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Archive for the ‘‘starving the beast’’ Category

Annals of Republican Hypocrisy, Stardate … unknown

Posted by Charles II on October 13, 2012

Sarah Bufkin, HuffPo:

On Wednesday morning, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien asked the Utah Republican if he had “voted to cut the funding for embassy security.”

“Absolutely,” Chaffetz said. “Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have…15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, a private army there, for President Obama, in Baghdad. And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces. When you’re in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices. You have to prioritize things.”

For the past two years, House Republicans have continued to deprioritize the security forces protecting State Department personnel around the world. In fiscal year 2011, lawmakers shaved $128 million off of the administration’s request for embassy security funding. House Republicans drained off even more funds in fiscal year 2012 — cutting back on the department’s request by $331 million.

Meanwhile, Chaffetz & Co. are trying to put all the blame on Obama for the death of Ambassador Stephens and those protecting him in Benghazi. The Administration may have handled the PR badly, but the Congress has handled its primary duties badly.

Posted in 'starving the beast', Republicans acting badly, State Department | 1 Comment »

Starving at the corporate trough

Posted by Charles II on March 20, 2012

Citizens for Tax Justice:

The latest monthly statement by the Treasury Department contains a startling revelation: the amount that Treasury expects to collect in corporate taxes in 2012 has been slashed by more than 28 percent, from $333 down to $237 billion.

With such a dramatic revision, one might expect that lagging corporate profits or a sudden economic disruption is to blame. In reality however, corporate tax revenue continues to limp in spite of the fact that corporate profits have rebounded to record highs.

If corporate profits are not behind this $96 billion drop in expected corporate tax revenue, then what is?

The Wall Street Journal’s David Reilly suspects that there are two critical drivers: the offshoring of more profits through overseas entities by multi-national corporations; and the continuation of extravagant corporate tax breaks for accelerated depreciation of assets like equipment. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came to the same basic conclusion….

Corporations use the facilities of the United States of America, ranging from its courts to its highways to its Medicaid system to its schools to its university research labs. It has stopped paying for the privilege. This is wrong.

Posted in 'starving the beast', corporatists, taxes, The Plunderbund | Comments Off

Guess What: Individual Persons Carry MUCH Higher Tax Burden Than Corporations

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 21, 2011

Since Tony Sutton, some dude called Love, and the Minnesota College Republicans are now following me on Twitter, this is for them:

Ever wonder whether people or corporations carry a heavier tax burden? Well, it’s not even close: people pay more in taxes by a long shot.

Yes, that’s for both Federal and state taxes. In 2008, corporate entities paid only 12.0 percent of federal revenues, while individual taxpayers contributed 45.3 percent to the Treasury. In that same year, corporations accounted for a measly 4.27 percent of state and local revenues, whereas individuals paid 27.9 percent of state revenues in 2008. State corporate income taxes were $52 billion while state personal income taxes were nearly six times greater at $301 billion, and state sales taxes were, at $ 278 billion, not far behind.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Ohio’s Voucher Program: End Run Around The Establishment Clause?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 12, 2011

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America runs thus:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

The Supreme has in the past judged — twice — that it forbids public funding of parochial schools.

So how, then, is the State of Ohio able to get away with this:

Terri Seymour, a Colerain [Ohio] Township mother of an EdChoice eighth-grader, is happy that her daughter, Amanda, was able to move from a Mount Healthy elementary school that she deemed too easy to two more challenging Catholic schools, most recently St. Clement School in St. Bernard.

“It’s made her brand new,” Seymour said of Amanda.

Somebody should tell Ms. Seymour that if she wants her daughter to do well in mathematics — which is essential to careers in business or any of the sciences — she’d better put her back into public school, as a 2006 study found that public-school kids get much better math educations than those in conservative Christian schools:

The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better.

The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools, found that fourth graders attending public school did significantly better in math than comparable fourth graders in private schools. Additionally, it found that students in conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind their counterparts in public schools on eighth-grade math.

Furthermore, why is public money being shoveled at non-public schools, religious or otherwise, without any form of accountability? From the Cincinnati Enquirer article linked above, wherein we met Terri Seymour:

Six years after Ohio taxpayers began paying private-school tuition for what is now more than 15,000 students, the state is not reporting academic results for about half of them.

Scam, scam, scam.

Posted in 'starving the beast', education | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Ayn Rand Fan Tyler Cowen Doesn’t Like The Results Of Decades Of Randism On Conservatives

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 13, 2011

This just cracked me up.

Tyler Cowen, Ayn-Rand-worshiping product of and coddled hothouse flower in the conservative ideology factory and Koch Brothers plaything known as George Mason University, is all bummed out at how lazy and amoral conservatives and libertarian producers are letting themselves be outshone by liberal moochers in the intellectual and other departments:

The first problem is that higher status for the wealthy can easily lead to crony capitalism. In public discourse social status judgments are often crude. Critical differences are lost, like the distinction between earning money through production for consumers, as Apple has done, and earning money through the manipulation of government, which heavily subsidized agribusinesses have done. The relevant question, in my view, is not about how much you have earned but about how you have earned it. To further confuse matters, many right-wing Republican politicians supported corporate bailouts and corporate welfare far beyond what was necessary to stabilize the economy, in doing so further muddying the difference between productive and predatory capitalism.

The second problem is that many conservatives have become so attached to their cultural vision that they have ceded sound, technocratic reasoning to the left and center. For instance there is a common willingness among conservatives to defend the Bush tax cuts, even though the evidence does not show much of an economic payoff.

[...]

…today’s elites are so wedded to permissive values — in part for their own pleasure and convenience — that a new conservative cultural revolution may have little chance of succeeding.

Well, boo hoo hoo.

The spoiled-brat Cons Cowen rails about are precisely what you get when you rear three generations of conservatives on Ayn Rand’s mid-20th-century Social-Darwinist gloss on the Calvinistic idea that they are the Elect and everyone else is the Preterite.

Of course the modern Cons are lazy, stupid, greedy, and amoral — and it’s because they are Randians, even the self-alleged Christians among them like Mark Sanford.

They have been trained to think of themselves as the embodiment of her perfect elite, the studly producers and “makers” whose every action per Rand (including rape and murder) is self-justified, and to have nothing but contempt for the 99% — or as they call us, the “moochers”, “parasites” (a term adopted by rabid Randian Alan Greenspan (aka Mr. Andrea Mitchell) when he was a young man: “Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”), “looters”, and “takers” (which math-challenged Rand worshiper Paul Ryan favors).

So when Cowen says that everyone needs to behave like “the hero from an Ayn Rand novel”, what he doesn’t mention is that the very conservatives and Republicans he’s allegedly complaining about are the ones who have taken Rand’s words most strongly to what passes for their self-interested, self-centered, other-ignoring, empathy-shunning hearts. Quelle surprise — not.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, libertoonians, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Just say no (to destroying America), postal edition

Posted by Charles II on September 27, 2011

Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night… but Congress? Oy.

Long story short: USG forced postal service to overfund its pension system and undercharge for junk mail. That, the lousy economy, and the unregulated rise of spam makes it seem as if the postal service isn’t economically viable, thereby killing a major union and unemploying over 100,000 people.

Join the protest:

On Tuesday, September 27, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (local time), members of the four employee unions of the United States Postal Service—

• American Postal Workers Union
• National Association of Letter Carriers
• National Postal Mail Handlers Union
• National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association

—will join forces with members of our communities to send a message to the nation and its Congress.

We are proud to announce the participation of the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) in the effort to Save America’s Postal Service. Click here to read their entire statement.

During these informational rallies, we will visit the home office of each member of the House of Representatives.

We will thank those members who have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1351, a bill that addresses the financial crisis facing the Postal Service.

And we will encourage those who have not signed as co-sponsors of H.R. 1351 to do so.

I do have to say, whoever at the union comes up organizational names without considering the acronym should be spanked.

Posted in 'starving the beast', unions | Comments Off

Spend our retirement to pay for our unemployment?

Posted by Charles II on September 8, 2011

Needless to say, I was completely unimpressed with the Obama speech. It is $80B in real stimulus, hundreds of billions in tax cuts that will bypass the poor and barely help the lower middle class, and lots of tax subsidies for business (aka actual socialism, as opposed to what the Tea Party imagines socialism to be). All funded by draining the Social Security Trust Fund and, it is generally predicted, cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

If Bush had proposed this, it would have been called mean-spirited, short on vision, and many dollars short and days late.

That’s my take.

Via Digby, this is what happens if you complain about the theft of Social Security and Medicare too loudly:

____________
Added: Kash and Mark Thoma like the plan more than I do.
____________
Added: Strangely, Brad DeLong apparently refused to approve the comment that I left at his blog, which was substantively the same as the one I left with Kash.

DeLong is, in my experience, an odd person. In the past, he crudely edited and suppressed posts of mine, which is why I make the attempt only when I think the issue is very important. Although this tendency afflicts the right to a degree that it discredits the movement, people of all political persuasions nowadays seem to want to enforce ideological conformity. I’m sorry to see it afflict him. Teachers in particular have to demonstrate a tolerance for differences of opinion, lest they discredit the profession.

Substantively, one danger in the Obama plan is that people will imagine that it will get the economy back on track. Realistically, it is too small to do that. It may prevent an outright recession, but at the cost of weakening Social Security. Roughly 2/3 of the payroll tax cut will not go toward consumption. It will go toward businesses or toward people who have a greater propensity to save than to spend. Preferences for veterans are nice for veterans, but have no net effect on the economy. The rest of the plan will be stimulative… but only if the Republicans do not extract concessions.

If they cut Medicare and Medicaid– as the President all but invited them to do– the net stimulus will be even smaller. At the very most, it amounts to 2% of GDP probably spread over two years vs. a predicted GDP somewhere in the 1-2% range. By contrast, in a real recovery, GDP growth would be something like 5%. The Obama plan is about $800B short.

This is what is too rude or stupid to appear on the pages of Professor DeLong’s website.

Posted in 'starving the beast', Obama Administration, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

Mitch McConnell: Why Isn’t Obama Shipping More Jobs To Narcostates And Other Overseas Sweatshops?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2011

Mitch McConnell was given valuable Washington Post column space to argue for the further destruction of America’s industrial base and what’s left of America’s middle and working classes so that their jobs can be done overseas by people in horrific working conditions who risk being murdered if they try to improve them, all so Mitch’s already-phenomenally wealthy buddies in the Chamber of Commerce can get even richer off of the collective misery of people in the US and elsewhere.

That’s the only sensible way to read his recent whine urging Obama to wave through free trade agreements for Colombia (narcostate with murderously repressive government and US client state), Panama (once similar to Colombia, except their caudillo lipped off to the US once too often and so was replaced with a “democracy” where the principals hew closely to the US neoliberal line), and South Korea (another US client state where workers’ rights are suppressed).

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Shipping Jobs Overseas to Further Enrich Plutocrats Makes More Jobs at Home.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Is Austerity Killing Europe’s Recovery? Well, Duh.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 2, 2011

The WaPo’s Howard Schneider (or his headline writer) asks “Is austerity killing Europe’s recovery?”

He then proceeds to answer his own question:

The campaign to reduce government deficits has come in response to a European debt crisis that could endanger the global banking system. And the budget cutting has been coupled with a reluctance by the the European Central Bank to stimulate economic growth like the Federal Reserve has in the United States; the ECB has instead raised interest rates twice this year to contain inflation.

Those steps have sucked hundreds of billions of dollars out of a European economy that may be edging towards recession.

Such a downturn, by choking off government revenues and increasing the demand for public services, could put struggling countries such as Spain and Italy at risk of missing the very deficit-reduction targets that budget cuts and other austerity measures were meant to achieve.

You don’t have to look at Spain and Italy for proof that austerity kills economies — just look at the UK. Their recovery ground to a halt once Nick Clegg fell for the extortion of the BNP Paribas ratings agency, which threatened to downgrade the UK’s credit rating if Clegg didn’t form a government with the austerity-jonesing Tories.

I’ve been seeing more pro-Keynesian rumblings lately. Could it be that some of the elites realize that they may be slowly smothering their own golden geese and need to back off from the neoliberal plan to destroy public social services worldwide?

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

GOP’s Corporate Owners And Their Little Shop Of Tea Party Horrors

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 27, 2011

Jane Hamsher pointed out last month that the corporate owners and operators of the Republican Party are finally starting to realize that in feeding the Tea Party and “values voters” types, they have created a monster which is actively fighting their control:

Corporate America and the GOP have been playing a very dangerous game, throwing enormous amounts of money behind PR campaigns demagoguing the very deficit that their radical manipulation of the political system created in the first place. They thought they could hide their true intentions under the cloak of fiscal responsibility and good governance. The fact that the very tool they virtually invented to captivate the democratic process finally turned around and bit them in the ass is almost Shakespearean in its irony.

About time.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 
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