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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 43,298

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Environmental Scientist

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Richest Country on Earth. Yet some celebrate people being so poor.

That to me is the real story. Senator Ernst brags about starting out poor, and wants to make sure that more people stay that way. The truth of her story doesn't matter as much as the fact that a lot of people support that philosophy.

Shouldn't we be embarrassed that, with all the riches that this country has, we can't be bothered to provide a basic, dignified life for all Americans?

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest



Ted Cruz

Scott Walker

Economy and Environment


Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Taxes, Toons, and War



Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- State of Disunion

How Local Sales Taxes Target the Poor and Widen the Income Gap

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama will outline a plan to overhaul the federal tax code. His objective will be to reduce inequality in the tax structure, but even if these reforms are enacted, they might only help marginally, says Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute of Tax and Economic Policy. That's because they wouldn't address unfair tax systems at the state and local levels.

"At the state level, we're redistributing income away from poor people and giving it to rich people," says Gardner.

A new report released by ITEP illustrates just how bad the problem has become. The chart below, from the report, shows that the poorest Americans pay nearly 11 percent of their income in taxes. By comparison, the wealthiest only pay a 5.4-percent tax share.

Of the three main forms of state taxes—sales, property, and income—the sales tax hurts the poor most, says Gardner. State sales taxes are highly "regressive," he says. That is, they end up taking a bigger chunk of change from people that have smaller sums of money and slower income growth.



Major League Baseball puts Fred Wilpon in charge of its finance committee. Rilly?

Craig Calcaterra
Jan 20, 2015, 7:38 AM EST

In the Daily News yesterday, Bill Madden reported that Mets owner Fred Wilpon was taken off of baseball’s executive council along with several other owners, as Rob Manfred seeks to get a new team of owners as his closest advisers. Which, sure, that makes sense. What makes less sense is that Manfred put Wilpon in charge of baseball’s finance committee.

I don’t know enough about the workings of MLB’s hierarchy to know what, exactly, the chairman of the finance council does, but Madden says the committee is “important.”

But here’s what I do know: Fred Wilpon reportedly lost as much as $700 million investing in a Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff. And that wasn’t the first Ponzi scheme in which he invested. Wilpon’s defense to losing his shirt and almost losing his team was that he was wholly ignorant of what was really going on. Really: that’s the best case scenario. That he had no idea where over half a billion dollars of his own money went. The investigation of the Madoff scandal concluded that Wilpon ignored repeated warnings that should have tipped him off that he was giving his money to a fraudster.

The Ponzi schemes aside, Wilpon’s management of the Mets has turned a team in baseball’s largest and most lucrative market into what is, practically speaking, a small market, financially strapped club, buried in debt service and forced to deal with payrolls that do not allow it to meet its baseball needs in an effective manner.


Vancouver couple struggles to make ends meet on only $25,000 a month

Meet Eric and Ilsa. Eric, 41, is a physician who works one day a week in a medical clinic, for which he earns $200,000 a year. He works one additional day at a university, for which he makes another measly $100,000 annually.

Ilsa, 39, is a dentist currently on maternity leave who will bring in another $150,000 when she returns to work.

And yet, despite their seeming prosperity, this Vancouver couple can’t make ends meet. What’s to be done?!

The doctor and dentist wrote in to the Globe and Mail recently and their story was featured in Friday’s “financial facelift” advice column, in which experts weigh in on how regular folks can balance their budgets.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/life/Vancouver+couple+struggles+make+ends+meet+only+month/10742014/story.html

Charles P Pierce offers a suggestion on the SOTU speech

"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Majority Leader, thank you for inviting me here tonight to discuss the state of our union. The state of our union is strong, and it's all because of me, motherfkers, and no thanks to your sorry, wrinkled white asses. I did everything I could do to pull the economy out of the shallow grave your deregulatory frenzy and the two-term nitwit who preceded me dug for it. You stood there like squeaking eunuchs and blocked everything you could, and a narrow slice of the electorate gave you virtually unprecedented control over the entire national legislature. I don't care. Your party has sold its soul and lost its mind. I'm not going anywhere. So I'm'a gonna do what I goddamn well please, because the state of our union is strong, motherfkers, and it's all because of me. Nice to see you all again, though."

Unless the speech begins that way, I really don't care about it. 'Fi were king of the forest, there wouldn't even be a State Of The Union address, much less the full-dress exercise in political Mardi Gras that it has become. (Another thing for which we can thank that overrated maniac, Woodrow Wilson.) 'Twere up to me, presidents would go back to sending letters up to Capitol Hill, and they would use the present three-day run-up as kind of an all-star break from being president. Beer pong at Camp David! Now, though, thanks to the fact that television -- and especially its cable-news aspects -- is the index patient for institutional elephantiasis, there is nothing more inconsequential (and marginally loathsome) than the SOTU, and my use of the stupid acronym embarrasses me. It is just another television show. It's an Event for the sake of being an Event, the White House Correspondents Dinner in Founding Father drag. Worse, it's just another television extravaganza. It has more in common with the Super Bowl than with anything else, beginning with the fact that the SOTU (Make it stop!) Pregame Show began at about seven o'clock this morning, and that the Postgame analysis will go on well into the whiskey hours of the early morning. The State Of The Union and its attendant ballyhoo is now the clearest evidence we have that American self-government, and the politics that are at its heart, has become an ongoing piece of audience-participation performance art that has very little to do with the actual power in the country, and whose wielding it, and for what purposes. The only real mystery to the thing any more is whether the president delivering the speech is Punch or Judy.

In times of serious crisis, of which this is not one, no matter how much the folks in market research at CNN would like it to be, the speech might serve a purpose as both national sermon and national pep talk. By and large, however, the institutional barriers to any president's actually accomplishing anything by his participation in this annual dumbshow are insurmountable. The whole production is based on a phony bonhomie that any thinking primate knows is completely counterfeit. Look at the uproar that rose when this president called out the Supreme Court justices for their role in drowning the political system with corporate money. My dear young man, this simply is not done. (Joe Wilson was incredibly rude, but his moment in the sun was a pretty authentic one.) In this case, for example, none of the president's policy initiatives have a snowball's chance on Qatar of passing this Congress, and that includes the ones that were thought up by Republicans like the departed Dave Camp. A return to the capital-gains rate passed by Ronald Reagan is a non-starter. (Me? I'm still of the belief that we should roll back the Reagan tax cuts entirely.) He knows it. They know it. He will propose it in the name of "getting things done" or "doing the job the American people expect us to do," and nobody will believe he or the members of the audience in the chamber have either the power or the will to do anything of the sort. It will be comical to listen to the commentary after the speech. It will be comical to watch the in-house "dial groups" on the various cable networks. It will be like watching people divine the future by flights of birds.

There is one exception to all of this, and it is an exception that can prove perilous to this country and, therefore, to the rest of the world. Given the events of the past few weeks in Europe, we are in the middle of one of our completely predictable national spasms of blind panic, which the usual suspects will carefully cultivate and nurture until they produce the war for which the usual suspects are itching. Fox is, of course, off the charts on this, but CNN has become completely loathsome over the past several weeks as well, stacking its panels with ex-colonels and terrorism "experts," and conflating ISIS and al Qaeda and Boko Haram into one seamless, shapeless monster until the impulse simply to lash out may well become irresistible. (The massive box-office receipts for American Sniper over the weekend are testimony to nothing more than the fact that the American audience wants another war it can watch on the electric teevee machine.) If this president, or any president, wants to deliver a message that will garner "bipartisan" applause, and that will bring the country together, then, sadly, the more bellicose he is in his speech, the better off he will be. The White House must be sorely tempted to play this card. It is devoutly to be hoped that someone there looking very much like Barack Obama, and wearing his socks, can resist it.


How Expensive It Is to Be Poor

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released a study that found that most wealthy Americans believed “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

This is an infuriatingly obtuse view of what it means to be poor in this country — the soul-rending omnipresence of worry and fear, of weariness and fatigue. This can be the view only of those who have not known — or have long forgotten — what poverty truly means.

“Easy” is a word not easily spoken among the poor. Things are hard — the times are hard, the work is hard, the way is hard. “Easy” is for uninformed explanations issued by the willfully callous and the haughtily blind.

Allow me to explain, as James Baldwin put it, a few illustrations of “how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”


Tuesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest





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