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Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 03:30 AM
Number of posts: 31,311
Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 03:30 AM
Number of posts: 31,311
Romney's income $21 million, tax rate 14%
Ryan's income (wages) $153,000, tax rate - 20% (not including payroll taxes of 7.65%)
Romney makes about 65 times as much as Ryan, but still pays a lower tax rate.
And most of Romney's income - $3.3 million in interest, $4.9 million in dividends, and $12.6 million in capital gains - is made without doing one iota of actual work.
Posted by hfojvt | Mon Aug 20, 2012, 02:41 PM (1 replies)
but even on the Titanic, they said they wanted crew members in the lifeboats - in order to steer and manage the lifeboats. Because even in a lifeboat in a cold and gigantic ocean, survival is not guaranteed.
And even on the Titanic, many 3rd class women and children perished, and perhaps more would have perished. These survivors told this story.
"At another barrier a seaman held back Kathy Gilnagh, Kate Mullins and Kate Murphy (On the Titanic all Irish girls seemed to be named Katherine.) Suddenly steerage passenger Jim Farrell, a strapping Irishman from the girls' home country barged up. "Great God, man!" he roared. "Open the gate and let the girls through!" It was a superb demonstration of sheer voice-power. To the girls' astonishment, the sailor meekly complied." "A night to remember" p. 40
Those three girls are on the survivors list - Farrell is not.
It also lists, 139 crew saved, 119 male passengers and 393 women and children.
It also mentions
"the Titanic's casualty list included four of 143 First Class women (three by choice) (note - they chose to stay with their husbands), 15 of 93 Second Class women ... and 81 of 179 Third Class women.
Not to mention the children. Except for Lorraine Allison, all 29 First and Second Class children were saved, but only 23 out of 76 steerage children." p. 61
But apparently also, some were not considered to be children at age 13.
Not if they were male.
"When Mrs. Ryerson led her son Jack to the window, Lightoller called out, 'That boy can't go!'
Mr. Ryerson indignantly stepped forward; 'Of course that boy goes with his Mother - he is only 13' So they let him pass, Lightoller grumbling. 'No more boys" p. 48
The age of this guy was not given.
"Another young man - no more than a boy - wasn't as lucky. Fifth Officer Lowe caught him under a seat in No. 14, begging that he wouldn't take up much room. Lowe drew his gun, but the boy only pleaded harder. Then Lowe changed tactics, told him to be a man, and somehow got him out....The boy was out now, lying face down near a coil of rope. But No. 14's troubles weren't over. Another wave of men rushed the boat. Seaman Scarrott beat them back with the tiller....Murdoch barely stopped a rush at No. 15." p. 44
"A shortage of trained seamen made the confusion worse...Now Lightoller was rationing the hands he had left - only two crewmen to a lifeboat." p. 37 Meaning that crewmen are put on the lifeboats to help the others survive.
Posted by hfojvt | Sun Aug 5, 2012, 12:40 PM (0 replies)
in jobs and hiring, for example. The gas station down the block from me was bought by some Pakistanis, or Pakistani immigrants. Well, once that happened, only Pakistanis were working there. The gas station across the street (presumably owned by non-Pakistanis) went out of business. Now it too has been bought by the Pakistanis who have put in a liquor store.
Another example, my graduate school roommate, from around Calcutta. He has now been in this country for 24 years or so, maybe 25. Having gotten his PhD, he has been working good paying jobs as a finance professor. Say, for 20 years at $60,000 a year. He's made $1.2 million in salary. To work in a classroom. Me, what have I been doing? In those same 20 years, I have been making less than $20,000 a year - to work in a hot, dirty, noisy factory, or to clean toilets. My income has been about $300,000 for those twenty years.
Granted, I only got an MA and he got a PhD. But he was also already married with two kids. Me, I wanted to get the hell done with school and start living an actual life. I felt like a moron when I went to my ten year reunion and had been going to more fucking school for 7 of the ten years, and had nothing but an $8,000 a year part-time job to show for it.
Also granted, my roommate is a) way, way smarter than I am, and b) also seemed to have gotten a superior education in India to my own in SD. So perhaps the USA benefits from his brilliance (somehow) but it seems like he sure has benefitted too, and if the country benefits, it is pretty clear that I do not. So my question would be, did my ancestors pay taxes to support the University of Wisconsin so that it could grant advanced degrees (and scholarships) to people from India who then take good paying jobs in Wisconsin while one of their grandsons works cleaning toilets?
My roommate's daughter has probably now graduated from Princeton, and will compete with my nieces and nephews for good jobs. I know that I am just a selfish racist bastard who would like to see my own family live decent lives, and get good jobs, but there it is. I'd like to see my own family prosper ahead of the family of that immigrant (even though he is an old friend (that I have not seen or spoken to in 22 years)), but I have my doubts that a Northwest Missouri State degree is gonna compete well against Princeton.
One more example. In 2010, I ran for Congress. Raised about $300 and spent $3,000 of my own money. Got a whole $50 from my classmates, thank you very much. Raj Goyle, an Indian immigrant who has a $70,000 (or more) a year job as a professor and also was in the Kansas Legislature. He ran for Congress, and raised over $1,000,000 - mostly from other Indian-Americans (heck my college roommate might even have donated to him). Hell, even DFA, where I WAS a monthly donor, endorsed him. This in spite of the fact that he was hardly a progressive and ran his campign with the message of "cut taxes, cut waste, in the legilsature I voted with Republicans 90% of the time" (and when I found that out, I stopped my monthly donation)). They would not have endorsed me, I am pretty sure, because they did not endorse the person who beat me in the primary and she is more progressive than I am, and I, for all my faults, am more progressive (at least on budget and taxes, if not on immigration) than Raj Goyle.
But money matters more than message in our political system and DFA probably has rich Indian-American donors who are far more important than I am. Raj's million was supposed to make him more electable. He got 37% of the vote, my opponent (who did almost no work) got 32%. My own goal was 40% and I would have done more work. (Which may not have mattered. After all, I did much more work in the primary and I still lost.)
So I am stuck down in the bottom quintile while those Indian-Americans are in the top quintile and apparently looking out for each other too. But what am I thinking. It's not like poor people are oppressed in this country. It's NOT intentional, it is just in the scramble to get ahead, some people have a head start and a community of support and others just get trampled.
But that does make me think. I should call my old roommate and my former graduate school classmates and see if they will contribute to my campaign for treasurer.
Posted by hfojvt | Fri Aug 3, 2012, 12:29 PM (1 replies)
until the nonsense about how the mortgage interest deduction "benefits the middle class"
Yeah, right. http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/151
36.5 million tax returns took a mortgage interest deduction in 2009. That's out of 140 miillion returns. The mortgage deductions were worth $420 billion. Of that amount 47% went to those with incomes over $100,000. A group that is only 12% of tax filers. The TOP 12% of tax filers.
There were 29.5 million filers in the middle class - those with AGI between $40,000 and $75,000. Of that group only 10.6 million took a mortgage interest deduction - less than 36%.
And 42% of the itemizers were in the $60,000 - $75,000 part of that group.
40% of filers in the $50,000 - $75,000 range took a mortgage interest deduction whereas only 28% did in the $40 - 50,000 range.
And 67% took a mortgage interest deduction in the $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 range.
Their average deduction was worth $31,569 whereas the average deduction for the $60,000 - $75,000 group was $9,738.
Things like the mortgage interest deduction are simply worth much more to a much greater percentage of people - at the top. The middle class, and the country, would be better served by eliminating them, eliminating the extra work in tracking them and filling out the extra form - and just increasing the standard deduction.
The deduction for state and local taxes was worth $15.5 billion to those with incomes over $10,000,000. That's 8,057 filers.
Meanwhile, it was only worth $4.8 billion to the 3.4 million filers with income between $30,000 and $40,000. 76% of filers with incomes between $30 and $40k did NOT itemize whereas 97% of those with income over $10 million DID itemize for state and local taxes.
Tell me again, how that is a break that benefits the middle class. It benefits 97% of the super-rich by an average of $1.9 million and only 24% of those making under $40,000 (and over $30,000) by an average of $1,412.
edit - and that does not even include multiplying the bigger number by the HIGHER marginal tax rate and the smaller number by the LOWER marginal tax rate. Because the richer person pays a 35% (should be 55%, if I had my druthers) and the middle class person pays a 15% tax rate. The rich person's deduction is worth $665,000 and the middle class person's deduction is worth $212.
AND when you figure that an itemized deduction is only worth something to a taxpayer of the amount OVER the standard deduction of $10,900 for a couple (in 2008). Well, the rich person has already saved $661,000 in taxes while the middle class person hasn't saved anything until they come up with another $9,500 in deductions
Posted by hfojvt | Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:17 PM (1 replies)
or so he says on TV. So I thought I would check it out. What is this jobs plan?
Well, one big part of his plan seems to be
1. Hiring or appointing a bunch of Chamber of Commerce type people - to come up with a plan.
"He will also address a major shortcoming by recruiting a team of top Missouri executives and managers (people with no financial interest in state business) to evaluate the Department of Economic Development and make recommendations for better management practices and restructuring."
I guess you could call that a plan, of sorts. Kind of like a pig-in-a-poke plan. vote for Spence and he will create a commission of fat cats who six months later will tell you what you voted for.
But you already know what you will be voting for - a Government of the Fat Cats, by the Fat Cats, and for the Fat Cats.
2. Asking small business owners what should be part of the plan
"Spence is committed to personally calling small business owners and executives to identify their problems and find solutions."
So, here, once again, there is no plan. Only a plan to come up with a plan. By asking small business owners (and executives). I sorta wonder how "small" a business is which has an executive. Spence mentions that there are 133,215 business in Missouri, 94% having fewer than 50 employees. Suppose he calls all of them and spends two minutes talking to them. A mere two minutes with 124,282 business owners would be 248,546 minutes or 4,142 hours, or 518 work days (with no breaks).
So obviously, he cannot personally talk to ALL of them. So which ones will he talk to? This is just a guess, but I would say - the biggest ones, the richest ones will probably get the lion's share of his time, which is only smaller than the Rotarian's share of his time (rim shot). The Fat Cats.
3. In order to create jobs, Spence wants to make sure the Fat Cats retain power - even if they lose the elections. He proposes making it a law that only a super-majority can increase taxes on the Fat Cats.
"making it more difficult to ever raise your taxes. Spence will work to require at least two-thirds support from the legislature to put any tax measure on the ballot."
In other words, even if "we the people" win 65% of the elections, that will not be enough to out-vote the Fat Cats, because you need 67% in order to raise taxes on them. So if they pass a piece of crap like Brownback just did in Kansas - to cut taxes for the rich and raise them on the poor, it would take a 2/3 majority to undo that.
4. Like Brownback, Spence has a plan to make taxes "fairer" and to create jobs. Which is how Brownback described his own monstrously evil plan. And like Brownback, Spence apparently has no intention of telling you what it is - until AFTER you have voted. Again, his plan is to "come up with a plan"
"Upon election, he will immediately appoint an independent panel of experts to look at our outdated tax system and make recommendations for reforms ..."
Yeah, sure, an independent panel of experts. Right. Care to name that panel now? Is there any chance at all that Spence considers Arthur Laffer to be an "independent expert" just like Brownback, who paid Laffer $75,000 of Kansas taxpayer money to come up with a monstrously evil plan to increase taxes on the poor and cut them massively for the rich. Any chance of that? Or would we just get random "experts" from Heritage, Cato and Americans for the Prosperous?
So, there seems to be Spence's jobs plan - to hire some Fat Cats to come up with a plan to benefit Fat Cats.
Although, to be fair, Spence does specify some things before the election, like this step which is sure to create thousands of jobs (maybe in Fantasy Land)
"Some of his ideas include: mandating drug tests for unemployment recipients and revoking benefits for those who fail..."
He files that under "using common sense". Common sense might realize that in order to GET most jobs, a person must pass a drug test. And some employers, like the Water Department, where I am on the board, will test their employees at random, about every other year. Yet Spence seems to feel that many people, having lost their job, had their income cut by 2/3 or so, will rush right out with their (extra?) money and buy some drugs.
This is common sense?
Doesn't look like it to me. What does make sense - don't vote for Spence.
Posted by hfojvt | Thu Jul 26, 2012, 01:53 AM (10 replies)
Republicans continue to push the message that "the stimulus failed". I, being the economist that I am, continue to claim that it worked. That our current weak economy is not because the stimulus didn't work, but because we never got another round of stimulus. If you are driving up a steep hill, hit the gas and get halfway up the hill. You don't take your foot off the gas and say "well, apparently hitting the gas didn't work, we are still only partway up this hill". No a sensible person would GIVE THE CAR MORE GAS.
But if the Repiblican-controlled Congress did that, then they would not have a bad economy that they could blame on Obama, and Democrats, from now until November.
As I said last time http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002129028 , some probably will not like the word "recovery" but I would say that even with the last three months of slow job growth, that positive job growth is still positive. So here, are the updated numbers of job gains (or losses) by quarters.
First the Republican recession - a very severe one
total (with Bush as President) (3,563,000)
1st (2,258,000) note - Obama was sworn in as President and the stimulus passed in the middle of this quarter
total (in Obama's first five months in office (3,691,000)
Then the Democratic recovery (starting by slowing the freefall)
total of the last half year (1,090,000)
That the economy was no longer losing 1,000,000+ jobs every quarter is a very positive thing. The economy was in free fall and the stimulus was like a parachute. When you open a parachute, you keep falling, but at a much slower rate so that the landing does not kill you.
total 2010 + 909,000
1st + 497,000
2nd + 290,000
3rd + 441,000
4th + 412,000
total 2011 + 1,640,000
Amazing though, almost a million jobs created so far this year, and to hear the media tell it, we are doomed, oh, the economy is so horrible. They even put this little nugget in their story, a story where they paint a gain of 80,000 jobs as a negative. "And the scheduled expiration of tax cuts at year's end has increased uncertainty for U.S. companies, making many hesitant to hire."
Oh no, the "uncertainty" of the end of the Bush tax cuts on INDIVIDUALS is making COMPANIES hesitant to hire.
What that really means is that the top 1% is sorta holding the economy hostage. They won't hire unless they are assured of billions in tax cuts. And the media (which coincidentally they happen to own) is helping them to make their case.
Another point I would make is that the Government, thanks to Republican philosophies, has CUT 49,000 jobs in the last three months. If they had instead just done nothing, the economy would have gained 274,000 jobs (at least, since those extra 49,000 working people would have spent their money, further stimulating the economy). The economy runs on consumer spending and consumers are spending less. Why? I would point to at least a couple of reasons. First, political doom and gloom rhetoric does not increase confidence. Second, Republicans continue to push for cuts in Government jobs which further reduces both confidence and consumer spending. If not for the cutbacks in government spending that Republicans have been demanding, the economy would have added another 187,000 jobs over the last year (on top of the 1.76 million that it added, almost 200,000 more would have put us over 2 million as well as further stimulating consumer spending).
As these Republican candidates run around promoting a return to Reagan/Bush policies as a cure for what ails the economy, they should constantly be reminded of 2008, that the economy went down on Bush's watch. That it was Bush's leadership and Republican pokicies that created the mess we are still digging out of.
Posted by hfojvt | Fri Jul 6, 2012, 12:01 PM (7 replies)
Sure like I said that.
And as for Balloon-Juice, I said 2006 or 2007 because Cole himself wrote this "Again, as a former wingnut and lifelong Republican until 2006 or 2007, I am fucking begging- treat a win like a win and use it to your advantage."
Now, as for rich people. I did not say anything about destroying capitalism. What I am talking about is Democracy, where our government is a government "of the people, by the people and for the people." Except when conservative policies win, whether they are promoted and passed by Republicans or DLC Democrats our government becomes a government of the rich, by the rich and FOR the rich. That is, policies, conservative policies from conservative Democrats, primarily benefit NOT the bottom 50% of Americans, but rather the top 20% of Americans.
And yet, a supposed "former" conservative, who is probably part of the top 20%, looks at a policy coming from the Democratic Party that benefits the rich (the top 20% that he himself belongs to) and calls that a win.
I call that a loss. I call that a betrayal of the highest order.
The trouble with a former conservative, especially one who was a conservative so very recently, is that they still have conservative baggage that they don't realize is there. They have not changed their mind about everything. They are probably still "fiscal conservatives" just like many conservadems. So while they may be able to explain Republican BS, some of it, they still have swallowed and occasionally will regurgitate for your consumption, other conservative BS. Only they don't think of it as BS, because they still believe it. They still believe, probably, that the middle class makes $120,000 a year, for example.
Or your nonsense line that "you have to pay for your coverage like everybody else".
Nonsense, because everybody else does not pay for their coverage. SOME people have good jobs - ones where their employer provides health coverage, or one where their employer pays for most of their health coverage. Other people, such as say, myself, for almost two decades, are not fortunate enough to have such a good job. Well you don't make their life any better by forcing them to buy something.
Posted by hfojvt | Mon Jul 2, 2012, 11:35 AM (0 replies)
in two of those districts - the first and the 3rd, the Republican incumbent is running unopposed.
In how many other House districts is that true?
Let's do a survey. Check in and tell me if it is true in your state.
Of course, one sad fact is that for Democrats to win in the 1st is a near impossibility. In 2010, the Democratic candidate only got 23% of the vote. But still that is 44,000 people who did NOT want to vote for the Republican. They should have that option again this year. In 2008, our candidate only got 13.2% of the vote, but still, again, that was 34,771 people.
Further, in the Kansas State Senate, in 7 of the 40 districts, Republicans have no Democratic opponents. They are districts 15, 16, 31, 32, 33, 35, and 37. In most districts there are two Republicans running in the primary, and that will be the real contest that decides the future of Kansas. If the Republican moderates lose the primaries, then we are even more toast than we have been. There will be nothing to stop the far right project of the tunnel to the 8th century.
The same is true in the Kansas house, lots of Republican primaries. In some districts there are three Republicans running (hopefully two of them are conservatives), but often no Democratic opposition. In 41 of 125 House seats, one party is running unopposed, including 6 where the Democrat is running unopposed. The Republican only districts are (I know most people don't need this information, but perhaps the KDP can use it) - 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 26, 27, 45, 48, 61, 64, 68, 70, 74, 77, 78, 81, 82. 94, 99, 101, 104, 107, 108, 109, 113, 118, 120, 122, 123, 124, and 125. The Democrat only districts are - 32, 34, 35, 37, 46, and 103.
The hope that Brownback would face a backlash over the ultra-conservative crap that he pushed through in this session seems unlikely to come to pass. He's already got a lock on 1/3 of the House, unless moderates show up in droves in the primaries. Maybe I should hope that the moderates lose the primaries and those voters come running to elect Demorats. But otherwise it is looking to shape up as Kansas electoral massacre part II.
Posted by hfojvt | Tue Jun 12, 2012, 02:01 AM (17 replies)
anyone who roots for Lebron James is clearly a troll.
Opposing deficit spending is just silly, and as any tradfitional economist would tell you counter-cyclical. In the last 150 years, the Federal Government has probably run deficits in 140 of them, and we have done just fine. In WWII, the debt was greater than the GDP and the country did just fine. In fact, we prospered.
One of the troubles with supposed trolls, is that we, as Americans are swimming in a sea of excrement, crap that fills the airwaves and newspapers and books and the internet. False ideas and lies and distortions and propaganda - excrement. Our public discourse is so full of excrement that everybody who swims in it is bound to get some in their mouth, or in their head, and then spew it out like its not some crap that was catapaulted into their mind.
Some people, true trolls, embrace the crap, believe enough of it that they have gone over to the dark side.
Yet others, sincerely believe themselves to be on the side of the angels, are faithful followers of brother Dee Morris, and belong to the Antioch Wiccan church* and yet, because they, like all of us, are swimming in a sea of excrement, have accidentally swallowed some bad ideas - like the Balanced Budget Amendment.
All too quickly, we, the pure liberals, suspect the latter of being one of the former.
My position is, that even if they are right in their suspicions, we should still treat both the same. We should try to win them over to our side, by offering the hand of friendship as well as a relentless barrage of facts and logic. We should try to persuade and educate those who disagree with us, even though we are likely to find that NOBODY, not even US, ever wants to admit that they are wrong, and efforts to persuade will often be met by stubborn resistance following Newton's Second Law of Arguments.** But still I think it is better to try, and to have malice towards none, to try to win people to our side rather than driving them away with contempt and aspersions as not being sufficiently pure or enlightened.
And finally, who is that trip-trapping on my bridge?
*(inside joke - this is a parody of Charlie Daniels' "Uneasy rider" where the redneck, after being accused of having voted for George McGovern, defends himself saying "I am a faithful follower of Brother John Birch, I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church ...")
** Newton's Second Law of Arguments is a parody of Newton's Second Law of Motion - "for every argument there is an equal but opposite counter argument (at least in the mind of the person making it)'
Posted by hfojvt | Sun Jun 3, 2012, 06:48 PM (1 replies)
except it leaves out the part about Democratic complicity.
Democrats keep using their bully pulpit to say "Republicans are right"
Will tax increases, even on the rich, hurt the economy? Republicans think so.
Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.
Do we have a serious budget deficit problem which requires spending cuts and entitlement "reform". Republicans think so.
Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.
Will tax cuts create jobs? Republicans think so (or claim they do).
Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.
The other insane part is that Republicans are offering economic policies which have clearly failed, but that Democrats are NOT offering a clear alternative. Instead Democrats concede most of the terms of the argument. They agree with Republicans that we have a problem and they agree with most of the proposed solutions. The Democratic alternative to the Ryan budget seems to be Simpson-Bowles.
Well, I guess that offers a clear choice. Republicans want to break my left arm and Democrats want to break my right arm.
Hmm, tough choice. Left or righ? Right or left? Which arm do I want broken?
Fortunately for Democrats, I am left handed, but still ...
My response as a voter to BOTH of them is "How about I break BOTH of your arms instead?"
Posted by hfojvt | Sun Jun 3, 2012, 10:29 AM (2 replies)