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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: 37,315

Journal Archives

Dave Spence has a jobs plan

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.

The Republican recession vs. the Democratic recovery (updated)

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

1st (93,000)
2nd (573,000)
3rd (1,002,000)
4th (1,895,000)
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
2nd (1,433,000)
total (in Obama's first five months in office (3,691,000)

Then the Democratic recovery (starting by slowing the freefall)

3rd (780,000)
4th (310,000)
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.

1st +118,000
2nd +543,000
3rd (137,000)
4th +385,000
total 2010 + 909,000

1st + 497,000
2nd + 290,000
3rd + 441,000
4th + 412,000
total 2011 + 1,640,000

1st +677,000
2nd +225,000

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.

"rich people are not Democrats"

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.

Kansas has four seats in the US House

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.


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)'

a pretty good summary

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?"

except it is not about hate, Bill

It's about which side you are on, Bill. It's about who your friends are.

You don't want to see Romney attacked for being an investing member of the .1%, because you yourself, and some of your bestest buddies are investing members of the .1%

"The key locution in this fandango: "And you and I have friends here who invest in companies.""

and boo hoo hoo, they should not be attacked, even though, as you yourself said,

"you can invest in a company, run up the debt, loot it, sell all the assets, and force all the people to lose their retirement and fire them."

So, even if Romney, and some of your "friends here" fired and looted and stole the pensions of some workers, well we don't want to attack them for it.

It's too bad that you cannot talk to some member of the media and say "you and I have friends here who have been fired and had their pensions stolen."

But no, Bill, once again, no matter how much a slick politician might talk about how he feels the pain of ordinary people, the real truth is, in the words of Bender "you don't know any of my friends, you don't look at any of my friends, and you certainly would not condescend to speak to any of my friends."

Well, if somebody fires you, and steals your pension, or that of one of your friends, it might be a very logical thing to hate such a person, but it doesn't have to be a hateful thing to want to see a thief held accountable, if not in the courts, at least in the voting booth.

I write as though there should be a standard

otherwise communication is impossible and if I say the word "rich" I might as well say the word "guipure" or "flibbertigibbet" because they all mean the same thing, which is precisely nothing. Because rich could mean this or it could mean that.

It seems to me, though, that there is a concerted political effort by many of the rich (as I call them, members of the top 20%) to define themselves as middle class, and to claim that only the top .1% are "really rich". Or perhaps it is defined in an operational way as "somebody who lives on investment income". Which would mean that if I had investments that made $25,000 a year and I lived on that amount, which I surely could having often lived on less, then I would be considered rich, whereas somebody who had a job making $400,000 a year would not be considered rich since they are living on their salary rather than on their investments.

Either way, I consider that to be a pernicious effort. One that I oppose every time it rears its ugly head.

What makes it pernicious, is that it allows policy makers to put forth policies which they claim benefit the "middle class". Two primary examples being Obama's promise to not raise taxes on the middle class, which he then defined as "households making less than $250,000". Except that plan ends up providing about as much benefit to the top 5% as it does to the bottom 60%. Or the payroll tax cut which is again touted as a middle class tax cut, but provides 27.1% of its benefits to the bottom 60% and 26.7% to the top 10%. In the name of the supposed middle class, benefits skew upwards, as the definition of middle class and the definition of rich both skew upwards.

I am on the side of the truth

and of the bottom 50%.

Those above the median income are perfectly free to have solidarity with the bottom 50%, but they are not free to delude themselves that they are part of it.

The thing is that the bottom 50% is getting squeezed, not just by the top .1% or by the top 1%, but by the top 50%. Many people in the top 50% don't wanna pay more taxes to help out the bums in the bottom 50% Instead they want more for themselves.

If all the AGI in the US in 2007 was divided equally among all the taxpayers each taxpayer would get $62,369.
Take away the greedy top .1% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $54,986
Take away the greedy top 1% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $48,620
Take away the top 5% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $41,069
take away the top 10% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $36,000
take away the top 50% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $15,287
take away the bottom 50% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $109,451
take the top 10% away from the top half and divide the rest of the pie equally and each gets $61,890

If I could split the bottom 50% in half, I could show that the bottom gets much less of the pie than the top half. In fact, in 2005, the bottom quintile got 3.4% of the national income and the next quintile got 8.6% - 250% as much as the bottom quintile.

For a person in the top 10% to say "I am not rich" says to me that they are thinking/saying "I should get a bigger slice of pie for myself". I think that outlook of "I am not gonna share with those below me, because I want more for myself" is a bigger part of the problem than any infighting I am doing here by expressing my opinion of the facts.

Edit - just to include some other averages

average income of the top .1% - $7,437,986
average income of the top .9% = $755,246
average income of the top 4% = $227,956
average income of the next 4% = $165,389
average income of the next 40% = $61,890
average income of the next 25% = $21,835
average income of the bottom 25% = $8,735

I could say

that I have learned that people will make up all kinds of ridiculous straw man arguments and hurl vitriol instead of listening and discussing with those who disagree with them

but really I already knew that.

Perhaps Pascal made that point very well in his Pensees.

Q: Why are you hitting me?

A: Aren't you from the other side of the lake? (i.e. the other tribe)

"Ideas on earth are badges of friendship. Friends agree with friends in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagree with enemies in order to express enmity." Vonnegut


What's my next line?

I think it may be this

"I'm telling you. People come and go in this forest, and they say 'it's only Eeyore, so it doesn't count.' They walk to and fro saying 'Ha ha!' But do they know anything about A? They don't. It's just three sticks to them. But to the Educated - mark this, little Piglest - to the Educated, not meaning Poohs and Piglets, it's a great and glorious A. Not," he added, "just something that anybody can come and breathe on." House at Pooh Corner p. 88

But I cannot help noticing the response Eeyore got to his little rant.

"Piglet stepped back nervously and looked around for help."

Well that's what WOULD happen.
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