A tree at the Capitol, possibly holding the treehouse that hosted the secret talks.

Close your eyes for a second (after you finish reading this paragraph) and imagine an ideal federal budget. Maybe it bolsters the social safety net. Eliminates fossil fuel subsidies, perhaps. Invests in sustainable job creation. Makes taxes more progressive.

Now wake up. You’re dreaming.

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Politico this morning reports on “secret talks” involving a group of senators, aimed at breaking the legislative stalemate over the budget and, in particular, tax cuts. These secret talks (which are so secret that they’re on the homepage of Politico) will result in a bipartisan budget agreement that can pass both the House and Senate (except, probably, the House) and immediately get America back on track. And by “immediately,” of course, those in the know mean “immediately after Election Day,” which is when this topic would come up. Why the big rush, guys? If you suspect that perhaps these talks are a way of deflecting the argument that Republicans are sabotaging the economy, then you are very cynical. Ahem.

One thing that probably won’t change in the Republicans’ ultimate proposal: a revenue system that emphasizes increasing taxes on the poor while allowing tens of thousands of people earning over $200,000 a year to pay nothing. After all, the poor aren’t “job creators,” defined as “people who don’t want to pay taxes.”

Meanwhile, one of the parties to the “secret” talks, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), has unveiled a plan to that allows renewable energy firms to create master limited partnerships (MLP), letting them raise money on the stock market at lower levels of taxation. What might it mean for renewable companies?

A study by Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute has estimated expanding MLP structure to renewables could mean $3.2 billion to $5.6 billion in the next 10 years for the industry, although an aide to Coons cautioned the study’s results were not a precise comparison with what is included in the draft legislation.

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Well, as long as there’s a number to talk about.

Hopefully once the other “secret” talkers discover what a softie Coons is on hippie wind power, they’ll let him keep coming to their “secret” talks, which, we understand, are held in the basement of the Capitol in a pillow fort with a hand-written sign reading “NO HOWSE MEMBERS ALLOWD” safety-pinned to it.