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A Nexus of Excess

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So if you’ve been following the headlines closely, you may have already seen the Bloomberg News item reporting that top hedge-fund managers make more in ten minutes than the average American worker earns in a year. The average annual pay of a truly motivated manager runs around $650 million — 22,255 times the average working stiff’s salary. Or you might have stumbled across the Steve Lipsher shocker in the Denver Post revealing that oversized second homes in Aspen contribute the bulk of that toddling town’s greenhouse gases, even though they’re occupied only a few weeks out of the year.

Meanwhile, we have mayors of towns a few miles from Aspen clamoring for increased severance taxes to deal with the impact of the gas boom on the Western Slope.

The obvious solution? Energy production taxes will only you get you so far. What we really need is a consumption charge on hedge managers who have trophy homes in Aspen. If they only live there 90-odd days a year, so much the better; the fee increases by a factor of 22,255, just on general principle, for being an energy-sucking absentee greedhead. That’s the kind of fee structure hedge managers understand.

Send the dough to the folks in Rifle, Parachute and other places being pillaged to develop the resources for the hedgehogs to consume. Simple, eh?

Next week: How to solve Ted Haggard’s tuition woes. -- Alan Prendergast

Tags: Aspen, Steve Lipsher, Rifle, Parachute, severance taxes, greenhouse gases

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