Someone needs to think of a way to harness all the hot air and spin propagated by conservatives.
The Republican playbook is filled with goodies like class warfare, social-Darwinism, doublespeak, the Southern Strategy, portraying everyone to the left of Mussolini as a raving Marxist. One of their favorites is the double-decker lie layered with false accusations against their opponents all the while portraying themselves as the beleaguered victims. The last works especially well when if the facts be known and the debate had to stay on the facts, Republicans know they would lose. Wisconsin Conservative Gov. Walker Played Accounting Tricks To Show Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights
Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker’s collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.
The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures — service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money — rolling back worker’s bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker’s doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.
[ ]…You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that “more than half” of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker’s initiatives:
* $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.
* $48 million for private health savings accounts — a perennial Republican favorite.
* $67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.
Walker, and right-wing blogs and pundits have followed with the accusation that state workers and Wisconsin’s Democratic legislators are being ‘undemocratic” for not bowing to Walkers’ demands, which are based on the lie the state budget faces imminent shortfalls and through some magic, doing away with bargaining rights will save big bucks. You cannot have a debate, informed by the spirit of democracy if one side is determined to fabricate a false narrative. It is like someone holding a gun to your head while signing a contract and then telling everyone you signed it of your own free will. It is not all Walker’s fault – he is exploiting both ignorance and fear. The public, if it is vested in having a functioning democracy has to be informed. Here is where the left versus right slight of hand serves the ground work of Republicans for the last fifty years. Liberal, progressive and left of center are all dirty words thanks to the rabid Right’s noise machine. Walker says he is just following the conservative agenda. The conservative agenda is all sweet cream and angel wings. A large segment of the public listens to what conservatives say instead of what they actually do. If more people would pay attention to the details and piece them together with the big picture they’d see they lean liberal or progressive, Most Americans Are Closeted Big Government Spenders
In the same Pew poll, 62 percent of Americans want to increase education spending. Only 11 percent want to cut education spending. Combined with those who want to leave education spending as-is, 87 percent support it. This massive disparity plays out all across the board. 71 percent of Americans want to increase or to continue health care spending at the same levels. Only 24 percent want to cut it. Only 26 percent want to cut spending on environmental protection. I can go on and on. Only 12 percent want to cut Social Security. Only 21 percent want to cut infrastructure. Only 23 percent want to cut scientific research. Only 28 percent want to cut unemployment benefits.
Most of us embrace government spending, but we’re afraid to admit it.
According to another study by Cornell’s Suzanne Mettler, many Americans don’t even realize they’re relying upon government services. 53 percent of those who said they’re not using a government program borrowed a student loan from the government. 44 percent are on Social Security. 39 percent are on Medicare (reinforcing the imperative: “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”). 27 percent are on Medicaid. 28 percent are on Disability. 41 percent are receiving veteran’s benefits. Again, these are people who also insist they’re absolutely not “living off the public tit,” to quote Senator Chuck Grassley. But they are.
Yet New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is cutting everything that he can’t reasonably chew. And he’s applauded for it by the GOP and their media shills. Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan is cutting education spending by $470 per student at the K-12 level, and university budgets by 15 percent.
Meanwhile, the House Republicans want to cut a long list of crucial government programs. Paul Krugman detailed the extent of the Republican budget cuts including, among other items, $899 million cut from renewable energy spending, $1.1 billion cut from the science budget (remember: only 23 percent of Americans want to cut science programs) and $648 million cut from the nuclear nonproliferation budget — that’s more than half-a-billion dollars cut from a program tasked with keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. Seriously, Republicans? They also want to cut $1.2 billion from FEMA, $489 million from Homeland Security and $900 million from the Centers for Disease Control. Absolutely staggering. And dovetailing with what I wrote last week about the Republican War Against Women, the Republicans want to cut $1 billion from WIC: a program that provides food for pregnant women.
Walker has all the benefit of a public in denial. Remember the tea slackers who carries signs saying keep your hands on my Medicare. In the message wars massive ignorance is the WMD of politics and Republicans have not only mastered the art of sustained delusions, they blissfully swim in them. Maybe the public sector employees of Wisconsin will manage to get some kind of compromise, but they’re at the bottom of the hill pushing against a massive amount of ignorance and the Right’s long-standing class warfare tactics.
There is no class warfare according to Republicans. That would be despite the daily evidence of taking more and more rights away from working class Americans as Republicans work to enhance the power of the plutocracy, Republican Amendment Would Strip Funds For Obama ‘Czars,’ Plus Elizabeth Warren
House Republicans are ramping up efforts to hamstring the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. One key amendment to the GOP’s 2011 budget plan seeks to strip federal salaries from President Barack Obama’s so-called “czars,” effectively removing them from their offices — as well as Elizabeth Warren, the consumer watchdog tasked with setting up the CFPB — while another would prevent the bureau from hiring any staff at all.
Warren and the CFPB are tasked with protecting consumers, and indirectly mom and pop investors. According to Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) this is a form of oppression. Where did Tom get his dictionary. letting business run wild and destroying the lives of millions of Americans is a form of oppression. Trying some modest financial reform to see that it does not happen again is more power to the people. The whole obsession with czars thing is another fax out of the spin machine – Bush had more czars than Obama and the Right didn’t say a word in complaint. Some czars are executive branch administrators who were approved by the Senate, while other are specialized consultants.
A Democratic Congresswoman has received death threats after questioning the wisdom of the U.S. Army sponsoring a NASCAR Sprint Cup team to the tune of $7 million a year.
The picture on the fax she received is despicable. That said I wonder if spending $7 million dollars on sponsoring a NASCAR is that big a deal. According to this article President Obama restored the Army National Guard’s adverting budget – for recruiting – to $95 million. And the 2006 budget for the combined military recruitment and advertising budget was $1.4 billion. If the Army is getting some reasonable recruitment benefits from that $7 million than maybe it is a good investment. Though the fax says cutting that funding is Marxist. The government owning the car might approach being far left or far right. As it is the only issue here – other than the threats – is whether tax payers are getting enough recruits from the NASCAR endorsement to justify those kinds of funds being spent. This is not even close to a public policy issue that warrants loud voices much less death threats and racist pictures. The military is not a bad career and considering the state of the economy it’s still a good way to make a wage and get some money for college.
Contrast and compare Wisconsin and other public employees – who are all thugs according to the Right, to these fine folks, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO, Gets $17 Million Pay Day
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has granted Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon stock and options worth $17 million, just a month after one of Wall Street’s largest banks posted a big jump in quarterly earnings.
Dimon’s bonus follows huge compensation boosts earlier this month for the heads of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc., as many big banks _and their stocks – have rebounded from the financial crisis.
[ ]…Last month, Goldman Sachs more than tripled the salary of CEO Lloyd Blankfein to $2 million, not including stock awards, and also granted raises to four other top executives. Citigroup Inc. gave its top executive, Vikram Pandit, a salary raise to $1.75 million, from just $1 the previous year.
Bank of America Corp., however, has said it won’t give its top executive a raise for 2011 and won’t hand out cash bonuses to top management. CEO Brian Moynihan’s salary will remain $950,000 for 2011, though he could get up to $9.05 million in stock awards if the nation’s largest bank by assets hits certain performance targets.
(*note JP Moragn received $25 billion in TARP funds)
At no point in his lifetime will Dimon produce any goods, services or intellectual property worth $17 million. he’ll never cut your grass, empty your bed pan, invent a new vaccine, build an Empire State Building or write a ground breaking program. he pushes paper and money around. Skills that any reasonably intelligent person can be trained to do. Why are Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Brian Moynihan or hundreds of other Wall St thieves making the money they do. Mostly luck and circumstances. yet in many polls business ‘leaders” such as these enjoy a better public image than unions. Unions are thieves stealing from the public and these somewhat lazy semi-intelligent sleazebags are heroes. If anyone thinks Jamie Dimon – who exemplifies the elitist mentality of Wall St and conservatives – is a bright guy, Jamie Dimon’s `Biggest Disaster’ Is Waiting: Simon Johnson
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., has harsh words for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are “the biggest disasters of all time,” Dimon told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission last fall, according to his just-released interview.
Along with others, Dimon greatly exaggerates the role Fannie and Freddie played in the financial crisis, a theme my MIT colleague, Daron Acemoglu, has written about with great clarity.
Too many bankers assert some version of the refrain: Fannie Mae made me do it. As the FCIC’s report makes clear, it was the private sector that led us into the financial crisis by making massive subprime bets and then using complex derivatives deals to magnify the downside risks.
We have the usual choices. Dimon is lying or is dumb enough to believe what he says. In either case, he and his like-minded comrades are taking America for a ride. Private banks made a lot of bad loans, and they bet those loans would continue to increase in value (derivatives trading). Fannie and Freddie are not in the direct to homeowner lending business. Fannie and Freddie do not review loan applications or run credit checks on people – private banks are responsible for doing their due diligence. Unknowingly Fannie and Freddie bought many of the bad loans banks made ( I would agree they could have run a tighter ship and bear some responsibility). That gave those banks more capital to make more loans. A practice usually praised among the banking establishment and Wall St. Now Wall St hustlers and Republicans are trying to pin the blame for the actions of private banks on Fannie and Freddie – the Freddie Made Us Do It school of deflecting responsibility. Very good pdf presentation by Daron Acemoglu of MIT on income inequality, the financial crisis and the elements which contributed to it.
* Lack of regulation of financial practices, something won by the
financial industry by lobbying and cultivating close political contacts,
potentially much more important than government policies distorting
the housing market, including the induced behavior of Fannie and
Freddie (Johnson and Kwak, “13 Bankers”).
* In fact, the constant during this era, particularly when the bottom
was falling out of US income distribution, has been efforts by the
financial industry to push for deregulation, not increase or even rely
on the role of Fannie and Freddie.