Posts tagged economy
Posts tagged economy
The big bad event of last week was, of course, the Supreme Court hearing on health reform. In the course of that hearing it became clear that several of the justices, and possibly a majority, are political creatures pure and simple, willing to embrace any argument, no matter how absurd, that serves the interests of Team Republican.
But we should not allow events in the court to completely overshadow another, almost equally disturbing spectacle. For on Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.
And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.
And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?
None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital.
I saw this over on Facebook. Usually I don’t read through the comments on pages that aren’t run by friends, but the very first comment on this was hard to ignore. It said:
Citizen: I don’t want to be governed
Goverment: OK, bye.
I don’t know the person who posted that comment, and for all I know they could have been joking. The problem is there are so many who really believe this. They think that some of us “liberals” want nothing more than to be ungoverned heathens. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but for me, that could not be further from the truth.
I believe in government and leadership, but I also believe that those charged with governing me, or the nation, should do so without bias. Our economy is doing terribly. Basic necessities like food, toiletries, and gas are ever increasing in price, out of the range of many, regardless of them living within their means. I almost have more empty houses on my street than I do neighbors, and I still know people just waiting for the bank to foreclose on the houses they walked away from months ago. Healthcare is not affordable for many, forcing some to choose between their life saving medications or being able to feed their family. Our unemployment rate may be improving, but as someone who worked in HR for years, and with many friends who were professionals, I know that the number of under-employed is not improving. Our education system needs major revamping; student loan debt alone will bury many new grads before they can even find a job or career to cover that debt. Women and minorities are still treated like second class citizens who need to be spoken for and at, by members of our government. This barely scratches the surface of the many depressing things wrong with our nation, yet in an election year, candidates are placing emphasis on things that should not be issues and violate civil rights, instead of offering solutions to fix the real problems.
I want to be governed, but I’m sick and tired of not being governed well. I’m tired of dealing with politicians that use their platform as a pulpit, subjecting the rule of the country to the laws of their gods. There cannot be fair and unbiased leadership if one is governing based on their faith. Period. Abortion, birth control, homosexuality, creationism, are all things that are part of political debates; but why? We hear the audience’s loud applause when their politician of choice shares their stance on all of these issues. What we don’t here is them asking how the hell is any of this going to create jobs, fix the economy, better utilize the empty houses to help those who are now homeless, or improve our education system. We don’t hear them asking how stopping a person from having an abortion or marrying the gender of their choosing is going to accomplish anything to make America better. They just clap, cheer, and say amen.
I want to be governed, but I want to be governed well. I can’t remember the last time that happened. With our political climate the way it is, I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon, not even after the election in November; regardless of the outcome. The hostile divisiveness and fighting amongst our politicians, behind and across party lines, is so rarely about what is good for the nation as a whole. Many can’t even articulate why they are against something other than to say they are against the politician that proposed it. Many of our leaders are terrible wastes of power and need to be removed. The problem is, those looking to replace them don’t give me much hope either.
I want to be governed, but I’m doubtful of ever seeing a future where the real issues will be the priority, and politicians willingly put their petty bullshit aside for the greater good of the nation. Maybe I’m the one with the problem here. I know politics and politicians well enough to stop expecting better, yet I keep wanting better.
This is long, but I live in Arizona and unfortunately I read my local political news before I saw the above post on Facebook. It’s just a bit overwhelming to realize I can’t win politically on a State or National level these days.
There are 18,000 parking lot attendants in the U.S. with college degrees. There are 5,000 janitors in the U.S. with PhDs. In all, some 17 million college-educated Americans have jobs that don’t require their level of education. Why?
The data comes from a the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and can be seen here in handy, depressing chart form:
At the Chronicle, where the above chart was posted, Richard Vedder argues that maybe we place too much importance on higher education, citing a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research:
This week an extraordinarily interesting new study was posted on the Web site of America’s most prestigious economic-research organization, the National Bureau of Economic Research. Three highly regarded economists (one of whom has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science) have produced “Estimating Marginal Returns in Education,” Working Paper 16474 of the NBER. After very sophisticated and elaborate analysis, the authors conclude “In general, marginal and average returns to college are not the same.” (p. 28)
In other words, even if on average, an investment in higher education yields a good, say 10 percent, rate of return, it does not follow that adding to existing investments will yield that return, partly for reasons outlined above.
Whatever some eggheads work out “college” to mean for people on paper can’t really take into account the experience of going to college, but the numbers are pretty surprising nonetheless. So next time you see a custodian scribbling the proof to some unsolvable math problem on a chalkboard after hours, well, you know.
This position assumes that everyone plays by the rules.
I busted my ass at my old job, like, SERIOUSLY. I once went three months working 12 hour days without a day off, I would come in when they called me at 3am to fix a server no one else wanted to touch. I took every training class I could and tried to get as much experience as possible on every piece of equipment I could get my hands on.
I took on special projects, traveled all over the country, and was the “go to” guy when it came to any kind of complicated electronic or computer problem, I asked for promotions and was constantly told “it was coming” right up to when I was laid off and replaced by a guy right out of college that they paid half of what they paid me. This was after I put up with wage freezes, the cost of my health insurance doubling and loss of profit sharing bonuses.
And yes, I looked for another job, even before being laid off. It was bullshit, there was nothing out there. After getting laid off, it took me eight months to get another job and what I was continually told every time I was turned down is that I was “over qualified” or that they “couldn’t pay me a wage that my experience would demand.” - That’s great for business and the bottom line, but it’s also part of the reason we are in the mess that the U.S is in now.
Of course unemployment is high, companies are expecting more from less people, work the employees more and if they bitch about it, damn near 9% of the population doesn’t have a job, it’s easy to replace you.
Of course the economy sucks, people are being paid the same adjusted for inflation that they were ten years ago, but now gas is damn near $4 a gallon, food’s gotten more expensive, everything costs more than it did before and people are feeling crunched.
Technically, yes, you are only entitled to the wages and benefits you negotiate for, but what if the wages everyone negotiates for are shit, no one’s willing to offer up a good living wage any more because they know every sorry motherfucker out there is desperate for a job.
When I first entered the corporate workforce in the mid 90’s, companies would call ME, offering me a job, I would say, “Well, so in so over at (other company) offered me $2 an hour more plus a company car”.
And they would say, “Well, we’ll pay you $3 an hour more, pay for your gas and pay you $200 a month extra to drive your own car”.
You try that now days, and they will say, “Next!” - corporations do owe us a fair and decent wage, if there is prosperity it should trickle down, not be concentrated at the top, this economic model isn’t sustainable.
It’s a race to the bottom, it’s like they feel they won’t be competitive until wages are comparable to a factory worker in a third wold country.
Is that REALLY what we want for our country?
MSNBC reporter loses it and tells the truth! - This is from back in October but it needs more attention.
I was gonna post this video earlier and got distracted by things because internet.
Senate Democrats yesterday introduced legislation — as they’ve been promising to — that would extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut, and pay for it by implementing a surtaxon income above $1 million. Republicans, of course, are opposing the plan, reviving their false claims that taxing the very wealthiest Americans will hit small businesses and job creators.
In essence, the GOP is saying that it’s willing to allow higher taxes on middle- and lower-income Americans in order to prevent tax increases on the very wealthy. According to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, provided to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, the surtax would affect exceedingly few taxpayers, while a payroll tax cut expiration would wallop more than 100 million households:
The surtax would impact around 345,000 taxpayers, roughly 0.2 percent of taxpayers, or one in 500 of them. Those people would pay on average an additional 2.1 percent of their overall income, or just over 1/50th of that overall income, in taxes.
In a majority of states, only one-tenth of one percent, or one in 1,000 taxpayers, would pay this surtax.
And how many people would benefit from the payroll tax cut? According to the group, around 113 million tax filing units — either single workers or families that include more than one worker — would see their payroll tax cut extended.That’s a lot of people — well over 113 million workers, in fact.
Allowing the payroll tax cut to expire at the end of the year would hit middle-class families with a $1,000 tax increase, providing a substantial drag on the economy. In fact, according to Macroeconomic Advisers, allowing the payroll tax cut to lapse “would reduce GDP growth by 0.5 percent and cost the economy 400,000 jobs.” Other estimates are even worse, with Barclays’s estimating that a payroll tax increase could say 1.5 percent off of GDP growth.
The GOP has, time and again, blocked any legislation that would increase taxes by the slightest amount on the ultra-wealthy, even with tax revenue at a 60 year low, taxes on the rich thelowest they’ve been in a generation, and income inequality out of control. Instead, Republicans would prefer to raise taxes on the middle-class, knocking the economy where it can least afford it.
Okay any fiscal conservative knows that this makes no sense GOP
What the fuck is your problem
Are you that shamelessly owned by the 1%?
(Reuters) - Thirty large and profitable U.S. corporations paid no income taxes in 2008 through 2010, said a study released on Thursday that arrives as Congress faces rising demands for tax reform, but seems unable or unwilling to act.
Pepco Holdings Inc, a Washington, D.C.-area power company, had the lowest effective tax rate, at negative 57.6 percent, among the 280 Fortune 500 companies studied.
The statutory U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, but over the 2008-2010 period, very few of the companies studied paid it, said the report.
The average effective tax rate for the companies over the period was 18.5 percent, said Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, both think tanks.
Their report also listed General Electric Co, Paccar Inc, PG&E Corp, Computer Sciences Corp and NiSource Inc as among the 30 that paid no taxes.
Corporations will say rightly the loopholes that let them slash their taxes were perfectly legal, the report said.
“But that does not mean that low-tax corporations bear no responsibility … The laws were not enacted in a vacuum; they were adopted in response to relentless corporate lobbying, threats and campaign support,” the report said.
Chase Bank in Oakland during today’s general strike, just a few hours ago.
The ‘Chilean Model’ was enacted by decree in the early 1980’s, during the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, to replace a Pay-As-You-Go public pension system (the sort of thing that has Rick Perry calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”)
However, despite the regime that originally imposed it, the overall system has ultimately met with at least some approval from the Chilean people, though it is far from perfect and remains a work in progress. Therefore, the Chilean system does merit at least a close examination on its own merits. But as it turns out, Herman Cain and his fellow Tea Partiers might not like what they find.
In short, the “Chilean Model” so touted by Cain is the individual mandate. What “Obamneycare” is to health care, Chile’s pensions system is to Social Security, with a system of mandates, regulation and subsidies.
Under the Chilean system, workers must contribute 10% of their income, up to a certain limit — similar to Social Security taxes in this country — to a private pension fund administrator (the different funds are known by the Spanish initials “AFP,” for Administradoras de Fondos de Pensiones). As a 2001 OECD report makes clear, the Chilean Model actually does involve a significant amount of government regulation on AFP’s, in order to contain risks and ensure stability.
Huh. Imagine that - a pension fund needing government regulation. Damn government, mucking up Herman Cain’s talking points.
This is amazing.
Even if Geraldo Rivera was at the Zuccotti Park yesterday, Fox News has generally been a tad dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street movement… Bill O’Reilly sent a producer minion out with the same mission: to belittle OWS’s cause by cutting up interviews to make people sound stupid. Well, here is an interview that Fox News filmed, but doesn’t want you to see. The segment was shot on Wednesday for Greta van Susteren’s show… The speaker giving Fox News the business is Jesse LaGreca, a vocal member of the Occupy Wall Street protests. This video comes courtesy of Kyle Christopher from OccupyWallSt.org’s media team.
I keep watching this over and over because it’s fantastic to see this Fox News peon getting completely destroyed.
I just gotta have this on my blog again because Fuck Yeah Jesse LaGreca.