Rick Neville: ‘The mailer I just received from my Congressman touting the President’s tax cut plan states that ‘a working couple making $40,000 a year will see their taxes reduced from $1,178 to $45.’ Is this accurate? He has a ‘town hall’ meeting scheduled. If his numbers are incorrect I’d like to ask him about it.’

☞ I assume the numbers are accurate for some couples, depending on the number of kids they have, among other things. Most U.S. households will save much less. But I would ask your Congressman . . . where does all this wonderful money come from? Where does the $327,000 a year Dick Cheney will save on his taxes come from? And the $7 million a year Sandy Weill will save on HIS taxes? Isn’t it true (I would ask him) that we will be borrowing money in order to do this, and so in effect taxing our children (who can’t vote), by saddling them with trillions more in National Debt to service?

And isn’t it true (I would ask him) that, to the extent we don’t borrow, we’ll be cutting programs that help kids to make room for these cuts?

Because isn’t it true, I would ask him (as security guards were wrestling the microphone out of my hands) that the Congressional Budget Office examined these tax cuts and said they should NOT be expected to provide any dramatic economic growth – that they might even hurt growth?

I would ask him whether it’s not true that this year’s budget deficit alone – likely to be over $500 billion – works out to roughly $5,000 more in National Debt per household. (If he says it’s not true, ask him what HE thinks $500 billion divided by 100 million works out to.)

Finally (I would ask him), isn’t it true that taking on trillions of dollars more National Debt will weaken the dollar and eventually push up interest rates? Which will cost the $40,000-a-year family more for their car loan and their mortgage payment?

The downsides of this don’t much matter to the wealthy. If rates on car loans and mortgage go up, so what? They’ll just buy for cash (and pick up some higher-yielding tax-free municipal bonds). If each family takes on an extra $5,000 in National Debt each year, so what? The wealthy are saving $327,000 a year.


Dan Albro: ‘The only word with no vowels listed so far was nth. Cwm and crwth have the vowel ‘w.’ After all, vowel is defined in terms of sonorancy value (or lack of constriction, depending on whether you’re defining these things in terms of acoustics or articulation), not what letter of the alphabet you write it with – when we say ‘and sometimes y,’ we mean ‘the glyph called ‘y’ is sometimes used to denote a sound with a sonorancy level in the vocalic range.’ To take Welsh-derived words into account, we should say, I guess, ‘and sometimes w and y.”

Rich McAllister: ‘Must have been a bunch of Welsh people around Alabama where I grew up and learned that vowels were ‘A E I O U and sometimes Y and W.”


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