“Things to Tax”

Per Nobelist Paul Krugman, a tax on financial transactions could raise “several hundred billion dollars in revenue over the next decade”.

He also notes that Hong Kong and Singapore, “the two countries that score highest on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom,” already have such taxes.

Also per Krugman: “high-income taxation could shave more than $1 trillion off the deficit.”

That would have a bigger impact on reducing the deficit than any of the major party proposals, including reducing Social Security and Medicare.

Fast-Tracked Constitutional Amendments

We think of ratification of amendments to the Constitution as a lengthy process, but of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, ten were ratified in less than a year and a half (less than 548 days).

This wasn’t only true when the US was relatively small: the last “fast-tracked” amendment was ratified as recently as January 1964.

12th Amendment (Electors are directed to vote for a President and for a Vice President rather than for two choices for President), approved in Congress on December 9, 1803, and ratified on June 15, 1804 (189 days)

13th Amendment (slavery or involuntary servitude prohibited), proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865 (309 days).

15th Amendment (a person’s race, color, or prior history as a slave could not be used to bar that person from voting): the Congress passed the amendment on February 26, 1869, and it was ratified on February 3, 1870 (342 days).

17th Amendment (election of Senators by voters rather than state legislatures): passed by Congress on May 13, 1912, and was ratified on April 8, 1913 (330 days).

18th Amendment (Prohibition): passed by Congress on December 18, 1917, ratified on January 16, 1919 (394 days).

19th Amendment (women’s sufferage): passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, ratified on August 18, 1920 (441 days).

20th Amendment (shortens the time frame between federal elections and inauguration; stipulates that if a President-elect dies before inauguration, the Vice President-elect becomes President): passed by Congress on March 2, 1932, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1933 (327 days).

21st Amendment (repeal of Prohibition): passed by Congress on February 20, 1933 and was ratified on December 5, 1933 (288 days).

23rd Amendment (gives voters in Washington DC the right to elect a President and Vice-President): The Congress passed the amendment on June 17, 1960; the amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961 (285 days).

24th Amendment (made it illegal to impose a poll tax): passed by Congress on August 27, 1962, ratified on January 23, 1964 (514 days).

More Yardwork

Raked and weeded the oval, the southwest side of the horseshoe, the rose bushes and the containers in the back yard. Made burgers and fresh green beans for supper.

We’ve been working on Dixon since Thanksgiving. Actually, we started Thanksgiving morning. We took off Saturday afternoon for a trip up the coast to celebrate our anniversary. Otherwise, we’ve been raking and running to the transfer station.

Leaves

James and I cleared the front yard at Edgewater this afternoon. Most of the leaves are down and I think Peter was right: we do have fewer than in other years. We needed only two trips to the transfer station.

I imagine there’ll be more, but everything on the ground was so wet that it was difficult to get a good mow. Will try again.

Monday. Already.

We promised ourselves a quiet weekend, and that we had; even so, it went awfully fast.

We were pretty wiped out on Saturday, although we did muster up the energy to do a serious food shop, some laundry and a tiny amount of yard work.

Sunday we read the Times, did a transfer station run and attended a marvelous concert of Renaissance music by Ensemble Passacaglia at Han Dun. I was pining for some of the avant-garde artwork in the shop.

I wanted to work on leaves, but it was windy both days and my muscles still were so tired that I spilled a full cup of coffee on the kitchen table.

Big Week, Big Day

Our homeowners insurance company scheduled an inspection today at Edgewater, so Peter, Bonnie, Ron and I have been working over there all week.

We interviewed four dump run crews to help us: one turned down the job, one never showed up and one skipped his appointment because he had to work late.

The guys we did hire were fantastic: two fishermen from Falmouth, who have a dump run business on the side. We were so fortunate; couldn’t have asked for better people.

My heart was breaking for Peter, seeing thousands of dollars spent on so many items, some of which was still usable, end up in the trash. Given the time frame, it was impossible to sort it all.

We rented a storage unit for overflow and Ron and I brought a futon frame over the other night, in the pouring rain. We’re hoping to use it at Dixon once we bring the trundle bed over for Emme.

Ron has been working with a cast on his right forearm, but even so, he’s managed to accomplish a lot, including hauling very heavy boxes, installing hardware and making repairs.

We were lucky enough to find a handyman/carpenter to help Ron reattach a railing.

I did a lot of cleanup in the kids’ rooms and the kitchen, and have been washing windows and working on the kids’ bathroom.

Yesterday, we separated the boys’ bunk beds and put up a new miniblind for Emme. Prior to that, we helped with Peter’s office and the family room.

Peter and Bonnie worked on every room: the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, kitchen, family room, office.

Bonnie did an amazing job with their bedroom. It looks absolutely beautiful, like something out of a magazine.

Peter even was able to set up an area in his office for a home gym.

The inspector arrived a little before the appointment time and did a fast walk-through.

We passed.