Three thoughts for Thursday

(1.)  I wonder if President Obama will have the intestinal fortitude to continue to press hard for the "Buffett tax" in the face of intransigent Republican opposition.  Every poll that I have seen shows that the public is strongly in favor of his plan to require the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes.  Obama has a populist wave of support at his back if he has the will and skill to use it.  Meantime, the Republicans complain that there is a large percentage of Americans who pay no income tax.  I assume they are not referring to their friends the corporations and rich people who manage to leverage tax breaks into a zero tax bill.  No, they are talking about the poor who Michele Bachmann screeches must pay something "even if it is only a dollar."  What apparently has not occurred to these people is that the poor who pay no income tax do so BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INCOME TO REQUIRE A TAX!  On the other hand, they pay a disproportionate amount of payroll taxes - at least those who have jobs do - and they all pay sales taxes.  The poor do pay their fair share, more than their fair share.  Meanwhile, the rich get richer because of tax breaks that allow them to keep a larger share of their profits.

(2.)  One wonders if the outrage engendered by the execution last night of Troy Davis will have any dampening effect on the approval of the death penalty by the majority of Americans.  Once again, a man about whose guilt there was considerable doubt has been put to death by the state, while continuing to proclaim his innocence until the end and in spite of protests around the nation and around the world.  Will this give any of the proponents of the death penalty pause?  If Davis' death could start a new dialogue about the efficacy and fairness of the death penalty - e.g., the fact that it falls most heavily on minorities and on the poor (When was the last time you heard of a rich man being executed?) - then perhaps his death will not have been in vain.

(3.)  Today is the last full day of what has been a truly awful summer in Texas.  Good riddance!


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