No One Could Have Anticipated, Exhibit A: Apparently decades of huge tax cuts make your state (or country) broke!
No One Could Have Anticipated, Exhibit B: Apparently voters don’t like it when you slash government services to pay for decades of huge tax cuts! (Or brand-new tax cuts, for that matter.)
I particularly like Politico’s clueless first sentence: “It was supposed to be one of the clearest messages of the 2010 elections: Voters were finally fed up with government spending.” I’m pretty sure that the clearest message of the 2010 elections was “We don’t like watching the banksters who blew up the economy get off scot-free (with bailouts, no less) while we can’t even find a job or hold onto our houses. Also, Obama is a worthless corporate sellout who has watered down or completely reneged on every single one of his campaign promises.”
And as Joseph Stiglitz points out in his refusal to sign the please-cut-Social-Security/Bowles-Simpson-is-awesome deficit reduction letter, fiscal austerity at the federal level will only make matters worse there, too.
It looks like the GOP is about to experience a pretty serious electoral backlash at the state level, and the only thing that might save them from the same fate nationally is if Obama and the Democrats help them hold the government’s head underwater instead of fighting to save it. Unfortunately, it looks like that’s exactly what they plan to do.
2 commentsMarch 31st, 2011 at 05:39pmPosted by Eli
The typical American tax cheat is male, single and under the age of 45.
While only 15% of Americans surveyed fessed up to fudging their tax returns, 64% of those people were men, according to the survey of consumer attitudes and behavior. Thirty-five percent were single (47% when including people who have been divorced or widowed), and 55% were under the age of 45.
These percentages were all significantly higher for the self-proclaimed cheaters than for the non-cheaters, indicating that Americans who cheat on their taxes are much more likely to fall into these three categories than those who don’t, the survey found.
Many cheaters also try to justify their behavior. Far more tax cheats said they are ‘overall better people’ and that they are ‘special and deserve to be treated that way’, compared to the people who said they don’t cheat.
Apparently “special” and “overall better people” can be identified by their willingness “to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, to ask a friend to pretend to be a former boss for a reference check… to lie about their income to qualify for government aid… wear an outfit once and return it, file false insurance claims, keep money they see someone drop on the floor… lie about finding something inappropriate in their food just to get a free meal… [or] steal money from a child.”
Remind me which party is the anti-tax party again?
This is quite possibly the most perfect representation yet of the Republican concept of “shared sacrifice”: GE employs every strategy known to man to not only avoid paying taxes on $14 billion in profits, but actually wrangles a $3.2 billion tax CREDIT…
And then turns around and tells 15,000 employees that they need to take big pay and benefit cuts. Because, I guess, $14 billion in profits plus a $3.2 billion tax credit just isn’t enough to get by on these days.
True, it’s not a perfect analogy to Obama extending tax cuts for the rich and then saying that government workers (and most other non-millionaires) will have to tighten their belts because of the deficit, but it’s the same combination of a huge tax windfall for the rich coupled with everyone else getting screwed. The biggest difference in GE’s case is that instead of providing an excuse for screwing workers, the tax windfall does pretty much the exact opposite.
So despite all his pro-corporate worthlessness and ineptitude, Obama still polls ahead of a generic unnamed Republican opponent by 10 points, 47-37. I suspect that this probably says a lot more about fear of Republicans than it does about confidence in Obama.
I guess the best way to confirm that would be to ask voters if they would rather vote for Obama or a crazy person who wants to deregulate everything, cut taxes for the rich, throw all the gays, immigrants and labor unions out of the country, and gut Social Security and Medicare to pay for more wars, and see if those numbers change at all.
I saw a remarkable number recently – Michigan’s union-busting Republican governor won election by 18 points last year, but if he had to run for election today, just a few months later, he would lose. And I think a lot of other similar governors (i.e., Scott Walker, Rick Scott) are in a similar situation.
So what I’m wondering is what exactly the message is here. Is it solely about appalled voters finally realizing just what it is they voted for, or is it a measure of just how disgusted they were with Obama and the Democrats that they would vote for anybody just to send a message?
Sometimes you don’t have to provide an appealing alternative – just an alternative.
4 commentsMarch 23rd, 2011 at 12:55pmPosted by Eli
Scarecrow uses the failure of Japan’s nuclear regulatory regime to remind us of the critically important point that political corruption isn’t just about greedy corporations cutting shady deals to skim a little extra off of the public trough – when safety corners are cut because captive revolving-door regulators look the other way, people DIE. And sometimes it’s a lot of people.
But money almost always trumps morality and civic responsibility, and even simple humanity, thus making disasters and tragedies not just unavoidable, but inevitable.
2 commentsMarch 22nd, 2011 at 05:03pmPosted by Eli
It is a little-known fact that Twilight Zone and Radar Love are not Golden Earring’s only good songs. I would even say that they’re probably not even their best songs. This week’s video isn’t necessarily one of their best songs, but it is undoubtedly their most twisted video. If I had to describe it I’d say it’s kinda like Robert Palmer by way of Abel Ferrara. Or vice versa.
Sarah Palin explains that her party lost the 2008 presidential election because she wasn’t at the top of the ticket. But hey, kudos to her for not playing the victim card. Or, more accurately, for bragging about how she never plays the victim card.
Yes, Sarah “Blood Libel” Palin actually said that.
First everyone realized that the Republicans sucked and voted them out of power. Then they discovered that Obama and the Democrats sucked and destroyed them in the 2010 midterms. Now they’re remembering once again just how much the Republicans suck, but it’s not making them like Obama and the Democrats any better. The sad truth is that both parties suck horribly right now.
A new Pew Research Center poll shows that about half of Americans think the debate over spending and deficits has been “generally rude and disrespectful.”
There’s even bipartisan agreement — 48 percent of Republicans and Democrats have that view, as well as 57 percent of independents. President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday to provide funding to keep the government open until April 8, the sixth such temporary extension in the 6-month-old fiscal year.
Pew surveyed 1,525 adults from March 8-14. The poll’s findings suggest the political losers so far have been Republicans, who rode a wave of voter irritation to win control of the House of Representatives last fall.
After the election, 35 percent said Republicans had a better approach to the deficit, expected to reach a record $1.65 trillion this year. This month, that number has plunged to 21 percent.
People don’t think Obama has better ideas, either — 20 percent found his approach better, down from November’s 24 percent. Total sample margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Unless there’s an intriguing third party candidate next year, I’m thinking turnout is going to be pretty damn low…
2 commentsMarch 21st, 2011 at 08:00amPosted by Eli
RIO DE JANEIRO – Zombies have overrun the city after zombie ants infected humans.
Ophiocordycps unilateralis once thought to be a brain-manipulating fungus that only affects the minds of ants is now known to affect the minds of humans as well.
The mind altering fungus can remain dormant in the fire ants and black ants for as little as a few hours but may remain dormant in carpenter ants for as much as several weeks before it begins to take over the mind of the ant….
Due to the deforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest many creatures, including ants, have begun infiltrating the cities of Brazil in hopes of finding a new habitat. Several carpenter ants made their way to Rio de Janeiro in hopes of building new colonies within the wooden structures of the city. Many made it to the city just before Carnival began and, unfortunately, just before they fell under the influence of the mind controlling fungus.
As Carnival fired up the zombie ants began to wander aimlessly throughout the city being stepped on left and right. On any other day of the week no one would have even noticed or paid any attention to the dead ants on the streets of Rio. But some unfortunate drunk souls decided to eat some of the dead and some of the live ants allowing the fungus to take control of their minds. These human zombies then began attacking other humans during the festivities causing a massive outbreak. But much of the attacks went unnoticed due to the fact the Carnival can get “pretty f’ing crazy.”…
Additionally, most zombies were not noticed until many days after Carnival had ended since most everyone appeared like the walking dead due to their massive hangovers. Due to the multiple day hangovers caused by Carnival, it has yet to be confirmed how quickly the fungus affects humans.
Brazilian authorities have put the entire country on red alert warning all their citizens to be aware of anyone that may appear intoxicated as this could be the first signs of infection. They have also asked all citizens that if they see any ants anywhere to step on them and immediately burn the bodies with a magnifying glass.
And this is why I never eat ants. Or go to Carnival.
I think the real question is not “Why is Glenn Beck attacking James O’Keefe?”, although that is certainly an interesting one to ask. The real question is, “Why was there such a skepticism and analysis vacuum for him to fill in the first place?”
Given that O’Keefe is well-known to be a purveyor of deceptively edited hit pieces, I think it’s safe to say that our conventional media is officially worse than useless.
Since they can’t admit that any corporate decision is ever risky or bad, and they can’t admit that any regulation or government involvement is ever sensible or good…
1) “Nothing to see here, everything is fine! Look how safe nuclear power is, all the safety precautions allowed Japan’s nuclear plants to survive an earthquake and a tsunami with no ill effects whatsoever!”
2) “See how Japan’s socialist government takeover was useless in the face of a disaster! In fact, it probably made things worse by letting government bureaucrats tell citizens what’s good for them instead of allowing them to rely on their own common sense!”
3) “TEPCO wanted to upgrade their 40-year-old reactors, but oppressive government regulations and bureaucratic red tape made it impossible!”
4) “The best way to prevent future nuclear disasters is to build more nuclear power plants!”
It’s very easy to prescribe “shared sacrifice” when you will not personally sacrifice anything at all.
Washington’s definition of “shared” is ridiculously constrained. If the corporations and the rich were forced to “sacrifice” to the same level of pain as the Republicans (and probably Obama and lots of Democrats) advocate, we could probably wipe out the deficit and still have money left over for real stimulus and infrastructure repair.
Frustrated Senate Democrats gave senior White House advisers an earful Thursday afternoon during a private meeting, telling them that President Obama needs to get more involved in the budget battle, according to Democratic sources.
One Senate Democrat noted that Obama visited the Democratic Caucus more than once during the debate over healthcare reform, and also sent former President Clinton to the Senate to make the case for the controversial bill.
“He’s not greasing it like he did during healthcare,” said the source.
A Democratic aide said there was an “uproar” on Tuesday during the weekly Democratic lunch meeting, when lawmakers complained about the lack of the president’s public involvement in the debate over spending cuts.
“He’s not using the bully pulpit,” said the aide. “He’s waiting until the last hour to come in.”
A growing number of Democrats believe they should counter House GOP proposals to cut non-security discretionary spending with a plan to raise tax revenues.
The Democratic tax ideas include eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and for companies that move manufacturing facilities out of the country. They are also circulating a proposal to impose a surtax on millionaires.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said these proposals can gain traction in Congress only if Obama gets more involved.
“He’s played a role but it’s been behind the scenes. I’d like to see him more visible,” Levin said.
And after Congress passes a horrible austerity bill, Obama’s defenders will patiently explain to us that Obama is not a king, and he can’t just tell Congress what to do. But I think we’re all getting a little sick of Obama’s “I have not yet begun to hide!” act every time we need some kind of leadership from our supposed leader.
“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” said Gingrich.
Look, I get it. Some people love America so much that just looking at the flag or persecuting a Democratic president is enough to give them a hard-on. Put that together with a whole lot of congressional hearings about blowjobs and, well, what happens, happens.
Now I’m wondering if extramarital affairs will be the new American flag lapel pin…
Representatives of FAO Schwarz, the famous New York City toy store, have confirmed that Charlie Sheen has purchased the Barbie Foosball Table for $24,999.99.
In an official statement, the ritzy toy emporium explained: “Mr. Sheen visited our store many months ago and showed serious interest in the Bonzini Babyfoot Barbie Foosball Table. At the time, he was staying across the street at the Plaza Hotel’s Eloise Suite. As was well-documented by the press, his stay was cut short due to Mr. Sheen’s unexpected hospitalization and he was unable to return to the store to finalize his purchase.
We heard from Mr. Sheen’s camp earlier this week and the table has finally been shipped to his residence. We believe Mr. Sheen will enjoy the Barbie Foosball Table. It combines two of his primary interests: blondes and winning.”
An assistant for Mr. Sheen confirmed, “Charlie likes games, especially if they involve teams of lovely ladies. He has already scheduled ‘Ladies Night: The Annual Charlie Sheen Barbie Foosball Tournament’ for this weekend. It will begin on Saturday, with finals taking place on Sunday morning at 4:30AM. Charlie is picking the teams and has included both former and current residents of his home.
He asked Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller to join, but both turned down his offer of ‘Team Captain.’ All the girls will be required to wear custom all-pink uniforms. The tank top says ‘Charlie’ across the front and the short-shorts say ‘Winning!’ across the backside. Charlie couldn’t be happier. He is assuming the role of ‘Tournament Referee’ and even bought a pink whistle.”
I hope this will be televised. How about it, Mark Cuban?
Joe Scarborough acknowledges the significant role of tax cuts, defense spending, and wars in turning the Clinton budget surplus into a massive deficit… then proceeds to focus on cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to balance the budget.
Umm, why not just roll back all the tax cuts and military spending that you yourself admit blew the hole in the budget in the first place? Sounds crazy, I know.
This is just disgraceful. It’s not surprising that the Republicans are proposing to balance a change to the healthcare bill on the backs of the poor, but it looks like the Democrats are going to go along with it. Which I guess is also not surprising, just disappointing and infuriating.
Here’s a thought: If you need money, why not look toward the people who actually have it?
We don’t call Social Security “welfare” because it’s a pejorative term and politicians don’t want to offend. So they classify Social Security as something else, when it isn’t. Here’s how I define a welfare program: first, it taxes one group to support another group, meaning it’s pay-as-you-go and not a contributory scheme where people’s own savings pay their later benefits; and second, Congress can constantly alter benefits, reflecting changing needs, economic conditions, and politics. Social Security qualifies on both counts.
So apparently unless Social Security pays you back the exact same dollars that you paid into it, it’s welfare. Oh, and that huge surplus to deal with the baby boomers retiring? Total accident:
The trust fund serves mainly to funnel taxes to recipients, and today’s big surplus is an accident, as Charles Blahous shows in Social Security: The Unfinished Work. In 1983, when the trust fund was nearly exhausted, a presidential commission proposed fixes but underestimated their effects. The large surplus “just developed. It wasn’t planned,” the commission’s executive director said later. Even so, the surplus will disappear as the number of retirees rises.
I’m gonna go with dishonest, I think. Although that certainly doesn’t rule out stupid.
A resolution proposed on Wednesday would allow Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) to “assign supervision over any employee appointed by a Senator who is absent without leave for 2 or more session days.”….
The resolution has Democratic staffers spooked and unsure of what is coming next. One scenario worrying Democrats that if their new supervisor decides they’re not adequately performing their duties and fires them.
In another resolution passed on Wednesday, Senate Democrats will now face a fine of $100 for every day they are out of state.
According to the resolution, “a senator who is absent without leave from two or more session days is subject to a penalty equal to $100 for each day that the senator is absent without leave. In addition, the senator must reimburse the senate for the actual costs incurred to compel his or her attendance.” If a senator does not pay the penalties within 30 days, the chief clerk may simply withdraw it from his or her per diem, travel expenses or other matters.
The resolution also authorizes the sergeant at arms to “request the assistance of any law enforcement officer in this state to find and return any senator who is absent without leave.”
Tell me again how the Republicans are the pro-life party?
Here in Pennsylvania we’ve got a guy who’s probably going to die of a heart attack because our new Republican governor took his health insurance away so he can’t afford to see a doctor when he has chest pains, and Florida’s new Republican governor is inexplicably protecting shady “pill mills” that kill seven people a day.
If America ever gets “death panels”, it will be the Republicans who create them, not the Democrats. And they’ll call them “life panels”.
Veteran Hollywood publicist Stan Rosenfield, who represented Charlie Sheen through the actor’s rehab attempts and breakup with his employers on the hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” abruptly resigned on Monday.
Charlie Sheen called Rosenfeld a “pussy” and then immediately hired Xv Y’uuu, an alien from Planet Zeeba. Xv Y’uu stepped right in and is handling all Charlie’s affairs in a manner that Charlie likes.
“Y’uuu is a winner. Y’uuu is a rock star. He’s a rock star working a rock star and together we are going to Go Alien on CBS and take the whole network down. As a matter of fact, we might just take down all of Hollywood. We’re going to sue the whole town. You don’t treat the gold that I am like this.”
Asked where he met Y’uuu, Sheen said, “I’ve known Y’uuu for years. There are aliens living amongst us people. Don’t you see them. Y’uuu has been a good friend and couldn’t be happier that he’s handling my press now. We are going to napalm Hollywood!”
Y’uuu was busy firing off emails from his brain, so he was not available to talk to WWN.