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    First and foremost, any and all who insist that failing to extend all the tax cuts amounts to a tax "increase" should be forced to explain why the Republicans who enacted the tax cuts put an expiration date of 2010 into the law in the first place.   The resulting efforts would probably be amusing.  If nothing else, it would serve as a reminder of the fact that it was the Republicans who wrote and passed the laws by which rates are scheduled to return to late 20th century levels starting next year.

    Beyond that:

    1.  An extension of the tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income would be a tax cut for everyone subject to income tax.  

    2.  Granted, it won't be as big of a tax cut as some would like for those with incomes greater than $250,000.   To those who insist that income above a given amount be treated the same as income below that amount, one might reply that such "equality" is inconsistent with the cap on income subject to payroll taxes.  

   

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Mon Oct 11, 2010 at 11:43 AM PDT

A Modest Proposal

by garscosi

    Work takes me past the site of the World Trade Towers once or twice a month.   More than nine years after the towers were destroyed, the "Freedom Tower" is just a bit of superstructure.   In contrast, World War II was completed less than four years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

    Living in Manhattan, I'm accustomed to seeing skyscrapers take shape in a year or two.   I don't know why the work on the World Trade site is going so slowly, but the snail's pace suggests a possible resolution of another construction issue in the same neighborhood.

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:18 AM PDT

Abolish the Filibuster? Be Honest

by garscosi

    I, like many of you, just got an e-mail from this site's proprietor encouraging us to work toward the elimination of the Senate filibuster.

    Do those advocating the abolition of the filibuster not appreciate that the Republicans may once again reclaim the Senate majority?  Are that that dumb?

    Or are they that clever?

    Join me below for a dirty little secret...  

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    National drugstore chain Walgreens has just purchased the Duane Reade chain of New York City drugstores.   While others ponder the anti-competitive effects of such consolidation, I'd like to share an anecdote regarding Duane Reade which may help answer the question posed in the title.

    For many years, Duane Reade's customer loyalty program granted a $5.00 coupon for every 100 "points".   Aside from occasional promotions, points were credited at the rate of one point for each dollar in purchases.   Allowing my purchases to be tracked seemed a fair price to pay in return for  a 5% discount.

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    "People have lost their lives fighting for and against abortion."

    That sentence jumped out at me from an article at ESPN.com extolling Tim Tebow's participation in a Super Bowl ad financed by Focus on the Family.

    My point isn't to dwell on the ad itself, or even CBS' transparent hypocrisy in running the ad after repeatedly refusing to run "advocacy" ads for liberal causes.

    My focus is on the blithe manner in which sports columnist Jamele Hill stated that people have lost their lives fighting for and against abortion.
   

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:08 PM PST

Careful what you wish for

by garscosi

   
    There are some who believe that the Democrats may be able to win Senate elections in Florida and Illinois because so-called moderate Republicans such as Charles Crist and Mark Kirk may not get past primary challenges from far-right opponents.  

    I felt much the same way in 1976, when I hoped that Ronald Reagan would wrest the GOP presidential nomination from Gerald Ford.  Surely, I thought, no one that far to the right could ever win a general election.

    For several decades now, I've known better.

   

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Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 02:13 PM PST

A Visit to the Debt Clock

by garscosi

    The debt clock is less than half a mile from where I live in New York City.  My now nine-and-a-half-year-old son loves numbers, so the clock has long been a destination of choice when we are out and about.  More recently, however, he's come to understand what the numbers mean.  

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Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 07:37 PM PDT

My health insurance story

by garscosi

    My family has what I'm told is good health insurance (which costs about $1,000/month for myself, my wife and our nine year-old son).     Never mind that we learned last week that our son's pediatric practice is no longer accepting our carrier's coverage (I guess we should have stuck with the $1,900/month plan), this story is about what happened earlier today.

    It started with our son's annual check-up with his eye doctor.   Great doctor.  Great guy.  In and out in 15 incredibly efficient minutes.  Doesn't take our insurance.  $225   I imagine the new glasses and frames will run another $250 to $300

    A bit later we were at the pediatric dentist.  A cleaning, some x-rays.  $306, a referral to an oral surgeon for an extraction and an invitation to have some cavities filled.  No dental insurance.

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Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 12:46 PM PDT

Connecting the Dots on Torture

by garscosi

    Maddow and Olbermann have presented umpteen experts to explain that information extracted by torture is "unreliable".    We've heard an endless mantra of "they will say whatever their captors want to hear, whether it is true or not".   But I've yet to hear the obvious inference.

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Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 07:07 AM PST

Republicans predict "disaster"

by garscosi

    Richard Shelby (R-AL) was quoted yesterday as saying that the Obama administration's stimulus plan would lead to disaster.   This in stark contrast to the GOP's support, 16 years ago, for the Clinton administration's budget resolution.

    Oh, wait.  That legislation passed without a single Republican vote.  Then, as now, Republicans ran to the media insisting that the legislation would lead to disaster.

    And how right they were.

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Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:59 PM PST

Do the Democrats _have_ convictions

by garscosi

    Congressional Democrats may lack something more essential than the courage of their convictions.  They appear not to have much in the way of convictions to begin with.  

    Whatever else one might say about the Republicans when they ruled  Congress, the GOP never hesitated to exercise its political muscle.  So what if they needed a three-hour vote in the middle of the night to throw billions of dollars at big Phama by a single vote majority?   Contrast that with the Democrats' pathetic efforts appear bipartisan at the cost of denying the nation desperately needed jobs creation.

    If President Obama won't take advantage of his current high public approval and demand an effective stimulus, targeted at government spending that will create jobs quickly and tax relief that will translate fairly immediately into increased consumer demand, that approval will quickly dissipate.
   

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Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 01:54 PM PST

Chronology of Cabinet Nominations

by garscosi

    During coverage of yesterday's inauguration ceremonies, it was reported that one of President Obama's first official acts was signing the nominations of Cabinet appointees.   For weeks I've been wondering how it is that the Senate begins consideration of such nominations before the President-Elect takes office.  That seems inconsistent with our having "one President at a time".

   

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