Thursday, February 19, 2009

new vocab words

I've been following political news a bit more closely this year. I think it's because I'm not so depressed about the state of our government anymore. As a result, I've learned two new words recently.

  • cloture - the closing or limitation of debate in a legislative body especially by calling for a vote

    This is apparently what happened in the Senate with the stimulus bill; they were able to avoid a filibuster because a few Republican Senators joined with the Democratic majority to force cloture.

  • probity - adherence to the highest principles and ideals

    The Economist published an article this morning deriding California as the ungovernable state. In the subtitle, they claimed that "California makes Washington, DC, look like a model of fiscal probity". I kind of figured out what it meant from the context but looked up a formal definition anyway.

    I'm not sure whether I agree with the article, but I found this part interesting: "In 2006 the top 1% of earners paid 48% of all income taxes. Since the wealthy derive much of their income from bonuses, capital gains and stock options, the state’s fortunes rise and fall with the markets..."

    To me, that just means that the state forgot how progressive our income taxes are, and thus did a poor job of forecasting future revenue. The article seems to imply that California's current budget crisis proves that extremely progressive taxation is bad. I'm not sure that one logically follows from the other.
Anyway, I'm happy to have gained some new vocabulary. Usually I feel like my English skills are only deteriorating over time, since I write code and not prose every day.

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