Michael Axelrod: ‘I don’t know if this applies to corporations, but an individual cannot avoid federal income taxes by relocating to a so-called tax haven such as Bermuda. All residents and citizens of the US are subject to tax on all income earned worldwide. I find it hard to believe that a company with offices and business in the US is not subject to full federal income taxes. States are another matter. I believe that the Stanley company was trying to avoid CT income taxes by moving it’s official headquarters to Bermuda from CT. I think that you are confusing your readers by not being clear on this point. You make it seem that companies are seeking to avoid federal income taxes, aided and abetted by those mean old Republicans.’

☞ Yes, it is hard to believe. But it is true. All the press accounts make it very clear: this is about avoiding US tax . . . which is one reason the Republicans in Congress – not the Connecticut state house – are the ones obstructing the bill. (Congress does not handle CT tax matters.)


Bob Kirkland: ‘Less Antman was quoted today as advising distributing assets to one’s family prior to death. I had two great aunts of substantial means (neither left me anything). One had generously divided most of her assets among her nieces and nephews at least ten years prior to death, so the government wouldn’t get it. Fortunately, she did reserve just enough to live modestly and support nursing home care. The other held on to every dime. She never talked about her will, other than to frequently express her hope that she had made the right decisions. Guess which one spent years nearly forgotten in a nursing home, and which one received the considerable attention of these same relatives til the day she died?’

☞ When I first read this I thought it was one of those heartwarming stories, and I pictured grateful nieces and nephews smothering their generous aunt with attention. But then I read it again and realized what must have happened.


Chris: ‘Hyderabad, India has 4-5 million people, making it larger than every US city except New York, yet most Americans have never heard of the place.’


John Miller: ‘Your recent comments on the penny flipping (tails occur more often than heads) brought back an old memory. Freshman dorm, 1972: A bunch of us guys are sitting around BS’ing when one guy claims that flipping a nickel one hundred times will result in more tails than heads due to the weight of the head. Intense dorm room argument ensues. Only one way to settle it. We clear out a space on the floor (no carpet) and the guy begins to flip a nickel over and over. I have a pad with two columns to record the results. Around flip 50, the nickel hits the floor, spins a while on its edge, and stops! It stopped standing on its edge. Please imagine a room of eight dumb freshmen guys suddenly quiet, all open-mouthed and bug-eyed. That pretty much ended the experiment (I didn’t have a column on the pad for it). We taped a shot glass over the nickel and made it into a shrine of sorts. It lasted about a week before some drunk knocked the whole thing over. I don’t get many opportunities to tell that story, [so thanks].’


Bryan Norcross: ‘Note the following from Since the Middle English period many writers have used farther and further interchangeably. According to a relatively recent rule, however, farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for nonphysical, metaphorical advancement. Thus 74 percent of the Usage Panel prefers farther in the sentence If you are planning to drive any farther than Ukiah, you’d better carry chains, and 64 percent prefers further in the sentence We won’t be able to answer these questions until we are further along in our research. In many cases, however, the distinction is not easy to draw. If we speak of a statement that is far from the truth, for example, we should also allow the use of farther in a sentence such as Nothing could be farther from the truth. But Nothing could be further from the truth is so well established as to seem a fixed expression. Some dictionaries simply define ‘further’ as ‘interchangeable with farther’.’


Brian Annis: ‘Juanita Albro wrote: ‘I just had a comment about the estate tax. The person being taxed is dead, so really, why would they care about the tax?’ My answer: Because it’s wrong for the government to be taking advantage of the misfortune of its citizens. Those who support the estate tax are in the moral class of ambulance chasers and grave robbers; or perhaps lower, as it is generally someone close to the deceased who is forced, in their time of loss, to sell off the deceased’s property and pass along the proceeds. At least the grave robbers of old would do the dirty work themselves (though I’m sure they held a similar rationale).’

☞ I think the number of business owners who will die simultaneously with their spouses AND who were unaware of the need to plan for estate tax is very low. But the Democratic proposal to raise the exemption to $4 million and also exempt most family farms and family businesses would have dealt with this. The Republicans dismissed it out of hand.


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