Kill-a-Watt Gadget; German Mortgages; the GOP Plan April 3, 2009March 13, 2017 Did you watch last night’s news? I am so proud of our President and First Lady. We have a long way to go, and there will be setbacks; maybe even big ones. But things are looking up. And it’s nice to have most of the world cheering for us again. Meanwhile, the loyal opposition is sticking to its guns: THIS IS NOT A PARODY House GOP Offers More Detailed Alternative Budget Plan Revision Proposes Deep Tax Cuts and Slash in Medicare, Medicaid Programs By Lori Montgomery Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, April 1, 2009; 2:37 PM After getting blasted last week for presenting a budget plan light on details, House Republicans today unveiled a more complete proposal that would cut taxes for business and the wealthy, freeze most government spending for five years, halt spending approved in the economic stimulus package and slash federal health programs for the poor and elderly . . . ☞ Slashing health care for the poor and elderly is a no-brainer – it’s what Jesus would have done. But if you think cutting taxes is a good way to get us out of this mess, please answer these five questions, posed here a few weeks ago. And if you think it’s a good idea for the government to freeze, rather than grow, spending in the face of a collapse in private demand, please answer this question: huh? LEDs v CFLs Richard Factor: “My experience with CFLs has been generally good, but not without a number of failures. I have a simple way to deal with them – here. [He photographs the bulbs with the receipt, marking the bulb bases themselves with the store and date.] I’ve also tried out a couple of LED bulbs. So far so remarkable! I don’t remember if you’ve mentioned the ‘Kill A Watt’ gadget that allows you to measure the power you use/waste, but it’s inexpensive and extremely useful. I review it here.” MORTGAGES AS INFLATION HEDGES Chris Brown: “I love the notion [in yesterday’s column] of a mortgage as an inflation hedge. I read recently that during the Weimar Republic, all of the mortgages in Germany could have been paid off for one U.S. cent. There should be a law against adjustable-rate mortgages with interest rates at these levels!” ☞ I.e.: with rates so low, choose a fixed-rate mortgage instead. (And don’t expect these low rates to last forever; with the possibility of inflation looming, it may become harder to find investors willing to lend for 30 years at a low fixed rate.) CONVERTING TO A ROTH IRA IN NY Bob: “One other advantage: If you live in NY State and are over 59.5, the first $20,000 each year is state-tax free, saving about 8%, or $1,600. I currently take out $20,000 per year from my SEP over to my Roth and just pay the Federal tax out of other assets.” SPLIT INFINITIVES Roberta T.: “The construction you cite as an unavoidable split infinitive (“the goal is to not let the banks fail”) can be corrected by a very slight revision: ‘the goal is to keep the banks from failing.’ Not that I’m one of those infinitive-splitter militants, but your example doesn’t prove your point.” Michael Joblin: “The goal is to avert bank failures.” ☞ Elegantly put, both. COLBERT ON GLENN BECK In case you missed it.