Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’
Apropos of this, there’s this:
Fla. Medicaid Privatization Plans Moving Forward
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials said Wednesday they expect to approve Florida’s request to privatize Medicaid statewide as long as the state resolves several outstanding issues, including hiring an independent entity to monitor the process and having a robust plan to measure the quality of patient care in the controversial program.
Rick Scott, Florida’s Tea Party Governor, the guy who’s moving this along should be in prison. If you’ve got time, read this: Rick Scott’s Dirtiest Deeds.
I predict Scott will privatize Medicaid in Florida right into the hands of his hospital chain / insurance company buddies and three, four years from now the “Medicare” system in Florida will be a corrupt mess. And people will have died as a result, including Tea Partiers who voted for this narcissistic monster.
Here’s the ad ExxonMobil doesn’t want you to see:
The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built
The F-35, designed as the U.S. military’s lethal hunter for 21st century skies, has become the hunted, a poster child for Pentagon profligacy in a new era of tightening budgets. Instead of the stars and stripes of the U.S. Air Force emblazoned on its fuselage, it might as well have a bull’s-eye. Its pilots’ helmets are plagued with problems, it hasn’t yet dropped or fired weapons, and the software it requires to go to war remains on the drawing board.
That’s why when Liberman landed his F-35 before an appreciative crowd, including home-state Senator John McCain, he didn’t demonstrate its most amazing capability: landing like a helicopter using its precision-cast titanium thrust-vectoring nozzle. That trick remains reserved for test pilots, not operational plane drivers like him.
The price tag, meanwhile, has nearly doubled since 2001, to $396 billion.
Meanwhile, look at spending for education, transportation, Veterans’ benefits or health compared to the military:
When is enough, enough?
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list
They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!
To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like. Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.
“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.” Land of the free and home of the brave? No. When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.
We’re a scared bunch of sheeple. We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us. Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.
None of that was true.
Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.
Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.
Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.
And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.
They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe. But they aren’t: “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters. Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after
So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?
It’s just amazing what Republicans think is important:
During their first three weeks in power, Senate Republicans [in Washington state] have introduced bills to require parental notification for abortions, allow ranchers to kill wolves and let people ride motorcycles without a helmet.
Also on the list: plans to revamp [read, cut] workers’ compensation benefits, repeal the state’s family leave act [that, among other things, gives new parents five weeks off after the birth of a child] and assign A-F grades to public schools. There’s also talk of dumping the state employee pension system in favor of a less-expensive, 401(k)-type plan.
So, they want supposedly want to protect unborn fetuses but for people who are already born they want to increase traffic deaths and health care costs by letting people ride motorcycles without a helmet; kill wolves; cut workers’ compensation benefits; make it so folks don’t have a guaranteed leave plan so they can take time off when they or a family member needs help due to a medical problem; deprive new parents of bonding time with a new baby and make it harder for people to make ends meet in retirement.
What a vicious, hateful crowd.
Yesterday in his inaugural address, President Obama spoke directly to Mitt Romney’s VP pick and alleged Republican economic wizkid Rep. Paul Ryan (WI)
“The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
Knowing Ryan, eventually he’ll deny saying anything about “takers” because it sounds too much like Mitt’s 47 percent comment so when that happens, we can refer him to this:
Thank you Mother Jones!
According to inside Washington gossip, Congress and the president are going to do exactly what voters elected them to do; they are going to cut Social Security by 3 percent. You don’t remember anyone running on that platform? Yeah, well, they probably forgot to mention it.
Of course some people may have heard Vice President Joe Biden when he told an audience in Virginia that there would be no cuts to Social Security if President Obama got reelected. Biden said: “I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.”
But that’s the way things work in Washington. You can’t expect the politicians who run for office to share their policy agenda with voters. After all, we might not like it.
The bottom line is that President Obama and many leading Democrats are prepared to give seniors a larger hit to their income than they gave to the over $250,000 crowd. And the whole reason it is necessary is that the Wall Street types who wrecked the economy say so. Is everybody happy?
Obama. The first black Republican president.
House Republican Leaders: Our Tea Party Members Are Crazy, We Can’t Control Them So Give Them What They Want
This is what Republicans call compromise:
Republican leadership officials, in a series of private meetings and conversations this past week, warned that the White House, much less the broader public, doesn’t understand how hard it will be to talk restive conservatives off the fiscal ledge. To the vast majority of House Republicans, it is far riskier long term to pile up new debt than it is to test the market and economic reaction of default or closing down the government.
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”
For a while there I thought the idea of minting a $1 trillion dollar platinum coin, depositing it in the Treasury and getting on with life as a good way to “solve” the debt ceiling issue.
Then again, Kevin Drum says not true. It wouldn’t be a good idea to lower the country to the level the Republicans want to take it:
Fighting banana republic with more banana republic is far more dangerous than coin supporters think. It’s one thing for Republicans to go crazy. It’s another for craziness to essentially become institutionalized. When liberals stop fighting this kind of stuff, we really are on our way to banana republic-hood.
The answer to the cebt [sic] ceiling nonsense is to force Republicans back into some semblence of responsibility and prudence. In the long term, it’s the only way we survive.
Yesterday we heard AIG was considering suing
the federal government We the People because the $182 billion bailout we sprang for in 2008 had some glitches in it they’ve decided they don’t like.
Understandably, and rightly, there was a huge outcry. I particularly like this letter to AIG from Democratic Reps. Peter Welch of Vermont and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts:
According to The New York Times, AIG is actively considering suing the U.S. government for monetary damages after American taxpayers rescued your company from its reckless conduct with a $182 billion bailout.
Don’t do it.
Don’t even think about it.
AIG became the poster company for Wall Street greed, fiscal mismanagement, and executive bonuses – the taxpayer and economy be damned.
Now, AIG apparently seeks to become the poster company for corporate ingratitude and chutzpah.
Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down. Don’t rub salt in the wounds with yet another reckless decision that is on par with the reckless decisions that led to the bailout in the first place.
Anyway, to make a long story short, AIG has decided not to sue.
Hey guys, GOOD THINKIN’ for once.
Sodium dichromate is an orange-yellowish substance containing hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosion chemical. To Lt. Col. James Gentry of the Indiana National Guard, who was stationed at the Qarmat Ali water treatment center in Iraq just after the 2003 U.S. invasion, it was “just different-colored sand.” In their first few months at the base, soldiers were told by KBR contractors running the facility the substance was no worse than a mild irritant.
Gentry was one of approximately 830 service members, including active-duty soldiers and members of the National Guard and reserve units from Indiana, South Carolina, West Virginia and Oregon, assigned to secure the water treatment plant, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sodium dichromate is not a mild irritant. It is an extreme carcinogen. In November 2009, at age 52, Gentry died of cancer. The VA affirmed two months later that his death was service-related.
In November, a jury found KBR, the military’s largest contractor, guilty of negligence in the poisoning of a dozen soldiers, and ordered the company to pay $85 million in damages. Jurors found KBR knew both of the presence and toxicity of the chemical. Other lawsuits against KBR are pending.
KBR, however, says taxpayers should be on the hook for the verdict, as well as more than $15 million the company has spent in its failed legal defense, according to court documents and attorneys involved with the case.
When will the greed end?
As a point of reference, check out this article: KBR’s umbrella contract to provide everything from showers to rebuilding airfields tops $37 billion [that's with a b]. “It’s like a gigantic monopoly,” says one critic.
And now they want more. Now they want you and me to bail them out for their misconduct and negligence.
From an article titled, “The Eduction of John Boehner,” by Stephen Moore:
The debt bill is “one point of leverage,” Mr. Boehner says, but he also hedges, noting that it is “not the ultimate leverage.” He says that Republicans won’t back down from the so-called Boehner rule: that every dollar of raising the debt ceiling will require one dollar of spending cuts over the next 10 years. Rather than forcing a deal, the insistence may result in a series of monthly debt-ceiling increases.
Hell yeah. I’m sure the country would just love to go through a fight over raising the debt every freakin’ month. We ain’t got nothin’ better to do, right?
Yeah, I know that’s a bit of a shocker of a headline but look at this:
W A R
Amid violence and chaos in Syria, four hundred US troops have been deployed to Turkey with Patriot missile batteries to bolster defenses along the border. NBC’s Annabel Roberts reports.
The way this gets out of control — and fast — is, we send troops to “defend” Turkey. One U.S. soldier gets killed and suddenly we need reinforcements because that soldier shouldn’t die in vain. And then another soldier dies and we need even more troops because now we’ve lost two people and we have to justify their deaths. Then we send helicopters and tanks and we set-up camps and voila, we’ve got 5,000, 10,000, 40,000 troops there.
Syria’s President Assad is a monster and what he’s doing to his people is horrific. I get that. My problem is that suddenly we’re sliding into something that might cost us millions if not billions of dollars while the discussion on the table at home is about austerity and cutting “entitlements,” more honestly known as earned benefits working Americans have paid into.
Let’s put sending troops to Turkey on the table too. Can we afford it? How are we going to pay for another potential war? Democrats don’t want to look like they’re “weak” on defense and Republicans would love it if we ran the budget up even more because then hey, their 30-year dream of slashing those “entitlements” in order to balance the budget might finally come true.
Let’s say no for a sec until we have a national discussion about how we’re going to pay for this. I mean, do We the People have a say in this since we’re the ones who’re going to pay for it?
You’d think after the November election when Republicans were flabbergasted that Mitt Romney didn’t win, after they relied on polls done by friendly pollsters who skewed the questions to reflect well on his chances, they’d have learned a thing or two.
But no. They’re diving back into their fantasy land:
If there’s anything politicians should be extremely wary of, it’s friendly partisan polls that suggest they’ll be in great shape if only they embrace issue positions and procedural strategies that they wanted to support anyway.
And yet that’s exactly what Republicans appear to be doing with regard to the debt limit, as Jennifer Rubin reported this morning. Dave Weigel has the details about a GOP-sponsored Winston Group poll which asked about the debt limit, and which John Boehner apparently used to rally his House Republican conference. Essentially, there are three findings: respondents strongly oppose raising the debt limit; they agree even more strongly that any debt limit increase should be tied to spending cuts; and they opposed raising the debt limit even if not doing it would mean cuts in “Medicare, Education, Defense, and other government programs.”
The problem? The poll gives virtually no information at all about public opinion about a debt limit fight — or who would be blamed if the federal government defaults.
There’s basically two pieces of information in the poll. One is that raising the debt limit or debt ceiling polls badly. We know that; it’s why, before 2011, debt limit fights were mainly about making one party have to supply the votes for it. The other is that “cut spending” polls well.
Problem is, (1) most people don’t understand that raising the debt limit means writing a check for spending that congress has already approved. And (2) when you ask folks what they want to cut, they don’t want to cut the things Republicans want to cut (or abolish altogether in the end), like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
In other words, this kind of polling tells us absolutely nothing about how a real debt limit fight, much less a default, would play out in terms of public opinion. … Given that Obama is relatively popular right now while House Republicans are scraping bottom, it’s even less likely that they would win, despite what junk polling like this says about it.
So hey Republicans, keep your head up your ass and march on! Problem is, the whole country has to suffer while you fantasize, based on your GOP-friendly polling, about how you’re going to be the heroes of 2013.
I predict it ain’t gonna happen, you know, kinda like Mitt Romney’s presidency.
Take another toke guys.
I say NO NO NO to spending my tax dollars on this:
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation plans to ask lawmakers for half a million dollars to help it more quickly process the huge backlog of background checks for gun buyers that has deluged the agency for weeks.
Against this backdrop, state Rep. Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat who favors stricter restrictions on guns, suggested gun purchasers should pay a fee for the background checks, which are now done at no cost to would-be gun buyers.
“Anyone else, whether it’s a teacher or law enforcement officer, anyone else who needs a background check has to pay for it,” Levy said, “but the rest of the taxpayers are subsidizing background checks for gun buyers.”
In November, it took an average of 23 minutes for a person buying a gun in Colorado to get a state-required criminal-background check.
A month later, the wait time for a background check has stretched to nearly seven days as the CBI struggles with the backlog of more than 11,000 applications.
The “wait time for a background check has stretched to nearly seven days.” Seven days? Poor babies. So the fu*k what. Will someone — anyone — please explain to me why that’s a problem?
The folks at the top seem to live in their own world to such an extent they have no notion whatsoever of the concept of the appearance of impropriety:
Taxpayers footed the bill for a $465 million loan to troubled electric carmaker Tesla as part of President Barack Obama’s “green energy” stimulus. But Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is now riding high with the purchase of his new $17 million mansion.
Mr. Musk’s 20,248-square-foot hilltop mansion boasts breathtaking views, a two-story library with rolling ladder, a home theater, and a five-car garage to house his taxpayer-subsidized, pricey Tesla vehicles.
In September, the New York Times reported that Tesla had burned through cash and missed production targets, raising “questions about the long-term viability of the company” and igniting “ criticism of the government’s energy loan program, which has been heavily promoted by the Obama administration.” But Tesla says it has begun making payments on its government loan ahead of schedule.
It’s possible Musk wouldn’t have been able to afford a $17 million mansion if it weren’t for the government loan, i.e., a loan consisting of our tax dollars. Then again, maybe he could. I’d like to know the details.
FBI Investigated ‘Occupy’ As Possible ‘Terrorism’ Threat, Internal Documents Show
According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a “criminal activity” or even “domestic terrorism.”
According to the documents, the FBI coordinated extensively with private companies, including banks, that feared they could be affected by Occupy protests. Occupy, which took root in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September 2011 and spread to cities across the country, targeted corporations and other forces it believed to perpetuate social inequality. The FBI’s investigation included the movement’s manifestations in New York; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and Memphis, Tenn., among others.
According to the new documents, the FBI began meeting with representatives of the New York Stock Exchange and other businesses as early as August 2011, a month before the Zuccotti Park protests.
I get it. The FBI is protecting the corporatocracy. Tea Partiers are essentially on the side of the corporatocracy, so they’re good.
earned benefits “entitlements” on the table and guess what happens:
For the life of me I can’t understand why Obama isn’t protecting the big three — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — programs which Americans love and hold dear.
There are now multiple press reports that President Obama will agree to a fiscal deal that enacts a so-called “Chained CPI” to calculate Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Under this plan, beneficiaries would get cuts in their cost of living adjustments. Outraged Congressional Democrats have been speaking out for days against these cuts.
The cuts to Social Security benefits under such a recalculation would amount to about $112 billion over ten years.
Let’s put this in perspective. In the offer Obama gave to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), he also put $100 billion of Pentagon spending cuts on the table for the same period.
That means that Obama offered to cut a program that doesn’t add a penny to the deficit — Social Security — by more than the single largest drain on discretionary spending, the Pentagon.
Label me one of those “outraged Democrats.”
“Beneficiaries would get cuts in their cost of living adjustments?” A Social Security recipient called in to a radio show I was listening to yesterday and said her last cost of living “raise” was $30.00. $30.00. $30.00 a year.
Hey, I have an idea; how about we cut military bands?
The Defense Department could be shelling out nearly $50 billion in the next 50 years for its military bands, a prominent defense analyst says, a figure that could raise eyebrows amid Washington’s new climate of fiscal restraint.
“The nation’s military services really are going to spend over $25 billion on music bands in the coming years,” Lexington Institute COO and industry consultant Loren Thompson said.
After adjusting that figure for inflation and other factors, Thompson projects the nominal costs of the bands will approach $50 billion — a price tag he derided as “ridiculous.”
The nation’s ground service has 35 active-duty bands, 18 Army Reserve bands and over 50 made up of Army National Guard groups, according to the site.
The Air Force has at least 15 bands, 11 regionally organized Air National Guard groups and at least one Air Force Reserve band, according to the Air Force Bands Program website.
I could have sworn we just had an election during which the American people were crystal clear about this:
CBS poll: 69 percent of Americans, and 51 percent of Republicans, support tax hikes on those over $250,000. And yet here we [as in Obama] are, debating over whether they should go up on those over $400,000, or over $1 million.
Off the top of my head I’m thinking George Bush’s off-the-books war on Iraq, the Republican’s prescription drug program, tax cuts for the rich, the Department of Homeland Security that was a bazillion dollar give-away to defense contractors and Afghanistan. But what does Washington want to do to “balance the budget?” Cut the
entitlements benefits We the People have paid into all our working lives:
And there’s this: White House won’t rule out age increase for Medicare.
Check out this tweet (my Tweet of the Day) from Greg Sargent over at the Washington Post:
He’s exactly right. On March 29, 2012, Republicans passed “the Ryan Plan” which included cuts to Medicare. Then, during the summer and fall, especially after Romney picked Ryan as his VP, they ran as far away from the Ryan Plan as they could. Now they want Democrats to do their dirty work for them and propose cuts to Medicare so they can get what they want (Medicare cuts) but blame the Democrats when We the People go nuts.
Hopefully (and that’s a big hopefully) the Democrats aren’t stupid enough to fall for it. They own Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and people love those things. If they propose serious cuts, Republicans will use it against them for decades.
“Some say” as many as 10,000 people could demonstrate today on the lawn of the Michigan State Capitol in opposition to the “right to work
for less” law rammed through the state legislature by Republicans over the last few days.
This morning, the Detroit Free Press reports that:
Riot gear was stockpiled in a back room at the Capitol on Monday as State Police prepared for what’s expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in Lansing history today, as the House takes up right-to-work legislation.
Officials were also seen Monday briefing more than a dozen undercover officers — dressed as working people in jeans and ball caps — on how to blend in with the crowd today and respond to any trouble or suspicious activity.
“Because of lessons learned in Wisconsin and Ohio, we are taking precautions,” including riot gear that will only be used if needed, said Inspector Gene Adamczyk. “The State Police have come here prepared.”
Corporations love “right to work” laws because they tend to cause wages to fall overall, making it so they get to keep more of their profit. Republicans love the laws because they weaken unions, who tend to mobilize and vote Democratic. So what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Michigan State Police being used to beat back We the People on behalf of those two interests.
USA! USA! USA!
Today, in an appearance on Fox, Republican Lindsey Graham (S.C.) threatened not to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama and Democrats agree to cut
entitlements benefits Americans have paid into all their working lives.
Really? What a winning strategy!
Raising the debt ceiling means voting to pay for the things congress has already agreed to “buy” or to fund. Not raising the debt ceiling would be like writing a bunch of checks and then telling your bank to STOP PAYMENT on them, meanwhile you still have the stuff you bought. You have to pay sometime right? Or return the stuff.
Hopefully the “liberal media” will explain this simple fact at some point.
Watch this: Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale, narrated by Ed Asner. (It’s very good.)
Don’t do it!
Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West.
If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some Key West residents worry, though, that not enough research has been done to determine the risks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes might pose to the Keys’ fragile ecosystem.
The trial planned by mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity.
Oh great. The males “pass along a birth defect…” What could possibly go wrong?
I apologize but I have to break my vow not to put up another post about the faux life-as-we-know-it-could-come-to-an-end crisis known as the “fiscal cliff.” These two short paragraphs from the wonderful Frank Rich are, well, too rich to pass up:
The fiscal cliff talks are (surprise, surprise) at an impasse. President Obama has now rejected the GOP’s latest uncompromising compromise and insisted that he won’t make a deal unless tax rates on the top 2 percent rise. How do you see this standoff playing out?
The breathless and phony countdown to the fiscal cliff — What if they can’t agree? What if we fall off? Can America possibly survive? — is media hype, a desperate effort to drum up a drama to keep viewers and readers tuned in now that the election is over. It’s a Road Runner cartoon, Beltway-edition. And it’s going to end with a whimper like the similarly apocalyptic, now long-forgotten Y2K scare of the turn of the millennium.
The thing is, all this faux drama on the part of the media is having the opposite effect on me. I can’t stand it anymore. I’m turning the TV off and I hope other people are too. It’d be nice to send them a message — via their ratings — that we aren’t THAT stupid.
Dean Baker is my go-to guy when it comes to the economy and financial stuff. Here’s what he has to say about the ridiculous “fiscal cliff” issue that the media is obsessing about:
Extreme opponents of abortion sometimes refer to obstetricians who perform abortions as “baby killing doctors.” The media do not adopt this language in their coverage of the debate over abortion, and instead use more neutral language.
Unfortunately the media do not feel the same need for objectivity elsewhere. Many of the country’s most important news outlets openly embrace the agenda of the rich and powerful, allowing this agenda to color its coverage of major economic issues.
This is perhaps nowhere better demonstrated than in its coverage of the current budget standoff between President Obama and Congress, which the media routinely describe as the “fiscal cliff.” This terminology seriously misrepresents the nature of the budget dispute as everyone in the debate acknowledges. There is no “cliff” currently facing the budget or the economy.
If there is no deal reached this year then on January 1, daily tax withholdings will rise by average of about $4 per person. Any money actually deducted from pay checks will be refunded if a deal is subsequently reached that returns tax rates to 2012 levels. Government spending probably won’t change at the start of the new year since President Obama has considerable discretion over the flow of spending. No one can think that this modest increase in tax withholdings would plunge the economy into a recession, but the Wall Street types seeking to dismantle Social Security and Medicare have used their enormous wealth and their allies in the media to generate precisely this fear across the country.
One way in which they have pushed this recession fear has been to misuse projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO’s projections show that if higher tax rates and lower spending are left in place for the whole year then it will substantially slow growth and push the economy into a recession.
However, these projections explicitly assume that we go a whole year without reaching a deal. They say nothing about what happens if we get a deal by the second or third week of January.
The other deception that the Wall Street types have used to push their Social Security and Medicare cutting agenda is to claim that the markets [as in Wall Street] are demanding that these programs be cut.
In short, major national news outlets have adopted wholesale the agenda of a Wall Street elite that displays zero evidence of any understanding of what drives the economy. Their assertions that the markets will panic without a budget deal that cuts Social Security and Medicare has no apparent foundation in reality. It is just a threat that they have concocted to advance their agenda. Now that would make for a very good news story.
And with that, this will be the last thing I post about this fake “crisis.”
The Nation is out with a detailed expose about CEOs who are slinking around Washington these days trying to convince Republicans and Democrats alike to sprinkle fairy dust over them and to screw the rest of us:
A merry band of corporate executives is zig-zagging Washington today, meeting with almost every principal player in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The CEOs are meeting with administration officials at the White House, with House Speaker John Boehner, and with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Key planks of their proposals, explicitly articulated by the Fix the Debt campaign [love the deceitful names these folks come up with] and other industry coalitions pushing for a deal, include a lower corporate tax rate—even though many of these companies pay little or no corporate taxes as it is. Then there’s a territorial tax system, which would allow corporations that have profits parked overseas to bring them back home without paying any taxes. (Right now, they’d be obligated to pay the normal 35 percent corporate tax on those profits if they were repatriated). Some, but not all, of the CEOs also want the Bush tax rates extended for all earners.
To put a finer point on it, here is what the nine CEOs tooling around Washington today stand to gain in the fiscal cliff negotiations—how much their company would gain from a territorial tax system, and how much the individual CEO would gain if the Bush rates on top earners are extended.
Read more here. See what the honchos at the likes of Coca-Cola, Aetna, Allstate, Home Depot and Yahoo want and how much they already have. Bottom line: THEY WANT MORE!