Death and taxes

December 8, 2010 1:50:30 PM PST
Death and taxes.

Both, they say, are certainties in life. And tonight, they're also certainties on Eyewitness News at 11.

The compromise tax plan between President Obama and Republican leaders isn't much of a compromise, according to Democrats, who say that Mr. Obama caved on his campaign pledge to roll back tax cuts for the "wealthy," meaning any family making more than $250,000 a year. (Which in New York City qualifies them for middle class.) But the President made his case that compromising on that continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts meant that Republicans wouldn't block extending the cuts for the rest of Americans, so he thought that a good trade off.

How much smarter it would be to slap a higher tax on people making a million or more per year? Critics say a lot.

What really has Dems ticked off at the President is the sudden turnabout on the so-called estate tax (why don't they just call it a death tax?). The cap is now a 35% tax rate, after the first $5 million in estate valuation.

That's far looser than anything Pres. George W. Bush, a non-believer in the estate tax, ever proposed.

And Congressional Democrats, meeting last night to discuss the compromise deal, were especially peeved about that part of the plan.

Now, Repubs are also taking a hard line about everything that's not tax-related - threatening to filibuster any other bill until the tax plan is passed.

And we wonder why people are cynical about politics and the government.

We'll have the latest on the tax plan, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're remembering John Lennon, who was shot and killed 30 years ago tonight. I did a quick survey in the newsroom today about Lennon. Those over a certain age still feel his loss, still get emotional about him. Those under that certain age appreciate who he was, but don't feel that emotional connection.

They may have cried about Michael Jackson, but don't feel that same loss with Lennon. I suppose the flip side is true; I'm not sure how many people who mourn the loss of Lennon felt mournful about Jackson - not with all the allegations of child molestation.

I've been listening today to Lennon's last album, and it's all so sad. He was just coming back after five years in relative seclusion, and his songs were written with pinpoint precision about his emotions and view of life at the age of 40. Life's what happens when you're busy making plans, he wrote. Or, I tell them there's no problems, only solutions.

Watchwords, still, for many.

Tonight at the Dakota Apartments where he was shot, and across the street in Strawberry Fields where his wife, Yoko Ono, built a memorial, Lennon fans will gather and light candles and sing his songs. We'll be there as well.

And as we remember John Lennon, there's word tonight that singer Aretha Franklin is suffering from pancreatic cancer. That would explain the recent cancellation of her concerts. We'll have the latest on her condition, at 11.

We're also keeping an eye on the computer hackers known as "Operation Payback" - who have attacked the Visa and MasterCard websites today, apparently in support of Wikileaks. The credit card companies have changed their relationship with the Internet whistleblowers because of its disclosure of diplomatic documents.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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