The wintry morning report



Still looks messy out there. But unlike tens of thousands, I have power, so I'm thankful. On other subjects:

HAND OUT: Timber baron John Ed Anthony is one of the handful of uberwealthy leading the charge for a reduced estate tax.
  • HAND OUT: Timber baron John Ed Anthony is one of the handful of uberwealthy leading the charge for a reduced estate tax.
* PITY THE RICH FOLKS: The Democrat-Gazette this morning (pay wall0 highlighted on page one the fact that failure to reach a U.S. budget deal will mean a return to a higher marginal rate on estate taxes and a lower exclusion of assets from the tax rate. True enough. But it would have been worthwhile to also quantify how FEW people in Arkansas have a monetary interest in this issue, versus the hundreds of thousands who'll see increases in marginal tax rates not to mention increases in spending on account of lost benefits for the working poor.

In 2009, when the estate tax exclusion was $3.5 million, not the $5 million it became in 2011 (or the $10 million President Obama has proposed), a grand total of 14,700 estates NATIONWIDE were assessed estate taxes, which means somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 estates had taxes assessed in Arkansas, a state of nearly 3 million people. And as for the notion advanced in the article — that "small" businesses suffer a terrible impact, while big businesses don't — think a little harder on that for a second. Think Walton. Think of the multi-billion-dollar windfall from untaxed appreciation of vast and controlling stock holdings the heirs of this giant corporation (who didn't themselves create the wealth) would realize if Republicans achieve their aim of an end to the estate tax.

No tears here for John Ed Anthony and the handful of others, including the publisher of the statewide newspaper, whose families face some additional taxes on estates if Republican insistence on protecting the wealthy from an increase in marginal income tax rates means their estate tax liability might rise. It wouldn't appear past tax policy — historically onerous — prevented the accumulation of great wealth. And the search continues for the alleged small family farm ruined by the estate tax. A single one.

LAST CHRISTMAS: For Heights toy store.
  • LAST CHRISTMAS: For Heights toy store.

* TOY STORE CLOSING: The Heights Toy Center has announced on its Facebook page that this Christmas was the last for the old-line institution.

We are sorry to have to tell you that we are closing our doors. We will be closed on Friday December 28 to prepare for our final closeout sale. We willreopen Saturday December 29 at 10:00am to 5:00pm . All merchandise will be marked down 30% . We also will be selling all fixtures and supplies. Thank you for your support all these years, your friendship and letting us be a part of your families. We will miss you.

TWITFIRE: Rep. Tim Griffin makes clear his sympathies dont lie with his home county.
  • TWITFIRE: Rep. Tim Griffin makes clear his sympathies don't lie with his home county.
* TWITTER TWADDLE: Reactionary Republican Rep. Tim Griffin, without power last night, fired up Twitter with mini-screeds against the New York Times and a progressive tax policy, along with defending the NRA. He engaged former UALR Law Dean John DiPippa in several exchanges on the NRA. Griffin has no facts, merely a sneer, for the Linda Greenhouse NYT article I cited yesterday about the gun lobby's demand of fealty from Republicans on judicial appointments. A tweet from the twit:

National polls don't reflect my state or district. Obama lost my district and my state—bigtime. Work together? Sure. But I wasn't sent to DC to rubber stamp Obama's spend/tax-a-thon. My kids deserve better.

I reminded Tiny Tim via Twitter this morning that Pulaski County voters overwhelmingly rejected his re-election. If the representative from Little Rock is going to vote only with polls reflecting the balance of the district every time, and never with interests of Pulaski, which supported Obama, maybe he should move to Bryant or Cabot. Griffin has to my knowledge never compromised with Democrats on a single issue of genuine contention though he told me directly that his voting record would surprise me with sympathy for the urban core of the district. Correct me with a specific or two that refutes the appearance this was a campaign lie, congressman. He WILL be with the few hundred multi-millionaires on the estate tax, you may be sure.

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