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November 18, 2005


I wanna put Lucianne Goldberg, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin in the same 8 x 8 room for 48 hours. Then see who emerges.

Under Wyden's plan, the rich would pay a 35% marginal rate on all income, from whatever source.

Without making me read the plan, who are "the rich" in its view?

Gusn, knives or just fingernails and teeth, MB?

The taxation of wealth is bound to be front and center unitl the end of the year. The Senate refused to extend the Bush tax cut on dividends and capital gains and instead gave the bulk of tax cutting monies over to the upper middle and lower upper class folks who would otherwise be subject to the alternative minimum tax (chiefly because of deductions for state and local income and property taxes). On an earlier vote they declined to extend the estate tax repeal. The House, on the other hand, true to its reputation as the "people's house", did not include any modification of the AMT but did repeal the estate eax and extend the dividend and capital gains tax rate reductions through 2010.

This sets up a real battle in the conference. I don't think the GOP leadership can count on just ramming through benefits for the wealthy, after they just cut the poor by such a close vote. The final budget bill will really define the GOP going into next year's elections.

And while we're on the subject, if the Dems ever get power again, they should revert to the idea that was in the tax code when i started paying taxes back in 1966--exempt the first (then $600) in dividends from US corporations entirely. This would be equivalent to about $3000 or so now, I think, and would benefit the low end of investors. The rest of dividend income--quite a large percentage for CEOs and multi-millionaires--is taxed at ordinary income rates, which should go back up to a top of 37.5%.

If they can't pass the budget as such, there will be continuing resolutions until the end of the year and beyond, a sign of an inability to govern.

Without having to read the plan, I would guess that the top rate stays where it is now, 35% allpies to taxable incomes over ~$320,000 singles and couples, ~$160,000 married filing separately.

I have been trashed for suggesting that this isn't really "rich"--the "rich" have taxable incomes over $1M, IMHO, and I would tax them at 37.5%. And no, I'm in the middle bracket, $30,000-70,000.

I do agree with the poster who trashed me that there is more difference between not having enough to cover really basic expenses and having it, than between me and the rich, to say nothing of the really, really rich with 5 fully staffed houses around the world, but still. If "rich" has any meaning, it has to mean more than a couple making $320,000 a year in a high tax, high property value, high cost of living state. I refer to these folks as the "lower upper class".

Sure enough. House GOP pulls the tax cut bill until December. Apparently passing the dividend and capital gains taxes right after cutting student loans and food stamps was thought a bit much for the delicate constitutions of the GOP.

They're counting on our short memories, Mimikatz. Frankly, Denny Hastert's spew is enough to short-circuit anybody's synapses.

I see "Mangled Malkin" in the headline, and I expect to read something about a woodchipper. Talk about disappointing....

Now, I could point out that that's a joke, and that I'd never wish Ms. Malkin any physical harm. But if Malkin ever quoted it for her own purposes, she'd clearly just trim out that part of the comment anyway--which is the kind of crap that David Neiwert rightly skewers her for doing.

Thanks, MB.

At least the Plains Nations won't have to worry about beings swindled by Jack Abramoff. Nor will anyone else, likely, since Abramoff's business partner got flipped.

More generally, am I the only one going dizzy with the recent turns of events? It's as if the whole Bush/GOP machine is in the process of breaking up in flight. First it was a few turbine blades sheering off; now whole engines and wing panels are tearing away in the slipstream.

-- Rick

Yes, Rick, but the four flight attendants - Karen, Condi, Barbara and Laura - keep telling the pilot that nothing's amiss.

That deserves a 4, MB.

MB -- get the tribes in touch with the Danes who own the best technology in the world for wind turbines. They have two of the world's largest wind farms now -- one off Esberg in the N. Sea, and the other off Kobenhavn in the Oresund.

The Danish industry of modern windmills began in the early 1970's in a hippy commune attached to a Folkhojskole down near the German border in Jutland. A famous battle with the Bismark Germans, (which the Danes lost) was fought there in 1864, and is called the Battle of Double Mill. (The Danes also lost a third of Jutland in that war -- and got part of it back after World War One.) Anyhow, in the early 1970's some of the hippies decided to study the old mill -- and to improve on it, and they simply applied mod tech, and found no competition anywhere in the world for the technology or their patents. Then The Government sent them some student internes from the Civil Engineering school -- and eventually they sent patent lawyers and much investment money. Today they own the world's best technology, softwear, and materials science.

I would agree that the tribes could do well, given where the reservations are and all -- but they also need to do license agreements and manufacture the technology, and train to and operate the service industry. They also need to educate the next generation of softwear writers and materials science types. I've seen estimates of what Pine Ridge in SD-NB could generate, and it would support a million person city. Mandan country in ND can do the same.

Abramoff has demonstrated how vulnerable the tribes are to fraud, or someone walking around selling cheese. Maybe, years from now they will recover some of their capital -- but by then the opportunity to do development may be gone.

Sara, I'm quite familiar with the Danes' pre-eminence in the wind turbine field, having been following them since I put in a three-year stint at the Solar Energy Research Institute before Reagan gutted our funding. In those days, Americans could have had a lock on advances in turbines, but we blew it.

As for energy and the reservations, the possibilities for doing well - for finally emerging from dependency - are immense. But so much of what the tribes do is still controlled by the BIA, as corrupt and inefficient as any mostly unnoticed federal agency you're likely to find. AFter covering the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan in 1972, I joined the American Indian Movement shortly after the sacking of the BIA office and "liberation" of files showing the depth of the agency's misdeeds. I wish I could say matters at the bureau have improved. In some ways, they've gotten worse. But it's not the kind of story that attracts much attention.

This is something of a tangent from what you're talking about, since they appear to be looking at a wind installation, rather than a solar one, but the large-scale solar installations that are in the works these days don't appear to be based around photovoltaics. Instead, they're using large mirrors concentrate sunlight, thereby providing a heat source, which in turn runs small generators which produce electricity:

Power is generated by heat transfer from the concentrated solar rays to the working gas in the engine’s heater head, which converts the heat energy into mechanical motion. This power runs the electric generator, which produces electricity with an output of 480 Volts and 60 Hertz, so
it is already power-conditioned by the generator’s interface. The generator of each unit in a utility-scale project is connected by underground wire to a small substation where the power can be transformed into a higher voltage for more efficient transmission across the grid.

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