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Archive for June 14th, 2009

Stupidity squared > common sense cubed

Posted by Charles II on June 14, 2009

Citizens for Tax Justice, in a snark-blest piece:

There is something very striking about the way tax policy is debated in Washington.

Certain taxes, like federal payroll taxes, which affect all working people, are rarely
questioned or thought about.

Taxes that are more likely to impact upper-income people receive more attention.
Hence, a great deal of debate swirls around the federal income tax, which is levied at higher rates on higher incomes.

But the tax that sparks the most heated debate is one that accounts for a tiny fraction of federal revenue and that only affects the small number of families that pass on more than several million dollars from one generation to the next. This, of course, is the federal estate tax….

In 2009, someone would have to pass on over $3.5 million (or $7 million for a married couple) before a single dollar of their estate would be taxed. Yet, according to a duo of new “studies” commissioned by a foundation established to promote repeal of the estate tax, eliminating this tax on the wealthiest few is crucial to our economy.

The “studies” are based on models that account for the costs allegedly imposed on the economy by the estate tax but that ignore the benefits of the public services that estate taxes and other taxes make possible….

One study, released a few months ago by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Cameron Smith, claims that repealing the federal estate tax would create 1.5 million jobs. The other, by Stephen Entin, claims that repealing the estate tax would actually result in increased federal revenue, not to mention higher gross domestic product (GDP)

The existence of idiots is not newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that Douglas Holtz-Eakin was put in charge of the Congressional Budget Office; granted, in the era of ‘Publican control of that body. And Cameron Smith appears to be advising the current administration!

( Stephen Entin is, to no great surprise, president of IRET, a vassal foundation of the tobacco industry)

If things don’t get better in this country, it’s because stupidity squared grows faster than common sense to the third power.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, eedjits, taxes, You're On Your Own-ership Society | Comments Off on Stupidity squared > common sense cubed

Gary Sick On The Rigged Iranian Elections

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 14, 2009

By way of Spencer Ackerman, I had the chance to see this excellent piece by Gary Sick on what the blatant rigging of the Iranian elections means for Iran and the world:

It is still too early for anything like a comprehensive analysis of implications, but here are some initial thoughts:

  1. The willingness of the regime simply to ignore reality and fabricate election results without the slightest effort to conceal the fraud represents a historic shift in Iran’s Islamic revolution. All previous leaders at least paid lip service to the voice of the Iranian people. This suggests that Iran’s leaders are aware of the fact that they have lost credibility in the eyes of many (most?) of their countrymen, so they are dispensing with even the pretense of popular legitimacy in favor of raw power.
  1. The Iranian opposition, which includes some very powerful individuals and institutions, has an agonizing decision to make. If they are intimidated and silenced by the show of force (as they have been in the past), they will lose all credibility in the future with even their most devoted followers. But if they choose to confront their ruthless colleagues forcefully, not only is it likely to be messy but it could risk running out of control and potentially bring down the entire existing power structure, of which they are participants and beneficiaries.
  1. With regard to the United States and the West, nothing would prevent them in principle from dealing with an illegitimate authoritarian government. We do it every day, and have done so for years (the Soviet Union comes to mind). But this election is an extraordinary gift to those who have been most skeptical about President Obama’s plan to conduct negotiations with Iran. Former Bush official Elliott Abrams was quick off the mark, commenting that it is “likely that the engagement strategy has been dealt a very heavy blow.” Two senior Israeli officials quickly urged the world not to engage in negotiations with Iran. Neoconservatives who had already expressed their support for an Ahmadinejad victory now have every reason to be satisfied.   Opposition forces, previously on the defensive, now have a perfect opportunity to mount a political attack that will make it even more difficult for President Obama to proceed with his plan.

I agree with everything except the third point. Yes, the neoconservatives and their allies in the news media were already hammering away at Point Number Three within minutes of the announced results.

However, the fact that there are massive opposition-led protests and that the opposition is quite Westernized-looking — as our TV networks have been showing us over the past twenty-four hours — works against the neocon plan to garner American support for nuking Iran until it glows. The neocons want us to think of the Iranians as subhumans with whom we have nothing in common and who therefore deserve a fiery death. It’s actually harder for them to sell that POV when our TV screens are showing us people who would not look at all out of place in any American town or city.

Posted in Iran | 7 Comments »

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