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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,375

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

ryan 'budget' is not a serious proposal. Only meant as a negotiations gimmick. Obama & Dems

should reject it out of hand:


http://www.offthechartsblog.org/the-ryan-budgets-skewed-tax-cuts/

We’ve shown that the $5 trillion in non-defense program cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget are heavily weighted toward low-income programs. At the same time, based on the latest estimates from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC), we now see that the tax cuts that he specified in his budget would be heavily weighted to high-income households.

These tax cuts, which would cost $5.7 trillion if they met Chairman Ryan’s goals (including cutting the top rate from 39.6 to 25 percent), would give 55 percent of their benefits to the top 1 percent of U.S. households based on income, TPC reports.

To be sure, Chairman Ryan says his budget would fully offset the cost of his proposed tax cuts by curbing tax expenditures (exclusions, deductions, and other preferences). But he has offered no specific proposals to do so.

■ We estimate, based on new TPC analysis, that the individual income tax cuts specified in the Ryan budget (assuming they met their goals, including the 25 percent top rate) would give an average $330,000 a piece to households with annual incomes above $1 million — compared to an average $1,700 tax cut for middle-class households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 (see first chart).



■ The tax cuts would raise after-tax incomes by 15.4 percent among millionaire households but by just 1.8 percent for households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 (see second chart).


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Ryan 'budget' makes massive cuts to discretionary spending beyond what anybody would think is rational. This is nothing but a false position just put forth for negotiations purposes. It's an extreme position beyond all reason just to get an agreement which is skewed far to the right of where it would be given good faith negotiations. (Of course, in truth, the Republicans DON'T have any idea, of their own, of what the optimum level of funding should be. They refuse to, perhaps they are incapable of understanding and arriving at a level of Government responsibility and involvement in society. They only devise what they want - as opposed to what Democrats determine is a practical position. Once that is established, THEN Republicans come up with a position that is based on some decrement of the Democrats' position. Then they come up with talking points that are supposed to be the basis of their position.

http://www.offthechartsblog.org/ryan-budget-hits-non-defense-discretionary-funding-far-more-than-sequestration-does/

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget would cut the part of the budget that supports everything from education and law enforcement to biomedical research to nutrition assistance by more than $1 trillion below the funding caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) over the next decade. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars below the funding levels that would result from nine years of sequestration.



“Non-defense discretionary” programs — which Congress funds through annual appropriations bills — are already slated to fall to historically low levels under the BCA caps (and that’s before sequestration). Funding for those programs will shrink by 2017 to its lowest level on record as a share of the economy, in data that go back to 1962, and fall further thereafter. The Ryan budget would cut their funding by $1.1 trillion more over the next decade (see chart).

Under the Ryan budget, these programs would be roughly 18 percent below the BCA caps each year.

These cuts are far more severe than would occur if sequestration were to remain in place in 2013 and beyond for these programs. Indeed, over the decade the Ryan budget would cut non-defense discretionary programs $700 billion below the post-sequestration levels.

The Ryan budget takes a very different approach to defense programs, however, canceling the sequestration cuts for all years starting in 2014 and funding defense at the BCA cap levels.



Ryan Roundup 2013: Everything You Need to Know About Chairman Ryan’s Latest Budget - http://www.offthechartsblog.org/

McConnell blames Dems for "spending addiction"

Downward Trend in U.S. Manufacturing employment mirrored in other developed nations around the World

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/21/this-chart-will-change-how-you-think-about-manufacturing/

This chart, contained within slides of a presentation by Robert Z. Lawrence and Lawrence Edwards promoting their new book “Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Economies Good for the United States?,” is quite something.



What this shows is that the decline in manufacturing as a share of overall employment has been ongoing since the 1960s and 1970s, and has not really picked up pace in recent decades.

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Their book goes on to show that similar declines have happened, at roughly the same pace, all around the world.

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.... the change is due to rapid productivity growth. That is, automation is reducing the amount of labor required to produce a given amount of goods. That means that prices fall. If people respond those price changes by buying more and more of the underlying good, then sales will increase and employment may not fall. But that’s not happened. Instead, people are saving money on manufactured goods and buying more services, instead. That’s led to the decline in manufacturing jobs.
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The second chart does show however, that Germany has managed to keep a much larger share of their employed in the manufacturing sector than the U.S. and other countries.

Right-Wing Media Downplay Spending Cuts, Then Blast Obama For Inflicting "Pain"

http://www.mediamatters.org/research/2013/03/07/right-wing-media-downplay-spending-cuts-then-bl/192963

Fox's Stuart Varney: "Nonsense" That "We Can't Cut 2 Percent Out Of A $3.6 Trillion Economy Without Facing Utter Disaster." On Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that the sequestration cut was offset by $60 billion in Sandy relief spending and so was just a minor cut. He concluded: "Are you trying to tell me that we can't cut 2 percent out of a $3.6 trillion economy without facing utter disaster? That's nonsense."

Rush Limbaugh Dismissed Spending Cuts As "Chump Change." After playing an audio clip from CNN, Rush Limbaugh said about the sequestration, "We're talking about four, or 85 billion, and that's -- and by the way, cut that in half, because half that's defense, half that's social spending, but total $85 billion out of a budget that's nearly 4 trillion --it's chump change." He added: "750,000 jobs lost because of this? So -- 750,000 jobs, divided by $45 billion, there --that -- well, it's not true, but it's not possible. There's no -- there aren't 750,000 jobs being cut."

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Fox's Sean Hannity: "Demagogue" Obama's Comments On Effects Of Spending Cuts Are "Madness." On his syndicated radio show, host Sean Hannity called Obama a "demagogue" for describing the harmful impacts of sequestration on the economy, adding that Obama's comments were "madness" and "hysteria."

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Right-Wing Media: After Sequestration, Obama Will Inflict "Maximum Pain" From Cuts

Varney: Obama Made A "Quite Clearly Deliberate" Decision To Maximize Sequestration Pain. On Fox & Friends, Varney said that Obama is "selectively cutting to impose maximum pain. He's putting down the pain so that he has political leverage with his opponents." He went on: "It is deliberate. Quite clearly deliberate. ... He will not accept flexibility, he wants to impose the pain. I can't remember a president ever doing that before. The leader of the executive branch imposing deliberate pain on the American people for political advantage."
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Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France - Ezra Klein

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/15/why-an-mri-costs-1080-in-america-and-280-in-france/

There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher.

That may sound obvious. But it is, in fact, key to understanding one of the most pressing problems facing our economy. In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. Workers would have much more money in their pockets. Our economy would grow more quickly, as our exports would be more competitive.

There are many possible explanations for why Americans pay so much more. It could be that we’re sicker. Or that we go to the doctor more frequently. But health researchers have largely discarded these theories. As Gerard Anderson, Uwe Reinhardt, Peter Hussey and Varduhi Petrosyan put it in the title of their influential 2003 study on international health-care costs, “it’s the prices, stupid.”

As it’s difficult to get good data on prices, that paper blamed prices largely by eliminating the other possible culprits. They authors considered, for instance, the idea that Americans were simply using more health-care services, but on close inspection, found that Americans don’t see the doctor more often or stay longer in the hospital than residents of other countries. Quite the opposite, actually. We spend less time in the hospital than Germans and see the doctor less often than the Canadians.

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A Great One! -- David Brooks vs. Progressives: Genteel Ignorance as Economic Warfare

on AlterNet By Richard (RJ) Eskow (Campaign for America's Future)

http://www.alternet.org/economy/david-brooks-vs-progressives-genteel-ignorance-economic-warfare?akid=10213.263688.lzudUv&rd=1&src=newsletter812204&t=5
(emphasis my own)

March 20, 2013 |

There are jungle birds that can imitate human speech perfectly. Ever hear one sing a sad song? They can do it so beautifully that human listeners are moved to tears. The bird, on the other hand, has no idea what it's singing about.

David Brooks is like that bird. He may not understand economics or public policy, but his uninformed pronouncements have a music that moves Washington insiders. His misguided opinions are rendered in a prose voice that bespeaks mastery of a subject matter with which he is clearly unfamiliar. These uncomprehending arias may have comic-opera overtones, but they build a consensus for tragedy.

Brooks' latest column, "The Progressive Shift," which wages war on the Congressional Progressive Caucus' "Back to Work" budget -- and on mainstream economic thinking -- is a good example of the art.

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The CPC budget provides short-term stimulus spending to jump-start the economy. It also cuts the deficit more effectively than any Republican alternative (a fact which Brooks fails to mention) and it does so with real-world numbers, not Ryan hocus-pocus. The bottom line: Seven million jobs, followed by deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion.

If it seems bizarre, extreme, and unreasonable to characterize that as an attempt to massively expand government spending, that's because it is. Strip away the prose and Brooks' column is an uninformed, Fox-fueled rant with no more merit than the ravings of your blowhard uncle when he drinks too much at a holiday dinner and starts fulminating about "those damned socialists."
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Pew Study: MSNBC Almost Entirely Dominated By Opinion -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/msnbc-opinion-cable-news_n_2900160.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular#slide=2154021


MSNBC is far more reliant on opinion coverage than any of its cable news rivals, a new study found.

The Pew Research Center's annual "State of the Media" study was released Monday. One section of the report — which, when taken in its totality, makes for very gloomy reading — deals with changes in the television news landscape over the past five years.

The study's authors found that, since 2007, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have all cut back sharply on the amount of actual reporting found on their airwaves. Cheaper, more provocative debate or interview segments have largely filled the void. MSNBC, though, stands out from the pack, Pew said:

CNN, which has branded itself around reporting resources and reach, cut back between 2007 and 2012 on two areas tied to that brand—in-depth story packages and live event coverage. Even so, CNN is the only one of the three big cable news channels to produce more straight reporting than commentary over all. At the other end of that spectrum lies MSNBC, where opinion fills a full 85% of the channel’s airtime.


Pew found that Fox News spent 55 percent of the time on opinion and 45 percent of the time on reporting. Critics of that figure would likely contend that the network's straight news reporting tilts conservative, but it is true that Fox News has more shows that feature reporting packages than MSNBC does. The network's straight news hours — hosted by Chris Jansing, Thomas Roberts, Tamron Hall and Andrea Mitchell — are usually filled with interview segments or pundit debates.




I'd be interested to know how PEW judges a statement a matter of opinion.

IF someone subjects a statement by a politician to scrutiny by comparing the politicians assertions to the findings of scientifically based, empirical research and concludes that the statements of the politicians (or the personality on FOX news) don't stand up to scrutiny - is that a statement of "opinion"?

..if you cite empirically based studies to establish that statements of politicians or M$M Toadies are not valid -- that is not a statement of an opinion.

Economy is beating expectations despite sequester - Paul Davidson, USA Today

.. a very good article about the economy in USA Today...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/18/economy-federal-reserve-march/1996163/

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For the third consecutive year, solid first-quarter job growth and budding hopes for a stronger recovery are tempered by the specter of a midyear swoon. In the past, Europe's financial crisis, Japan's earthquake and the debt-ceiling showdown in Congress have slowed early-year economic surges.

This year, private-sector momentum is threatened by January's payroll tax increase and across-the-board federal spending cuts that will likely affect the economy in a couple of months unless the White House and Congress reach a deal to delay most of them.

Yet this time is different, experts say, because the underpinnings of the economy are sturdier.

Both households and businesses have shed much of the debt they amassed before the recession, leaving them freer to spend and invest. The housing market is finally turning around and stocks have rallied to all-time highs. Consumers and corporations seem inured to Washington's dysfunction after the biggest potential tax increases were averted by the New Year's fiscal cliff deal between Congress and President Obama.

"The private sector is kicking into a higher gear," says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.
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Medicare purchases of medical equipment based on Competitive Bidding - in danger

Tea Partiers in Congress are mounting an effort to kill competitive bidding requirements in the purchase of medical equipment (like electric scooters, uh-huh) by Medicare. The law which requires competitive bidding for such purchases by Medicare is being slowly expanded to more states and it is saving us BILLIONs in otherwise fraudulent over-charges due to outrageous over-pricing.

This is certainly an effort that deserves an aggressinve response from citizens with emails, telephone calls and letters to representatives in DC.

see: Medicare bidding competition in danger: Our view - USA Today
http://www.democraticunderground.com/101658543

Medicare bidding competition in danger: Our view - USA Today

.. Tea Partiers in Congress are mounting an effort to kill competitive bidding requirements in the purchase of medical equipment (like electric scooters, uh-huh) by Medicare. The law which requires competitive bidding for such purchases by Medicare is being slowly expanded to more states and it is saving us BILLIONs in otherwise fraudulent over-charges due to outrageous over-pricing.

This is certainly an effort that deserves an aggressinve response from citizens with emails, telephone calls and letters to representatives in DC.

Here's a thought: Since Medicare saves and extends lives, defrauding Medicare reduces its ability to save lives and therefore, should be a capital crime. Further, anyone aiding and abbetting such activity, such as lobbyists and representatives who pass laws to stop competitive bidding requirements for such purchases by Medicare, are guilty of conspiracy to defraud medicare. This would therefore, also be a capital crime.

If removing the requirement that Medicare use competitive bidding in purchases of medical equipment seems a crime to you, please email or call you Congressman and Senators about this.


(emphasis my own)
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/03/17/medical-suppliers-seek-to-pull-plug-on-program-our-view/1995411/

In 2010, Medicare spent more than $14 billion on oxygen devices, mobility scooters, diabetes test strips and other "durable medical equipment" and supplies that patients use at home. For taxpayers, and for beneficiaries with a 20% co-pay, that was about $5 billion too much.

Everyone overpaid because for years, Medicare bought or rented things like this on a fee schedule set by Congress, for prices that had nothing to do with normal market competition.

Now a competitive bidding process is starting to produce big savings and has the potential to cut costs even more — unless the industry and its allies in Congress manage to derail it.

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Under the new system, for example, oxygen equipment that used to go for about $177 a month will now cost $93. A hospital bed that cost $1,376 under the old rules will now go for $738. Diabetes test strips that used to cost almost $78 a month will now cost less than $23 a month — a discount of more than 70%.

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...a move in the House to dump and overhaul the bid process has almost 200 co-sponsors and is led by Tea Party favorites such as Reps. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., both of whom have suppliers in their districts. Medicare officials fear this would undo the savings and put the process on hold for years.

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