Truth is stranger than Fiction
This is link to a file of the opening remarks by Senator Carl Levin and testimony made to the committee investigating
Note in 10 years the $100 Billion per year would result in increased revenues of $1 Trillion or about two thirds of the program cuts the Congressional 'Super' committee is charged with coming up with!
TAX HAVEN BANKS AND U.S. TAX COMPLIANCE
Each year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion from U.S. taxpayers using
offshore tax schemes to dodge their U.S. tax obligations. Those offshore shenanigans cheat
honest U.S. taxpayers who pay their fair share and rob the U.S. Treasury of funds needed for the
operations of our government.
This Subcommittee has dedicated significant effort to combating offshore tax abuse.
We’ve exposed some of the facilitators – the lawyers, accountants, broker-dealers, company
formation agents, trust administrators, and others that help clients dodge their U.S. tax
obligations. We’ve exposed some of the schemes, such as mass marketed tax shelters peddled as
investment strategies, networks of offshore trusts and corporations with hidden assets, phony
offshore stock portfolios used to offset real income, and deceptive offshore transactions used to
recast taxable income as allegedly tax free payments.
First, let’s examine the UBS case. UBS is headquartered in Switzerland and is one of the
largest banks in the world. During our July hearing, UBS admitted publicly for the first time that
an estimated 19,000 U.S. clients had opened UBS accounts in Switzerland with nearly $18
billion in assets that were not disclosed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Since then, new evidence suggests that there may be far more than 19,000 U.S. clients
with hidden accounts at that Swiss bank. A 2004 UBS internal report, which was introduced in
court by the United States and we’ve marked as Hearing Exhibit 12, analyzes the U.S. client
accounts opened in Switzerland.
“The number of account relationships in WM&BB in Switzerland with US residents
where the account holder has not provided a W-9 is approximately 52,000 (representing
CHF 17 billion” – which means 17 billion Swiss francs” -- in assets).”
“WM&BB” stands for the Wealth Management and Business Banking group at UBS in
Switzerland. A “W-9” is the form that is supposed to be filed with the bank by an accountholder
who is a U.S. person. The reference to “account relationships” leaves it unclear whether UBS
had 19,000 U.S. clients, as UBS estimated in July, many of whom may have had multiple
accounts; or whether it had 52,000 U.S. clients; or some number in between. We hope to clear
up that issue today.
UBS also admitted during our July hearing that, for years, its Swiss bankers had made a
practice of traveling to the United States to search out new clients and service existing clients,
even though its Swiss bankers were not licensed to provide banking or securities services while
in the United States.
Despite those admitted facts, UBS refuses to turn over the vast majority of the names of
the U.S. persons with whom they schemed to defraud the United States. UBS and Switzerland
justify that refusal by invoking Swiss secrecy laws. They say the United States should use the
tax treaty process instead, but that won’t help, because the Swiss have interpreted the treaty to
deny information requests about potential tax cheats whose names are unknown. And why are
those names unknown? Swiss secrecy laws.
As a first step, Congress should enact the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, S. 506, which I
and my colleagues introduced earlier this week and which the Obama Administration endorsed
yesterday through Treasury Secretary Geithner.
This bill offers powerful new tools to detect and stop offshore tax offenders, including by
ending the Ugland House scam that allows phony offshore shell corporations operated from the
United States to dodge U.S. taxes, permitting the establishment of legal presumptions that can be
used to combat offshore secrecy, authorizing special measures against financial institutions or
countries that impede U.S. tax enforcement, requiring third-party disclosures of offshore
transactions, extending the deadline for assessing taxes in offshore cases from 3 to 6 years, and
closing a raft of offshore tax loopholes.
There are also actions that the Obama Administration can take to clamp down on offshore
tax abuses, without waiting for legislation. The Administration could, for example, establish a
special enforcement unit to handle the hundreds if not thousands of prosecutions likely to result
from the UBS case alone and to initiate proceedings against other tax haven banks. That
enforcement unit would send the message that the UBS tax scofflaws are not going to get off
scot free, and no tax haven bank account is free from risk.
The Administration could also become an active participant in ongoing international
efforts to penalize offshore jurisdictions that facilitate tax evasion. Efforts by the G20 group of
nations to coordinate action against offshore tax havens are gaining steam in anticipation of the
G20 meeting in April, but the United States has so far been largely silent. It is time for the
United States to become a leader, not a follower, in international efforts to develop a list of
uncooperative tax havens and to develop a toolbox of penalties to be imposed on those who
impede tax enforcement.
Offshore tax abuses are burning a $100 billion hole in the U.S. budget. While the Justice
Department and the IRS are to be commended for their creative and tenacious efforts in the UBS
case, no one should think for a moment that the offshore tax battle is over, even if the IRS wins
its lawsuit. Despite UBS’ being caught red-handed and admitting wrongdoing, the Swiss
Government is fighting the John Doe summons and defending Swiss secrecy. The president of
the Swiss Bankers Association, Konrad Hummler, told the press that, “The large majority of
foreign investors with money placed in Switzerland evade taxes,” but showed no regret that
Swiss financial institutions are facilitating that tax evasion – quite the contrary since tax evasion
is not a crime in Switzerland. And Switzerland is just one of 50 tax havens battling to keep
offshore secrecy laws in place.
Now, I don't know what has become of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, S. 506, but in this Corporate Lobbyist Party impaired Congress, I doubt if it's gotten very far. This bill would not increase anybody's taxes. It is just intended to help enforce the current laws on the books - especially with regard to Buckaneer Banks like UBS!
"What happened to Obama?"
...when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.
The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history was his handling of the stimulus. The public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led. Yet instead of indicting the economic policies and principles that had just eliminated eight million jobs, in the most damaging of the tic-like gestures of compromise that have become the hallmark of his presidency — and against the advice of multiple Nobel-Prize-winning economists — he backed away from his advisers who proposed a big stimulus, and then diluted it with tax cuts that had already been shown to be inert. The result, as predicted in advance, was a half-stimulus that half-stimulated the economy. That, in turn, led the White House to feel rightly unappreciated for having saved the country from another Great Depression but in the unenviable position of having to argue a counterfactual — that something terrible might have happened had it not half-acted.
To the average American, who was still staring into the abyss, the half-stimulus did nothing but prove that Ronald Reagan was right, that government is the problem. In fact, the average American had no idea what Democrats were trying to accomplish by deficit spending because no one bothered to explain it to them with the repetition and evocative imagery that our brains require to make an idea, particularly a paradoxical one, “stick.” Nor did anyone explain what health care reform was supposed to accomplish (other than the unbelievable and even more uninspiring claim that it would “bend the cost curve”), or why “credit card reform” had led to an increase in the interest rates they were already struggling to pay. Nor did anyone explain why saving the banks was such a priority, when saving the homes the banks were foreclosing didn’t seem to be. All Americans knew, and all they know today, is that they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job. And now the Republicans are chipping away at unemployment insurance, and the president is making his usual impotent verbal exhortations after bargaining it away.
The average voter is far more worried about jobs than about the deficit, which few were talking about while Bush and the Republican Congress were running it up. The conventional wisdom is that Americans hate government, and if you ask the question in the abstract, people will certainly give you an earful about what government does wrong. But if you give them the choice between cutting the deficit and putting Americans back to work, it isn’t even close. But it’s not just jobs. Americans don’t share the priorities of either party on taxes, budgets or any of the things Congress and the president have just agreed to slash — or failed to slash, like subsidies to oil companies. When it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy, Americans are united across the political spectrum, supporting a message that says, “In times like these, millionaires ought to be giving to charity, not getting it.”
Last night, Charlie Rose had Drew Weston, Fareed Zakaria, and Jonathan Chait on to 'discuss' Weston's article. It was, for the most part, Zakariah taking up about 65% of the air time, basically saying Weston didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. At one point Zakariah, resorted to sarcasm, when he said(not an exact quote): "It always amuses me when academics who have never run for any office, opine about 'what could have been done' by a particular politician". Weston was given a few minutes by Rose to speak, but it seemed like Zakaria had about six times the amount of air time as Weston.
Zakaria took great exception to Weston's thesis - that if Obama had been more committed or fought with more conviction for stronger legislative initiatives (e.g. a bigger stimulus) that he might have gotten better results. Zakaris held out that there is NO Way the approach Weston was talking about could have produced better results than what Obama got.
It seems to me, Weston was just pointing out that Obama ruled out, let's say, a more committed approach as not feasible - before even giving it a try. on the other hand, Zakaria by saying there's 'no way' a more committed or aggressive approach would have gotten better results than the "Please suh, can have some more?" approach Obama has employed, is making a much more sweeping statement than Weston is.
People, when confronted by difficult challenges, have always been subject to descending into ignorance. This has been the challenge to society ever since it was initiated by huddling humans.
Without a rational approach to problem solving, whenever men are driven by fear to fall back on superstition and suspicion of what is new, losing confidence in their ability to cope with the challenges to be faced, human society has suffered. We all have a very human weakness - for wanting to avoid solving hard problems and to withdraw into obsessive insistence on long held prejudices and beliefs. When traumatized people engage in repetitive (autistic-like) behavior. You see people insisting on simple, reassuring practices and beliefs. Repetitive chanting of slogans and demanding unswerving loyalty to simple, absolute rules as 'solutions', encompasses the full range of political expression of this fearful crowd. It's a flight from difficulties, wishing they would just 'go away. Holding out hope that chanting magical words will drive the demons away.
But does this mean America is descending into a Dark Age of stupitiy and fear, i.e. Conservatism? I believe, fortunately, things are not as bad as is postulated by some. Note that a CBS poll on the Debt Ceiling Debate, revealed that 66% of respondents said they wanted a balanced debt ceiling agreement with as much revenue increases as program cuts. So you see (to borrow from Mark Twain), rumors of the death of rational thought in America ... are exaggerated.
Now the poll revealed that there is an indication of an inward turning, autisic kind of ignorance among a portion of those polled who only wanted cuts and no revenue increases. But I believe this ignorance has been given larger voice by President Obama's unwillingness (or inability), since coming into office, to vigorously 'Fight the Good Fight' against stupidity, and the relentless use of disinformation by the Corporate Lobbyist party. This sort of behaviour on the President's part, only encourages bad behaviour by the con men and 'acting-out' by the fearful, childish, the easily lead. It is childish fear which is really the basis of the ignorance which leads those so emotionally disabled to stubbornly hold out agaist all rational argument and evidence, which establishes the invalidity of their beliefs. They hold, obdurately, to their non-reality based beliefs (an emotional blanket, ala Linus) despite all evidence of their irrelevance.
But I believe there have always been times when a segment of the population which has always been out of touch with how things really work, get more agitated (not just when the moon is full). At such times they act out, with much shouting and noise-making (perhaps out of a desire to drive off the 'bad spirits' which frighten them). They cause much contumely and garner no small amount of attention (especially from vapid corporate media types). But after a time, the novelty wears off. People grow tired of their repetitive tantrums. And losing the attention they so desperately want, they wander off, muttering to themselves. Leaving the problems to be solved (and often the mess to be cleaned up) by more sober personalities.
Yes, the ignorant can disrupt things for a while. But I do not believe we are headed for a new Dark Ages. This too, will pass, .... like a difficult bowel movement.
Poll: Debt ceiling deal should include cuts and tax increases
By: CNN's Rebecca Stewart
(CNN)-As the debt ceiling clock ticks down, a new poll indicates that more Americans favor a balanced approach to reaching a deal resolving the nation's budget deficit.
According to a CBS News Poll released Monday, 66 percent of Americans say an agreement to raise the amount of money the nation can borrow should include both spending cuts and tax increases.
More than half of Republicans say the agreement should be balanced and roughly seven out of ten Democrats and independents say the same. More tea party supporters also agree, since 53 percent say any deal should include both spending cuts and tax increases.
Republicans and adults who identify with the tea party are more likely than Democrats or independents to support a plan that only includes spending cuts. Almost four in 10 Republicans favor using spending cuts alone to reduce the deficit and 44 percent of tea party supporters agree. Twenty percent of Democrats would leave tax increases out of a debt ceiling deal and include cuts only; 28 percent of independents say the same.
Food is becoming more expensive around the world. In fact, world food prices rose to near a record high this April as grain costs continued to increase. The cost of living in the U.S. has been rising at its fastest pace since December 2009, and Chinese consumer prices have been going up at their fastest rate since 2008.
One reason for the rise in food prices is Wall Street greed. In 1991, bankers at Goldman Sachs came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, including food products, as part of a single mathematical formula they called the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).
The problem came in 1999, when the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets, and bankers could take as large a position in grains as they liked -- something which had been forbidden to all but those actually involved in food production since the Great Depression.
Actually NYT, it wasn't 1999 - it was around Dec 15, 2000 just before the Congress's Christmas Break was to begin. Phil Gramm slipped the Commodities Futures Modernization act (well, it was supposed to be called that but Graham couldn't get it out of commitee, because Democrats were suspicious of it and wouldn't vote it out of committee) it in as a rider to the must pass 11,000 page, Omnibus Funding bill. This was Congresses last chance to pass it to keep the government funded. It was a fool proof move by Phil Gramm. Nobody even knew the CFMA was in there.
By December 2001, however, a different narrative of events emerged that has become widespread. Audio and NPR Transcript for Terry Gross Interview of Frank Partnoy, “Fresh Air,” March 25, 2009 (“Partnoy Fresh Air Interview”) (at 19’30” into the audio Professor Partnoy describes the CFMA by stating “Phil Gramm added the provision in the evening, just hours before the Christmas break. It was never debated in the House. It was never debated in the Senate. It was shoved into an 11,000 page omnibus budget bill.”
The top one percent of households received 21.8 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005, more than double what that figure was in the 1970s. (The top one percent's share of total income bottomed out at 8.9 percent in 1976.) This is the greatest concentration of income since 1928, when 23.9 percent of all income went to the richest one percent. (Piketty and Saez)
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) has proposed a millionaires surtax & ending tax breaks for Oil companies
as a way of helping to reduce the deficit.
"It would be morally wrong for the United States to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our society while asking nothing from the wealthiest," Sen. Bernie Sanders said. That's why he proposed a surtax on millionaires and eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil. He talked about the proposal in an interview Monday with radio host Ed Schultz.
A 5.4 percent surtax on adjusted gross incomes over $1 million would raise as much as $50 billion a year. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published last week showed overwhelming support for that concept.
Ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies could raise another $3.5 billion a year.
If you think it's worth your time, you might email your Senators along with Harry Reid urging they support Sanders proposed legislation. They have to support this bill for it to be put to a vote in the Senate. I personally believe it would be good to give the GOPers the opportunity to show how serious they are about reducing the deficit by voting FOR passage of this bill. Of course, if they don't vote for it, it shows they are more interested in cutting programs they abhor (government help for those who aren't likely sources for campaign contributions or cushie jobs when they retire - yuk!) and killing off any recovery to the REPUBLICAN DEPRESSION (aka the TRICKLE DOWN - DEREGULATION DISASTER) so they can campaign in 2012 claiming Obama and the Dems don't know how to run an economy.
... praise goes to Sanders for trying to do the obviously right thing by proposing a revenue bill as another way to reduce the deficit - at least brought up for a vote.
If you think Sanders has a worthy idea with his surtax on millionaires why not email or call your Senators and Harry Reid to urge that they support his proposed legislation. With a vote on this bill the Republicans would be able to show just how serious they are about reducing the deficit.
Congress.org makes it easy to email your Senators/Representatives Just enter your zip code in the input field next to: "Find your lawmakers, tell them what you think." and click on "GO" and it will bring up your senators and representative. you just enter your message in a text input field and they send the email for you (you have the chance to look it over and edit it first).
I asked here:
if DUers thought it was worth sending an email urging Senators to amend the budget bill passed by the House to repeal the tax cuts extension for the top income categories, that was extorted out of President Obama in Dec of last year, to save the Unemployment Benefits extension for the millions put out of work by the Republican policies.
In the interest of persuasion I offer this article by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities on how ineffectual tax cuts for the top earners are.....
Letting High-Income Tax Cuts Expire Is Proper Response to Nation’s Short- and Long-Term Challenges - CBPP
Extending High-Income Tax Cuts the Least Effective Stimulus Option
Given the economy’s present weakness, some argue that now is not the time to allow the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high-income households to expire. But analysis in a recent CBO report decisively refutes this argument.<1> CBO examined 11 options to stimulate growth and job creation and found that extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in general came in last in effectiveness. <2> CBO concluded that a job-creation tax credit, funds to help states balance their budgets with fewer cuts in services and tax increases, and extended unemployment insurance benefits would all generate more jobs and growth on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Furthermore, CBO indicated that extending the tax cuts for high-income households in particular would rate even lower in effectiveness than extending all of the tax cuts. This is because, as CBO explained, “higher-income households … would probably save
HEre's the CBO's anlaysis of the Economic impact of various expenditures and tax cuts in the ARRA:
Estimate of the economic effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, Public Law 111-5) - Congressional Budget Office
Table 1.The Estimated Impact Of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Output and the Budgetary Costs, 2009 to 2019 - displying the page showing Transfers to Persons and Tax Cuts to Lower and Middle Income People and Tax Cuts to Higher Income People
to give Corporate Lobbyists a chance to show if they are serious about Deficit Reduction.
This idea was first mentioned here:
I thought it was a good idea... to reduce the deficit $100 Billion in two years, Senate Dems should propose an amendment to repeal the tax cut extensions Obama was forced to agree to in December to extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits to those put out of work by the Republicans. The GOP extorted these egregious tax cut extensions (and the new one for estate taxes) out of the President because not giving them what they demanded would have meant the Great Recession would have become the Second Great Depression in relatively short order. President Obama was not in any place to argue with them. but now the Democrats should bring this up as a way to deal with the deficit:
.... Repeal the Tax cut to the top two income categories
.... repeal the tax cut for capital gains
....repeal the egregious cuts to the estate tax.
Now, the Corporate Lobbyists will scream these cuts are needed to foster investment in businesses. The answer to that is that companies are sitting on $3 Trillion in CASH and not hiring. They don't need additional investors, they need paying customers!
As was stated in referenced post, this would give the Republicans a chance to show (with a VOTE) how serious they are about reducing the deficit .... or if they are really just trying to kill the recovery to the REPUBLICAN DEPRESSION. These tax cuts put in place by the Corporate Lobbyist Party during the Cheney Regime, never should have been passed in the first place and helped contribute to our current deficit problem.
Every night on Corporate Media the only thing you hear is How much to cut and what programs to cut... Democrats never bring up the option of increasing revenues ... in particular by taking back tax cuts that helped to create this deficit problem. This amendment would at least give those on tv another option to talk about ..and whether the Republicans are serious about doing something about the deficit. Are they willing to give up the Deficit creating tax cuts they put in place in the first place (55% of which went to the top few percent, in terms of income, of taxpayers)?
The question is, do DUers think it's worth sending an email andor making a phone call to their Senators (the budget bill passed by the House with $61 Billion in program cuts, is now being considered by the Senate) to tell them to repeal these deficit fueling tax cuts, extorted from the President? Repealing these tax cuts would make the program cuts unnecessary and produce a greater reduction to the deficit.
I have called and emailed (not just my Senators but also Reid and others who I think are more willing to stand up and fight Corporate Lobbyist party). I know some may think it's better to lie down and play dead and hope the GOPers will leave them alone. I know that's what they say you should do when encountering a bear, but the Corporate Lobbyist Partiers are not nearly as humane as bears. This approach, I feel, only invites destruction of the Government... or at least a democratic government.
So, what do DUers think? worth sending an email? ... making a phone call? or just feel like laying down and playing dead?
For those who think it's worth it congress.org makes it easy to send an email. Just enter your zip and it brings up your representatives and Senators and you can enter you message into a text input field and they send the email for you. For Senators other than yours (e.g. Harry Reid) you'll have to get his email address and actually send him an email the conventional way.
Sample email to Senators:
"I am writing to urge you to submit a bill/amendment to repeal the tax cuts extorted from President Obama in order to buy Republican support of Unemployment Benefits extension in December 2010. These tax cuts contributed to our current deficit situation and should be repealed before any cuts to needed programs are considered.
With the vote on this bill, the public will be given a chance to see how serious the Republicans are about reducing the deficit or if their intentions are just to kill the incipient recovery to the Republican Depression."
...this is just a sample. Others may want to make additions or write their own and can perhaps come up with something better. Just remember, it's good to keep it short and 'sweet'. The most important thing is to send something (and, while your at it, make a phone-call).
.... hope a few of you are 'with me' on this!
Waiting 20 years to get some results will mean we'll never get Global Warming under control. As the permafrost defrosts and organic matter begins to decay the quantity of methane will be so great no amount of CO2 reduction will be enough to counter-act the impact of the decaying organic matter in the permafrost. You could get 100% reduction of CO2e emissions and it would not matter. Global Warming will be beyond our ability it slow it down once a certain fraction of the permafrost is defrosting.
"Within 15-20 years, Schaefer said, enough carbon dioxide and methane will be seeping from soggy permafrost to turn the entire Arctic into a global source of carbon, reversing the region's current status as a carbon sink."
This is why we can't afford to wait for electric cars (including standard hybrids) to make their reductions to GHG emissions from the transportation sector. It will be 20 years before any appreciable reductions can be realized with electric cars.
cf: Cost and timeline for the Volt to cut our gas consumption. - (my prediction from July 2008)
...for the Volt to save the amount of gas equalling 3% of the total gasoline consumption it will take 19 years if you assume 100 mpg avg for the Volt, 100,000 initial sales and 20% annual sales growth.... I computed a number of Volts on the road at about 15.6 million which, if you assumed 250 million cars as the total fleet at that time, would be 6.2% of the fleet.
and from Oct/Nov 2010 ... Bloomberg New Energy and J.D. Powers forecast plug-in electric vehicles could account for up to 9% of US auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 -
PHEVs forecast to be 9% of New Car SALES (not % of fleet) by 2020; 22% of sales in 2030
Plug-in EVs Could Comprise 9% of U.S. New Car Sales by 2020, Bloomberg Study Says
.......To convert this to some GHG reduction WAGS ..3% to 4% GHG reduction for personal transportation
NOw if we hit 22% of SALES in 2030. perhaps that would mean electrics (hybrids and PHEVs) might be (just guessing here) perhaps 5.5% to 7% of the entire fleet (let's assume all the electrics sold over the 20 year period are still on the road by 2030. NOw, again a WAG here, it Hybids and PHEVs were on average getting a 60% reduction of GHGs(vs today's typical gas powered ICE)...( and I think this is being fairly optimistic considering that about 50% of our power comes from coal and there won't be that much reduction in the use of coal for power in 20 yrs) that would mean all electrics and hybrids would be achieving a GHG reduction for the personal transportation sector of about 3% to 4%.
You can replace the fuel faster than you can replace the cars that burn the fuel.
Would a Democratic president be insane to propose such a thing? Not at all. In fact, polls show an increasing portion of the electorate angry with an insider “establishment” – on Wall Street, in corporate suites, and in Washington – that’s been feathering its nest at the public’s expense. The Tea Party is but one manifestation of a widening perception that the game is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.
More importantly, it will soon become evident to most Americans that the only way to reduce the budget deficit, preserve programs deemed essential by the middle class, and not raise taxes on the middle, is to tax the top.
In fact, a Democratic president should propose a major permanent tax reduction on the middle class and working class. I suspect most of the public would find this attractive. But here again, the only way to accomplish this without busting the bank is to raise taxes on the rich.
Republicans have done a masterful job over the last thirty years convincing the public that any tax increase on the top is equivalent to a tax increase on everyone — selling the snake oil of “trickle down economics” and the patent lie that most middle-class people will eventually become millionaires. A Democratic president would do well to rebut these falsehoods by proposing a truly progressive tax.
Question, would Obama embrace this practical and much needed solution to not only work down the budget deficit but also increase our economy's rate of growth? Businesses are not going to make enough money to add/create additional jobs unless there is a large enough number of consumers with money enough to drive sales revenues to the point where adding workers is desirable to businesses and to enable them to make the profits needed to invest in new plant and equipment.
YOu can't have a growing economy unless an adequately large part of the population has enough money to create sufficient demand to lead to business expansion. We do not need more investment (companies are sitting on about
Mr. President you are not making the case for this like you should be.
Mr. Obama went to the Chamber of Commerce a couple days ago reportedly to mend some fences with that body of corporate interest. It was an effort to mend fences and to make friends. I really wish he had included something like the following in his comments..
"I've heard it said that I am 'considered' 'anti-business'. Really?? I am 'anti-business'? Now, help me out here fellas, was it anti-business to bail out Wall Street banks so the Deregulation Disaster didn't become The Great Depression II? .. now, to be accurate here we must not forget my predecessor actually began the TARP, I just continued it, but I share responsibility for it. ....was THAT anti-business?
...and re-establishing Banking Industry regulations to keep bankers from running themselves out of business (betting other peoples money on things they didn't even understand) and causing another Credit Collapse....was THAT anti-business??
Was it anti-business when I approved loans and equity injections to keep General Motors and Chrysler from falling victim to the Trickle Down Disaster (and I did this over heated objections from certain Republicans who thought I should let GM and Chrysler fall into bankruptcy) which would have most assuredly sent us into a second Great Depression, as well as terminated the American automotive industry. Was THAT anti-business??
You know, I have a responsibility to the citizens of our nation to work to avoid economic catastrophes and to try to fix those like the one we were in when I took office. Some said I should have done nothing. But, that's the attitude that got us in the mess I was given to deal with.
Now I know you are concerned about making a profit and growing your companies. I understand that. Let me ask you something, how's this Trickle Down Prosperity going for you? You finding a lot of customers ready and able to buy what you want to sell? Let me suggest to you if you are worried about 'anti-business' policies you might talk to Republican leaders and ask them to stop sabotaging everything I try to do to keep consumer demand from dieing until YOU can get a sustainable recovery going by hiring more people.
I understand you have a couple trillion dollars in cash on hand but you are afraid of hiring people because you don't know if the recovery is 'for real' or not. If you are concerned about the viability of the recovery you might talk to Republicans about not fighting every effort we Democrats have been making to support consumer spending until you guys start hiring again... by that I mean every stimulus bill, every infrastructure investment. Now some are saying that Government should not invest in infrastructure but that we should wait for private sector to do it. Can you imagine let's say, General Electric putting up tens of billions of dollars for bridges and highways which their competitors will get as much benefit from as they will? Or that we should go back to toll roads and bridges. Now I would submit asking private businesses to fund public infrastructure projects is anti-business in that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Look fellas, putting rational, effective regulations in place is PRO-business. It gives the honest businessmen a fighting chance against the con-men who will offer substandard products at cheaper prices and drive out the guys who are trying to make an honest dollar. A free market without any regulation quickly becomes a free-for-all. Without regulation we would just go back to the days (like the 19th century) when we repetitively careened from boom to bust and back again. And working to put loop-holes in the tax code ends up concentrating capital in fewer and fewer hands and in the end you end up without enough people with enough money to buy what you want to sell - in ever larger quantities. The result is, over time you find it harder to make enough profit and grow your businesses. IF we want a strong, growing economy we need to have a reasonably equitable distribution of wealth so you have customers who can afford to buy the products you want to sell. So working to prevent too much concentration of capital in too few hands is not 'anti-business'. It's actually PRO-business.
The fact is, we're all in this boat together and when a few people have too much of the wealth in their hands, the boat will begin to sink at one end. And then we all go down together, the rich and the 'not-so-rich' alike. Then nobody wins."
Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts plug-in electric vehicles could account for up to 9% of US auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030
Plug-in electric vehicles such as Nissan's Leaf battery-electric model and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid have the potential to comprise 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively), the subscription research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported today.
Achieving such growth levels, however, will be dependent on two key factors - aggressive reductions in battery costs and rising gasoline prices, the company said.
The report issued this morning comes less than a week after analysts at J.D. Power and Associates - contradicting the fairly rosy future for electric-drive vehicles by some industry figures - said stable gasoline prices, high technology costs and uneven regulatory approaches are likely to hamper global acceptance of hybrid- and battery-electric vehicles over the next decade.
J.D. Power and Associates
"Southern California-based J.D. Power sides with those projecting more modest growth, saying that combined hybrid and BEV sales will claim just over 7 percent of the passenger vehicle market by 2020 - or 5.2 million electric-drive cars and light trucks. "
The J.D. Power report is one of a growing number, though, that take into account the continuing global economic slump and its impact both on consumers' spending habits and governments' willingness to aggressively promote and incentivize expensive electric-drive technologies.
We've reported on several, including a May report by Deloitte that said 6 percent market penetration by electric-drive vehicles in the next decade would be the best-case scenario and a Dec. 18 report from Pike Research that enumerated may of the same issues Sargent and his team raise.
Eric Cantor has dared Harry Reid to have a vote on repealing Affordable Health Care.
Reid should tell Cantor -- "We'll have a vote as soon as you Republicants can give us something to vote on. Come up with a constructive, realistic alternative to the Affordable HEalth care act and we'll have a vote. But we're not gonna vote to jump off a cliff."
To the Republicants: Come up with one constructive idea or program and I'll not only vote on it I'll campaign for you! All you have shown is a facility for destruction.. With your Trickle Down, so-called economic philosophy you have impoverished the middle class (resulting in diminished aggregate demand). With Deregulation (either with the Commodities Futures Modernization act which made unregulated trade in Credit Default Swaps legal, or by defunding regulatory agencies) you enabled Wall Street Banksters to demonstrate that their greed is surpassed only by their stupidity (gambling billions on securities they didn't understand, believing derivatives eliminated all their risk). Without TARP (initiated by Bush continued and expanded by Obama) and stimulus efforts passed by Democrats your Trickle Down Nonsense would have caused the second Great Depression.
Now you want to kill the first law attempting to provide affordable health care to all citizens - which eliminates the preexisting condition loophole and enables people to keep their insurance even if they transition between jobs and which requires insurance companies to pay out no less than 85% of their revenues in health benefits to the insured - WITHOUT OFFERING ANY ALTERNATIVE LEGISLATION!
To you Republicants I say,
Fear is not a philosophy.
Cynicism not an ideology;
Nihilism, no a way to deal with problems.
Problems will not go away by ignoring them (no matter how easily people can be conned into believing this)
Look up "Republicanism" in the dictionary of common sense and you'll see it says: "an attitude of hopelessness, distrust and nihilism leading to corruption, decay and dissolution. GOP: the Gangrene on the body Politic.
You show me a realistic workable alternative to the Affordable Health Care Act and we'll have a vote.
Go ahead, I DARE YOU. COME UP WITH A WORKABLE REALISTIC ALTERNATIVE TO THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT, THEN WE'LL HAVE A VOTE.
ANY TAKERS?? DON'T ALL SPEAK AT ONCE!
....that's what Reid should say.
I've heard talking heads of M$M repeatedly saying "A Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows the public is about evenly divided on HCR law."
What they don't say is when polled on specific features of HCR law (if they know their in there)..the majority of people are FOR them.
People acting surprised AT the attempt on a Democrat's life is disingenuous. There are those who predicted it:
Driehaus confronted Boehner about the interview on the floor of the House. "I told him it was inexcusable," Driehaus said. "It doesn't really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It's how the least sane person in my district accepts it."
Amid Death Threats, Dem Rep Driehaus Points The Finger At GOP Leadership
In the wake of the passage of the health care bill, Democratic members of Congress are receiving death threats and implicit threats against their families. One of those members--pro-life Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) who voted for final passage--has had to deal with more than his fair share. Last week, the anti-reform advocacy group the Committee to Rethink Reform published an ad in The Cincinnati Enquirer featuring a photo of Dreihaus with his children. (Both the Committee and the Enquirer have retracted and apologized for the ad.) Now, conservatives are planning a Sunday protest outside of his house, after a conservative blog put his address--complete with directions--on the Internet.
Speaking to me and another reporter outside the House chamber this afternoon, Driehaus said Republican leaders are to blame for the vitriol--and implied that they will bear some responsibility if reform opponents' anger bubbles over into violence.
"I think if you look at some of the language that has been used by leaders on the Republican side, one shouldn't be surprised," Driehaus said. "Unfortunately many of us are now receiving threats, death threats."
There has been some violence bubbling up already. We reported yesterday that vandals had smashed doors and windows at five Democratic offices around the country in the days surrounding the landmark House health care vote Sunday night.
"These comments that have been made by Republican leaders can serve as--I don't know if I want to say an excuse or perhaps permission for people who may be unbalanced, who may be calling with these threats," Driehaus added.
thanks goes to Enrique for original post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
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What the hell - let's have a post for North Carolina!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, DU 2!
Any fellow Texans still here?
Getting kinda lonely in these here parts.....
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