Friday, November 16, 2007

My Morning Wooten

Back in the grind:
Headline: “Who killed Mark Allen MacPhail?” The jury’s already told us who killed police officer MacPhail. That’d be Troy Davis. We know, too, who killed children in Atlanta and DeKalb. That’d be Wayne Williams. A genuine question is “Who snatched Mary Shotwell Little?”

Jim Wooten for ombudsmen! Angela Tuck better watch out! We could speak of the rarity of local front page features by Jim's employer, but instead let's talk about good ol' juris prudence. The difference between Wayne Williams, Mary Shotwell Little and Troy Davis? In the first two there has been no new evidence. In the latter, every witness except the dude who all the witnesses now implicate have recanted. No matter. Jury spoke. Game, set, match. Want a "small government conservative" approach to reducing waste? Eliminate the appeals courts. Who needs 'em anyway.
Let’s see. On the one hand, as a Cobb resident, I have a sheriff, Neal Warren, who is checking the immigration status of those booked into his jail. On the other, the man who did little or nothing with law enforcement or job creation to deter his citizens from entering this country illegally, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, visits Cobb for a $500-a-plate fund-raiser, considers Warren’s actions to be “really going too far.”...Warren or Fox? In my county, it’s Warren by a landslide.

Well, maybe so. But I'm pretty sure Fox wouldn't meet eligibility requirements. And I thought job creation was the perview of the private sector, not the government. Time to add another line item in the ever growing definition of "small government conservative".
Billionaire Warren Buffett tells Congress to keep the death tax — now set to expire in 2010. Unless Congress makes existing law permanent, though, it roars back in 2011 on estates of more than $1 million. “I think we need to … take a little more out of the hides of guys like me,” he told the Senate Finance Committee. Buffett is giving 85 percent of his fortune, estimated last year to be $44 billion, to five foundations not subject to death taxes. Tax policies targeting “the rich” have unintended consequences. The alternative minimum tax that Congress passed in 1969 to chase down 155 individuals who avoided income tax now hits up to 25 million middle-income taxpayers, costing them as much as $2,000 in additional taxes.

Three things here. The estate tax should be adjusted for inflation, specifically to account for bubbles from speculative real estate markets. Warren Buffet and the other super rich want to pay it anyway, so let them. And the tsunami that is the AMT has been foreseen for over a decade. During which time the great Republican congress of the 90s did absolutely nothing. Nothing.
The silly U.S. House of Representatives. The silly, silly House. For about the 40th time, Democrats bring up an Iraqi withdrawal bill — this one attached to $50 billion to fund troops for about four months. It has no chance of making it into law. The silly, silly House of Pelosi. All Georgia Republicans voted no, as did Democrats John Barrow of Savannah and Jim Marshall of Macon. Both are in competitive districts. Atlanta’s John Lewis voted present.

Silly indeed. This whole representing the people's wishes is such a bother. Better to play lip service about carrying the people's will on such enlightened venues as talk radio (and certain editorial columns) while the silly people do the slow frog boil on issues no one ever talks about. Like the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Selah.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back on the Wooten beat, Grift.

The Warren Buffett item really has my blood boiling. (I even commented over at the AJC site.) It's ridiculous to set this up, as Wooten does, as if Buffett is a hypocrite by supporting the estate tax and then avoiding it by giving his money away. That's the exact reason why people like Buffett (and Bill Gates, and me) support the estate tax -- it encourages using one's wealth for good works rather than just leaving it to one's lazy, undeserving heirs. (Buffett, and me, also thinks it undermines the American meritocracy, but I'm sure Wooten doesn't see that either.)
People are against it because the idea of taxing someone when he or she dies sounds bad. I agree, it does. But I can't think of a better time to assess a tax -- the income to the heirs is unearned, and it's better for society if the money is either spent or -- better yet -- given away while the person is alive. I see the issue with small businesses and family farms, but that is often and can be further resolved without scrapping the whole thing.

Wooten's wrong about the other stuff, too, but I'll let someone else jump in.

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