Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) chickens come home to roost -The senator voted against the auto-bailout, but attended a GM plant reopening ceremony. Leonard also gets into how Corker and other interests originally got the original GM-Saturn plant to be located in Tennessee.
Tennessee ended up victorious, in part through the efforts of none other than then-governor Lamar Alexander, who orchestrated a juicy package of tax breaks and infrastructural improvements. Tennessee also offered to pay for water quality and regional impact studies and $20 million worth of job training. (Meanwhile, GM and the UAW cut a deal that kept the plant unionized, but set wages and benefits at about 80 percent the level of normal rates.)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Tennessee did exactly to Michigan and the rest of the Rust Belt what so many American lawmakers now claim China is doing to the United States. With the help of government incentives and guaranteed cheap(er) labor GM offshored production of the Saturn to Tennessee.
Which is all fine except that GM plant is yet another example of free enterprise at work? Not quite. It’s been the current state of corporate cronyism wedded to powerful friends in Washington and state governments. The only competition here was who could give the most away. Depending on how deeply one thinks business and government should be joined at the hip deals like this are ultimately good for the economy – a win for labor and business. Or they are an example of the blatant hypocrisy behind conservative claims they support a truly free market economy. We all know the drill, Democrat’s incentives are socialism, while Republican incentives smell like roses. Hell froze over just a little as The Economist gives a back-handed admission they were wrong and Obama was right about GM –
That does not mean, however, that bail-outs are always or often justified. Straightforward bankruptcy is usually the most efficient way to allow floundering firms to restructure or fail. The state should step in only when a firm’s collapse poses a systemic risk. Propping up the financial system in 2008 clearly qualified. Saving GM was a harder call, but, with the benefit of hindsight, the right one. The lesson for governments is that for a bail-out to work, it must be brutal and temporary. The lesson for American voters is that their president, for all his flaws, has no desire to own the commanding heights of industry. A gambler, yes. An interventionist, yes. A socialist, no.
It might take a few days or weeks but we’ll probably be hearing from the tea nuts about how the once great Economist has become a leftist rag.
Ron Johnson, a wealthy business executive and leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin this year, is beginning to receive scrutiny for his far right views. He has been criticized recently for opposing an anti-sex offenders bill, the Child Victim Act, and for saying that he is “glad there’s global warming.” Last month, when asked if he would support drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, Johnson — who owns more than $100,000 in BP stock — replied, “I think we have to, get the oil where it is.”
It is not exactly news that tea bagger conservatives like Johnson would drill through the Lincoln Memorial if they could make a few million dollars. Ditto for being anti-science on global warming. But to be against the Child Victim Act. Johnson was worried that victims of sexual battery and abuse might sue,
Peter Isely, the Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the Catholic Church has been more likely to cover things up if it is not faced with court action.
“He’s just wrong,” said Isely, who was not aware that Johnson had testified.
Not surprisingly, a Feingold spokesman took a shot at his likely GOP opponent for his stance on the issue.
“People want a senator who is going to fight for victims of abuse, not lobby against them,” said John Kraus, a senior strategist for the incumbent Democrat. “If he won’t stand with children who are victims of abuse, who will he stand with?”
Johnson did come out with a statement condemning sex offenders. Though as victims know, words are not actions. Ironically the Child Victim Act was somewhat bipartisan with a few moderate Republican sponsors.
Speaking of Russ Feingold (D-WI) who is one of the best Senators to ever serve in the Senate – Feingold Slams Supreme Court over “Citizens United,” Implies Roberts and Alito Lied Under Oath
Sen. Russ Feingold recently slammed the Supreme Court and strongly implied that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito lied, under oath, to the Senate during their confirmation hearings.
In a speech on Sept. 10, Feingold, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, denounced the “Citizens United” decision that the Court handed down earlier this year.
Feingold called it “a lawless decision.”
That decision allows corporations to give unlimited contributions in favor of, or in opposition to, a candidate so long as those contributions aren’t coordinated with a candidate’s campaign. It treats corporations the same way it treats individuals. (See http://www.progressive.org/mrapril10.html.)
But, said Feingold, “they are not the same as us. They do not have the same rights as all of us. And that decision is wrong on the law, and wrong for America, and an enormous danger for the political process.”
Without naming any names, Feingold said that George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees “came before the Judiciary Committee and promised me, under oath, that they would follow precedent, that they would be neutral umpires calling balls and strikes. Well, of course, they did the opposite.”
He was clearly referring to Chief Justice Roberts, who famously said at his confirmation hearing on September 12, 2005: “I will remember that it’s my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”
And Feingold also appeared to be speaking about Justice Alito, who testified on January 10, 2006, that “courts should respect the judgments and the wisdom that are embodied in prior judicial decisions.” Alito added: “It’s important because it limits the power of the judiciary.”
Said Feingold: “These people who pledged to follow precedent overturned a law signed by Teddy Roosevelt in 1907, proposed and backed by Fighting Bob La Follette. And it’s been the law of the land for 100 years that corporations cannot use their treasuries to directly impact elections.”
Unlike the Right who uses the Constitution to swat flies, Feingold seems to actually read and comprehend the explicit and implicit rights in the U.S. Constitution. Understandably the far Right would love to replace Feingold with the Johnson. Johnson, who looks out for the interests of child predators, because these criminals might suffer by the victims seeking justice.
The poor pitiful millionaires. Let us band together America and make sure they are rewarded simply for being wealthy. Millionaire Population Soars — Again
According to a new survey from Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. The survey says there now are 5.55 million U.S. households with investible assets of $1 million or more.
That follows two years of declines and brings the millionaire count back to 2006 levels. Of course, that is still below the peak of 5.97 million in 2007 and the current growth rate is well below pre-financial crisis levels, when the millionaire population increased as much as 35% a year.
Still, the numbers offer further evidence that the wealthy may have decoupled from the rest of the economy. The study’s authors say high salary growth, rather than investments, are the main drivers of the millionaire expansion.
The Republican and conservative Democrat argument against repealing the Bush tax cuts for the top income bracket is we need to cut them some lack so they’ll invest their money. They’re making money through huge profits which they constitute to reap by cutting the work force to the bone. Fearing a soaring deficit, many analysts favor letting Bush tax cuts expire
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the economy would be stronger with the cuts, but only through 2012, when the extra borrowing they require “would reduce or ‘crowd out’ investment in productive capital.” Even former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, an early advocate of the cuts, now says Congress should let them expire.
“I am very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money,” Greenspan said in an interview last month.
Even Obama’s plan is a steep compromise in keeping the middle-class cuts while allowing the cuts for the wealthy to expire. Deficits would still grow, but between the extra revenue and the interests we would not have to pay on the extra debt, would save trillions. That is a fact for those truly interested in doing some thing, even if imperfect about the deficit. Republican have literally no ideas how to balance the budget – Republicans Want To Cut Federal Spending But Have No Idea What Programs To Cut