Earth Day 2009

This was to be the start of my last year at my former employment. A couple of years ago or so, I thought the 30th anniversary of Earth Day would be an auspicious time to start a new phase of my life…Then the knee jerk reaction to the economic picture of the autumn of 2008 ended my plans for a scheduled retirement. Such is life.

So plans have changed, but life goes on. And funny as it may seem, the early boot out the door will mean that my original timetable has a better than even chance of being possible round the time I wanted to make the changes.

Almost every day now, Sherry comes home from work and says something to the effect that she “wants to pack up and just go…NOW”. A change in attitude, a change in latitude, a change in altitude…All three are calling. We have never lived in a place with seasons and that is what is calling me this Earth Day.

I long for a place where shorts and flip flops are not winter attire. Where long sleeved shirts don’t hang in the closet for 11 months each year. And when I say long sleeved shirts I am talking tee shirts here not flannels. I don’t think I put on a jacket at all last winter…Much less a coat.

Well, I am going to get out this Earth Day and plant some vegetables to start a new garden. Home grown and local vegetables, not a complete change, but a start to something…New…Maybe.

Happy Tax Day…Have some ice tea on me.

Here’s my contribution to today’s tax day festivities: an effort to get you to think about federal taxes a little bit differently than usual. Normally, when we talk about taxes, we end up talking about percentages of people: the top 1% pay a certain amount, the bottom third pay a different amount, etc. But this is the wrong way to look at things. What we ought to be looking at is percentages of income.

via How to Think About Taxes | Mother Jones.

One of the best analysis of income taxes I have ever seen…Puts a new spin on the talking points you are always hearing. This chart says it all but go read the whole thing, Kevin has done some great work here:

Here is what he considers optimal…

And here is the actual…

Economics 101 – David Brooks

David Brooks spends a good deal of time laying the grounds for a non-blame blame for this economic meltdown. While saying,  “Banks got too big to manage. Instruments got too complex to understand.
Too many people were good at math but ignorant of history.” He still maintains that it wasn’t the greed of the players but their arrogance. Forgive me if I still see greed as the driving force in all that has gone wrong with this country in the past few decades…

I will say that he did string two sentences (taken out of context) together that say more than he intended…

The greed narrative leads to the conclusion that government should aggressively restructure the financial sector. The stupidity narrative is suspicious of that sort of radicalism.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Greed and Stupidity – NYTimes.com.

As Forest Gump might have said “Stupid is as stupid does”. Just because the stupid are suspicious almost makes me think we are on the right track…How about you?

Only in Texas

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This week, I will vote against the massive $3.6 trillion budget proposed by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, and Texans deserve to understand why. I believe this budget taxes too much, spends too much and borrows too much. This budget will delay economic recovery in Texas and across the nation, and it will reduce opportunities for all of us.

via Cornyn: Why I’m voting against the budget.

What does it mean when a conservative Republican Senator tries to stake a claim to the policies that were used to create the growth economy of the most liberal city in his state? Is this another case of Republican reality? Could the reason for the job growth he is bragging about be the fact that wages in Texas suck? Could it be that taxes in Texas are some of the lowest i n the nation because the state supplies less service to it’s citizens than any state in the country…Except for it’s fellow states across the Republican South.

I have worked to bring successful Texas policies to Washington, especially our policy of keeping taxes low. Once again this year I offered an amendment to make it harder for Congress to increase taxes in future budgets. Had this amendment been adopted last year, 60 votes in the Senate would be required today to increase taxes on America’s families and small businesses.

via Cornyn: Why I’m voting against the budget.

Only a Republican from Texas would see this claim as something to brag about. The successful Texas policies he is claiming bragging rights to have kept his (and my) state at in the bottom ten percent of almost all measurements that are used to rate the quality of life in a state. As the past decade and the economic meltdown have shown, Texas Republicans and their deregulate at all costs, have has a major role to play in every part of this economic crisis. From Tom DeLay to Phil Gramm, from Ken Lay to Allen Stanford we just do it futher to the right than any where else…