Archive for March 2007
(Xposted to Long Sunday)
I’m sure soldiers, ever since there have been soldiers, have hooted adolescently in the throes of combat. What would we expect, that they’d go about their work gravely, constantly reminding themselves of the seriousness – the mortal seriousness – of the things that they do, the weapons that they discharge? That is undoubtedly too much to expect. The stupid talk and yells undoubtedly represent a release from the psychosis inspiring and inspired actions that they are committing.
It is not new, it is not groundbreaking, to think: “They sound like the subset of students that you see hooting and unawarely spewing stuff they heard in a movie somewhere. They always talk like this, yell like this. They likely feel most themselves when they most completely give themselves over to the canned material they have been served, night after night, for their entire lives.”
What we hear is not the organic, the militaristically gnomic, the earthy – it is the sitcomedic. MTV trashtalk, some Full Metal Jacketisms (Kubrick would have loved this, at least in a way) thrown in.
And, because you too have seen the same movies, at least a lot of them, you are able to try to reconstruct any possible reason, any scenario at all, in which the cars that speed in, crash, disgorge their occupants, who then are blown away by the Americans. The sniper was in a car? The insurgents, after a lengthy pause, get into their little cars and attempt, as an act of insane bravery perhaps, to speed past the marines’ position? Why?
Unlike the talk, no, the actions of the “insurgents” don’t fit into any plausible script, especially not the one posted at the end of the video.
The mortgage interest deduction, the biggest single subsidy to homeowners, will cost the federal budget about $80 billion this year, according to the administration’s projections. Deductions for state and local property taxes will cost $15.5 billion.
Allowing homeowners to pocket tax-free much of the profit from selling their homes is expected to cost $37 billion more. Altogether, this amounts to almost 5 percent of the federal government’s total tax revenue, and almost three times HUD’s entire $42 billion budget. Now even some in Washington are questioning the soundness of pushing homeownership so broadly.
And just so we’re clear on who benefits:
Part of the reason is the structure of government subsidies, which are worth very little to low-income families but quite a bit to families with big incomes. Those well-off families typically do not need government support to buy a home but use it to buy bigger places than they would otherwise purchase.
The mortgage interest deduction alone is worth about $21,000 to a taxpayer in the highest bracket of income with a $1 million mortgage. But for a typical family that bought, say, a $220,000 house with 20 percent down, the break is worth about $1,600.
My magazine budget is large, my rack contains multitudes.
I finally got myself a copy of the latter in a relatively unlikely place, a Barnes and Noble in the silly resort town on the west coast of Florida where I was staying. My wife said she saw tears well up in my eyes when I grabbed it from the magazine display.
I am a print junkie, despite all this on-line tapping about.
And if I could figure out the secret link between the two journals I plunked down, oh, well, let’s not name the price, my work would basically write itself.