What a great week. First, I got my roughly quadrennial clothes shopping out of the way: five suits and a tuxedo (plus five pairs of dress socks and two belts) – including alterations, sales tax and delivery – $1,509. Where? Men’s Suits, of course, 118 East 59th Street (second floor), of which I’ve written before. Entire elapsed time of my visit: 31 minutes. This is my kind of shopping experience. (I have no stake whatever in Men’s Suits. And, yes, I know there are even cheaper ways to buy clothes, but I don’t mind paying through the nose for cachet.)

Then I found Honest Tea at Fairway, on 74th and Broadway. (I do have a stake in Honest Tea.) I bought two cases each of First Nation and Moroccan Mint, one each of Jakarta Ginger and Community Green. Some are caffeine-free, some 1/4 or 1/3 or 1/2 as caffeine-laden as coffee. I was a little troubled that Fairway didn’t seem to know it carried Honest Tea – you’re not lying to me about this, are you, I asked in mock menace, making an Honest Tea pun that I’m fairly certain fell shy of its mark – but then, sure enough, they found 20 cases under a counter of fruit. So please be persistent. Demand your Honest Tea.

But enough about me.

Rob Sartain: ‘Yes, ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ is the funniest, most clever show on television. But it’s on Fox Sundays at 8:30, not 9:00.’

☞ Oops. Well, I was not entirely wrong: this Sunday they are showing three episodes back to back, starting at 8:30 Eastern time on Fox, with another episode and 9 and a third at 9:30. Cool. (Oops, also, to those of you who gave ‘Prime Time Glick’ a try last night – it was not his best.)

Jim Hamilton forwards this from the BNA Tax Management website:

Lott to Offer Two-Year Capital Gains Cut, Holding Period Elimination

Senate Minority Leader Lott says he plans to offer an amendment to temporarily lower — as an economic stimulus — capital gains tax rates from 20 percent to 15 percent when the Senate considers raising the minimum wage this fall. “I’m suggesting that would be something that we would probably want to do,” Lott says. A Senate GOP leadership aide tells BNA Lott’s proposal also would involve elimination during the two years of the rate cut of the asset holding period before a taxpayer would be eligible for the capital gains tax rate.

☞ Senator Lott represents the 49th or 50th poorest state in the union, where a minimum-wage hike, which he has traditionally opposed, could help a lot of struggling people. His plan, apparently: In return for a 25% hike in the minimum wage, from $5.15 an hour ($10,300 or so for a full work year) to $6.50 or $6.75, he would cut the already favorable long-term capital gains rate by 25%, from $200,000 on each $1 million gain to $150,000 … and cut it, for high-income folks, by about 60% on short-term gains, from about $400,000 on each $1 million to that same $150,000. ‘Well, my friends have got to get some benefit out of this minimum wage thing,’ he must be thinking, feeling their pain.

(The part about removing the distinction between long and short-term gains I think is not so dumb. Even without it, there’s a big incentive to hold for the long-term – your investment grows untaxed until you sell. Why encourage people to hold for a year and a day if they think their capital is better allocated someplace else? They might even be right. Perhaps to keep it revenue neutral the rate should be, say, 22.5% regardless of the holding period.)


Finally, if you come down on the side that opposes gay civil unions, read this and see if you remain unmoved.

Tomorrow: One Last Crack at Incentive Stock Options (Reason Enough to Take Friday Off)

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