Republican coincidence and payroll tax holidays…

"The finest day that I've ever had, was when I learned to cry on command..."

At the end of this month the payroll tax holiday will expire, and if allowed to lapse, it will come as a tax increase for working lower and middle class Americans. The Democrats, including Obama, are in favor of an extension while many Republicans are not. Many Republicans are demanding the extension be offset by spending cuts elsewhere or simply done away with altogether.

Why? Simple…

According to Macroeconomic Advisers, allowing it to lapse “would reduce GDP growth by 0.5 percent and cost the economy 400,000 jobs.” An analyst at Barclay’s estimated that letting the cut expire would knock 1.5 percent off of first quarter growth next year. Ameriprise Financial Services, meanwhile, estimated that extending the cut “is likely to add between 750,000 to 1 million jobs.” “Payroll tax cuts are very powerful,” added Allen Sinai, chief economist of Decision Economics. “They provide a boost to direct income and, in turn, spending, which is important to growth.”

Oh wait…forget that part…no, the reason some Republicans would be so willing to let it expire is our out of control deficit…fiscal prudence at its best, yes-sir, so fiscally responsible these Republicans, the cult of Norquist clan, they would allow a tax cut to expire. What an example of sacrifice? Imagine that, they finally agreed, not all tax cuts could be forever sacrosanct…oh, and the fact this party is oft accused of defending only the wealthy, and the fact this tax cut only benefits the working poor and middle class, not the wealthy…

I’m sure this is coincidence.

Has to be.

Just as I’m also sure it is only coincidence the Bush tax cuts, those gifts to the rich and a large part of our current deficit, weren’t required to be paid for while the payroll tax holiday, so many Republicans demand, must be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Yes, this Republican coincidence is but one of many these days…

Take a look at the job creators, for instance. Nick Hanauer, a successful venture capitalist recently wrote an op-ed, stating:

Consider, for example, that a puny 3 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million would be enough to maintain and expand the current payroll tax cut beyond December, preventing a $1,000 increase on the average worker’s taxes at the worst possible time for the economy. With a few more pennies on the dollar, we could invest in rebuilding schools and infrastructure. And even if we imposed a millionaires’ surtax and rolled back the Bush- era tax cuts for those at the top, the taxes on the richest Americans would still be historically low, and their incomes would still be astronomically high…Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit.

Yet, the Republicans would rather it be discovered they wet the bed than raise taxes on the wealthy, on those job creators…God save the job creators, even if they call bullshit on their actual ability to create jobs…and I suppose this only makes no sense at all, none…I mean, the Bush tax cuts have been in effect for what, 10 years or so, yet strangely enough we’ve had a recession, we’ve watched a looting of pension plans, a housing collapse and high sustained unemployment for years… And through it all, the fact those taxes on the wealthy, meant to create jobs have done everything but create jobs?

Coincidence.

But I digress, back to that tax break the Republicans are so sketchy about, the one that coincidentally doesn’t help the wealthiest of this country…when John Boehner was asked if letting the tax cut expire would hurt the economy, he replied, “I’m not an economist. I don’t know what kind of impact it’s going to have on the economy.”

Not an economist?

Yet he was sure the deficit didn’t matter when Bush was president, growing exponentially due to unfunded wars, tax breaks for the wealthy and that huge gift bag to pharmaceutical companies.

Just as he is now sure, that since Bush is no longer President, the deficit is destroying America as we know it, that if allowed to continue, not only will the deficit destroy our ability to manufacture American flags for the waving, but your mother’s apple pie? As a country, we will no longer be able to support the cost involved in using ovens, ever again. We will be one flag-less pie-less country, that much closer to gay marriage if we don’t do something about the deficit, like yesterday. He means…now. 

Oh, but that Boehner suddenly lost his economist credentials, that he devolved into financial confusion when it was time for this tax break that doesn’t expressly help the wealthy?

Another matter of simple coincidence.

However…to be fair…Boehner has come around the past day or so, the GOP is coming around and now say the payroll tax holiday should be passed. John himself has said, ““The fact is that Republicans are doing everything we can to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn.”

Course, that was Public John Boehner. And what did Private John have to say about the payroll tax holiday?

Well, behind closed doors, he told his membership they were pushing a package that not only included the extension, but also more environmental deregulation, more sales of broadband spectrum and a change in policy to help pass the Keystone XL pipeline so, you know, he could  turn “chicken shit into chicken salad.”

The ingredients of chicken salad of course being heavier pollution, sick kids, global warming, monopolies on spectrum leading to a lack of diversity on our airwaves, and a big fucking pipe to take oil all the way across our country from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, oil from tar sands development which is about as environmentally friendly as, well, as most Republican policy.  

Oh, and that John Boehner didn’t refer to this tax break, which doesn’t help the wealthy, as “chicken shit” in public?

Coincidence…you know it.

Yes…coincidence…of course this is what it is, what all of this is.

Cutting taxes on job creators so they continue to not create jobs, unfunded tax breaks for the wealthy while tax breaks for the working poor and middle class must be offset by spending cuts, spectrum sales and pollution, and Boehners ability to be an arch-economist who sometimes, economically speaking, is dumb as a stump…

All of it coincidence…surely.

What other explanation is there?

Have a nice day.

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So the GOP response to economic inequality is…

In his High School yearbook, Eric Cantor was voted most likely to soil his Armani underwear.

…running away?

…especially when they can’t control who will be in the audience?

…especially when many in that audience think Eric Cantor and the GOP response form a large part of the overall problem, championing many policies that cause much of the afore-mentioned economic inequality?

Okay then, glad we got that settled.

Eric Cantor and the GOP’s official response to issues raised by the Occupy Protests is as follows: gulp loudly, then don’t show up out of fear you won’t be able to control the crowd or the questions, with all of it on camera. Well played guys, and thanks for the update Eric…you complete and utter coward.

From the article in Firedoglake:

“Eric Cantor, staunch protector of the 1 percent and champion for that portion of the 99 percent duped into protecting the 1 Percent, but ever fearful of the mob, startled a disbelieving Beltway a few days ago by announcing that income and wealth inequality were real problems and that the GOP should do something about that.

In a moral universe, that epiphany should have been followed by lightning striking the man, as on the road to Damascus, but that didn’t happen.

Cantor promised to address those issues in a speech he planned to give today at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. What would an unrepentant representative of the 1 Percent possibly have to say? Would he explain why the Senate members of his party unanimously opposed taxing the rich at one half of one percent on annual income over a million dollars so we could have 400,000 more teachers and thousands more first responders?

Well, we may never know. It seems Mr. Cantor has bugged out, after learning from his hosts that his speech might become the occasion for a mic check.

To continue reading about the credibility issues of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va), please…just click below:

Eric Cantor Skips Wharton Inequality Speech Out of Mic Check Fear

Have a good day, a better day than the House GOP leadership when they meet tomorrow in Boehner’s office, to discuss how this fiasco played out for their side, across all forms of media…

Oops…

The Most Irresponsible Post I’ll Ever Write…on the Debt Ceiling

Remember: they did it to you, responsibly...so whatever you do, don't respond in an irresponsible way towards them, their institutions or the industries and high finance that props them up...

Responsibility and irresponsibility to whom, a people, a political party, a pledge…

As we’ve sat back, watching this debt ceiling debate rage on, I continue to be struck by what Democrats and Republicans deem to be okay, what they consider to be responsible.

It is responsible for both parties to give three trillion dollars in tax breaks to the richest people in this country, under the pretense this will create jobs…but it won’t. It didn’t when Bush first gave these hand-outs to our country’s wealthiest and since Obama renewed the tax cuts…nope, no jobs yet.

It is also responsible to call Social Security and Medicare “entitlements,” even though they aren’t. I’m paying for them now under the understanding I get them back later…how about you? But, it is responsible for both the GOP and the Democratic President to take this money away from you, to reduce a deficit the GOP created with those tax cuts for millionaires and a few odd wars. It is responsible to bail out banks who caused the recession that led to a drop in revenue, while at the same time leaving the middle class and poor to suffer even more by not helping them with their foreclosures, which are being done fraudulently by the same banks the government bailed out after causing the recession…and it is responsible for us, the American people to ignore this cycle.

Oh, and it is responsible to sign  pledges to help oneself get elected to office, despite the fact these pledges keep one from being free to exercise conscience when it is needed most.

Also, it is responsible to play politics and tricks while the economy inches closer to a crash, displaying loyalty not to your country, but to a political party. It is responsible to do a short debt ceiling deal so each party can take another crack at the narrative, all over again, and during an election year when politicians are always known to be at their most responsible. Why? Because it is responsible for everybody to distort and misrepresent facts (lie) for the party’s political gain.

It is responsible to preside, willingly and knowingly, without attempting any sort of change, over the greatest separation of wealth in any industrialized country, by far, just as it is responsible for both parties to allow the deregulation of commodities markets which drive the prices up on food and oil, thus allowing financial institutions to  make even more money on the extra money you pay and place it directly into their already burgeoning vaults.

And through this debt ceiling debate, it is responsible, as the people’s representatives to blatantly ignore what every poll of the American people has to say: make a deal built on balance: tax the rich and cut spending). Why? Because it is responsible to place more importance on a pledge to one man (Grover Norquist) than to the populace of your nation.

Essentially, the White House, Republicans and Democrats are deciding it is responsible to cut programs for the poor that help keep people from destitution, while at the same time keeping programs for the wealthy to help those with a great deal of money, get even more and most importantly…it is the responsiblity for us, the American citizens to sit back and accept what they decide is in our best interest, the politicians, the financial institutions, their lobbyists…all because we will have the chance to engage later in very responsible acts, such as voting.

Yes, it is the height of responsibility for us to accept our political representatives utter disregard for what we, the people of this country feel is most important.

Why is that?

Perhaps because truth in fact, Democrats and Republicans in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court know little to nothing about responsibility and irresponsibility…to us.

A demonstration perhaps?

Simple, all one need do is take a look at what these elected leaders would consider irresponsible, should we, as Americans decide their responsibility is anything but…responsible.

They would consider it irresponsible for Americans to, on the same day, suddenly withdraw all funds, save the minimum at the following banks: Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, because crashing the banks that crashed our economy would be the height of irresponsibility.

They would consider it irresponsible if we demanded these corporations, lending institutions and investment firms begin to at least pay the same tax rates we have to pay, because those same corporations, lending institutions and investment firms find it responsible to stop lending and to defraud investors, while the corporations cut the jobs they are supposed to be helping create.

They would consider it irresponsible to consider, there might be a better way to manage our affairs then a one party system that is equally corrupted by high finance, these same institutions that place profits over Americans well-being, confidence and security…

They would consider it irresponsible to take protests personal, to the homes of every CEO involved in causing the recession, and every politician who did nothing to prevent, stop or fix it.

They would consider it irresponsible to shut down Wall Street by demonstrably large protest…every day, after day, after day…

They would consider it irresponsible for Americans to be upset over the fact that if a debt ceiling deal is not reached, while Social Security checks, Veterans Benefits and the like may not go out, Congress will continue to receive their salaries.

They would consider it irresponsible if demands were made to actually take care of the elderly, the disabled and the sick.

They would consider it irresponsible for American citizens to start demanding justice, and stop being content with platitudes and condescension, especially if we demanded jobs programs through infrastructure repair, or that rather than defunding the EPA and Planned Parenthood, we demanded they defund the insurance industry and oil and natural gas companies.

They would consider it irresponsible to begin considering laws optional, much in the same way Wall Street and politicians do, everyday.

They would consider it irresponsible to imagine a Robin Hood scenario being played out in every town and every city across this country, just as they would consider it irresponsible to stop paying for food, and it would be especially irresponsible if people tried to align with the police to defend us against political and financial encroachment.

They would consider it irresponsible to engage in widespread, community meetings, and begin to have conversations about how everyone can help take care of each other, especially if your community organizations start linking up with other community organizations to the point we started to do it ourselves, for ourselves…and if successful, should any politician try to step in and take some sort of credit, it would be irresponsible to marginalize their presence the way they marginalize our hopes.

They would consider it irresponsible for American citizens, as a rule, to interrupt and sabotage any live remote news coverage by any major news channel, especially by pointing out that each of these news channels are owned by the same set of corporations that profited and continue to profit on your suffering, just as they would consider it irresponsible to start engaging in selective, but mass property damage on a nationwide scale…again targeting the institutions that made it possible for this country to default, for you to lose your job, for your pension to have suddenly been disappeared.

Why?

Because they would really consider it irresponsible if people watched less television, consumed less and had a lot more conversations about just how responsible politicians and their supporting industries were being, and also about what the people might do about that sense of responsibility.

They would consider it irresponsible if politicians were no longer able to go out-of-doors anymore without having to clean off the spit once they’ve returned back indoors, or for me as a social worker who works crisis lines to point out how many more calls I am getting from people who are unemployed, out of options, and the places they would normally go to for help, either are out of funds or no longer exist anymore because wealthy people didn’t have enough money to create the jobs they forgot to create.

A few politicians would also find it irresponsible to point out Ayn Rand was not an American icon, she was a parasite who fed off the government she claimed to both detest and find obstructive, and she deserved to be disappeared, just as quickly as the financial institutions disappeared your savings.

Oh yes, and one party would consider it the height of irresponsibility for their constituents to wake up and realize gay discrimination and God won’t keep their jobs from being outsourced, their health care rates from going up and their future options being undone, while another party would consider it equally irresponsible for their constituents to wake up and realize how they no longer represent the middle class and working people because they need the same campaign contributions the other party does, and how they have been coasting on legacy since the Carter administration…and financial institutions would consider it irresponsible for either parties constituents to wake up…

…Ever.

Especially if citizens should, when they wake up, consider their notions of irresponsibility and responsibility to have been in error, and consider that now is as good a time as any to make the institutional predators of this country very uncomfortable.

And some might wonder, would doing that be irresponsible, or responsible?

Hard to say for sure…

Have a nice day.

Economy versus environment…the oil spill fine…

Frack you...

I know I’m cynical, I get it…I admit it, but when you spend any time reading the science and the journals and watching the documentaries about climate change, fracking, even peak oil…hope ceases to really be your specialty…

It’s more two parts grim reality, one part enjoy the party while you can.

Anyways, this might explain why, when it comes to the money, the between 5.4 and 21 billion British Petroleum will have to pay to the Gulf Coast, my cynicism rears its ugly head and my doubts on much of this being used for wetlands restoration, essentially the rebuilding of Southern Louisiana become quite apparent.

I foresee businesses getting bolstered, especially out-of-state businesses being paid to rebuild parts of the Gulf Coast, focused on political pet projects that will siphon off dollar after dollar until there’s little left for the land and the people hardest hit by the spill, leaving them to get fucked even worse by the congressional negotiations than they did by BP and the GCCF…

The big picture will remain just that, a picture, a nice idea…quaint, and largely forgotten while Trent Lott gets his mansion rebuilt, or BP somehow schemes upgrades on their oil rigs from its own damned fine money.

From the article:

“A bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., would require that 60 percent of the Gulf’s portion of the fine money be spent only on environmental restoration. Landrieu’s bill has garnered no cosponsors outside of Louisiana.

Last month, Bonner filed his own bill to redirect most of the fine money to the Gulf, with no such restrictions on whether it is spent on environmental or economic restoration. His proposal attracted more than a dozen lawmakers from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas as cosponsors — but none from Louisiana.”

Yeah, something like that…but on the bright side, Florida Governor Rick Scott will probably just turn down any money due his state because he’ll figure it came from Obama, or because he don’t need no stinking bailout money and also of course, because he’s an idiot…so, more for everybody else.

Read the article:

Jo Bonner: Gulf of Mexico oil spill fine agreement likely months away

Have a nice day.

And Obama wants a thank you?

No Barack, the proper response would have been a left jab, not a handshake...

When you are the kind of person who believes the rich really don’t need any more of our money, that tax cuts to wealth don’t really create jobs, at least not the kind of jobs where you don’t need two or three of them to survive, and when you also believe that in the tightened economy, its important to help the growing number of people who are unemployed with assistance for housing and health care. Oh, and this environmental problem we got going on? We need to really take care of that too…

The top 1%, Large businesses?

They’re fine…General Electric pays no taxes on thirteen billion in profits and still tries to squeeze out health care and wage concessions from their employees…that’s greed my friend, not being competitive, so they can tighten their belts too, the way we’ve all been expected to cinch things up.

Anyways, when you believe everything previously mentioned, and you know that Republicans will try to continue this robber-baron thieving mentality, one might be inclined to look for the Democrats and the Democratic President to use common sense, to hold the line and protect the people of this country…

And you’d be wrong to think that way.

Instead, we get:

Newly Released Spending Deal Targets Health, Environment, Energy

In the White House and Congress we got only the spineless, courting election contributions at the expense of the country’s general welfare, and we’re expected to say thanks, you know, because the Republicans really wanted so much more…

No thanks here, sorry…but at the risk of sounding crude, I do have a brand new, nice middle finger for the lot of you…

Have a nice day.

How to ensure coastal restoration…

Gulf breeze might clear their heads...

Simple,

If you really want to make sure Louisiana gets all the money they need for coastal restoration, only one thing really needs to happen…

Pass a bill in Congress requiring Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America to build new corporate headquarters and base their operations in Grand Isle.

Just a thought…

Have a nice day

So, they’ll get it right this time? Oil spills, mine disasters, levees and forgetfulness…

Far better prepared for this picture, than an oil spill...

It would appear a pattern is developing in this great land of ours. Simply put, we begin with a tragedy, then we have an investigation which discovers the governmental agencies designed to prevent such tragedies either fell down on the job or didn’t care, and even worse, the fail-safe for the agency that didn’t do their job is woefully unprepared to handle the mess created. Next, we get public and government anger, utter outrage about the aforementioned tragedy and congress types propose bills, make promises and issue guarantees that a tragedy like this will never happen again, and damnit, we mean it…never.

At least until next time.

What? What happened to the guarantees, the promises and the bills?

That was so last week man, have you talked to my lobbyist?

In a recent report, it was discovered (surprise) that the US Coast Guard was not prepared for a large deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was continually troubled by this lack of planning. Government and private sectors “demonstrated a serious deficiency… (in) preparedness for an uncontrolled release of oil from an offshore drilling operation.” The panel also found many of the Coast Guard staff members interviewed “acknowledged that they were unfamiliar” with the plans to combat such a spill, “even though they held prominent positions” in the command structure for the response. Much of this is blamed on the changes to the Coast Guard, post 9-11. As their responsibilities were diversified, the oil spill response plan atrophied which resulted in problems with coordination and communication. From the report: “While the response plan by BP, the well’s operator, was criticized as unrealistic in the report, the government’s plans were also found to be inadequate and incomplete.”

Okay, given…anyone paying attention to events last summer could have figured out that both BP, the Coast Guard and state officials were caught with their pants down on this one, but…what happens now? New drilling permits are being issued, ten in fact (no matter what Vitter says).

“Capt. Ron LaBrec, a Coast Guard spokesman, said the Coast Guard was reviewing the recommendations and had already begun making improvements. (The Department of Homeland Security has requested an additional $11.5 million in its 2012 budget to help bolster the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to major spills, a department official said.)”

Improvements…

Perhaps a complete change might be more in order? One suggestion might be to immediately discuss and begin planning how to keep politics and corporate self-interest out of the equation.

If not, one might someday read an oil spill version of the soon to be even more tragic story about developments occurring since the Massey Mine disaster, which also happened last April and killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

If you don’t recall, there was outrage by Congress and the public that federal regulators didn’t have the power to close dozens of mines that had racked up thousands of safety and health violations (sound familiar?). At the time, both parties in Congress vowed swift action. They promised from their pulpits to fix this so no family will ever have to go through this kind of tragedy again.

A bill was proposed. It would have made it easier to shut down problem mines. It would have increased penalties for serious safety violations and offered greater protection for whistleblowers, and it took eight months for the bill to even reach the floor of Congress where two weeks ago, this bill was killed off, voted down by every single Republican and 27 Democrats.

In 2010, 48 coal miners died, the most since 55 were killed in 1992.

As retired miner, Fred Burgess said, whose stepson Ronald Mayor died in the Upper Big Branch explosion, “The miners should have a safer workplace, but the mine companies throw a lot of money around, they have lobbyists all over the place.”

Indeed, and to add insult to injury, it would appear lots of those lobbyists have been speaking to Rand Paul, who recently said in response to the MSHA’s (Mine Safety and Health Administration) new proposals which would reduce by half the amount of coal dust miner’s breathe, coal dust being the primary cause of  black lung, “”Every regulation doesn’t save lives…There is a point or a balancing act between when a regulation becomes burdensome enough that our energy production is stifled.”

Or in other words, “What he’s suggesting is to keep the cost of coal down we would jeopardize the health of coal miners,” said Stephen Sanders, director of the Appalachians Citizens’ Law Center.

Oh, and speaking of guarantees and promises, anybody remember a certain town called New Orleans and this little catastrophic failure they had a few years back, you know, where over a thousand people died when the levees broke, in several places?

Yeah, remember all those promises made back in 2005, to guarantee that would never happen again?

Well, it would appear those promises were equally hollow. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for building and fixing the failed levees, well…they’re working on it…going on six years later. Which isn’t to say improvements haven’t been made. They have, but do those improvements match all those guarantees and promises President and Congress types threw around during the flood’s aftermath?

Anybody want to by the Crescent City Connection?

Really, I’m selling…

But, back to the Coast Guard and their report. Whereas it’s great they are working on “improvements” to their response, it might be nice to see exactly what they are working on, how they intend to coordinate federal, state and local officials, how they intend to keep financial self-interest and politics out, how their own staff will be trained on any new plans that are so coordinated to ensure each administrative and governmental level is on board, you know, so we don;t wind up with useless sand berms.

It would seem if oil companies have a right to drill out there in the Gulf, and they are…Gulf Coast residents have a right to know what will be done, and a guarantee that it will be done to respond to another spill…even after the anniversary news coverage comes and goes.

After all, coal miners still haven’t gotten protection from cost cutting mine owners.

New Orleans still hasn’t received the levees promised by Congress and the Corp of Engineers.

And now, Gulf Coast residents are waiting to see if that pattern continues or breaks, and they’d probably like to know which, before the next big spill.

Hell, I would…because if there is one thing I’d…uh…oh damn…

From the Times Picayune:

“A year after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Congress has done virtually nothing to address the issues raised by the oil spill — from industry liability limits, to regulatory reform, to coastal restoration, to broader issues of energy policy…”

Continue reading:

A year after Gulf oil spill, Congress is sitting on its hands

Have a nice day.