GOP Needs New Material

The GOP has been pushing the whole tax cuts thing for decades…….kinda in the same vain as the whole trickle down theory, which as we all know is a worthless lie that has never been proven to be accurate….election after election GOP candidates premise tax cuts and the world will be a better place…..if they are allowed to cut taxes then all problems will be solved and the peasants can dance…..

The problem with their solution is that it does nothing but make states broke and poor people in more debt……but they continue to push the dream and we Americans buy it every time……

Let the truth be known…….take Kansas for instance…..the gov promised with more tax cuts the state would prosper…….it was total GOP bullshit!

In 2012, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a massive tax cut into law, arguing that it would boost the state’s economy. Eventually, he hoped to eliminate individual income taxes entirely. “Our place, Kansas, will show the path, the difficult path, for America to go in these troubled times,” he said.

Brownback’s tax cut proposal came as Kansas’s revenues were on an upswing. Spending cuts and a one-cent sales tax passed by Brownback’s Democratic predecessor had combined with economic growth to give Kansas a surplus. Now, Brownback argued, his tax cuts would lead to even more success. “I firmly believe these reforms will set the stage for strong economic growth in Kansas,” he said.

The governor proposed to cut income taxes on the state’s highest earners from 6.45 percent to 4.9 percent, to simplify tax brackets, and to eliminate state income taxes on most small business income entirely. In a nod to fiscal responsibility, though, he proposed to end several tax deductions and exemptions, including the well-liked home mortgage interest deduction. This would help pay for the cuts.

Yet it’s now clear that the revenue shortfalls are much worse than expected. “State general fund revenue is down over $700 million from last year,” Duane Goossen, a former state budget director, told me. “That’s a bigger drop than the state had in the whole three years of the recession,” he said — and it’s a huge chunk of the state’s $6 billion budget. Goossen added that the Kansas’s surplus, which had been replenished since the recession, “is now being spent at an alarming, amazing rate.”

In other words the tax cuts did not create jobs or new business or new residents….what they did was bankrupt the state….in case you are interested it is the same with every state that has cut taxes to the bone……and it will get worse.

A noted economist, David Cay Johnston, has tracked the numbers since 2000……..

I calculated that enormous figure by comparing the average income Americans reported on their 2000 tax returns with what they reported each year for 2001 through 2012, adjusting for inflation and the growing population. Add up the income for 12 years and it turns out to be $6.6 trillion less than if we had maintained the prosperity of 2000 for a growing population.

Why use 2000 as a benchmark? Well, first off, it marks the end of one era and the start of another. More important, that very good year economically was when George W. Bush, running for president, said American prosperity would get even better if he was elected and his tax cuts — key aspects of which he kept secret until after the election — would ensure American prosperity.

The results: The prosperity of the prior decade was lost. Job growth fell far behind population growth. The median wage (half make more, half less) has been mired since 1998 at a bit more than $500 per week.

In 10 of the 12 years when the Bush tax cuts were in effect, the average income shown on tax returns was lower than in 2000. In the two upside years, average income rose modestly, up $504 for 2006 and $1,744 for 2007.

Total those 12 years and the net shortfall per taxpayer comes to $48,010.

Consider what $48,000 of additional income over those 12 years would have meant to you. It is the equivalent of $11 appearing in your wallet every morning from the start of 2001 through the end of 2012.

How much better off you would be if your income had been $48,000 higher over those 12 years? To be sure, you would have owed taxes on that money. If you were not in the top 1 percent, federal income tax would have taken on average about 10 percent of that, leaving you with $43,200. (The top 1 percent would have paid 23.5 percent in tax.) In addition, if the extra income was all in wages, then Social Security and Medicare taxes also would have taken a bite, leaving you with about $39,500.

So how much better off would you be right now if you had another $39,050? And remember that is just the extra after-tax income you would have enjoyed had the prosperity of 2000 been maintained, while then-Gov. Bush promised greater and more widespread prosperity.

I know economics can make your brain melt but the truth is that Americans are worse off because of all the tax cuts…..that is the average working stiff….the wealthy made out lioke bandits which in some sense is exactly what they are….BANDITS!

The GOP needs new material…..their bullshit about tax cuts is nothing but LIES on top of LIES!

Where Does The Money Go?

We have people yelling constantly about all those lazy people that are sucking our country dry…….few mention all the corporate welfare that is doing just what they accuse the poor of doing……and there is another fault in our system…….we cannot seem to account for all the money that is spent by the Defense Department…….there is probably more money being mis-spent, misplaced or stolen than anywhere else in the budget……..

i saw this piece and thought what a great job our bureaucrats are doing…..(that is sarcasm in case you missed it)………….

The Pentagon’s Chief Financial Officer, Undersecretary of Defense Robert Hale, today conceded that the Congressionally mandated auditing requirements are “more of a challenge than I expected.”

That’s putting it mildly. Congress required full financial accountings of Pentagon spending in the 1990s, and in 2010 ordered the Pentagon to be ready for a “full audit” by 2017. The halfway point to 2017 is here, and the Government Accountability Office says the Pentagon is well short of where it would need to be to meet those goals.

20 solid years of work by military financial managers hasn’t amounted to much in the grand scheme of things, and while Undersecretary Hale says he is determined to “eventually” get the military ready for an audit, eventually is starting to add up to an awfully long time.

Navy comptroller Susan Rabern says she is “cautiously optimistic” about meeting the goals sometime next year, but that the cultural shift in the US military’s “worldwide business operations” has been enormous, and getting old data on decades of unaccounted-for spending has been a formidable task.

The initial push to get the Pentagon’s financial house in order came from the notorious reports of $640 toilet seats and $435 hammers. Interest in reining in Pentagon spending slowed after 9/11, however, when budgets soared again to record highs, and interest in where hundreds of billions of dollars ended up was minimal, at best.

The GAO’s latest report warns that military reports to Congress remain “inconsistent and sometimes unreliable,” and that the Defense Department simply has no ability to produce a full accounting of all of its assets, let alone tracking whether payments they’re making to contractors are appropriate.

All those people that are screaming for the poor to be held accountable for the sin of being poor……have NO problem with the cash that disappears annually from the Defense Department…….I hate to admit it but it is looking more and more like racism than misinformation……..billions upon billions disappear yearly from the defense budget and yet school lunches and snap are the culprits of a dwindling revenue………

Something smells!

How Much Money Can We Waste?

Congress is always looking for ways to cut spending and save money…..Dems have their way and Repubs have theirs……and the two save very little and what they do save they quickly find ways to piss it away…….instead of facing reality they always seem to look for the grand schemes and overlook the obvious…….

Here is one useless waste that could be solved easily……..

Ammunition worth $1.2 billion, much of it still usable, is going to go up in smoke because the Pentagon is using antiquated inventory systems and different service branches can’t share data effectively, a Government Accountability Office report says. Despite decades of trying to develop a single database, only the Army uses the standard Pentagon system, while the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps have their own systems, resulting in huge amounts of waste as excess ammunition piles up in one service branch while another buys fresh supplies, according to the report obtained by USA Today.

Billions of dollars could be saved if the Pentagon makes some “common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition,” says Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy, and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets,” the Democrat says. The Pentagon, which manages a stockpile of around $70 billion in ammunition, said in a statement that there is clearly a need to “automate the process” and it will be made a priority in future.

Governmental Efficiency?  sounds like an oxymoron to me….how about you?

And then there is the big problem in Afghanistan….no not the Taleban…..the problem would be the opium trade……..yes, we fight drugs but at what cost?  Easy peasey……..

There are plenty of failures to focus on in Afghanistan, but while they usually center around the calamitous US military occupation, another US war in the country, the “war on drugs” continues apace, with similarly feckless results.

12 years into this war, and with $7.5 billion spent, the latest figures (PDF) from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) show remarkable consistency, as the US continues to throw money and manpower at poppy eradication and appears to have no real impact on cultivation or export.

2013 saw a record 2,090 square km of Afghanistan used for poppy cultivation, and the grand US eradication program managed to destroy roughly 70 of them, so roughly 3.5% of the overall total.

That’s not even slowing them down, as poppy production in 2012 was 1,540 square km, so the US eradication isn’t even putting a meaningful dent in the rate of growth of the cultivation, one of the few viable crops for many Afghan farmers.

UN estimates put the value of the crop at around $4 billion by the time it leaves the country, with farmers receiving around $1 billion of that and the rest going to the assorted bribes needed to keep the crop moving. $4 billion amounts to about 20% of Afghanistan’s nominal GDP.

Absent in this is another point about the main failing war in Afghanistan. Production of opium poppies in Afghanistan, though never this high in modern history, was actually virtually nil in 2001, when the Taliban was being feted by DC drug warriors for its brutally effective crackdown on cultivation. 2014 still has most of the brutality, but none of the effectiveness, and the US seems unable to even remotely replicate the Taliban’s “success” on this front.

Just two examples of money spent with no return on investment…….

Can you think of any other ones we could add to this list?

Universal Credit: A Primer | Center for American Progress

This is a program that UK is flirting with…..but it could work here in the US as well……if it is successful in the UK we can bet that the GOP will form some sort of bill that mirrors these actions……

Fore armed is fore warned…..check this out and see what the future could bring…..it will depend on the outcome of a couple of elections……something to think about, eh?

 

Universal Credit: A Primer | Center for American Progress.

America is not broke | The Great Debate

The country is broke!  We have heard for years now that the country has a spending problem….it is true and it has the same problem since the very beginning of the country……

I enjoy a good debate….the problem is there are so few of them…..normally it boils down to one liners and innuendos….and even fantastic lies…….

A prettu good op-ed…makes some good points and leaves some questions unanswered……check it out and let me know what you think…..

 

America is not broke | The Great Debate.

Trim With A Clever

I took a wait and see attitude to Mr. Ryan’s new plan……wanted to see what was said in defense or opposition…….

We have had the prez budget and now Mr. Ryan has yet another one for us to worry about…..his idea is to cur $5.1 trillion from the budget in ten years……and of course it will fall on the backs of the poor and middle class to do all the sacrifice while corporations get an almost free ride on everything…….

Paul Ryan unveiled a Republican budget plan today that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over the coming decade and balance the government’s books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class. About 40% of Ryan’s projected savings would come from the repeal of ObamaCare, reports the Wall Street Journal. Ryan’s budget claims balance by 2024, but relies on $74 billion in savings in that year from the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits, which CBO says would have a long-term positive effect because it would free up savings and investment capital. Democrats are sure to seize on the maneuver as phony math; without these projections, however, Ryan’s budget plan would fall almost $70 billion short of balance.

The New York Times writes that Ryan’s plan “will serve more as a 2014 Republican campaign manifesto than a legislative agenda.” And the Washington Post says it “amounts to personal manifesto on government austerity from a man who has emerged as the GOP’s leading light on fiscal policy.” The Post also notes that Ryan wants to replace the outgoing Dave Camp as the next chair of the Ways and Means panel while still keeping his options open for a 2016 run for the White House. His complete budget blueprint is here via the Hill.

In his 2014 budget proposal, Ryan backed cuts to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – the program colloquially known as food stamps – and called for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s benefits. According to the CBPP, these cuts, which accounted for 72 percent of the budget’s total program cuts, would have “resulted in large increases in poverty and deprived many millions of affordable health insurance.”

Read the proposal and tell me if you think it is more for political campaigns than reality……..yes, this will be a manifesto for elections in November and most likely will also be used for the 2016 ones also……..

Does it sound like Trickle Down 2.0?

You think it sucks now….just wait for the results in 2014 and see how quick they start trying to implement these cuts……the election results will dictate their actions……..

IST Op-Ed: A “New” Cold War?

Opinion From Editor’s Desk

This week seems to be all about the international situation………and I for one love it!

Since Russia has moved into the Crimea there have been many that are calling this the start of a “New Cold War”….most of it coming from the hawks in Congress but that really does not matter who is calling a spade a spade……this is NOTHING but political role playing……by disingenuous people with an agenda…..

There is NO new Cold War…..the Cold War did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union…..the players just changed somewhat…..instead of the socialist republics it was China and North Korea and Iran (thanx to the Iraqi invasion)……all the aspects that made it the Cold War were still being employed….spies, tech theft, territory disputes and actions….placing missiles and such on borders……..all the same things……..not gone and not forgotten!

But today our beloved hawks are drumming up the M-IC into a frenzy…….

Russia’s annexation of Crimea shows the need to “build up missile defenses and modernize the US nuclear force,” James S. Robbins, a senior fellow for national security affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote last week in USA Today. “To live in the 21st century, the United States will need to relearn the lessons of the 20th.”

There is so much more from the Hawks…….

The Lexington Institute’s Thompson argues that Russia is now “on the march” and may invade other Baltic states. “If we have to take conventional military action in the Baltic or Black Sea, we could see an escalation to the nuclear level,” he told me, “and therefore we need to have weapons that are flexible and survivable”—that’s military-speak meaning we would have time to launch a counterattack before being obliterated. In practice, it would mean a new generation of submarine-based nukes, which can’t be taken out in a first-wave attack.

The M-IC is drooling at the thought of a revved up defense spending…….will not cease any hostilities but it will be good for the industry….only!  They can smell profits!

With the Pentagon due for some substantial cuts to its budget….all this is to keep that cash and maybe add to the total….but then the question needs to be asked…..”who will pay for the increased defense spending”?

Anybody want to venture a guess?

Who is going to win this debate?  Will we jump into making the “New Cold War” even hotter?  Will calmer heads prevail?

So many questions and so many vultures circling……….