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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

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

Dems reaping what they sowed with (patheticly) weak filibuster reform

this is what comes of trying to ingratiate yourself with those of criminal mentalities, sociopaths and terrorists gets you. Thanks so much, Harry Reid.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/03/06/dems-reaping-what-they-sowed-with-weak-filibuster-reform/

Here’s why: If reformers like Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall had gotten their way, today’s GOP filibuster of Halligan would likely have failed.

As you may recall, one of the provisions the reformers were pushing would have transferred the burden from the party trying to break the filibuster to the party trying to sustain it. That is, the provision would have required the filibustering party to muster 41 votes to keep the filibuster going, rather than requiring the majority party to muster 60 votes to end it.

Today’s Senate vote on Halligan was 51-41, falling well short of the 60 needed to break the GOP filibuster. Harry Reid switched his vote to No for procedural reasons. In other words, Republicans mustered only 40 votes against the nomination, partly due to absences from the Senate today. (Four GOP Senators didn’t vote.)

Under the provision sought by Merkley and Udall, this would have fallen short of the 41 votes needed to sustain the filibuster, and it would have ended.
(more)

the 30 corporations which paid NO INCOME Taxes 2008-2010 - Citizens for Tax Justice

(chart listing all 30 corporations, with profits and taxes actually paid ([font color="red"]frequently a negative number[/font]) can be found at link)

(emphases my own)
http://ctj.org/pdf/revenueraisers2012.pdf

[font size="3"]Some corporate lobbyists complain that the U.S. statutory corporate income tax rate of 35 percent is one of the highest in the word. They fail to mention that the effective corporate income tax rate, the percentage of profits that corporations actually pay, is far lower because of the loopholes that reduce their taxes. In fact, some corporate profits are not taxed at all.[/font]

A recent report from CTJ examined 280 corporations (most of the Fortune 500 companies that were profitable for each of the three years from 2008 through 2010) and found that 30 of them paid no federal corporate income taxes over the three-year period. Seventy-eight of the companies had at least one no-tax year during that period. The average effective tax rate for the 280 companies was only 18.5 percent over the three-year period.3


Of course, corporate income taxes are ultimately borne by human beings — the corporate shareholders
and owners of business assets, who are concentrated among the wealthiest Americans.4
As already explained, the richest Americans are not overtaxed, even when you account for all of
the taxes, including corporate income taxes, that they ultimately pay.

Below are eleven examples of the many reforms Congress could pursue to close loopholes and
ensure that wealthy individuals and profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes. They
are summarized in the table on page one.


> Eliminate the tax preferences for capital gains.
10-year revenue impact: at least +$533 billion5

> Repeal the rule allowing U.S. corporations to “defer” U.S. taxes on their offshore profits.
10-year revenue impact: +$583 billion11

> Enact the Buffett Rule.
10-year revenue impact: +$171 billion20

> Enact a financial crisis responsibility fee on large financial institutions.
10-year revenue impact: +$61 billion24

(more)


This information is important to remember when President Obama talks about lowering Corporate income tax rates!



GOP Donor Company Admits Likely Legal Violations In Another Black Eye For Conservative Media

http://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2013/03/04/gop-donors-company-admits-likely-legal-violatio/192899
(emphasis my own)

Last year conservative media decried a Justice Department investigation into Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. as a politically-motivated "abuse of power." But now the company itself has admitted they were probably in violation of the law.

Sheldon Adelson is the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a casino and resort operating firm. He reportedly spent nearly $150 million to influence the 2012 election via donations to a super PAC allied to Mitt Romney and other outside groups (including Karl Rove's American Crossroads).

During the campaign, Adelson reportedly alleged that he was making such large donations in part because he had been unfairly targeted by the Justice Department, which was investigating whether Sands operations in China had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an anti-bribery statute. But in its most recent annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Las Vegas Sands Corp. admitted that the company's own audit committee believes there were "likely violations" of that law:


[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #000000;"]As part of the annual audit of the Company's financial statements, the Audit Committee advised the Company and its independent accountants that it had reached certain preliminary findings, including that there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA and that in recent years, the Company has improved its practices with respect to books and records and internal controls.


Bloomberg reports: "The findings signal repercussions for Sands from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice investigations of possible violations of the act, which prohibits improper business payments outside the U.S."
(more)

Confronted With Facts, O'Reilly Screams "Bullshit" at guest.

[font size="3"]Confronted With Facts, O'Reilly Screams "Bullshit": Guest Accurately Identified Specific Cuts Obama Supports[/font]


http://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2013/03/05/confronted-with-facts-oreilly-screams-bullshit/192927
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly broke down and screamed at his guest Alan Colmes for identifying spending cuts that President Obama has proposed, shouting at Colmes, "That's bullshit!" and repeatedly claiming Obama hasn't proposed specific cuts to replace the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester. But Colmes was correct: Obama has proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of his plan to replace the sequester.

During the March 5 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly repeatedly claimed that Obama "refuses" to endorse specific spending cuts, shouting at Colmes, "Give me one damn program he said he'd cut!" even as Colmes highlighted Medicare and Medicaid as two programs Obama has proposed cutting:

see video


Colmes is correct: Obama has proposed $400 billion in cuts to federal health spending, which includes a $140 billion reduction in "payments to drug companies" and a $25 billion reduction for Medicaid and affiliated programs:



Conservative media have repeatedly ignored Obama's proposal of specific cuts and revenues to replace the sequester.


[font size=+1"] While Limbaugh is the leading Ass-hole on radio, surely O'Reilly is the most consummate ass-hole on television.[/font]


350 Economists Warn the President & Congress: The Economy Needs Growth and Jobs, Not Austerity

I posted previously about Paul Krugman taking on Joe Scarborough and GOP sycophant, Charlie Rose, on Rose's show.

Scarborough is continuing a his Big Lie that Krugman is 'out in left field' by saying that the economy and poor jobs growth is what should be addressed first by policy makers not the longer term Debt and Deficit problem. Scarborough is relying heavily on first and second rule of the Big Lie tactic

-1) If you are going to tell a lie, make it a big one. and
2) KEEP REPEATING IT over and over .. so that semi-conscious electorate will think: "Well, I keep hearing 'everybody' saying it. So, I guess it must by true."

So JoeBlow keeps on repeating his bullshit despite all the evidence (cited here) to the contrary. But I forgot another bit of evidence that Krugman is not out in left field on this.

This open letter, to the President and Congress, signed by 350 economists provides further evidence that Krugman's point that getting the economy out of this Republican Dystopia is the first priority - is in fact not the unusual position.

http://www.ourfuture.org/news-release/2012114614/350-economists-warn-president-and-congress-bad-grand-bargain-deficits-could-
350 Economists Warn President and Congress: Bad “Grand Bargain” on Deficits Could Kill Recovery.
Nov 14, 2012

350 prominent economists issued a statement on Wednesday warning that “the fragile recovery is threatened by obsessive concern with cutting deficits that has infected both parties.” The economists from universities and research groups across the U.S. and the world reminded politicians that the U.S. economy in the post-election period is still “marked by mass unemployment, rising poverty, and declining wages.” And they warned that big spending cuts aimed at reducing deficits could throw the economy back into recession.
~~
~~

At a press conference today introduced by Borosage, the Jobs, Not Austerity statement was released with remarks by two of the signers, Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts Economist and co-director of Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and Teresa Ghilarducci, Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the The New School.

Borosage said “the voters in this election told politicians exactly what these economists are saying: getting the economy growing and creating jobs is far more important than cutting deficits in this still-weak recovery. But we are also reminding the self-styled ‘deficit hawks’ that, as the statement declares, `If you cut spending and consumer purchasing power in an already depressed economy, unemployment rises and revenues fall — and the goal of a smaller deficit keeps receding like a mirage in a desert. When private purchasing power is depressed by the aftermath of a financial collapse, only public investment can make up the gap.’“

Teresa Ghilarducci said, "The debt burden is not the number `out of whack.’ At 7.9 percent the unemployment rate is extremely high for this point in a recovery. The high deficits are driven by the long drawn out recession. The deficits will fall when the unemployment rate falls.
(more)



read the letter with all the signatories:
([font color="blue"]emphases my own[/font])
Jobs and Growth not Austerity

The U.S. economy, once in free-fall toward a new depression, has begun to recover. But we are still mired in a prolonged slump marked by mass unemployment, rising poverty, and declining wages. And the fragile recovery is threatened by obsessive concern with cutting deficits that has infected both parties.

As even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recognizes, it is long term unemployment, not excessive deficits or debt, that is now inflicting the greatest human toll and economic damage. Polls show that voters agree joblessness and a bad economy are much higher priorities than deficits.

Yet too many in Washington are fixated on cutting public spending to balance the budget, not on how to put people back to work and get our economy going. There is no theory of economics that explains how we can deflate our way to recovery. Businesses are not basing investment decisions on how much Congress cuts the debt in 2023. As Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Greece have shown, inflicting austerity on a weak economy leads to deeper recession, rising unemployment and increasing misery.

[font color="blue"]In a deep recession, deficit reduction is a moving target. If you cut spending and consumer purchasing power in an already depressed economy, unemployment rises and revenues fall — and the goal of a smaller deficit keeps receding like a mirage in a desert. When private purchasing power is depressed by the aftermath of a financial collapse, only public investment can make up the gap.

The budget hawks have the sequence backwards. Public outlay for jobs and recovery come first, growth is restored, and revenues follow. Budget cuts in a deep slump lead only to a deeper slump. [/font]
(more)


The Federal Deficit is Shrinking and 90% of Americans don't know it - thanks to M$M

Paul Krugman took on Joe Scarborough and Charlie Rose on Rose's show last night.

Joe Scarborough appeared on the Charlie Rose show to try to 'take on' Paul Krugman. Krugman may or may not have anticipated he would be taking on both Charlie Rose and Scarborough (at imes BOTH Scarborough and Rose were yelling at Krugman) - but that's okay.

Scarborough is a practiced bullshitter, while Krugman is an economist who is entirely focussed on understanding how the economy actually works. He is not a trained debater - and certainly not trained in dealing with a bullshitter like Scarborough. Scarborough certainly had Krugman beat on the volume of his voice. but when Scarborough pointed out that Krugman expressed concerns about the deficit during the Clinton administration - supposedly showing Krugman to be inconsistent - Krugman said (not an exact quote): ' Those were different circumstances then. [font size="3"]We hadn't just been through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy was booming and THAT was the time to pay down the debt.'[/font]

Scarborough has been saying Krugman is out in left field saying that the Debt is a long term problem and that we should first address the unacceptably high unemployment and low economic growth - in other words - screw austerity stimulate the economy to get job creation going and bring down the unemployment rate.

If Krugman was a better debater (but then being a better debater, maybe he wouldn't have been the Nobel prize winning economist that he is. Krugman is focussed on finding out how the economy actually works - not in honing his rhetorical skills) he might have said:

[font color="#3333aa"] "If we get the economy growing at good rate and bring down unemployment we will be in a better, stronger position, that much sooner, to start bringing down the Public Debt. If we do NOT stimulate the economy NOW it will take much longer before we can really take more aggressive steps to bring down the debt. THe sooner we get back to something like full employment, Government revenues will climb and we will be in a much better position to pay down the debt."[/font]


http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/krugman-scarborough-clash-over-debt-spending-on-charlie

Scarborough was also trying to say that Krugman is way out in left field. Krugman told him that Alan Blinder (formerly served on President CLinton's Council of Economic advisors) was saying pretty much the same thing He (Krugman) was saying about addressing the debt and the need for action NOW on the lack or job creation and high unemployment.

Here is Blinder's article on the Krugman Scarborough 'debate' (which has been going on for a while): JOe Scarborough appeared on the Charlie Rose show to try to 'take on' Paul Krugman. Krugman may or may not have anticipated he would be taking on both Charlie Rose and Scarborough - but that's okay.

Scarborough is a practiced bullshitter, while Krugman is an economist who is entirely focussed on understanding how the economy actually works. He is not a trained debater - and certainly not trained in dealing with a bullshitter like Scarborough. Scarborough certainly had Krugman beat on the volume of his voice. but when Scarborough pointed out that Krugman expressed concerns about the deficit during the Clinton administration - supposedly showing Krugman to be inconsistent - Krugman said (not an exact quote): That was a different circumstance then. We hadn't just been through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. ' The economy was booming and it THEN was the time to pay down the debt.'

Scarborough has been saying Krugman is out in left field saying that the Debt is a long term problem and that we should first address the unacceptably high unemployment and low economic growth - in other words - screw austerity stimulate the economy to get job creation going and bring down the unemployment rate.

If Krugman was a better debater (but then being a better debater, maybe he wouldn't have been the Nobel prize winning economist that he is. Krugman is focussed on finding out how the economy actually works - not in honing his rhetorical skills) he might have said:

[font color="#3333aa"] "If we get the economy growing at good rate and bring down unemployment we will be in a better, stronger position, that much sooner, to start bringing down the Public Debt. If we do NOT stimulate the economy NOW it will take much longer before we can really take more aggressive steps to bring down the debt. THe sooner we get back to something like full employment, Government revenues will climb and we will be in a much better position to pay down the debt."[/font]

(my emphases)
Morning Joe's Accuracy Deficit - Alan Blinder
When Scarborough speaks, people listen. So controversy quickly erupted in the blogosphere. In POLITICO on February 15th, Scarborough invoked me as being on his side of the debate — which was news to me. While there are nuances of difference between my views on the budget issue and Krugman’s, and notable differences in rhetorical style, our positions are broadly similar. I’m probably a tad more hawkish than my colleague, but there’s not much distance showing between us.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/morning-joes-accuracy-deficit-88376.html#ixzz2Mi8FlKBC




Joe Scarborough Makes Up Economist Alan Blinder's Defense Of Joe Scarborough - MediaMatters
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/02/15/joe-scarborough-makes-up-economist-alan-blinder/192699

Joe Scarborough dishonestly cited Princeton economist Alan Blinder to bolster his campaign to undermine Nobel laureate Paul Krugman and accuse Democrats of being anti-math.

Scarborough has been engaged in a rhetorical assault on Krugman ever since the New York Times columnist appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and called on lawmakers to focus on economic growth and job creation in the short-term, pivoting to long-term deficits only after the economy is stronger. Scarborough has spent weeks mocking Krugman, comparing him to National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre and calling Krugman a deficit denier.

In a February 15 Politico column, Scarborough turned his attention to "bloggers," who he said were "mixing up the most basic concepts of economics" in order to back Krugman. Scarborough took particular offense at what he called "a fabulously misleading Business Insider post that claimed to list 11 economists who shared Krugman's debt-denying views." Scarbough continued:


[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #000000;"]Never mind the fact that most of the links provided actually undercut Krugman's reckless position and supported my view that the most pressing fiscal crisis is not next year's deficit but next decade's debt.

Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman and Princeton economics professor, warned of "truly horrific problems" caused by long-term debt, health care costs and interest on the debt. Paul Krugman's Princeton colleague even shared my conclusion that the coming Medicare crisis will be so great that Democrats won't be able to tax their way out of it.

Far from supporting Mr. Krugman's extreme position, the link to Professor Blinder's New Yorker article undercuts his Princeton colleague's exaggerated "In-the-end-we'll-all-be-dead" approach to U.S. long-term debt.


It is intellectually dishonest for Scarborough to cite Blinder as a fellow traveler.

Here's what Blinder wrote in the Atlantic piece that Business Insider cited (Scarborough incorrectly sourced the column to The New Yorker):

[div class="excerpt" style="border: solid 1px #000000;"]In plain English, the costs of everything on which the federal government spends money except health care and interest -- and that includes Social Security, defense, you name it -- are projected to fall over time as a share of GDP. The message is clear: America doesn't have a generalized spending problem that requires severe cuts across the board. We have, instead, a massive problem of exploding health care costs.


Oh, and also, here's a link to Alan Blinder's article in the Atlantic on the deficit entitled:

How to Worry About the Deficit: (1) Don't; (2) Wait a Few Years; (3) Then Worry About Healthcare Costs
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/how-to-worry-about-the-deficit-1-dont-2-wait-a-few-years-3-then-worry-about-healthcare-costs/272521/



5 Things Charlie Rose -- And You -- Should Know For His Scarborough-Krugman Debate
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/03/04/5-things-charlie-rose-and-you-should-know-for-h/192897

Charlie Rose and Joe Scarborough team up on Paul Krugman to no avail

JOe Scarborough appeared on the Charlie Rose show to try to 'take on' Paul Krugman. Krugman may or may not have anticipated he would be taking on both Charlie Rose and Scarborough - but that's okay.

Scarborough is a practiced bullshitter, while Krugman is an economist who is entirely focussed on understanding how the economy actually works. He is not a trained debater - and certainly not trained in dealing with a bullshitter like Scarborough. Scarborough certainly had Krugman beat on the volume of his voice. but when Scarborough pointed out that Krugman expressed concerns about the deficit during the Clinton administration - supposedly showing Krugman to be inconsistent - Krugman said (not an exact quote): That was a different circumstance then. We hadn't just been through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. ' The economy was booming and it THEN was the time to pay down the debt.'

Scarborough has been saying Krugman is out in left field saying that the Debt is a long term problem and that we should first address the unacceptably high unemployment and low economic growth - in other words - screw austerity stimulate the economy to get job creation going and bring down the unemployment rate.

If Krugman was a better debater (but then being a better debater, maybe he wouldn't have been the Nobel prize winning economist that he is. Krugman is focussed on finding out how the economy actually works - not in honing his rhetorical skills) he might have said:

[font color="#3333aa"] "If we get the economy growing at good rate and bring down unemployment we will be in a better, stronger position, that much sooner, to start bringing down the Public Debt. If we do NOT stimulate the economy NOW it will take much longer before we can really take more aggressive steps to bring down the debt. THe sooner we get back to something like full employment, Government revenues will climb and we will be in a much better position to pay down the debt."[/font]


http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/krugman-scarborough-clash-over-debt-spending-on-charlie

OUt of 34 industrialized countries U.S. ranks second from the bottom on tax rev/GDP

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137838/andrea-louise-campbell/america-the-undertaxed

United States is number 32 of 34 industrialized countries:

'Taxes on the Rich at a 30 yr High - Tax Policy Center' - monstrous disinformation by AP writer

This is patent disinformation by the AP's STEPHEN OHLEMACHER. it has appeared all over the mainstream press including here on Washington Post ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/federal-tax-bills-for-rich-near-30-year-high-while-everyone-else-pays-historically-low-rates/2013/03/03/5275c4c0-83ff-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_story.html )

The article makes it sound like the TAx Policy Center has made the asssertion in the title. When the data published by the Tax Policy Center shows - as most people know - that the truly rich (not as Ohlemacher defines them) are currently paying income taxes at a 30 year LOW - actually at about one half the rate they paid in 1980. Ohlemacher is talking about the top 20%. That includes millions of people who virtually no economist and few non-economists would include in the category "rich" - people making $223,500 (in 2009 dollars). That is a very good income - but do most people really consider that 'rich'? The top 1% begins with an income of $380,354. I don't think most people would consider someone making $223,000 rich. I think people would consider those making somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 rich.

The article also includes a quote from one individual at the Tax Policy Center which is probably taken out of context since the data presented by the Tax Policy Center shows the top 1% are paying income taxes at a rate which is about half what they paid in 1980 putting their Income tax rates at a THirty year LOW - NOT a thirty year HIGH.

Here is the same article on Huffpo:
(emphasis my own)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/03/taxes-on-the-rich_n_2801206.html?ref=topbar

A new analysis, however, shows that average tax bills for high-income families rarely have been higher since the Congressional Budget Office began tracking the data in 1979. Middle- and low-income families aren’t paying as much as they used to.

For 2013, families with incomes [font size="3"]in the top 20 percent [/font]of the nation will pay an average of 27.2 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a research organization based in Washington. The top 1 percent of households, those with incomes averaging $1.4 million, will pay an average of 35.5 percent.

Those tax rates, which include income, payroll, corporate and estate taxes, are among the highest since 1979.

The average family in the bottom 20 percent of households won’t pay any federal taxes. Instead, many families in this group will get payments from the federal government by claiming more in credits than they owe in taxes, including payroll taxes. That will give them a negative tax rate.

“My sense is that high-income people feel abused by being targeted always for more taxes,” Roberton Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said. “You can understand why they feel that way.”
(more)



Historical Income Distribution for All Households
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=458

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