URLs du Jour


  • Before you ask: no, I didn't see Rachael Ray in Portsmouth last week. In fact, she didn't even tell me she was coming! Hmph.

  • In happier news, the Union Leader reports that:
    New Hampshire residents pay less of their income in state and local taxes than in any other state in the country, according to data compiled from U.S. Census Bureau information.
    According to a calculation by economist Dennis Delay, Granite Staters pay 12.3% of personal income in taxes. Maine residents pay 17.3% (which ranks it 8th highest in the US); Vermonters cough up 16.2% (good for 12th place); Massachusetts is all the way down at 13.7% (44th); and Connecticut is even better at 13.5% (47th).

    Unfortunately—for Vermont—there are some residents there who want to see their numbers go even higher. One Wally Roberts of Williamstown, VT writes the Rutland Herald:

    I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes, but I'm sick and tired of paying high taxes that should be paid by others and that my children and grandchildren will also be paying for the rest of their lives.
    Fortunately, Wally knows pretty much exactly what "fair" is, which is: some other folks should pay a lot more:
    We can change things here in Vermont by demanding that the Legislature approve by veto-proof margins legislation that imposes higher taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent of Vermont's residents. Demand that candidates for the election in November pledge to tax the rich—fairly.
    See? It must be fair, because he said it was! And the neat thing about taxing the "wealthiest 5 percent" is that they're always there! Even after everyone but 20 people have skedaddled from your fair state, you can still raise taxes on the single richest guy that's left! (No matter how poor he is.) That is, after all, "fair", progressive, and utterly democratic.

    And, fortunately, it's a resentment-fueled cycle that New Hampshire has, so far, avoided.

  • Speaking of fairness and resentment-fueled taxes, Congress is considering the death tax (which supporters call the "estate tax") for repeal. New and prolific blogger Greg Mankiw is all over it: here where he makes the case for repeal on the grounds of fairness; here, he checks the numbers behind Robert Reich's anti-repeal arguments, and finds them wanting; here, he looks at arguments that predict a massive post-repeal decline in charitable giving, and finds them wanting.

    Also worth checking is Tyler Cowan's debate at the WSJ site with Max Sawicky. (Via Marginal Revolution.) All linked pages are themselves very link-heavy, so you can immerse yourself in the arguments on both sides.

  • The other bit of interesting controversy over the past few days is John Kerry's apparent determination to try to rehabilitate his Vietnam War history. Mickey Kaus tries to sugar-coat things by calling Kerry "a political zombie refighting a lost campaign by refighting his role in a lost war, long after both conflicts are over."

    And frankly, in most zombie movies, the zombies have better judgment than Kerry shows in opening up this can of worms. See, for example, the Minute Man.

  • This just in: Philip Seymour Hoffman is a pretty nice guy.