Thursday, July 22, 2010

A mere 364 days

Sure, it's been a while, but, well...

Okay, there's no excuse. Here's three for your Thursday afternoon:

First, I made it to Vermont Brewers Festival last weekend in Burlington, Vermont. I went to the Friday night session, and it was a great time. $25 gets you 15 drink tickets for the four-hour tasting session and a souvenir glass. The standard Vermont and New England breweries were well-represented, such as Magic Hat, Long Trail, and Harpoon, all of which made strong showings (I particularly liked Magic Hat's newest addition to the Odd Notion series). The star of the show in my opinion (and, judging from the line outside their tent, I'm not alone) was tiny Lawson's Finest Liquids from Warren, VT. I tried the Maple Imperial Stout. You should too.

Next, those darn Bush tax cuts. Seems some Senate Dems are feeling gun-shy about letting the cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans. The argument is that because the economy is struggling to get to its feet, now is not the time to let taxes naturally increase on the wealthiest Americans, who, evidently, are using the cuts to prop up the economy with their spending. Sounds silly to me. The real fear, as you probably guessed, is not the economy, but rather the fate of some Dems in right-leaning states: let the cuts expire, don't get reelected.

I think the whole debate is not so dire for Democrats as it might appear at first glance. First, Republicans have painted themselves into a precarious position here: they want a lower deficit, but also the cuts. As Derek Thompson wrote recently in the Atlantic, when you look at the deficit, those Bush tax cuts "are the bucket." They can't have both. Second, the House just passed the extension of unemployment benefits. As far as fiscal stimulus goes, this is the right move, as it puts money in the hands of folks who are going to spend it immediately. Third, honestly, are people trying to say that if we tax the wealthy, the economy will go to hell? I'm no economist, but the last I heard this whole mess was created by a credit crisis and is persisting because banks still won't loan money to small business. Shouldn't we be worried about fixing that rather than whether the marginal rate will increase on a few rich folks?

Lastly, let me publicly congratulate Mr. Dews on his hitchin'. You're going to make a great housewife, sir, and no, the O's are no closer to winning the AL East.

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