- 8:31 am - Thu, Sep 8, 2011
- 71 notes
We have to realize what this country’s economy has become. Our monetary policy, through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, privatized the money supply, gathers the wealth, puts it in the hands of the few while the Federal Reserve can create money out of nothing, give it to banks to park at the Fed while our small businesses are starving for capital.
Mark my words — Wall Street cashes in whether we have a default or not. And the same type of thinking that created billions in bailouts for Wall Street and more than $1 trillion in giveaways by the Federal Reserve today leaves 26 million Americans either underemployed or unemployed. And nine out of ten Americans over the age of 65 are facing cuts in their Social Security in order to pay for a debt which grew from tax cuts for the rich and for endless wars.
There is a massive transfer of wealth from the American people to the hands of a few and it’s going on right now as America’s eyes are misdirected to the political theater of these histrionic debt negotiations, threats to shut down the government, and willingness to make the most Americans pay dearly for debts they did not create.
These are symptoms of a government which has lost its way, and they are a challenge to the legitimacy of the two-party system.
- 10:50 am - Tue, Aug 9, 2011
- 7 notes
The political system is “broken” all right, as commentators keep saying, but it is not broken in the way they contend. The problem is not that Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on enough deficit reduction. It is that one party has been taken over by extremists who seem to enjoy watching things burn, while the other party is in the hands of a president who seems clinically depressed and can’t bring himself to lead the country in a direction that defies the conventional wisdom.
- 9:54 pm - Fri, Aug 5, 2011
- 41 notes
Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues…
The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently.
Standard & Poor, explaining their decision to downgrade the credit rating of the US for the first time in history.
So let’s revisit this:
“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.” - Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell, on his party’s handling of the debt ceiling.
Was it worth it? You incorrigible bastards still wounded the hostage. And now, for acting like deadbeats, you all tarnished the full faith and credit others have in the US to make good on its obligations.
- 3:32 pm - Thu, Aug 4, 2011
- 44 notes
Former Sen. Alan Simpson told Lawrence O’Donnell it’s time to “peel all the layers of the onion” and figure out just why people seem to listen to intently to Grover Norquist.
In an interview on The Last Word tonight, Simpson noted that Norquist had challenged Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on a $6 billion cut on ethanol subsidies he had called “tax increases,” which incensed Simpson greatly. “Grover and his happy band of warriors are trying to call that a tax increase– that’s a damn lie and he knows it,” he told O’Donnell. “And if he can get away with that, elect him President.”
Simpson continued to question Norquist’s power throughout the segment, arguing that “he can’t kill you, he can’t burn your house, he can defeat you in reelection,” and if a public servant thought the latter was enough to obey him, they didn’t deserve the spot.
He also told O’Donnell several times that “if Grover Norquist is more powerful than the President of the United States and the Congress, he should run for President” … On that note, Simpson called for an investigation. “Grover Norquist should be examined into– where does he get his money?” In times where people amass so much power, he argues, it becomes necessary to “peel all the layers of the onion.” “Anytime anyone gets this powerful,” he argued, “you want to dig in… who is he slave to?”
He clarified that he did not mean “salacious stuff and his personal life,” but how Americans for Tax Reform operated and why so many people in Congress feared him, because based only on his status as leader of an anti-tax group, “you must be chicken if you fall for that crap.”
I have a soft spot for former Sen. Alan Simpson. He’s part of the Reagan era, yes, and that’s where the accelerated sell-out of my generation began. However, he also has a streak of common-sense conservatism sorely lacking in the Republican Party. He’s pro-gay rights (including marriage) and pro-choice, which puts him to the left of nearly every Republican out there.
I agree with Simpson. Let’s find out where Grover’s getting his bucks.
Yes, let’s. And we can all try to use our surprised faces if it turns out to be Koch Inc.
- 3:20 pm - Wed, Aug 3, 2011
- 88 notes
I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell, on his his party’s handling of the debt ceiling. (via officialssay)
Goddammit. Is every single session of Congress going to be like this? One day, we’ll say, “No, Mitch McConnell, you bitter, turtle-esque asshole. We know you won’t shoot the hostage.” And then one day, those batshit bastards are going to shoot.
I’m glad you learned a lesson. By flat-out stating the economy, plus the full faith and credit of the US are worth taking hostage for ransom, you have officially revoked your right to bitch when someone calls you terrorists. Who takes hostages again? Riiiiight… criminals and terrorists.
- 1:06 am
- 96 notes
How the Billionaires Broke the System
The US deficit reduction plan makes no sense – until you remember who’s behind the Tea Party movement.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 1st August 2011
There are two ways of cutting a deficit: raising taxes or reducing spending. Raising taxes means taking money from the rich. Cutting spending means taking money from the poor. Not in all cases of course: some taxation is regressive; some state spending takes money from ordinary citizens and gives it to banks, arms companies, oil barons and farmers. But in most cases the state transfers wealth from rich to poor, while tax cuts shift it from poor to rich.
So the rich, in a nominal democracy, have a struggle on their hands. Somehow they must persuade the other 99% to vote against their own interests: to shrink the state, supporting spending cuts rather than tax rises. In the US they appear to be succeeding.
Partly as a result of the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003 and 2005 (shamefully extended by Barack Obama), taxation of the wealthy, in Obama’s words, “is at its lowest level in half a century”. The consequence of such regressive policies is a level of inequality unknown in other developed nations. As the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, in the past 10 years the income of the top 1% has risen by 18%, while that of blue collar male workers has fallen by 12%.
The deal being thrashed out in Congress as this article goes to press seeks only to cut state spending. As the former Republican senator Alan Simpson says, “the little guy is going to be cremated.” That, in turn, will mean further economic decline, which means a bigger deficit. It’s insane. But how did it happen?
The immediate reason is that Republican members of Congress supported by the Tea Party movement won’t budge. But this explains nothing. The Tea Party movement mostly consists of people who have been harmed by tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for the poor and middle. Why would they mobilise against their own welfare? You can understand what is happening in Washington only if you remember what everyone seems to have forgotten: how this movement began.
On Sunday the Observer claimed that “the Tea Party rose out of anger over the scale of federal spending, and in particular in bailing out the banks.” This is what its members claim. It’s nonsense.
The movement started with Rick Santelli’s call on CNBC for a tea party of city traders to dump securities in Lake Michigan, in protest at Obama’s plan to “subsidise the losers.” In other words, it was a demand for a financiers’ mobilisation against the bail-out of their victims: people losing their homes. This is the opposite of the Observer’s story. On the same day, a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP) set up a Tea Party Facebook page and started organising Tea Party events. The movement, whose programme is still lavishly supported by AFP, took off from there.