Friday I warned you about the sharply off-color language in this cartoon mocking the iPhone. Here now the even more sharply off-color – and equally funny – response. (Thanks, Dan.)

The broader context, of course, is that both phones are breathtakingly good. When my stepfather was born (hey, Lew!) no one had radios. When my brother was born (hey, Steve!), no one had televisions. When I was in college, I remember visiting my college roommate in Cincinnati (hey, Arn!) and seeing my first ‘touch-tone’ phone. Cincinnati was a test market. And until about five minutes ago, no one had personal computers or iPhone or iPads or GPS or a free way to make cartoon characters talk trash.


Want to see how you’ll do if the President’s tax plan is enacted? John Seiffer: ‘I don’t know who this organization is or if it’s accurate – but this calculator is pretty easy to use.’

☞ The basic notion is that for taxpayers with income under $200,000 (single) or $250,000 (joint), taxes won’t go up. But check out your own situation.*

Be sure, however, to note the biased way the results are summarized. ‘If Congress fails to act to extend the Bush tax cuts,’ it reads, ‘ your income tax burden will be [$2,500] higher in 2011.’ The exact same data could just as easily have been summarized, ‘As you can see by comparing the second and third columns, if Congress ratifies Obama’s plan to keep the Obama tax cuts for 95% of working families (but to let the Bush tax cuts for the most affluent expire), your taxes will not go up a dime.’

*In response to a bug I reported, since fixed, the developer, writes me: ‘We’re very confident in the regular tax calculations for all scenarios. Alternative Minimum Tax calculations might be slightly more shaky because we don’t ask about many things that could affect it, and because of a handful of complicated proposals described on pages 123-130 of this JCT report. Another element that is perhaps slightly more ambiguous than the rest of the calculator are the various education credits, again, because we make a lot of assumptions and don’t ask important questions in an effort to keep the calculator simple. After all, we’re not TurboTax – we’re just trying to give people a reasonable estimate.’


Doug Gary: ‘I’m curious if you might offer readers an update on BRCI. Your last update, I think was in March.’

☞ I’ve been disappointed that their very good efforts have thus far not taken off. I think one just holds it expecting the worst, but with a small it might yet work.


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