The Government Shutdown Is As Certain As The 2014 Downfall of Conservatives

Oak Meadow wallpaper

Oak Meadow wallpaper

NMMNB is not optimistic about the government shutdown crisis, Why Republicans are not going to get the blame they deserve.

The reason is that the mainstream political world is heavily invested in the notion that the GOP is a sane, rational, responsible party. We know this because every time the GOP has utterly failed as a party in the past few decades, it’s gotten a do-over almost immediately. Everyone in the political mainstream agrees that the GOP should get a mulligan every time it fails.

[  ]…George W. Bush disgraced himself in office; his party lost Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008. Again, not to worry: almost instantly, the GOP was rebranded, first as the party of “pizza summit” moderation (led by the digraced ex-president’s brother), then as the home of the tea party, which swept congressional, state, and local elections in 2010.

There is some unfortunate truths there. If our culture and political system worked the way it should, conservatives should constitute a tiny marginalized minority of the kind of true believers that no amount of reason can penetrate the tin foil. The Iraq debacle alone is cause for that. The financial collapse of 2007 was the culmination of 25 years of conservative supply side deregulation mania. The reason these calamities do not stick, at least one reason, is the powers of denial of the radical Right base. Iraq? Well Bush meant well and hey, he did kill a lot of Muslim even if the reasons were based on lies about WMD and conspiracy theories about a Muslim takeover of the world. Conservatives blamed the Great Recession on  one individual congressman and Fannie May. Nothing is ever their fault in the conservative river of denial, For a political movement that claims to be all about individual responsibility, they are amazingly adept at denying or talking responsibility for any wrong doing, for any disasters caused by their philosophy. Though as far as the impending and almost certain government shutdown, there is a bright spot. As Steve notes conservatives took a terrible beating in 2008. While they picked up the House in 2010 – largely through gerrymandering, they took a beating then as well. The independent voters and some  – lets call them Clinton conservatives – tend to have a throw the bums out attitude after a big screw-up like Iraq and the financial collapse, so while I would rather win another way, conservatives are setting up Democrats to win the House back in 2014. There is going to be a lot of economic pain between now and then – and it very much looks like those voters who swing elections, are going to punish conservatives, POLL: Voters Are ‘Unmoved’ By Government Shutdown Drama, Still Don’t Want To Delay Obamacare ( note the voice of Clinton conservatives)

Morning Consult’s results track with earlier research that has found that most Americans want to give the health reform law an opportunity to work. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today found that even when Americans don’t support Obamacare, they still want lawmakers to try to make it work rather than try to undermine it. And Morning Consult’s last tracking poll found that even Republicans don’t favor defunding the health law.

And if the government does end up being forced to shut down because of Republican brinkmanship over Obamacare, the majority of voters say they’ll put “a lot” of the blame on GOP lawmakers in Congress. According to the new poll, nearly eight in 10 independent voters say they’ll blame congressional Republicans for a shutdown.

This is the point at which I’m supposed to say bring it on House conservatives. I’m not because the American people, regardless of politics have seen too much hard times. I do not have to hope conservatives will be punished at the polls because they certainly will be punished, even if it only by those thin margins created by the middle and the short term memory of the few remaining moderate Republicans. Ted Cruz and his tea smoking fans can gloat all they want the next few weeks, hey enjoy it while you can, because the party is over and you only have yourselves to blame.

How The Capital Created By American Families is Redistributed to Plutocratic Corporations

Add It Up: The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

That’s over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It’s $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.

1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies

The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families. Cato notes that this includes “cash payments to farmers and research funds to high-tech companies, as well as indirect subsidies, such as funding for overseas promotion of specific U.S. products and industries…It does not include tax preferences or trade restrictions.”

It does include payments to 374 individuals on the plush Upper East Side of New York City, and others who own farms, including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Ted Turner. Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural state.

It also includes fossil fuel subsidies, which could be anywhere from $10 billion to $41 billion per year for research and development. Yet this may be substantially underestimated. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, which would be almost $4,400 per U.S. family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.” According to Grist, even this is an underestimate.

2. $696 for Business Incentives at the State, County, and City Levels

The subsidies mentioned above are federal subsidies. A New York Times investigation found that states, counties and cities give up over $80 billion each year to companies, with beneficiaries coming from “virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”

$80 billion a year is $696 for every U.S. family. But the Times notes that “The cost of the awards is certainly far higher.”

3. $722 for Interest Rate Subsidies for Banks

According to the Huffington Post, the “U.S. Government Essentially Gives The Banks 3 Cents Of Every Tax Dollar.” They cite research that calculates a nearly 1 percent benefit to banks when they borrow, through bonds and customer deposits and other liabilities. This amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion, or about $722 from every American family.

The wealthiest five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs — account for three-quarters of the total subsidy. The Huffington Post article notes that without the taxpayer subsidy, those banks would not make a profit. In other words, “the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

4. $350 for Retirement Fund Bank Fees

This was a tough one to calculate. Demos reports that over a lifetime, bank fees can “cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 and consume nearly one-third of their investment returns.” Fees are well over one percent a year.

However, the Economic Policy Institute notes that the average middle-quintile retirement account is $34,981. A conservative one percent annual management fee translates to about $350 per family. This, again, is an average; many families have no retirement account. But many families pay much more than 1% in annual fees.

5. $1,268 for Overpriced Medications

According to Dean Baker, “government granted patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by close to $270 billion a year compared to the free market price.” This represents an astonishing annual cost of over $2,000 to an average American family.

OECD figures on pharmaceutical expenditures reveal that Americans spend almost twice the OECD average on drugs, an additional $460 per capita. This translates to $1,268 per household.

6. $870 for Corporate Tax Subsidies

We’ve heard a lot about tax avoidance and tax breaks for the super-rich. With regard to corporations alone, the Tax Foundation has concluded that their “special tax provisions” cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or $870 per family. Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.

Once again, it may be even worse. Citizens for Tax Justice cite a Government Accountability Office report that calculated a loss to the Treasury of $181 billion from corporate tax expenditures. That would be almost $1,600 per family.

7. $1,231 for Revenue Losses from Corporate Tax Havens

U.S. PIRG recently reported that the average 2012 taxpayer paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost from offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. With 138 million taxpayers (1.2 per household), that comes to $1,231 per household.

Much More Than an Insult

Overall, American families are paying an annual $6,000 subsidy to corporations that have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years while cutting 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and adding almost as many jobs overseas.

This is more than an insult. It’s a devastating attack on the livelihoods of tens of millions of American families. And Congress just lets it happen.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License by
Paul Buchheit   

Paul is a bright guy and maybe this time they have some solid numbers, but i generally do not trust any statistics from CATO. They are a Right-leaning libertarian think tank.

Conservatives are going to play the coming fight over the debt ceiling a few ways. One is that it is Obama’s fault for not compromising – and we all know that conservatives define compromise as giving them everything they want or they’ll throw another temper tantrumn. One other angle is that they really do not want a shut0-down, but Democrats are giving them no choice, that would also be a lie since the conservative money machine wants a shut-down, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

Good ammunition in those arguments with Obamascare cons who swear the world is about to end, Obamacare explained. With maps! The curve the ACA was designed to bend is already bending

The Corporate Elite Are Redistributing Income To Themselves and Giving Americans The Shaft

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906.  

Located on the Potomac River in the western part of the state, Cumberland was an important transportation hub early in the nation’s history.

In 1906 Teddy Roosevelt, the “trust buster” was president ( he would never get the tea bagger vote). It was the year of the Great San Francisco earthquake, the year Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published and Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act ( something else that conservatives would defeat if up for a vote today).

Fighting Back Against Wretched Wages

OFTEN relegated to the background, America’s low-wage workers have been making considerable noise lately by deploying an unusual weapon — one-day strikes — to make their message heard: they’re sick and tired of earning just $8, $9, $10 an hour.

Their anger has been stoked by what they see as a glaring disconnect: their wages have flatlined, while median pay for chief executives at the nation’s top corporations jumped 16 percent last year, averaging a princely $15.1 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation analysis firm.

Conservatives, most libertarians and some centrist Democrats have been saying for years that the reason we have to keep wages low is to be competitive – competitive to whom, Asia. That is and has been a race to the bottom for half of the U.S. The truth is slight more complicated, but not so much so that even your kool-aid drinking conservative neighbors can understand. By shipping jobs overseas and using that leverage to put downward pressure on wages, all the while taking away much of organized labor’s power, corporate dreams have come true. Corporate America is making record profits – that means they could be paying people a living wage and keeping jobs in the U.S. rather than do that, these corporations are putting massive sums of money in executive pockets and shareholders. Sure some of the middle-class gets some of that via their mutual funds – but most Americans do not benefit from this capital redistribution from workers to the wealthy. This is a good recent example of how the very wealthy are redistributing capital to themselves, A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

A major player in the national debt debate, the “Fix the Debt” campaign, is arguing that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are necessary to avoid economic disaster. Meanwhile, the corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.

Key findings:

* The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.
* The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.
* Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

Although they have not remedied their own internal pension fund debts, the Fix the Debt CEOs say they have the solution for our national debt problems, which would include cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In some cases, the Fix the Debt member corporations could eliminate their pension fund deficits with cash they currently have on hand. GE, for example, has more than $85 billion in liquid assets, according to their most recent 10-K report — enough to easily wipe out their $22 billion pension deficit. But rather than fixing their own internal debts, these CEOs have embarked on an aggressive effort to persuade policymakers and the public that savings from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are essential to addressing the country‘s financial challenges. While these CEOs have offered few details on how they would cut costs with these reforms, it would likely be by limiting access to these programs paid for by all working Americans and by yet again raising the retirement age.

The corporate elite tell the public we have to pay sub-living standard wages or we’ll have to rise prices. What they could do is make reasonable salaries – say in the $85k to $125k range. I just suggested some heresy – hey this is America and corporate executives have to make millions or they won’t work. Fine, quite and lets usher is a new generation of hard working ethical executives they care about workers and America. Some conservatives bloggers have linked to this story – Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security, saying this is the result of Obama’s policies. They cannot put two and two together. Corporate profits at at all time highs and wages at all time lows. These companies could hire, they could pay more, but they are hoarding the money for themselves. Not exactly secret information, so conservatives continue to be the worse informed people on the planet. Read the comments on this post – if we made proof of general economic knowledge a requirement for voting, these people would not be allowed to vote. In one crazy-funny comment, one commenter goes off on how the communists are to blame. There is a very similar cognitive dissonance between what the Conservative base thinks about ” free enterprise” corporate America and what they thought about Bush and Iraq. They could not, and still cannot bring themselves to believe that the Bush administration betrayed America and they can’t believe these flag waving, “free enterprise” talking American businesses have betrayed America for more wealth than they will ever need and certainly never earned.

Conservative Media, Breitbart and Palin Throw Temper Tantrum on CBO Immigration Reform Facts

Concept High Speed Train wallpaper

Concept High Speed Train wallpaper

It was only a matter of time before Sarah Palin had a public meltdown,

Please take a look at the article linked below to understand how the amnesty bill the Senate passed yesterday is a sad betrayal of working class Americans of every ethnicity who will see their wages lowered and their upward mobility lowered too. And yet we still do not have a secured border. This Senate-approved amnesty bill rewards lawbreakers and won’t solve any problems – as the CBO report notes that millions of more illegal immigrants will continue to flood the U.S. in coming years.

That is the kind of incoherent rambling, mixed with an astounding lack of basic knowledge one would expect to hear from someone who never read a newspaper, a report from a respected economic policy center. Someone who has lived in a cave. But no, it is from someone that was a vice-presidential candidate just six years ago. Working class wages have been stagnant for years without an “amnesty” bills – Corporate profits hit all time high, wages hit all time low. And the middle-class has been losing ground since the 1980s.

I’m not going to do a fact by fact knock down of Palin or Breitbart’s Big Government or Breitbart’s Serial Lies and Distortions. MM has already done that, Conservative Media Misuse CBO Report To Attack Economic Benefits Of Immigration Reform. I just want to get to the effect on employment and wages, which Palin and Breitbart are so shrill about,

CBO: Wages Would Be “Slightly Lower” Over The First Decade But Higher By Next Decade. According to the CBO, the rapid increase in the numbers of workers would temporarily decrease wages but those wages would increase in the second decade of the legislation:

CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Real GNP Would Rise Overall By 2.4 Percent In 2023 And 4.5 Percent In 2033. According to the CBO report, real Gross National Product (GNP) could increase by as much as 4.8 percent in 2033 but would be greater by 2.4 percent in 2023 and 4.5 percent in 2033…

[  ]…Short-Term Increase In Unemployment Rate Due In Part To Immigration Reform Is Due To Expanding Workforce And Lack Of Occupations Available To Workers. According to the CBO report, the short-term increase in the unemployment rate would be in part due to the arrival of new immigrants who would not be able to fill the jobs demanded. Some workers would be forced to move into new fields in order to restore equilibrium which causes short-term unemployment. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Legislation Would Have “No Effect On Unemployment After 2020.” According to the CBO report, the immigration reform bill would have no effect on the unemployment rate after the year 2020. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

One has to wonder why Breitbart links to other posts within it’s own site to back up the same fact free assertions instead of linking to the CBO report. yea but we’re going to be invaded by a wave of for’ners. Well, not really. They might represent a high of 4% of the population by 2033. So we’ll have plenty of time to adjust to the shock. Many of those people, because of immigration preferences will be high skilled workers – doctors, engineers, etc. MM also deals with the conservative lies about impact on Social Security. It is ironic that all of the consequences the Right brings up about this very modest immigration reform package passed by the Senate, that will never be passed into law anyway, are already occurring, but they can all be traced back to our crony corporate culture. Medicaid is strained because corporations like Walmart, McDonalds, Target, Applebees, and many other large companies pay such low wages and scarce health benefits. Yet, these very profitable companies are off-shoring as much as a trillion dollars in profits, Mindblowing Facts About America’s Tax-Dodging Corporations.

One last note. Conservatives especially, but some Democrats as well, have spread the myth of Reagan Democrats. This was supposedly some decisive moment in hsitory where a lot of blue-collar Democrats jumped to Right of center. Palin uses that myth in her FaceBook meltdown. It is myth Sarah, just like Game of Thrones is not real.

Conservatism Has Pushed America Away From Being a Merit Based Culture

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

 

H/T to Mike for these links,  Bankers Explain How They Cannot Possibly Live On $1 Million Pay

Like many carbon-based lifeforms, you perhaps think that bankers are driven only by naked greed. But that is just because you don’t understand them: They actually have a deep psychological need for that money.

In a new article at the U.K. site eFinancialCareers, several bankers explain that they have legitimate reasons for needing more than one million British pounds (about $1.6 million) per year in pay — more money than most non-banking types could ever figure out how to spend. In a nutshell, it’s all about psychology.

[  ]…For one thing, taxes will quickly whittle a seven-figure income right down to the mid-six figures, perilously close to being within sight of the middle class. Then, an ex-Goldman banker points out, with the mere $600,000 in take-home pay remaining, bankers still need to “pay the mortgages on, and maintain houses, in the Hamptons and Manhattan, to put three children through private schools costing $40k a year each, and to pay living costs.”

Bankers might want to shed some of these costs by, say, sentencing their kids to rub elbows with the filthy Poors in public schools or owning just one house. But they are under constant social pressure to spend and spend some more, according to another ex-Goldmanite — who is now a psychotherapist, naturally.

I’m figuring that according to statistics most of the people that visit this blog are probably at the national median income – about $52k per year. Perhaps a few professionals – dentists, engineers, administrators, etc. who are in the  $64k to $125k range. Take a breath and try to get past the sheer cluelessness and ivory tower world view of these bankers. Look at the psychology. Their case is not that by merit of the work they, the value they provide society, the special value of their skills ( like not everyone can do fine assembly work with small electronics or watches. Not everyone can be a master carpenter, or forensic pathologist). Their value has been determined by other members of the club of bankers. Not based on merit, rather how much they think their class of people should get to maintain a certain lifestyle. Whatever that is, it is not capitalism. When someone gets a bag of salty fat laden chips with their food stamps, conservatives go ballistic over the undeserving getting the undeserved benefits. That particular issue being one of pennies and dimes. The upward distribution of unearned income, from capital created by working class Americans, the radical Right not only has no problem with, they think this is how a virtuous economy and culture should be structured. Are the bankers in the UK or the USA acting the way a patriot would act. Is this the way a patriot acts,  Global Super-Rich Stashing Up To $32 Trillion Offshore, Masking True Scale Of Inequality: Study

The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

[  ]…The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

The Tax Justice Network say the real scandal is that policy makers are not doing anything to shut down what is no less than mob style money laundering. Maybe elsewhere circumstances are different, but as we just saw with closing some gun safety background check loopholes, a minority party can shut down any legislation they like. With several senior Democrats retiring and a couple of those seas now in play for conservative nutbars, iit is very unlikely we’ll have a sixty seat filibuster proof majority in 2014 or 16. There were a couple of Senate Republicans on board with the background check legislation. It was very reasonable legislation that in no way interfered with a law abiding citizen buying a firearm for personal protection. It should have easily passed, but Obama liked it so, Toomey’s candor sheds light on post-policy party

So why did GOP senator put aside common sense and popular will? According to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-authored the bipartisan measure, it wasn’t just about the gun lobby — some of his Republican colleagues didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.

If Obama came out and said he liked puppies tomorrow, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) would claim that puppies were a commie plot.

Never assume that conservatives cannot reach the bottom of the scum pond, they always find a way to make moral corruption the new standard for behavior: DIRTY TRICKS: Mysterious Conservative Group Sending Out Push Polls In South Carolina Special Election

A mysterious conservative group has been placing highly-misleading phone calls to South Carolina voters, trying to dissuade them from voting for the Democrat in an upcoming congressional special election.

South Carolina has a reputation for dirty tricks, and next week’s special election between former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) is no exception. One of the most popular tactics is known as “push polling,” whereby a group calls up voters under the guise of conducting a poll, only to ask questions that leave the voter with a highly-misleading impression about a certain candidate.

[  ]…The questions they did ask ranged from outlandish smears to thinly-veiled Republican talking points. Here are some of the issues SSI brought up in various iterations of the push poll, according to those ThinkProgress spoke with:

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she supported the failed stimulus plan?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you unions contributed to her campaign?”

After about a half dozen of these questions, Wolford began to challenge the caller for asking such absurd questions. He apologized, telling her, “ma’am, I’m just paid to ask questions.” When Wolford asked who all he was calling, he demurred, saying he “just had to call the numbers they gave him.” She told ThinkProgress she suspects the calls were targeted towards Democratic women to try to discourage them from voting.

 

Conservative economics has redistributed income to the already wealthy and powerful

Spring Sunset wallpaper

Spring Sunset wallpaper

 

If Companies Are People…

HERE’S an idea: why not tax corporations as if they were natural persons, in accordance with their newly discovered rights of free speech? That move would solve any impending fiscal crisis.

Indeed, we used to do just that. For most of the 1950s, corporate income at large companies was taxed at 52 percent, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The federal government, meanwhile, collected about a third of its revenues from this source. Today, thanks largely to the “reforms” ushered in by President Ronald Reagan, the ostensible tax rate on corporate income is no higher than 35 percent — and the corporate-tax share of federal revenue has fallen to about 9 percent.

….So, by slashing corporate income taxes and forcing a new reliance on payroll taxes to finance government spending, we have redistributed income to the already wealthy and powerful. Our tax system has actually fostered inequality.

James Pethokoukis writing at the far Right National Review, who is also either an idiot or skipped his arithmetic classes, writes,

The Reagan tax cuts freed the economy from that trap and contributed greatly to a generation-long boom in the U.S., one that also led to a global tax-cutting craze.

Even Saint Ronnie saw that he cut taxes too much and proceeded to sign four tax increases into law. The economy did not pick up real steam again until that tax increaser Bill Clinton was in office for a couple years. Pethokoukis continues

But conservatives need to pick their battles intelligently. It will be exceedingly difficult for the U.S. to maintain the average post–World War II tax burden given the aging of American society and the necessity of remaining a global military superpower. Rates won’t be returning to the Coolidge-era levels that the House GOP continues to push for. Instead, better to push for changes to make the code more pro-investment by reducing corporate tax rates (and eliminating crony-capitalist loopholes) and more pro-family by creating an expanded child tax credit to offset income and payroll taxes.

I really don’t know what Pethokoukis’s problem is. Would it be hard to believe that he is on wing-nut welfare at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is considered an expert on tax and economic policy. Under those pre-Reagan sky high tax years from WW II through the 1970s the U.S. had it’s greatest economic expansion.

U.S. economic growth greatest before Reagan and the far Right tax revolution

Note the sudden dip in the 1980s. That is when economic growth for most Americans really started to level off or go down.

 A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality

The years from the end of World War II into the 1970s were ones of substantial economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.

Incomes grew rapidly and at roughly the same rate up and down the income ladder, roughly doubling in inflation-adjusted terms between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

The income gap between those high up the income ladder and those on the middle and lower rungs — while substantial — did not change much during this period.

Exactly how low do taxes have to go to produce this economic growth that Main Street regular Americans get the benefits. Some of those average Americans are the ones are the ones conservatives get ginned up on cultural issues and gun safety to keep voting against their own best interests. This is a strange finding from Gallup, Fewer Americans Now View Their Income Taxes as Fair

This Tax Day, 55% of Americans regard the income taxes they have to pay as fair, the lowest percentage Gallup has measured since 2001.

One can blame the media and public officials to some degree. Both are supposed to keep the public informed about civic information such as taxes. Though the public has to takes the lion’s share of the blame for not making an effort to stay informed and let themselves be given the impression that their tax rate is unfair. This goes back to the National Review and the attempt to make people believe that if everyone paid five dollars a year in taxes we’d all be driving gold plated Cadillacs. Impressions, the general noise of the conservative media or what someone repeats around the water-cooler aside, the truth is that taxes are very low for everyone, Federal Income Taxes on Middle-Income Families Remain Near Historic Lows

Federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows,[1] according to the latest available data.  That’s true both for federal income taxes and total federal taxes.[2]

Income taxes:  A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 5.3 percent of its 2013 income in federal income taxes next year, according to a new analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC).[3]  Average income tax rates for these typical families have been lower during the Bush and Obama Administrations than at any time since the 1950s (see Figure 1).  As discussed below, 2009 and 2010 were particularly low because of the temporary Making Work Pay Tax Credit.
Overall federal taxes:  Overall federal taxes — which include income, payroll, and excise taxes, and imputed corporate taxes — on middle-income households in 2009 were at their lowest levels in decades, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

And those corporations who the far Right keeps saying are suffering from a terrible tax burden, they have it easier than ever, Corporate Taxes As Percentage Of Profits Now Lowest In Decades.

 

Bass and Sax Jazz wallpaper – How Fast Food Corporations Degrade Workers and Capitalism

Bass and Sax Jazz wallpaper

Bass and Sax Jazz wallpaper

 

How America’s Fast Food Industry Makes a Quick Buck

One of the catch phrases used by striking workers was “we cannot survive on seven twenty-five,” a reference to the insulting $7.25 average hourly wage most fast food workers in New York get paid. This paltry sum, which adds up to less than $300 pre tax for a 40-hour week, would not amount to a living wage anywhere in the country, and doesn’t even come close in New York, one of the most expensive of cities in the US to live in. That is the federal minimum wage, however – and it’s not hard to imagine that employees would be paid even less than $7.25 an hour if their bosses could get away with it.

One striking worker, Joseph Barrera, who works for TacoBell, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that when he started working at the chain, at the age of 15, he was paid $7.15 an hour. Six years later, as a supervisor, his pay has increased to $7.25 an hour, a ten cents raise. If you’re finding it hard to imagine how Barrera makes it through the month on such meager wages, that’s because he can’t. He says he often has to skip meals or walk to work because he can’t afford the subway fare and he hasn’t bought clothes in years. He’d like to be able to get married and start a family, but doing so on his full-time supervisor’s salary is impossible.

Treating an employee this badly might be excusable if the company that hired him was struggling for survival, but this is far from the case. Yum Brands Inc, which owns Taco Bell, as well as KFC and Pizza Hut, proudly boasts on its website an EPS growth of 13% in 2012, an increased dividend for shareholders of 18%, and a net income of $1.6bn. Rival fast food companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are all doing similarly well: according to Business Wire, fast food is one of the fastest growing industries, thanks to a competitive cost advantage.

If someone was feeding their pet just barely enough to survive most people would be outraged, yet if a similar standard is applied to a working human being, the outrage in some quarters goes the opposite way. Corporate cronies and their apologists star yelling about capitalism and free markets if workers insist on a living wage. Or enough pay to have decent shelter, food, clothing, utilities and other basic needs. M’s Walshe uses New York as her example, but I live in what the U.S. census describes as one of the average median income areas of the country and you cannot live on your own on $10 an hour, much less $7.25. let’s get to the two most common arguments the pro corporate cronyism crowd makes. They’ll lose money or will not be able to compete. It is true that corporate executives, grossly overpaid, would need to take a pay cut, but they would still have massive incomes and their companies would still make ridiculous level profits.

Treating an employee this badly might be excusable if the company that hired him was struggling for survival, but this is far from the case. Yum Brands Inc, which owns Taco Bell, as well as KFC and Pizza Hut, proudly boasts on its website an EPS growth of 13% in 2012, an increased dividend for shareholders of 18%, and a net income of $1.6bn. Rival fast food companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are all doing similarly well: according to Business Wire, fast food is one of the fastest growing industries, thanks to a competitive cost advantage.

[  ]…In general, CEOs in the US earn 380 times what their average employee earns. That rather shocking disparity starts to look almost modest, however, when compared with the fast food world. In 2011, the CEO of McDonalds earned over $20m, which means he was paid nearly 1,333 times more than the average crew member or cashier, who earns around $8 an hour or less. Even if those employees were to get their wish of earning $15 an hour, the CEO would still be earning 640 times more than them.

How is it that the CEO of McD earns more than say $200k a year, about what the average top level M.D. General Practitioner makes. And maybe that CEO makes a little more with a bonus tied to, not just profit, but a list of goals that includes employee and customer satisfaction, recycling and contribution to the health and well-being of the communities where they have stores.

This apparently has only happened once before in recent history, the President allowing someone else to make the weekly presidential address, Weekly Address: Sandy Hook Victim’s Mother Calls for Commonsense Gun Responsibility Reforms. Anything that smacks of the mildest form of regulation brings out the gun lunatics. When I say lunatics I’m not talking about someone who owns a gun and is against a complete ban on guns – myself and other Democrats would join in the protest against any such measures. The commenters on that Address are, well in their own words ye shall know them as it were,

JayHog7179
Can anyone name me a piece of legislation being proposed that would have prevented the sick, disturbing tragedy of Sandy Hook?

“No free man shall ever? be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

– Thomas Jefferson

”Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Glad you asked Mr Hog. First you should have a clue before making a comment which suggests someone is banning the possession of guns. No one has proposed that. Old slaveholder Jefferson’s quote is meaningless when used against a threat to your rights that does not exists. The Ben Franklin quote is misplaced. Gun lunatics would sell all our rights down the river in exchange for completely unregulated gun sales and possession – that would in fact be selling liberty in exchange for some delusional ideal of security. Connecticut just passed some new gun legislation that might well prevent another Newtown or maybe make for fewer casualties,

Here’s what you need to know about the law:

1. It has bipartisan support. Certainly more Democrats than Republicans supported the bill, but the vote in the state House was 105 to 44, with 40 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats voting for it. Earlier, the Senate voted with only 2 of the 22 Democrats opposing the law. Nearly half of Connecticut Senate Republicans voted for the measure.

2. It expands the state’s assault weapons ban. Connecticut already has an Assault Weapons Ban in place, but the new law will add over 100 new types of guns to the banned list. Among these is the Bushmaster AR-15 gun, which is what the Sandy Hook gunman used in his horrific killing spree. People who already own such weapons will be permitted to keep them, but must comply with new registration standards.

3. Magazine clips will be limited to 10 rounds. Connecticut’s new law will immediately ban the sale of any large-capacity magazine clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Gun owners who’ve already purchased high-capacity clips will be grandfathered in, but they register any extended clips they have, if they plan to keep them. And they can’t bring those bigger clips around with them; the new law requires that any extended magazines still on the market be used only in a private home or at a shooting range.

4. All gun and ammunition sales will require a background check. Effective immediately, every single sale of a gun or of bullets in the state of Connecticut must include a background check. Universal background checks are probably the most widely supported measure in Connecticut’s new gun law; nationally, background checks have 92 percent support.

5. Mental health isn’t left out of the equation. Not every measure in the new law intends to regulate firearms; the bill also includes expanded funding for mental health research, and allows for greater training on mental health issues for Connecticut’s teachers. The bill also creates a council in the state with the express purpose of determining how schools can be more safe, and when mental health records should block someone from being able to purchase a firearm.

If Hog or the other commenters think they must have an assault rifle and a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, might want to see a mental health professional. Just a few more comments from people who imagine themselves under siege (my comments in parenthesis),

kmain0 –   there were bodies? hard for me to say for sure as we can’t even get a? picture of Lanza in full setup entering school through the security gate.

TheGuerillapatriot –  The Bill of Rights forbade Congress from this type of legislation. In other words what the President pursues is lawlessness. I? am so sorry those kids where killed but legislation condemns my entire family to a fate far worse than on of us being hit by lighting or attacked by a madman. ( The Bill of Rights says no such thing. As a matter of fact it says in the 2nd Amendment ” well-regulated militia”).

XmXFLUXmX2 –  This is why we shouldn’t let victims and women dictate? policy. They will drive us right in to the arms of totalitarianism. ( Would that be the same totalitarianism we had from 1994 to 2004 when the Assault Weapons Ban was part of the law).

NormanSteeltheBrony –  MUH FEELINGS MUH FEELINGS! Fuck’s sake. I wish Obama? would stop using emotional propaganda and start using actual facts. ( We all wish for things. I wish you knew what a fact was and had some basic human decency)

snozzcumbers – People like her are the problem with the world, I wish death on her and all people like her.? If logical fallacies are all you can use to advance you agenda then you are bad for the world.

That gives you a fair idea of how a gun lunatic reacts to some modest gun safety legislation.

Map of the United States including Louisiana 1818 – The Conservative Cult and The Deficit

 Map of the United States including Louisiana 1818

 Map of the United States including Louisiana 1818. The Louisiana Purchase was completed in 1803, but much of that territory had not yet become states.

The U.S. has a revenue problem. From 2000 to 2008 conservatives spent a lot of money on the national credit card. It has been the historic custom for the U.S. to pay for it’s wars as they occurred. Republicans decided not to. With this debt and the concurrent interests accruing, the economy went in the dumpster. That was caused by people who had assured us for years they knew what they were doing and did not need to be regulated. Going into 2009 with a new president, he and a Democratic Congress did stop the economy from hemorrhaging jobs and GDP. We bailed out the smart serious know-it-alls on Wall Street. They and corporate America recovered quickly. Frequently returning to the same profit margins they had before the recession. Suddenly the national deficit became this big ugly monster that must be killed before it eats the country. The U.S. even had the luxury of watching Europe experiment with austerity measures and see them fail. Most of the debt we have now is the result of the Bush tax cuts and the recession. That is just a fact. Like your average cult member, conservatives are not having anything to do with these facts. Cultists are like that. By definition a cultists is someone who is not going to let facts get in the way of the dogma they chant over and over again. The Cult of Conservatism does put a little spin on it’s chant in that it is partly composed of unadulterated idiocy and part malevolence. For example, here we have Bill Wilson, president of the far Right cult called Americans for Limited Government. The Non-Existent Spending Cuts Wrought By The ‘Devastating’ Sequester

According to Obama, the sequester would represent “a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.” Obama’s White House has also referred to the sequester as “devastating,” saying its cuts would “imperil our economy, our national security (and) vital programs that middle class families depend on.”

Sounds frightening – but is it true? Of course not. According to The Wall Street Journal ”federal domestic discretionary spending soared by 84 percent with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets” during Barack Obama’s first two years in office. In fact the sequester would scale back just one of every six dollars in discretionary spending increases since 2008 – hardly a “huge blow.” Also, discretionary spending in 2008 was already tremendously inflated – having increased by more than 60 percent over the previous eight years.

In other words this isn’t even really a cut – “devastating” or otherwise – it’s a modest growth rate reduction following years of unnecessary, embarrassing and unsustainable excesses.

Whenever a far Right cult member cherry picks a couple weird figures one’s radar should start blipping.

Spending first. In 1981, when Reagan took office, the federal government spent 22.2 percent of GDP. That figure dropped steadily for the next two decades, and by the year 2000 spending was down to 18.2 percent of GDP. Expenditures went up after that, but the Office of Management and Budget estimates that by 2017, spending will once again be 22.2 percent of GDP, exactly the same as it was 30 years ago. In other words, spending hasn’t gone up at all.

If you do nothing but watch the evening news or cable news you would never guess that Democrats have cut spending. Or that Democrats have historically been better mangers of the economy than “small” government conservatives. Taxes are lower now than they were under Saint Ronnie. Tax revenue was 19.6 percent of GDP when Reagan took office, and it’s projected to be 19.2 percent of GDP in 2017. maybe raising the overall tax rates .4% would not pay off the deficit, but it might help. The problem with that is the cultists have formed a circle of hysteria around multimillionaires and corporations ( many of whom use loopholes to avoid taxes completely). On the other hand conservative dogma does allow for raising taxes on the working poor and cutting benefits for seniors. There is a never ending echo that says we just can’t afford these benefits. Well, what can we as a nation afford – for seniors to go wotihout food and medicien. For children to be malnurtioned. We definite cannot afford to make Pete Peterson and his pals pay one more penny in taxes or make super profitable corporations pay a living wage. Peterson is the money behind a group called the Fix the Debt Campaign. You know how these wise and wonderful folks knew so much about economics and yet caused the economy to have it’s biggest collapse in 80 years. Well OK, they screwed that up, but they have the answer to our debt problem. Cause massive job losses, funnel billions to fellow cult members in the defense industry, and cut Medicare and Social Security. What is really cool for cultists is when they can get someone famous at an influential newspaper to write about how things could be worked out in a “bipartisan” way if only Democrats would give Pete, Bill Wilson and Republicans everything they want, Woodward Misses The Mark

For the past 18 hours Republicans have been giddily waving around a new article by Bob Woodward as a smoking gun that proves sequestration should be replaced with spending cuts and spending cuts only — and that President Obama once conceded the point.

Here’s the key section, which certainly carries that implication.

[T]he final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

Woodward’s book about the debt limit crisis includes the fairly inconsequential detail that the idea of using sequestration (as opposed to other policy options) as an enforcement mechanism originated in the White House. Republicans, who voted for the Budget Control Act in overwhelming numbers, argue flimsily that this detail absolves them of all blame for the coming spending cuts, and have since tried to turn Woodward into a sort of grand arbiter of the debt limit fight.

But in this case Woodward is just dead wrong. Obama and Democrats have always insisted that a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher taxes replace sequestration.

So Democrats should be reasonable and let the the people whose economic theories have caused so much damage to the country, to have everything they ask for. You know, in the spirit of compromise.

Black and White Clock wallpaper – Republicans Deviously Frame the Deficit To Include All of The Safety Net

Black and White Clock wallpaper

Black and White Clock wallpaper

Blue Desk Clock wallpaper

Blue Desk Clock wallpaper

 

This is a good rant from Dean baker about the possibility of, depending on how you look at chained CPI and the coming debt ceiling negotiations, cuts to Social Security, Leave It Alone; It’s Irrelevant to the Deficit

While the promotion of budget hysteria is one of the largest industries in Washington, the most important and widely ignored fact about the budget situation is that we have large deficits today because the collapse of the housing bubble sank the economy. This is not a debatable point.

The budget deficit was just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2007. Before the collapse of the housing bubble the deficit was projected to remain low for the next decade and the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio was actually falling. This would have been the case even if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to continue.

When the bubble burst and the economy plummeted, tax collections fell. We also spent more on unemployment insurance and other benefits for unemployed workers. And we had further tax cuts and stimulus spending to try to boost the economy. The automatic and deliberate steps taken to counter the downturn fully explain the large deficits we have seen the last five years.

Record low interest rates on government bonds demonstrate that the current deficits are not a real problem. But even if they were, it is difficult to see how cutting Social Security could to be part of the solution. Under the law Social Security is not supposed to be part of the budget. It is an entirely separate program financed on its own.

Let’s put aside the speculations about debt ceiling talks and what is up for cuts for a moment. Baker tackles two common myths – perpetuated by conservatives like the far-Right Heritage Foundation. The first myth is that President Obama has gone on some kind of wild spending spree, thus driven up the debt. As the chart above – I could draw this thing in my sleep at this point – shows, it is a combination of conservative spending from 2000-2008, the unpaid for wars, the housing bubble, the recession that started on Bush’s watch  and tax cuts that are driving 60% of the deficit. The second myth and this one will not die today, it is as common as Birtherism among conservatives – that some how Social Security is a driver of the deficit. That is not true. A few facts to know about Social Security

Social Security is a fifth of the U.S. budget …
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
Social Security: Another 20 percent of the budget, or $731 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,229 per month to 35.6 million retired workers in December 2011. Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.3 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10.6 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2011.

… but it is not driving the deficit …

Social Security and the Federal Deficit: Not cause and effect

Social Security can only spend what it receives in tax revenues and has accumulated in its trust fund from past surpluses and interest earnings. It cannot add to the deficit if the trust fund is exhausted because the law prohibits it from borrowing (if current revenues and savings in the trust fund are not sufficient to pay promised benefits, these have to be cut). Though modest changes will be needed to put Social Security in balance over the 75-year planning period, the projected shortfall is less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP). …

There is burrowing, but it only goes one way. The government borrows from the trust fund to help finance day to day government operations. Which is part of conservative Social Security myths part II, subsection B, that there is no such thing as the Social Security Trust Fund. let me back up for a moment and look at the first deficit and spending nonsense. It is ironic how wealthy conservatives, and liberals for that matter, can manipulate the tax code down to the penny and yet, those same conservative use some weird martian math to make the case for Obama’s alleged out of control spending. Steve notes some math challenged spin from Politico, Understanding the ‘debt problem’

President Barack Obama won’t be able to enjoy much of a victory lap from his win over congressional Republicans on the fiscal cliff fight.

There are about 16.4 trillion reasons why.

The staggering national debt — up about 60 percent from the $10 trillion Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009 — is the single biggest blemish on Obama’s record, even if the rapid descent into red began under President George W. Bush. (Glenn Thrush and Reid Epstein’s Politico piece on President Obama’s “debt problem”)

[  ]…First, when there’s a global economic crash, and the government needs to invest to rescue the economy, large deficits are good, not bad, especially when borrowing is cheap and easy. Had the president focused on reducing the $1.3 trillion deficit he inherited from Bush/Cheney, instead of job creation and economic growth, the recession would have intensified, and yet, too many reports simply accept it as a given that higher deficits are worthy of condemnation.

Second, under Obama, as the economy started to improve, the deficit started to shrink anyway. Though the political establishment usually ignores these details, the deficit is $300 billion smaller now than when the president took office — marking the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Third, Obama keeps pushing massive debt-reduction proposals on the table, as well as all kinds of policies that shrink the deficit (health care reform, cap and trade, Dream Act), but Republicans have opposed all of them.

As always we cannot have an honest discussion about how much deficits matter and when they matter because conservatives really do not care about deficit spending. We had deficit spending under Saint Ronnie, Bush 41 and Bush 43. If a conservative becomes president in 2016, we’ll have deficit spending. They run up deficits for the very purpose of creating this fake crisis where, gee sorry – the David Brooks line – but we just have to let seniors, vets, the disabled and low-income earners live in a ditch or die or whatever because look at the deficits…uh..conservatives ran up, we cannot afford a safety net anymore . That is not political science, it is a social pathology hiding behind the carnival tent of Conservatism. case in point. The fiscal cliff deal included a revenue giveaway to corporations totaling $9.4 billion dollars. That would pay for a third of the$27 billion emergency spending bill for Superstorm Sandy House Republicans might pass ( the Senate had approved a $60 billion relief package. The remainder may be approved eventually. Republicans in the House are still wrangling over the Sandy bill – When House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled his support of a massive Sandy aid bill, Republicans reacted: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the move “disgraceful”).

Other than that few days where we heard the President might consider linking future Social Security cost of living increases to chained CPI I have not heard anything else, but some people are already concerned, The Democrats’ Coming Civil War

Just as Republicans were so divided over taxes – from failing to pass their own “Plan B” bill last week, to their leaders splitting votes on last night’s legislative package – Democrats are about to endure an emotional debate about one of their own bedrock principles: the protection of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

With the accord reached last night failing to address these programs, Republicans have said they’ll threaten to deny a debt ceiling increase in February — which would prevent the government from paying its bills, exacting a government shutdown and global economic consequences in the process — as leverage to advance their policy interests. In addition, with sequestration cuts set to hit in two months, there’s an additional, built-in point of negotiation between the parties.

The biggest reform Republicans have vowed to push for in these upcoming standoffs is so-called “entitlement reform,” a.k.a. “deficit reduction,” a.k.a., cutting social insurance and benefits for those in need.

That writer means well, but again let’s get this straight. Republicans are linking the debt ceiling to safety net programs, but  Social Security is not fiscally linked. Only a very small part of Medicare, under 3% of Medicare financing comes out of general funds. It is not the biggest driver of the debt. Even when we reach the point where there are more Medicare recipients than workers contributing to Medicare ( a known demographic trend), the total cost will still reach a maximum of GDP of  6.2% by 2080 ( currently it is 3.6%).  The coming battle will be framed by Republicans as one big all encompassing deficit that includes separate issues. Though he is probably correct in being concerned about what the White House will give away. This statement by Obama is technically correct. It is more overall health care costs rather than just Medicare that are to blame,

But we are continuing to chip away at this problem, step by step. Last year I signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. Tonight’s agreement further reduces the deficit by raising $620 billion in revenue from the wealthiest households in America. And there will be more deficit reduction as Congress decides what to do about the automatic spending cuts that we have now delayed for two months.

I want to make this point: As I’ve demonstrated throughout the past several weeks, I am very open to compromise. I agree with Democrats and Republicans that the aging population and the rising cost of health care makes Medicare the biggest contributor to our deficit.  I believe we’ve got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive. And I believe that there’s further unnecessary spending in government that we can eliminate.

But we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans. And we can’t keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we’re going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending.

Now, one last point I want to make — while I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed. Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic — far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff.

Probably a matter of perspective. BuzzFeed sees the civil war and I just see the possibility. No one pundit or blogger did it, but it was probably the collective voices of all of us that pushed the White House away from using Medicare and Social Security in the fiscal cliff deal. So ringing alarms now is not a bad thing. Some more in that vain in this editorial at the NYT, For Obama, a Victory That Also Holds Risks.

For President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress, the fiscal deal reached this week is full of small victories that further their largest policy aims. Above all, it takes another step toward Mr. Obama’s goal of orienting federal policy more toward the middle class and the poor, at the expense of the rich.

Yet the deal, which the Senate and the House have passed and Mr. Obama is expected to sign soon, also represents a substantial risk for the president.

 

This is a rare day. I agree with that yellow rag The Washington Times, David Gregory walks free while Iraq vet was jailed. The strange aspect of this David Gregory controversy is that the far Right thinks liberals care about what happens to Gregory one way or the other. That is not the case. Gregory is just another Beltway villager entrenched in the right of center conventional wisdom. After the Newtown murders he got a little caught up in the outrage, most people did.