Should we use multi-year, moving-average of income to calculate tax & benefit payments?

Income tax rates are based on current/last year’s income. This makes them easy to calculate and implement.

This immediacy of taxes also makes them painful, and makes the tax slab thresholds as artificial barriers to income mobility. An example of this is when we get a raise which pushes us from near the top end of one tax rate bracket, to the bottom end of a higher tax rate bracket. This frequently means that even though the employer is paying us more after the raise, we are actually taking home less money due to a higher tax rate.

Government benefits work similarly. For example, the unemployment benefit / social support payments cut off (or reduce dramatically) when we start working. However, after accounting for taxes and loss of benefits, the take home income from pay is often lower than the unemployment benefits.

Continue reading Should we use multi-year, moving-average of income to calculate tax & benefit payments?

About those exorbitant hospital parking fees

I had an appointment at the hospital today, and was thinking about the rates at the hospital car park. The parking area at big NHS hospital in my town has the highest parking rates around. They are probably more than double the rate at any other paid parking zone in the town.

At a first look, they seem extortionist. At most places, high parking rates are a nudge for users to either take an alternate means of transport, or to curtail their visits. At a hospital, however, few people visit by choice. Also, the visitors are more likely to use a car – comfort for the ill and all that. By charging these, probably ill, visitors these extraordinarily high rates, the hospital/NHS/council are just heartlessly milking the already suffering.

Unjust!

On a second thought, however, there is a valid reason behind these high rates – consumption tax. They are not just parking rates, they are an indirect tax on the heaviest NHS users.

Continue reading About those exorbitant hospital parking fees

Premier league table – the trend continues

Follow-up to the last week’s post.

Premier League table - spread by points - week 21 - 2
Premier League table – spread by points – week 21 – 27

All the trends from the previous week continue…

  1. Manchester City (blue) continue to run away with the title, West Brom (slate) continue a lonely run at the bottom.
  2. The 2nd and 5th placed teams are now just 4 points apart (red) – Manchester United lost, while Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool all won.
  3. Arsenal (slate) continue to be in the middle of nowhere – 7 points behind 5th, 9 points ahead of 7th.
  4. The mid-table / relegation pack (light grey) got even tighter – only 11 points between the 7th and 19th placed teams.

Continue reading Premier league table – the trend continues

Premier league table – some trends this season

That chart from the BBC got me interested. Looking at the Premier league table distributed by points makes it lot more interesting than distribution by ranks.

So, I downloaded the Premier League data for current season from Football Data, and created some graphs1.

Weeks 1-8: Mixed bag, except for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's dismal start to the season
Crystal Palace’s dismal start to the season

7 straight defeats! Crystal palace really had a crap start to the season!

Continue reading Premier league table – some trends this season

Chart of the day: Premier league table

Premier league teams on a linear scale of points after 23 matches
Premier league teams on a linear scale of points after 23 matches

The usual Premier league table gives a good idea of the ranking, but the gaps between teams aren’t immediately obvious1. I love how this visualisation shows both the rankings and the gaps with one simple line.

Source: BBC sport

Continue reading Chart of the day: Premier league table

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 presentation deck rule

A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.


The “or else” implication, in Mark Twain’s words:

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

Source: The Marketoonist

Some feedback: WordPress reader on desktop

Navigation in reader

  • There are no visible cues hinting at ability to navigate from one expanded post to the next (or previous).
  • Navigating back to the post list (using back button), and then to next post makes it slow, and click heavy.
  • Keyboard shortcuts work, but there are again no visible cues indicating even their presence.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • No visible hints that any keyboard shortcuts exist
    • Keyboard shortcut discoverability is solely by trial and error, or ‘Google’
    • Traditionally, pressing ‘?’ (in, say, GMail or Pocket) brings up relevant shortcuts modal. Doesn’t work in reader.
    • One suggested hint could be to place a keyboard icon next to the help (?) icon, at the bottom, in the left navigation bar.
  • Navigation shortcuts
    • j/k navigate to next/previous post as expected. However, the more ‘lay’ user-friendly left-arrow/right-arrow versions don’t.
    • esc key works the same as browser’s back button – navigating back through history stack (i.e. going back to last viewed post).
      • A better (expected) implementation would be to jump out of expanded-post view to the posts list view, ideally scrolled to the last viewed post.
  • Like keyboard shortcut, l, works as expected. Adding f as an additional activator would be useful – a lot of platforms use favourite as an alternative to like, and some users may be more behaviourally trained to press f instead of l