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Even More Great Economic News

April's revenues were the second highest ever. So much for the argument that Bush's tax cuts have driven up the deficit:

A flood of income tax payments pushed up government receipts to the second-highest level in history in April, giving the country a sizable surplus for the month.


In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that revenue for the month totaled $315.1 billion as Americans filed their tax returns by the April deadline. The gusher of tax revenue pushed total receipts up by 13.4 percent from April 2005.

It marked the largest one-month receipt total since the government collected $332 billion in revenue in April 2001, reflecting a boom in capital gains from stock investors lucky enough to cash out their investments before the bursting of the stock market bubble in early 2000.

Jayson at Polipundit has the big picture numbers:

$ 119 billion = Government surplus in April 06.


11% = Decrease in monthly federal spending (April 05 v. April 06).

13% = Increase in monthly federal tax receipts (April 05 v. April 06).

22% = Year-over-year decrease in the annual federal budget deficit.

We can expect the economy to continue to grow and the revenue to continue to flow; the Republicans in congress have agreed on a deal to extend President Bush's tax cuts:

Republican leaders in Congress yesterday agreed to a $69 billion bill on tax-cut extension, which could be approved by both chambers by the end of the week, handing President Bush one of his top tax goals.

The House is expected to vote late today on the extension package, and Senate Republican leadership aides said yesterday that they hope the Senate will follow suit tomorrow or Friday.

"I think this legislation is critical," said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow. He said that the economy has improved in recent years and that Republican tax relief "lies at the heart of the good recovery we're seeing."

"Today's agreement is a victory for working Americans and for our strong economy," said House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

Indeed.


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Comments (39)

I'm not disagreeing with yo... (Below threshold)
Regret:

I'm not disagreeing with your conclusion that the news is good, but aren't there many expenditures that are excluded from the budget figures? When we define a budget surplus, are we really covering all current expenditures (at least on a cash flow basis)?

Its such a shame Bush is ru... (Below threshold)
CurlyLarryMoe:

Its such a shame Bush is ruining our economy and increasing My net worth so much ! I just cant stand it anymore oh boo hoo.. wheres the bad news? wheres Mak when you need him?

I'm sure the Dems will poin... (Below threshold)

I'm sure the Dems will point at this and say just how much revenue they could bring in if they could just raise taxes 10%!

And if they get that done, it would stall things out, and likely cause a recession... which would prove the tax cuts were a bad idea in the first place!

Right here you triple-heade... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Right here you triple-headed hydra....

LCM- out of curiosity, what is the range of your income?

After today's House voted a giveaway to the "Haves" and "Have Mores"

Those earning $20-30K get $9

Those earning $50-75K get $110

Those earning $100K-200K get $1388 and those

earning $1,000,000 & more get nearly $42,000.

With that sort of GOP beneficence, it's no wonder that 68% of Americans say they are worse off today than 6 years ago.

The deficit is fast approaching $9.5 trillion, we have a Balance of Payments Deficit around $800 billion this past year & the dollar is on the way to the toilet as a result.

Gas is at $3+ before hurricane season & before Bushpig bombs Iran & most folks' income (about 80% of Americans) has remained stagnant or declined in purchasing power since 2001.

Yep LarryCurlyMoe, boom times are a-comin.'

JLawsonYep, JL, ju... (Below threshold)
mak44:

JLawson

Yep, JL, just exactly like what happened after Clinton raised taxes in '93 amid all the Repub howls of "Recession" that never occurred.

I was wondering when you'd ... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

I was wondering when you'd show up, mak44.

How come your agruments are different than last time?

Should I go fish them from the archive, and see how they stand up?

The only Boom Times a comin... (Below threshold)
CurlyLarryMoe:

The only Boom Times a coming are the Booms going off in Iran in the near future.

Im better off then 6 years ago. and theres more to having and not having then just money.

Ah, but Mak - I remember th... (Below threshold)

Ah, but Mak - I remember the '80s - when Reagan cut back the damn near confiscatory taxes ol' Jimma said were needed...

And tax revenue more than doubled between 1980 and 1990.

What that provided was a stake that folks could use to bootstrap the boom of the '90s - and if Clinton hadn't raised taxes, there's no telling where our economy would be now.

Of course, it's still possible we'd have had the dot.com bust and the mild recession that came from that - and 9/11 was a kick in the economic nuts we didn't need - but I'm inclined to leave the tax rates where they are, especially if the revenue continues to rise.

Your mileage may vary, of course - but if something's working right in the economy, it'd be a fair idea to resist tweaking it to make it 'better'.

JLawsonThe revenue... (Below threshold)
mak44:

JLawson

The revenues may have grown during the 80's, but the deficit soared like at no time ever before. I'd say, that if indeed Reagan's tax cuts led to greater revenue, it fell hundreds of billions short of his expenditures.

That fact alone makes your claim of increased revenues from tax cuts more like a Medieval alchemist's fantasy. That Laffer crap was even eventually rejected by Reagan's OMB Director, David Stockman.

Your memory is too selective. Because one event occurs prior to another, does not necessarily establish a valid cause and effect.

LarryCurlyMoeronSo... (Below threshold)
mak44:

LarryCurlyMoeron

So there's more "to better off than just having money"? Yet you mention your net worth above. Is this an economic post or quality of life post to which you've shifted?

I said above, that 80% of Americans' income was either stagnant or decreased from 2001. If you're better off, then you are either one of the top 20% or just a dumb Middle Class Republiucan vassal who voted for Bush because you don't know which side of your bread that the butter is on.

Oh, I remember the deficit ... (Below threshold)

Oh, I remember the deficit soaring, Mak.

The Democrats controlling Congress made Reagan a deal. He could spend as much as he wanted to rebuild the military - as long as for every buck he increased the military budget THEY could spend an extra buck and a half.

Funny how fast something like that'll run up a deficit.

Of course, there's not nece... (Below threshold)

Of course, there's not necessarily a correlation between increased spending on entitlement programs and an increase in the deficit - as you said, just because one event happens after the other doesn't mean there's any relationship between them... right?

The military was in sad shape when Reagan got in - he did what he felt he had to do.

You have to pay to get a re... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

You have to pay to get a reduction.
Someone making a million in adjusted gross income is still $360,000,000 in federal income taxes so what's the beef with them getting back 42 grand? And that doesn't include $14,500 to $29,000 in medicare taxes on the income.
But that person gets only one vote, just like you.
Did you pay more than 42 grand in federal income taxes? Did you pay $14,500 in medicare taxes?

There are only two classes of taxpayers, net contributors which are 25% of the federal income taxpayers and the rest are net recipients at best or freeloaders at worst.

BTW JLawsonThe so-... (Below threshold)
mak44:

BTW JLawson

The so-called "confiscatory tax rate" of the 1970's was pretty much in place when Carter became president. He didn't levy it as you imply.

If you want the Presidential Suite w/ personal butlers at Trump Towers, would you call the rack rate of $10K to $15K or so a nite confiscatory because it was so much higher than a standard room rate?

The top 10% of the privileged wealthy in this country who control 70% of this nation's wealth should expect to pay the rate required to maintain this nation's defense and social order that has led to a climate where they can amass and maintain that preponderance of wealth. They have the most to lose and they have gained the most from this system so they should pay the freight.

Had the tax rate truly been truly confiscatory, they couldn't possibly have amassed their wealth.

Well, shouldn't the folks t... (Below threshold)

Well, shouldn't the folks that utilize society's infrastructure pay for it too? Or are we supposed to freeload off the "fat capitalistic pigs" you wanna tax to excess?

"Had the tax rate truly bee... (Below threshold)

"Had the tax rate truly been truly confiscatory, they couldn't possibly have amassed their wealth."

And that bothers you, dunnit.

Had the last election turne... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Had the last election turned out a bit differently, this would be part of the continuing "Kerry Recovery".

This is all well and good..... (Below threshold)

This is all well and good...but can we please cut some spending now to go along with it? Please? Let's start with international payoffs to countries whose residents want to blow up the US and go from there. Next would be any earmark that a logical person could tag as a "________ to nowhere".

Docjim505 -No, I t... (Below threshold)

Docjim505 -

No, I think Edwards would be President by now. Kerry would probably have bailed 'for health reasons' after about three months. I think for Kerry it was all about winning the Presidency, not actually BEING the President with all the responsibility attached to the position.

I could be wrong, and he might have had the stuff of greatness in him... but I doubt it.

Mak:

The marginal tax rate under Carter was 70%. Reagan dropped it to 50%. You might find some interesting stuff in this article from 1993

CATO Institute - The Futility of Raising Tax Rates
President Clinton has proposed a major increase in federal income tax rates, especially for the rich. His stated reason for that action is that the rich benefited disproportionately from the tax-rate reductions of the 1980s and thus are not paying their fair share. In fact, lower tax rates in the 1980s led to higher, not lower, revenues from the rich. The top 1 percent of taxpayers ranked by income, for example, paid over 25 percent of all federal income taxes in 1990, compared to less than 18 percent in 1981.
The history of tax-rate increases shows that they seldom produce much revenue. Their principal effect is to make higher taxes on the poor and the middle class more palatable. In fact, because of inflation and real growth of the economy, in just a few years tax rates originally imposed on the rich often apply to those with middle incomes. The rich, meanwhile, often evade higher rates by making increased use of deductions and other legal tax shelters. Moreover, higher rates tend to encourage Congress to add new deductions to the tax code.
The Clinton plan, therefore, is based on false premises and is unlikely to achieve the goal of increasing the tax burden on the wealthy. It will probably lead, instead, to higher taxes on the poor and the middle class, as higher revenues from the rich fail to materialize. In the end, the burden of higher taxes must fall largely on the middle class because that is where the bulk of income is. Thus, maintaining a low top tax rate is the best way to ensure that tax rates remain reasonable for those with low and moderate incomes.
Low tax rates mean money is available to invest in business - which means businesses can grow. More growth equals more tax revenue, both from business profits and personal income taxes. The trick would seem to be getting the right balance between taxs and growth.

You can shear a sheep many times - but you can only skin him once. Raise the rates, skin the business owner, and you'll get no more out of him. Let him grow a good thick coat, and you'll get plenty of wool over time.

[mak must be sleeping off t... (Below threshold)

[mak must be sleeping off the Absinthe still.]

Indeed, Lil Kim? Onc... (Below threshold)
Mick:

Indeed, Lil Kim?
Once again, "those with" win out and those who really need a break get screwed and you try to spin this positively?

Those earning $20-30K will get $9.

Those earning $50-75K will get $110.

Those earning $100K-200K will get $1388.

Those earning $1,000,000 & more will receive almost $42,000.

Indeed. Our "gain" will very nearly buy a tank of gas at this year's price.

No thanks. Keep my tax cut and the ridiculous $100.00 bribe that was offered last week to help offset gas prices.

Yes, just send Micks to Me ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Yes, just send Micks to Me instead!i could sure use a few more bucks.

It's working for me, I foun... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

It's working for me, I found $5 in a shirt pocket..just wondering though...this morning I saw a segment on home foreclosures at the highest in quite a few years. Also how I.rate has gone from 1% to 5% and BEST credit card rates from 9% to 16%. Thank goodness we bailed out the failing credit card companies with the Bankruptcy Act. If we are ALL living the good life show me any poll where more than 40% believe the economy is on the right track? Yep the Bush Economic plan is working..Iraq is working, everything is just peachy..and NSA collecting all those calls from ATT etc..hey they are just collecting not monitoring them.

Funny, I keep getting credi... (Below threshold)

Funny, I keep getting credit card offers with 2.9 and 3.9% introductory rates...

Re the foreclosures - saw an article that a lot of folks had bought properties planning to flip when the values went up - but when the values stagnated they walked. Plus, a couple of years back when we bought our house a lot of the loan officers we talked to tried to get us to take out an adjustable rate loan, since we could buy a more expensive house with a low interest rate. Since then, the Fed's been raising their rates, which has caused the variables to go up quite a bit. If we'd bought what we could have with an ARM instead of going with a fixed 30 year, we'd be kind of strapped right now. As it is, we're in good shape.

The liberal blogs are very ... (Below threshold)

The liberal blogs are very silent on the economic numbers and tax revenues. Not only the federal tax revenues are up, so are revenues in states like CA. Guess what? Arnold cut taxes, too!

I don't think the Left has grasped the idea that the more money in the pockets of the citizens produces better economic results than higher tax rates and more money in Uncle Sam's pocket.

Those earning 20K - 30K bar... (Below threshold)
JLadika:

Those earning 20K - 30K barely pay any federal taxes anyway. I am amazed that they are paying enough to even get $9 back.

Mick: So $100 doll... (Below threshold)
JLadika:

Mick:

So $100 dollars is a bribe and a $9 tax refund is laughable? You seem like an elitist based on your postings.

VirgoIt nev... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Virgo

It never ceases to amaze me that people like you who say they "could use the money" end up supporting a political party that doesn't give a damn about you unless you earn more than several hundred thousand dollars a year & your net worth approaches deca-millionaire status.

If you need $'s and you vote Republican, then you just flat out don't know which side of your bread that the butter is on.

I think that Bush's collapse in the polls reflects that most Americans, apart from a few Pavlovian Puppies like you, are getting it--even if belatedly.

JLawson

If you're such a fan of the CATO Insitute, then read a little background on this organization to which you've hitched your wagon:

www.voltairenet.org/art icle30090.html

During the era of Reagan, a number of right-wing institutes were founded by the likes of Coors and other centi-millionaire extreme right patrons in order to flood public discourse with skewed research, so-called studies & rightist propaganda.

CATO, among others like The Heritage Foundation and The American Enterprise Institute, are basically fronts for extreme right orgsnizations and their propaganda.

CATO is a looney bin of whacko economists, among other things, and all that bilge you quoted above is nothing but a skewed argument for Laffer Curve economics. What you quote above may sound fine & appear to be sensible, but you'll have a hard time finding any mainstream economists who agree with CATO's foolishness.

What people like you never seem to get, that inspite of alleged increased tax revenues attributable to Reagan tax cuts, Reagan essentially tripled the National Debt in 8 years from $1.028 trillion in 1981 to $2.857 trillion in 1989. Now that's a mighty feat, considering that, according to Laffer & CATO finance monkeys, revenues should accelerate w/ tax cuts.

The Laffer Curve is indeed the Laugher Curve, just as David Stockman, Reagan's OMB Director finally acknowledged. It is Voodoo Economics; it is nothing but Medieval alchemy.

JLawson, if you're going to got to orgs like CATO to develop your debating points, then you are just offering up your brain to have it pithed. No wonder you think the way you do.


Well, I'll start looking ar... (Below threshold)

Well, I'll start looking around over at Commondreams.org. I'm sure I can get pithed there.

Mak seems like some of that... (Below threshold)
BMaron:

Mak seems like some of that seething rage Richard Cohen was writing about. Why does income re-distribution surface as the save all for commie..er committed leftists? It's never worked, never will work and stops economic growth in its tracks. Ask Britain. When the tax rates skyrocketed in the 60's and 70's, money left Britain like college professors at a David Horowitz lecture. Spending reductions will bring down the deficit, not tax increases.

well, this explains today's... (Below threshold)
Lee:

well, this explains today's plummeting Dow Jones average... the Republicans are telling us we have nothing to worry about -- THAT MEANS ITS TIME TO PANIC!!!!

lol.

So let me get this right (t... (Below threshold)
Scuba:

So let me get this right (translated to Layman's Terms as I see it):

-The government is recieving less cash in due to tax cuts which do not benefit the average joe (me).

-The government is spending less after liberaly cutting funding to just about everything of benefit to the average joe (me).

This is good news? The economy is chugging along and rich people are getting richer but I'm still hoarding loose change to pay for gas?

Mak44, the Laffer curve is ... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Mak44, the Laffer curve is elementary economics. If you accept basic premise that 0% tax will provide no government income and 100% tax will provide no government income, the you essentially accept the Laffer Curve. If you don't you're an imbecile.

Same here buddy..thats abou... (Below threshold)
Dick Morrass:

Same here buddy..thats about the gist of it.

scuba: you need to learn to... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

scuba: you need to learn to read AND think. One or both of these skills needs work.

Govt is actually recieving more money with lower taxes now than it was before, because there is more money available to tax. The amount of money in the economy is NOT set. It can grow, it can wither, and it can go into hiding. Lower taxes encourage growth and cause less of it to be hidden away.
Your definition of average joe... are you on welfare? You pay no taxes? Then why be pissed that those of us who do are paying less?

Govt. Programs: Saddly, they have gone UP. The govt. is spending more, not less. Why Bush and the republicans are losing support from their base (one of the reasons).

The rich are not getting richer because they pay less in taxes. They are able to spend their money as they see fit (and almost all spending is taxed, somehow, even in states without sales tax). They either invest it in the bank (and grow their taxable property), spend it on a good or service (that creates a demand for goods and services, which generate taxes) or they invest it a business or property (their's or another's). If these investments do what they should, the money grows, and there is more to tax...
If anyone is getting richer, they have gained income, then next year they will have MORE TO TAX.

Let's say that the govt decides to tax me less, and I get $2,000 that stays in my pocket. In your world, thats $2,000 that the govt can no longer spend.
In my world, that is $200 in the bank. It will gain in a year 3% interest. That interest is taxed. Taxes not collected before.
Then there is the $500 I will spend on clothes and such. The govt taxes the labor that made these items. They tax the labor that ships it, and the labor that sells it. They tax the sale and transport of the items. Then my state taxes it again. Don't forget the taxes on the sellers profits, and the shippers. And the property taxes. Taxes that would not have been collected if I didn't have that money. And people have jobs, making, shipping and selling these goods.
Then I take $300, and give it to charity. That $300 goes a long way with Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and other groups. Further than similar govt programs. OK, so maybe no taxes are grown here (aside from any hidden taxes when the charity buys goods or services).
The last thousand, I invest in some stocks. I spread is around, into say 10 different companies )or 2 mutual funds, your choice.
At the end of the year, assuming I was conservative and neither hit the magic IPO nor a real stinker, I've now got $1,100 dollars. And the govt will tax that when I cash it in. And the companies I invested in will have more money to employ people, make products, invest etc, and all of that will be TAXED.
Now multiply this, and keep in mind that the rich you so loath can invest in things I couldn't begin to consider... like property (which is taxed EVERY year, and for every improvement).
Thinking of that, lets say I am T. Heinz-Kerry. My tax savings in $75,000. I take that money and buy some land in Wyoming. I build a modest ranch house on it. The rest I conserve as a nature refuge for antelope and bison. Give John someplace to relax when he's not in the Senate (for all the time he's not there, he needs many places to go, don't you know).
Now that land will be taxed on its value every single year. It will likely become more valuable every year. It certainly will in the long hall (demand is going up, supply is stagnant). Money will be spen on this property every year. Getting there, upkeep, food etc. This is all taxed.
That 75k that the govt doesn't get today will grow into a much larger taxable body over the years.

Now, instead of being angry at the so called rich (which I heard one congress critter as the top 10%, laughable, since the top 10% pays nearly 66% of the income tax burden, and 94k is the entry point. I'd like to make that much some day, but I don't call a household income of 94k rich with a capital R.), what is going on in your life that leaves you groping for change in the cushions?
Are you forced into living where you live? Into the job you have? Into buying what you buy (and is everything you buy an essential?)?
If you answered no to any of these, you can make changes in your own life, and get ahead.

If an uneducated hick like me can go from the bottom 50% (those that pay little to no taxes, and as a whole pay 4% of the total) to the top 25% (those that pay nearly 84%), then just about anyone can.
Oh, and with lower taxes, I am more likely to join the top 10%, and pay even more than I do now. Raise my taxes, and I get there slower, or not at all. Esp since a small increase in income when you jump tax brackets is enough to equate to a net loss in the pocket book.

OF course, there is a limit... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

OF course, there is a limit to how low you can set taxes before revenues fall (hence the Laffer curve comments above).

Andrew P.
I suspect 100% taxation, aka Communism, is just what Mak44 would like best ;)

Jladoofus:You betcha... (Below threshold)
Mick:

Jladoofus:
You betcha. I'm an elitist (who begrudged the $9.00 refund in his comment? Oh yea, that was you)

I'm just a middle class guy who's smart enough to see that Bush has helped the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, (and is putting the middle class in danger of extinction) and has saddled our grandkids with a whoppin' big national debt they'll never repay, while you sycophants say thanks, then end over and take it some more.

Understanding all of this takes a higher level of cognitive reasoning than most Bushies are used to. But not to worry. Just sit there, smiling at your framed picture of W. on the White House lawn and wait for Jesus to come back and save us all from this mess.

squoozyA very over... (Below threshold)
mak44:

squoozy

A very over-simplified explanation of the Laugher Curve. You omitted any comment about Reagan's guru Stockman's denunciation of the whole concept of Laugher economics after busting his ass for several years in an attempt to implement it.

If Laugher worked, the national debt wouldn't have accelerated from a little over a trillion dollars in 1979 to nearly 8 trillion dollars as of 9/30/2005.

And 1 more point to all this: of the 7trillion increase in national debt since 1979 to date, Clinton added only a tad over 1 trillion during his 8 years as compared to Reagan/Bush/Bush's 7+ trillion.

So, Squoozy et al{ for all your Laugher smoke & mirrors about increased revenues, the results show your simpleton argument to be outrageously absurd and nothing more than economic smoke & mirrors.

As I said, some of the most absurd Medieval alchemy ever foisted on a nation. In 19 years of Republican reverse Robin Hood, furure generations have been saddled w/ over 7 trillion dollars of debt.

All your BS rationale as above is just plain stupud. The results of robbing the Middle Class to line the pockets of Bush's "haves" and "have mores" are clear enough: $8 trillion in debt & growing.

Now shove your silly simplistic Laugher econ up where the light doesn't shine.

Squoozy & Lawson, you couldn't get out of 1st grade arithmetic, not to mention econ.

SCSIwuzzy:You are in... (Below threshold)
SimpleScuba?:

SCSIwuzzy:
You are insulting to a very typical degree. I consider this a personal attack completely without warrant. I did not come onto this blog and start calling everybody masochistic Republican sycophants. I courteously posted my opinions and interpretations without stooping to base presumptions with no evidence.

"scuba: you need to learn to read AND think. One or both of these skills needs work."
I read quite often; it happens to be a favorite hobby of mine. I also happen to think a great deal. Admittedly I don't think or read about this nation's distribution of wealth very often, as it is quite depressing.

"Your definition of average joe... are you on welfare? You pay no taxes? Then why be pissed that those of us who do are paying less?"
No, I'm not on welfare and I pay my taxes. Why would you think otherwise? I wrote nothing to lead you to conclude that I did not. Nor did I even give a definition of the average joe.
-
Thank you for the explanation on tax cuts and how they are beneficial to our economy. Now tell me how they are beneficial to me and the majority of Americans.

The way I see it -as a consumer- I've been paying for most (if not all) of those taxes you just mentioned as being advantageous- in the form of higher prices on goods, services... etc, etc. Then again I might just be pulling that out of my ass. After all, I don't read.

I'm not even going to touch any of the little juicy bits you put into your post about charities and the creation of jobs -tempted as I am. The topic of debate here seems to be taxes and the economy so I will stick to that.

"Govt. Programs: Saddly, they have gone UP. The govt. is spending more, not less. Why Bush and the republicans are losing support from their base (one of the reasons)." (YOU- SCSIwuzzy)

"11% = Decrease in monthly federal spending (April 05 v. April 06)." (Jayson/Kim Priestap)

Contradiction here. Please explain. Somebody has their circuits crossed.

As a side note I would have said that Federal spending was UP rather than down if it were not for this little bit that I read (quite clearly mind you) way back at the beginning.

Democracy NOW




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