some tax through IRC 10-31, putting the money into an annuity or into U.S, or foreign investments, or whatever. He is not a financial type, and obviously needs help. I have taken to paying cash for purchases in stores because the lines have become longer since the chip-bearing credit cards, and had a cashier thank me recently because she didn’t have to explain the various moves her card machine required as opposed to those in other stores. Standardize? In this day and age?
And now we have Bitcoin and other so-called virtual capital. If you are not aware of such things, look Bitcoin (the largest of its kind) up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia offers magnificently simple explanations of almost everything, except you’ll probably agree that it leaves you a few questions as far as Bitcoin is concerned. For instant, can a currency be trusted if not guaranteed by the government of a large country? And if you look you will see that there are a few wrinkles to be smoothed out before it becomes truly reliable, if ever. An article on a Bitcoin bankruptcy from the New York Times is here. A couple articles on other virtual funds are here and here. But humans being humans, there are more and more businesses accepting Bitcoin and other virtual money and agencies being willing to convert them to traditional coinage. Is it the future, or is it the largest scam in history?
I was talking with a successful relatively young farmer in the Sacramento Valley yesterday, and all he wanted to talk about was mining Bitcoin (Explained here). Apparently a very wealthy person in China, or some other country, had built a huge computer complex to do the job, and my friend was fascinated with this. Hopefully he won't try it. Idtt is spring, and he should have enough to keep him occupied with his farm, his family, watching TV, drinking beer, making nasty comments about Trump, and other more pertinent activities.
I have spent most of my life in and around technology, but I do not believe that we should implement everything we know how to do (upgrading nuclear weapons, building a base on the moon). I am definitely not a believer in technological determinism, nor do I think that we have the responsibility to “feed” technology. In particular. I don’t think we need to develop technology that even if it perhaps seems sophisticated, makes life more difficult. Down with such things as Bitcoin!