THE COMPROMISE

It’s a sad day if this compromise has to stand. (Let’s stay tuned on that one.) What we need is a massive infrastructure program to become more efficient and competitive, not more record-breaking tax cuts for the best off.

And most Americans get that.

Kevin Knopf: “If only 26% support this, what is wrong with our government that the 74% of Americans can’t get representation?”

☞ What indeed. Kevin links to this from The Atlantic that quotes a new CBS poll:

Seventy percent of Democrats want to extend the cuts only on incomes below $250,000. … Forty-seven percent of independents and 41 percent of Republicans agree. Only ten percent of Democrats and one in four independents back the GOP proposal to extend the tax cuts for all. Even among Republicans, support for extending all the cuts is less than half at 46 percent.

Don George: “You know what upsets me most? The Republicans were not only just ‘sitting on the sidelines’ during the past two years (as the President is fond of saying), they were actively obstructing every effort the President and the Dems were trying to do to help the economy and jobs situation. Yet with this active obstructionism (tying the fire hoses in knots sabotaging the firemen trying to fight the fire, as I like to put it), the American people were so angry and clueless (blaming the wrong people) that they rewarded the Republicans for this wrongdoing. It depresses me.”

☞ As argued yesterday, it’s depressing in much the same way it was depressing when, decade after decade, the tobacco industry – purveyers of the leading cause of preventable death, actively working to addict children – kept winning in Congress, thanks to the Senators they owned, like Mitch McConnell.

Only now, thanks to the Bush Supreme Court (so named both because it appointed him and because he moved it further to the right), the political influence of big corporations and billionaires is greater than ever. (See: Citizens United.)

SKEPTICAL OF MY DISMAY

Kevin Clark: “Is extending the Bush tax rates for everyone really as apocalyptic as you make it sound? When President Obama’s own deficit commission suggests cutting the top rate to 23%, is leaving it at 35% so unthinkable?”

☞ Number one, let’s be clear: we want to extend the cuts on everyone – up to their first quarter million in taxable income. And, no, leaving the top rate on ordinary income at 35% for a while would not be unthinkable – but misses the point. That 23% top rate you cite would have applied to dividends and capital gains as well as “ordinary” income – and it is dividends and capital gains, now taxed at 15%, that are the main source of wealthy people’s income. So the 23% rate would have been a 53% hike in their current tax rate – not insignificant. (At 23%, the tax on a $100 million capital gain is $23 million, or 53% more than the current $15 million tax bite.)

Just look at the difference in outcomes after 8 years of the Clinton tax rates and 8 years of the Bush tax rates. Is it unthinkable that we would stick with the Bush strategy? To me, yes.

OH, AND BY THE WAY

Jon Kaake: “You wrote: Really? we’ve been talking about global warming for 15 years now?’ Actually, it’s been 45 years. President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee listed this as one of the important environmental issues in 1965. See here.”

AFOP(D)

Thanks to Aristides’s Chris Brown, who suggested this one at $8. Closing last night at $12.80, it’s given us 60% in three months. I’m selling half.

BOREF

According to yesterday’s press release and the YouTube it links to, our WheelTug motor can not only pull a commercial jet across a steaming, sticky desert tarmac in 120 degree heat, as it did 5 years ago, it can also reach full taxi speed on a slick, icy tarmac in the freezing cold, as it did in Prague last week.

Borealis soared 25 cents yesterday, to $3 a share (where it was 11 years ago when first written up). It remains highly speculative. But it is not beyond the realm of possibility that someday . . . well, you never know.

 

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