Nothing immediate, but I’m tellin’ ya . . . if we don’t screw it up, these next few decades are going to be amazing. Latest example: “Solar Power Without Solar Cells: A Hidden Magnetic Effect of Light Could Make It Possible.


Lyn B: “You’re slipping, Andy. Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in Congress, as probably hundreds of others have told you by now. I’m sure you meant that they don’t have representation in the Senate. In light of all of the pressures related to tax day that we are all feeling, I’ll let it slide this time.”

☞ LOL. Well, the only thing is, the Rep. Holmes Norton has no vote in Congress. In that sense, it surely is taxation without representation.

By the way, today IS tax day – don’t forget to file Form 4868 for an extension, if you need one, and Form 1040-ES for your first 2011 quarterly estimated tax payment if you’ve had appreciable taxable income this year on which no tax was withheld.


Steve: “Found this quote and thought of you and quite a few of my other liberal friends. ‘To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.’ – Thomas Jefferson.”

Thanks, Steve. We all admire Thomas Jefferson. I paid $5,000 for a Thomas Jefferson letter (penned December 1, 1803, to a Doctor Eustis, thanking him for a fish). Still and all, is it your view that everyone should pay the same amount of tax? And that those who can’t should be eliminated somehow? If not, then it’s just a question of balance, fairness, and empirical common sense. The Clinton-era Nineties worked a lot better for us, prosperity-wise, than the decades that preceded or followed. No?

But wait: I’m not being fair to you (or Jefferson). And you are perhaps not being fair to your liberal friends. I think we can actually all agree with Jefferson here:

It would be a bad idea to tax a billionaire more than a janitor because “it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much.” If that were the reason we did it, it would be a bad reason! But the rationale for the progressive income tax – and for taxing the dividends and interest that wealth generates – is not that the best-off have “acquired too much.” Rather, it’s that they are best able to afford the sacrifice. We can applaud the billionaire’s wealth as well-earned and the outsized contribution he makes, through his taxes, to the common good.

And by the way? Not all wealth is acquired through admirable industry and skill. Not every billionaire is a Steve Jobs.

Jefferson’s and his father’s wealth was acquired largely through the industry and skill of their slaves. The wealth of many others, certainly including lottery winners, is acquired through pure luck. And of still others, through cheating and stealing, much of it technically legal.

So I think quotes like this don’t get us very far. We have practical problems to solve different from those of the Eighteenth Century; they require resources; we need to find fair effective ways to come up with the resources. Taxing billionaires at a lower effective rate than their groundskeepers doesn’t strike me as fair or effective.


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