Saturday, July 30, 2005

Make Life Frist

Now that Bill Frist has reversed his opposition to embryonic stem cell research a better compromise needs to be found. To make the best compromise we need to ask what is the most pro-life goal for human embryos?
  • Preventing the destruction of human embryos.
  • Bringing as many human embryos to life as possible.
I believe that the latter is the non-greedy pro-life goal. Because we cannot bring all the human embryos so far created to life, the best compromise is to have the use of embryos for stem cell research conditional on successfully bringing embryos to life. This is the policy I previously proposed in "make life first".
I think that we can allow leftover embryos from a fertility process that has already successfully created a living baby to be used, with permission, for embryonic stem cell research. I think we should create embryos only for the process of creating life, and we should destroy embryos for research only if the creation of life is successful.
A federal stem cell compromise would also reduce the demand for state financing of embryonic stem cell research, like the California Proposition 71 boondoggle.

Friday, July 29, 2005

2005 Q2 GDP up 3.4%

Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.4% this quarter.

GDP from past quarters has been revised downward somewhat.

For 2001-2004, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.8 percent, 0.3 percentage point less than in the previously published estimates. The average annual rate of growth of real GDP from 2001:IV to 2005:I is 3.3 percent, 0.2 percentage point less than in the previously published estimates.
And inflation in past quarters has been revised up slightly.
The percent change from the preceding year in the price index for gross domestic purchases was revised up for all 3 years: From 1.5 percent to 1.6 percent for 2002, from 2.0 percent to 2.2 percent for 2003, and from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent for 2004.

Bear Flag League

The Bored has been admitted to the Bear Flag League.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lockyer Propositioning

Bill Lockyer has changed the title and summary to Schwarzenegger's "Live Within our Means" initiative.
First, the title now starts with the words "state spending" instead of "school funding."

Second, the summary itself leads with the overall spending limit, which is based on a three-year average of revenues. The old version started with its potential effect on school spending.

These changes came only after Lockyer's bias was caught.
The changes came about after supporters of the measure -- Proposition 76 -- threatened to sue to get a better summary.
Lockyer also wrote his Prop. 77 summary from the version that was not circulated and said he will not prepare a new one unless ordered by the court to do so.

Lockyer will at least take the right side of the Kelo battle and will support the landowners in a Kern County eminent domain case.

In other ballot news, the state Supreme Court reinstated Prop. 80, stating that "it would be more appropriate for opponents to challenge the measure if and when it is approved by voters." Re-regulating electricity is both a bad idea and will likely be struck down if is passes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More Lockyer Misdiscription

Bill Lockyer again fails to write an impartial ballot summary, this time on a marriage protection initiative.
But the amendment's official sponsors ... said Monday they plan to challenge Attorney General Bill Lockyer's proposed summary in court, calling it prejudicial and erroneous.

"True to his liberal bias, but untrue to his constitutional duty, Bill Lockyer has dumped on us an inaccurate and prejudicial paragraph that is anything but impartial and fair as the law requires," Thomasson said.


From top to bottom, the Democratic attorney general's 100-word analysis makes it clear that if the amendment passed, it would limit a lot more than marriage to unions between a man and a woman. While sponsors submitted a working title of "The Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative," for instance, the attorney general has renamed it, "Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights."

Also, the Secretary of State has released the Voter Information Guide for the special election propositions.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lockyer vs the People

Bill Whalen of The Weekly Standard exposes how California State Attorney Bill Lockyer is failing to uphold the will of the people by writing biased ballot summaries.
It's not the first time that Lockyer, a liberal Democrat who's running for state treasurer next year, has played fast and loose with the initiative process. As the attorney general, his job is to write impartial title and ballot summaries. But that's not always been the case. The summary for another of Schwarzenegger's initiatives in this fall's special election--Proposition 76, the "Live within Our Means Act," which would enable the governor to make spending cuts when the state budget goes into the red--says little about tighter purse strings. Instead, it reads:
Changes state minimum school funding requirements ... permitting suspension of minimum funding, but terminating repayment requirement, and eliminating authority to reduce funding when state revenues decrease. Excludes above-minimum appropriations from schools' funding base.
Other examples of Lockyer's whole-language approach include Proposition 38, a school voucher initiative which lost badly in November 2000. He gave it this ominous-sounding description: "public funding of private and religious schools." The same year's Proposition 22, California's Defense of Marriage Act, was re-titled "Limits on Marriage" instead of its original "Definition of Marriage." Earlier this year, Lockyer helped chase away another initiative Democrats loathed--public pension reform--by misleadingly claiming in his summary that the measure would eliminate orphan and widow death benefits for police and firefighters.
Our attorney general who is supposed to uphold the constitution is also failing to uphold the honor of the American flag.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Music Prices

Music sharing supporters have often argued that "music wants to be free", but the news that Sony BMG and Spitzer are nearing a settlement over "independent promoters" demonstrates that disposable music is seeking a negative price.
The investigation relates to the companies' use of so-called "independent promoters": middlemen who are paid to plug new songs to radio stations. The practice has often been likened to payola -- direct payment in exchange for airplay of specific songs -- which has been illegal under federal law since the 1950s. It also includes more direct relations between the executives of record labels and radio stations.
Advertisements have always been negative priced content directed to increasing sales of other products. Radio airplay has long been seeking negative prices that have been expressed first as , then as , and now as actual advertisements (this song is brought to you by ...). This is because disposable music still increases sales of owned music (CD's and legal downloads). Illegal music sharing, which sets both a price floor and ceiling at zero, harms both labels and listeners because it prevents prices from reaching equilibrium. Labels lose when downloaders retain ownership of music and do not purchase it. People who claim that labels benefit because they actually own more music because of sharing are also losing because they are not being paid for the attention of their pocketbook. The zero price is also harmful to micro-payment innovation that will help musicians, writers, publishers, other content creators, and advertisement viewers.

The Balanced Budget

The Skeptical Optimist wants to redefine the definition of a "balanced budget" to include economic growth.
The financial benefits of economic growth will exactly offset the financial costs of debt growth, if both the economy and the debt are growing at exactly the same rate. Robert Eisner, in fact, suggested defining a "balanced budget" as the level of deficit spending which would result in no increase and no decrease in the ratio of debt-to-GDP.
This is definitely a better definition of a "balanced budget" than the current definition. The problem is that this definition would keep debt/GDP at current levels rather than trying to find the optimal levels of taxes, deficits, and spending. My best definition of a balanced budget would be a budget that is "balanced" such that the marginal cost of borrowing equals the marginal cost of taxes which equals the marginal benefit of spending. This would be difficult in practice since the cost-benefit analysis to find this triple-point would be non-trivial.

Also today The Skeptical Optimist looks at the definition of the Social Security lockbox. He compares two options:

1: Leave the dollars in the Trust Fund; lock them up and don't let anybody touch them, because in the future they will be spent on SS beneficiaries.

2: Use those dollars to buy intragovernmental bonds; convert them back to dollars in the future, to be spent on SS beneficiaries.

Option 2, the current policy, earns interest while option 1 does not. But he notes that the nature of intergovernmental bonds means that "In truth, both options are identical in their effects on total federal government finances." So he asks lockbox advocates "Why don't you want the SS Trust Fund to earn interest?" I will answer for them without squirming: because We want to reduce spending on Social Security. We would rather have the money go to general budget spending or not taken and spent at all. It is not the government's top priority to spend money writing wage-inflated benefit checks to people who don't them. We should use progressive indexing or other cuts to reduce spending even if Social Security is expected to be solvent. The reality is that we have a unified federal budget and Social Security needs to be compared directly to other government expenditures and not be kept separate. I would recommend option 3: "blow up the lock box!"

Tags: ,

The Hurricane Market

A new prediction market has been born. Truck and Barter notes that The University of Miami has launched a hurricane futures market.
MAHEM is the Miami Hurricane Event Market, a futures trading market for hurricane landing sites. Meterologists, students, and Joe Public are all allowed to create an account and purchase up to $500 worth of securities with a payoff tied to a specific hurricane behavior.

Their concept is very interesting in that it ties a monetary incentive to the accuracy of a prediction. Hopefully this encourages more accurate forecasting. Fortunately the $500 limit prevents people from using the market to hedge their bets against actual hurricane damage.

The site was created by to economics professors and one meteorology professor and is being run by the Iowa Electronic Markets

It looks like they only have markets for the location of hurricane landfall. I think it would also be useful to have a market for hurricane strength. If there is enough volume then there could be individual markets for each strength and location combination.


Friday, July 22, 2005

California Kelo

The Claremont Institute's Local Liberty blog has a roundup of post-Kelo eminent domain opinion in California. I would add that it is typically growing communities that need to acquire property for new schools and new roads to serve the needs of a growing population. Declining communities typically need to take property and give it to developers to artificially bring new development to try to prevent residents from leaving. Without eminent domain the development would happen elsewhere, so non-public takings does not increase overall economic activity, it just preserves the size of local government.

Local Liberty also links to their plan to "blow up the legislature" in reaction to the prop 77 deballoting. They propose doubling the Senate and Assembly. I propose "blowing it up" even more to have at least 400 in the Assembly.

The blog also has a comprehensive roundup of the Bear Flag League Summer Conference. I had a connection, other bloggers had better photography, while others who were not distracted by taking pictures or posting had better analysis of the conference speakers.


Props 77 and 80 have been removed from the California Special Election ballot.

Democracy Market has the scoop on prop 80's removal from the ballot.

The court found that only the legislator has the authority to give the PUC additional powers so they tossed it.
This seems like a sound court judgment. Preventing competition for energy users is not a good idea. However, the public will not get to decide this for now.

Prop 77 was removed because the court decided that the difference between the submitted and circulated props were "substantive". Flap and others think that this is not a bad thing. This will focus attention on the remaining propositions. I agree because I don't think that redistricting will help very much. The population in California and elsewhere has been self gerrymandering themselves recently by their choice of residence. I also oppose an intra-census redistricting after a proper constitutional districting, however unwanted, has been performed. I think it would be a much better idea to vastly increase the size of the Assembly. Splitting each district into five would give legislators a more focused smaller constituency while keeping the legislature at a manageable 400 members. The split should not redraw existing district lines and would keep existing legislators in their seats, reducing opposition. The new districts would create new competitive primaries at least, and bring new blood into the assembly.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London Again?

smoke, evacuations, explosions reported on the London subways just now. Fox News is reporting on possible gunshots.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roberts to the Bench

The Tradesports market did not read Bush's mind today. John G. Roberts gets the nomination, and the market had a low of 0.4 on him today. The market took the conventional wisdom that it would be a women nominee. Today's highs were 88 for Clement, 59 for Jones, and 29.5 for Luttig. The first solid tip on Roberts from Bench Memos came in at 7:05 PM EDT, and the announcement hit at 7:47 PM EDT.

The information that prediction markets are best at aggregating and the markets that are most fun to participate in do not have much overlap.

Update: 7/20
Jim Lindgren and Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy had a discussion thread on the Tradesports prices. Their graph shows that prices on Roberts first spiked at 6:49 before dropping later. The final convergence began at 7:44, about two minutes before the name was printed by the press.

Update: 7/25
It appears the first Roberts tip came from NRO's the corner at 5:24 PM

Driving to Kyoto

Tim Haab at the Environmental Economics blog does some rough calculations on what it would cost to meet our Kyoto emissions target. To achieve automobile driving's share of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, the cost per mile driven would need to increase 74%. This would be an average cost increase of $.10/mile, or $1200/year for an average driver driving 12000 miles/year. Are we willing to pay that much to meet your share of our Kyoto targets?

A 2004 JEEM study notes that "our most conservative estimate of annual household [willingness to pay] for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming is $200". Given that we had a tax revolt in California recently when the car tax was tripled, I think that this is a non-starter. The car tax rate was (illegally) raised from .67% to 2% of the car value, which is an increase of $400/year for a new $30k car. Some of the resistance was because of the legislative tactics used to raise the tax, but the car tax was a major issue in the California Recall. KFI AM 640 had a big radio contest where they would pay one caller's tripled car tax bill each day. This real world data point supports the $200 JEEM figure.


Schwarzenegger on Supplements

Did Arnold veto legislation to regulate dietary supplements because he stood to gain from ads in magazines he has relationships with?

Or did Arnold veto the legislation because he knows more about supplements then the rest of the legislature put together?

There are costs and benefits of having industry insiders in government. They may take action to benefit themselves or colleagues. They also have insider information that they can use for the benefit of government in contracting and other decisions.

I don't have a problem because Arnold took the position of government non-involvement. It would have been entirely different if he had taken a position of government intervention. The worst offenses are when politicians help some businesses at the expense of others, or when they create regulation to protect existing businesses from new competitors. There is a difference between pro-free-market and pro-big-business.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Today's heat caused the California ISO to flex their "Flex Your Power NOW!" system.

Reason's blog had a good link summary of the challenge of introducing consumer time-demand based pricing for electricity, which would work far better then power alerts.

The California Energy Blog is a good place to keep track of the local power situation.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bear Flag League Summer Conference

Live Blogging the summer conference

Kevin Drum has infiltrated the conference and gotten a post out from inside.

4:29 PM done.

3:50 PM Allan Hoffenblum
4:03 PM "The only -ism I believe in is plagiarism"

3:38 PM Ted Costa

3:37 PM Scott Schmidt

3:30 PM Daffyd Ab Hugh nomination for best dressed

3:07 PM FullosseousFlap is also live blogging.

2:56 PM Bob & Joseph

2:55 PM Bob & Joseph

2:48 PM Joseph C. Phillips

2:30 PM Bob Hertzberg.

2:04 PM Dan Weintraub and Scott Schmidt.

1:58 PM The Members.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Sky Is Not Falling

Steve Conover at The Skeptical Optimist writes to deflate the fear over treasury debt held by foreigners. Foreigners invest in our treasury debt because they believe that our treasury is the best, safest place to put their money. It is a sign of the strength of our economy that foreigners invest their money here rather than at home or in another county. Also when principle is owed to the foreign debt holders they are most likely to do with that money what they have done before, reinvest it in our treasury. What is good for foreigners is also good for local bond holders. Anyone who directly or indirectly owns treasury bonds receives their own share of the interest on the national debt. It also means that the government also already has some of their money which reduces the amount of taxes the government must collect. It is unfortunate that some people think that voluntary debt is a problem and want us to solve the "twin deficits" problem by hiking taxes to turn our country into a tax hell so that foreigners will no longer choose to invest here.

Over on the spending side, Perry Eidelbus finds a 1996 Joint Economic Committee Report that concludes that "at current spending levels the last dollar government spends reduces private sector GDP by $1.38. In other words, the economy experiences a net loss of 0.38 cents." On the tax side, the same JEC report notes that "Economists have studied the burden of taxation and have estimated that every dollar raised from taxes reduces income from 17 to 56 cents."

Meanwhile, the White House (pdf page 37) has updated their tax collection forecasts for 2005 and the CBO has updated their tax receipts through June. The expected increases are quite significant. Note that the increase in social insurance receipts is greater than the best increases during the bubble years. This shows solid gains in employment and wages in addition to the rich getting richer.

        Percent Increase in Tax Collections, 2005
Tax                     OMB     CBO
Individual Income       14.8    17.6
Corporate Income        40.3    40.8
Social Insurance        8.2     6.9
Total                   13.8    14.6
But a final warning: both taxes and debt crowd out private capital, and nothing crowds out private capital more than taxes on private capital. We must make sure that the large increase in non-withheld taxes does not hemorrhage money from the markets and cause "the money to run out" like it did in "the bubble". We also need to make sure that the increased supply of savings from supply-side tax cuts does not supply increased government spending like it has in the past.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hetch Hetchy

A workshop in Sacramento Thursday discussed the prospects for restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley as part of a study launched last fall by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Environmental Economics blog looks at the costs and benefits of removing the dam that floods the valley as part of their topic on cost/benefit analysis. The benefits of the current dam in the valley go entirely to San Francisco. The benefits of restoring the valley would go to tourists throughout the country and the world. San Francisco, predictably, takes the non-green position on dam removal.

The best information on the reclamation proposal comes from the the Sacramento Bee's Pulitzer prize winning editorial series on Hetch Hetchy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

No Favoritism

LA's new mayor has some tough words on reducing corruption.
Among his top priorities, Villaraigosa said, is enforcing ethics in an effort to erase the public perception of corruption in city politics.

"I made it clear to every general manager that I want them to report whenever someone uses my name to try to move something through the system," Villaraigosa said. "I said people like that need to know -- and know quickly -- that will not be tolerated."

Hopefully, we will hear less use of the words "I work for the government". Lets see if words can turn into deeds.

Uranium in Niger

The leak in the Plame investigation has caused the uranium claims to return to the news. However, the media continues to miss the central point in the uranium dispute. The key point in Joe Wilson's original 7/6/2003 New York Times article (archive) was that Niger's operational mines were secure.
Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
At the end Wilson queries:
The question now is how that answer was or was not used by our political leadership. If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why).
We would not find out until a year later that his information was inaccurate. Or more precisely, it was completely irrelevant. In Mark Huband's 6/28/2004 article in the Financial Times (archive) we learn that the uranium was to be smuggled from abandoned mines.
Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

According to a senior counter-proliferation official, meetings between Niger officials and would-be buyers from the five countries were held in several European countries, including Italy. Intelligence officers were convinced that the uranium would be smuggled from abandoned mines in Niger, thereby circumventing official export controls. "The sources were trustworthy. There were several sources, and they were reliable sources," an official involved in the European intelligence gathering operation said.

The dispute is between operational and abandoned uranium mines. The British intelligence behind the "16 words" was that uranium would be acquired from abandoned mines while Wilson checked the security of operational mines. Wilson's trip did not debunk anything. Perhaps it should have occurred to him that since the black market price of uranium is significantly higher than the regulated market price he should have checked out the abandoned uranium mines.

The old 7/12/2004 Christopher Hitchens demolition of Wilson's claims is also worth rereading.

Cell Phones and Poverty

The Economist looks at how cell phones help growth in the developing world.
Mobile phones have become indispensable in the rich world. But they are even more useful in the developing world, where the availability of other forms of communication--roads, postal systems or fixed-line phones--is often limited. Phones let fishermen and farmers check prices in different markets before selling produce, make it easier for people to find work, allow quick and easy transfers of funds and boost entrepreneurship.... A recent study by London Business School found that, in a typical developing country, a rise of ten mobile phones per 100 people boosts GDP growth by 0.6 percentage points. Mobile phones are, in short, a classic example of technology that helps people help themselves.
The Economist then notes how many governments are charging high taxes on handsets and service. These taxes can be a huge drag on private sector growth, which could be the government's intention. But at least some governments are starting to get it.
Yet there is anecdotal evidence that reducing taxes on handsets can boost government revenues. People would rather pay a small tax on a legal handset than no tax on a smuggled one that cannot be returned if it goes wrong. There are some hopeful signs: India cut its import duty on handsets to 5% last year and plans to scrap it altogether.
It would be a good idea in the US and elsewhere to reduce or eliminate all local and federal taxes on communications. The cost of spectrum licenses, which are required to maximize efficiency, should be the only added government expense of cellular communication.

Environmental Priorities

The Environmental Economics blog comments on The Economist's Buttonwood column on Europe's adaptation of emissions trading markets. More media attention to emissions trading is a good thing, except both make the mistake of calling Europe's carbon trading markets pollution trading. CO2 is not a pollutant, it is a natural component of our atmosphere and it is the least potent greenhouse gas, though it is the biggest emission by amount.

The United States is the leader in reducing pollution emissions. We have reduced emissions of the six principal air pollutants (NO2, O3, SO2, CO, Pb, and particulate matter, PM) by 54% since 1970. We started emissions trading markets in 1995 for SO2 and have expanded trading to other pollutants. The Bush administration has proposed large diesel emissions reductions. Most of all, the Bush administration has put together the "Methane to Markets" program with 15 countries including all the major developing countries including India, China, and Brazil. Methane is 20 to 30 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2. The estimates are that this will remove 1% of all greenhouse gases emitted by humans by 2015 while providing needed energy to increase growth.

The United States leads the world in reducing emissions of everything but CO2. So now Europe insists on focusing on Kyoto CO2 emissions and nothing else. The Bush administration is definitely losing this PR war. I think we need to go on offense and call on the rest of the world to improve their air pollution standards and create world emissions markets for SO2 and other pollutants.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Checkpoint Charlie checks out

The 1065 crosses at the Checkpoint Charlie Monument in Berlin have been removed.

Another reminder of the horrors of the greatest evil ever conceived by man has been removed. Hopefully communism will forever remain on the ash heap of history.

May The Games Be With You

The Olympics are down to the final two. The latest markets have:
Paris 77.0
London 24.1

Update: The 2012 summer Olympics have been awarded to London.

There is lots of speculation that Chirac's trash talk may have cost Paris the Olympics.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Extra-Terrestial Super Collider

Deep Impact has hit the target.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

More on Affluent Bond-holders.

Jim Glass, commenting on the recent New York Times story on affluent non-taxpayers, reminds us that bond-holders implicitly pay taxes on exempt interest in the form of lower interest.
As of this writing the yield on 10-year AAA-rated fully taxable bonds is 4.66%, and that on 10-year AAA-rated tax-exempt bonds 3.71%

Since 3.71% is 20% less than the 4.66% that investors could get on same-risk, same-maturity bonds elsewhere, they are paying an implicit 20% income tax to the state issuer of the 3.71% state bonds. (Which they do voluntarily, since the 20% is less than the combined federal and state tax rate that they'd pay on fully taxable bonds.)

The Times thinks government can have it's cake (bonds) and eat it (taxes) too.

Deficits should not be considered as a failure to collect taxes. Voluntary bonds sales are the most progressive means for government to raise money. The people who will pay the most (lowest interest) for government bonds are the people who least need their money for other use.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Court Replacement

Many are calling for Bush to nominate a replacement with views similar to O'Connor's. I agree. It is most important that, like O'Connor, the new nominee is a defender of the ultra-extremist "property rights" movement.

As far as I know, Janice Rogers Brown is the candidate who is the strongest supporter of private property rights.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Court Vacancy

Sandra Day O'Connor has retired. Now the cable networks can devote their 24/7 coverage to the search for someone who is not a damsel in distress.

Generous Non-Taxpayers

The New York Times in their class warfare series looks at new 2002 I.R.S. data on "the number of affluent [top 2%] individuals and married couples who paid no federal income taxes". First it notes general tax distribution.
Over all, the top 2 percent of earners, the 2.5 million filers with income of $200,000 or more, paid almost 27 cents in taxes for each dollar of income they reported in 2002, other I.R.S. data showed. This group accounted for 53.5 percent of the income tax paid by all Americans.
The Times then divides the data into those who paid no taxes to the federal government and those who paid no taxes to any government. The data is also divided between A.G.I. and 'expanded income', which also includes money from sources like tax-exempt interest and untaxed Social Security benefits. But 'expanded income' is income that is earned from lending money to the government, mostly from buying bonds but also from payroll tax contributions. The Times may object but I have absolutely no problem with those who don't pay taxes because they have lent money to the government. The government has their money, it doesn't need to take any more. So I define 'generous non-taxpayers' as those affluent individuals who have lent so much of their fortune to the government that their remaining taxable income no longer qualifies as affluent. The report notes that "nearly two-thirds of those who lived tax free reported income from such bonds." About half have enough exempt income to be 'generous non-taxpayers' by my definition.

I have collect the number of nontaxpaying affluent from the Times article into a table:

                America                 World
        EI      AGI     G       EI      AGI     G
2002    5650    2959    2691    4922    2551    2371
2001    4910    3385    1525    4119    2875    1244
2000    2766    2328    438     298     2022    298
1977    85      60      25      64      37      27
The Times headline is that the number of non-taxpaying affluent grew by 15% in 2002. But the number of world 'generous non-taxpayers' increased by 90% in 2002 and 800% since 2000.

I, on behalf of all taxpayers, would like to thank all those generous people for lending their fortunes to the government so that it can provide the benefits it has without needing to take as much of our money.