My son Daniel is fond of saying that nothing really matters in this world besides music and food. He explains that these two things alone bring great, reliable, and unmitigated pleasure and can transform our state of mind. Recently I was in New York City, the hustle-and-bustle capital of our country, and found myself completely caught up in all of it. I can’t remember exactly where I was at the time, but in the midst of all the chaos and the technology I heard the Frank Sinatra rendition of “The Girl From Ipanema,” and I began to melt. The singing, the musical score, and mostly the tempo of the song returned me to a period that maybe I had touched only in my youngest years, and maybe not even then but just read about or saw in the movies. Listening to it I imagined a slower time, when people gazed into each other’s eyes longer or just daydreamed while looking at nature rather than taking any pause as a cue to look down at their smartphone. I felt the humanness and even the romance of the period during which this song was recorded and it moved me. I will probably be listening to this song a lot going forward. Give it a shot yourself.
There is a new tax code in the U.S., and this is indeed a “Yuuuge” deal. As far as I can tell, it is as close to an unmitigated home run for America as can be. Is it perfect? Of course, it’s not. The code retains its unwieldy size and complexity, largely as a result of compromises made in order to bribe congressmen and senators for their votes. Until we get term limits, it seems we’re stuck with a tax code that is big and complex. However, it does hit the mark on a few key issues: most every taxpayer will now pay less to the federal government (except those in states with ridiculously mismanaged economies who now will be forced to hold their state politicians more accountable); and our businesses, large and small alike, will remit less of their profits to the federal government and will be liberated to invest that savings into growth – which will surely create job and wage growth in the productive private sector.