TAX DAY

On the remote chance you expect net taxable gains for 2009 – or have other reasons to be filing estimated income tax (other investment income, income from self-employment, gambling winnings) – don’t forget to send in this form and a check.

PCL

Anne V: ‘What do you think of the Schafer analysis?’

☞ He is a smart guy and his analysis persuades me to sell. He may be wrong, but he may be right. Surely if the stock drops anywhere close to his target, I would buy it back for all the reasons I bought it in the first place.

CASH FOR CLUNKERS – TERRIBLE IDEA

Why on earth should we scrap things that still work, as per this plan to give people $3,500 to buy a new car that gets 4 mpg better mileage than the old one? (Remember, we don’t have $3,500, we have to borrow it. And remember, it’s not more cars we need to build to strengthen our economy – nor more dishwashers or Jacuzzis – it’s more windmills and solar film and a smart electric grid and bridges that don’t collapse.)

The bad reason to do this clunker thing is to put people back to work making things we don’t need. The good reason is to improve the fuel efficiency of our automotive fleet. But the environmental – and energy cost – of building a new car (tons of materials extracted, processed, shipped) far exceed the benefits of a 4mpg boost in fuel efficiency. If your clunker gets 18 mpg and you drive 12,000 miles a year, you save 120 gallons a year by getting 22 mpg instead. Not nothing – but, for most people, easily saved in their existing cars by hypermiling.

Far better to run your existing car at least until it dies (or at least until you face some huge repair bill). Like this 89-year-old lady (thanks, Alan), who has 540,000 miles on her ride – and packs heat, so don’t mess with her.

(It’s also a dumb idea, if I understand the plan, because it doesn’t distinguish between the millions who would have bought a new, better mileage car anyway – if not instantly, within a year or two – and those for whom it was the $3,500 cash incentive that made the difference. If there is one of the former for each of the latter, we’re borrowing $7,000, not $3,500, for each clunker we get off the road.)

INSIST ON A TRUE PUBLIC HEALTH CARE OPTION

Learn about the issue here, here and here. And visit the Health Care Action Center and join the fight for health care reform.

 

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