Archive for the 'Americans are stupid!' Category

Dec 17 2013

A Fox News Christmas……

Stuart Varney- who once was a competent business reporter, before he sold his soul to the devil Roger Ailes, would love this wonderful re-telling of "Its a Wonderful Life".

 

 

The douchebags folks at Newsbusters can't see the humor in this-but trust me, it strikes closer to home than one might think. Trust me, Noel Sheppard, I've spent Christmas with conservatives. You may think they are rooting for George, but only because its a movie. In real life-they root for no one but their own selfishness.

 

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Oct 03 2013

The Vandals are hard at work.

Congress imposed a government shutdown? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me.

 

( All posts will start with this until the shutdown is over).

 

I awoke this morning at my usual time and I started to get up. I've got to get to work! Then I realized, that no, I don't have to because my worthless excuse for a Congressman, the not so Honorable Mo Brooks-had selfishly willed that I can't. So I got up,  made coffee,  surfed porn read the news, and tried to figure out how to file the insurance claims I need to file since I need every penny I can get.

It was never supposed to be this way, I tell myself. How did it get this crazy?

Well here is why:

This is the unspoken subtext of what the vandalism is all about. This is the real motivation behind all the tricornered hats and the incantations about liberty and all the conjuring words that have summoned up the latest crisis in our democracy. Corporate money is the power behind all of it, and that corporate money has but one goal — the creation of a largely subjugated population and a workforce grateful for whatever scraps fall from the table. To accomplish this, the corporate money not only had to disable the institutions of self-government that are the people's only real protection, it had to do so in such a way that the people expect less and less of the government and, therefore, less and less of each other, acting in the interest of the political commonwealth. (The dismantling of organized labor is a sideshow to the main event in that the goal there was to cripple organized labor's political power within the political institutions so that there would be no countervailing force that could be brought to bear against the destruction of its power in the workplace.For all the endless bloviation about the dead-hand of government, what the vandals in Washington are shooting for right now is a subject population whose tattered freedoms depend on the whimsical ethics of the American corporate class. This is the really deep game being played here, and they're more than halfway to winning it.

 

Got that? Having already fucked me and the lifesyle I need to live with the sequester-these assholes are now going for the rest of my existence. This, in a world where Jamie Dimon made 23 million dollars last year-with stock assets of worth over 3 times that-when the man should have been really getting ass raped in prison. ( For those that don't know-Jaime Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan, the organization that fucked us all in 2008 with its bad bets on real estate, and then got bailed out 100 cents on the dollar). In case you have been living in a cave somewhere, let me remind you that JPMorgan is negotiating to pay $11 billion or so in fines to settle some regulatory investigations. These fines are on top of the billions of dollars of other fines that JPMorgan has already paid to settle other investigations, and the other billions of dollars of fines that JPMorgan will presumably pay to settle the investigations not settled in this $11 billion-ish settlement.  Interestingly enough-there are people who don't think he should be fired. The money is in the economy to fund the things that need to be funded in the Federal Budget.

Jamie Dimon does not have to sweat paying his bills. But he is part of the crew that is making sure I am sweating mine.

Fuck you, pay me.

 

3 responses so far

Sep 26 2013

Why I am glad they don’t have CSPAN over here.

So I don't have to listen to assholes like Ted Cruz babble on for 21 hours.

Law #1: Godwin’s Corollary Law of Teabagging Congress

“As any Teabagger protest in Congress grows longer, the odds of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches ’1.’ Corollary: The first person to mention Hitler or the Nazis on the floor of Congress automatically loses the debate.”

You  knew Cruz was going to go there. Which is why its more than appropriate that Jon Stewart and he staff watched the speach so you didn't have to.

What Jon Stewart said.

 

 

 

Ted Cruz needs to be one of the first to go against the wall when the day comes.

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Jul 25 2013

The reality of the situation is disturbing at times.

There are times, only a few, that I think that the election of Barak Obama-while quite necessary from the stand point of stopping some of the lunacy of the Bush years-may have been a bad thing in the long term. Perhaps it would have been better to plunge on into the Great Depression that Grandpa McCain and the worthless whore woman from Wasilla would have plunged us into.

Of course the problem with that line of thinking is that its nonsense, and besides which, McCain could have had a stroke and we could have had shit for brains as the first female commander in Chief.

Nope. It was the choice we made and we chose correctly among the available options.

Nonetheless, the election of Barak Obama has set into motion the largest lust for vengeance ever seen in this country since Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court house; the direct result of which is that the Republican party went insane. And when they do win a majority in Congress or the Presidency-stand the fuck by, life in the once proud United States is going to suck.

A lot. Take the altered reality of Hill Valley California in the altered timeline of Back to the Future part II, and times it by ten. That is the misery our Galtian overlords are waiting to inflict upon us.

The barbarians are at the gate-and I fear we will not be able to hold them off much longer. It might just be time to apply for that Thailand retirement Visa and drop off the face of the earth.

Charles Pierce provides us a glimpse of the trailer from the disaster movie that will be shown when it happens:

Of course, all of what he's railing against here has been going on since 2010, when the American people put their brains in a jar and elected a House Of Representatives full of Louie Gohmerts and a Senate minority for which Bob Bennett of Utah was Che Guevara. (Emphasis mine-SS) The president has paid a fearsome price for neglecting his primary duty as the leader of his party — to make the Republican party pay an even more fearsome price for rendering itself into the retrograde monkeyhouse. If he had fulfilled that duty as leader of his party, he would have been better able to fulfill his duties as leader of the country. Now, he's pushing back against a resistless tide of complete, unfettered vandalism and lunacy, as best expressed in the lead story in today's Times, in which the House majority produced its wish-list that absolutely will become law the first chance they get to enact it. They do not bluff. This was no posturing. This is what they believe good government is, and it is what they will do to the country if they ever get the power. This was the trailer for the eventual disaster movie.

The big concern that I have is that Obama is just coasting right now-hoping he can just hold on till 2014 and maybe, just maybe, he might get a favorable election result. Fat chance of that.

Meanwhile, I get stuck with a 20% pay cut-and the very real possibility of losing my job next year-because he has yet to dramatically take on and call the GOP agenda what it is: an agenda " infected by an almost pathological mean spiritedness".

The drift cannot go on -for this year or for the remaining 3 years. And much as it pains me to admit it-the President bears a part of the blame for this. His speech the other day was a good start-where in he bluntly pointed out what we have known since 2009:

"Once upon a time, in the middle of the last century, America had a thriving economy in which the middle class was at the center and everyone — poor and rich alike — did better. But then, starting in the late 1970s, a group of self-serving rich people began to sell a promise that if we took better care of them, their wealth would trickle down, and that would help everyone else prosper. The country bought that line. And for three decades both parties yielded to it. The results were great for the very rich — and disastrous for everyone else. Wages stagnated. Inequality became extreme. Mobility slowed. By 2008, things were so upside down and we had so lost our way that the economy collapsed. Out of that ruin, many began to remember the old ways: the truth that lasting growth and shared prosperity come from the middle out and not the top down. Now we are joined in a battle of ideas to see whether middle-out economics can dethrone trickle-down."

But with out execution-its nothing. It's all well and good to say it. But the crazy loons like Ted Cruz et al-they don't care, they will just wait the President out and hope they take the Senate  in 2014. Meantime-the disastrous drift would go on.

The popular viewpoint among the Teabagger set is that its all the President's fault-as witness James Taranto's latest stupid unhinged rant over at the Wall Street Journal. ( Zimmerman could have shot him instead of Trayon Martin-then it really would have been justifiable homicide).  But its not true-both sides could find a reasonable middle ground,  but they won't.

And so the slide towards my eventual unemployment will continue…………

Like I said-at this point in time, Mr Pierce may have it right:

By now, though the president is loath to point it out, it's obvious that, in terms of addressing the country's real problems, there was no particular point in having elected him twice, because there was no serious intention on the part of the opposition to recognize his administration as being possessed of a legitimate mandate to do anything, and no serious attempt on the part of the courtier press to push back against the very real danger of what that situation implies.

Anybody know of a bar for sale in Pattaya? Or what the number of that truck driving school was?

 

12 responses so far

Jul 21 2013

Some people remain true to form.

Some people are just incapable of change. Or understanding anything. Like Jim Hoft, The Dumbest Man on The Internet. Or his worthless colleagues at the Liars Club. Consistently-worthless pieces of s**t, each and every one of them.

And Charles Pierce had the temerity this weekend to point that out:

There is nothing in there that any sensible person would gainsay. There is nothing in there that could be interpreted as being in any way "divisive," unless you happen to be a person who considers the basic reality of the everyday contact between the races as being inherently divisive. (And, maybe, as a bonus, having said all that will make the president less likely to appoint Ray — Stop 'N Frisk — Kelly as his director of Homeland Security.) But it was unquestionably the most direct public remarks the president has made as a black man since he rose to prominence in 2004. As such, dear Jesus, has it jumped on some people's last nerves. Take, for example, the Dumbest Man On The Internet, who thinks the president's unremarkable remarks are a declaration of war on white people like him. Or some allied morons. But this swill is going to get some traction in more respectable circles because, in making those remarks, and in sounding for one of the very few times like what once was called a Race Man, the president broke what a lot of people assumed was a covenant he'd made with them when they permitted him to be president. That covenant was fashioned for him during his speech to the Democratic convention in Boston, wherein he told a divided country everything it really wanted to hear about itself. He was going to be the living demonstration of the progress the nation had made. His job, in addition to being president, was going to be as a redemptive figure. That was the deal by which the country would allow him to be its president.

 

See, it drives guys like William Jacobson, Hinderaker, and the rest of the herd of chronically stupid people-just up the wall that anyone might actually say the truth. Namely that it is a sad commentary on the state of the United States where: 1) People feel compelled to walk around with guns they have no business having-and the government of the respective states of Florida and Texas and others aid and assist them in that quest. 2) That people think it is perfectly fine for a non-policeman to gun down an unarmed man simply because he was walking down the street.

And to point out the criteria by which Zimmerman decided to stalk Martin and thus incite the altercation that got Martin killed-to point out that it was racial. That really spools them up.

But the facts are still the facts-as much as rumbling herd of morons who read the columns over at Breitbart's Mausoleum tell you differently. Don't read the comments there-it will make you despair of humanity in general and Americans in particular. Want to know why the United States of America is declining in the global competition? Just take a look at the Breitbart audience and multiply it a 1000 fold. Ramapant stupidity is spreading in the land of my birth.

I don't know which is more screwed up, the "Not Guilty" verdict-or the inability of the right wing to attribute it to tragic set of circumstances, which were completly avoidable.

Take this little gem for instance:

NB: I have included links for purpose of citation. I do not recommend going to any of them, except Wonkette.

As per an article released the 17th, Gateway Pundit is now circulating speculation that Trayvon Martin’s purchases—Skittles and Arizona-brand fruit juice—were to be used to create “lean” — aka sizzurp, purple drank. His source is American Thinker, which claims that a 2011 Facebook interaction between Martin and a friend included the former requesting a hook-up for codeine, to make drank.

 

What this guy says:

 

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Jul 15 2013

The Zimmerman verdict

There is not much for me to say about the verdict. I feel about the same way I did when OJ was aquitted-shock that it happened, and no surprise that it happened exactly the way it did in Florida. Florida's gun laws suck-and the "stand your ground law" that Zimmerman based his defense on, is poorly written and unevenly enforced. 

The two key issues of the case for me are: 1) Zimmerman followed Martin-after he was specifcally advised not to.  In essence he picked a fight he didn't have to pick-and could have left to trained law enforcement officers. 2) Despite the opinion of the jury, the case for self defense here was weak at best. Because Florida's law is written so poorly-and has a lot to do with determining Zimmerman's mental state-logical burdens of proof would not and could not be met:

Contrary to popular misconception, the burden of proof lies on Zimmerman to demonstrate that he acted in self-defense, not on the state to show that he didn't. "Innocent until proven guilty" only applies to culpability for the offense in question, and no one has argued that Zimmerman didn't pull the trigger that ended Martin's life. While someone who has committed a violent crime obviously has the right to defend himself, we set a dangerous precedent if we automatically give the benefit of the doubt to the murderer instead of the victim. Not only does the victim lack a voice to present his or her side of the story, but any murderer who has been caught will naturally be inclined to argue that his or her actions were somehow justified. Because a murderer's word is obviously suspect, and because murder is not an offense which we can afford as a society to sanction without the strongest of all possible reasons, we must demand that one who is known to have taken another human life establish beyond any shred of doubt that he or she had good reason to do so — and punish them, for the sake of protecting the sanctity of human life, if their culpability can be established and their justification cannot.

Zimmerman never convincingly proved that his life was in danger. His bloody nose and the scrapes on the back of his head do suggest that he and Martin were involved in a physical altercation of some sort, but had he had his head smashed against the pavement several times (as he claims), he would have sustained far worse injuries than that. As the evidence stands, all we know for certain is that he and Martin had a fight, which does not translate into justifiable cause for thinking his life was in danger. If, for example, two men are involved in a barroom brawl, and one pulls out a gun and shoots the other, the killer shouldn't be exonerated simply because both parties were equally engaged in the act of violence; he is only justified if he can prove that he had good reason to fear the other party would have killed him if he had not acted first. A charge of manslaughter may be substituted for a more severe account, but it is ludicrous to claim that he should be entirely acquitted. Similarly, Zimmerman simply fighting with Martin does not justify Zimmerman killing Martin precisely because the only sound evidence that could have proved his life was in jeopardy — the severity of his bodily injuries — failed to meet that standard of proof. In short, there is no good reason to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had to end Martin's life.

What's probably more troubling are the reactions of the brain damaged individuals who inhabit the Liar's Club and those of the totally deranged at "Breitbart's Mausoleum". It is the reaction of the learning impaired at of these locations that make one ashamed of the human race in general-and Americans in particular. If you want some real evidence of the decline of American civilization and the corrupting effects of a fake news organization like Fox News-just read some of the comments there. Then take several showers to wash the filth off of you.

Matthew Rozsa summed it up well-its time for a "J Accuse" type letter to the country as a whole:

Yet millions of people have ignored the facts, and the rather basic logic that can be applied to them, because they want to take his side. Even before the photographs of Zimmerman's injuries were released, or before Martin's character was smeared by Zimmerman's defense attorneys, these same people were scrounging around for ways to defend Zimmerman and condemn the child whose life he took. For all of the talk of political correctness inconveniencing white people, the primary beneficiaries of braindead etiquette are the racists who are allowed to spew their bile and then hide behind disclaimers of their own so-called "color blindness."

I say enough. And I add to that disgust the following:

I accuse George Zimmerman of being a common murderer, for the reasons explained before.

I accuse Zimmerman's defenders of believing that Trayvon Martin deserved to die because he was a black male.

Some of them undoubtedly have deluded themselves into thinking that they aren't racist; others, just as certainly, know that they dislike black people but lie so as to avoid the stigma of being labelled a "racist." All, however, are basing their opinions on the fact that Martin was black. If both men had been white, these same people would never dream of arguing that a heavyset adult male with a firearm could be defended for stalking an unarmed child and killing him. These same people, whether they admit it or not, would rightly dismiss his claim to have acted in self-defense once the aforementioned evidence was presented to them. Because Martin was black, however, they readily bought into the stereotypes our society teaches about African American men, and formed their opinions accordingly.

Finally, I accuse our society of systematically targeting African Americans using the same logic employed by Zimmerman, his supporters, and the Florida jurors.

20 responses so far

Jul 12 2013

Quotable

I love the writing of Charles Pierce.

First of all,he is not afraid of all the conservative concern trolls who get all bent out of shape when one calls one of the Representatives from Wisconisn , the "zombie eyed granny starver" he truly is. Nor does he fall apart when they whine about the supposed injustice on calling them out on their selfishness and cruelty. You know who you are trolls-please go fuck yourselves.

But the other reason I like him is he has a way with the words. This is sheer prosaic beauty:

Our Congress is now a cut-rate circus with nothing but eunuchs as performers. Some of these people, like Stutzman and his colleagues in the flying-monkey caucus, become eunuchs by choice. Some of them, like John Boehner, are drafted into the position. Their job is to be forcibly impotent so that the government itself becomes forcibly impotent. They are proud of what they do. They consider it a higher calling to public service that they decline to serve the public. They sing a soprano dirge for democracy in Jesus's name, amen.

Or this:

Do we need to mention that Mr. Stutzman is a member of the Class of '10, when the country decided with malice aforethought to elect the worst Congress in the history of the Republic? Do we need to mention that this bill has no chance of passing the Senate, or of being signed by the president, or of ever becoming law in this country? Of course, we don't. That isn't what this brutal act of maladministration was about. That isn't what this House is about any more. We've made jokes about how Eric Cantor has Boehner's balls buried in a Mason jar in his backyard. As far as governing the country goes, the rest of the House is more along the lines of Origen of Alexandria who, when he found himself tempted by the sins of the flesh, seized a knife and, as Flann O'Brien's vision of St, Augustine puts it, deprived himself in one swipe of his personality. Whenever the House majority feels itself tempted by the sin of actually governing, out comes the blade and all of them sing soprano harmonies.

 

They do this to demonstrate that government cannot work. They do this so that they can go home and talk at all the town halls and bean suppers to audiences choking on the venom that pours out of their radios and off their television screens about how government doesn't work, and how they stood tall against it, and against Those People who don't want to work for a living. (When Stutzman says he's a "fourth-generation farmer" who doesn't want the Farm Bill to be a "welfare bill," the folks back in LaGrange County don't need an Enigma machine to decode what he's saying.) They do this out of the bent notion, central to their party's presidential campaign last fall, that anyone on any kind of government assistance is less entitled to the benefits of the political commonwealth. And they all believe that; the only difference between Paul Ryan and Marlin Stutzman is that Ryan has been a nuisance for a longer period of time. That the country rose up and rejected that notion in a thundering manner is irrelevant. What does the country matter in the Third Congressional District of Indiana? There, they believe government cannot work, and they elect Marlin Stutzman to the Congress to demonstrate to the world that it cannot.


As James Fallows reminds this-it would be funny if it were not entirely true. Unfortunately it is, so it is nothing short of terrifying and crazy.

 

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May 15 2013

Yes Virginia, these people are that crazy.

I have been watching with great interest the cries of anguish over the so called "scandals" that have your dyed in the wool member of the Teabag set, salivating and dreaming of the day they get their revenge. Just for grins I actually dropped in on the group "that prides itself on its civilized discussion"-even though they very seldom actually do that. The members of this community are, by and large,  are a self reinforcing community-trading conspiracy theories among themselves and viciously attacking anyone who dares to challenge the conventional orthodoxy.

"I got a chuckle out of the intolerant part. That really is a pretty good joke. Lex would have gotten a chuckle from it as well."

Probably he would have-because the simple truth was they could not see intolerance if it bit them in the ass. But just because they cannot recognize-or they choose not to recognize,  their shortcomings, does not mean they don't have them. I reinforced that knowledge quite well-I got my fair share of abuse and am good to go for about 6 months. No need to return.

In case you have been in cave somewhere-here is a rundown for you:

Alex Pareene at Salon has an entertaining rundown of the three “scandals” that could supposedly lead to the impeachment of the president: Benghazi, the AP phone logs and the IRS-Tea Party thing.

Pareene figures the Benghazi issue is kaput because the GOP stupidly focused on meaningless talking points on Sunday shows rather than the real issue, which was inadequate security. And since austerity-humpers in the House were slashing security budgets like Fruit Ninja addicts in Arcade Frenzy mode, it’s a good bet they don’t want to go there. That and the preening Sunday performances of would-be soap opera stars like Senators McCain and Graham led the GOP to focus on the dud aspect of the Benghazi affair, soiling a once-promising bit of dirty laundry.

Likewise, Pareene points out that while the AP logs issue may have a built-in advantage due to its implications for the very media that would be charged with ginning up impeachment-level outrage, the GOP can’t claim clean hands there either: The Republicans are the ones who demanded that the administration investigate the leaks that led to the AP investigation in the first place. And the GOP isn’t really opposed to spying on reporters, at least if Republicans get to do it sometimes. This might lead to another brogressive boner for Rand Paul, but perhaps nothing more.

According to Pareene, the jackpot scandal has got to be the IRS-Tea Party thing because, even if, as seems likely, no one at the White House knew about it, it’s the “conservative movement’s dream scandal.

 

He is most certainly right about the last part-the IRS "scandal" is a Tea Party wet dream. The agency they hate the most-second only to their hatred of Obama, screwed up in actually trying to do their job. Which was namely, to weed out hack political movements that are trying to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of the tax code, in order to hide the fact that their donations are not just from the grass roots.

Tea Partiers love to lecture you on how its not just one movement, but several. And they love the idea that it is a grass roots movement-not orchestrated at all. Never mind that it ignores the fact that the Tea Party was the rebranded rump of the Bush dead-enders. It was a convenient fiction that they all tell themselves in order to hide the fact that their policy prescriptions are nonsense, that they would directly suffer the most if their plans were enacted, and that they are in fact-being exploited by men a lot richer than themselves. The media conveniently cooperated too-clinging to the absurd notion that it was a genuine grassroots movement. And they cling to it still, "like turds to a moth-eaten pair of faux-Colonial breeches."

And so they are shrieking with glee that they may finally have the chance they have been dreaming about since January 20th 2009. They think they can , dare I say it, impeach Barak Obama.

Never mind that none of this hardly rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors"-never let the facts get in the way of a good, old fashioned, blood libel. The fact that they are so determined is enough to give any sober American pause. Pause and fear-that a significant portion of the nation's citizenry is so brutally demented.

I think the notion of impeachment is industrial-strength insane. There is utterly no proof that the President Obama even knew anything directly about the shifting Benghazi responses, let alone did something about them (yes, folks; under the Constitution, the President must do something). And as for the Internal Revenue Service story, from what we now know, those transgressions were committed by IRS staffers in Cincinnati who have never been closer to Obama than their television sets… Impeachment is crazy… and the idea that Obama has any direct culpability in either of these matters is, given what we know today, utter madness. Okay?

But this is my point: utter madness is what today’s Republicans do. You can present to me every logical argument you desire. Benghazi at the end of the day was a terrible tragedy in which mistakes, bad mistakes, were certainly made, and in which confusion and the CYA reflex led to some bad information going out to the public initially, but none of this remotely rises to the level of high crime. The IRS cock-up was just that, a mistake by a regional office. I get all this, and I agree with you.

But what we think doesn’t matter. I can assure you that already in the Pavlovian swamps of the nutso right, the glands are swelling. Theirs is a different planet from the one you and I inhabit….

… They do their base’s bidding, not America’s. How many times do you need to see them do this before you accept that it is the reality? And now there’s an added element. They want to gin up turnout among their base for next year’s elections. And if they gin it up enough, and the Democratic base stays home, they could end up holding the House and taking the Senate. And if they have both houses, meaning that the vote in the House would not be certain to hit a Senate dead-end, well, look out.

I hope the White House knows this. I hope they understand, I hope the President himself understands, that the fever has not broken and will not break. It might crescendo right up to his very last day in office. And yes, a lot of this Benghazi stuff is about Hillary Clinton. But not all of it. And the IRS thing, which Drudge led with for two days in a row and may yet be bigger than Benghazi, isn’t about her at all. If my worst fears are never realized—well, good, obviously. But it will only be because they couldn’t identify even a flimsy pretext on which to proceed. Never put the most extreme behavior past them. It is who they are, and it is what they do.

 

Yes they are that messed up and they are that crazy. These people are not caricatures-they really exist.

And that should scare the bejesus out of you.

20 responses so far

Mar 03 2013

Life in the fact free world

I have been reading the reactions to the sequester-and I am truly coming to the firm conviction that the United States of America has gone insane. Not only did Congress not avoid this abomination-but they didn't even stick around and try to work it out even after the deadline has passed. That astounds me beyond all belief. Even more so is the reaction of some in the proletariat who actually believe that this approach to budgeting is a good thing and are saying we need even more cuts ( without offsetting revenue restoration).

There are a whole host of lies and distortions out there-and that is what bothers me the worst. One cannot even correct the record-because there is no willingness to understand, much less believe the facts.

Lets review the facts shall we?

1) It is not just "a 2 percent cut" in federal spending. Its an almost 9 percent whack in defense and a combined 8% whack in non defense when the various non defense cuts are aggregated. And even more importantly-because the Congress did not act to allow the Administration to execute reprogramming actions, the various departments cannot do what common sense says they should do-make vertical cuts and tough reductions in programs wholesale. ( Like cancel LCS for example and move the money to other accounts). Yet there are people-I've argued with them who just go on saying that we can  do this and no one will get hurt. Well, they are wrong-and deserve to be beaten for their inability to understand. Yes I said that-its how I feel.

2) The GOP insistence that there can be no restored revenue-even when it makes sense and will better spread the burden around-is total lunacy.

Ezra Klein mans up and admits he was wrong. He had written a piece suggesting that if only Republicans knew how much Obama has been willing to offer, they might be willing to make a deal. Jonathan Chait set him straight, informing him that no matter what Obama put on the table, Republicans would find a way to say that it’s not enough. And sure enough, a Twitter exchange lets Klein watch that process in real time, as a top Republican consultant, confronted with evidence that Obama has already conceded what he said was all that was needed, keeps adding more demands.

So Klein admits that Republicans just don’t want to make a deal. Their objections to the deals on the table aren’t sincere; if convinced that Obama has met their demands, they just make more demands.

I think it’s important here to understand the broader implications.

The whole push for a Grand Bargain has been based on the notion that we can reach a fiscal deal that takes the whole fight over the budget off the table. What Klein has belatedly learned is how unlikely such a Bargain really is; but the same logic tells us that any Grand Bargain that might somehow be struck, via Obama’s mystical ability to mind-meld Star Trek and Star Wars or something, wouldn’t last. In a year — or more likely in a minute or two — Republicans would be back, demanding more tax cuts and more cuts in social programs. They just won’t take yes for an answer.

Meanwhile, it’s not just Republicans who refuse to accept it when Obama gives them what they want; the same applies, with even less justification, to centrist pundits. As people like Greg Sargent point out time and again, the centrist ideal — deficit reduction via a mix of revenue increases and benefits cuts — is what Obama is already offering; in fact, his proposals have been to the right of Bowles-Simpson. Yet the centrist pundits keep demanding that Obama offer what he has already offered, and condemn both sides equally (or even place most of the blame on Obama) for the failure to reach a deal. Again, informing them of their error wouldn’t help; their whole shtick is about blaming both sides, and they will always invent some reason why Obama just isn’t doing it right.

 

This is the whole false equivalency thing again. "Both sides do it". No, in this case only one side has-and since they don't experience any consequences for it-they do it again and again. The fiscal scolds and whack jobs in the GOP should have their balls in a vice right now-being squeezed until they pop. But no one is inflicting the pain on them to get them to do what is right. America only has two branches of government right now. Congress for all intents and purposes has ceased to exist. The founding fathers never intended for that to happen.

Basically its a continuation of the total freak out 30% of America had when Obama won in 2008 and when he won again in 2012. Unlike others its not about race, but it is about his proposing ideas that that show compassion for the non-wealthy. The 30% on the teabag side of the aisle don't really believe in the two party system anymore. They only know that if they can't be in charge than they are going to whine and cry like the selfish spoiled children they are.

Fact 3-Congress bears the bulk of the blame. Between the filibusters on the Senate side and the GOP in the house proposing nothing of substance-they created this situation and what's worse, they like it.

Meanwhile, budget cuts or no budget cuts, the military budget is being hollowed out from within by rising military health costs. Over the past decade, the military’s health-care costs have tripled, surging from $19-billion in 2001 to $53-billion in 2011. Health costs are projected to rise to $63.9-billion by 2015. An additional 6% cut atop those previous problems begins to look like a serious challenge to readiness and effectiveness.

Yet this serious challenge is not being taken seriously by the very people you’d most expect to be concerned. According to a Gallup poll released last week, 80% of self-identified Republicans feel it is very important for the U.S. to have the world’s strongest military. Only 48% of self-identified Democrats think so, as opposed to 51% of Democrats who say military predominance is “not that important.”

In Washington, however, it is the Republicans who are behaving cavalierly about the defense budget…….

The trouble is that the new Tea Party congressional GOP no longer minds defense cuts as much as it used to — or as much as the rank-and-file Republicans surveyed by Gallup. Congressional Republicans increasingly welcome the sequester as a good thing, or anyway, an acceptable thing.

According to Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee: “[This] shows we’re finally willing to stand and fight for conservative principles and force Washington to start living within its means. And that will be a big victory.”

It should be stressed: The Republican Study Committee is an important group within the Republican caucus. These are not Ron Paul style isolationists, but mainstream conservatives. Unfortunately, mainstream conservatives are increasingly willing to risk national security to score points in the Washington partisan competition.

Americans sense the decline in their country’s strength. Gallup finds that only 50% now express confidence that the U.S. military ranks number one, the lowest number since the end of the Cold War. Such pessimism is exaggerated of course. But it’s not completely ill-founded. Not since the 1970s has Congress taken the kind of risks with national security that it seems ready to incur today.

 

 

I am becoming more and more pessimistic-and less able to control my anger. Ronald Reagan would weep at what his party has become, and Tip O'Neill would weep at the state of Congress today. No matter how polarized the discussions were in the 80's they were still able to negotiate compromises. But now-then, the debate was about the policies. Now, its about Obama. The useless people in the crazed 30% of America who make up the teabagger village cannot come to grips that there is a better and different solution than to give in to their inherently selfish instincts. And I am at a loss as to how to make them understand it short of depriving them of oxygen and letting them suffocate.

The truth is, most of what "conservatives" believe to be true is false. And there is no one in America who can convince them other wise. Such is the result of 10+ years of an alternative world-led by Fox News-that makes up its own facts, distorts the truth and allows shills to gain positions of prominence. The US has become what it says it despises-a 2nd rate power. It has no one to blame but itself. you can't cut, cut, cut-and not pay the bill.  We can have less government spending-but do not kid yourself, it comes at the cost of global retrenchment. By deciding not to decide-Congress has decided. Let the withdrawals begin. But please don't complain when the results are not what you wish.

11 responses so far

Mar 01 2013

Happy Sequester Day!

The douchebags elected representatives in Congress have once again failed miserably at their jobs..

You will notice the Countdown clock to your left, counting down the days till my furlough and or layoff-whichever comes first.

One of my favorite writers, Charles Pierce has summed up the situation quite well:

Whatever happens tomorrow, the utter failure of sequestration to do what it is designed to do is of a piece with the previous failures of the Gang Of Six, the Gang Of 12, and the king of all revered utter failures, Simpson-Bowles, which still has most of official Washington feeding Vaal at every turn in service to a commission that couldn't even muster a majority of its own membership, Whatever happens tomorrow, the utter failure of sequestration to do what it was supposed to do — namely, to be so utterly horrifying that it would force a deal — should bring an end to government by gimmick.

Government by gimmick is a dodge. Government by gimmick is a way for politicians to protect their status as politicians without actually doing the jobs they were elected to do. Government by gimmick depends vitally on the fundamental Beltway anti-democratic heresy — that the system as designed is inadequate to present circumstances and that the only way out of this is to go put together the proper group of bipartisan Very Important People to apply common sense to the problem. It was government by gimmick — the Tower Commission — that probably bought Ronald Reagan out of the Iran-Contra scandal because the gathering of wise men determined from the start that holding the president responsible by constitutional means would scare the children and disturb the horses. This is the principle that was applied to the useless Gang Of 14 solution to the "problem" of judicial filibusters. And, ever since the American people elected a Congress full of right-wing chew toys in 2010, government-by-gimmick has been the way the American economy has been directed, and now all the duct tape is failing, and the balsa's cracking, and the whole thing is coming apart, and the people in charge are spending long hours talking about how they couldn't have foreseen any of this.

The great thing about Pierce is that he does not succumb to all the nonsense about "both sides do it". He puts the blame squarely where it belongs-on the selfish children who inhabit the tea party crazed GOP.

4 responses so far

Feb 24 2013

Always acting against their own self interest.

Published by under Americans are stupid!

 The other day, a Facebook "friend" ( friend being a rather incorrect term-better defined as "someone I used to know and work with and have little, if anything,  in common with now -save for the fact we both served in the US Navy")

"Sequestration and its impacts are the choice of officials executing the budget. As a start, I would rather see the $2.2Billion Obama phone program go away before any "first responders" President Obama is saying will go. What is more important?

And so off he goes with a self satisfied "tut tut" -and his "acquaintances" chime in with congratulatory agreement. Well some did any way, there were also subsequent comments, which were subsequently deleted by the owner of the FB page-which pointed out how basically incorrect his position is, as stated. Guess he did not want his friends to see how easily such arguments can be debunked.

This particular exchange highlights in a most elegant way-the fundamental problem that is currently present in American political discourse. On the surface he sounds correct-if not more than a bit arrogant and self-righteous. But the truth is, none of what he says is correct. That so many supposedly "knowledgeable" Americans agree with him-when the facts are 180 degrees in opposition- should trouble any rational person.  Conservatives may be entitled to their own opinions. They are not, however, entitled to their own facts. Despite their attempts to create an alternate news universe-one where a person solely reads IBD, FOX, Weekly Standard, the NRO-and of course the dregs of American Society: John Hinderaker and the liars club-facts are facts.

If you lived in the fact free world that he lives in-of course you think its all correct and a great sentiment. But when the facts are exposed, well, nobody likes to be outed as an ignorant fool.

Fact #1: There is no such thing as an Obamaphone program. As much as his enemies like to blame every problem in the world on the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, this expenditure whether for right or wrong,  cannot be blamed on President Obama. Free and discounted phone service to low-income families has been mandated by the federal government since 1934, paid for by "above-cost" fees charged directly by phone companies to regular subscribers. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 codified the program and set up an independent corporation, the Universal Service Administrative Company, to facilitate the service, properly called "Lifeline". Cell phone distribution was made a part of the provisions of the act in 2008, while a certain George W. Bush was still President. Yet, no one calls it the "Bush" Phone. (Maybe it should be called the "Roosevelt" phone) Instead they reserve it as a convenient lie to call it an Obama phone, because it serves their agenda to have dim witted people believe the conclusion that it was a new federal program. It was not. It was an expansion of the existing program and implemented on a state by state basis.  Nonetheless it gives conservatives -especially those of the teabagger variety- an attitude of gleeful gross-out humor, like a fifth-grader making fart noises – though with an undercurrent of racism far nastier and more base than any bodily function.

And while we are on the use of the word "teabagger", you can spare me the righteous indignation at the use of the term. As I have repeatedly pointed out before, its arrogant on two fronts: 1) because the Tea Party originated the term and 2) despite the sexual connotation to the term "teabagger", when used to describe the tea party, it is simply a mild pejorative used to spell out a well deserved contempt. So if it bothers you-that is just too bad.

Fact#2: Even if the cell phone program were eliminated in its entirely, it would-with pretty much 100% certainty-not prevent cuts to the first responders program. It also would not reduce by one dollar the amount taken from the Pentagon budget.  One of the biggest problems with the whole idea of sequestration is the approach it takes to making cuts to the federal budget. The governmental equivalent of using a meat cleaver to perform surgery to remove an appendix instead of a small scalpel in the hands of a trained surgeon. You can do it-but your odds of killing the patient go up dramatically. I mean, think about it: the Lifeline program is not even funded by tax money. So unless Congress passes a law to amend the Telecommunications Act, something completely different from enacting cuts under sequestration, the program will still go on even after March 1st. Whereas 1st responder funds-especially for federal agencies such as the Coast Guard, FBI, other law enforcement agencies and grants to states-will be funds that will be under the gun as so called "discretionary" non defense spending. The author of the sentiment, since he is working in the Pentagon, should know this. Sequestration forces across the board cuts of non-exempt, non-defense discretionary funding by 8.2 percent. Non-exempt, non-defense mandatory programs see a 7.6 percent reduction. There’s not, however, much left to cut in this category because the large mandatory programs were largely shielded from the cuts.  Medicare cuts were specifically limited to 2 percent of the program’s budget. On the defense side of the equation, similar levels of cuts apply. Its not an either / or type of choice-the question is more properly framed as "Do you cut both sides of the pie or not?".

Now it may be, that in a time of fiscal austerity, that a program that assists people making just 22,300 a year or less ( 135% of the poverty line), which is an income 85% less than the individual who authored the above listed FB sentiment (His salary, as is mine, is a matter of public record)-may be no longer affordable.  I don't know about you-but trying to make ends meet on that amount of money in today's economy is tough. There are legitimate arguments in favor of this kind of assistance-particularly in an interconnected world. However any such reductions should happen as part of a rationale budget process-something our GOP led House of Representatives has proven itself unable to do for several years now.

Fact #3: Sequestration itself does very little to reduce the growth of the deficit.  The dirty little secret about the process, like so much of the political grandstanding that occurs in Congress these days, is that even with the cuts-they will not do much to impact the deficit. They will do a lot to hurt middle and lower class Americans though. As Paul Krugman points out, it is the height of arrogance to take pleasure in the fact that the sequester will only cost 700,000 jobs:

  As always, many pundits want to portray the deadlock over the sequester as a situation in which both sides are at fault, and in which both should give ground. But there’s really no symmetry here. A middle-of-the-road solution would presumably involve a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; well, that’s what Democrats are proposing, while Republicans are adamant that it should be cuts only. And given that the proposed Republican cuts would be even worse than those set to happen under the sequester, it’s hard to see why Democrats should negotiate at all, as opposed to just letting the sequester happen.

 So here we go. The good news is that compared with our last two self-inflicted crises, the sequester is relatively small potatoes. A failure to raise the debt ceiling would have threatened chaos in world financial markets; failure to reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff would have led to so much sudden austerity that we might well have plunged back into recession. The sequester, by contrast, will probably cost “only” around 700,000 jobs….

  And the effect on the deficit?  Not much at all-especially if health care costs continue to rise. And, as CBO has pointed out-they certainly would not be as effective in halting deficit growth than simply letting all the Bush tax cuts go away and lifting the cap on Social Security payroll taxes would be.

There is a right way and a wrong way to cut federal spending, but the sequestration plan about to go into effect is perhaps the most boneheaded approach that could possibly be concocted. The sequester won't reduce the deficit by anything close to the $85 billion that's being advertised. What's more, it may not reduce the deficit at all.  But hey, why let facts get in the way of righteous indignation?

It would seem to a certain segment of America, its better just to huff and puff and make loud noises. Without bothering to understand the true facts. What, to me, is even more disturbing is that some of the loudest voices in the "just make people suffer" movement, are coming from people such as the FB poster above-who are the most deeply dependent on government benefits and will be for the rest of their lives. He decries governmental largesse-while at the same time he will benefit quite appreciably from it.

There are things that can be done to get the government's financial house in order. But to go about it from a factually inconsistent position-which reeks of hypocrisy-is not a way to start down the path. "Friends" don't let "friends" indulge in conservative stupidity.

10 responses so far

Dec 17 2012

Will anything change?

The events in Connecticut are so horrific-it is just painful still to think about. 20 children-CHILDREN-and six adults all of whom got up and went to the Sandy Hook school thinking it was just another day.

Now if the world were just, we as a nation would come together and craft a means to stop the possibilities of sick twisted people getting a hold of weapons.

But we won't.

Even now-morons like John Fund are already hard at work writing rationalizations as to why gun control does not work. And Uncle Dumbo is hard at work slandering anyone who believes we should do things differently.

Probably the best analysis I have read comes not from an American publication,  but a British one:

Switching to red-blooded conservative talk radio, I found two hosts offering a “move along, nothing to see here” defense of the status quo. One suggested that listeners should not torment themselves trying to understand “craziness”, though it would, the pair agreed, be understandable if some parents were tempted to remove their children from public education and homeschool them.

To that debate, all I can offer is the perspective of someone who has lived and worked in different corners of the world, with different gun laws………

The first time that I was posted to Washington, DC some years ago, the capital and suburbs endured a frightening few days at the hands of a pair of snipers, who took to killing people at random from a shooting position they had established in the boot of a car. I remember meeting a couple of White House correspondents from American papers, and hearing one say: but the strange thing is that Maryland (where most of the killings were taking place) has really strict gun laws. And I remember thinking: from the British perspective, those aren’t strict gun laws. Strict laws involve having no guns.

After a couple of horrible mass shootings in Britain, handguns and automatic weapons have been effectively banned. It is possible to own shotguns, and rifles if you can demonstrate to the police that you have a good reason to own one, such as target shooting at a gun club, or deer stalking, say. The firearms-ownership rules are onerous, involving hours of paperwork. You must provide a referee who has to answer nosy questions about the applicant's mental state, home life (including family or domestic tensions) and their attitude towards guns. In addition to criminal-record checks, the police talk to applicants’ family doctors and ask about any histories of alcohol or drug abuse or personality disorders.

Vitally, it is also very hard to get hold of ammunition. Just before leaving Britain in the summer, I had lunch with a member of parliament whose constituency is plagued with gang violence and drug gangs. She told me of a shooting, and how it had not led to a death, because the gang had had to make its own bullets, which did not work well, and how this was very common, according to her local police commander. Even hardened criminals willing to pay for a handgun in Britain are often getting only an illegally modified starter’s pistol turned into a single-shot weapon.

And, to be crude, having few guns does mean that few people get shot. In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales, with a population about one sixth the size of America’s. In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.

The numbers don't lie-and countries with very strict gun laws like Britain and Japan experience far lesser amounts of gun crime. It does exist of course, but not in the volumes that exist here. The easy way out for many Americans is to pretend that guns are not the problem-"its the society".

Well that may be-but easy access to weaponry makes the consequences of madness far, far greater than should have to be endured.

Probably the argument put forth that is the silliest one,  is the idea that somehow, the Founding Fathers intended the 2nd Amendment to be some sort of check and balance on the government. They never intended anything of the sort-the only reason the amendment was there was to form a militia. A well regulated militia. I remain firmly convinced that were the Founders drafting the bill of rights today-the 2nd Amendment would not be there. Its a very narcissistic expression of a "courage" that simply does not exist.

 

I would also say, to stick my neck out a bit further, that I find many of the arguments advanced for private gun ownership in America a bit unconvincing, and tinged with a blend of excessive self-confidence and faulty risk perception.

I am willing to believe that some householders, in some cases, have defended their families from attack because they have been armed. But I also imagine that lots of ordinary adults, if woken in the night by an armed intruder, lack the skill to wake, find their weapon, keep hold of their weapon, use it correctly and avoid shooting the wrong person. And my hunch is that the model found in places like Japan or Britain—no guns in homes at all, or almost none—is on balance safer.

As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognize it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule.

Nor is it the case that the British are relaxed about being subjects of a monarch, or are less fussed about freedoms. A conservative law professor was recently quoted in the papers saying he did not want to live in a country where the police were armed and the citizens not. I fear in Britain, at least, native gun-distrust goes even deeper than that: the British don’t even like their police to be armed (though more of them are than in the past).

But the problem remains-American politics are anything but rational. And as Tom Levenson pointed out, "An armed society may be a polite one. But it’s not one that is free. It is not one in which a civic life in any meaningful sense of the term can take place. Guns kill liberty."

And too many Americans can't or won't think rationally on the subject of guns. So we will remain stuck right where we are today and have been for some 50 years in both this and the previous violent centuries.

But here is the thing. The American gun debate takes place in America, not Britain or Japan. And banning all guns is not about to happen (and good luck collecting all 300m guns currently in circulation, should such a law be passed). It would also not be democratic. I personally dislike guns. I think the private ownership of guns is a tragic mistake. But a majority of Americans disagree with me, some of them very strongly. And at a certain point, when very large majorities disagree with you, a bit of deference is in order.

So in short I am not sure that tinkering with gun control will stop horrible massacres like today’s. And I am pretty sure that the sort of gun control that would work—banning all guns—is not going to happen. So I have a feeling that even a more courageous debate than has been heard for some time, with Mr Obama proposing gun-control laws that would have been unthinkable in his first term, will not change very much at all. Hence the gloom.

Thus the editors of the Economist are right. We Americans are simply going through the motions. Since we, collectively, have no intention of fixing the root problem-we, collectively, have no rights to "mourn" the helpless children and their teachers. "It's our fault, and until we evince some remorse for our actions or intention to reform ourselves, the idea that we consider ourselves entitled to "mourn" the victims of our own barbaric policies is frankly disgusting.".

12 responses so far

Dec 14 2012

No comments required or desired.

I submit to you two quotes that help express my outrage at what happened in Connecticut today.

 

"Guns don't attack children; psychopaths and sadists do. But guns uniquely allow a psychopath to wreak death and

devastation on such a large scale so quickly and easily. America is the only country in which this happens again — and again and again."

 

 

Source-The Atlantic.

 

 

 "It's bad enough to have a gun lobby. It's the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them – and about the people who condone them."

 

Source: David Frum

 

And only a tacky, worthless whore like Michelle Malkin would dispute his right as a parent to be angry about this event.

 

Comments are closed.

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Sep 22 2012

Don’t kid yourself-a lot of people really believe it.

Facebook sentiments are a rather inaccurate measure of public opinion to be sure. But if the views of my more conservative Facebook "friends" are any measure-all of the people who are pronouncing Romney's campaign "dead" based on his rather infamous "47 percent of the country is irresponsible" remarks, are acting pre-maturely. About this years Presidential race, I am totally pessimistic. Romney will come back from it, and there are more than a few people out there who wish to delude themselves about their relationship with their government. Even as the Treasury makes monthly deposits in their bank accounts.

I think that depresses me the most. Hearing people who are equally, if not more a recipient of governmental largess whine and complain about how their fellow citizens are "parasites" and other even less complimentary terms.Paul Krugman was right,

"For the fact is that the modern Republican Party just doesn’t have much respect for people who work for other people, no matter how faithfully and well they do their jobs. All the party’s affection is reserved for “job creators,” a k a employers and investors. Leading figures in the party find it hard even to pretend to have any regard for ordinary working families — who, it goes without saying, make up the vast majority of Americans.

 

That is the simple truth-a lot of people buy into the myth-because it makes them feel superior and better about themselves. That they are 100% wrong is not a possibility they are prepared to acknowledge. Because to do so is to acknowledge they are both selfish and heartless. For that reason I reprinting this post that explains what the tax numbers really mean-and why no sane person wants to be a part of them if they can avoid doing so. The "lucky duckies" are not so lucky-in fact their lives are downright hard. Pity the two top members of the GOP ticket don't see that.

The story behind the story.

One of the most popular mantra's of current conservative thought is the theme that I call, "Freddie the Freeloader". Namely that part of teabag orthodoxy that holds that the nation is literally full to brim with people more than content to live off of "welfare" and do nothing for themselves or society.

It frequently manifests itself every few months or so, as the Lucky Ducky statistic. Lucky duckies is a term that was used in Wall Street Journal editorials starting on 20 November 2002 to refer to Americans who pay no federal income tax because they are at an income level that is below the tax line (after deductions and credits).

It does not tell the whole story, and if anything it should not serve, as it is so often done, as an indictment of the worth and character of the individuals who fall in that 43%-than as an example of the law of unintended consequences- of well meaning tax law provisions balanced against wages that have been essentially flat lined for the past ten years.  If the number of "non income tax payers" has gone up in the past two years ( which it has) it highlights a statistic I'm not so sure the connessiurs of Lipton really want to be highlighting. Wages are not growing in the US-they are flat for all but a very few. Second-unemployment is twice what it was when the Wall Street Journal first coined the term. Prices for everything-have gone up though.

 The federal income tax is only one of several taxes Americans pay. Other taxes, like excise taxes, sales taxes, and especially the payroll tax (a.k.a. FICA),  are not refunded or zeroed out. They get paid regardless of ones standing on the income graph.  If you include payroll taxes in that total number of tax units computation I mentioned earlier, the percentage of people with zero income tax or payroll tax drops to 11.6%.

And that does not include state taxes-or sales tax.

Furthermore, the tax protestors have neglected to tell you an important piece of economic demography: 90% of those with zero tax liability made less than 25,000 dollars cash income last year.  In a family of four, factoring in both the poverty threshold of 21, 800 and the income tax entry level of 26,000 ( before taking the earned income tax credit), I’m not so sure they have a lot to brag about. The popular number of a person making 44,900 paying no income taxes is only valid for a filer who can take Child Tax credits on two children and an earned income tax credit. A single filer, has already jumped on board the taxpayer train a long time ago.

Ask your self this, what would happen to the number if the home mortage exemption went away? It would probably drop significantly-to the detriment of a lot of people-including people who do pay taxes and complain about it.

Consider this example: A man makes 50,000 per year salary, he has three kids, a job, a wife who takes care of said kids and two cars. Lets just sat for arguments sake he has a relatively small house. (Say between 175000 and 200000).  At 50,000 a year, that man is starting off making 4166 a month before taxes. Throw in say 6% into a 401K means that he is starting out before anything else comes out of his check at about 3850. The guy is going to start his tax return at about 9,862 in taxes. Subtract deductions for his family, his mortage, and his state taxes-he's probably getting money back. But he's working hard just to stay afloat-is this really the person you want to make fun of?  He's supposed to be the core Republican demographic.

And lets not even ask the question of what percentage of corporations pay no taxes shall we?

The simple truth of the matter is that a lot of lower income Americans are paying taxes and not getting ahead in the process. If there is to be any type of tax reform-it has to start from the facts, not simply the fictions people want to believe.

One response so far

Aug 14 2012

People would rather vote against themselves than do what is right.

One of the things that amazes me, about the milblog commenting class-is how much they opposed decent human fairness, while they themselves benefit a lot from government largesse. Its not that the "entitlements" are undeserved-but its the selfishness with which they begrudge others the same benefits. I've struggled to find words to describe it. However Benjamin Hale writing in the New York Times accurately describes what I have been so mystified about. Namely the fact that people want to pretend to themselves that they can become rich.

 

It is one thing for the very well off to make these arguments. What is curious is that frequently the same people who pose these questions are not themselves wealthy, nor even particularly healthy. Instead, they ask these questions under the supposition that they are insisting upon fairness. But the veil of opulence operates only under the guiseof fairness. It is rather a distortion of fairness, by virtue of the partiality that it smuggles in. It asks not whether a policy is fair given the huge range of advantages or hardships the universe might throw at a person but rather whether it is fair that a very fortunate person should shoulder the burdens of others. That is, the veil of opulence insists that people imagine that resources and opportunities and talents are freely available to all, that such goods are widely abundant, that there is no element of randomness or chance that may negatively impact those who struggle to succeed but sadly fail through no fault of their own. It blankets off the obstacles that impede the road to success. It turns a blind eye to the adversity that some people, let’s face it, are born into. By insisting that we consider public policy from the perspective of the most-advantaged, the veil of opulence obscures the vagaries of brute luck.

But wait, you may be thinking, what of merit? What of all those who have labored and toiled and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to make their lives better for themselves and their families? This is an important question indeed. Many people work hard for their money and deserve to keep what they earn. An answer is offered by both doctrines of fairness.

The veil of opulence assumes that the playing field is level, that all gains are fairly gotten, that there is no cosmic adversity. In doing so, it is partial to the fortunate — for fortune here is entirely earned or deserved. The veil of ignorance, on the other hand, introduces the possibility that one might fall on hard luck or that one is not born into luck. It never once closes out the possibility that that same person might take steps to overcome that bad luck. In this respect, it is not partial to the fortunate but impartial to all. Some will win by merit, some will win by lottery. Others will lose by laziness, while still others will lose because the world has thrown them some unfathomably awful disease or some catastrophically terrible car accident. It is an illusion of prosperity to believe that each of us deserves everything we get.

If there’s one thing about fairness, it is fundamentally an impartial notion, an idea that restricts us from privileging one group over another. When asking about fairness, we cannot ask whether X policy is fair for me, or whether Y policy is fair for someone with a yacht and two vacation homes. We must ask whether Z policy is fair, full stop. What we must ask here is whether the policy could be applied to all; whether it is the sort of system with which we could live, if we were to end up in one of the many socioeconomic groupings that make up our diverse community, whether most-advantaged or least-advantaged, fortunate or unfortunate. This is why the veil of ignorance is a superior test for fairness over the veil of opulence. It tackles the universality of fairness without getting wrapped up in the particularities of personal interest. If you were to start this world anew, unaware of who you would turn out to be, what sort of die would you be willing to cast?

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