Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Cry “Babies!” — Gaga, Goo Goo To Team Up

July 7th, 2010 No comments

Live Nation has just announced a late summer, early fall tour that promises to be a blockbuster. The bill will be jointly headlined by the unstoppable Lady Gaga and reliable hit-makers The Goo Goo Dolls, and is tentatively titled Google’s GaGaGooGooFest 2010.

“We’re just surprised no one had thought of the pairing of Goo Goo and Gaga,” said promoter John Waite, formerly the lead singer of the British band The Babys. “Isn’t it time to make fans drool with excitement?” And we’re of course delighted to have landed internet search giant Google as our title sponsor.

Tickets go on sale on July 10, with discount coupons available on specially marked boxes of Pampers, America’s most beloved disposable diaper.

In a further development sure to excite fans of Neonate Rock, Gaga and GooGoo have announced that the warm-up band for the extravanganza will be the reunited Kajagoogoo, well-known for such monster 80’s hits as “Too Shy” and — well, isn’t that enough?

[Warning: Do not stare directly at photo.]

Kajagoogoo reunite for UK tour

Google’s Decision to Pay Taxes on Benefits to Same-Sex Partners: The Infinite Regress Problem, and Other Fairness Issues

July 1st, 2010 2 comments

Google, like a small but growing number of other progressive organizations, has announced that it’s going to start paying the income taxes that its employees must pay on the value of the health care benefits that go to their same-sex partners. This is (sort of) welcome news, but it doesn’t completely work. Here’s why:

Say that Martina works for Google, and that the value of the benefits to her same-sex partner is $6,000 per year. Now imagine that, in Martina’s tax bracket, she would be taxed $1,500 (25%) on that amount. So now Google will pay that $1,500. But here’s what the stories aren’t saying: The $1,500 is itself taxable to Martina. So she now has to pay $375 (25% of $1,500) on that amount. Bottom line: She’s still paying more than her married, opposite-sex counterpart. I suppose Google could try to fix this by paying her $1875 instead ($1500+$375), but then she has to pay the tax on that amount, and so on.

I don’t expect Google or anyone else to follow this infinite regress all the way down, but my analysis demonstrates that even commendable, employer-driven efforts at equality are just patches on indefensible governmental discrimination. This tax inequity was a target of the health care reform bill, but it died when the House and Senate got together to reconcile the differences in their respective bills.

One other point, expanding on the parenthetical aside above that Google’s move is “sort of” good news: As I’ve mentioned before, there seems to me little reason for employers and insurers to tie benefits to marriage in the first place. Why not simply give each employee an equal amount in health care benefits to use as they see fit? Then those in other kinds of arrangements — elderly siblings sharing an apartment; unmarried cohabitants raising kids together, and so on — would have coverage. That’s real health care reform.