TRY YE LIKEWISE

Chris Wood: ‘I was recently reviewing my insurance stuff. I decided to see if my auto insurance agent could give me a good price on a renter’s insurance policy. Turns out he did. He’s paying me $36 / year! Combining everything into one basket gave me a discount on Auto that more than paid for Renter’s.’

HEAR YE, HERE, YE

Jake M.: ‘I saw you for a few seconds on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night (on the segment about inappropriate entrance music). They only showed you being introduced and walking up to the podium. What was your speech about? You should post a transcript!’

☞ Any 12-year-old could have done better than my speech – and this one, highlighted in the same Daily Show segment, did.

Jack Rivers: ‘The DNC should use all the money they raise to just broadcast Obama’s speech over and over this fall. I think that if everyone in America saw it, Kerry would win in a landslide.’

☞ Let the record show that Jack wrote this before he heard Senator Kerry speak. My guess is that he might want everyone in America to see that one, too.

YE OLDE TAX BREAK

Hugh Hunkeler: ‘Your July 27 column says, ‘the average tax reduction for 88% of all taxpayers will be $4.’Didn’t the rate for the first $7000 ($14000 if filing jointly) get lowered from 15% to 10%? That’s a reduction of $350 ($700 if filing jointly) for anybody earning at least that much in taxable income. Or does the ‘average’ person only have $80 of taxable income (5% of which is $4). If I missed something, please straighten me out!’

☞ The column referred only to the 2003 tax cut (the one President Bush complained was ‘itty bitty’ because it cut the tax on dividends from 35% only to 15% and not to zero, as he had proposed).

David Bruce offers this additional reading, ‘Myths Debunked: The Truth About Tax Cuts.’ It’s not about specific Bush tax cuts but, rather, an engaging perspective on why, perhaps, the richest among us aren’t as persecuted by taxation as some would you have us think.

(Some of you may recall that the 400 Americans with highest reported income in 2000 – a minimum of $86 million that year – staggered under an average federal tax burden of 22.3%. Poor bastards! If only Bush’s tax cuts had been in place at the time, according to a 2003 New York Times analysis of IRS data, the burden would have been a somewhat more manageable 17.5%. Still too high in the President’s view . . . but, he must have felt, a step in the right direction.)

 

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