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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

Justice Matters

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Print view: Taxes: Messing With Mankiw
TAXING MATTERS:

Taxes: Messing With Mankiw

by Gerald E. Scorse
Monday, 25 October 2010
Mankiw suggests his affluent ilk might just stop working if the tax breaks don't keep coming.

N. Gregory Mankiw, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers from 2003-2005, now teaches at Harvard and writes a column for the New York Times. His recent piece, “I Can Afford Higher Taxes. But They’ll Make Me Work Less,” evoked Ayn Rand and provoked liberals. As one of the provoked, I’m here to mess with Mankiw.

Several shots have already been taken, including a charge by political blogger Kevin Drum that Mankiw fudged some figures. He did, but that’s not what bothered me.

Whining. Omissions, serious and curious. Threatening. Let’s look at those.

“I Can Afford Higher Taxes” whines about taxes Mankiw has yet to pay and, in the major case, won’t ever pay. It whines about a 2013 bump in the Medicare tax. About a 2011 deduction phaseout that will add “1.2 percentage points to my effective marginal rate.” It whines that the estate tax, lying in wait, will sabotage a father’s efforts “to put some money aside for my three children.”

Whining doesn’t become a Harvard professor who tells us, admirably, “I could go so far as to say I am almost completely sated.” Sated, but whining away.

Mankiw’s numbers on the estate tax omit a number which would likely shield any legacy he manages to scrape together: an exclusion of $3.5 million per person, or $7 million per couple. Congress has to agree on an amount, but there’s almost no way it will be less. So, unless Mankiw is even more affluent than he admits, none of the Mankiws will ever pay a dime in federal “death taxes." (Drum also caught this omission.)

Taxing Wall Street income at a lower rate than wages is the major reason why effective tax rates on the super-rich are often super-low.

With his focus on marginal rates, Mankiw also avoids the rate that really matters, the effective tax rate. The billionaire Warren Buffett aimed the spotlight where it belongs when he confessed, shame-facedly, to paying “far, far less as a fraction of my income than the secretaries or the clerks of anyone else in my office.” Might the same be true of Mankiw and the secretaries at Harvard? You’ll never get that from him; he’s called the 2003 tax cuts on capital gains and corporate dividends “an important accomplishment.” For sure: taxing Wall Street income at a lower rate than wages is the major reason why effective tax rates on the super-rich are often super-low.

“I Can Afford Higher Taxes” plainly intends to threaten us. The well-off, Mankiw infers, will withhold their services once they reach the point where the top marginal rate kicks in (and they’ve exhausted all their tax breaks, about which more later). Listen to the menace in Mankiw’s summation: “...[S]omeday, you may need treatment from a highly trained surgeon, or your child may need braces from the local orthodontist.” And the local orthodontist and the highly trained surgeon will show you the door, or never open it. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Now for a fast lesson on tax breaks.

Mankiw’s personal blog noted that “I Can Afford Higher Taxes” struck a nerve. Here’s his response to one frequent question:

QUESTION: "Aren’t there ways to avoid some of these taxes, such as IRAs and life insurance trusts?"

MANKIW'S RESPONSE: "Yes, and I use such tax avoidance mechanisms to the extent they are legal and practical. But there are limits to how much they can be used. Thus, while they lower my average tax rate, they do not affect my marginal tax rate. That is, for any incremental income, I cannot do more, so I am facing the full tax bite.”

Here’s a man who sidles up to the tax break buffet, takes what appeals, and would gladly shovel down more if he weren’t legally stuffed.

We might keep Mankiw from whining by creating more tax breaks. Or he might hire a more creative tax accountant, and fudge numbers in some place other than The New York Times.


Gerald E. Scorse, who writes from New York City helped pass a bill that tightens the rules for reporting capital gains. Mr. Scorse's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on October 25, 2010.
 

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