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Too Honest

I’ve had a week to mull over Mitt Romney’s now infamous 47% tape, and my final conclusion is that Romney is too honest a republican. Nothing he said in that tape in regard to “poor” people (he was actually talking about the middle class) is any great departure from his party, either in rhetoric or in action. He didn’t make up that 47% figure.

He just repeated something that has been floating around in republican ideology for decades now. The 47% is the GOPs go-to demonization group when they don’t have Muslims, Russians (Romney is still clinging on to them as a threat), gays, or minorities to fall back on. You probably all know by now, that the 47% number that republicans like to toss around isn’t really accurate. It includes retirees, who don’t pay taxes on their social security checks (which represent the taxes they paid their whole lives), veterans deployed in combat zones, students, and the disabled.

It also includes the working poor. This is a particularly interesting group, with regard to the republican rhetoric. You see, the working poor don’t pay federal income taxes (they do pay sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, and state income taxes) because they get a deduction called the “earned income tax credit”(or EITC). The EITC in combination with the Child Tax Credit usually wipes out their federal tax burden. Where did these tax credits come from? Republicans. Milton Friedman (yes, that Milton Friedman) cooked up the EITC deduction. It was passed in 1975 under a democratically controlled congress, and signed into law by Gerald Ford. The idea behind the EITC was that if working people didn’t make very much money, minimizing their tax burdens would keep them working, and therefor off any public assistance programs. Makes sense, right? It made sense to Ronald Reagan. He was a big fan of the EITC.

Shouldn’t all republicans, past and present support this? It’s a tax credit. I thought they were all for people paying less taxes? What the fuck is the problem? Shouldn’t the GOP look upon these people as being American heroes for finding the taxless utopia they say they want? And why is it that modern republicans refer to Mitt Romney as a financial genius when he writes off $77,000 a year to maintain a fucking dancing horse, in order to minimize his tax burden, but a married couple with two kids making $30,000 a year can’t take a $3,363 EITC deduction without being freeloaders? Why is there such disdain for one class of people taking a relatively minute tax write off, when there’s nothing but praise for another class taking much more robust deductions?

The answer is obvious; the middle class and the working poor don’t have lobbyists, and therefore aren’t real people. They’re abstractions that don’t get any consideration at all. So much so, that republicans can’t even see that this class of people are doing what the GOP platform is based on; not paying taxes. Republicans have worked themselves up so much in their demonization, that they are no longer capable of consistency.

To them, Mitt Romney didn’t say anything wrong in that speech. He just got caught telling the truth. No one has talked about this, but did you hear any booing or jeers on that tape? I didn’t. I heard laughter when Romney said that he would have a better shot at getting elected if he were Mexican. Really , Mitt? Your father would have been the CEO of a major car company in the 50s if he were Mexican? He would have been elected to be the Governor of Michigan if he were Mexican? He would have been able to send you to Harvard and given you millions of dollars of seed money to start Bain Capital if he were Mexican?

These people have spun themselves into an inexplicable state of victimhood by putting themselves up on pedestals from which to look down on everyone outside of their class. They really believe that they are the anointed ones, being preyed upon by the rest of us. They’re entitled to $77,000 a year for dancing horses, while being galled by the idea of anyone taking $3,363 a year to feed themselves.

These people aren’t rational anymore. They see themselves as both anointed and victims simultaneously. What’s worse, they have absolved themselves of any civil responsibility. They are the elite puppet masters that make the world go round, and yet they bare no responsibility for fixing the country’s problems because problems they don’t have aren’t legitimate problems. Poor people are poor because they are lazy, and therefor not a problem. Rape victims that get pregnant obviously weren’t raped, since their bodies allowed he pregnancy to happen. Poor kids that want to go to college should just borrow the tuition money from their parents. Rising health insurance costs aren’t their problem because they don’t ever have to worry about being able to afford to buy health insurance.

The elite in that room don’t bother me nearly as much as the people that will vote for them. Romney was dead wrong when he said that “the 47%” won’t vote for him. An alarmingly large percentage of them will. Remember the tea party rallies full of senior citizens in medicare and social security? Remember how they were riding around on their fancy scooters that medicare paid for, while screaming about how they were being tread on? No, these are the real assholes among us. I can understand the 1% trying to protect their own self interest. I can’t understand the bottom 20% that go along with this crap, just so that they can elevate themselves in their own minds by punching down at the fictional people below them on the social totem poll.

Mitt Romney didn’t write off a constituency that the republican party cares about. He just made the mistake of saying that they’ve been written off out loud. He was too honest, and his crime was that he was careless enough to say out loud, what his party believes.

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Never Play Poker With Republicans

That’s actually not fair. You can play poker with them, as long as you make sure you get the money from them up front. If you let them play on credit, you’re going to get fucked. They’re never going to pay you what they owe you.

Think I’m being unfair? Let me give you the basis for that advice.

All of this talk about not raising the debt ceiling is bullshit. And frankly, I don’t even know why congress has to vote on whether to raise the debt ceiling. It’s a bullshit vote. They already voted in the affirmative to spend the money that necessitated raising the debt ceiling. If they were concerned with government spending, they should have voted “NO!”

But they didn’t. They voted for all of the crazy ass spending that added to our debt. They voted for “emergency supplementals” to keep two wars going, they voted to spend money on medicare part D, and they voted to pass obviously bogus budgets that didn’t include these expenditures, year after year.

They voted to spend the money. So when the debt ceiling issue comes up for a vote, they’re basically voting on whether to welch on their debt.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is about whether or not they want to honor their word. Period. It’s not about spending more money, and it’s not about “making sacrifices”. They spent the money, and they did it with every single entitlement they now want to cut in the budget. As an aside, they’re called “entitlements” because it’s your money. You’re entitled to get it back, exactly as you were promised you would. Anytime a republican uses “entitlement” as if it were a dirty word, you should set them straight. Let them know that you’re damned well entitled to get your money back, and they should be entitled to theirs too.

And don’t let an idiot republican tell you that we shouldn’t raise the debt ceiling. If they try, let them know that they’re deadbeat welchers that won’t ever be allowed to play poker with you, unless they show you the money first.

See how simple this issue really is?


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My Heroes

The voters in New York’s 26th district are my freakin heroes for that they did yesterday.

Not because they voted democrat, but because they held their noses and voted in their own best interest. I say that the held their noses because the last time a democrat won in New York’s 26th, God was a child. This is a district that votes republican, always. They vote republican when a Bush is on the ballot, and they vote republican when a Palin is on the ballot. These are hardcore republicans. Voting for a democrat must have been physically painful for them. And yet they did it, because it was the right thing to do.

They left party loyalty at the door, and voted their consciences and their pocketbooks. I honestly wish that more Americans would take their lead. There should be no such thing as a “safe district”. Safe districts are a big part of what’s wrong with America. Safe districts make it possible for politicians to take your vote for granted and then shit all over you with it.

Every time your kids’ school district has to cut their budget, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time with no regard to party affiliation. Every time unemployment benefits or any other social safety net that you’ve paid into gets cut, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time, with no regard to party affiliation. Do your roads look like shit? Vote out the the person that isn’t budgeting for those repairs. Are there less cops on the streets of your neighborhood? You know what to do.

This idiocy of accepting that there’s “no money in the budget so what could your guy do?”, has to stop. Your guy will find the money if you incentivize him properly. There is no better motivator than job security to light a fire under someone.

I have repeatedly said that publicly financed elections must happen in order to fix our system. If you’re not inclined to hit the streets and collect signatures in order to secure a ballot measure, then at least stop being a party loyalist. You neuter your own vote every time you continue down the path of blindly voting for the candidate with the right letter after their name.

Don’t misunderstand me – I want you all to get out there and collect signatures for publicly financed campaigns. We’re completely fucked until that happens, so I’m not giving anyone a pass on that! But as you’re working up to the motivation to permanently fix our fucked up democracy, you can put a band aid on it by voting your own best interest and not being a dependable vote.

Whether the GOP will get the message that New York 26 sent remains to be seen. I can tell you they put the fear of God in democrats (including Obama) that were talking about cutting medicare. I’m going to go ahead and guess that talk of cutting social security isn’t going to continue either. Make no mistake, democrats were definitely going to agree to cuts to both programs. I would be shocked if they went in that direction after what happened yesterday.

They’re all going to start sounding like FDR now. Not because democrats are the good guys, but because democrats tend to be more afraid of their constituents than republicans are. Republicans know they have blind loyalty locked in with their voters, or at least they did. I’m not the kind of sunny optimist that expects that red districts all across the country will suddenly go blue in order to save the social programs that Americans resoundingly want. But I am the kind of sunny optimist that believes that we need just a few to flip, in order to get the GOP off this path of destruction (for a year or two, anyway).

So I say, BRAVO to New York 26. You made what I know was a painful choice, in order to save a program that Americans cherish. I wish that more Americans would follow your lead.

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We’re Screwed

Okay, we’ve been screwed for about thirty years now, but we got an indication of just how screwed we are this morning.

But the good news is that as we found out how very royally screwed we are, we also got an answer to a question that has confounded me for about a year and a half.

I’ve maintained for years now that our political parties are actors on the stage of political theater. We don’t have two parties that are on opposing sides. We have two parties that are beholden to precisely the same corporate interests. We have two parties that are designed to appeal to two distinctly different groups of people. We have one party that appeals to the authoritarian, “tough guy” and another party that appeals to the big thinker, “consider the big picture”. One party claims to be for the working man, while the other professes to tirelessly work to stay out of our lives. All of this is, of course theater. They’re both batting for the same team. One party is more shameless about who they’re working for, but make no mistake; democrats will take this country to precisely the same place that republicans will. They will just do it on a longer timeline. And along they way, I will give democrats credit for doing a few things for the American people, while republicans have done absolutely nothing for us for over thirty years. But at the end of the day, both parties are going to place the health and welfare of the corporations over yours every single time.

So the question with democrats is, “how big of a shill is my representative?” We already know that all republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, are 100% shill.

Watching Obama acquiesce in perpetuity, to the point of absurdity had me wondering if it were possible for someone to be this bad at negotiation. Let’s review;

-He started off the health care debate by taking a public option off the table. Huh? Why not proclaim that anything short of a public option is a non-starter, and then back down slowly from there? But not our Obama! He starts in the middle and moves right from there. The end result was the Bob Dole plan from the 90s (subsequently the Mitt Romney plan). WooHoo! He got what republicans were willing to give eighteen years ago!

Republicans emphatically demanded that Obama cut 31B out of the 2011 budget. He releases a budget that cut 32B as his opening gambit. Was anyone surprised when republicans demanded he cut from where his budget started? He gave them more than they asked for as his opening move, and didn’t get any credit for that first 32B he cut. He then had to cut another 39B on top of that!

Be honest Obama supporters; if you were in the market for a new car, would you send Obama in to negotiate the price for you?

Honestly, he’s so fucking bad at this that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to believe that someone could suck at negotiating this much. I was honestly starting to think that he was the most wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, that we’d ever seen in politics.

This morning, my question was finally answered. When Obama caved into the craziest among us, and released yet another form of his birth certificate, he definitively showed me that he just sucks at this. He’s the world’s most incompetent negotiator, truly.

He sent some very clear messages this morning. He told the world that there is no demand too crazy for him to acquiesce to. And there is no person too crazy for him to cave in to. He took off his shirt, and showed the world the tire marks on his back.

This weakness is about to fuck Americans like they’ve never been fucked before.Let me explain why this monumental display of weakness concerns me right at this moment in time.

Paul Ryan just came out with a budget plan that literally everyone, republican and democrat alike hates, despite the main stream media’s best efforts. Remember how they all used words like “courageous” and “bold” to describe the plan for the first week after it came out? It didn’t take long for Americans to figure out that this plan was going to fuck the old and the poor, for the sole purpose of making the rich richer. By Ryan’s own admission, his plan wasn’t going to balance the budget for forty years. Forty years? That’s at least five presidential administrations!

Republicans never intended for this preposterous plan to fly. I think they underestimated how big of a shit storm it would start, but they never really believed that they would pull it off. They made a tactical decision to open with the most draconian far right wing hand job they could, so that they could negotiate from there.

Obama had already demonstrated that he was going to start the negotiations from a right wing position when he appointed two well known social security haters to his debt commission. He was obviously planning on making cuts to social security and medicare. Given the birther cave-in this morning, I’m positive that republicans are now going to get way more out of Obama in terms of cutting those two programs than they initially imagined they could get. They would have to be in a halcyon induced coma not to seize on the spinelessness that Obama now openly wears on his sleeve.

In short, we’re fucked. We’re more fucked than we would be if Obama were merely being controlled by his corporate masters. Bill Clinton was obviously the most corporate friendly democratic president we’d ever had until now. Every subsequent democratic president was obviously going to slowly up the ante on the democratic party’s corporatism. This president predictably did, but he has no conviction. He has no conviction, and no hard deal-breakers. There’s nothing he’s not willing to compromise on. And even if he did have conviction, he doesn’t have the balls to stick to them.

He caved to the birthers. Enough said.


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A Special Kind Of Stupid

I’ve had something on my mind for a while, and a conversation I recently had with a republican brought it to the forefront. But before I get to the republican, I need to go back a few months to add some context.

A few months ago, the French went on strike because the government was threatening to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. I was stunned by the reaction to that story on Facebook by my friends, who are (as you can imagine) mostly of the liberal persuasion. Most (okay, all) of the people that posted the story, posted it with a snarky comment against the French people. What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck? People that have it better than you are not your enemy, and hating them for having it better than you is a special kind of stupid. The French are not whiny, self entitled or spoiled because they get to retire at 60. They fought for that privilege, and they’re fighting to keep it.

I can understand a certain amount of resentment, but I’m completely confounded when that resentment manifests itself in the form of disdain. Here’s a crazy thought; how about we support the French, instead of rooting for them to end up in the same shitty boat we’re in? How about we manifest our resentment in a more productive way, by fighting for the same rights they have? I know, my way is inane because it may lead to everyone being better off.

I brought that up so that I wasn’t unfairly beating up on republicans, when I go into my conversation with the republican. This special kind of stupid apparently doesn’t have a party affiliation.

My conversation with the republican started off by my explaining that republicans in the house are likely to try and get legislation through that would allow states to go bankrupt (which they currently aren’t legally allowed to do). Let’s be clear, being bankrupt is a legal state in which you’re broke and therefore allowed to default on some of your debt obligations. You can be broke without being “bankrupt”.

The very first debt obligation that states will absolve themselves of will be pension obligations to state workers. The republican I was talking to thought this was great. In fact, most republicans think that pensions suck and that people shouldn’t have them. One of the more ugly aspects of Reagan’s legacy (yes, there are many), will be his proactive union busting policies. He hated pensions and the unions that make them possible, never mind the fact that when he was a b-movie actor, he enjoyed the benefits that came along with his union membership. I understand why rich republicans feel this way, but what about the other 98% of registered republicans? Why would anyone that works for a living be happy when another gets crapped on? Doesn’t it make more sense to fight to get a pension for yourself, than to rejoice when someone else is fucked out of theirs?

Pensions are deferred compensation. The deal is essentially this; I will take less money every year, in exchange for my company putting X% away for my retirement. This should be a great arrangement for all involved since the employee has some security for their retirement, and the employer gets to use some of that capital for the thirty some odd years while the employee works toward retirement. It would be great for everyone if the company didn’t at some point feel entitled to keep the money that they have been allowed to play with in the interim. They’re the ones with the sense of entitlement. The worker who is demanding what they were promised as part of their employment agreement is not the whiny, self entitled asshole. It takes a special kind of stupid to see it the other way around.

Let me get back to the French for a moment. I can’t find the words to adequately describe the level of respect I have for them and for the rights they have managed to secure for themselves. America is a country in which very few people fight for anything. We generally just sit back and watch our life, liberty, and right to pursue happiness, taken away from us piece by piece.

We didn’t fight for corporations to give us pensions. Thirty years ago, 27% of US workers had pension plans. Today, less than 8% have them. And those 8% are hard working blue collar Americans. They’re not billionaire hedge fund managers and yet, we hate them for wanting what was promised to them.

We didn’t fight back when our government seized the right to monitor our communications without a demonstrable reason, or a paper trail. We just quietly sat back and let them do it, and deluded ourselves into thinking that we were safer for it.

We sit back and allow the corporations that we helped build with our hard work, lay us off while they sit on 1.8 trillion dollars in cash reserves. And we’ll be happy when they hire us back for 15% less than they were paying us before they laid us off.

And we’re going to sit back and take it, when our social security benefits are taken away from us. Sure, we’ll whine because as you can see here, no one wants that to happen. But we won’t fight to stop it from happening because we hate the French for having fought.

We don’t fight because we suffer from a special kind of stupid here in America.

I can’t figure out why we don’t fight for ourselves. Is it because we’re such a young country that has never actually suffered through the misery that comes with having no social safety nets? Is it because we’re arrogant, what with having achieved that whole “world superpower” thing in 200 short years? Or is it because it’s easier to sit around and crap on other people with rights than it is to fight to secure our own.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to get to the bottom of why we’re the way we are. But I do mourn the days when America was filled with people fighting for their right to vote, right to sit at any lunch counter they pleased, and right to earn a fair wage.

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A Shitty Deal

Not the kind from the internal Goldman Sachs emails. No, this is a shitty deal to end all shitty deals. I am of course, referring to Obama’s tax cut deal.

Has anybody looked at the details of the detail he struck? He actually went far beyond Bush’s original nation crippling tax cuts. Here are some highlights;
– The top 2% of wealthiest Americans get to stay at the 36% rate they’ve enjoyed for ten years.
– The estate tax goes down from 55% to 35%.
– Capital gains taxes get cut down to 15%

Just so that we’re clear, all of the above cuts benefit ONLY the wealthiest among us. None of these cuts benefit the middle class. The estate tax cut is even worse than it sounds. Not only did Obama cut the estate tax by 20%, but he also raised the level at which the estate tax kicks in from $1 million to $5 million. How many middle class Americans have $3 million dollar estates to hand down, do you think? Capital gains isn’t money that you earn. It’s money that your money earns. It’s stock appreciation, property appreciation, etc. The capital gains tax rate is now FAR lower than the tax rate we all pay on our paychecks.

95% of Americans don’t enjoy capital gains. WHY should any tax rate be lower than the taxes paid on earned income? That’s just crazy. Nothing should be taxed lower than your paycheck. That should be the baseline rate upon which all other tax rates are increased from.

25% of all of the tax cuts in this “compromise” benefit just the top 1% of Americans. Yeah, that’s equitable.

Did I forget to mention that this deal includes a payroll tax cut? Sounds nice, right? Here’s what it actually means; less money will be taken out of your check for your social security contribution. This will hasten the social security shortfall that wasn’t otherwise going to happen until 2037. You understand where this is going, don’t you? This is going to lead to cutting social security. This is a topic for a whole post unto itself, so I’m going to move on.

We don’t have the money to pay for these tax cuts, so we’re going to add to our already astronomical debt in order to make it happen. This growing debt significantly weakens our economy.

Now democrats will say that this deal was necessary in order to save the unemployed from running out of benefits. I say, bullshit. Unemployment benefits are a means to help people to tread water until the coast guard comes to save them. The problem with this deal is that the coast guard is never coming.

Turning this economy around requires a two pronged approach. The first part of recovery was programs like the stimulus package. The government has to step in to be the spender of last resort. When Americans have no money to spend, and corporations aren’t generating revenue because Americans are broke, that’s when the government must step in. Spending money in infrastructure projects creates jobs across a very large supply chain. The second part of an effective recovery plan is to ensure that Americans can tread water until the unemployment rate comes down. This includes programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps. These two programs not only help the recipients, but they also create exponential economic activity.

The idea is that the infrastructure projects will create jobs that cascade over a big supply chain. These jobs will in turn, generate taxable income which will ostensibly help us to pay down our debt and strengthen the federal government so that is has the resources to invest in more job creation programs. The unemployment and food stamp benefits are supposed to help people hang on until that supply chain grows enough to create jobs for the unemployed.

Obama’s deal weakens the federal government by increasing the debt twofold. We’re borrowing money to give to the rich, and we’re borrowing money to keep people on unemployment. Since there’s no further stimulus in this deal, it’s essentially all gratuitous spending with no job creation component.

Nobody is going to show up with jobs for the unemployed. The ’99ers” are going to become the “198ers”. Since I’m in the business of hiring people, let me confirm something that you already know. The longer someone is unemployed, the more unemployable they become. Hiring managers have a viscerally bad reaction to people that haven’t been able to find a job in a year. The 99ers won’t be employable until the unemployment rate dips below 5%. Once that happens, there will be a labor shortage that will make them more attractive to employers.

Nothing about this plan is going to get the unemployment rate down. Obama didn’t “save” the unemployed. He just insured that they’re going to be treading water in their current miserable state of unemployment forever. This plan just prolongs their misery. And they’re still being held hostage by republicans. I can assure you that Obama is going to have to make another appalling deal to “save” unemployment insurance by this time next year. My prediction is that the jobs report for February, when all of the seasonal retail jobs are gone, will be appalling.

This really was the grandaddy of all shitty deals.

And the worst part? Obama is now defending the bullshit republican tax policy. He’s forcing democratic house members to do the same, thereby undermining the democratic position for years to come. We’re never going to get out of this debt because there’s no one left to stand up for sound fiscal policy.

You’re burning down the house with your shitty deal, Obama. Thanks for nothing!

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A Multi-Tasking Machine Of Spinelessness

Did anybody read the title and not think that this post was going to be about Obama?

I’ve reached the end of my rope with this president. The tax cut deal was the straw that broke bitchy’s back.

I’ve been of the belief that one of Obama’s problems is that he lacks conviction. I’ve graduated from “belief” to “certainty. He’s not passionate about anything to fight for it, or to even hold his ground.

I honestly thought I voted for a born leader when I cast my vote for him. Turns out that what I got is a middle manager with no real future. He tries to stay under the radar by capitulating to everyone in perpetuity; the quintessential middle manager.

The only belief that he seems to hold firm to, is that there’s always a middle ground to be found. Sadly, he defines “middle” as being slightly less than republicans are demanding, but far more than they ever expected to get.

Just four short weeks ago, all of the republican leaders were sending very strong signals that they would sign a tax bill that excluded the stinking rich if that was all they could get. Did Obama miss that? Was he busy creating a new playlist on his iPod to watch CNN that week? Seriously, what the fuck? Boehner couldn’t have been more clear about his willingness to cave. Don’t believe me? Watch!

And yet Obama still caves by giving them two more years of billionaire tax cuts, thereby increasing our deficit by another 140 billion dollars.

Here’s a fascinating breakdown of the relationship between the top marginal tax rate and the unemployment rate. This graph tells us that there’s an excellent chance that the unemployment rate in this most precarious of times, is very likely to stay high as a result of prolonging these tax cuts.

Can anyone guess what republicans are going to run on in 2012? Could it be the fucking deficit and the unemployment rate?

And what do you think Lloyd Blankfein is going to do with all of the extra cash in his savings account? Is he going to hire people, or is he going to use the money to bitch slap Obama in the 2012 elections by contributing to whoever his republican opponent is?

On the upside, Obama is figuring how to let republicans do three times as much damage with one single kick in the testicles. This saves them a lot of effort. While I admire his deference to Mitch McConnell, in making sure that he (McConnell) doesn’t tire himself out by having to expend more energy than necessary to turn Obama into a eunuch, I wish he would find just a little deference for the people that voted for him and the platform he ran on.

This latest buckling was like so many before it, unnecessary and damaging to us all. You see, we’re having to borrow more money from China so that Jamie Dimon doesn’t have to pay 3.5% more in taxes (as if his accountant can’t find loopholes to cover that).

This s bad for all Americans, but Obama is particularly bad for democrats. Each time he caves into republicans, the thing that he caved in on becomes the thing that Obama owns. These tax cuts for the rich will no longer be referred to as the “Bush tax cuts”. No, they’re the Obama tax cuts now.

Make no mistake – extending these tax cuts is the worst possible thing that can happen to our economy.

And no, this didn’t have to happen (something I hear from democrats all the time). Obama didn’t have to cave. 76% of Americans don’t want these tax cuts extended. He could have leveraged that political capital to stop a compromise from happening. He should have held a prime time press conference to spell out what republicans are trying to do to us, and named names in the process. He should have done this on the day that republicans blocked the tax cut vote on Saturday. He instead made a half assed effort to make his case.

Either he sucks at politics, or he wanted to extend these tax cuts all along.

Democrats already have a serious messaging problem. Having a leader that is willing to shit all over the basic tenets of the democratic party isn’t helping.

I’m worried that Obama is going to irreparably damage the party if he caves in on cutting social security. NO ONE wants for social security to be cut. Well, no one except the people that made out like fucking bandits on these tax cuts anyway. 76% of Americans (republicans and democrats combined) feel adamantly that social security should not be touched. If Obama does so much as raise the retirement age, democrats will forever be the party that cut social security.

Obama’s capitulation has escalated beyond the point of just being frustrating to the democratic base; it’s reckless and dangerous for the country and it will decimate the democratic party.

I’m well past the irritated with this president stage. I’m scared shitless of him in a way that I haven’t been scared by a president in my lifetime. If

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Entitlement?

I’m really alarmed at what I’m positive is about to happen to social security. I don’t know if you guys caught this story, but last week Senator Alan Simpson, who is on Obama’s deficit commission referred to social security as “a milk cow with 310 million tits”. He made another appalling comment a few days later, but I’m going to stick with social security for this post.

Simpson isn’t alone. republican representatives have had nothing but disdain for social security since its inception. I’m not going to list all of the republicans that are opposed to social security because the list includes almost all of them. They view social security as an entitlement program, and anyone that collects a social security check as a scourge on society. I said that republican representatives have a disdain for social security because polls show that even republican voters don’t feel the same way. Three out of four Americans are strongly in favor of preserving social security, which means that a significant percentage of republican voters want to preserve it. Their elected officials simply aren’t representing them.

There’s a fundamental dishonesty in the way republican representatives view social security. It’s not an entitlement, as they claim. Social security is something that we all pay into for our whole professional lives. When we retire, we collect the money that we contributed. There’s no entitlement involved here. The same holds true of unemployment insurance. We pay into it when we work, and we collect from it when we’re laid off. No fucking entitlement to see here!

Welfare is an entitlement. Medicaid is an entitlement. These are not programs that we pay into, and then collect when we need them. Tax cuts for the rich are an entitlement. Cutting capital gains tax is an entitlement. Donald Trump shouldn’t be entitled to pay less taxes on his capital gains than you pay on your earned income. Paris Hilton is not entitled to inherit the totality of her grandfathers wealth, simply for being born. Any tax code that allows people to pay less taxes on anything than we do on earned income is an entitlement. More than that, it’s bullshit. The earned income tax rate should be the lowest tax rate that we have. No other system of taxation is equitable. Earned income is the hardest to come by. You have to work for it. It should not be taxed at a higher rate than any other type of income. Period. I honestly can’t conceive of a rational person disagreeing with that, unless they’re the heir to a large fortune. But 99% of American’s aren’t, so what the fuck are they thinking? Are they under the delusion that Paris Hilton is working harder than they are?

Back to social security. As it stands right now, we have a 2.5 trillion dollar surplus (sort of) in social security. It’s the only damned place in our economy where there’s a surplus of any kind. I say sort of, because that 2.5 trillion dollars is effectively made up entirely of US bonds. It’s not actual cash. Bush, Clinton, and Bush 2.0 all siphoned money out of social security. Bush 2.0 took every nickle that was left to pay for his war, occupation, and tax cuts. When a president takes money out of social security, they leave an IOU, or a bond in place of the cash. When the US borrows money from China or any other country, they give that country US bonds in exchange for that loan. Those bonds are insured by “the full faith and credit” of the US government. If we were to ever default on these bonds, our economy would crumble because we wouldn’t be able to borrow any more money. It works exactly the way your credit card does. If you miss a payment, you can’t use that card until you get current on what you owe.

I’ve never, ever heard a single politician talk about defaulting on our bonds to China as a means of balancing the budget. That would be an insane idea that would bury the US.

So why the fuck do they feel so comfortable with the notion of defaulting on the bonds to you? Because they honestly have nothing but disdain for you. They don’t respect you, and they don’t give a damned about your quality of life. They’re openly talking about stealing your money, and they’re doing it to get your vote! ARE YOU BATSHIT CRAZY? Why would you vote for that? It’s your goddamned money! They have to falsely call it an “entitlement” to try and get you to go along with this scheme. And while Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of preserving social security, most of us don’t believe that it will pay out when we retire. Managing expectations is 60% of the battle in getting anything done. If we accept the idea that social security is going to be diminished on us, then we’ve set ourselves up to get robbed. This is madness!

Yes, social security will be in trouble in 2037 if we maintain the current rules. By 2038, if we do nothing to the system at all, social security will pay each recipient 78% of what it pays now in order to keep the system solvent. Keep in mind that what I mean by solvent, is self sustaining (i.e NOT an entitlement). There’s a simple solution to the solvency problem. As it stands now, we stop making social security contributions when we’ve reached an income of $106,800 per year. After you’ve made that, you’re no longer paying into the system until the next calendar year. All we need to do is remove that cap, and problem solved! I don’t know about you, but when I’m 107,000 into my annual earnings, that’s when I can most afford to get taxed. I honestly don’t even notice when those contributions stop being taken out of my check.

If I were writing the US tax code, here’s what I would do;

-No federal taxes on anyone for the first 35k you earn. That first 35k is when you most need every cent you make.

-Federal taxes would kick in on every cent over 35k that you earn, and the percentage would increase incrementally on every 35k.

-Capital gains tax would be some percentage higher than earned income taxes, and they would be paid on every cent of capital gains. Right now, rich people defer some of their income to take stock options, in order to avoid paying that higher earned income tax rate. This must end. They’re stealing from you by doing this.

-There would be no contribution cap on any federal insurance program (social security, medicare, unemployment, etc).

Look, if I have to be taxed, I’d rather be taxed on the last 35k that I earn every year than on the first 35k. That first 35k is the money that keeps me from being homeless. The last 35k is what keeps me in Ferragamo handbags.

And let me say one more thing to the “entitlement” hating crowd. Until you can name one single first world country that doesn’t have social safety nets, you need to shut the fuck up. There’s no such thing as a first world country with no social safety nets. “Safety net” and “first world” are inextricably intertwined. And if you’re telling yourself otherwise, they you’re a complete idiot. If you can’t show me how your bullshit idea of every man for himself has worked to improve one single country, then SHUT UP ALREADY. I’m tired of hearing about your fucking unicorn.It makes me bitchy.

Social security is the only solace you have when Enron, Arthur Anderson, and WorldCom rob you by suckering you into investing in their worthless company. Social security is the only solace you have when Bank Of America, CitiBank, Goldman Sachs, Wachovia, and Chase falsely inflate the value of your home by giving out loans to people that can’t afford the other homes on your block. Social security is the only solace you have when the lobbyists for the financial institutions that robbed you, buy politicians so that they can turn Fannie and Freddie into coconspirators in the real estate ponzi scheme.

Corporations are picking your picket every single day, in a million different ways. Our wages haven’t gone up in a decade. I got into the staffing business almost 14 years ago. When I started, I was hiring JAVA developers. I’m still hiring JAVA developers today, for the exact same wage that I was paying them 14 years ago, when gas literally cost half as much as it does today, and milk was $2.50 a gallon. You’re making less money, while the company sells its wares at a higher profit.

We’re on the fast track to turning into Mexico. Taking away social security will accelerate that devolution faster than other single factor that got us on this road.

You’re not the one sucking on the tit. You’re the fucking cow. And when your milk stops lubricating our country, you’re fucked, and your kids are fucked. Wake up!

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