Spanish Communist town provides jobs and housing

From the Dollars & Sense blog comes this NY Times piece about a Communist run town in Spain providing jobs and housing.  The NY Times focuses far too much time on what the mayor does than on how they put their Communist economy into practice.  Last I knew towns had councils that acted as a municipality's legislature.  My guess is that they are approving the town's municipal housing program and farming cooperative.  Here is the wikipedia entry that lists more about the town council.

The reporter wrote a similar article for the International Herald Tribune that appeared in the Boston Globe a month ago.

Increase the sales tax: Is our legislature crazy?

On the 27th, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved an increase in the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%.  Strangely, my own legislators in Somerville, who are viewed as very progressive and who I know and like, voted for it.

I understand that our Massachusetts' government is facing a very large deficit and that vital programs will be cut to balance the budget.  If we don't raise taxes then vital programs that help our cities and towns, children and provide the little safety net we have, will be axed.

However, increasing the sales tax is not the way to do it!

The sales tax is incredibly regressive.  Page 58 of The Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy's Who Pays: A distributional analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States lists a break down for the total tax burden faced by people at different levels of income in Massachusetts. 

Those in the lowest 20% by income, pay 9.3% of their income in taxes.  The poorest 20% pay 5.4% of their income in sales and excise taxes.

Those in the top 1% by income, pay 4.6% of their income (6.8% before they get a kick back from the federal government because of our state income tax) in taxes.  The richest 1% pay 0.6% of their income in sales taxes.  

Basically the Massachusetts House has decided to fund services used by the poor and middle class (as well as corporate welfare) on the back of the poor.

There are alternatives to a blanket increase in the sales tax. 

Short term, we could raise corporate taxes and eliminate the Fidelity and Raytheon tax breaks.  We could also raise the income tax rate while also increasing the value of deductions and exemptions so the higher rates don't hit the poor and middle class.  If need be, it would be more preferable to change the sales tax to cover services, or items bought over the internet.  While not perfect, both changes in the sales tax are more likely to effect the well off.

Longer term we could make the income tax progressive, or impose a wealth tax.  Yes, I know "that's not possible" because the rich and the corporations own our government.  Still, we have to fight for a just tax system.

The financial corporations and rich are getting a bailout, but the poor and middle class are getting the shaft.  Please urge your State Senator to vote against this increase in the sales tax and to seek fairer taxes.

Email appears to be working

I finally tracked down the problem that caused some, but not all, mailers to fail to send mail to jokeefe at jamesokeefe dot org. 

I had setup a CNAME record for that pointed to  This setting resulted in some servers getting the typepad domain name server and not the correct domain name server. 

Those servers that got the typepad dns would email to  Removing this CNAME record and instead setting up an A record that pointed to appears to have fixed the problem.

Various folks who have had problems in the past, are now able to email jokeefe at jamesokeefe dot org.  I am most pleased, though it took me too long to fix it.

Thanks to R. Scott Perry's helpful DNS Oversimplified page.