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They cost you too…
The drop in payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2% results in a savings of about $1000 a year to every wage earner.
(If truth were widely known, that tax cut is actually a bad idea. It hemorrhages a dying social security fund, requiring the eventual death of the program or an expensive emergency last ditch surgery in the future.)
But it is hard not to give a $1000 present to every voter. Even if it only comes out as $19 dollars and change each week… But, still again, if your electric bill is $198 and you only have $189 in your account, that additional amount is, well, a lifesaver…..
But, Republicans in the House, even after Republicans in the Senate voted passage, overwhelmingly voted….. not to vote on the measure…
They didn’t vote against it… THEY VOTED NOT TO VOTE ON IT……
(speculation is that they lacked the votes to keep it from passing)..
So, how does that relate to you?
House Republicans (read Tea Party) just voted NOT TO VOTE on whether or not you will be losing an extra $20 a month out of your next paycheck.
Imagine what this is doing to payroll clerks around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to family budgets around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses who rely on consumer spending around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses heavily involved in the financial sector, around this country?
So what would normally happen?
Normally a group that can’t find agreement, acknowledges the sad fact, and long before the deadline, announces that they failed to reach agreement and that things would continue as they were on a temporary basis, to unfortunately allow for more time to solve differences.
But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, …. WE ARE STUCK WITH A TEA PARTY THAT FUCKS THINGS UP.
Instead, we have a vote not-to-vote, then get all sorts of very lame excuses from those who are delaying, none of which apply to the real problem that Social Security is doomed unless drastic action gets taken (higher rates, not lower), and we get nothing….
The tax cut will expire…
It is like sequestering a jury in a room, where everyone after much fact-covering argument has agreed to a judgment, except for one person who’s been bought off. And nothing, nothing, logic, emotional appeal, bullying, snuggling up to, befriending, produces any change. And you go years, every working day, to the same court house, the same jury room, they same chair at the same table, hear the same arguments, hoping against all odds, that today, he will see the light and switch. You go the next day.
That is today’s Congress. Held hostage by Tea Party Republicans who live in a dream world untouched by the reality of living under $185,000 a year. Like that bought-out juror, every day, they hold up progress with the unjustified belief that, if they wait long enough, the other 11 jurors will give up and sway over to the sole juror’s way….
Two things can happen… 1) return to the public and announce a hung jury, and do a complete retrial.. or 2) sneak up to that one juror, put a gun to his head, say nothing, pull the trigger, clean up the mess, dispose of the body, then go out to the public and announce what the 11 of you have decided…..
One is the nice way, sanctioned to due process of law. The other is the American Way.
It’s time to initiate the kavipsian policy of expression or what is otherwise known as “Show Us How You Really Feel”… Who knows? It could become the next great movement? The next time someone you know (or don’t), says anything about how millionaires should keep their tax cuts and the poor should pay, nod your head in agreement, smile a little bit, then hit them as hard as you can in their mouth, I mean as hard as you can! Put them flat on the ground holding their jaw… Then loudly say, “Don’t every talk that stupid way to me again!” Who knows, if 99% or all 303,930,000 would respond that way to our fellow congressional delegates, and the other 3.9 million of their like who advocate such madness, we might actually get the very progress we need, not because of intimidation, but because such policy is right….
For those who argue expression of violence is un-American, I’ll remind them that tonight, is John Wayne Night on AMC: view it!… I argue that such action is VERY American and perhaps it has been the lack of such spontaneous expressions of frustration from working American people, that has caused the logjam where nothing gets done because of one holdout, who thinks he can sway the world to his opinion and face no consequences… ….
Practice now, by punching brick walls.
One can alway tell who the NJ will support by looking that the pictures of the candidates it chooses to publish.
There are at least a thousand of pictures of each in the NJ’s archives. Yet it chose to publish these two.
John looks warm and friendly. Jack looks like he took a mug shot.
I have been watching the NJ long enough to know this is not random. Delaware has lost many an awesome candidate due to the NJ’s editing board.
John’s photo has been enhanced with warm tones. Jack’s has the contrast set too high, and was slightly stretched, thereby distorting his facial features.
Of course its fair. It’s called politics. But call it for what it is……distortion and move on………..The Markell camp should give the NJ the picture they want run from now on………
Try flipping through some old voter’s guides, and you are sure to see the trend………..
What a difference between Fox News, a stupid ass propaganda machine, and Fox TV. As a “24” buff, I am holding out hope that old adage of “the last is always the best”, holds true again…….. But whereas that television show always illustrates just how easily terrorists can invade our daily lives, the terrorists are always……and the key word is always, controlled by someone within the White House. The enemy turns out to be someone representing corporate America, …our friend……How prophetic…
So in my effort to write a sequel to “24″ that mirrors real life, I decided to investigate a company that has shown up on our radar screens almost as frequently as Halliburton: Bechtel. The one good thing about Bechtel is that it is based in San Francisco. ( I did that for my friends on the right…..) Otherwise it seems like it could provide a conduit for a weapon of mass destruction as demonstrated in “24″ that could sufficiently to do enough damage to cement martial law and provide Americans with their own version of Fidel Castro. Fortunately ours would talk less.
Perhaps if you knew what I just learned, it would sound a little less far-fetched……
Bechtel participated in the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It has also had involvement in several other high profile construction engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel, numerous power projects, refineries, and nuclear power plants, BART, Jubail Industrial City and Kingdom Centre and Tower in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong International Airport, the Big Dig, the rebuilding of the civil infrastructure of Iraq funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the hauling and installing of more than 35,000 trailers and mobile homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi.
The company, which guards its privacy religiously, and is closely allied to power, is often the target of accusations by journalists and politicians, in need of a corporation to pick on…..
As of 2001, a darker sinister side of Bechtel has arisen. Recently, the company has come under criticism for the alleged mismanagement of the Big Dig project, its financial links to the bin Laden family, and the manner in which it received Iraqi rebuilding contracts after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Politicians in the United States and in Europe have made accusations of cronyism between the George W. Bush administration and Bechtel. It seems that anywhere in the world one finds a oil, power, or water producing facility, Bechtel is there.
Just how moral and ethical is this corporation?
Recently in Bolivia Bechtel received the rights to provide water to the city Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest. Shortly thereafter, water rates in that city went up an average of about 200 percent, an action which resulted in the Cochabamba protests of 2000. Many had to withdraw their children from school and stop using doctors because of higher costs for water. Martial law was declared, and Bolivian police killed at least 6 people and injured over 170 protesters. Amidst Bolivia’s nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government withdrew the water contract. Bechtel sued the Bolivian government for breaking the contract…….
Back on the home front, in a contract that should have been broken but wasn’t, Bechtel received over 660 million to rebuild Iraq. Most of the Iraqi anger focused on the US today, is a direct result of work that was promised, but never done…..However, they took the money…..
In America at least 7 of its executives have sat in cabinet positions or on governmental blue ribbon panels. These include one secretary of defense and one secretary of state. The company is extremely close to the Saudi Arabian royal family and maintains very close ties to the Bin Laden family.
But the scariest scenario is one of which I was completely unaware until browsing around today. Bechtel is the controlling partner of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons center in Bill Richardson’s home state of New Mexico.
It started with political dissatisfaction over the University of California’s opposition to the Iraq war, that led the Department of Energy to open its contract away from the University, to bids from other vendors in 2003. Although the university and the laboratory have had difficult relations many times since their first World War II contract, this was the first time that the university has ever had to compete for management of the laboratory. The University of California decided to create a private company with the Bechtel Corporation, Washington Group International, and the BWX Technologies to bid on the contract to operate the laboratory. The UC/Bechtel lead corporation – Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) – was pitted against a team formed by the University of Texas System partnered with Lockheed-Martin. In December 2005, the Department of Energy announced that LANS had won the next seven-year contract to manage and operate the laboratory.
So on June 1, 2006, the University of California ended its 60 years of direct involvement in operating Los Alamos National Laboratory, and management control of the laboratory was taken over by the Bechtel offshoot. Approximately 95% of the former 10,000 who were not democrats, plus UC employees at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory were rehired by the Bechtel offshoot, LANS to continue working at the laboratory. Other than the University of California appointing three members to the eleven member board of directors that oversees LANS, the university now has virtually no responsibility or direct control.
University of California policies and regulations that used to apply to UC campuses and its two national laboratories in California (Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore) no longer apply to LANL
Just how secure is Los Alamos? Apparently from the outside it is secure. But from the inside, a different scenario emerges. Whether at the “Big Dig” site in Boston, or the plains of Iraq, this company is not well know for its strict oversight and reputation for safety. Now, a corporation that is awarded contracts, earning billions wherever massive destruction occurs, is itself in charge of controlling a large amount of America’s uranium inventory. Soon, if it hasn’t started already, trucks are to begin transporting this fissionable material to a different secure location hidden in an undisclosed Nevada desert; how much will you bet that not all of it will reach its destination? With a price over 2 billion dollars an ounce, you think it will all make the journey intact?
I wouldn’t bet on it…..
So it appears that this administration, which is so desperately seeking to hang on, not only to its power, but to its historical place in annuals of time, now, has through it’s close friends in Bechtel, access to very means needed to create its own Reichstag fire, and using that excuse to declare martial law and seize power: this time, unfortunately killing thousands upon thousands of American citizens.
Far fetched? Perhaps….but it is not as far fetched as one would like……..
Just before the Fourth of July weekend, Dave challenged me on a comment I made regarding the loss of Federal Revenue that arrived into Delaware since Bush took office.
It was based on political talk that resonated through the Budget committees during the first and second years of the Minner administration. The political dialog complained that revenue was dropping and cuts needed to be made.
In my attempt to research for the “I told you so ” retort, I discovered that there was no such data. In fact, if one took the data present, more dollars came into this state under Bush than did Clinton. But then on further inspection one saw that Clinton brought in more dollars than Bush (41), who brought in more dollars than Reagan. Could the continued increase of these dollars be due to increase in the general growth as well?
I stumbled across some financial data that I thought could be used to clarify the issue. This data is published every year near tax time, and each year makes the front page of the News Journal. It is the data I call our “bang for the buck”. How much did Delaware get back from the Federal government for every dollar it spent? If we break even, we get one dollar back for every dollar we send. If we get more back, (whoopee) we are a receiver state. On the other hand, if we get less back, we are a donor state,
Delaware is a donor state.
However interesting trends appear when one watches the up or down level in just how much we get back. This is independent of growth.
Delaware taxpayers receive significantly less federal funding per dollar of federal tax paid than the average state. Per dollar of federal tax collected in 2004, Delaware citizens received approximately $0.79 in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state 11th lowest nationally, yet still represents a rise from 1992 when Delaware received only $0.72 per dollar of taxes in federal spending (then ranked 3rd lowest). Neighboring states and the amount of federal spending they received per dollar of federal taxes paid in 2004 were: Pennsylvania ($1.06), New Jersey ($0.55), and Maryland ($1.44).
Using the chart from the tax foundation I took the highest return of .90 cents on the dollar in 1999 as the base. The subsequent year, 2000 we paid .88 cents per dollar. To figure what we lost as potential revenue, a theoretical to begin with, I took the amount of federal dollars received, and and multiplied each of those dollars by the two cents we earned less back from our base level in 1999, which was our state’s highest return on our federal dollars,……ever.
That gave me a shortage of 117 million from what we could have received had we kept the ..90 return rate for every dollar we gave up to the federal government.
So applying the same formula to the Bush administration’s budgets, I came up with these theroitical deficits from what we could have received if we had again maintained the politically controlled .90 cents to a dollar from the base line.
As you can see my data stream stops at 2004.
So with even these preliminary conservative estimates which (since I have no data to prove it) showed no increase in the years following 2004, we approach over the lifespan of the Bush budget, a deficit of 4 billion from what we theoretically could have received had we continued at the rate we were on in 1999.
This compares to the 635 million dollars less that Delawareans paid into the Federal treasury as a result of the Cheney/Bush tax cuts.
I laugh every time a republican says “Deficits do not matter.” Obviously these republicans do not work in a bank. I don’t know about you but my bank hires hundreds of people to call and tell creditors the exact opposite every day. Outrageously, if banks followed Republican mantra, this country would be, not just between a rock and a hard place, but in a rock itself………..
Not to sound naive, but there is a propensity to use borrowed money in order to finance growth. Realistically, without borrowed money, economic stability would be a broken dream. Borrowing provides a framework to spread expensive costs over time and make those high ticket items, finally affordable. Translated to real time: one can buy a house much easier by getting a loan and making payments over thirty years, than they can by pinching pennies for thirty years and buying the house with cash. Plus they actually get to enjoy the result over the time they are paying it off, despite the fact that the total amount paid over time with interest, will be much higher. So borrowing is not “all bad.”
So in this capacity, when financial maggots crawl all over the federal budget figures, one can consider where this remark is coming from. It comes from Dick Cheney.
The average American in 2005 paid $3179.00 on something that doesn’t matter, if one takes the original author of the remark seriously. (Hopefully no one but E-ZPass Mike Castle is taking him seriously anymore). Let us hope we can all get our creditors to agree.
“I don’t care how much you say I owe! National policy under a separate entity (Vice President’s Office) of the Federal Government, dictates that whatever I owe,… doesn’t matter!….Go ahead! …Sue me!…..I’ll bring up that the very government you are using to sue me, itself doesn’t even subscribe to the principals on which you are suing me. It will never make it to court… …….”
So we are stuck with a deficit. Is that all bad?
Get this, and with tongue in cheek, I say this sounds so partisan it literally scares me…….. Deficits do not really matter under a Democratic president, but they do under a republican president! I am laughing even as I write this.
What? Is that not the most partisan statement ever written on a Delaware blog!……I can hear Dave now……”Got the facts to back that up?”
Now I know no republican will have respect for this person: Joseph Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University and Nobel Laureate, economics 2001 for he has not been officially “approved” by “the party”, but the rest of you might…..
[W]e shouldn’t focus on deficits themselves. What really matters is the country’s balance sheet, its assets and its liabilities. Consider a company. You would never say, oh, this company is borrowing a lot and therefore, it is a bad company. You would always say what is it borrowing for? Is it for investment? You want to look at both its assets and its liabilities. You want to look at its balance sheet. Well, when we talk about the deficit, we’re talking about only one part of that balance sheet. We’re talking about what’s happening to the liabilities, what it owes, but not to what it’s spending the money on.
Now republicans…..that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Anyone who has ever looked at a balance sheet would implicitly recognize that the borrowing costs, or interest paid upon a debt, fall into the liability column. So using Stiglitz and analysing the Cheney Tax Theorum throught that programming, one can assume that the following is true:
$1.6 trillion in tax cuts? Doesn’t matter, and not just because of the revenues they bring in, but because, really, what is an extra GDP percent or two worth of deficit? A comma in history. No matter. Greater spending increases under this administration than any in the history of the country? No worries — we can borrow to pay for it and our credit is good (until it isn’t). The additional borrowing costs? They don’t matter (see Theorem).
So why are deficits good under Democrats and not good under republicans? It depends on what one spends the money on, stupid…….
Some of us are blessed with a spouse having a fine business sense. After we turn over our money to them, they invest wisely, and wow, we have done quite well…….Others of us, are less fortunate……..once our spouses have their fingers on our money, they spend it on stupid stuff. In both cases our income stayed the same. (“Honey, here’s my check.”) But there is a great difference between the two net worths over a period of time …..(We are how much in the hole?”)
So when money is borrowed for investments it is good. When it is borrowed for frivolousness, it is not.
Therefore in the current political environment — or until the next election — republicans like E-ZPass Mike Castle, or those who are deficit-indifferent, with much fanfare, applaud the leveraging our of our national resources to support the policy priorities of this administration!
And if you are borrowing money, which the United States has done, to finance a war in Iraq or to finance a tax cut for upper-income Americans, then the country is being left worse off. The balance sheet does look worse. You have a liability, but you don’t have any asset on the other side. But if you are borrowing money to invest in education, technology, or, say, the safety net, then you may have a stronger economy.
By the time he leaves office, President Bush under the Saruman influence of Dick Cheney, will leave us paying upward of $50 billion more a year in deficit financing costs than when he took office. And for what?
Hurts, (my fiscal conservative friends), doesn’t it…..
I learned it in sports and have carried it through my professional life. Sometimes one needs to be competitive.
You may have morality on your side, you may have competence on your side, and you may have legality on your side, but still, if you do nothing to stop an opponent, he wins.
Common sense right? It does not seem so with Democrats. Often criticized by the other side as being pushovers, it seems like the school of hard knocks has given Democrats an “F” in “learnability”. Some of the basic tendencies of human survival seem to have mutated away and out of the Democratic party. Some old democratic dinosaurs still have it. But when push comes to shove, Democrats primarily get the shove……….
Primer: here is how it is done……Whenever someone blocks one of my actions that I feel is instrumental in propelling my business forward, I make against him, an outrageous accusation in public. There may or may not be a smattering of truth to it, but the accusation is so well made, that the opposition is momentarily stunned. Stunned. Their brains fumble for the logic behind my remark. They cannot believe they were even accused of such an outrage. While they are still stumbling dazed through the fog of unbelief, I point out their slow response time and comment that they must be guilty. Unless they are super well put together, they usually respond in a stutter like fashion and make a number of errors that I can then expound on. “See. I told you so,” I say to the others.
This happened precisely as such with the Swift Boat controversy. Kerry did not respond well enough. Previously this happened earlier when the diminutive Dukakis almost fell off his step stool as Bernard Shaw implanted into every American debate viewer, the image of Dukakis walking in on his wife being raped……..
Immediately after making the accusation, you point out to the others, “See, I told you he is ineffective. Look at his demeanor. He is ineffective….”
Kerry looked ineffective as the tried to stare down the Swift Boat gasoline sniffers. Dukakis did not appear presidential in his answer either.
So who is getting it now?
Congress? Yes, Congress.
Congress is rated low in public opinion polls. Americans feel they are ineffective. Anyone with their pulse on America knows full well that Congress is getting it in both front and back by Republicans who are unhappy by nature, and Democrats who feel betrayed by the rhetoric that was campaigned upon………
When compared to Congress, the Executive Branch looks competent.
Congress is getting manipulated. The message ( not yet spoken out loud) is this: this Executive branch functions better without direct oversight by the American people. This ties together many strings into one package: Cheney’s outrageous comment, Gonzales cocky smugness, Harriet Myers blatant refusal to testify before Congressional committees, and now the threat to fire whichever poor sap of an attorney dares to file Congress’s contempt charge.
Flatly this administration is saying: We are a separate entity and there is nothing you can do about it.
Congress has done nothing.
The public is saying: “You know? The administration was right on this one. Look, the Constitution is in deep, deep trouble and Congress sleeps on their hands and does nothing. We are stuck with a king.” Today every Democrat should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness: an uncontrollable executive…… Today every republican should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness, during the next administration: an uncontrollable executive………
As an old pro, here is what Congress needs to do. It is not too late,… yet. Hopefully some of this advice will penetrate their archaic plugs of earwax, and resonate with action.
Instantly every Democrat needs to say into any microphone thrust towards his face: This is wrong! This is what the Soviets did! This is what the Chinese did! This is what the Nazi’s did! This if unchallenged, will be the end of the United States of America! Every day, Americans stand up and say “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, FOR WHICH IT STANDS………” And I may be dead tomorrow,… but while I am still alive and breathing, I am going to make sure as hell that our flag, does NOT stand for Dick Cheney and his youthful sidekick, George W. Bush!”
Every Democrat. Every microphone. And it must resonate….. if this country shall be saved as our Founding Fathers dared envisioned it………