Political Animal

MORE ON DIVIDENDS!….Reader Eric Mauro

MORE ON DIVIDENDS!….Reader Eric Mauro begs me to keep writing about the proposed dividend tax cut. Hey, it’s Sunday, so why not?

And there is an odd angle to the whole thing that I haven’t mentioned before. Sure, a dividend tax cut is about the least likely candidate there is to provide any economic stimulus, but there are other contenders for that honor as well. Top of the list would be a cut in the capital gains tax, a Republican wet dream since the early 80s. So why not that?

Eric replies:

The real scandal is that not even the Republicans think this is a very good idea… it’s a giveaway to the CEOs of big companies, to make their stock more attractive versus that of small capital-gains paying companies. Then the CEO gets to keep his job.

….This is mostly corporate socialism for big, slow-growth companies.

Considering Bush’s recent nominees to economic posts, he does seem to have soft spot in his heart for big, slow-growth companies. Maybe Eric is on to something here.

INTERNATIONAL EXTORTION: TWO CASE STUDIES

INTERNATIONAL EXTORTION: TWO CASE STUDIES FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION….Yeah, I know, Atrios warned me about analogies, but what the hell. Live on the edge, I say.

In today’s LA Times, John Balzar writes about the Bush administration loosening restrictions on tuna fishing:

“I had to look at the big picture,” the agency’s assistant administrator, Bill Hogarth, told me.

As he sees it, the big picture is this: If the U.S. did not buckle to pressure and loosen the 1990 labeling requirement, foreign tuna fishermen would simply drop out of the international program that is supposed to protect dolphins and sell their fish elsewhere.

In other news, the Bush administration had this to say about North Korea:

“The issue of a treaty suggests that we should pay something right now for their misbehavior,” Powell said. “What we can’t do and won’t do is reward North Korea for their behavior.”

So which is it? Do we cave in to extortionate treaty-breaking behavior or don’t we? Or does it depend on whether it’s something we wanted to do anyway?