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Sunday, March 29, 2009

 

CO2 Called a Noxious Gas

The Environmental Protection Agency has deemed Carbon Dioxide a dangerous greenhouse gas and has called on factories, equipment makers, utilities, etc (e.g. the productive forces) to limit its emission in the interest of preserving the earth as we know it. Fortunately, the crack redwavemusings investigative staff was able to obtain the draft regulations being prepared by EPA and the Energy Department. Herewith, a sampling of what's ahead under the regimen of CO2 regulation:

1. Since humans breathe out carbon dioxide, all citizens shall make every effort to avoid unnecessary expiration, and preferably will endeavor to exhale only once for every two inhales.

2. Since green plants ingest CO2 (and helpfully, excrete oxygen), all families shall maintain and care for at least two times as many plants as children.

3. Fireplaces and wood burning stoves, inefficient heaters (though efficient producers of CO2), are banned.

4. Since methane is also a greenhouse gas, and since we seem to be unable to control the emissions of flatulent beasts such as cows and horses (not to mention Indian sacred cows), human citizens must avoid foods causing their own flatulence.

5. In an effort to emit most of the CO2 we have to produce in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean, utilities will all be moved to the East Coast with power distributed west by means of The Grid.

6. However, as the ocean rises due to global warming, despite our best efforts to control greenhouse gases, utilities will have to be gradually moved west to avoid the advancing Ocean.

7. Since we cannot expect the very poor peoples of the southern hemisphere to help with this effort, and since their population growth is often of control, this administration will curtail the woefully meager efforts of the Bush administration to provide AIDS drugs and anti - malaria mosquito nets to the poor of Africa and South America. Maybe they will become too weak to continue clear cutting the precious jungle areas that we need to soak up our excess CO2.

8. Finally, if all else fails, the Obama Administration is prepared to stop its efforts to bail out the economy and will simply allow (and possibly encourage) widespread business failures. Drastic reduction in business and economic activity should put the CO2 problem behind us once and for all.

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Hope you are enjoying tax time. In this, either the last or next to last year of the Bush tax returns, we have two weeks or so left to file, unless you go the extension route. If you think this year is bad, wait til you get to file under the Obama tax regimen in 2011.

Those of us in high tax states like NY (and they are all getting much worse, by the way) enjoy the exquisite torture of doing their federal taxes twice, once using their itemized deductions and once without so they can pay the higher of the two figures. The latter calculation, called the alternative minimum tax, is rightly reviled by middle and upper class residents of high tax states, but the answer to tax simplification is actually to keep that calculation and eliminate the first one. I wouldn't mind paying the higher tax if I weren't first seduced by the possibility of paying the lower one. The extra work just adds insult to injury.

THEN, we get to fill out the most annoying of all the returns, the state tax return, where you literally have to copy the figures from your 1040 onto the state form, again eliminate most of your Schedule A deductions, and pay a state income tax that seems to go up every year.

The impact of the Bush cuts has been so overstated because of the AMT. Actually, the Obama increases will also be less meaningful since we'll probably still be paying the AMT. The problem is what's going on in the states, where the budgets have collapsed and taxes will go through the roof. In NY we are looking at combined Federal, State, sales and social security taxes of around 60% before long. At that point, people will either move out or quit working. Since the folks in government seem to have no appreciation for the central role of business in our economy or for what incents people to produce and achieve, don't expect enlightened policy anytime soon.

It was more than 80 years ago that President Calvin Coolidge became famous for the simple insight that "the business of America is business." Environmentalists, academics, and others on the left seem to feel that business is something to be reined in. I wonder where they think jobs come from.

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Tomorrow, I'm off to South Florida for a couple of days, meaning I will get to see the Eastern Ground Zero of the housing bust. Complete report when I return.

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