Today is mostly a collection of news quickies.
Let’s all keep telling ourselves that conservatives are not trying to sabotage the economy for political gain just to exercise our power of denial muscle: Economist: Senate GOP jobs plan wouldn’t help economy in short term, and could even hurt
The GOP unveiling of the plan was widely treated as major news, and Republicans are challenging Obama to respond to their plan — a challenge that’s also garnering widespread coverage.
But an economist I spoke to just now said there isn’t enough information in the plan to evaluate whether it could even achieve its goals as Republicans themselves have defined them. He said it won’t help the economy in the short term, and could even make matters worse.
“I don’t have enough detail to evaluate how many jobs this would create,” Gus Faucher, the director of macroeconomics at Moody’s Analytics, told me. “I could say, `My plan is to do nothing, and it will create five million jobs.’ And it could work, particularly if I don’t say over what time period.”
Moody’s recently estimated that Obama’s jobs plan, if passed, would add two percentage points to economic growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut unemployment by a full percentage point. By contrast, the Senate GOP plan isn’t designed to help the economy in the short term, Faucher said.
The Republican jobs plan, and it is being very generous to call it a plan, is really just a reiteration of extreme right-wing talking points that we can all repeat in out sleep at this point. Do way with taxes, Medicare, worker safety regulations, food safety regulations, pollution laws that saves tens of thousands of American lives, kill financial regulation, let women die on hospital floors, trade agreements that kill American jobs and we’ll all be living in paradise living off honey and t-bone streak.
Yet another conservative myth shattered – Over Regulation is not responsible for high unemployment.
Even Business Week and the fact checker at the WaPo think Hermanator Cain’s financial IQ could use a large infusion of facts. Cain’s Sales Tax Would Hurt Consumer Spending ’For Some Years’ and Herman Cain’s 999 plan: a misleading pitch
Right now, nearly half of taxpayers don’t pay income taxes, but they do pay their share of payroll taxes, which amounts to 7.65 percent of wage income (though much of it is capped at $107,000). Cain would also eliminate the earned-income tax credit, which is intended to lift working Americans out of poverty. Many of these workers currently receive tax refunds.
[ ]…Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan administration official who now calls himself an independent, also offered a critical examination this week on the New York Times Economix blog. He (as did Kleinbard) noted that the business tax allows for no deduction for wages, which he said “is likely to raise the cost of employing workers, even with abolition of the employers’ share of the payroll tax.”
Cain, in his television appearances, glosses over such details.
Difficult to believe, but Cain worked as a mathematician while in was in the military. This is how he explained the extra burden of his 9% sales tax( that would be on top of any sales taxes you’re paying now),
Cain: I’m going to use $50,000 a year, since that’s approximately what the median income is for a family in this country. [For a] family of four, $50,000 a year. Under the current system, based upon standard deductions and standard exemptions, they’re going to pay $10,200 in taxes. Under the 9-9-9 plan, the middle 9, they’re going to pay $4,500. That leaves $5,700 to apply to that milk and bread in terms of the taxes. You have to go through the numbers of each individual situation.
Well the people who are currently not paying federal income taxes or not paying much because of deductions such as the mortgage deduction or earned income credit would be paying that 9% sales tax and they would not be paying it out of what they saved in income taxes because they would no longer have their itemized deductions. It is also at least partly a shell game to say that most people will come out ahead because they can take their income tax savings, tun around and pay their sales taxes with what was savings five minutes ago. Herman is no more a loon than Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich or Santorum, but he is no less loony either. Cain also made this reality defying statement in the same NPR interview:
One of the reasons that I believe that this happened(speaking about the Iranian assassination plot), Scott, is that this president is perceived is weak, and weakness invites attack. I happen to believe that that’s why they attempted to do something like this to thumb their nose at the American people, to thumb that nose at the United States of America because this president is perceived as weak.
Thus far President Obama and the U.S. military under his leadership have killed several high level terrorist that the Bush administration had not during two terms in office. The 9-11 attacks happened on Bush’s watch. Multiple terror attacks happened during the Bush presidency in Europe and Asia. Yet Herman, using his super duper CEO mind concludes, and he, by his public statements wants the world to think, Obama is “weak”. Could someone check Herman’s back and see if the puppet strings are attached to Dick Cheney’s hand.
Rick Perry defends his wife’s claim that he’s been ‘brutalized’ for his faith. Mrs Perry does get one thing right in yet another us true believe’n white right-wing Christianists are poor little victims card; the Right have been the most brutal critics. This all or mostly because of Perry’s stance on in-state tuition for immigrants. In the land of Wingnuttia xenophobia wins out.
As we all know conservative are the grand pooh pahs of Christian values, foreign policy and how to prosecute teenage girls for having miscarriages. So the giant conservative wart known as Rush Limbaugh must be right when he claims – Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians
Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill.
So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it.
President Obama explains his sending military advisers to central Africa – Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate Regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army. Max Fisher provides some insight into the reasoning behind sending advisers and why Limbaugh has aligned himself with a child rapist, slaver, child murderer, mass murderer and war criminal who claims he rules in the name of the Ten Commandments – Why Is Obama Sending Troops Against the Lord’s Resistance Army?
Part insurgency and part cult, the Lord’s Resistance Army has waged a 20-year campaign of terror across Uganda, where it originally formed in opposition to the government there, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. It raids villages, massacres for no other purpose than bloodlust, enslaves child soldiers and child sex slaves, drugs its captives to make them more violent, all in an apparently endless mission that has destroyed countless villages and killed thousands of civilians, transforming one of the world’s least governed spaces into one of its most dangerous.
A 2009 U.S. law authorizing financial support to Uganda against the LRA cites studies finding the LRA had abducted 66,000 children and displaced two million civilians. Last year, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth — no hawk — called on Obama to use U.S. military force against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Roth cited the group’s overwhelming humanitarian toll, its small size, and (unlike, for example, the Taliban) its extreme unpopularity among the populations it terrorizes.
More on the LRA and their leader Joseph Kony – Girl Soldiers – The cost of survival in Northern Uganda
“A person who believes in God cannot kill, cannot rape people, cannot burn their house … cutting their ears, cutting their necks,” Lucy says. Kony “is a devil, not God.”
“When you first arrive [after being abducted by the rebels], they put all the girls together. Then they call the officers so they can pick who they want for a wife. Even if you are very young. I was given to a very big man. He was blind on one side. So maybe he didn’t see that I was very young.”
[ ]…“They told me to lie down, and they said, ‘You pick: Do you want life or death?,’” she recounts. “Then they brought a boy near me and killed him using a panga. They cut him here (her finger slices her neck), here (waist), here (legs) … Then they told me, ‘Have you seen what has happened with that boy?’ I started crying. ‘You are crying!’ Then, they started beating me.”
She chose “life,” which meant that for 2.5 years she was forced to have sex with her husband twice a week, each time crying and each time being beat for her tears. She would sometimes be denied food for up to five days and almost just as long without water—when deprived water, soldiers would make her drink someone else’s urine. She was only required to fight in the field once, but was forced several times a week to pillage villages to gather food and clothing.
Kony was set to sign a peace agreement in April of this year, officially putting an end to a war that left nearly 2 million people homeless, 80 percent of who were women and children. But he never showed. The LRA still managed to stay in the headlines, however, when they orchestrated over 300 abductions in Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic.
So all that means nothing to “Christian”, foreign policy expert, fake patriot, serial liar and drug addict Limbaugh. Kony is anti-Muslim and that is all that matters.
The conservative blog American Power, it should go without saying, also considers itself experts on foreign policy and U.S. history. They write about the military advisers – Obama Administration to Deploy Military Advisors to Uganda
Well, it’s certainly fits the progressive rationale for foreign military intervention: human rights. But 100 “advisers”? Sounds like how the Kennedy administration sent advisers to Vietnam and we ended up with 500,000 troops in country by the end of 1965.
That ragged bit of insight is the sum of their wisdom. First it was president Eisenhower who first sent military advisers to Vietnam. While the public was told at the time there would be no American military intervention it has since become well known that US Air Force pilots flew to support the French during Operation Castor in November 1953. Even if he had managed to use the correct president and got the details correct drawing direct parallels is stretching reality. We’re sending 100 advisers to a country being terrorized by one brutal psycho. What came to be 16,000 advisers in Vietnam were our forward eyes on what many thought was the advance of Soviet communism across Asia with the material support of the Chinese. Central Africa, if we play it right could be another victory in the proper application of U.S. power such as Libya, to some degree Egypt, the Balkans and saving the Kurds after Desert Storm. We actually have small contingents of troops in about a dozen countries right now. They might be preventing the next wave of mass murders. It might be inconsistent to pick our battles, but there is nothing wrong with picking the right ones where we help local civilians. Battles that at least during the Obama administration, has been at minimal cost, either financially or in military casualties.
A number of publications including Slate and the Washington Post have already pointed out that the other 47 percent don’t pay taxes because they are simply too poor. Slate’s Suzy Khimm summarizes neatly:
About half of households within that 47 percent do not end up paying federal income tax because they qualify for enough breaks to cancel their tax obligations out. Of that group, 44 percent are claiming tax benefits for the elderly, like an exemption for Social Security payments. And 30.4 percent are claiming credits for “children and the working poor,” like the child-care tax credit… When combined, it’s all enough to cancel out their income tax requirements… The other half of households are just too poor to pay them.
But Think Progress takes their analysis a step further, looking into the claims of hardship made by Erickson:
The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.
Interestingly, many of the claims made in the We Are the 53% blog echo those made in the We Are the 99 Percent blog: “got laid off”, “slept in my car because I couldn’t afford housing”, “after a mildly successful career, I lost everything in 2009”.
It’s not that the 53 percent people haven’t suffered, these pictures seem to say. It’s that having clawed their way out of crisis, they now see virtue in their suffering. One commenter on Think Progress site summarized the mindset:
Look at me. I ran through a field of bear traps and only had to gnaw off one limb. Builds character.
Besides misdirected resentment at the working poor and believing in all that Glenn Beck -Fannie May-Barnie Frank bull, the 53% seem to have an unhealthy obsession with self flagellation. What most workers have come to know as hallmarks of modern civilization: a fair wage, a forty hour week, over time pay, worker’s compensation, week ends off, fire exits that are not locked down, health care benefits – are all things the 53% think are signs that we’ve turned into a nation of spoiled brats. I remember seeing a Monty Python sketch on late night TV where several of the troop played the I had it worse than you game. It went something like – I got up in the morning, ate a hand full of dirt, walked ten miles in eight foot snow drifts and worked a 23 hour day in a dark mine digging coal with my bare hands. Than the next guy would one up him on the hardship he endured. This is the game the 53% are playing. Only their version of the skit isn’t funny.
This might be what I was thinking of, Monty Python – Four Yorkshiremen
Part of the dialogue:
… “Oooooh, we used to dream of living in a corridor. It would have been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish [heap]. We got woken up every morning to having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us. House? Uh!”
“Oh, when I said house I meant a hole in the ground covered by a piece of twig. It was a house to us.”
“We were evicted from our hole in the ground. We had to go and live in the lake!”
“You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.”
“Cardboard box?” …