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"According to scientists around the world, we are on a downward slope. Enough is enough" -- Leonardo DiCaprio, at Earth Day 2000 in WashingtonEdited by Robert McNattReturn to top

Uncle Sam Has a Bull by the Horns

The good news: the booming 1999 stock market probably generated billions of dollars in unexpected capital-gains tax revenues for the U.S. Treasury. Result? This year's budget surplus could hit $200 billion--more than $20 billion higher than Congress and the White House were estimating as late as February.

The better news: The volatile 2000 stock market may generate even more billions for Uncle Sam. How can a falling market mean higher tax revenues? The Nasdaq, for instance, has dropped about 30% since its March high. But investors selling now often have hefty capital gains from stocks brought last year. So figure that tax revenues will rise in fiscal 2001, spiking the projected budget surplus even more. But as James Horney, an analyst at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, says, it's too soon to tell by how much.

Still, a cloud lurks behind every silver lining. A severe bear market would slow the economy, lower the income-tax take, and reduce the impact of more capital-gains taxes. And capital gains taken now would reduce future tax revenues. But these days, at least, the fiscal forecast is sunny.By Howard Gleckman; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top

A Picture Is Worth...

The photo, by now, is iconic: a fisherman holding a frightened boy facing an armed federal agent. So how much is that shot of Elian Gonzalez being taken from his Miami home actually worth?

Surprisingly, not an awful lot, says the Associated Press, which owns the pic taken by freelancer Alan Diaz, who had been assigned to the Gonzalez story for months. The AP, which provides its photos to member newspapers, says that no individual photo--no matter how famous--affects revenues much, even when sales to nonmembers are counted.

But if that shot had been taken by an independent photographer using a savvy photo agency, it would be a six-figure bonanza, say photo professionals. Offered exclusively to Time or Newsweek, a bidding war could have driven the price up to $50,000, says Georges DeKeerle, managing editor at Liaison photo agency in New York. Then, he estimates, a further $25,000 from tabloids such as the National Enquirer and similar sums from overseas magazines could bring the early gross to $300,000.

That's more than Diaz got. Sources familiar with the AP peg his per diem at less than $200. So will the plucky photographer at least get a bonus? The AP wouldn't say.Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top

TABLE

Where They Love Their Cars

When it comes to brand loyalty among car shoppers--measured by whether

their new cars are the same make as their previous ones--San Franciscans show

the least loyalty. Brand loyalty is highest in the Midwest, where many auto

workers have incentive plans from their employers. In Detroit, 64% of car

buyers remain loyal to their old marque. Manufacturers care, because even

small increases in customer loyalty translate into large retail gains.

LOYALTY RATE FOR LOCAL CAR BUYERS

FIVE LARGEST -------------------------------------

METROPOLITAN AREAS ASIAN DOMESTIC EUROPEAN TOTAL

MAKES MAKES MAKES

NEW YORK 38.7% 39.0% 33.4% 38.3%

LOS ANGELES 41.4 43.9 36.1 42.2

CHICAGO 39.4 43.3 35.4 42.2

WASHINGTON 37.6 40.2 31.9 38.8

SAN FRANCISCO/ 36.3 38.0 33.7 36.9

OAKLAND/SAN JOSE

U.S. AVERAGE 39.1 47.0 34.4 44.4

DATA: POLK CO.

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