POLITICAL PARTY POOPER

WE WON'T BE SAFE WHILE POLITICAL PARTIES ARE LEGAL

Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Stumbling on The Path To Prosperity

Posted by politicalpartypooper on April 11, 2011

Call Paul Ryan’s budget the Path To Prosperity, The Roadmap for America’s Future, or whatever you want to.  Just don’t call it a plan that accomplishes anything, because it doesn’t, so far.

Studying his Roadmap, and his Path as I have, I am now armed with the facts I need to make an educated statement about his budget.  To use a pop-phrase, it’s wealth-redistribution.  It’s a plan that eliminates none of our debt, and none of our deficit, for the first ten years while cutting services for the Middle Class and giving the Upper Class another ten percent tax cut.  I call that wealth redistribution.  What do you call it?

The national media is calling his plan a serious attack on the deficit; yet his plan doesn’t balance the budget for twenty-nine years, according to Ryan’s beloved and non-partisan CBO.  Doesn’t any plan require that you actually balance the budget within a few years time before it gets the praise “serious!”?  And why is no one within the Republican party outraged that it takes so long to balance said budget?  Weren’t these the same people who won their elections in November on the strength of their “plans” to balance the budget and fix America’s fiscal mess?

There are several points of note within Ryan’s plan.  The first is the privatization of Medicare; yes, that same Medicare that Ryan and Republicans accused President Obama and Democrats of trying to cut or destroy two years ago.  Remember when they had Grandma’s and Grandpa’s go on TV and radio commercials?  Remember when Grandma’s and Grandpa’s went to Townhall meetings and begged Democrats to not touch their Medicare?  Remember how Republicans played upon our Senior’s fears?  Death Panels, anyone?  I don’t think ANYONE can forget that.  Yet here it is; Paul Ryan is going to privatize Medicare, literally change it from the Medicare that Seniors know…but not for ten years.  Anyone under 55 will not see Medicare as your elders knew it.  But you’ll get to pay for it as if you did; yours and theirs.  Instead, Ryan will give you under-55’s a “premium voucher”, so you can go out and get some of that great private health care insurance that Seniors love so much.  It’ll be great, because at a time of your life when you shouldn’t have to worry about your medical bills, that’s exactly what you’ll get to do under Ryan’s plan.  Private insurance companies are for-profit, and their bottom line contradicts yours.  That means whatever they can make you pay for, they will, and if they can’t, they are going to try anyway.  Seniors all over America are going to get busy answering claims letters, filling out claims forms, and making sure to send every form requested in on time in order to have their medical service paid.

The second major point is Ryan’s spending cuts.  He claims his budget will cut $6 Trillion in spending over the next ten years…from Obama’s proposed budget.  What that means is, his budget will be $600 Billion less than Obama’s budget, which is $1.6 Trillion more than the revenue we take in taxes.  In other words, Ryan’s serious budget, that seriously attacks the deficit, will leave us another $10 Trillion in debt after the first ten years.  But wait, that’s not all.

The third major point is Ryan’s 10% tax cut for the upper class, and Corporate America.  He aims to cap our top tax rate at twenty-five percent.  But he insists that revenues will be higher, because he will be eliminating “certain” tax loopholes.  To date, no specifics on which loopholes he will eliminate, but if Ryan’s history is any indication, he will be eliminating the standard deduction that every American who earns less than $100,ooo a year gets.  Okay, that was a joke, but considering his budget, is it possible that Ryan could propose just that?

With “certain” loopholes being cut, Ryan’s budget is at best Revenue neutral.  That means no new revenues will be gained to offset the massive tax cut for Corporate America and the Upper Class.  Not only that, but I expect his tax cut will actually add to the deficit, making Ryan’s overall budget neutral in eliminating any deficit whatsoever.  That’s the best case scenario for Ryan’s plan.

Here’s the worst case.

Let’s say his budgeted tax cuts pass, as well as his RyanCare plan.  But what happens if Republicans buck his “plan” to close loopholes?  What happens to our deficit then?  You can imagine, as can I.  America’s budget deficit would skyrocket completely out of control.  Can you envision a circumstance where Republicans and even some Democrats would fight against closing certain tax loopholes?

How can you not?  These loopholes exist because Corporate America is good at what it does.  They are good at making their case, and our Elected officials are just crooked enough to trade a few loopholes for a fistful of campaign dollars.  That’s how we got here, remember?  Indeed, in what universe would you have to live in order to not see both Parties fighting tooth and nail against closing those tax loopholes for their Sugardaddies?

Mr Ryan’s Path stumbles right out of the gate.  It is shortsighted, and gives way too much credit to our elected Party officials for making things harder on their largest campaign contributors.  Remember that this is a group of politicians that, even as the vast majority of Americans suffered and sacrificed time and again in this latest Great Recession, refused to even approach the subject of cutting their own wages and benefits in a show of solidarity with average Americans.  Not even Ryan’s Path to Prosperity suggests that our Lawmakers ought to share in the pain…even a little bit.  Since they have shown themselves to be above the rest of us, I see no redeeming hopes within them that they’ll actually do the right things in order to make Ryan’s plan “work”, however ineffectual that plan has proven to be.

Am I being too hard on our elected Party officials?  You be the judge.  America has a real fiscal nightmare.  We have an ever-growing debt problem.  In the course of the last thirty years, we have gone from being a lender nation to a debtor nation.  Thirty years has been enough time for both political parties to place their fingerprints all over our troubles.  And now Ryan wants Americans to believe he is serious about eliminating the deficit?  With this plan?

Is this the same Paul Ryan who voted for Medicare Part D, the largest unfunded entitlement in the last twenty years?  Is this the same Paul Ryan who scoffed at President Obama’s health care plan as destroying Medicare as we know it, and as being filled with smoke and mirrors?  (okay, he was right about the smoke and mirrors, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then)

Here’s your chance, Mr. Ryan.  I’m mailing this article to you.  You can respond as you see fit, but be wise and respond to it at all.  If you don’t, your lack of response will be all over the internet before you can say “achoo!”.

How would I and the rest of America like you to respond?

We want details.  We want you to name names.  We want you to literally name the loopholes you’ll be closing; each and every one of them.  We want details about how your plan will bring manufacturing jobs back to America.  We want details about how your plan will overcome the massive tax , wage, and regulatory advantages that American companies have overseas as opposed to here.  We want details about how your plan will increase tax revenue by cutting tax rates.  Then, we want to sign your name to it, and stand by it.

The election is over.  Broad strokes got us into this mess.  So far, all you’ve offered is more broad strokes.  America needs that kind of plan like we need another 9/11.  Name the loopholes you have promises from all of your colleagues to close, and have the CBO score that.  We don’t just want details, we want written promises from your colleageus that they will help you close every loophole.  It’s the only chance your plan has; and even then, you’re still deficit neutral, unless you break records in job-creation.  And the only way to do that is to bring all of our jobs back home.

Thank you.   Ω

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While Americans Suffer A Depression, Political Parties Posture For Power

Posted by politicalpartypooper on April 7, 2011

Is anyone else tired of this “Spending Plan” debate in Washington?  How about the tug-of-war for power between the Democrats and Republicans?

Our nation has serious financial problems, and the only ground taken over the past month by either party has been political power.  While Americans all over the land suffer from dwindling paychecks, or no paycheck at all, Republicans and Democrats posture in front of cameras.  While thousands live in Depression-like tent cities in places outside of cities like Nashville TN, and Lakewood, NJ, , the two parties grapple for position for the 2012 election.

Yes, you read that right.  Tent cities are popping up outside of many major American cities.  It’s something you won’t see on TV.  CNN won’t cover it, none of the major networks will, and you can, of course, rest assured that neither Fox News nor MSNBC will breathe a word of it.  But you can, if you are at all interested, read about it here, and here, and here.  You can read about it in a lot more places, too.  But I’ll bet you won’t really know the depth of this depression until you do.

Meanwhile, our two glorious old political parties are far more bent on positioning themselves for elections than solving real problems.  Even Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” ignores the real problems America faces, and instead cuts aid to most Americans in dire straights.  All of this, supposedly, to give the voters what they have asked for.  That’s like spoon-feeding your child poison, and telling him that yes, he really did ask to fed something deadly.

Ryan’s plan balances our budget in 29 years.  By my calculation, we now have about five years.  Will his plan save us?  You do the math.   Ω

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Obama Asked Apple and Intel for Advice on Job Creation? Really?!!!!

Posted by politicalpartypooper on February 18, 2011

Wow!

What a week in local and National politics.  In Wisconsin, we have the ongoing Liberal rage over Governor Scott Walker’s decision to remove organized bargaining power on Public Employees for everything except wages in an effort to rein in our out-of-control budget.  Nationally, there is talk of shutting the government down, and of course the usual partisan rhetoric over the budget.  Obama has a plan to cut $1 Trillion from the budget over ten years, and Republicans are screaming that this isn’t nearly enough.  Instead, their plan is to cut $60 billion from the budget this year.

You do the math.  Something seems funny about theirs.  Suffice it to say, if I were President, I could balance the budget in one year, and cut through all of the rhetorical bullshit along with it.  But I’m not President, so you are stuck with a D or an R for the forseeable future.  Good luck.

Turns out, none of the above is what this post is about.  Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to President Obama’s trip to the Silicon Valley, where he met with the likes of Intel CEO Paul Otellino, and Apple C0-Creator Steve Jobs.  Contrary to rumors, Obama wasn’t in the valley to pick up a bottle of wine.  Instead, he went there seeking advice on how to create jobs.

Pardon me, Mr. President, but where would you like to see these jobs created?

If America is your answer, you went to the wrong place.  Steve Jobs and Paul Otellino only hire foreigners…mostly.  I’ll bet their advice sounded a little something like this:

“Sure, we got lots of great ideas on hiring, starting with China.  Have you seen our latest factories there?  We got fourteen-year-olds working seventy hours a week for $1.10 an hour, and no one hears them whining.  Never mind that if they do they are likely to be shot by their government.  We got wages as a percentage of Wall Street profit down to an all time low!  We got Apple and Intel factories all over the Far East, but we’re struggling a bit trying to figure out why our workers can’t buy the products they make.  An Ipad only costs $600 when you get right down to it.  All of our workers make a little more than that every year.  Ipads should be flying off the shelves in China!  Maybe, Mr. President, you could send some American cash to China to help subsidize our foreign workers so they can buy what they build.  That would create lots of jobs!”

Umm, no.

I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs and Paul What’s-his-face know almost nothing about creating jobs here in America.  What did you think you would hear, Mr. President?  Did you think they would beg you to end Free Trade?  Did you think they would tell you that America needs to go deeper into debt to create jobs?  What?  What did you expect to hear from them?

Hear me now, America!  Obama’s dreams of creating jobs through making America the leader in Green innovation is bankrupt. It’s bankrupt because the moment the technology is created, American corporations will contract with the lowest bidder in China,  Indonesia, South Korea, or some other mostly third-world country, where the average wage is almost a dollar an hour.  Green technology won’t be our savior; it will be the final nail in the coffin.

The only answer to our staggering deficit in jobs is to pull back from these Free Trade agreements, and tax the crap out of “American” companies whose vast majority of labor is foreign…like Intel and Apple.  Taxing them won’t hurt our economy at all.  They don’t hire people here.  Tax them, I say, and do it again and again and again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.     Ω

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This is the Best That Democrats and Republicans Have to Offer? Really?

Posted by politicalpartypooper on January 26, 2011

America is inundated with both praise and scorn for the SOTU last night, as well as for the Republican response given by Paul Ryan.  But what really was said?

About what you’d expect from political parties, that’s what.  President Obama talked about what we ought to do, and used broad strokes with very little detail to outline his plan for making America competitive, and fiscally responsible.  Paul Ryan, a Republican Congressman from my state, did basically the same.  It was meat for the masses of their two parties, but this meal was filled with maggots for the rest of America.

Both of them might as well have said “Blah, blah, blah”.  That’s all America really heard anyway.  So we heard the same speech twice, only the particulars were slightly different.  Specifically, we know the President believes that he can cut $400 Billion from our budget deficit over ten years by freezing Discretionary Spending for the next five years.  That works out to $40 Billion a year on a budget that is over $3.5 Trillion.

We have a budget deficit that varies between $1 Trillion and $1.5 Trillion, and the best you can do is to cut our budget by a little more than one percent, Mr. President?  Really?

That’s pathetic.

Even more pathetic is the fact that Republicans say they can balance the budget without cutting anything specifically.  I’d like to see that trick.  Actually, the Republican method of cutting the deficit shouldn’t be a surprise; they’ve been saying the same thing for two years.  Apparently, they can cut  $1.5 Trillion dollars out of a budget without cutting any spending, or so the details of their “plan” would have us believe.  And really, who can believe a fellow talking loud about how he’s going to cut the deficit when in 2001 and 2002, and every year thereafter under President Bush, he consistently voted for bills that added to the deficit, like the Prescription Drug plan for Medicare, a program he now calls an out-of-control entitlement.

Really, Mr. Ryan?  How did it get that way?  How did you vote on that issue when it came time to cast your ballot?  Suddenly, you’re the sensible one?  At once, the Republicans are the fiscal dogs of war?  How does that work, exactly?  Do we continue to give massive tax breaks to so-called “American” corporations who ship American jobs and American wealth to foreigners, because that seems to be your plan for creating jobs.  At least, that’s how I read it, when you say that the only way we can create jobs is to give more tax breaks to corporate America because our Corporate taxes are too high and that’s why we can’t compete with China, and Mexico, and South Korea, and Malaysia, India, and to a certain extent, Japan…because our Corporate taxes are too high.

Right.

Did it ever occur to either of our two, illustrious, we-have-ideas-so-stale-they-make-penicillin-seem fresh political parties that maybe the reason America can’t compete is because the two of you keep handing jobs over to third-world nations whose factories basically employ slave labor, and you keep allowing tax breaks to the so-called American corporations who contract these foreign factories?  It’s hard to compete with seven days a week of free. (In America, that’s what a wage of $1.00/Hr, ten hours a day, seven days a week without benefits amounts to).  Did you stop, even once, to assess the damage that Free Trade has done to our Middle Class?  Hell, maybe if you’d have stopped to study it twenty years ago before you handed our country over to the Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, Malayans, Indonesians, and South Koreans, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Did it occur to you that Free Trade with countries who are almost one hundred years behind us economically could only result in an America that can’t compete?  Goodness, anyone who couldn’t see that, or still doesn’t,  is either doing so willfully, or is economically inept.  If done so willfully, then I call that treason.  If it turns out you are merely inept, what the hell are you doing voting on economic  issues that affect the rest of us?

Great speeches by Obama and Ryan last night?  Hardly.  How can you can call a Bill Clintonesque speech great?

You can when that’s the very best the Democratic and Republican Party has to offer.

No details.  No depth.  No concrete plans from either party to cut anything, except for $40 Billion a year.  No solid, detailed plan for job creation even though we have 15 million unemployed; a national emergency of epic proportions.  Oh, and the fact that 15 million are unemployed, and that 17% are either unemployed or underemployed was not mentioned by either party even once.  Wow.  Oh yeah…and repealing Obama care, all of it, because eighteen percent of Americans want all of it repealed, so that’s what you do…you do what the fringe wants you to do.

I have a message for all Republicans and Democrats:

It’s Coming.  That Day.

The Day when neither Republicans nor Democrats can win a seat in Washington.  The Day when America becomes almost wholly Independent.  It’s coming because after decades of either inept or criminally neglectful  governance, the people are fed up with being represented not by 500 representatives, but by one entity from each party.  In fact, about the only poll that one could say most might (70-90%) agree on is that the two parties need to go away (if only our polling people would ever get around to asking that question…”Do you think America would be better off without political parties?”).  They are not popular, and the only really consistent thing about Democrats and Republicans is how much they don’t get what the American people need.

Whether you are Democrat or Republican, today must be a sad day for you.  It can’t be called a great day, because if you watched the two parties trot out their best last night, all you got was more ambiguous garbage about how we can solve the great issues of our time.

Issues have never been solved by moving backwards, nor by broad ideas.  They are solved by men and women of action, and it is men and women of action that the two parties lack almost completely.

These are our representatives, and our great leader, devoid of even ten or fifteen concrete plans of ACTION to move us forward.

I said FORWARD, not backward.

Here’s my little poll…

Do You think America would be better off without political parties?  Answer in the comments.  Thanks.    Ω

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Accused Of Being Ignorant Of The Economy, I Make My Case Against Charlie Sykes and Supply-Side

Posted by politicalpartypooper on August 14, 2010

Finally some good economic news!  Sales on Porsches are up!  In July alone, Porsche sales climbed 75% from July of 2009.  However, sales on Ford, Dodge, and GM averaged about a 5% increase, and Honda and Toyota sales are down, meaning the Middle Class isn’t buying as many new cars this year as last year, and last year, they didn’t buy much at all.

Okay, so my good news was a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Yes, the economy rocks for the rich and for Wall Street, but for the Middle Class, according to Newsweek columnist Dan Gross real unemployment remains around16.5%:

That’s the Bureau of Labor’s U6 number, which takes into consideration so-called “discouraged workers” who have given up looking for work, as well as people who are working part-time but would like to be working full-time. Overall, according to Gross, the number means that there is “one out of six adults in this country whose talents and time and skills are not being utilized anywhere near to the extent of their abilities.”

Tax rates on some of those buying Porsches are half of what they were pre-1982, and lower by four to seven percent than in the 1990’s, a period of time marked by low unemployment.  Clearly the top tax rates have diddly squat to do with creating jobs.  It’s been that way all throughout our history in the 20th century and into the first decade of this one.  Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant, lying, or relies on faith-based economics.  Sadly for them, economics aren’t faith-based.  Just because you believe the economy starts at the top and trickles down doesn’t make it so.  Neither do the actual numbers or consumers, the stuff a real economy is made of.

And what does this current economy tell us?

There aren’t enough consumers spending enough money, despite the glossy Porsche sales reports.  That fact is so blatant, so in-your-face that it’s hard to believe some people can’t see it.  Let me explain.  No matter how many tax breaks you give the top ten percent of earners in the US, there simply aren’t enough of them to make any difference in consumer demand, which drives our economy and job creation.

I was told by Charlie Sykes, talk radio host at WTMJ, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that I was ignorant of economics.  Yes, he actually replied, briefly and insultingly, to my email of the other day, but he was allowed to be insulting since he took my blog post about him as an insult.  I’m a big boy…I took it with a thumb in my mouth and only a little bit of whining.  Tangent completed.

The reason I bring it up is because Charlie is amongst a large group of people called Conservatives who still believe the economy is driven from the top and trickles down to the Middle Class.  But as I stated earlier, there simply aren’t enough of them to create any real demand.  What’s my proof?

1. If consumer demand were up, jobs would be created.  We’re still losing more jobs than we’re creating.  Demand is down.  From the US Consumer Demand Index:

After a surprisingly strong upswing in May, the CDI for June fell by more than 20 index points and now stands at -27, down from -5 in May as lower demand for clothing and food drags the aggregated index down. However, this is still 10 points up on the all-time low of February 2009. The three-month moving average is also down but less dramatically so, from -13 in May to -18 in June.
Reminding you that the index was set at 100 as an average for the year of 2000, it’s obvious that we are not yet out of the woods. But on the other hand the new data do not convincingly indicate that there is much further to go to reach the bottom, if we have not already reached it.

2. Despite eight years of lowering taxes on corporations and the top ten percent of earners, from 2001 thru 2008, an average of only 49,000 jobs were created per month.  A benchmark of 150,000 jobs is needed each month to accommodate incoming/outgoing workers, to say nothing of actual positive job growth beyond that.  Needless to say, when compared to the benchmark, 49,000 jobs created each month is pathetic.  It also explains why the first Bush Recession was a jobless recovery.

3.  The economy has lost a cumulative total of 3.1 million manufacturing jobs since 2001 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That’s 28,703 jobs lost per month.  I think we know where they went, and where they are going…overseas.  But Conservatives like Charlie Sykes and his brethren “believe” that Free Trade is good for American jobs.  Just another case where faith-based economics is completely opposite of reality.  I know you guys really, really want supply-side economics to be true, but the numbers say, undisguisedly, that supply-side economics is a fairy tale, unless the only goal of trickle-down is to enrich a very few people in the United States while everyone else steadily but rapidly sees their standard of living decline, which, mind you, mimics our current reality.

4.  If you still needed evidence that taxes do not affect job creation, this graph says it all.  It breaks down job creation, change in GDP, and change in household net worth by decade.  Remember, corporate tax rates and tax rates on the highest earners were 70% or above until 1982.

Boy, the current decade really sucks, doesn’t it?  Negative job growth, negative household net worth gain, and the lowest GDP since the Great Depression.  President Bush and President Obama must be so proud.  I really do believe they are going to set unbreakable records for economic futility.  Even the 1970’s beats this decade, and we all remember how sucky that decade was. The 70’s didn’t just beat this decade, they kicked its ass; which means Nixon, Viet Nam, the oil embargo, an impeachment, Ford, and Carter did better economically speaking than Bush and Obama.  How’s that for a pathetic record?  A record, I might add, that includes tax rates that are half of what they were during the seventies, when, you know, high  corporate tax rates stagnated job growth…umm, except, from the graph, it looks like taxes didn’t have any effect whatsoever on job growth in the 70’s.  Or in the 60’s, or in the 50’s, or in the 40’s…or ever.

Will Charlie, or people like him finally admit the error of their ways?  Will they, at the very least, admit that the numbers don’t look so hot?  If not, why not?  Facts are facts.  You can’t hide from these numbers, they are what they are, and sadly, I used to be a Supply-sider.  Not any more.  Not once I started studying the actual statistics.  And if I can change, I have to believe that Charlie and others can, too.  I was a staunch supporter of trickle down and everything Reagan.  To some extent, I’m still an apologist for Reagan; I just love the guy.  But when you run into the actual numbers, you have to make a choice; will you accept that what you’ve believed for three decades has been false, or will you continue to “believe” in a lie?

And if you continue to believe in that lie, why?  What are you trying to protect?  The numbers of this economy don’t protect the Middle Class; they destroy it.  The last time I checked, most of the people I know are Middle Class, including Charlie and most Conservatives.  So what have you to gain by protecting a faith-based economic system that has never loved you back?

16.5% real unemployment.  9.5% by the government’s count, and over 9% unemployment for eighteen consecutive months.  3.1 Million manufacturing jobs lost.  With a benchmark of 150,000 jobs needed to be created per month to keep pace with population growth, the Bush average of 49,000 fell over 100,000 short per month, amidst the largest corporate tax cut in two decades.  Even the “good” times in the Bush presidency were shockingly bad by every historical standard since the Great Depression, with regards to the Middle Class.

If the Middle Class can’t buy because they don’t earn enough or don’t have a job, demand suffers.  If that condition persists long enough, it becomes chronic, and the hole gets deeper and harder to climb out of with each passing month.  That unemployment persistently remains so high is an indicator of a huge lack of consumer demand, and nothing else.  Some writers report that corporations are hoarding their cash and not hiring even though they have the reserves to do so.  I don’t doubt that, and I won’t blame them.  If there’s no demand, why bother hiring?   Even corporations are showing by their unwillingness to hire that it is demand that drives this economy, and not corporations and wealthy people flush with cash who just want to fling a few chips down to the peasants.  Trickle down is a lie, a fable, nothing more.  American corporations flush with cash but not hiring are proving that fact beyond the shadow of a doubt.

My rule number three of economics applies here.  That corporations are flush with cash and aren’t hiring isn’t a sign that they are leery of the deficit, or of higher taxes.  Rather, it’s the strongest indicator that demand is non-existent.  Because remember, in Capitalism, where there is demand, someone will always meet it.  If you are a corporation that refuses to meet that demand, don’t worry, someone else will.  If there were any actual demand present, these corporations would be hiring, to meet it, or they would be amongst the dumbest of business models ever invented.

If you and Charlie are still inclined to “believe” that supply-side (trickle down, voodoo, call it whatever you want) economics is the only way to make the American economy work for everyone, then might I suggest that you click your heels together three times in rapid succession, and maybe you’ll find yourself in the dream-land where trickle-down really works.

Do you need more statistics?  Do you want more?  I could go on all year if you need me to, if it would make any difference.  But somehow, I think it won’t.  I think Charlie, and those who “believe” in supply-side economics do so because they don’t want to see the truth…they just want to be right, even if being “right” means being ignorant of the facts.

Faith-based economics will not save you, or America.  If you love America, do the one thing for yourself that you still can.  Vote according to your own interests, like corporations do with their lobbyist minions.  But before you vote, you better make damned sure of what’s best for your interests.  For three decades, Republicans have been tooting the supply-side horn.  They’re tooting it louder than ever this year.  But we’ve USED supply-side economics for the last three decades, and look where it’s gotten us?  Even with Obama’s tax increase, corporations and the top earners are paying half of what they did before supply-side hit America.  Half.

And maybe you, or someone you know has been out of work for a long time, or has lost the pension he contributed to for decades, or did everything right…saved twenty percent of his income and invested the way Money Magazine told him to, and all he has left, if he is lucky, is his original investment.  Or maybe you or someone you know lost his job to someone overseas, and the next job he got saw him earning twenty percent less than before.  Maybe your parents paid for your college education, and try as you might, you can see no way of paying for your children’s education.  Perhaps you are nearing retirement, and are worried about what the most recent bear markets did to your chances of financially surviving retirement.

Your interests are the only thing you should be focused on right now.  Any economic plan that focuses on corporations and the wealthy few is, by definition, not focused on you.

Think about that.     Ω

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The Truth About Bush And Obama Taxes

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 31, 2010

Take a look at this graphic from the Wall Street Journal, which displays the 2011 tax differences between keeping the Bush Tax Cuts and the Obama plan.

TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY, OR MIDDLE CLASS?

You don’t need to be a math wizard to see where the Bush tax cuts have their largest impact.  Basically, any income below $300,000 sees an increase in taxes under the Bush plan, while incomes above $300,000 see an increase from the Obama plan.  Which do you prefer?  I would also point out that for incomes between $300,000 and $1,000,000 the Obama increase is 1.3%, not the 5 -10% that conservatives have been bandying about.  1.3%.  I’ll pay that.

One of my commenters made a good point about taxes, though.  There is no amount of taxes that I want to pay so long as our government is wasting them.  $9 Billion misplaced in Iraq, or shall I just come out and say it?  STOLEN.  That’s what you call it when money goes missing without a paper trail.

If a good group of honest business people got their hands on the actual budget, I’d bet we could cut 40% of it just by identifying waste and redundancy.  And maybe that’s what we ought to be doing.  It seems to me that the two parties have too many people to pay back, too many conflicted interests to be trusted with writing a budget.  No one in Washington really wants to be the bad guy; the responsible guy, the one who tells those extra ten thousand military consultants, “You’re no longer needed” or says to the bureaucrats running the one hundred fifty government oversight “programs” that we only need five of you.  If we could get our hands on the actual paperwork or computer files that show how each “program” works, how many are employed, and how much of it is reducndant…yeah, 40% cut to the budget instantly.     Ω

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Sarah Palin, What Exactly Are You Doing?

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 30, 2010

WHAT AM I DOING?

I’ve stayed away from the whole Sarah Palin thing, for good reasons.  It was my initial belief that the more attention you gave her, the more she would talk, and her “followers”, for lack of a better word, would become more emboldened.    But I’ve changed my mind, at least for today.

Palin, the former governor who quit her Alaskan job to do God only knows what, said that President Obama had no time to appear on The View while the Arizona border remained so porous.  She also indicated that she would be visiting the border area soon.

And what, sister Sarah, are you going to accomplish there?  Are you going to make a speech?  Do a photo-op?  Tweet?  What?

I’ve got no problem with where you visit, Sarah, but it seems to me that since you quit as governor of Alaska, you’ve not really done anything, except a whole lot of talking.  I get that from Washington all of the time, from our elected officials.  You claimed to be someone different.  Turns out, you’re not.  Turns out, all you do is talk.  I guess you don’t need to be from Washington to be a Washington insider, do you?  Washington insiders talk a lot; and draw a lot of attention to themselves, without accomplishing a damn thing.  Turns out you’d fit right in.

Go ahead, go to Arizona.  You won’t accomplish anything there, but if accomplishment was ever your goal, you would have stayed in Alaska where your voters put you.  Turns out you don’t really care what your voters think, either.

Just like a Washington insider.

To wit, a Washington insider believes that despite the thousands of talking heads and egos floating around the country spewing forth their crap, that the country cannot do without another talking head spewing forth her crap.  You served this country best by being Alaska’s governor.  You’re serving yourself, now.  And if you should show up on the border in Arizona, nothing you say or do will change the game on the ground.

You see, Sarah, you have no power…none.  Zero.  Nada.  Nichts.  All you are is one more talking head making noise.  If you really wanted to help the people of America, why not do something real?  Why not head down to the gulf and aid in the oil spill cleanup?  Why not offer your abilities for free to President Obama to help coordinate the efforts?

Hell, even babysitting would be more productive than what you’re doing right now.  By the way…what ARE you doing right now?     Ω

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The DISCLOSE Act: Well…Not EVERYONE Has to Disclose…Just Certain Groups We don’t Like

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 27, 2010

The DISCLOSE Act…I ask you…

The “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections” Act was passed by the House in late June, and is now up for debate or consideration in the Senate.  The bill is a Democratic response to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v FEC (Federal Elecetions Commission).  I was vocal about that decision and shaken by how silly the Court’s opinions were over the matter; in essence calling corporations citizens and having the same rights as citizens, such as free speech.  What it all boils down to is money.  Corporations want the same rights that charities have to influence elections through contributions and ads.  The DISCLOSE Act aims to force any person or corporation to identify themselves as the contributor behind the ad or donation. Republicans, surprise, surprise, have decided to filibuster.

Democrats are screaming bloody murder, and if I hadn’t paid attention, I would be, too.  But Republicans are crying foul, and it turns out, they have a point. What Democrats aren’t telling America is that non-profit organizations, AARP, and the NRA are all exempt from the provisions within the bill.  In other words, anyone Democrats want to exempt get exempted, while corporations and individuals don’t.

It’s politics as usual.  This bill should have been a slam dunk…a simple exercise, and instead, Democrats turned it into a political nightmare.  That Republicans are claiming the Democrats are trying to rig the game comes as no surprise; they say that about everything.  But in this case, it looks like they have a point.

Here’s where I rant.

What the fuck?!  If shedding light on campaign spending is your goal, why in the world are you exempting ANYONE?

ANYONE!!!

Do you know what it looks like?  It looks like favoritism, corruption.  What in the hell were Democrats thinking?  They want to exempt non-profits and charities from disclosing where their contributions went?  Why???????!!!  What’s the fucking point of that?  Don’t they see how this looks?  Are they really that brain-dead?

President Obama, shame on you!  How can you call this bill the DISCLOSE Act and allow exemptions from it?  How can you support such a hacking of the political process?  This looks no better than the Citizen United decision.

Seriously; that’s how bad it looks.     Ω

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How Corporatist-Conservative Policy Destroyed The American Economy

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 21, 2010

I get asked repeatedly by clients and friends, “Pooper, when is the recovery going to happen?”

To which I answer, “Are you referring to the recession, or the actual beginning of the collapse of our economy?”  I typically get blank stares.

Allow me to expound.  What you are seeing in America today is not a recovery from anything; not from the “recession” (called so because we have to have a label for everything), not from jobs lost, not from jobs outsourced overseas…there has been no recovery and will be no recovery until we undo what Conservatives (and in some cases, Democrats) did to ruin the economy.

Here is where all of my conservative readers (I think there are seven) become belligerent.  Be patient.  I am going to paint the case of why Conservatives are to blame, and when I am done, you will not be able to refute it.  It’s not pretty.  I used to be a conservative, and am a small business owner.  I’m supposed to be a conservative’s best friend.  But I can’t be.  Their economic policies need to be lynched, forever.

Conservative economics used to mean reduced government oversight of free enterprise, and tax policies designed to encourage small business growth.  In essence, a conservative believed that it was the government’s job only to passively regulate industry from a distance, and that taxation was meant only as a means to secure our liberty and provide a safe environment for enterprise to flourish.  Business DID flourish in the United States, with a few rough spots along the way in our first one hundred and twenty-five years.  That’s why conservatives are called “conservatives”; they don’t like change.  Why fix something that isn’t broke?  Just keep the government small, allow business to govern itself, and everything will be alright.  Conservatives fought unionization, building codes, the forty hour work week, profit sharing, vacation, higher pay for overtime…the list goes on and on and on.   Their track record is a marvel; they literally believe that nothing is ever broken, that no business owner is taking advantage of his employees, and that business can regulate itself.

It was that kind of thinking that caused the first Great Depression.  But something happened to Conservatives in the 1930’s; they became irrelevant.  A near permanent Democratic majority kept Republicans fuming and on the outside looking in.  For decades they were powerless to stop the New Deal, The Great Society, Social Security, Medicare, the forty-hour work week, the minimum wage, building safety codes, OSHA, and on and on and on.  Regulation of power companies, telephone companies, banks, investment banks, and overseas commerce all came to pass while Conservatives could only watch and stew.

But in 1981, all of that ended.  Reagan ran on a platform of deregulation, limited government, and tax cuts and won.  What is amazing in its irony is that during the midst of the recession of 1981, Reagan actually agreed to raise taxes on the profits of corporations, in order to limit the growing deficit.  Even at that time, and despite all of the conservative rhetoric that tax cuts for corporations were good for job creation and deficit reduction, the only action Reagan ever took to reduce the growing deficit was to increase taxes on businesses by the largest amount in our history.   The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 instituted a three-year, $100 billion corporate tax hike—the largest tax increase since World War II.  That one tax increase proved that not even Ronald Reagan believed in trickle down economics.

But Reagan also succeeded in cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans from near 70% to 50% in less than a year.  Had conservatives left that figure alone, our historical debt would be vastly different.  Instead, conservatives continue to use fear for the future as a tool for winning elections based on “fiscal conservatism”, which is the idea that only a conservative knows how to manage the national debt in a way that won’t cripple our grandchildren’s wallets.  Poppycock.  Their incessant tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and for corporations who ship jobs overseas is what has created the path to an unsustainable national debt.

Reagan instituted a phrase that conservatives use to this day:  Trickle Down (or Supply Side) economics…Reaganomics.  It is the philosophy that tax cuts for the top tier of American earners, and for Corporations will increase corporate profits, and create jobs through a trickling down process.  This, coupled with President George H.W. Bush’s demand for a fast track on the North American Free Trade Agreement began America on a collapse from which we will never emerge unless drastic measures are taken.

Conservatives believe that by allowing corporatists and wealthy Americans to keep more of the profits, and by encouraging them to trade internationally and build factories over seas, more prosperity than ever will trickle down to the rest of America, creating more, and better, higher paying jobs.

Sounds great!  Doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work.

THE EVIDENCE

The first piece of evidence I present should be obvious, even to stubborn conservatives.

1.  By allowing large corporations reduced taxes and higher profit margins, the corporate philosophy of America changed.  It morphed from a partnership between management and labor to a partnership between management and stockholders.  Instead of quality products for a fair price, the old American way of doing business, enterprise became predicated upon profit alone.  Demand for greater return on investment drove management to look for new ways to cut labor costs and reduce expenses.  What resulted was an increasing call for free trade agreements that allowed corporations to transfer large blocks of their manufacturing overseas where labor was infinitely cheaper, and where regulations were not imposed to protect that cheap labor. President George H.W. Bush started this landslide by ramming NAFTA through, President Clinton continued it, and the most recent President George W. Bush extended it and in all likelihood, drove the final nails into the coffin.

Also occurring simultaneously was the increased demand for executive talent that could manage multi-national companies.  Along with that demand came vastly increased pay for executives, while manual labor pools in America shrunk and lost wage leverage.  That lost leverage has never been recovered, and has infiltrated even into the white collar world of lower management.  Where once there was a large enough pool of opportunity for American workers, there grew in its place an increasing number of unemployed or underemployed laborers, which exacerbated the lost leverage problem.  A worker today only has leverage if he has an opportunity to move from his current employer to a different one offering higher wages.  That possibility has all but evaporated with trickle down economics.  As more and more  jobs left American shores, the opportunity for leverage disappeared.  All of the leverage belongs with corporations today; exactly what conservatives, or should I say, corporatists, wanted.

By allowing corporations to manage based on profit alone, and enabling their greed for profit by removing traditional protectionist regulations on international trade, conservatives ushered in this new era of lost jobs, wages, and hope.  The jobs can’t return until American companies can compete without hiring labor overseas.

2.  I call this the Mega-Corp effect.   Consider the competition between large corporations hiring cheap labor overseas against smaller companies trying to compete while paying higher American wages.  Who will win?  It’s a no-brainer.  Large corporations have become much larger, morphing into mega-multi-national corporations against whom the much smaller American companies simply cannot compete.  As those smaller companies lost, the larger corporations bought them, forced mergers, or outright stole their technology and ideas, moving every bit of the manufacturing from the older, smaller company, overseas.

By allowing corporations to manage according to profit and greed alone, conservatives tilted the playing field heavily in favor of America’s largest corporations.  Smaller manufacturers simply could not compete, and were swallowed up.  Start-up manufacturers have only one chance to compete; they need to hold the patent on a completely new product, and typically, large corporations are buying up the rights to those patents from the inventors, from the profits that conservatives are so desperate that they have.  What happens to the jobs that those new patents might have created?  They go overseas, merged with the large corporation’s other overseas interests.

That’s why when I hear President Obama talk about America becoming the Clean Energy supplier of the world, I nearly choke.  Unless the free trade agreements are altered or torn up, every new patent for a clean energy product will be controlled by a large corporation, and it’s manufacture will occur overseas, where labor is cheaper and regulations cost less.  Large corporations simply have no incentive to manufacture or produce goods in America.  On the contrary, conservatives have created incentives for them to continue shipping American jobs overseas.  It’s a cycle that can only be ended by legislation that either reduces or destroys these free trade agreements.  But don’t hold your breath for President Obama to change the course of American business.  He is already rushing headlong into a new free trade agreement with South Korea.

The larger these big corporations become, the more impossible it is to compete with them; which vastly reduces choice and quality, while concentrating the greatest proportion of wealth in the hands of the few Mega Corps.  The same phenomenon has occurred in our Financial Industries.  The repealing of the Glass Steagall act of 1934 allowed commercial banks, investment banks, and insurance companies to merge and sell each other’s products.  The result was the formation of Banks-too-big-to-fail, and the most recent collapse of Wall Street.  Local community banks cannot compete with these mammoths, and are bought up one by one, eliminating choice and quality, along with providing these huge corporations with more and more money that they use to influence legislation in their favor.

3.  Profits that the wealthy and the corporations keep do not trickle down to America.  Where is the job creation occurring in this world?  In developing countries and in the East; namely China.  And why are American companies there?  Because free trade agreements removed the tarrifs and protections that enabled American workers to compete.  There is simply no way around this one, primeval fact.  It all began with tax cuts for corporations, higher and higher and higher demand for profit in lieu of quality and tradition, and removed protections for American workers.  That is Pandora’s box.  That is the legacy of Supply-side Economics and Free Trade.

4.The Race To The Bottom.  If you are a business owner who regularly deals with consumers (in my case, clients), you’ll recognize this one immediately.  Conservative economics dictate that the government deregulate, or to use Sarah Palin’s terminology, “Jus’ git outta our way!”  The philosophy behind this is that free enterprise can regulate itself much better than government can.  On the surface, that sounds almost right…almost true…almost sensible.

But if you own a business, in a field where there isn’t much regulation, I’ll bet you can name four or five competitors who are “snakes”.  These “snakes” are business owners whose sole purpose for enterprise is to take as much money as they can from their customer for the cheapest possible investment.  Whether that investment be materials, labor, information, or whatever, we all know who the snakes are.  For some of us, it’s an amazement they are allowed to be in business at all.  You know that if you are competing directly against them, they will “lowball” your perspective client to get the business, and then jack up their profit in after-the-sale charges or change orders.  It never fails; and these snakes rarely lose.

It’s the ultimate race to the bottom; spawned from a mentality of profit at any cost, even if that means cheating your client.   Even as you are reading this post, you know the names of businesses who did this as well as I do.  Goldman Sachs.  BP.  Exxon.  Haliburton.  AIG.  More?  Of course…too many to count.  That’s what happens when you deregulate.  You cannot trust EVERY business person to believe in providing a fair product for a fair price.  In fact, on Wall Street, that “fair price for a fair product” mentality is actually a minority, as it is amongst the Ultra Banks.  When the largest amount of money you can conceive of is up for grabs; and when the business sector in which this money resides is deregulated, the only thing you can be certain of is the race to the bottom of the ethics ladder.  People and entire corporations will sell their very souls to grab the largest piece of the pie, or be the biggest fish in the ocean.  In fact, they justify their greed by saying that if they don’t “strive” to be number one, they’ll be swallowed up by a bigger fish.  Easy mergers, easy derivatives, easy, cheap, overseas labor…all breed the race to the bottom of the ethics ladder.

No industry can truly regulate itself.  Business owners who believe in the fair market and in providing the best of their service for a fair price know that when the mongooses of regulation are removed, the snakes multiply.  That deregulation is a Basic Conservative Tenet is an undisputed fact.  That snakes breed, multiply, and create serious and oftentimes catastrophic financial disasters when deregulation occurs is unarguable.

5. What Conservative Deregulation Really Means.  Historically, Conservatives have been against some of the pillars of American Economics.  For example, Conservatives fought against Social Security insurance, Medicare, the minimum wage, the forty hour work week, the banning of asbestos in building materials and the right of a citizen to sue an asbestos manufacturer for liability in asbestos-health related cases.

But what does deregulation really mean?  In my industry, it meant repealing Glass-Steagall, the implosion of Wall Street, and the collapse of the American economy.  In another industry that I worked for in the 1990’s, it would mean reduced building-safety codes, reduction of power for OSHA, reduced fire codes, and fewer protections for construction workers, all things that Conservatives can really get their arms around.  After all, these industries can police themselves, according to Republicans like Palin and Newt Gingrich, and libertarians like John “I think unemployment benefits discourages people from looking for jobs” Stossel.

Ahhh yes…the race to the bottom in all of its glory.  Do you have any idea how much it costs to install a fire alarm in every room of every building, or emergency, battery powered lighting in every hallway?  Conservatives roll over in their graves for years at all of the “wasted” money.  And why bother removing asbestos insulation from a building when you can ignore it?  Besides, health effects from asbestos take years to develop, and by that time, the manufacturer will be out of business so…problem solved…no one to sue equals an equitable result for all parties, according to a conservative.

6.  The money goes to the top and stays there.  “Supply Side” economics is a policy that concentrates money at the top (corporations) in order for it to “trickle” down to the masses.  The more money there is at the top, the more money that trickles down…or so they say.  Something happened to that ,money, though, on the way to the bottom.  In 1980,  executive pay was only forty times greater than the average American salary.  Today, executive pay is more than five hundred times greater, meaning all that money concentrated at the top is staying at the top; not trickling down.  For most people, this would have been a no-brainer; but for conservatives (even the rank and file) it is the stuff of life.  I can talk to any conservative today, and he will tell me that trickle down economics not only works, but has been proven to work by the stats.  He’ll continue that line of reasoning until I show him the real stats; especially the fact that his boss is making five hundred times more than he is.  He’ll defend that stat by telling me that there are more, higher paying jobs available now that at any time in our history; until I show him that the Bush-era lost three million jobs and they’ve never come back, that wages have been stagnant at best for the last fifteen years, and are diminishing when compared to inflation at worst.

In Conclusion:

The facts do not lie; conservatism, or as I called it earlier, Corporatism, does not work.  It’s not just one part of it that isn’t working, it’s all of it put together.  In truth, some conservative principles would work fine with our system of free enterprise.  I believe that there really does need to be incentive for businesses to hire in economic downturns, and sometimes, tax cuts help.  I believe that small businesses should receive greater tax breaks than large corporations, considering the fact that it is the small business sector that historically creates sixty percent of the new jobs coming out of a recession.  But conservatives want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, who over the last ten years, have created zero jobs.  Yes, you read that correctly; job growth since the Bush tax cuts has been negative, not positive; so the tax cuts have had a zero, or negative impact on American job creation.  Since they didn’t work, and cost our country trillions in new debt due to lost revenue, it’s time to do the smart thing, and end them.

From supply side to deregulation, from tax cuts for corporations that ship American jobs overseas to the race to the bottom, conservatism does not work.  It’s not real conservatism, anyway.  Real conservatism looks more like the Libertarian party.  The brand of Republicans calling themselves fiscal conservatives today aren’t conservatives at all; they’re Corporatists, and their every word and act reveals this.  Against extending unemployment benefits that add $30 Billion to the deficit, but for extending the Bush tax cuts that add nearly $1 Trillion to the deficit..every year.  That’s right; if we ended the Bush tax cuts today, our actual deficit would be somewhere around $600 Billion, and all of the Bush years would have seen budget surplusses.

How’s that for conservative economics?

America needs to reverse this corporatist-conservative train immediately.  Free trade needs to end.  Regulation needs to force the snakes into the open where they can be stomped on.  The Bush tax cuts need to be allowed to sunset.  Small businesses need to be able to get decent credit on decent terms instead of allowing the Mega Banks to deny them access.  Tax tarriffs on American companies who ship jobs overseas need to be implemented, and protections that allow the American worker to compete with the rest of the world must be re-implemented.  Economic growth happens from the bottom up.  That’s an undisputed fact.  No one spends more moeny than middle-class America, who are no where near the top of the “trickle-down” pyramid.

In the end, that’s what corporatist-conservatism became; a giant pyramid scheme.  It’s time to nuke that pyramid.  We don’t have much time.     Ω

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Republicans, Democrats Share The Blame For America In Wonderland

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 13, 2010

We got us some anger issues in this country.  We got Democrats hating Republicans, conservatives hating liberals, and both groups blaming each other for every ill that ever occurred…ever.  We got both sides stretching the truth or outright lying, using fear to manipulate their constituents, and demagogic rhetoric to stir up tensions.

You see?  This is what you get when you allow political parties to run your country.  Sooner or later, political parties always devolve into demagoguery.  The tug-of-war for power is so consuming that over time, that fight for power becomes the most important thing between two opposing ideologies.  And the things that get lost in that fight for power are the things that matter most.  Here’s a list of things that have exited in the last ten years:

1. The truth.  No one could call what both parties regularly podiumize (new word: to stand at a podium and preach ideology) about the truth.

2. Civility.  Needs no explanation, except to say that if we continue down the road we are on, a second civil war is not out of the question.

3.  Credible Press coverage of just about anything having to do with politics or what’s best for America.  The demagogues get most of the air time now, and there are two cable news networks almost totally dedicated to attacking the other party and protecting their own ideological favorite.  And Americans are supposed to make informed decisions from this unprofessional delivery of “news”?

4.What’s actually best for America.  Instead of rolling sleeves up and doing actual work, politicians now roll sleeves up because it looks good on camera…apparently.  Washington has become a prize, and both parties could give a damn about what is best for America so long as they win the majority of seats in Congress.  Once they do, the opposing party immediately sets to attacking and destroying their “agenda”, rather than compromising and setting to work to do what’s right for America.  They can say they don’t really want their opponents to fail until they are blue in the face.  Their actions speak far louder, and it is those deeds that say, “hell yes! we want you to fail so we can win!  We don’t care if it destroys America too!  Just so we get to be in power!”

5.  Hope.  Got some?

6.  The little guy.  Today in America, if you can’t give your elected officials thousands upon thousands of dollars, you are not important in the political process.  Party hackery devolves into corporate welfare while hundreds of millions of Americans are told to stop whining.  Take the Financial Services Reform bill, for example.  How many “little Americans” had any say in what was included?  Now ask yourself, how many wealthy Americans and banks-too-big-to-fuck-with had plenty to say about what was in it?  Follow the money and look at the end product.  And the Democrats will celebrate the bill as a  “sweeping overhaul of our financial services industry and a major victory for Main Street, America”.  In three, two, one…

There’s more, but I figured I’d let you add your own, if you are willing.   There’s plenty to write about here with America in Wonderland.    Ω

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