I thought I’d clear up a few misconceptions.

This being tax time, I know of one common misconception. Some people think that if they get a little extra income that pushes them into the next higher bracket, they actually lose money. There are some very specialized taxpayer situations where this could be true; for example, if someone qualifies for a special deduction or benefit based on low income and they now earn more than the cutoff. But for the vast majority of taxpayers, the new, higher tax bracket applies only to the extra money you earned over the limit. All the money you earned lower than that limit is taxed exactly as before. In simple terms, if you earn more, you’re better off.

Another misconception that surprised me is about the lottery. A friend didn’t understand why anyone would buy a $10 lottery ticket instead of a $2 ticket since he knew every ticket has the same chance of winning. He thought “ticket” meant a piece of paper. In fact, one ticket is a string of numbers (6 numbers for Mega Millions and Powerball in the United States, $2 per ticket). It’s possible to have multiple tickets on one piece of paper. A $10 ticket has five strings of numbers and has five times the chances of winning as a $2 ticket.

The last misconception is about electric vehicles (EVs). I’ve heard some people say they think EVs are not any better for the environment than gas cars because lithium mining is as destructive as drilling and refining petroleum for gas. I’m not going to argue the point about that because the manufacturing process uses plenty of energy and heavy metals for both types and varies a lot by size and features of the specific cars, but that misses the point. The harm gas cars cause to the environment is primarily the emissions from driving. EVs produce none; gasoline produces a lot and that’s causing climate change. Arguments that power plants that provide the electricity for EVs cause just as many emissions is simply not true, at least not in places where EVs are widely used like California and Norway. Most power there is produced by renewable sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal.

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