By Zaid Jilani via unitedrepublic.org
“As we approach the ‘fiscal cliff’ of punitive taxation and draconian spending cuts it might be time to suggest that Congress consider that we change our National Emblem to the Ostrich. … a lack of leadership seems to indicate that neither political party has the will to find a totem to make the hard decisions that loom before us in either spending or taxation. So many politicians either seem confused or scared to the point of paralysis on this impending doom.
The results of the recent election are to blame, some say. The voters left in place a Republican House and a Democrat in the Presidency. … one in either party is stepping up to take a stand on the numbers game which we call the budget process …. The head in the sand mentality had taken hold of so many in Washington, so clearly the solution is to adopt the Ostrich as our national emblem. We can’t seem to face our fiscal problems at home nor our foreign problems of a nuclear Iran. We would rather pretend that none of these problems exist and just stick our heads in the sand. So it seems that the Ostrich is perfect for the new national emblem.”
By NCPA Article
“… makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries. The data tell a different story, says the Associated Press.
Lower-income households will pay less.
Source: Steven Ohlemacher, “Fact Check: Are the Rich Taxed Less than Secretaries?” Associated Press, September 20, 2011.
“10. Quantitative Easing Helps the Economy
Yes, quantitative easing is “printing” money. No, it won’t help the economy. Make no mistake, quantitative easing is a gift to bankers and nothing else. The Federal Reserve is giving bankers risk-free trading profits and causing food and gas prices to surge (making it even harder for Americans to get out of debt).
9. Republicans Are Fiscal Conservatives
* Total Years: 29
* Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $150.73 billion
* Total Years: 36
* Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $202.28 billion
8. President Obama Is an Enemy of Wall Street
* The two men who served as principal negotiators for banking deregulation: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.
* The two men who President Obama appointed to become his top economic advisers: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.
* Two guys who happen to be paid millions of dollars in consulting and speaking fees by “too big to fail” banks: Gene Sperling and Larry Summers.
7. The Financial System Is Safer Today Than in 2008
The majority of “too big to fail” banks are even bigger. Meanwhile, high-frequency trading is alive and well and the causes of the Flash Crash have not been addressed.
6. The ‘Bush Tax Cuts’ Increased Tax Revenue
Washington has always had a spending problem, but since the “Bush Tax Cuts,” we have a revenue problem as well. From 1990 to 2000, U.S. tax revenue had a period of exceptional growth. Following the 2001 tax cuts, revenue plummeted — then recovered — then plummeted again.
5. ‘No One’ Could Have Seen the Financial Crisis Coming
No one — except for everyone who did. TheStreet has interviewed numerous economists and money managers who have been pounding the table for years.
4. If You Support Capitalism, You Support Big Business
Can a corporation be socialist? Corporations and governments are very similar entities, and both can have capitalist or socialist leanings. If a politician praises big business while chastising big government, or the other way around, be skeptical.
3. Republicans Are a Bunch of Fat-Cat Millionaires
The average congressperson is a millionaire, and if you break down the 50 richest members of Congress by political party, here’s the split:
2. The U.S. Has the Highest Standard of Living in the World
According to the United Nations’ most recent Human Poverty Index (from 2008), the U.S. standard of living ranks 17 of 19 among developed countries. The ranking is a composite of life expectancy, literacy, long-term unemployment and income equality — while this data is over three years old, it’s not unthinkable that our situation has worsened in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
1. U.S. GDP Is Growing
U.S. GDP has increased by 4.26% from 2007 to 2010, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the same period of time, the U.S. national debt has increased by 61.6%, according to the U.S. Treasury. Looking at these numbers, you don’t need to be an economist to see that something is very, very wrong.
We’ve lost our way, misled by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Go read the full article here.”
By Washingtons Blog Article
Congressional Research Service Confirms Big Banks Borrowed Cash For Next To Nothing, Then Lent It Back to the Federal Government at Much Higher Rates
“Because the US government is lending money to the big banks at near-zero interest rates. And the banks are then turning around and lending that money back to the US government at 3%-4% interest rates, making 3%+ on the spread. What’s more, the banks are leveraging this trade, borrowing at least $10 for every $1 of equity capital they have, to increase the size of their bets. Which means the banks can turn relatively small amounts of equity into huge profits–by borrowing from the taxpayer and then lending back to the taxpayer.
The government’s zero-interest-rate policy, in other words, is the biggest Wall Street subsidy yet. So far, it has done little to increase the supply of credit in the real economy. But it has hosed responsible people who lived within their means and are now earning next-to-nothing on their savings. It has also allowed the big Wall Street banks to print money to offset all the dumb bets that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse two years ago. And it has fattened Wall Street bonus pools to record levels again.”
**By Clive Crook Article
A debt disaster behind a comic book budget squabble
“The world had better start paying attention to the US government’s inability to govern. The prevailing mood over this has been strangely complacent. Six months of the fiscal year gone and only now a ramshackle budget? Government brought to the brink of shutdown over trifling disagreements? Absurd, one thinks, but this is Washington. Do as most Americans do, and regard the pantomime with blithe contempt. In the end, out of sheer exhaustion, the actors do their deals and it is business as usual. …
The shutdown punch-up was a nuisance and proof of Washington’s recklessness, but little apart from political advantage was at stake. Mostly, it was theatre. But a real fiscal crisis is coming. The debt-ceiling fight, next on the playbill, raises the theoretical possibility of a government default. Beyond that, public debt keeps rising. The current dysfunction shows how hard it will be to stop.” - Article
G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether
“General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.
Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress. …
Such strategies, as well as changes in tax laws that encouraged some businesses and professionals to file as individuals, have pushed down the corporate share of the nation’s tax receipts — from 30 percent of all federal revenue in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009.” – Article
**By Rick Moran American Thinker Blog Article
“Government payouts-including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance-make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement. Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data. …
It should be noted that much of the push for Middle Class entitlements was made under the administration of George Bush. That increase from 21% ot 35% of wages paid from social welfare benefits is incredible. An increase of 2/3 in less than a decade. Of course, the Obama administration has only made the problem worse. But that doesn’t absolve the GOP – many of whom are still in Congress – from their responsibility for turning America into a nation of dependent sheep who whine if anyone dares suggest that a cut in their benefits is necessary to save us from fiscal disaster.” – Article
**By Howard Gleckman Article
“If Washington is going to need new tax revenues to bring the deficit under control, where is the cash going to come from? It appears that while corporations and nearly all individuals and families would avoid any tax hit at all, a handful of high-income households would get socked with major increases. These tax hikes would be so big, in fact, that top-bracket taxpayers might end up paying a rate of 67 percent on ordinary income and nearly 50 percent on capital gains, says Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute.
**Umair Haque is Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. – Article
“Consider a curious set of observations:
“Let me get this straight. We’re going to be “gifted” with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who also smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, and financed by a country that’s broke. Now, honestly just ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong?” - Source
“American politics is one long argument about what government should or shouldn’t be doing, and how it should or shouldn’t be doing it. It’s rare that we step back, take in the larger picture and ask what it is doing. The release of the president’s proposed 2012 budget is a good time to do that. If you want to know what the federal government is really doing, just look where it’s spending our money.
Two of every five dollars goes to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, all of which provide some form of insurance. A bit more than a buck goes to the military. Then there’s a $1.50 or so for assorted other spending – education, infrastructure, environmental protection, farm subsidies, etc. Some of that, such as unemployment checks and food stamps, is also best understood as forms of insurance. And then there’s another 40 cents of debt repayment. Calvin Coolidge once said the business of America is business. Well, the business of the American government is insurance. Literally. If you look at how the federal government spends our money, it’s an insurance conglomerate protected by a large standing army.” – Article