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Comment Really dumb move from a revenue standpoint anyway (Score 1) 1

...since if it costs that rich guy less to avoid your tax by shifting income, perhaps to another state, than the tax itself, his/her only incentive to pay said tax is a feeling that it's fair for him/her to pay it.

If it passed, I bet you'd see a few "corporate offices" springing up in Oregon and/or Idaho, just across the border.

Comment Re:Yours went a lot better than the ones here. (Score 1) 8

Yeah, I concur that the larger part of the whole shebang was grassroots--to the extent that there was orchestration, it seemed pretty clear the big shots were following/attempting to steer a nascent grassroots movement rather than making it happen from whole cloth. And it does seem like a red herring compared to a substantial discussion of the issues.

As for the "Bush did it" defense, the nuanced version that I've heard of that comes in two parts, one of which is trivially rebutted and one of which takes more thought:

1) 'Bush didn't include the Iraq War in his budgets, instead using "emergency spending", so his deficit reports were artificially low.' -- True on the face of it, but we're talking IIRC 1.8 trillion over seven years at that point, so the Bush deficits still don't approach the Obama ones.

2) 'Deficit spending is the indicated Keynesian response to an economic recession." That's harder to positively refute--one could argue that Reagan's economic successes early on coming out of the 70s were a large part due to the huge cash influx his defense spending pushed into the economy, for example. And it's a basic idea of Keynesian economic that as long as you're not basically destroying goods, it doesn't matter WHAT you spend money on, it's the act of spending it domestically that stimulates the economy. (I'm obviously simplifying this for the purpose of a summary)

I'm not really worried about this year's budget. At this point I'm worried about those trailing off years of increased spending, I don't really think we need to plan for what's basically emergency spending to go on for that long, and I think that we need to focus on sustainable expenditures right quick so that we have a plan in place once the economy gets back into a growth mode.

Frankly, given recent history, I'm hoping that the Republicans retake Congress in 2010 but Obama wins in 2012--in the time I've been old enough to be politically aware, that R/D split has been best for the budget deficit overall.

What I'd also like to find, and I haven't been able to so I might do it myself, is a chart of debt/deficits in inflation-adjusted dollars, just to get a better sense of historical perspective--specifically, I'm interested in seeing how the Obama-proposed deficits compare in inflation-adjusted magnitude to Reagan or FDR.

Comment Re:Yours went a lot better than the ones here. (Score 1) 8

Yeah, that hype basically annoys me--of course the news coverage of impending events made them bigger. That doesn't imply orchestration.

My criticisms of the whole movement are less about who's wagging whose tail and more about maybe it becoming a movement with a coherent conservative purpose rather than just a collection of angry right-wing types.

As it stands, in my neck of the woods they were more disorganized and off-message than the Iraq War protesters a few years ago--but only by a hair. This is obviously not a compliment.

Comment Yours went a lot better than the ones here. (Score 1) 8

Even dead-center in the middle of PA, where aside from the town itself it's solidly conservative, we had maybe forty people, with signs protesting everything from illegal immigration to abortion to taxes.

It was really more like an incoherent Ron Paul rally than anything else. I've literally seen impromptu drum circles draw more people around here. And the worst part is that the organizer somehow decided that rather than protesting at a city government building, they'd block the entrance to the post office. (thank goodness for e-filing, which I put off until last night since I owe for the first time in a while)

It's sad, too, because an on-message protest about the need to be very careful with deficit spending is something even my generally Keynesian self can get behind. It actually makes me feel pretty good to hear that some of these things went down in a way that wasn't completely counterproductive.

Comment Re:Ah, Earth Hour (Score 1) 10

Yeah, I pretty much want to kick every anti-nuclear protester in the head. I mean, seriously, do they really think about it?

My favorite statistic on "green power" came from my father-in-law (a full professor of agricultural engineering) who pointed out that enough wind+tide power to run the electrical demands of the United States would literally kill the trade winds entirely, in terms of efficiency vs. wattage available to be extracted.

Granted, I'm doubly in favor of nuclear power precisely because I live two hours away from "the biggest nuclear plant accident in the US", namely, Three Mile Island. Knowing what I know about THAT (and everything I need to know is summed up by "the plant is still operating and producing power for south-central PA") makes me wonder what the big deal is.

Comment Ah, Earth Hour (Score 1) 10

I've been cutting back my electricity use as much as possible for a while now anyway, but living in central PA I have a disproportionately high carbon/pollutant footprint (stupid coal power) per kilowatt.

Having lived in a former coal strip-mining town that is obviously a former coal strip-mining town I tend to be a bit sensitive about that particular environmental issue.

Comment Target (Score 1) 10

I'm pretty picky about pillows and I abuse mine shamefully, but these days I get the extra-thick "for people who sleep on their side" pillows from Target for about $10, they last me a year or so which is still better than most pillows I've tried.

Comment This thing makes me annoyed (Score 1) 10

Saying first outright that I'm not impressed by the proposed tax changes to take the bonuses back, I was discussing this with a tax lawyer on another forum and his opinion was that it wasn't a bill of attainder since they have not yet paid taxes on that income and functionally it's no different than any other tax code changes that are enacted in mid 2009 to apply to income made in early 2009 and on taxes filed in 2010.

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