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GOP Can’t Find “Job Creators” Against Surtax

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So, NPR had a story this morning about the “Millionaire Surtax” that Democrats have proposed to help pay for an extension of the payroll tax holiday that has been in place since last year.

The GOP‘s argument against the surtax is that it will harm “job creators” who will refuse to hire people.

So, NPR requested to speak to some of the potential “victims” of the surtax:

We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.

Undefeated, NPR next requested the same thing from business groups that have also fought the proposal. Again, no example could be produced.

Eventually, the reporters placed a request for business owners that would be affected by the tax to respond, and they did — only the answers they got were mostly like Jason Burger, co-owner of a company called CSS International Holdings.

Mr. Burger’s company is an international “infrastructure contractor”:

“If my taxes go up, I have slightly less disposable income, yes…But that has nothing to do with what my business does. What my business does is based on the contracts that it wins and the demand for its services.”

NPR added,

Burger says his Michigan-based company is hiring like crazy, and he’d be perfectly willing to pay the surtax.

“It’s only fair that I put back into the system that is the entire reason for my success,” said Burger.

So again, Republicans are manufacturing disastrous consequences for policy proposals that are quite sound.

Now, it is possible that the businesspeople who responded to NPR on Facebook are prone to be more liberal, but the fact that both the Republican party and business trade groups couldn’t provide a single example of an small entrepreneur who would decide not to hire based on his personal taxes is illustrative of how the conservative mind works.

Thinks are true because I feel they are true. Damn the evidence.



December 9, 2011 Posted by | Democrats, Economics, GOP, Politics, Republicans, Tax Debate, Uncategorized, Unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basic Math


Image by 401K via Flickr

“It is mathematically impossible to invest enough in our economy and our country to sustain the middle class (our customers) without taxing the top 1 percent at reasonable levels again” – Venture Capitalist Nick Hanaeur

Hanauer has put his name on a growing list of 1 percenters who are boldly stating what most economists already recognize.

Writing on Bloomberg’s website, Hanauer observed:

We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

A new post on reports that even someone in the belly of the beast, Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, has awakened to this reality:

“The wealthiest can afford to pay more in taxes. That’s a part of the deal. That makes sense. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t agree with that,” Porat said. “The wealth disparity between the lowest and the highest continues to expand, and that’s inappropriate.” “We cannot cut our way to greatness,” she added.

I hope this is the dawning of a new capitalist idea.

We have lived too long in the shadow of timid CEOs and their sycophants who look no further than the next quarter.

In order for capitalism to be sustainable, a robust middle class must exist.

The article goes on to note that one of the major factors driving income inequality is the outrageous compensation and bonuses given to the top tier of huge corporations.

Instituting practices that reward performance and sustainability would go a long way toward creating a healthy economy.


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December 6, 2011 Posted by | Deficit, Economics, Politics, Tax Debate, Unemployment, Wall Street | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alan Moore on Frank Miller

If you remember a few weeks back, comic legend Frank Miller decided to take down the Occupy Wall Street movement with some choice slurs.

SF writer David Brin came back with a deconstruction of Miller’s world view by dismantling Miller’s history-challenged “300”.

Now, Alan Moore puts in his two cents:

Alan Moore Responds to Frank Millers ‘Occupy’ Rant

I have always been a huge fan of Moore’s work. I love that the guy is crazy and always pushing the envelope. He’s unafraid of touching any material.

Miller, on the other hand, helped change comics in the late 80s with his take on characters who were at that point getting stale.

His work since then has been kinda Meh.

Miller’s work is riddled with right-wing fantasy and misogyny, and most criminal of all seems to have stayed absolutely still for decades, opting to move into film.

His last film offering, “The Spirit” in 2008 was a boring disappointment.

Miller’s comments on OWS really struck a nerve with comic book fans and now Moore:

“Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.”

What he said.


December 5, 2011 Posted by | Civil Rights, Entertainment, Media Criticism, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Unemployment, Wall Street | , , , | Leave a comment

The lie of the tax holiday

Paul Krugman delivers again.

Commenting on the “new” plan being pushed to have a tax holiday for corporations, Krugman points out that it is again being sold as an answer to our job problems.

Cutting taxes for corporations does not and never has led to more jobs.

The cuts are never really designed for small businesses, and are the worst kind of trickle down wishful thinking.


As opponents of this plan point out, we’ve already seen this movie: A similar tax holiday was offered in 2004, with a similar sales pitch. And it was a total failure. Companies did indeed take advantage of the amnesty to move a lot of money back to the United States. But they used that money to pay dividends, pay down debt, buy up other companies, buy back their own stock — pretty much everything except increasing investment and creating jobs. Indeed, there’s no evidence that the 2004 tax holiday did anything at all to stimulate the economy.

A nice piece on what really happens when we cut taxes on corporations, and the disincentive it is for them to invest in infrastructure and employees.


July 5, 2011 Posted by | Lobbyists, Politics, Reagan, Republicans, Tax Debate, Unemployment | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plutocracy ascendent

Beware The Oligarch

Image by Laurie Pink via Flickr

In the wake of the Citizen’s United ruling by the Supreme Court, unlimited amounts of cash are polluting our election campaigns and buying politicians wholesale.

Robert Reich had a nice piece on his blog Monday about the “Perfect Storm” that threatens our democracy:

“The Perfect Storm”

He hits all the bases:

  • The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into campaigns with no accountability whatsoever
  • a handful of front groups is laundering the money, and some have taken donations from foreign companies
  • Most Americans are in a bad position (unemployment, debt, mortgages) and taxes are rising and services are being cut
  • Infrastructure is crumbling
  • Politicians refuse to take the most modest step of restoring taxes for top earners (who are now “burdened” with the lowest taxation in 80 years)

Reich comments:

We’re back to the late 19th century when the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators. The public never knew who was bribing whom.

Reich is right. And there doesn’t seem to be any hope in sight.

I have no choice but to agree with his gloomy conclusion:

The perfect storm: An unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at the top; a record amount of secret money flooding our democracy; and a public becoming increasingly angry and cynical about a government that’s raising its taxes, reducing its services, and unable to get it back to work.

We’re losing our democracy to a different system. It’s called plutocracy.


October 21, 2010 Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Elections, Politics, Republicans, Unemployment, Wall Street | Leave a comment

“US” Chamber’s Foreign Masters

National emblem of the People's Republic of China

Image via Wikipedia

Think Progress has continued hammering on this important story.

The organization that purports to represent “small businesses” has already been caught taking money from foreign companies to use in ads in US elections.

Now The Chamber has been revealed holding seminars overseas to help enable US companies to more easily outsource jobs to say — China:

‘US’ Chamber of Commerce Hosts Seminars with Chinese Government Officials To Teach American Firms How To Outsource

If you need further evidence of whose interests the heavily-funded Chamber reflexively protects, look no further:

Below is an invite to an event sponsored by the right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson, inviting local businesses in Florida to come to Jacksonville and learn about outsourcing from Chinese government officials like Li Haiyan, the Counselor for Economic Affairs for the People’s Republic of China, U.S. Chamber lobbyist Joseph Fawkner, and BChinaB, a firm that specializes in helping American firms outsource their manufacturing jobs to China.

How does this help the small businesses the Chamber repeatedly invokes whenever they are criticized?

It doesn’t.

And as the DailyKos reported today, politicians (especially Republicans) have been caught carrying the water of the Chamber and their foreign benefactors

This cannot be overstated enough: the very next day after his self-labeled “Beijing fundraiser,” [Il-R Congressman] Mark Kirk voted against closing the tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas to countries like China.



This cannot be overstated enough: the very next day after his self-labeled “Beijing fundraiser,” Mark Kirk voted against closing the tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas to countries like China.

This is –what do you call it? An issue. Democrats could run on this. If they can break the thrall of corporate cash.


October 20, 2010 Posted by | Deficit, Economics, Politics, Republicans, Unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-American Chamber

United States Chamber of Commerce logo.

Image via Wikipedia

So let me get this straight.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming out as a strong advocate for outsourcing jobs overseas — so businesses don’t have to pay Americans to do the work:

“U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Funded By Top Offshoring Companies”

As suggested by the title of this excellent ThinkProgress article, dozens of foreign companies are donating money to the Chamber, which in turn has launched a $75 million campaign to attack Democrats on the issue of — you guessed it — job policy.

In fact, there are a number of companies (listed in the article) that exist only to outsource jobs to their respective countries.

Despite the petulant denials of the Chamber, public records show that money from foreign donors IS part of $75 million aimed at bringing Democrats down.

To be clear, money from foreign companies goes into the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) account, which is the same account used to fund the attack campaign:

Chamber’s Latest Lie: Our Foreign Fundraising Program Isn’t Part Of The Chamber

On Tuesday, appearing on Fox News, Josten claimed that only 60 multinational companies are members of the Chamber, and it receives only $100,000 from its foreign affiliations. However, ThinkProgress blew this claim out of the water with proof that the Chamber is accepting at least $885,000 in direct donations from over 80 other foreign firms (in addition to the multinational members of the Chamber like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil).

The Chamber refuses to disclose who is funding the effort, preferring to operate in a cloud of secrecy. We’re just supposed to take their word that nothing hinky is going on.

Nope. Sorry, that’s not going to happen. Recent polling is showing that the American people aren’t going to take the Chamber’s word for it, either.

But an important part of the story is being missed. The Chamber boasts proudly on it’s own website of working against the interests of working Americans:

Promotions to join the Chamber have included promises that foreign firms obtain “access to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and everything that it does” as well as pledges to help the foreign firms promote free trade policies in America. Chamber staffers from the Chamber’s Business Councils have claimed they help their foreign (and domestic) members wage a “two-front battle to knock down trade barriers abroad and keep our markets open at home.” Currently, the Chamber has attacked Democratic lawmakers for resisting a free trade deal with Korea.

We have an U.S.-based organization that takes foreign money to promote anti-American trade policies and sending jobs overseas.

So, we’ll see in a few weeks how much influence this despicable organization has on the electoral process.


October 15, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Fox News, Politics, Republicans, Unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Republicans Victorious – Will Send More Jobs Overseas

An image of Joe Lieberman from http://lieberma...

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From yesterday’s Washington Post:

Anti-outsourcing bill fails in Senate

In a vote of 53 to 45, Republicans and Joe Lieberman (and four Democrats) kept the bill, which punished companies that send jobs overseas, from passing.

…Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the bill as “a purely political exercise” that never had a chance of becoming law.

This coming from someone whose party just released the “Pledge To America”.

In reality, this is the Republican game to stop the Democrats from accomplishing ANYTHING.

They don’t care who this hurts, as long as they can leverage it to try to get back into power so they can rack up the reforms and changes they achieved during the Bush years. Wait, what?

For those keeping score:

Democrats voting to block the bill were Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Max Baucus (Mont.).


September 30, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Obama, Politics, Republicans, Tax Debate, Uncategorized, Unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Austerity And Stimulus

Anti-austerity protest in Brussels on Septembe...

Image by Surat Lozowick via Flickr

One of the debates in the upcoming midterms concerns the stimulus package and whether or not it failed.

Citing no evidence (except that the economy isn’ t booming), Republicans say that the stimulus was a hands down failure.

I have written in this space before linking to articles showing that this simply isn’t true.

Unemployment numbers reported today seem to show a recovery is happening, even before significant amounts of the stimulus money have been spent.

The real debate is between a Keynesian approach to the economy and the right’s insistence on austerity measures.

A number of Paul Krugman’s recent articles have illustrated how sharp turns toward austerity in Europe have been counterproductive to recovery.

Most recently, he writes:

…mainstream macroeconomics – which suggests that we need a lot more stimulus, monetary and fiscal – has actually held up very well in this crisis; it has, above all, made the right predictions about inflation and interest rates, while the doctrines underlying the pain caucus have gotten it all wrong. Yet “serious” policy makers are rejecting the theory that works in favor of theories that don’t.

Republicans and their lapdog Democratic allies continue to push economic balderdash.

The Motley Fool website has a nice piece from August pitting Keynes against Frederich Hayek. Hayek, and his tome The Road To Serfdom have been essential touchstones for the Tea Partiers who take their marching orders from Glenn Beck.

The article, in a roundtable format contains a lot of head scratching from the various analysts, who find polite ways of saying, “are these people crazy? Austerity measures at a time like this are like economic suicide”.

An example:

We need to take all of this debt-reduction excitement and bottle it up — it’ll come in very handy a few years down the line, when the economy can better handle such measures. But for now, release the Kraken! … um, I mean, the stimulus. – Matt Koppenheffer, Fool contributor

I am not an economist, but I can see what has worked and why, and what has not. I read a lot of history.

It would have been illuminating to see what would have happened if the stimulus had been doubled. We would have  a very clear idea if the conventional wisdom holds true (as it has in case after case before).

Perhaps it would have put the final nail in the coffin of this particular bad idea — but that is likely wishful thinking.

The Great Depression sent a generation of conservatives and their failed policies into exile.

Now they’re back with a vengeance.

 Because people forget of the bitter fruits of their ideology.

Maybe someone should remind them.


September 30, 2010 Posted by | Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Obama, Republicans, Stimulus, Unemployment | Leave a comment

Unemployment Down

Here’s some good news:

Unemployment down in most metro areas, feds say

Unemployment fell in nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas last month, the broadest improvement since May.

So, something is working out there.

Let’s hope the trend continues.


September 30, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Stimulus, Unemployment | Leave a comment