Life still crazy.
Last weekend was craft fairs and shoe shopping (new sneakers, boots and dress shoes that fit). (Still up: Custom-fit shirts, a pair of actually-high-quality dress shoes. Want some IC Berlin glasses
, too, but those are incredibly expensive.)
Went to a Hanukkah party at Harvard Square and another with extended family.
Monday night, I saw Matisyahu
in concert thanks to Michelle (not the Michelle I met at dancing, DJ's new girlfriend). Sadly, she got sick at the last moment and was unable to attend, but she still managed to smuggle a ticket out to me.
Meanwhile, politics has gotten incredibly depressing with Obama's capitulation on taxes. Guess 2012 is the time to find somebody else. This whole "surely we can find middle ground" strategy was worth a try, I thought the country might be ready for it in 2008, but clearly that's not how it's turned out.
The new proposed plan:
1. Bush's tax cuts extended for all income under $250k.
2. An extension to unemployment insurance for one year.
3. An extension to just the tax cuts for the over-$250k bracket for two years.
4. A 2% reduction in the the payroll tax for two years.
5. Estate tax at 35% with $5M exempt for two years. (Lowest rate in American history, save for the missed year of 2010.)
1 and 2 are necessary. But would the Republican's really have held back on 2? Unemployment insurance is a horribly socialist program until it's your constituents, and there are still something like four job-seekers for every job opening. I'd guess the Republicans would have tried to let all the tax cuts expire and blame it on the Democrats, but I think you could get enough votes on just 1, too.
Obama seems to be under the mistaken impression that 3 will be easier to deal with when the middle-class tax cuts are not "held hostage", but that's not going to be the case. Republicans will bring out the same "class warfare" rhetoric. A temporary extension just turns the Bush tax cuts from two political victories for the Republicans into three, at the expense of a rising deficit that will not be forgotten as soon as the compromise is passed and the spending-cut axes come out.
4 has the same problem. In two years, the Republicans will propose an extension and the Democrats will be left trying to defend a "tax raise". No amount of "we said it would be temporary" will help them. And where will the aforementioned axes be aimed again? Oh, right
5 is a bad idea, too, but honestly, I hardly care at that point. The top marginal tax rate affects how much companies need to spend to increase the income of the highest-paid employees. Decreasing the highest marginal tax rate increases the marginal benefit to companies of increasing executive compensation relative to anything else
. Yes, not letting hereditary dynasties accumulate vast amounts of wealth without check is part of the American tradition, and a low estate tax doesn't exactly help with the deficit situation, but at least that doesn't do so much damage to the rest of the economy.