Sunday, January 06, 2002

Tom Daschle blames Bush tax cut for economic crisis, which let’s face it isn’t actually true, although they sure won’t help in the short or long term. Bush responds that “not over my dead body” will they raise taxes which, typically, means the exact opposite of what Bush thinks it means. Also, no one’s actually calling for tax increases (or actually, repealing tax cuts that haven’t gone into effect yet, which Bush went out of his way to say still count as tax increases. Which they don’t.).

What does count as a tax increase is the new increase in the California sales tax, which was actually the expiration of a tax cut from many years ago, which was constructed so that no one in the state legislature would actually have to vote for it, it would just go up all by itself. I don’t know if this is actually unconstitutional, but it is certainly taxation without representation: not only did our representatives not vote for it, but the people responsible have probably all been term-limited out. Immaculate taxation.

There’s a terrific piece by Peter Maas in today’s NY Times Magazine on an Afghani warlord, a lot of fun. Also fun is a piece in the newspaper about corruption in the new and improved Afghanistan. It’s the classic case of a reporter not leaving his hotel room to write a story. In fact he can’t leave his hotel room without paying hundreds of dollars and leaving behind all his equipment. One reporter, CNN I think, got them to write out an itemized receipt, including $220 for “pure extortion.” Doesn’t even mention mini-bar charges and porn. Fun, as I say, but somehow I don’t think the tragedy of corruption in Afghanistan is that CNN had to bargain to get its satellite equipment back.

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