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LuckyTheDog

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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 08:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,541

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One Key Sector That's Still Shedding Jobs (Government)

Maybe we've got ourselves a recovery after all.

The economy has now been adding jobs for 16 months in a row, with an acceleration in hiring that has surprised nearly every prognosticator. The latest jobs report shows that the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, with healthy gains in professional services, manufacturing, hospitality, and even construction. There's still a long way to go before the economy is truly healthy, but each small gain helps repair the damage caused by a crushing recession.

One sector, however, continues to shed jobs, a trend that could impact not just the economy but the November elections as well. Government, which accounts for about 17 percent of the nation's workforce, has lost about 60,000 jobs since 2009, with no sign that the gradual downdrift in employment will turn around any time soon.

A shrinking government sector can drag down overall economic activity, since government jobs tend to be stable, good-paying ones that generate a meaningful amount of consumer spending.

More: http://news.yahoo.com/one-key-sector-thats-still-shedding-jobs-181314915.html

My response to: "We do not have a tax problem in D.C. What we have is a SPENDING problem in D.C."

Whenever I hear or read that stale talking point I realize I am dealing with someone who is more interested in promoting an ideological agenda than getting at the truth. The facts are as follows: The deficits we have faced since late in Bush Jr.'s term were only in part due to an increase in spending -- and said increase was largely due to a doubling of the military budget since 2001 and the creation of new agencies in the wake of 9/11.

But, the main problem with the budget has been a steep fall-off in tax revenues thanks to the super-deep, Wall Street-induced recession that hit us in 2007/2008. While that recession has ended, the hole that was dug was so deep, that we are just now beginning to climb out.

Now, you could say" "Hey, when government revenue fell off a cliff, we should have just slashed spending down to size."

Well, that certainly SOUNDS simple (thus, its popularity among the simple-minded). But in reality, cutting more than $1 trillion from the federal budget all at once would have required basically shutting down the federal government except for Social Security and Medicare. And trust me, those soldiers in Iraq back in 2008 would have been in a bad way if they had run out of bullets.

Beyond that, a huge shock of austerity like that has been tried in other countries. In each case, it led to social unrest, vast increases in poverty and a huge drop-off in economic activity (think Russia after the fall of communism). We don't want to go there.

Think of the nation in 2008 as having been at the edge of a tall cliff. We needed to get to the valley floor so that we could cross the valley and then start climbing the other side. One way to get down would have been to just jump off. But our ability to move on after that would have been compromised even if we managed to survive.

In cases like that, it's far better to invest in mountaineering equipment (or a parachute), even if that's more expensive.

Column: In which I praise Mitt (but explain why I won’t vote for him)

While it is fashionable these days to engage in vitriol and vilification of the political “other side,” I am having a hard time thinking of Willard Mitt Romney as truly evil. Really.

Sure, I cringe when I think about having a private equity guy in the White House. I know enough about that business to realize that it can be creative and helpful or deeply cold-blooded and destructive. Romney’s work at Bain Capital apparently included plenty of both kinds of deals. That makes me uncomfortable. But it’s a big jump from knowing that to believing that one can divine what’s in a man’s soul. People are complicated, Romney more so than most.

Along with his shortcomings, Romney has some very good qualities – as a candidate and as a person – that make him by far the best Republican in the presidential field. None of those qualities make me want to vote for him in the fall, for reasons I will explain shortly. But even so, it’s worth noting some of them:

-- Romney is no ideologue: Like Ronald Reagan, Romney has a strong pragmatic streak. As governor of Massachusetts, he was willing to pair spending cuts with revenue increases by raising fees and closing loopholes in the state tax code. That does not endear him to Tea Party activists. But a “cuts only” approach to fixing the Massachusetts budget would have been a nonstarter. Mitt chose to get things done.

More here: http://www.northstarwriters.com/2012/01/24/in-which-i-praise-mitt-but-explain-why-i-won%E2%80%99t-vote-for-him/#more-9746

Newt just had his "Dean scream" moment and is too stupid to realize it

So, John King gives Newt the chance to give his side of the story after another network dropped a bombshell -- that was a GIFT to Newt. Newt could have taken the opportunity to answer the charges in a dignified way and move on. Instead, Newt acted like an ass. And the SC Republicans loved him for it. Says something, eh?

Also: Once the bravado of the moment passes, Newt will find that he has given a week or more to what could have been a one-day story about his second divorce. Tactically, he screwed up in order to satisfy his ego and vent. That stuff may play well with South Carolina Republicans. Independents, however, will remember it as a tantrum. What an idiot.

Re: Newt - What I say when a Republican says: "But BILL CLINTON (insert infidelity comment here)"

My response:

"Bill Clinton is not Jesus Christ. Bill Clinton has no power to wash away the sins of the Republicans. Newt owns his own behavior no matter what Bill Clinton did or did not do."

The Case Against Liberal Despair (Daily Beast)

In the latest installment of our ‘Op-Vid: Campaign 2012’ video series, Michelle Goldberg issues a reality check and a history lesson to those liberal activists who now despair electoral politics, Obama and the squalid compromises of governing.

Video here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2012/01/15/the-case-against-liberal-despair.html

Children are our future? Michigan Dems act like they really believe that (Free college tuition)

Michigan Senate Democrats are swinging for the fences. The Dems want to offer tuition-free higher education to qualified young people who graduate from the state’s K-12 system – and they want to pay for that by repealing corporate tax breaks.

At first blush, that might sound like a hippy-dippy fantasy dreamed up in the tents of the Occupy Detroit movement. It also could be the best thing that ever happened to free enterprise and entrepreneurship in this state since Henry Ford learned to use a wrench.

Under the proposal, called Michigan 2020, Michigan high school graduates would be eligible to receive a grant for tuition and other costs at one of Michigan’s public community colleges or universities. The price tag for the plan, which is based loosely on the Kalamazoo Promise program, is estimated to be about $1.8 billion per year. That money, the backers say, could come from closing “the loopholes that allow companies to avoid paying taxes.”

In an announcing of the plan, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement, “It’s time for us to be bold and there’s no better place for us to start than by giving each and every child in Michigan the chance to compete in the 21st Century job market.”

More here: http://www.northstarwriters.com/2012/01/18/children-are-our-future-michigan-dems-act-like-they-really-believe-that/#more-9683

You're Fired!

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GOP World: New state (of Michigan) tax rules good for business -- Some residents will pay more

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican lawmakers pushed through a series of far-reaching tax changes in 2011 that will hand businesses drastically lower tax bills while raising the amounts low-income workers and retirees will pay as new laws take effect.

Many companies will see significantly lower tax bills or pay no business taxes at all in 2012, thanks to a switch from the Michigan Business Tax to a new 6 percent corporate income tax that kicks in Sunday and falls mostly on large corporations with shareholders. Businesses can expect to pay $1.1 billion less in taxes this year and $1.7 billion less in 2013, according to estimates. Two-thirds of companies will pay no state income tax at all.

If the changes work as Snyder hopes they do, they could balance the tax burden more fairly between younger workers and retirees while helping to create jobs and push down Michigan's stubbornly high unemployment rate that in November finally dipped below double digits for the first time in three years.

Some worry the tax changes may simply take money from public education and state programs that $2 billion in annual business taxes paid for in the past, a move critics say could leave students with fewer educational opportunities and force cuts to everything from prisons to food and hospital inspections.

Full story here: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20120102/NEWS04/201020321/New-state-tax-rules-good-business

2008 Iowa Caucus Victory Speech: Promises Kept

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