Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Thoughts of the Day

The Republicans say government spending is out of control. Yes, military spending IS out of control. It's not the old people on Social Security who are out of control and partying like it's 1929.

What do WE get in return for less regulation of the commodities markets and oil subsidies...except for higher gas prices?

It's funny that the Republicans in congress who make $174,000 a year want to abolish the minimum wage. Aren't the Republican's huge salaries and generous benefits also a part of BIG GOVERNMENT?

If I'm laid off from my job and can't afford to pay my rent, according the Republicans, I don't have a "revenue problem", I have a "spending problem".

The Republicans don't mind spending tax revenues on government contracts to large corporations who DON'T pay taxes; but the Republicans don't want to pay Social Security to regular Americans who DO pay taxes. Go figure.

Why doesn't the government's "cost-of-living-index" include housing, heat, and food...the 3 most expensive things that we actually need just to "live"?

If the Republicans didn't make me pay my share of taxes, would I also be considered a "job creator"?

If corporations and banks are considered real people for campaign contributions, why don't they go to jail for breaking the law like real people do?

Why don't the Republicans consider healthcare as a basic human right, but consider tax breaks for the rich as an Eleventh Commandment?

If I needed food stamps just to eat, that's considered a "government hand-out" by the Republicans. But if Exxon-Mobil wants a billion dollars from the taxpayers to lobby congress, that's the "American thing" to do.

If it's common knowledge that the banks own our government, so then why do the politicians always pretend that we don't know?

Why do the politicians in both political parties always claim to offer more "transparency" in government during their election campaigns, but then once they're elected, they force us to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out who contributed to their election campaigns?

We know that the Republicans de-regulated the financial markets with the passing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which caused the economic collapse of 2008, so why do the Republicans still refuse to reform the financial industry?

It's funny that the Republicans don't ever want to let the Bush tax cuts expire (they even want LESS taxes), even after witnessing all the severe budget shortfalls after we've already had too little tax revenues. Now that's what I call "sticking to your principals"!

Please feel free to add your own thoughts...

What Obama SHOULD do...

Obama should make an unscheduled appearance on the House floor and approach the Speaker's podium while they are debating the "grand compromise". Then in one hand he would hold up a single one page bill simply saying "raise the debt ceiling", and in his other hand he would be holding up a Presidential executive order saying he will use article 4 of the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling.

Then he would say, "OK folks, here's the new either pass this bill, or I'll use this [the executive order]. That's my compromise and those are your two choices. Either way, the first thing in the morning the debt ceiling will be raised."

And then he should quote FDR: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Then he turns around with his Secret Service entourage and walks out.

The Supreme Court (even though it is packed with Republican sympathizers) won't dispute Obama because even THEY aren't radical Tea Party members that are hell bent on taking down the full faith of the U.S. Government.

But Obama won't do that. Instead he will sign off on the "budget deal" that makes drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security without any taxes on the rich.

Great "compromise" Democrats! Never negotiate with terrorists! (Bernie Sanders for President in 2012)

Republicans & Fox News Think We're Ignorant Hillbillies!

I've always noticed that when I flip through all the cable and local news channels, all of them have reported on the current (Republican-manufactured) debt "crisis" and the debt ceiling. But most of these news channels also report on other issues as well...such as human interest stories, the weather, sports, the arts, and other "news". But the Fox News Channel seems to donate the majority of their time attacking Obama and the Democrats - and they always say that Obama and the Democrats only wants to spend, spend, spend.

Yes, the Democrats were FORCED to spend after the economic collapse that was brought on by Republican policies just before Obama took office in 2009. The Republicans (pro-Wall Street) voted for TARP (bank bail outs) but they didn't like the Democrat's (pro-people) Stimulus bill to help those that were affected by the banks failures, such as the provisions for extended unemployment benefits and food stamps for millions of laid-out workers.

Nary a word was ever mentioned about the hypocrisy of  Tea Party Joe Walsh (family values) who complained about putting his children in debt, but yet hadn't paid child support for years and is over $100,000 in arrears -  and being a responsible and fiscal conservative, also had his home foreclosed on for non-payment when earning $174,000-a-year. And Fox News had barely touched the Rupert Murdoch scandal that's been brewing (talk about the elephant in the room!) But we sure do hear a lot about Obama and Democrats in their "fair and balanced" reporting! *cough-cough-clear throat-gag-cough*

Fox News has been spending most of their air time complaining about how the Democrats just wanted to tax, tax, tax...but they never mention that it's just those earning a million dollars a year that are being targeted for a small tax increase. All the polls say Americans want to tax the rich, but Fox News omits the word "rich" and just says that "the American people want to cut spending and not raise taxes". And Fox News also wants you to believe that the "spending" Americans want to cut also includes Social Security and Medicare, but doesn't include defense and corporate welfare.

Fox News (and the Republicans and their radical right) spends most of its time complaining about the debt and blaming the Democrats and Obama, as though the Republicans have been innocent "fiscal conservatives" for the past 40 years, and never ONCE snuck an earmark into the budget. It would be relatively easy to "Cut, Cap, and Balance" without destroying Medicare and Social Security...just start taxing the uber-wealthy and the big corporations their fair share. Easy. Problem solved. Case closed. Next!

Of course, if you listened to the multi-billionaires who run Fox News and fund the Tea Party, that would be the worse thing we could do! These billionaires have all the money in the world, but they want to hoard more and more of the money supply at the expense of denying everybody else a Social Security retirement when they get too old and sick to work. Those billionaires would rather you worked your ass off until the day you dropped dead at your job, rather than to put one single penny into the government piggy bank.

The Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians keep repeating the same tired rants, over and over again:

  • The "job creators" shouldn't be punished for their wealth.
  • We shouldn't spread the wealth around.
  • Taxing the billionaires would hurt job growth.
  • We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.
  • When was the last time a poor man gave you a job?
  • The American people want this (The Paul Ryan Plan "Cut, Cap, and Balance" nee "Medicare and Social Security Reform")
  • We can't put this debt on the backs of our children and grand-children :(

Did I mention that they keep repeating this over and over again? Do those Bozos really believe that we're not only deaf, but stupid too? Do the Republicans think that just because they brainwashed a few evangelistic rednecks that still buy snake oil, that the rest of us are just ignorant hillbillies? I the only one who's noticed how desperate the talking heads and Republican politicians sound? They make it sound as if it were the very wealthy in this country who have been doing all the suffering during The Great Recession, and not the once-middle-class taxpayers. Is that supposed to be like some form of "reverse psychology" or something? Are we supposed to pity the hedge fund managers and executives at Goldman Sachs and Exxon-Mobil? Are we supposed to shed tears for the CEOs of Wells Fargo and Bank of America? Are we expected to feel sympathy for Paris Hilton and the lobbyists who spends millions of dollars bribing our elected representatives? I don't think so!

Do the Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians really think that every time they say "that's what the American people want", that we (the American people) are supposed to just believe them? And say, "Yes! That's what we want!" Do the Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians really think we're all a bunch spineless imbeciles and brain-dead moronic idiots? They're the ones that look like babbling lunatics, preaching the same old bullshit crap lies talking points over and over again. (Did I mention that they keep repeating themselves over and over again?)

Our nation’s capital (Washington D.C.) remains awash with powerful people who believe that civilization as we know it will take a terrible tumble if we dare raise taxes on the richest among us. For these powerful people, outside keeping taxes low on high incomes, nothing else really matters — not even, as the debt ceiling battle demonstrates, the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

History, of course, lends no support whatsoever to the claim that disaster awaits any nation that taxes its rich at significant levels. The United States, in the years after World War II, taxed those in the top-income-bracket at rates that never dropped below 70 percent — double today’s top marginal rate — and they all survived quite nicely. 

Powerful people who advocate for people like the Koch brothers and are committed to not taxing the rich simply ignore this history. They rely on theoretical constructs instead. Taxing the rich, they assert, will undermine incentives to work and save and down the road, leave everybody (rich and poor alike) much worse off. 

This theoretical claim has lots of fans in academia. A small army of analysts have fashioned quite comfortable careers developing intricate mathematical models that they say affirm the folly of subjecting rich people to high taxes. (This blogger calls them over-paid bullshit artists).

Economists Peter Diamond of MIT and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, two leading global experts on taxation and high incomes, have never enlisted in this army of economic and political propagandists. And now they’ve explained why — in a just-released new paper that goes mano a mano with the don't-dare-tax-rich-people mathematical model crowd. 

Their goal in this new paper: to present “the case for tax progressivity based on recent results in optimal tax theory.” Their conclusion: The federal government ought to be taxing income at the top at much higher rates than the federal government does now.

The top federal income tax rate on income in the highest tax bracket currently sits at 35 percent. The optimal rate, the one that the Diamond and Saez calculations suggest, could go all the way up to 76 percent. 

Diamond, a Nobel Prize winner, and Saez, a 2010 MacArthur “genius” fellow, haven’t written this new paper for the faint of heart mathematically. Their many equations and charts can make for tough sledding. But the two researchers do pause to offer a variety of easily digestible statistical nuggets along the way.

One example: In 2007, Diamond and Saez point out, the average federal tax rate on the nation’s highest-earning 1 percent averaged 22.4 percent. If the rate had been about double that — say 43.5 percent — the top 1 percenter share of our national after-tax income in 2007 would still have been twice as high as the top 1 percent’s after-tax income share back in 1970.

We’ve come a long way, in the wrong direction, in the four decades since 1970. The top marginal tax rate on our richest has been halved, from 70 to 35 percent, and our rich have become phenomenally richer. Getting that top tax rate back up, Diamond and Saez remind us, makes as much sense in theory as in real life.

But if you listen to Fox News 24/7, you'd think that by taxing the rich a little more will destroy humanity as we know it.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister in 1933

(* RE: The Case for a Progressive Tax - From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations - by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, July 2011. Forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. EXCERPTED and edited from the article "The 'Optimal' Tax Rate on Ultra-High Income?" from TOO MUCH.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

$700 Billion TARP, Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Did you ever notice that the big banks almost always have the tallest buildings and skyscrapers in the downtown areas of all the major metropolitan cities around the world? Polished granite, chiseled glass, tiled floors, shiny brass, and expensive art. The presidents and CEOs, gazing down from their expansive boardrooms, slitted eyes upon their fiefdoms, inspecting their servants far below them, toiling to make mortgage, auto, and credit card payments amid the millions of foreclosed homes all around them. The banksters are the first to witness the sunrises, and the last to see the sunsets. The Money Masters, the kings, our masters, the Republican's gods...the major players in the documentary Inside Job.

I'll bet that you thought the $700 billion bank bail-out (TARP) in October 2008 was a public outrage. But that was only peanuts compared to what you've been giving the banks all these years. $700 billion was just a drop in the bucket. But to the peasants that were slaving among the sweating humanity at their puny low-paying jobs, far below those ivory towers, it sounded like all the money in the world to them. But $700 billion was just the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

What do you think of the banking system: a boon or a bane for society? Well, in economics 101 you must have learned that the banks serve us by providing financial inter-mediation and share in pooling investment risks, and hence, are good entities for a modern and civilized society. And that legalized usury was a good thing for us. That the bankers were our friends, and were our respectable and responsible community leaders.

What is the magic-trick behind the billions in profits and the multi-million-dollar salaries and bonuses that the investment bankers give themselves? How can the banks afford to give you those nice credit cards with competing credit limits offering 0% APR? The first answer that may come to you is: the banks charge interest and fees (some legal, some not). But you would only be partially right.

Despite all sorts of interest and fees, the government (our Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, the "Fed") has had to inject huge sums of money to keep the banks running and solvent. The reason they probably didn’t tell you this in your macro-economics class is, you would have probably lost all confidence in our banking system.

Since 2008 we've learned about their greedy sub-prime loan practices, the unfair reverse red-lining, all the illegal home foreclosures, how they swindled investors, and their reckless gambling with derivatives (credit default swaps). And we've learned about the Republican de-regulation of these financial markets, insurance companies, hedge funds, and banks.

And now we're learning that the first-ever Government Accountability Office audit of the Federal Reserve, which was recently completed, found that our American Central Bank (the Fed) has had to inject trillions of taxpayer's dollars into the banking system to keep these monsters alive. From December 2007 through June 2010, the Fed had secretly bailed out many of the world’s biggest banks, corporations, and governments. The combined bailout amount in U.S. dollars to 15 different banks (including some foreign banks) aggregates to a whopping $16 trillion! (Go here to see what this would look like as a stack of raw cash compared to a football field).

The largest chunk was received by Citigroup: $2.5 trillion, followed by Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion. Merrill Lynch pocketed $1.949 trillion while Bank of America grabbed $1.344 trillion. Among the foreign banks, at $868 billion Barclays PLC (UK) got the largest slice of the dole, followed by the Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion. Bear Sterns sucked $853 billion.

Other financial institutions receiving major bailouts are as follows. Goldman Sachs received $814 billion, JP Morgan Chase $391 billion, Deutsche Bank (Germany) $354 billion, UBS (Switzerland) $287 billion, Credit Suisse (Switzerland) $262 billion, Lehman Brothers $183 billion, Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom) $181 billion, and BNP Paribas (France) $175 billion.

And they say it was WE who have been living above out means, must tighten our belts, and make a shared sacrifice by allowing the Republicans to decimate Social Security and Medicare.

It’s no wonder then that the banks have the tallest buildings, and why the banking execs live in the most elitist neighborhoods, and why you often receive pre-approved credit cards with promised credit lines. After all, the banks aren’t really creating any money, they are just spending it. And if the banks write an overdraft, then the Fed (us) is there to bail them out. Of course, you are the one who will actually have to bear the ultimate burden through taxes and the national debt. But the Republicans keep saying that this is what YOU want when they refer to balancing the budget, capping spending, and reducing the national debt.

They want you to give up your Social Security so that the Federal Reserve can give the big banks more money.

But then again, you already knew all this...didn't you? But yet the Republicans still refuse to reform the banking system and they rejected Elizabeth Warren's nomination to head the new consumer protection agency. I wonder why? Hmmmmm?

(The video I edited with the Pink Floyd sound track "MONEY" is perfect for this post.)

(And do we really still have gold in Fort Knox, or did we give it all to the Chinese to pay down some of the banker's debt? Maybe Fort Knox should be the next audit.)

Source: Government Accountability Office

* Excerpted from original post

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where GOP is Cutting Jobless Benefits

Click photo to enlarge

Republican senators voted last December to fund emergency extended UI benefits through January 2012, in exchange for tax cuts for the rich being extended until December 2012.

Then almost immediately, Republican governors began cutting state benefits to disqualify the jobless from receiving those federal extended benefits. Then the Republican governors began inducing MORE tax cuts for the rich and BIG business, while cutting food stamps and Medicaid for the unemployed (the new poor).

The Republican governors went after collective bargaining and other worker and voting related issues, rather than create jobs. They voted for bans on abortions instead.

Then afterwards, the Republican senators in congress reinstated oil subsidies for BIG OIL companies that paid no federal taxes. Then they turned around and held the debt ceiling hostage to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

We have just as many jobless Americans now as we did when federal extended benefits were approved last year. The GOP didn't bargain in good faith, and has of yet created a jobs bill.

I predict a landslide win for the Democrats next year. And Obama should use the 14th Amendment to pass a clean debt ceiling bill. The Supreme Court will rule in his favor because (thank God!), the Tea Party doesn't run the Supreme Court yet.

Bernie Sanders - Why Americans are so Angry

Senator Bernie Sanders is an Independent senator from Vermont, member of the Senate Budget Committee, and the longest serving independent in congressional history.

The rich are getting richer. Their effective tax rate, in recent years, has been reduced to the lowest in modern history. Nurses, teachers and firemen actually pay a higher tax rate than some billionaires. It’s no wonder the American people are angry.

Many corporations, including General Electric and Exxon-Mobil, have made billions in profits while using loopholes to avoid paying any federal income taxes. We lose $100 billion every year in federal revenue from companies and individuals who stash their wealth in tax havens off-shore like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. The sum of all the revenue collected by the Treasury today totals just 14.8% of our gross domestic product, the lowest in about 50 years.

In the midst of this, Republicans in Congress have been fanatically determined to protect the interests of the wealthy and large multinational corporations so that they do not contribute a single penny toward deficit reduction.

If the Republicans have their way, the entire burden of deficit reduction will be placed on the elderly, the sick, children and working families. In the midst of a horrendous recession that is already causing severe pain for average Americans, this approach is morally grotesque. It’s also bad economic policy.

President Obama and the Democrats have been extremely weak in opposing these right-wing extremist proposals. Although the United States now has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major industrialized country, Democrats have not succeeded in getting any new revenue from those at the top of the economic ladder to reduce the deficit.

Instead, they’ve handed the wealthy even more tax breaks. In December, the House and the Senate extended President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and lowered estate tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. In April, to avoid the Republican effort to shut down the government, they allowed $38.5 billion in cuts to vitally important programs for working-class and middle-class Americans.

Now, with the U.S. facing the possibility of the first default in our nation’s history, the American people find themselves forced to choose between two congressional deficit-reduction plans. The plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which calls for $2.4 trillion in cuts over a 10-year period, includes $900 billion in cuts in areas such as education, health care, nutrition, affordable housing, child care and many other programs desperately needed by working families and the most vulnerable.

The Senate plan appropriately calls for meaningful cuts in military spending and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it does not ask the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations to make any sacrifice.

The Reid plan is bad. The constantly shifting plan by House Speaker John Boehner is much worse. His $1.2 trillion plan calls for no cuts in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it requires a congressional committee to come up with another $1.8 trillion in cuts within six months of passage.

Those cuts would mean drastic reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What’s more, Mr. Boehner’s plan would reopen the debate over the debt ceiling, which is now paralyzing Congress, just six months from now.

While all of this is going on in Washington, the American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want wealthy individuals and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. They also want bedrock social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be protected. For example, a July 14-17 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 72% of Americans believe that Americans earning more than $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes.

In other words, Congress is now on a path to do exactly what the American people don’t want. Americans want shared sacrifice in deficit reduction. Congress is on track to give them the exact opposite: major cuts in the most important programs that the middle class needs and wants, and no sacrifice from the wealthy and the powerful.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that the American people are so angry with what’s going on in Washington? I am too.

Follow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Twitter:

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

An Easy Way to Raise Taxes on the Rich

Why is a "compromise" needed now? Since when is a "plan", a spending bill, or a "compromise" needed to raise the debt ceiling?

John Boehner keeps asking, "Where's Obama's plan?" - - - as if Obama is even supposed to have any plan in regards to raising the debt ceiling. (It's a one-sentence bill).

The debt ceiling has to be raised (by law) to pay for previous spending passed by congress. Future spending was never tied to past spending before. It was the Republicans who are trying to impose a PLAN, when no "plan" is even necessary to raise the debt ceiling. Future spending and past spending are different issues.

Why did Obama and the Democrats even acknowledge any plan or compromise in the first place?

The Republicans failed to kill Medicare the last time with Paul Ryan's plan, so now they are using the debt ceiling (and the threat of default) to kill Medicare another way. That much is obvious.

The next time the Republicans (and John Boehner) want to fund another war, Obama should insist on a "plan" or a "compromise" to first raise taxes on the rich before any further funding can be made for the 3 wars we're now engaged in.

The next time the Republicans (and John Boehner) want to fund oil subsidies and other corporate welfare, Obama should insist on a "plan" or a "compromise" to first raise taxes on the rich before any further funding can be made for THAT waste, fraud, and abuse.

The next time the Republicans (and John Boehner) want to give a government no-bid contract to a corporation in the defense industry that doesn't pay taxes, Obama should insist on a "plan" or a "compromise" to first raise taxes on the rich before any further funding can be made for THAT waste, fraud, and abuse as well.
Then Obama can say, "We presented our plan, where's Boehner's plan?"

GOP Won't Reform Banks or Cut Oil Subsidies

If you watched the documentary Inside Job, the film starts out in Iceland in 2000 when Alcoa was allowed to use its geo-thermal energy to run smelting plants - and when Iceland's three major banks were first privatized and de-regulated, and began borrowing billions of dollars, then using the money for personal use.

It would be a very simple thing to nationalize our own banks. Fire the CEOs of all our major banks (i.e. Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup, and including the Federal Reserve, but not including the smaller community banks); and then having the newly appointed CEO tell everybody else, "You now work for the United States government." (Meaning us, the people).

Then all the insurance companies would be put on notice as well. Elizabeth Warren could be the newly appointed head of our banking and financial system (and appoint the new CEOs), and she would forbid any political campaign contributions going from the people's banking system into any of the Republican PAC accounts. Real banking reforms could be put in place, and then the fine print at the bottom and on the back of your bank statements would magically disappear.

The average "Joe on the street" wouldn't even notice any change in his daily life. The currency would remain the same. But the following month he will see a drastic reduction in his credit card and auto loan payments, because his interest rate would have dropped from 15% or 20% to 5% or lower. The interest that the government banks earn would go into the U.S. Treasury to fix infrastructure instead of into the CEO of a bank's personal offshore bank account...instead of filling HIS pockets, the money can go into defense, schools, and other needed government services.

All we need to do is have Obama send in the National Reserve into the elaborate corporate boardrooms of these banks and take the crooked CEOs into custody and secure the premises. The CEOs would then be thoroughly interrogated, and all assets discovered and made transparent to the American people. The stock market might close for a week while the transition was being made, but other than that, life would go on as normal.

Republicans love the banks, but the banks will no longer be able to curry favor from the Republicans with massive bribes to screw the people over. Real reforms could be immediately implemented without the banker's lawyers obstructing Elizabeth Warren's efforts. The banks, henceforth the money supply and the country, will once again belong to the people, and not a small group of billionaires sucking us dry and dictating everything in our daily lives.

And the oil companies (who pay no taxes) could be next, and for the same reasons. Your gasoline would be bought AT COST, not with 50% in profits added to your cost to enrich a handful of greedy oil barrens.

The economy would skyrocket because of cheaper energy and fairer banking laws!*

* And then Mister Meyers woke up from his daily nap and sadly realized that the looting of American would continue for the rest of his life.

14 Million Unemployed - No Jobs and No Benefits!

That's what all the headlines might read in a few short months. And of course the Republicans will say it's all Obama's fault.

According to this New York Times article from a little over a year ago (June 10, 2010) 4.5 million people were receiving regular state unemployment benefits, and nearly 5.4 million were receiving extended benefits. All told, about 9.9 million people were drawing an unemployment check.

Just 6 short months from now (in January 2012) every one of them will have exhausted all state and federal unemployment benefits.

So, if only a little more than 1 million jobs were created since this time last year, wouldn't that mean there will be over 14 million people without any benefits all, and they will all still be unemployed? And wouldn't that also mean that almost everyone who lost their job during the Great Recession had never found another job again?

In that New York Times article it also says "it will take time to create enough jobs to bring down the 9.7 percent unemployment rate." (That's when the BLS was reporting that 15 million were unemployed).

Today the BLS reports a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and 14.1 million people out of work.

And the year before that in 2009...wasn't the average unemployment rate throughout most of the year about 9.5 percent also? (Here in Las Vegas it peaked at 15% and is now reported to be at 13.8% in July 2011.

So what much has changed since the beginning of this recession, except that everyone will soon be without any income at all, and will have to rely on food stamps (which the Republicans will want to cut).

Last November the Republicans ran on the promise of cutting government spending, but they didn't specifically say food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security (stuff 14.1 million unemployed people will need to live). They had us thinking they were going after "wasteful spending". Are we wasteful?

And the Republicans also promised jobs, but after all these months in office, they have yet to come up with a single jobs bill. Instead, they went after collective bargaining rights, voter registration, Planned Parenthood, and National Public Radio. Then they CUT unemployment benefits in many states.

Every time I see a Republican on TV, they say that that's what the American people wanted and why they voted them into office last November. I don't remember any of them promising to cut unemployment benefits, although I already knew they thought we were all lazy drunks.

But I do remember the Republicans voting last December to continue funding unemployment benefits for another 13 exchange for another 24 months of tax cuts for the rich...I mean, "job creators".

I noticed that when unemployment numbers are high, that's good for the Republicans because they use our numbers to blame Obama for this "jobless recovery" (although the stock market has fully recovered). As John Boehner says, the rich (I mean the job creators) need "certainty" in the marketplace (as though we don't need any certainty in our own lives).

When I used to see a Republican on Fox News, they didn't speak very highly of the unemployed. They thought we should all be cannibals and start our own businesses...and that we should go back to school, stop taking drugs, be more "mobile", get off the bottle, and stop being so damn lazy and just take any non-existent job at McDonalds. Remember that?

Now the Republicans want to wipe out Medicare and Social Security without raising taxes on billionaires one penny. They say that it's WE who need to start living within our means, tighten our belts, make a shared sacrifice, and to stop whining and being so Socialistic. I'll bet that sounds so reasonable to the voters who still have jobs.

The Republicans are always scaring us, saying that Obama wants to raise taxes (not mentioning at all that it's just taxes on those earning over $1 million a year). Oops! They must have forgotten to mention that part.

The Republicans are always saying that Obama has been recklessly spending, never mentioning that it's congress who writes the checks. But oddly, the Republicans voted to hand over $700 billion to the banks - - - the very same banks that the Republicans de-regulated. The very same banks that committed fraud and foreclosed on so many homes. The same banks that the Republicans REFUSE to reform. The very banks that made record profits and paid themselves record bonuses. (Oops! I guess the Republicans forgot to mention that part too!)

If elected, what will the Republicans do for 14.1 million unemployed Americans who have exhausted all their unemployment benefits and had all their other social programs stripped to the bare bone? Will 14.1 million jobs magically re-appear and pay a "living wage"? Will the Republicans save America and the middle-class?


But it's not entirely all the Republican's fault...because we know who pulls their strings...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Debt Ceiling: It's Not a Compromise, it's a Sacrifice

Those in the Democratic leadership having been crying about how "painful" these cuts would be, and that normally they wouldn't vote for them; but that they (meaning us) would have to "compromise" - - - because it's the responsible thing to do for the country and the economy.


How "painful" is it really for the Democratic leadership, unless of course, they mean not getting re-elected. But how much MORE painful would it be for ordinary Americans who don't earn a congressional salary of $174,000 a year?

What "compromises" are those in the Democratic leadership really making on our behave? Do they have to take a cut in their pay or healthcare? Are they saving the country from default for the unemployed without raising taxes on the very rich, just so that those on Social Security can learn to live on much less - - - after they've already been getting screwed over on COLAs for the last several years?

What pain and sacrifice do the Democratic leaders have to make for "our own good"? Everybody is saying the polls support a "compromise". A compromise? Or a sacrifice? It's a sacrifice of the poor, the sick, and the elderly - - - which is a nice way to say that it's more pain and suffering for those who have already did most of the suffering and sacrificing. THEY are the one who've be doing most of ALL the "compromising" already. They are the ONLY ONES who will have "compromised" to make this "grand deal" be workable for the Democratic leadership.

What did Harry Reid or Obama compromise? What are they sacrificing? How have they suffered? How will cuts in Social Security and Medicare hurt them? Who the hell are they kidding?

As usual. it's the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the veterans, the sick, and the down-trodden who are not being represented in democracy - - - and as usual, it is THEY who must do all the be sacrificed for the sake of the whole heard.

For those who are still middle-class and the very wealthy, they don't even notice if somebody in Washington farts, so long as THEY'RE not affected... why should THEY even care?

Joe the Machinist: "Watch Your Back!"

From the newsletter at: 

Corporate America, advises one of the nation's most prestigious management consulting companies, needs to wake up and stop rewarding employee loyalty and performance. With one exception...

You work hard. You do good work. You loyally stick with your employer through good times and bad. Do you have a right to a paycheck that rises over time?

Analysts from one of America’s top management consulting firms, Booz & Co., have an answer that the Harvard Business School last week sent reverberating through Corporate America’s upper echelons. That blunt answer: No.

The notion that good workers doing valuable work deserve to see their paychecks rise over time, pronounce Booz & Co. analysts Harry Hawkes, Albert Kent, and Vikas Bhalla, no longer rates as “tenable.” America’s corporations, the three advise, need to start attacking the “exorbitant” paychecks now going to their most prized, “steady and reliable” veteran workers.

The Booz analysts offer an example of the “significantly overpaid” worker they have in mind. They call him Joe the machinist, “a stellar employee who knows the ins and outs of the organization, the result of his many years on the job.”

This Joe the machinist has been working at that job for over two decades. His “wealth of institutional knowledge” has become a valued corporate asset. But Joe is making a lot more than he used to make, especially “compared with co-workers who have been doing the same job for just two years.”

Corporate America, the Booz & Co. advice continues, now needs to “address these kinds of wage disparities.” Companies need to start “retooling labor costs” to narrow “the gap between high wages and market value.”

A “multifaceted and tailored” retooling, the Booz analysts go on to gush, could net U.S. corporations “labor savings of 15 to 20 percent.” Of course, the analysts acknowledge, Joe the machinist “might have to take pay cuts” along the way.

But what a payoff these pay cuts would produce! Firms that retool successfully, the Booz consultants confidently promise, “will end up with larger and more sustainable improvements in their [profit] margins.”

Some business leaders are already cheering the Booz analysis.

“We infantilize workers like Joe,” former Bank of America executive Marc Effron cheerily charges, “by insulating them from the harsh economic realities by paying above market wages.”

But Corporate America, in fact, has been doing precious little “insulating” over recent years. Corporations have been depressing wages to fatten profit margins for some time, and Wall Street's most astute observers, notes American Prospect columnist Harold Meyerson, are actively tracking the de-insulation process.

Meyerson points to an analysis that JPMorgan Chase chief investment officer Michael Cembalest sent out earlier this month to his bank's top investors. Cembalest’s musings explore the rising corporate profit margins that U.S. companies registered between 2000 and 2007 and conclude that “reductions in wages and benefits explain the majority of the net improvement in margins.”

New research from Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies updates this “de-insulation” story for more recent years.

Corporate profits from 2009’s second quarter through 2011’s first, this research shows, have increased 39.6 percent. Over that same span, median weekly earnings of full-time U.S. workers have dropped 1 .0 percent.

Median pay for corporate CEOs, in the meantime, rose 23 percent in 2010 alone, the New York Times reported earlier this month.

This latest CEO pay hike continues a long-term trend. In the 1992-1995 years, calculates UMass Center for Industrial Competitiveness director William Lazonick, America’s 500 highest-paid executives annually averaged — in 2009 dollars — $9.0 million. In the 2004-2007 span, the top 500 averaged $27.2 million.

The Booz analysts — and their cheerleaders — want America's Joe the machinists to swallow ever lower paychecks to help their “established” U.S. corporate employers “keep up with intense competition” from elsewhere in the world. They demand no similar sacrifice from U.S. corporate executives.

That makes no sense, particularly for analysts who are arguing we must “narrow the gap” between exorbitant pay and actual “market value.” U.S. CEOs currently take home far more than the global “market” going rate for executive talent.

CEOs at companies with over $10 billion in annual revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported back in 2008, make twice as much in the United States as they do in Europe — and nine times more in the United States than they do in Japan.

Corporate America, in other words, definitely does need some seriously aggressive “labor cost retooling” — and they need to start at the top...

...Boeing Chief Executive Officer James McNerney's compensation for last year FELL to $19 million, mainly because of a decline in the value of his stock awards. McNerney and other Boeing executives got nothing under a performance award program meant to cover 2008 through 2010 because the company didn't meet its profit goals. Boeing said the main factors were delays on new planes, the recession, and a slowdown in defense spending. He moved jobs from Washington State to South Carolina to bust a Machinist union. 

Dennis Nishi - Wall Street Journal - "Time off after being laid off"

Dennis Nishi, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, used the service HARO (HelpaReporter.Com) to post a query for a story he's researching. It was e-mailed to me through a Facebook news-feed that I'm subscribed to, and reads as follows: 

Summary: Being laid off and what you should do
Name: Dennis Nishi (Wall Street Journal)
Media Outlet: WSJ
Deadline: 07:00 PM EST - 28 July

Query: "I'm looking for somebody that took some time off after being laid off and had difficulties finding work as a result. Also interested in how you were able to productively use being laid off. Thanks. Only send emails to this email address. Do not send to the general Careers mailbox or to multiple emails."

So I emailed him:

Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:17 PM
Subject: "Took some time off after being laid off"

To: Dennis Nishi (Wall Street Journal)
RE: Your Query

Hi Dennis,

QUESTION: After a 55-year-old son of a war veteran (Korea and Vietnam) is laid off from his job of 20 years (as a casino bartender in Las Vegas), then plows through his life's savings after he exhausted all his unemployment benefits, then has his car towed away, then gets evicted from his home, and was finally forced to move in with a very kind stranger to escape from being homeless, how do the Republicans (and Rupert Murdock) propose he live out the rest of his years, let alone survive the next few months?

Especially if he's 7 years away from getting a reduced Social Security retirement benefit at the age 62 (which the Republicans and Rupert Murdock call a "government hand-out" and want to cut); and especially since he's recently been diagnosed with severe arthritis in his neck and back (from a life-time of hard work)? He was denied his first claim for Social Security disability (which the Republicans and Rupert Murdock want to cut) and now MUST rely on food stamps just to eat (which the Republicans and Rupert Murdock also wants to cut). The only thing that the Republicans and Rupert Murdock haven't mentioned cutting is his "manhood". Will that be next?

You're "looking for somebody that took some time off" after losing their livelihood? It's not a voluntary socio-economic un-activity that the jobless are engaged in; we weren't invited to the party during this jobless economic recovery - we are treated more like party crashers every time we ask for help - meaning a job, which is always much more preferable to food stamps (or any other "government hand-out"). But the wealthiest "job creators" in this country are hoarding the money supply and are not investing in American workers. And when they DO hire someone, it's usually a much younger person with a higher education who is not currently unemployed - - - and at reduced wages. Your job could be next.

I didn't plow through several thousand dollars in my bank account just to sit around at home all day long in my socks to watch day-time TV. But I needed to pay for food, rent, and electricity (and make car payments before I couldn't do that any longer after all my cash was gone). I worked 40 hard years and expected to work another 15 more before I was laid off in late 2008 - - - but I was never hired again. The "under-employed" in this country work 2 and 3 part-time low-paying jobs, so there are no jobs for those that have no jobs at all. No, McDonalds hired 62,000 teenagers for summer work, and aren't looking to fill 14 million+ positions for middle-aged and elderly adults who need an income to survive.

What did I do while I was lounging around the pool drinking frilly Margaritas for the last 3 years while I was relaxing on the government dole? Well, besides looking for work - any work, including low-paying jobs (and cursing at the commentators on Fox News for accusing me of being drunk and lazy), I designed web sites (which are down for lack of funds). I also blogged, and I wrote a novel which was self-published and will be soon be on sale at Amazon. But unlike Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, I don't have a TV show to plug my book.

I know nothing about starting my own business, but I hear that that requires start-up capital, and I'm flat broke. And I don't suppose that 14 million+ Americans can be expected to start their own business either, as some people on Fox News have suggested. Heaven forbid if we all became successful...who would shine all the current CEOs' shoes?

I also do a little's a trailer I just did for my book: 

More info here at my free blog:  

I have also vigorously advocated for the jobless and especially for the long-term unemployed like myself (such as the "99ers"), which Glenn Beck has accused of being Socialists. It was THEN that I went from being a person with Republican sympathies to a man with Progressive sentiments. The Great Recession woke me up and opened up my eyes as to what has been going on in this country. As a casualty of Republican policies, I'm now the collateral damage (victim) of their "grand ole" experiment with capitalism. The "rising tide" never rose my boat, it washed me far out to sea. Thanks GOP!

I didn't WANT to have to collect unemployment checks or food stamps, any more than I WANTED the holes in my socks and underwear that I currently wear - - - because now I can no longer afford to go to Wal-Mart.

I hope you NOW have a better understanding of the unemployed in this country. It's not easy. It's not easy at all watching the world pass you by while life goes on without you.

Sincerely Yours,
Bud Meyers
Bud Meyers

P.S. I forgot to mention something that's very significant: The "stranger" that took me in to their home 6 months ago after I was evicted and allowed me to use their spare bedroom, is unemployed also and exists solely on unemployment benefits when they could be renting this room. They get the full 99 weeks in this State because here in Las Vegas, the unemployment rate is still 13.8%. If you consider the actual U-6 unemployment rate, it's closer to 20% (or 1 out every 5 people). My benefactor's unemployment benefits run out by the end of the year, then what will we do? And me, without a car and broke, am in a very deep hole....wouldn't you agree?

BCC: Huffington Post and Las Vegas Review-Journal

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The market has fully recovered under Obama...

Gauging by the chart below (courtesy of Google Finance), stocks have fully recovered from the stock market crash of 2008-09 (just after AIG had failed and when all the banks had needed bailed out).

But all the jobs that were lost in 2008, 2009, and 2010 were never recovered. And in 2011 we're STILL losing jobs. But under Obama, the stock market has done very well.

The economy for the banks and corporations has "recovered", but I fear that the unemployment rate and the "middle-class" will never recover.

So what is all this "certainty" that Speaker of the House John Boehner has been whining about? What about a little "certainty" for the unemployed and for all those other millions of Americans (the 99ers) whose benefits have ran out?

"Hey Boehner, where are the friggin'jobs?"

Click chart to enlarge

You and Millionaires - Let's Compare

Political and corporate pals - BFF

Both political parties in congress are pretending to debate about the debt ceiling, the national debt, and our annual budget. But it's pretty much common knowledge that the big banks and corporations run congress, and henceforth, this country. So any "deal" will always screw the working-class for the benefit of those who control the money supply and our legislators. As usual, we'll ALL be screwed again.

One hundred bucks - A "C Note"

One Hundred Dollars - $100 USD - The most counterfeited denomination in the world. Because I've been unemployed for 2½ years during the Great Recession, I get two of these every month from the State of Nevada in the form of food stamps so that I can eat. People collecting unemployment insurance benefits receives an average of 3 of these every week to pay all their monthly bills.

A nice fat wad in the pocket of a millionaire.

Ten Thousand Dollars - $10,000 - Enough to buy an average 5-year-old used car. This is about what the government defines as poverty if you are single with no children. Four stacks of these would equal the median income wage in the U.S. before taxes, which averages about 25% for the middle and working-class.

What 4 congressional leaders earn in one year.

One Million Dollars - $1,000,000 - This is 25 years of work for you. Republicans don't want to tax those earning over this amount, who only pay about 15% in taxes WITHOUT loop-holes....and many times ZERO% WITH loopholes. CEOs and bankers pay themselves this amount in multiples every single year, while at the same time gouging you in the fine print in your monthly bills.

Goldman Sachs bonuses.

One Hundred Million Dollars - $100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone. Fits nicely on a standard sized pallet. The salary of a hedge fund manager? Billionaires have several of these pallets tucked away in various off-shore bank accounts and don't pay U.S. taxes....and that's another reason why America is going broke and has budget shortfalls.

Koch brothers, Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, etc.

One Billion Dollars - The big banks got those 10 pallets X 700 from the the hard-working taxpayers in their TARP bailouts. Those like the Tea Party backers, such as the Koch brothers, each have 200 pallets apiece - but yet they still want to cut Social Security and Medicare for you and me. Why?

In off-shore bank accounts.

One Trillion Dollars - $1,000,000,000,000 - When the U.S. government speaks about a 1.7 trillion deficit - this is the volume of cash the U.S. Government borrowed in 2010 to run itself. If you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now. It's also what BIG BUSINESS has stashed on the "sidelines". They are not investing it or creating jobs - but the Republicans call these people "job creators", and says we shouldn't tax them. (That's me by the truck begging for a sandwich to eat.) Click any image to enlarge for better detail.

Where's my disability check?

Now look at that same $1 trillion dollars compared to a standard sized American Football field and European Football field. Say "hello" to the Boeing 747-400 transcontinental airliner that's hiding on the right. Boeing doesn't pay taxes and gets government contracts and subsidies too! They recently moved to South Carolina to bust a labor union. Apple computer (who likes using cheap Chinese labor to displace American workers) was the first company to ever be expected to break the $1 trillion dollar market cap. Republicans don't want to tax these "job creators" either.

Does not include Fort Knox.

15 Trillion Dollars - $15,000,000,000,000 - This is about what the U.S. national debt is expected to be by Christmas 2011. But the Republicans don't want to tax those with the billion-dollar stacks to help pay this debt down. They'd rather cut spending on the food stamps that I need to eat.

Our buildings and bridges are crumbling.

114.5 Trillion Dollars - $114,500,000,000,000. - U.S. unfunded liabilities* - You can see the pillar of cold hard $100 bills that dwarfs the WTC the Empire State Building, which at one time were the world's tallest buildings. The U.S. no longer has the tallest buildings. American corporations now prefer to build in foreign countries. If you look carefully you can see the Statue of Liberty. Remember what that used to stand for?

The 114.5 Trillion dollar super-skyscraper is the amount of money the U.S. Government will ultimately need going into the future to fully fund Medicare, the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, our military and congressional pensions.

But those earning a million dollars a year or more do not want to contribute to this....

Political and corporate pals - BFF

...THEY don't NEED Social Security, and their Republican civil servants in congress will see to it that the millionaires and billionaires won't have to pay their share. Your reprehensible "representatives" will only cut what YOU need.

If you have read this far, and you like this site, please feel free to support this site by clicking on the DONATE button to make a PayPal donation. Thanks.

(*The unfunded liability is calculated on current tax and funding inputs, and future demographic shifts in U.S. Population.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Will Survive the Budget Cuts?

He had the U.S. presidency.
He had the majority in the U.S. Senate.
But he didn't have the Tea Party. 

Now Obama must decide...Who will survive and who will not?
The uber- rich? Or everybody else?

Click photo to enlarge

GOP - "Cut Medicare, not Bombs!"

Tit-for-tat, a rag-tag collection of terrorists called al-Qaeda has had a much more efficient "defense" budget than the most powerful military that ever existed on the planet Earth...both in terms of cash expenditures and in lives lost.

Nearly 3,000 victims and 19 hijackers died in the 911 attacks. The United States, with a "defense" budget of nearly $700 billion-a-year allocated to the "defense" industry (which doesn't include our nuclear arsenal and instead, is budgeted under the Department of Energy), has cost the Americans taxpayers $7 trillion to kill Osama Bin Laden - - - and it has also cost us the lives of over 6,026 (to date) brave and patriotic American soldiers.

Who's been getting more "bang-for-their-buck"?

Is the vast U.S. military industrial complex giving the hard-working (and unemployed) American taxpayers a fair bang for its buck? Why does America maintain hundreds of military bases and hundreds of thousands of soldiers all over the world, pumping billions of U.S. dollars into foreign economies? Who's our enemy and from who are we defending our shores? A handful of 16-year-old Somali pirates? What's the real threat, and how is $700 billion-a-year accomplishing our "defense"?

Is this what American taxpayers were referring to regarding waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending? Or were the Republican voters referring to Social Security and Medicare when voting in last November's elections? After all, the Republican leadership has been claiming that that's why the voters had sent them to "cut government spending". Or did those voters really mean obscene congressional salaries?

The U.S. "defense" budget makes up almost half of our annual spending, most of which goes to making American corporations ever more profitable at the expense of our infrastructure and the weakening and further erosion of our social programs. Our American society, and our culture as a whole, suffers for this. We can no longer welcome the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free....because America can no longer afford them.

Yet, in all the debates over the debt ceiling and the national budget, Republicans have consistently targeted Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that the majority of us rely on when we become disabled, sick, or too old to work any longer.

And the Republican's proposed cuts also affects millions of U.S. military war veterans as well; but no Republican cuts were ever proposed in government contracts going to American corporations who provide for the vast military industrial complex. (and another reason why soldiers keep re-enlisting during a jobless recession; to avoid unemployment and being subjected to Republican cuts in unemployment benefits).

Republicans, whose economic and tax policies under George W. Bush has displaced millions of American workers and has directly caused our budget revenue shortfalls, has also targeted programs like Medicaid and food stamps for those who lost their jobs during the Great Recession because of those same Republican policies (such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).

In addition to this Republican refusal to heed a former Republican President's warning (Dwight D. Eisenhower), in which he says: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." - - - the Republicans have done just the opposite, and have become too dependent on these very corporations (defense contractors) for their political campaign funding.

If these defense contractors (American corporations) have full control of the political influence in the Republican Party, and because the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that these very same corporations cannot be limited in funding political broadcasts in candidate elections, and also have the same First Amendment rights as HUMAN citizens, then this can never change.

The Republicans will ALWAYS vote to further fund profitable American corporations at the expense of deep cuts to government services that millions of every-day Americans rely on and need for their very survival. But then again, the Democrats have been no better...always caving in like disgraceful wimps to the Republican blackmailers, hostage-takers, and thugs. (When I was a kid, I once thought that "good" always triumphs over "evil". Just like Republican voters, children can be so naive. I know, I was once a Republican too.)

Republican leaders within their party do this for no other reason other than to keep their own taxpayer-funded government jobs. As a member of congress taking in $174,000-a-year, and receiving very generous perks in addition to the best healthcare that money can buy, and a retirement pension that would make any labor union member blush like a virgin, I too might sell out the American people for my own personal gain...just like the big investment bankers did.

That's why the Republicans lie so much...yes, LIE, telling us things like: "We don't have a revenue problem (taxes), we have a spending problem (Social Security)." How do I know when a Republican is lying to me? It's easy. When I see their damn lips move!

That's why, for several decades, the Republicans have also insisted on continuing corporate welfare for companies making record profits - - - such as BIG OIL, tobacco subsidies, and no-bid contracts in the "defense" industry. The Republicans are essentially OWNED by American corporations, bought and paid for, and can't be relied upon to watch out for the best interests of ordinary working, unemployed, sick, elderly, disabled, or poor American citizens. The GOP only cares about the interests of their political campaigne contributors - - - such as the uber-wealthy, CEOs, and the now-well-known Wall Street bankers.

We don't need more aircraft carriers or submarines or nuclear missiles. What we need is a "defense" from the Republican "offense" in their class war against the middle-class and poor. We already have 20 aircraft carriers (of all classes), Russia has 1, China almost has 1, and al-Qaeda has ZERO. So why should we build more, instead of feeding our poor, paying our teachers, and fixing our roads? Even the Republicans need roads.

Icon of the American Empire - The Navy likes to call the big Nimitz Class carriers "4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory" many more of these do unemployed Americans need to protect their interests? They won't protect them from Republican politicians.

We have Met the Enemy... and He is Us

"Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; the real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the insurance companies who deny us health care when it's profitable, the banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us." - Mike Prysner 

* Full disclosure: I come from a military family (Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marines, and Navy) and have lived on several military installations. There is no more noble a profession that serving in our armed forces. The men and women who serve are exceptional in every sense of the word. They make untold sacrifices on behalf of our country and I admire and respect each and every one. I'm strong on defense, but I'm not for wasteful government spending that is not needed for defense at all, but instead used by corporations to enrich themselves through "emerging markets". Too many times Americans soldiers are sacrificed by our politicians, not for "defense", but for corporate profits. This has always been the case in human history...profiteers investing in wars.

John Boehner Gets Fired!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Republicans Don't Care if Poor People Die

Here is the Republican's plan for putting a cap on the debt ceiling, lowering the national debt, and balancing the budget: Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

North Korea invades South Korea - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Massive hurricane hits Florida - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Riots break out in L.A. - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Another surge in Iraq? - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Rise in unemployment? - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Congressional pay raises (and other perks) - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Tornados destroy parts of the Midwest - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Flooding in the Mississippi Valley - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Bridges and federal buildings collapse - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

OPEC drastically raises price of oil - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Fatal flu pandemic - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Al Qaeda attacks New York City again - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

U.S. Navy requests another aircraft carrier or submarine - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Firefighters are needed for out-of-control wildfires - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Upgrade is needed for the electric grid - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Nuclear reactor has a meltdown - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Devastating earthquake in California - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Chinese cyber attack - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Homelessness and healthcare for the elderly and sick: Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Asteroid on collusion course for Earth - Cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more on the poor.

Just cut taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare more for the poor, so the rich can enjoy government services paid for by American taxpayers...meaning those who pay taxes that earn less than $1 million a year...not the uber-rich or profitable multi-national corporations who get subsidies. We can't tax them because they have been the "job creators" ever since 2001 - up until today in 2011.

So with any luck, if humanity as we know it ever survives all the devastation (including the asteroid), at least the tax-less rich and their Republican politicians will have all survived, and to hell with everyone else. The Republicans don't care if poor people die.

The Myth about LOW INFLATION

In 1973 after I left high school, my first regular full-time job paid me $7.50 an hour. The rent for my nice (but modest) one-bedroom apartment cost me $275 a month. Gas was about 38¢ a gallon, and 55¢ DURING the oil embargo. My last job in 2008 paid me $15 an hour and the rent for my one-bedroom apartment was $850 a month. Gas was over $3 a gallon and the air-conditioner during the peak summer months cost me $200 a month in electricity to run. Food now costs a lot more too, much more than back in 1973.

My standard-of-living and my discretionary spending hadn't changed one iota, as my base-salary only doubled over the past 35 years while the cost of housing, food, and energy over quadrupled.

The other night on his show Ed Schultz' mentioned people with their windows open on a hot summer day because they couldn't afford $200 for an air conditioner. I think it's more because they can't afford the $200-a-month it costs for an electric bill to run an air conditioner.

The consumer price index that the government uses to gauge the cost-of-living-index doesn't include the 3 basic things that real people actually NEED to just "live".

1) Housing
2) Food
3) Energy (electric for heat and A/C)

The 3 most basic necessities that humans need - - - - that's what has gone up the most over these last few years. The government uses things like the cost of a 52" wide-screen HD TV imported from China to gauge the supposed "cost-of -living index", and EXCLUDES housing, food, and energy.

If Forbes or Reuters reports only a half a percent inflation rate, then for people on a fixed income like Social Security, that could be closer to an increase of 5% for ACTUAL inflation for them; but it's never reflected in any cost-of-living allowances (COLAS) for those who rely on Social Security. For the last 3 years they got NO increase at all in benefits, and members of Congress only didn't get a COLA because they voted to postpone any congressional pay raises as a "token gesture" because of the recession. But at $174,000 a year (+ perks), they don't need to worry about the cost of a one-bedroom apartment, the cost of food, or the price of electricity to air-condition their beautiful homes.

When COLAS are calculated for poor people on Social Security, they have been getting screwed royally because of this government false reporting of what it actually costs to live.

The government's definition of poverty for a single guy like me is $10,280 a year. If the average price of a one room apartment in the U.S. is $700 a month, housing alone would cost me $8,400 a year and does not even include the cost of heat/AC and the basic food staples, let alone anything left over for popcorn and a movie.

The same can be said for those who were forced to live on unemployment compensation insurance benefits. They are not living "high-on-the-hog" as Fox News and the Republicans would have you believe. Average UI, Social Security, and disability payments are just above the government's definition of the poverty rate.

And the Republicans want these people (on Social Security, food stamps, unemployment, and disability) to suffer even make a "shared sacrifice". If it wasn't so cruel, it would almost be funny.

Ed Schultz should do a segment about this.

Republican Genocide of the Elderly, Sick, and Poor

At 35%, our statutory corporate tax rate might LOOK high (relative to some other countries), but the many deductions, credits and other special breaks mean that the EFFECTIVE TAX RATE (taxes that corporations ACTUALLY pay) is far much lower - - - an estimated 13.4 percent lower on profits than the average for other major industrialized countries over the 2000-2005 period. The "effective rate" is far much lower than they've been for decades.

And the Republicans know this, but yet they keep insisting on telling us that higher taxes are smothering job growth, even though corporations and the wealthy just had the Bush tax cuts extended two more years to provide them with "certainty" in the marketplace. Poor people, working people, the elderly and the sick get no "certainty" in this economy or in their lives. Social Security and Medicare used to be "certain", but Republicans want to gut those programs as well.

Low taxes for the top 1% and large multi-national corporations were supposed to create jobs, but yet we're STILL losing jobs. Rather than proposing a workable jobs bill, the Republicans want us to focus on the national debt, annual spending and more tax breaks for the rich - - - rather than create more good jobs. With 40 million Americans that are either under-employed (working two part-time low-paying jobs) or unemployed (who can't even get a low-paying job), the U.S. Treasury is being deprived of vital tax revenues to run the government and to provided for the sick, the poor, and the elderly. They are being tossed to the curb like used beer cans to give the wealthy and multi-national corporations MORE tax breaks, even though they have already been earning record profits and salaries.

The wealthy and large multi-national corporations no longer NEED an American middle-class anymore to remain profitable. The wealthy and large multi-national corporations no longer NEED to create jobs paying a decent, fair, and "living wage". Why would they pay you $20 an hour to do the gardening at their mansion when they can pay an illegal immigrant half as much to do the same work. And they can't threaten YOU with deportation. The wealthy and multi-national corporations like to have ALL control over the humans that serve their needs...whether it be on their factory floors, or as their personal gardener, chauffeur, cook, valet, or maid.

No matter what happens in "the debt talks", you can bet your ass that average Americans (most who earn under one million dollars a year) will lose the battle, and the powerfully rich and corporate America will win again. For the last 40 years they have won. The complaints over oil subsidies have gone on for decades, but will never end. 

Now taxpayers have to hope that after busting their asses all their life, that when they sick and/or old, they won't be exterminated. They will be, but passively, by eliminating Social Security and Medicare. It's morally easier for them (the Republicans) to deny benefits and withhold funding for those programs, than it is to putting a gun to their heads and pulling the trigger themselves.

Holding the full faith and credit of the United States HOSTAGE for permanent tax breaks for the rich and permanent cuts to programs that working people rely on is totally despicable. If someone earned less than a million dollars a year, why would they ever vote for a Republican?


Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, Congress has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early, mandatory retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to Congress to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (System Covering Retired-Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as Congress deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by Congress.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. Congress has always prided themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.

Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your Congressman, who has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.

The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

PS - Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.