Monday Morning Minutes
- I was very pleased to arrive in NYC yesterday evening and see this story being reported in the news. I had every confidence that a few well placed snipers could make a quick end of the pirate stand off. The part of me that wants to wonder why this wasn't done days ago will wait until next week to fuss about it. For now I bask in the knowledge the America still has a bit of the thug let in it.
The Maersk Alabama arrived safely in Kenya on Saturday, three days after Somali pirates stormed the ship, failed to hijack it, and fled in a lifeboat with the captain.
"The FBI has informed us that this ship is a crime scene," John Reinhart, president of Maersk Shipping Line said Saturday, explaining why crew members cannot immediately leave the ship.
"It has moved from the rescue to investigation," he said. "After the investigation, we then move to repatriation, which is bringing our heroes home.
That whole declaring the ship a crime scene thing was...interesting.
- Stop the presses! The Obama girls got a dog!
- To quote a friend, " WE'RE NUMBER 1!!! WE'RE NUMBER 1!!! WE'RE NU...wait a minute, that's not a good thing. Dammit."
The Tax Capital of the World: States are raising taxes despite the 'stimulus'; New York is No. 1.
Like the old competition to have the world's tallest building, New York can't resist having the nation's highest taxes. So after California raised its top income tax rate to 10.55% last month, Albany's politicians leapt into action to reclaim high-tax honors. Maybe C-Span can make this tax competition a new reality TV series; Carla Bruni, the first lady of France, could host.
In New York, Assembly Speaker (and de facto Governor) Sheldon Silver and other Democrats will impose a two percentage point "millionaire tax" on New Yorkers who earn more than $200,000 a year ($300,000 for couples). This will lift the top state tax rate to 8.97% and the New York City rate to 12.62%. Since capital gains and dividends are taxed as ordinary income, New York will impose the nation's highest taxes on investment income -- at a time when Wall Street is in jeopardy of losing its status as the world's financial capital.
But who and where are all these millionaires to pluck? More than any other state, New York has been hurt by the financial meltdown, and its $132 billion budget is now $17.7 billion in deficit. The days of high-roller Wall Street bonuses that finance 20% of the New York budget are long gone. The richest 1% of New Yorkers already pay almost 40% of the income tax, and the top 0.5% pay 30%.
Oh fun fun. All attempts to trim the budget and reduce spending have so far met with some serious wailing and gnashing of teeth by various special interest groups who often times reject perfectly good cost cutting measures that could actually improve services offered by the state.