September Fall wallpaper – The Pity Party, Wealthy Republicans Want Romney Because They Could be Wealthier

September Fall wallpaper

 

Conservatives have been trying to sell two conflicting narratives in the last three years and the oxymoronic nature of those narratives might have started to occur to some people. The Republicans in charge of the conservative economic narrative  – the ones we see on cable, in newspaper columns, the big soapboxes have claimed that high taxes, burdensome regulation and the general magical aura put out by the anti-colonist Obama administration is hurting the economy. The conservatives making this arguments have ranged from the 6 figure income pundits on the low end to successful business owners taking their deposits to the bank in the trunk of their German made luxury cars to billionaires. As Jonathan Bernstein notes, many Americans watching the RNC convention, before they went into shock from the guy arguing with an empty chair, noticed this strange dichotomy. Elsewhere: Ryan, Bouncing

Then today at PP, I talked about how the lessons of this year’s conventions might play out. My serious point is that whatever are thought to be the lessons of the conventions will matter but that those lessons may have little or nothing to do with what actually caused Romney to get no bump and Obama to get one, but I framed it around a wish that everyone will conclude it was the Republicans’ lazy mendacity that was the problem.

Speaking of which, have I mentioned my totally screwy and almost certainly wrong theory of why the GOP convention flopped? The GOP convention featured a whole string of successful businesspeople explaining how successful they were. Their main complaint about Obama wasn’t that he ruined their businesses; it was that he didn’t properly respect their success. Perhaps some people watched that and concluded that business in the US was actually doing really well?

(One exception that I remember: there was a guy from Nevada, if I recall correctly, whose government-had-nothing-to-do-with-my-success business was selling something — road signs, I think? — to government, and his complaint was that under Obama the government wasn’t buying enough of whatever it was. Ah — here’s the story).

As I said, probably wrong, but I’m having fun semi-believing it.

Basically the speakers at the RNC said yea sure we have gold plated bathtubs, but if it were not for Obama we could have platinum. This is from Jonathan’s link. The guy is actually making an argument for more Obama-Keynesian spending,

Phil Archuletta is the owner of P&M Signs in New Mexico. His business specializes in making outdoor and traffic signs.

It is also the beneficiary of federal government contracts.

“For the last 40 years, my company has built the road signs on the Forest Service road system,” Archuletta explained in his prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention. “In fact, in 1984, I was fortunate to receive the national award from President Reagan for being the most successful minority business in the United States. In 2004, President Bush made it possible for our company to manufacture signs for all federal agencies.”

His complaint? He is not getting his fair share of new government contracts. To make signs for land on public property. I’m sure he went over that speech. He probably had someone to review it for grammar and content. Yet, no warnings buzzer went off that said gee I’m a flaming hypocritical whining slug. Even though business is down, he still managed to come up with the travel and hotel expenses to tell America his sop story. Bernstein notes in another column the running theme of every Republican running for office this cycle, not just Romney-Ryan,

I’m rooting for a different lesson, however: that it’s a bad idea to base your convention theme around an out-of-context quote, and that it’s a bad idea for your vice presidential candidate to reel off one whopper after another in his convention speech – especially obvious lies that the media can’t help but pick up on.

Is that what hurt the Republicans? I have no idea. My best guess now is Obama having more low-hanging fruit to harvest than Romney, but that’s just a wild guess. However, I’m really hoping that the interpretation involving lazy mendacity takes hold, since it really would be nice if our politicians believed that sort of thing was punished.

We know that conservatives do not punish mendacity. In 2004 it was well established that Bush-Cheney-Rice-Conservative movement had lied and exaggerated us into a unnecessary and counter-productive war. Cheney threatened the nation – if you vote Democrat you’re all going to die. While Bush won by one of the smallest margins in a hundred years, he managed to pull off a victory through some of the sleaziest falsehoods ever perpetrated. Conservatives literally repeat the falsehoods in the Romney attack ads  – the built it and welfare ads – as the new truth. This recent debacle by Rand Paul (R-KY) is a good example of how conservatives, do not think, but live in a bubble of their beliefs. Paul is not Limbaugh or Matt Drudge, he is a U.S. senator, yet has no idea of the fluctuation of employment numbers for public sector workers. He heard something somewhere that said what he wanted to hear and that became his truth. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin Helps Spread Romney’s Sleazy Lies.

The Deafness Before the Storm

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

The CIA ran into a wall of preconceived notions about who was a legitimate threat – Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein. The neocons had come into office with their sites set on Iraq. Evidence? They didn’t need no stink’n evidence. They were conservatives and conservatives have a divine monopoly on the truth. We all know what happened on 9-11 because of what conservatives do with the truth.

That same day in Chechnya, according to intelligence I reviewed, Ibn Al-Khattab, an extremist who was known for his brutality and his links to Al Qaeda, told his followers that there would soon be very big news. Within 48 hours, an intelligence official told me, that information was conveyed to the White House, providing more data supporting the C.I.A.’s warnings. Still, the alarm bells didn’t sound.

 

I’m not going to link to it, but anyone can copy and paste this headline into Goggle and it will take you to the results. This is a headline Fox News is running, “EXCLUSIVE: Parents of SEAL Team Six member say unit endangered by Obama administration statements”. I feel genuinely bad for those parents for their son’s death is a operation that took place after the Bin laden raid. Though They seem to be caught up in the web of urban myths that have sprung up around that operation and who said what and when. This is an interview with a SEAL talking about the raid with CBS. many details of the raid are and have been public information from day one (May 2, 2011). That the SEALs exist is not a secret. No one but Fox News and some former military has mentioned any specific names. The SEALS have a web site where you can click over and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Fox News has previously ( several times in fact) made the ludicrous claim that President Obama did not give the SEALs credit. How many versions are there of the killing of Bin laden, who did, how and how many ways are there to avoid giving the Obama administration and the CIA credit  – if you follow Fox News, maybe as many as a half dozen at this point. If there is a single news outlet that is dragging the SEALs through the mud, it is Fox News and their right-wing echo on the web. One of the reasons conservatives are so willing to taint the reputation of the special forces is that they are now operating under a commander-in-chief that is ringing up an amazing record of success against Islamic radicals: just in today, Al-Qaida’s No. 2 in Yemen killed in airstrike. If you want to screw up a simple operation to send out a posse to get the bad guys, simple, put a Republican president in charge. He’ll invade the wrong country and tell you how patriotic his screw-ups are.

 

 

Railroad map of North Carolina, 1900 – Republicans Can Only Win Arguments With Empty Chairs and Straw Men

Railroad map of North Carolina, 1900. Authorized by the North Carolina corporation commission.

North Carolina 1770. Done by John Collet. “Publish’d according to Act of Parliament, May the 1st, 1770, by S. Hooper, No. 25 Ludgate Hill, London.” And this map was dedicated to King George. Which makes sense as the first Continental Congress of the U.S. would not occur for another four years.

Everyone is probably suffering from convention and convention analysis fatigue so you’ll be relived to know I will not be rehashing too much of that. I did want to take up a little space to give one very typical example of how for the DNC convention and the Democratic agenda in general is assaulted by the extremists in the conservative movement. Peggy The Loon Noonan in the WSJ writes, Noonan: The Democrats’ Soft Extremism

There was the relentless emphasis on Government as Community, as the thing that gives us spirit and makes us whole. But government isn’t what you love if you’re American, America is what you love. Government is what you have, need and hire. Its most essential duties—especially when it is bankrupt—involve defending rights and safety, not imposing views and values. We already have values. Democrats and Republicans don’t see all this the same way, and that’s fine—that’s what national politics is, the working out of this dispute in one direction or another every few years. But the Democrats convened in Charlotte seemed more extreme on the point, more accepting of the idea of government as the center of national life, than ever, at least to me.

Conservatives cannot let the words that Democrats actually say speak for themselves. They like to pretend they speak some kind of English and that Democrats speak Latin. Then proceed to give an interpretation that would get an F from the Latin teacher. President Obama said nothing about making government our community that makes us “whole”. That is the pure projection of someone who has rightfully earned her nickname. The President’s full speech transcript.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future. Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known — (cheers, applause) — the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone. They knew they were part of something larger — a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression, a nation where the most innovative businesses turn out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in that pride and success from the corner office to the factory floor.

Peggy is part of the movement that keeps saying to the straw man Democrat they’re always fighting with, and empty chairs as well, that America can only have one identity, that their straw man multicultural agenda is bad for America. In a much nicer way Obama is saying we do have a cultural identity from shared achievements. That is now “soft” extremism. This is part of the on going childish and dangerous game conservatives play where a Democrat says something very similar to what they have said – except Democrats tend to be saner and more inclusive – and Republicans find some twisted doublespeak to use against things they say they believe, but do not believe in now just because a Democrat said it. You know what else Obama said that for some reason Peggy did not mention:

And by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

Lobbyists for corporate America spend billions in Washington. They’re not giving that money away , they’re buying the things that gov’mint can give them. There ain’t no community out here Peggy that has that kind of money, we too busy working or trying to find a job and taking care of our families. Mitt Romney and Bain were happy to benefit from that gov’mint that is so eeeevil.

The Big Dog’s speech varied from his written speech – both are here. Noonan said this speech was “beneath” him. That might have a few atoms worth of weight if it was said by someone who had any moral depth beyond her tea spoon. She is a full fledged member of the party of delusional soil-darwinism who is trying its best not to win the election on who has the best ideas, but on whether the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce can buy it.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Who’s right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

The very reason for the existence of the conservative movement is a USA modeled on a plutocracy, with all the money, thus power at the top. That’s not soft extremism, that is an ideology that is antithetical to a healthy democratic republic.

The jobs report. Its not great, but it is not a game changer either way – Disappointing jobs report unlikely to change presidential contest

Today’s unemployment report was disappointing: only 96,000 jobs created last month, and revisions reducing the previous two months by 40,000, it was not only well below expectations but, more importantly, below what the economy needs to do to get people back to work. A lot of people are suffering in this economy, and for each of them, this is bad news.

As far as the presidential race goes, however, there’s nothing here that changes the status quo significantly. Last month, before the report was released, I said that “anything between 50,000 and 150,000 is not a very big deal politically, and it would take either an actual negative number or something over 200,000 to really shake things up.” So this number falls comfortably within that “not a big deal” range. Moreover, the headline unemployment rate number fell a bit, from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, making this a more mixed and muddled picture.

Mitt Romney, who as governor was ranked third from very last out of fifty states in job creation, and laid off thousands of workers while performing his crony capitalism magic at Bain, say these new job numbers are awful. Mitt has the same plan to create jobs Bush did. That turned out really well.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Multimillion-Dollar Attack Plan To Buy The Election

If you live in a state where a competitive race could help tip the balance in the Senate this fall, you’ve almost certainly seen ads like these, laden with menacing theme music, light on the facts and funded by the US Chamber of Commerce. The nation’s largest business lobby is showcasing bold ambitions this year in an effort to build on gains made in the 2010 midterms, when at least $33 million of Chamber advertising helped push the nation dramatically rightward. The group began placing ads in swing districts as early as November 2011. Since then, it has rolled out a campaign aimed at influencing at least fifty House and eight Senate races, and according to Politico it has set a goal of $100 million in spending for this electoral cycle.

Watchdog groups believe the strategy in 2012 is similar to that of 2010: the Chamber goes into a district, blitzes it with attack ads to soften up the opposition and then steps back to let other deep-pocket groups come in. The intent is to force Democrats to play defense across the board, thus spreading their resources thin. According to the liberal online publication ThinkProgress, twenty of the twenty-one ads the Chamber released in May were hostile to Democratic candidates.

“The Chamber has spent about $600,000 attacking me,” Tester, the farmer turned Democratic Montana senator, told me in April. “I’ve got a great small-business record. I’ve carried bills the US Chamber has advocated for in the past. [But] they see Montana as a state that they can pick up. They’re dishonest, painting me as something I’m not. They’re trying to paint me as Wall Street, as somebody who’s ‘gone DC.’ It’s about as crazy as anybody can get.”

Is this what Americas slide into Marxism looks like, record corporate profits

Corporations are constantly complaining about taxes and regulations cutting into their profits. That is just so much bs. Though if they really do need money they can always stop spending millions upon millions trying to buy democracy.

Black and White Glass Architecture wallpaper – The Myth of Tax Cuts and Job Creation, The Meme That Should Die a Thousand Deaths

Black and White Glass Architecture wallpaper

 

Just in terms of pure numbers, the still disappointing statistics, has anyone else noticed that Republicans have suddenly started to love the job statistics put out by the Department of Labor. Its not that conservatives completely hate statistics, they just tend to only site ones made by economic cranks like Art Laffner. I’d call Laffner and his conservative sycophants clowns, but that would be giving them too much credit. When the country or individual states can afford them I love tax cuts, who doesn’t. Though one of the biggest differences in liberals who like tax cuts and conservative who worship tax cuts, as though they were some super-natural force, is the ability to see the real costs. What good does a few dollars in tax cuts do if they’re paid for with education cuts, or cuts to meat inspections, cuts to bridge repair, cuts to college loans, cuts to energy research and innovation. Liberals look at that and connections to the general quality of life and think maybe these tax cuts – the Bush tax cuts that are now kind of the Democratic Party tax cuts – are not producing a net increase in positive outcomes that make the country a better place to live now and for the next generation. Like a lot of what conservatives believe (breast milk cures gayness, government subsidies are only good when Republicans are the recipients) there is a rigidity of beliefs much like that of Iranisn fundamentalists. Those who bother to debate them in forums are keenly aware of the mentality. You would think you were trying to convert someone from one religion to another. You have offended the dogma of their church of the divine tax cut. A large part of the offered justification for tax cuts for those who enjoy large income is that tax cuts create jobs and prosperity. Well, they have certainly made Mitt Romney very wealthy. The other 90% of American so so much: Exposing the “Job Creator” Fraud

With cunning and contempt and catechismal fervor the super-rich have argued that all money should move to the top, where it will be used to stimulate the economy and create jobs. But they ignore the facts that prove them wrong. And it doesn’t take much to prove them wrong.

1. First, a look at the success of the super-rich: Money has quickly moved to the top

Based on IRS figures, the richest 1% nearly tripled its share of America’s after-tax income from 1980 to 2006. That’s an extra trillion dollars a year. Then, in the first year after the 2008 recession, they took 93% of all the new income.

Wealth is even more skewed. The richest 10% own 83% of financial wealth, which they’ve skillfully arranged to be taxed at just 15%, ostensibly because they pump that money back into job-creating ventures. More on that misconception later.

Conservatives claim that wealth inequality has remained steady for the richest Americans. But data from Edward Wolff shows that the excess wealth was simply redistributed among the rest of the top 5%, who saw their share of America’s net worth increase by 18 percent from 1983 to 2007. It was also noted by Sam Pizzigati that much of the top-level wealth was socked away tax-free overseas, a fact largely confirmed by a Tax Justice Network study.

2. Corporations are just as successful: profits have doubled, taxes cut in half

While corporate profits have doubled to $1.9 trillion in less than ten years, the corporate income tax rate, which for thirty years hovered around the 20-25% level, suddenly dropped to 10% after the recession. The biggest firms basically said “We’re not paying.”

That’s a half-trillion dollars a year unpaid by the very companies who have successfully convinced much of America that their tax rates are too high.

The tax they actually pay is very low relative to other countries. U.S. corporations paid a smaller rate of income taxes than all but two of the OECD countries analyzed by the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau. A Treasury report agreed, noting that the Tax/GDP rate for U.S. companies was 35% lower than the OECD average from 2000 to 2005.

Corporations even pay less than low-wage American workers. On their 2011 profits of $1.97 trillion, corporations paid $181 billion in federal income taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state income taxes (2%), for a total income tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.

3. Some Non-Job-Creation Facts

The Wall Street Journal noted in 2009 that the Bush tax cuts led to the “worst track record for jobs in recorded history.” 25 million people remain unemployed or underemployed, with 30 to 50 percent of recent college graduates in one of those categories. Among unemployed workers, nearly 43 percent have been without a job for six months or longer.

For the jobs that remain, most are low-paying, with the only real employment growth occurring in retail sales and food preparation. A recent report by the National Employment Law Project confirms that lower-wage occupations (up to about $14 per hour) accounted for 21 percent of recession losses and 58 percent of recovery growth, while mid-wage occupations (between $14 and $21 per hour) accounted for 60 percent of recession losses and only 22 percent of recovery growth.

The minimum wage is shamefully low, about 30% lower than the inflation-adjusted 1968 figure. And the tiny pay can’t be blamed on small business. Two-thirds of America’s low-wage workers, according to another National Employment Law Project report, work for companies that have at least 100 employees.

All these job woes persist while productivity has continued to grow, with an 80% increase since 1973 as median worker pay has stagnated.

4. So what are the “job creators” doing with all their money?

Over 90% of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), the stock market, and real estate. Business startup costs made up less than 1% of the investments of high net worth individuals in North America in 2011. (Note: Fox News is constantly echoing this myth that we have to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy or they will not start new businesses. The wealthy invest very little in entrepreneurial stray-ups. Romney is on record and saying that Bain switched its leverage focus to taking over established businesses because start-ups were too risky)

Perhaps, instead, they’re building businesses on their own? No. Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. They come from the middle class.

That deserves repeating. Entrepreneurs come from the middle class.

Not surprisingly, then, since the middle class has been depleted by the steady accumulation of wealth at the top, the number of entrepreneurs per capita has decreased 53% since 1977, and the number of self-employed Americans has decreased 20% since 1991.

5. Big business is even worse at job creation

First of all, the cash holdings for non-financial U.S. firms increased to $1.24 trillion in 2011, with about 57 percent of it stashed overseas. Commerce Department figures show that U.S. companies cut their work forces by 2.9 million from 2000 to 2009 while increasing overseas employment by 2.4 million.

The top holders of cash, including Apple and Google and Intel and Coca Cola and Chevron, are also spending their money on stock buybacks (which increase stock option prices), dividends to investors, and subsidiary acquisitions. According to Bloomberg, share repurchasing is at one of its highest levels in 25 years.

6. The Big Fraud: Tax us less, and the jobs will come

Despite their unwillingness to invest in jobs, and even in the face of damning evidence against their tax myths, the super-rich fight like wildcats at any suggestion that they support the country that provided their wealth. Way back in 1984, right after the Reagan tax cuts, the U.S. Treasury Department came to the obvious but belated conclusion that tax cuts cause a loss of revenue. A 2006 Treasury Department study found that extending the Bush tax cuts would have no beneficial effect on the U.S. economy. Other sources have confirmed that economic growth was fastest in years with relatively high top marginal tax rates.

Ample evidence exists to show that no relationship exists between the capital gains tax rate and investment. As noted in the Washington Post, “The top tax rate on investment income has bounced up and down over the past 80 years – from as high as 39.9 percent in 1977 to just 15 percent today – yet investment just appears to grow with the cycle, seemingly unaffected.” In fact, the low rate may even have a negative effect on growth. A Congressional Research Service report states: “Capital gains tax rate increases appear to increase public saving and may have little or no effect on private saving. Consequently, capital gains tax increases likely have a positive overall impact on national saving and investment.”

7. So what becomes of the jobs?

Corporations are hoarding over a trillion dollars. The richest 1% take a trillion dollars a year more than productivity-based earnings since 1980. Over eight trillion untaxed dollars is being hidden overseas.

That’s a present value of ten trillion misdirected dollars. Just 1/10 of that would create 25 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed worker in America. Or a $45,000 a year job for every college student in the United States.

But the people who call themselves “job creators” do nothing to make that happen.

( via Paul Buchheit, the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press)

So what I have posted here is heresy. It is in violation of the holy edicts of conservatism to point out that trickle on America economics does not work for most Americans. The value American workers they create in products and services (GDP) is largely redistributed to the top of the pyramid. It used to be, for the most part, if you worked hard, the American worker got ahead. Now work is rewarded by the plutocrats at the top by letting workers keep their heads barely above water and conservatives like Romney and Ryan think you can not being grateful for their generosity. Where capitalism after FDR”s New Deal was about a partnership between labor and management, now its a war and workers are losing that war. But conservatives are appealing to those workers claiming that it’s all Obama’s fault for not cutting taxes. Billionaires. Billionaires, hedge fund brats and assorted elites mind you, are complaining that Democrats are turning the U.S. into a Marxist paradise. Which is like a 600 pound donut shop customer complaining he doesn’t get to eat enough donuts. Oh, the injustice.

Besides having the moral sensibilities of a weasel in heat, the Romney campaign is lying for a few reasons. A Republican explains one of the reasons, Why Paul Ryan thought he could get away with lying: 6 theories

2. And the benefits of lying outweigh the risks
“Romney and Ryan are obviously engaging in some simple cost-benefit analysis,” says Paul Waldman at The American Prospect. And right now, the costs of “getting a ‘Pants on Fire’ rating from Politifact” aren’t nearly as great as the rewards from certain “specific falsehoods they’re telling about Obama.” After George H.W. Bush tarred Walter Mondale’s campaign with a damaging but made-up quote in a 1984 debate, Bush’s press secretary was blunt: “You can say anything you want during a debate, and 80 million people hear it”; when newspapers point out the lies, “So what?” he said. “Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000, or 20,000.” Indeed, “the Romney campaign is clearly counting on” the idea that “most casual voters don’t read editorials and fact-checker columns,” says Steve Kornacki at Salon. That’s a pretty safe assumption.

The average Republican voter does not want facts, they want their fun-house mirror idea of the world reinforced by their leaders.

Cenk Uygur Unravels Anti-Obama Weirdo Dinesh D’Souza and His Movie, Conspiracy 2016: Obama’s America

D’Souza later tried to revise history by claiming Bush never turned in a deficit of over $1 trillion. “The largest Bush deficit was $500 billion dollars,” he claimed. “The lowest Obama deficit is $1 trillion. Untrue? ”

“Untrue,” Cenk responded. “When Obama got into office, Bush left him a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit in his last year.”

“His last year?” D’Souza said. “You mean 2009?”

“2008,” Cenk responded.

“In 2008, America’s deficit was under $500 billion dollars. It was Obama who carried that on to an over $1 trillion deficit in ’09,” Claimed D’Souza.

D’Souza is on wing-nut welfare at a couple of conservative “think” tanks so of course he has memorized the number writ on stone tablets and handed down to all true believers. The facts however are that Bush and Republicans left a $1.3 trillion deficit ( what an $800 billion error between friends) and projected deficits based on Bush spending levels, of $8 trillion for the ten years after Bush left office. here is the conservative mind ta work: the economy was and is just one big toy. Not just now, but anytime they break the toy – which happens regularly – voters get pissed off and vote in a Democrat. Conservative rewrite history to make Democrats responsible – because conservatives are for small gov’mint, don’t ya know. They than run for office based on the slow pace Democrats are taking to repair the toy Republicans broke. Every time the toy breaks is just another opportunity for Conservatives to take the little toys average Americans worked so hard to get, because look at the economy, we can’t afford to have nice things like Medicare and education.

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland: “Mitt Romney Has So Little Economic Patriotism That Even His Money Needs A Passport”

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland launched into a brutal assault on Mitt Romney Tuesday night on the opening night of the Democratic Convention, branding him as rich and out of touch.

“If Mitt was Santa Claus, he’d fire the reindeer and outsource the elves,” he shouted, as he shouted his entire speech.

“Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport,” he added, in a series of one-liners designed to fire up the Democratic base. “It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands, and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps.”

This is worth a read as well, Julián Castro’s Rebuttal to the GOP

and Fox’s Dishonest Handling Of Whether Americans Are “Better Off” Than They Were

Labor Day wallpaper – An Honest Comparison of Obama Recovery to Reagan’s Should Include Public Sector Jobs

Labor Day wallpaper

 

In the last post I did not have the time to get around to Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) convention speech, The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?

At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It’s one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It’s something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party’s nomination and speaking to the entire country.

Here are the five statements that deserve serious scrutiny:

1) About the GM plant in Janesville.

Ryan’s home district includes a shuttered General Motors plant. Here’s what happened, according to Ryan:

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

It’s true: The plant shut down. But it shut down in 2008—before Obama became president.

By the way, nobody questions that, if not for the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled. Credible estimates suggested that the rescue saved more than a million jobs. Unemployment in Michigan and Ohio, the two states with the most auto jobs, have declined precipitously.

2) About Medicare.

Ryan attacked Obama for “raiding” Medicare. Again, Ryan has no standing whatsoever to make this attack, because his own budget called for taking the same amount of money from Medicare. Twice. The only difference is that Ryan’s budget used those savings to finance Ryan’s priorities, which include a massive tax cut that benefits the wealthy disproportionately.

It’s true that Romney has pledged to put that money back into Medicare and Ryan now says he would do the same. But the claim is totally implausible given Romney’s promise to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of gross domestic product.

By the way, Obamacare’s cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.

What Obamacare did not do is take away benefits. On the contrary, it added benefits, by offering free preventative care and new prescription drug coverage. By repealing Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would take away those benefits—and, by the way, add to Medicare’s financial troubles because the program would be back to paying hospitals and insurers the higher rates.

3) About the credit rating downgrade.

Ryan blamed the downgrading of American debt on Obama. But it was the possibility that America would default on its debts that led to the downgrade. And why did that possibility exist? Because Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling, playing chicken not just with the nations’ credit rating but the whole economy, unless Obama would cave into their budget demands.

4) About the deficit.

Ryan said “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him” and proclaimed “We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” In fact, this decade’s big deficits are primarily a product of Bush-era tax cuts and wars. (See graph.) And you know who voted for them? Paul Ryan.

5) About protecting the weak.

Here’s Ryan on the obligations to help those who can’t help themselves:

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves. … We can make the safety net safe again.

The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that’s assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he’s serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.

Among the cuts Ryan specified was a massive reduction in Medicaid spending. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Urban Institute, between 14 and 27 million people would lose health insurance from these cuts.

If you’ve ever been to a Baptist church service in the south, j or just about anywhere really, you will be told they we’re all sinners, we’re all flawed. True enough. We all tell little white lies everyday. Some of them are what Catholics call lies of omission – you don’t think you really lied, you just did not speak up with the truth. Some of these lies are what sociologists call civilized lies. We tell the boss the new car looks nice, even though it will probably go down in history with the Pontiac Aztek as one of the ugliest cars ever. When Republicans lie there are many types, but the two most common are malicious lies and lies out of voluntary stupidity. When Ryan was looking straight into the camera, making some eye contact with the crowd espousing complete falsehoods that was done with a malicious intent. Even beyond that was the contempt for the morality of truth telling. The Ryan lies and the Romney lies are by arrogant, morally bankrupt scoundrels, done in the cause of conservatism. The delegates, for the most part, and the echo of approval by Republican bloggers and pundits were a mix of arrogance and the lack of moral depth one needs to make more good judgements than bad. These miscreants have a lot invested in a movement that is based on a foundation of greed, social-darwinism, placing more value on the contributions of the elite than the contributions of the workers that make their wealth possible and eliminationism. If only we could harness the power of this mental bubble for national defense, we could save billions. That bubble is not very sophisticated – I’m not talking opera versus country music – I mean being mentally agile enough, emotionally secure enough to handle new facts and have a deeper understanding of the moral implications of, for example cutting off health care for millions of Americans or understanding the direct comparisons of Reagan era economic problems versus the economic crash that President Obama’ inherited. Reagan has it easy compared to Obama. Regan seized the S&Ls and used Keynesian stimulus spending. Obama did not seize and force the banks to reorganize and his Keynesian stimulus was one-third tax cuts. Fox’s “Stupid” Comparison Of Obama Recovery to Reagan’s

In response to those numbers, Fox Business analyst Stuart Varney compared the current recovery with that of Reagan, saying that “it is a very negative comparison for President Obama.”

However, Krugman has noted that the two recoveries are not comparable, explaining:

If government employment under Mr. Obama had grown at Reagan-era rates, 1.3 million more Americans would be working as schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, etc., than are currently employed in such jobs.

And once you take the effects of public spending on private employment into account, a rough estimate is that the unemployment rate would be 1.5 percentage points lower than it is, or below 7 percent — significantly better than the Reagan economy at this stage.

One implication of this comparison is that conservatives who love to compare Reagan’s record with Mr. Obama’s should think twice. Aside from the fact that recoveries from financial crises are almost always slower than ordinary recoveries, in reality Reagan was much more Keynesian than Mr. Obama, faced with an obstructionist G.O.P., has ever managed to be.

Look at how the argument is beframed by Republicans – who suddenly have decided that government, i.e. presidents do create jobs, SEN. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)- ““Faced with the reality of historic unemployment rates and record federal debt, I had hoped that President Obama, by now, would understand that even more government spending doesn’t create jobs.” [9/09/11] or SEN. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) “It’s not the government that’s going to create jobs in this country, it’s our small businesses, it’s the private sector.” [9/22/10]. So when Fox News, serial liars like The Gateway Pundit and American Power lie about the Obama jobs record, the lies stand because they would have to have some moral courage, and goodness forbid, they would have to do some math – or at least compare apples to apples.

In the words of the Economic Policy Institute, “the current recovery is the only one [of the last four recessions] that has seen public-sector losses over its first 31 months.” EPI continued:

If public-sector employment had grown since June 2009 by the average amount it grew in the three previous recoveries (2.8 percent) instead of shrinking by 2.5 percent, there would be 1.2 million more public-sector jobs in the U.S. economy today. In addition, these extra public-sector jobs would have helped preserve about 500,000 private-sector jobs. ( If we’re going to count the number of public sector jobs Reagan created as part of his job creation record, than it is only fair and using the same math to count the public sector job losses during the last three years. Jobs lost because of Republican spite)

Note the dark green line – that is the Reagan increase in public sector job creation

Chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi found that job losses at the state and local government levels have “the most serious weight on the job market.” And when the public sector cuts jobs, it significantly affects private sector employment, as economist Joel Naroff noted:

Behind those government job losses are budget cuts, particularly from states and local governments, many of which have lost revenues as lower incomes and lower property values lead to lower tax income. Those budget cuts mean fewer government contracts, which also leads to pain in the private sector. The winding down of the stimulus package also contributed to these losses, as federal assistance to state governments for things like extra Medicaid funding has disappeared, leaving many states with substantial budget gaps.

Altogether, the strain on the national economy is considerable. “There’s no such thing as a free budget cut.” says Naroff. “If the public sector trims [20,000 to 25,000] jobs a month, then the private sector has to create those jobs before the economy can add one job. That’s the hole that the public sector puts the economy in at this particular point,” he says.

The Obama administration’s jobs bill would have given about $35 billion to state and local governments to prevent many of these public sector job losses, but because of a Republican filibuster, the bill has languished. Since then, the public sector has lost 124,000 jobs.

It is the old it is OK for Republicans to do it, but when Democrats do something similar it is creeping Marxism.

Why are Republicans dead set on preventing Reagan-like spending on public sector jobs which have a multiplier effect that creates private sector jobs? The same reason for the conservative debt ceiling strategy: McConnell Debt Ceiling Strategy: ‘I Refuse To Help Obama Reelection’  and remember Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) – ‘I Hope’ Higher Unemployment Will Help My Campaign. If liberals are sometimes angry at Democratic triangulation they should be livid at the conservative movement willing to maliciously inflict so much pain on the American worker and the nation, all in the grand cause of conservatism. This destroy Obama at any cost mentality is certainly not about patriotism, it is about the unhinged nationalism of the Republican Party. If they have to give America the shaft to further their radical agenda, than so be it. So when Obama Senior campaign aide Stephanie Cutter said she gathered that Republicans “think lying is a virtue” and states that Saint Ronnie comes up short on a fair comparison of job numbers, she’s correct for those who bother to do the math.

On September 5, 1882, some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America’s first Labor Day parade.

Miners with Their Children, at the Labor Day Celebration, Silverton, Colorado,
Russell Lee, photographer, September 1940. Republican pundits like to call these working class Americans  thugs. Over the last hundred years or so there has been labor violence, but it has always been the case that more union heads have been busted with ax handles and night sticks than the other way around. When you run the factory you can afford to buy professional thugs to beat labor. In the Bay View Labor Riot of 1886 on May 5, 1886, advocating an 8-hour work day, the state militia opened fire on the unarmed crowd and killed seven people. A protest for jobs that the police turned into a riot, Tompkins Square Riot (1874), “Samuel Gompers described the events and his experiences, “mounted police charged the crowd on Eighth Street, riding them down and attacking men, women, and children without discrimination. It was an orgy of brutality. I was caught in the crowd on the street and barely saved my head from being cracked by jumping down a cellarway.”

 

 

The Savannah River 1900 – Mitt Romney Has Declared That Sleazy Lies Are a Value

The Savannah River, c1900. While this may look like a painting it is a Photochrom color print. The Savannah River forms most of the border between the states of South Carolina and Georgia. Beautiful picture and from a distance still makes for a beautiful landscape to this day. While it was probably polluted in the early 1900s – dumping raw sewerage in river was pretty common, sadly in 2009 the Savannah River has the fourth-highest toxic discharge in the country.

Cony Island, New York c1910. If one had the free time and a little money this was the place to hang out at the time. I appreciate modern casual attitudes about fashion as much as anyone, but you have to hand it to the era for having a sense of style. Like mall watchers today, one of the biggest reason to be there was to people watch and to be seen.

Hand in hand with the Republican Party and conservative movement to the extreme Right has been its contempt for the truth. Since the conservative mind is perfectly capable of the most bizarre urban myths, from non-existent WMD as a patriotic reason to die, to the UN taking over the country, to believing that real rape does not get women pregnant, no doubt they have little problem rationalizing the increase in lies. Occasionally, so occasionally that it becomes news worthy, one of them will let some truth slip out – Republican Gov. Brownback admits Romney welfare ads are false.  I’m sure that Romney said something during his convention speech that had some truth in it, much like an apple pie has a pinch of cinnamon. That is not the way it is supposed to work. Romney made a pie out of cinnamon with a pinch of apple thrown in. The last I heard truth is a value. Though certainly since Saint Reagan’s welfare queen lie, or Nixon’s I am not a crook assertion, conservatives have been willing to throw most of what Americans consider values under the bus for the cause of the right-wing agenda. I’m going to list the three links and take a lie from each. Some fact checkers found more lis than others and some did a better job of explaining them: WaPO – Fact checking Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention. ABC News – Fact Check: Mitt Romney’s Speech at RNC and CBS – Fact check: Mitt Romney’s convention speech

“And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” (Romney)

This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — created more than 12 million jobs. Romney, in fact, says he can reach this same goal, in just four years, though the policy paper issued by his campaign contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.

But, in fact, the number is even less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney once claimed would be created in a “normal recovery.” In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.

The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.6 million jobs will be created between 2013 and 2017. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)

But Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.

In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney, even if he has a somewhat fuzzy plan for action. We have often noted that presidents are often at the mercy — or are the beneficiary — of broad economic trends, and Romney’s pledge appears to be an effort to take advantage of that.

As lies and conservative cleverness goes, this was a clever less than truthy statement. If elected president and the economy does not have a mini-recession, he can claim credit for jobs that would have been created if the Obama recovery continues.

‘His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation.’

The now-famous $716 billion is not a “cut” to Medicare, in the sense that it does not take from the “trust fund” or reduce the amount of money available to beneficiaries. Rather, the Obama plan, like Paul Ryan’s, puts caps on the amount the government will pay to health-care providers. And while some of those savings, which were codified in The Affordable Care Act, have been counted by the White House against the new costs incurred by health-care overhaul, there is no real connection; there are no dollar bills once marked “Medicare” that have been scrubbed clean and shifted to cover expenses under the Obama health care law.

This is a threefer lie. It lies about how Romney’s plan would gut Medicare and it lies about the fact that Paul Ryan’s plan to gut Medicare had cuts that Republicans in the House actually passed. The bill had no chance of being passed by the Senate or of President Obama signing it into law, but conservatives are happy to waste tax payer dollars on purely symbolic votes.

“His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

This claim is tied to the fact that the defense budget is facing $500 billion in cuts at the end of the year. As part of an agreement between Congressional Republicans and Democrats, the cuts are set to go into effect (along with roughly equal cuts to domestic programs) in January – unless lawmakers can agree on an alternate way to cut spending. It is not correct to call those “his” cuts, in reference to the president.

This was part of the infamous debt ceiling hostage deal. Republicans really blew that one. They could have gotten another trillion in spending cuts in exchange for raising a little revenue from taxes on millionaires. Republicans decided to look out for millionaires. Now that the conditions of their agreement are coming due, they’re screaming bloody murder that it’s all President Obama’s fault. When I was growing up we considering taking responsibility for our actions a value. Conservatives seemed to have thrown that in the sink and ground it up in the disposal along with a few other old American values.

Paul Krugman dived into Paul Ryan’s Medicare lies again. I think many of us are particularly concerned, angry, disappointed or whatever combination because the social safety net for seniors and the disabled are so important. It is not, for me at least, a way to score easy point, it is about the deep moral betrayal of America’s seniors and those soon to be senior citizens, by the Republican Party, The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.

Before I get there, let me just mention that Mr. Ryan has now gone all-in on the party line that the president’s plan to trim Medicare expenses by around $700 billion over the next decade — savings achieved by paying less to insurance companies and hospitals, not by reducing benefits — is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet, just a few days ago, Mr. Ryan was still touting his own budget plan, which included those very same savings.

But back to the big lie. The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

As I mentioned in a post last year, any attacks on Medicare are also a backdoor attack on Social Security. If seniors and the severely disabled must bear a much larger share of their medical expenses they have no new source of income to turn to ( in most cases). So extra expenses will have to be paid out of Social Security. Conservatives have framed this – and it is echoed in every conservative site tha takes comments and by trolls in other places, that we must get Medicare cost under control – and of course the only way to do that is gut it. On the contra, a combination of increased revenue and while I don’t like it, some means testing for high income earners, would put Medicare on track. Medicare is the single greatest downward pressure on health care cost – costing about 14% less than other health care plans. The health care business has very little incentive to save money or offer discounts. Since 2001, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 113%. The national rate of inflation has been around 1.5 to 2 percent.