Monday, June 21, 2010

Our fractalized tax code

Professor Jim Maule provides evidence that "[T]he degree of complexity in tax legislation has taken an unfortunate logarithmic jump for the worse" in his post Small Change, New Feature, New Look.

His use of the evocative phrase "logarithmic jump" induced me to use Wolfram Alpha to create the following illustrative fractals.

The particular fractals are all examples of Minkowski sausages with iterations from ranging from 1 in the top picture to 7 in the bottom. In principle, there is no limit to the number of iterations. With each iteration, the area enclosed by the fractal remains the same, but the length of its perimeter grows exponentially.

There are some application domains where Minkowski sausages can be very handy--for example, if you are trying to design an efficient antenna to improve signal reception.

Efficient tax policy....not so much!

Instead of sharper signal reception, Minkowski sausages applied to tax law just give you fuzzier tax policy.

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