When it comes to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the stakes just got a lot higher

When it comes to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the stakes just got a lot higher

Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner announced on Wednesday that in addition to the fiscal cliff deadline at the end of the year, the United States will also hit its borrowing limit on December 31st, meaning the debt-limit will have to be raised a lot sooner than previously believed. Unlike going over the fiscal cliff, which will have very little economic impact in the short-term, refusing to raise the debt-limit and forcing the United States to default, would have immediate and catastrophic effects. Not only would the US economy be impacted, but the entire world’s economy would as well. But that won’t stop Republicans from using the debt-limit as leverage to force the President to agree to steep spending cuts that target working families across America.

Between the manufactured “fiscal cliff” and the Republicans refusal to compromise over the debt-limit, never in our nation’s history has Congress been responsible for inflicting so many economic wounds on our nation. And we can blame the Tea Party for the chaos on Capitol Hill today, as they were elected by billionaires in 2010, they clearly have no interest in governing, and no knowledge of what the debt-limit even is. And in blaming the Tea Party, we also have to blame the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed billionaires to spend unlimited money electing these retrograde politicians who are hell-bent on playing disaster capitalism to remake America into a billionaires’ paradise.

Comments

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 1 year 35 weeks ago
#1

That's what it is, essentially. The fiscal cliff is a problem made up by the two corporate lobbyist bought parties for their "good cop, bad cop" routine to get us (instead of the 1%) to accept austerity. Similarly, raising the debt cieling will be a made up crisis as raising it is routine and no big deal but the two parties will pretend it is a great calamimty to be averted, to the same end.

Too many people must be getting wise to the "fiscal cliff" and the false ominousness surrounding it.

tim4change's picture
tim4change 1 year 35 weeks ago
#2

Sorry Tom, but I have to disagree. The debt ceiling issue can be addressed by the President invoking the 14th Amd and just saying "We honor the debts we have created." I agree with your assessments regarding the Tea Party (which doesnt really even deserve to be capitalized), but this is one issue we dont have to face and therefore the President is to blame for not using his constitutionally granted powers.

am4dems12 1 year 35 weeks ago
#3

THERE'S NO END TO THE TRICKS THEY'LL PULL.!

am4dems12 1 year 35 weeks ago
#4

True but , remember, they sureley have a crucififiction in store for a defiant president.. soo he must be careful and tread lightly and secretly. billy can attest to that .

akunard's picture
akunard 1 year 35 weeks ago
#5

We are in this mess because the Pres. spent 1 Trillion a year over what the Govt. took in!!!!!!!!!!!!

mike-n's picture
mike-n 1 year 35 weeks ago
#6

Congress spends the money.

Are you suggesting that Obama can spend whatever he wants?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 1 year 35 weeks ago
#7

Akunard - It is not hard to know which party you voted for, the losing party. Are you stating it is the President who was responsible for the amount spent over the last four years and the Congress has nothing to do with it? If so you are showing why you voted for the Republican candidate. It has been the tea baggers in the House that have decided they will allow the cuts in our fiscal crisis if the billionaires and millionaires that put them in office do not get their huge tax breaks, after all they bought the politicians on the right and expect their payoff no matter what it costs the country. I almost believe there is a conspiracy between the President and the Republicans in the House to allow this so called fiscal cliff scenario to happen. The President will get his tax increases he has been bagging for and the Republicans will get the cuts they want in the social programs they hate so much. I do not believe that Social Security or Medicare are going to get the cuts the Republicans drool over since they were left out of this agreement. I could be wrong about Social Security and Medicare, but either way the social programs that the poor and middleclass rely on will be decimated. Education, housing, food stamps are just a few of the social programs that will come under the ax if no agreement is reached. Since the super wealthy are going to get increases no matter what, the tea bagger Republicans have very little insensitive to sign onto any agreement. The middleclass tax payers on average will lose their tax cuts that are around $2500 a year and the Republicans in the House are only concerned with the increases their masters will have to pay, to Hell with the rest of America. Obama keeps edging forward with agreeing that the tax increases he now proposes will increase taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year instead of the $250,000 he first asked for. Boehner said he would go for tax changes for those making more than $1,000,000 a year and he still could not get the tea baggers to agree with that! It is time to gather ourselves together and march on the Republicans and Democrats that are holding our country and its citizen’s hostage over whether we should tax the very wealthiest in our country. We need to march on their offices and homes. Yes HOMES, as in the home they live in and not just Washington offices. If that does not work we need to consider even more effective ways of getting their attention. Just calling their Washington offices will not do a thing. I realize that sounds like a scenario that would be hard to do, but it is exactly what the Wall St. protesters did and they were noticed, until the Gestapo police in N.Y. started playing hardball. Well the citizenry can play the same kind of game the Greeks and the Spanish demonstrators are having to do in order to get their point across. I believe if we band together in the tens of thousands we would see an immediate change in the way the Whitehouse and the Congress are handling or not handling this crisis. This fiscal crisis, we will see take place on Jan. 2, 2013, will only be the first of cuts to programs for the poor and the middleclass to happen. Once they think we are down for the count they will step even harder on our necks and the necks of generations to come. Our Children and Grandchildren deserve more from us, than just cowering from this governmental body that holds us in such ill disregard. I will be happy to join any movement that can be put together, to stop this tyranny by our politicians.

newpines's picture
newpines 1 year 35 weeks ago
#8

Check your facts, please. You are misinformed.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 1 year 35 weeks ago
#9

time4change - Perhaps the President does not want to use his constitutionally granted powers. Consider the thought he feels there is more to gain for HIM if he allows taxes to go up on everyone and cuts to social programs. He could then claim it was not what he wanted, but he could do nothing to get the Republicans to agree on anything. He gets more revenue and the cuts will help him state he was the president who balanced the budget, when he leaves office in four years. He gets what he really wants and does not have to take any political hits to his legacy. It was the Republicans that hurt America not his administration. I do not trust him anymore than I trust the tea bagger Republicans or any Republicans as far as that goes.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 1 year 35 weeks ago
#10

Akunard, we are in this "mess" because George Bush kept the expense of TWO WARS off the books (!!!!!!!) for most of his two terms and Obama put them on the books. Then Obama had to deal with an obstructionist Congress that employed several hundred filibusters (when the average for a legislative term is less than 5) to prevent ANY action on almost ANYTHING for no other reason than to make the President look bad, knowing that many people, some of whom contribute to this forum, would be accept that the President was the blameworthy party as they aren't really paying attention.

Also, it's okay to keep a deficit in a recession as stimulus of the government putting money into the economy would restart it and then bring in enough to run a surplus.

rhym's picture
rhym 1 year 35 weeks ago
#11

Should the Republicans continue to block any progress on both the "cliff" and debt limit, it will not be forgotten and they be unelectable in many states, including mine; as several Republican Tea Party Congressmen lost in the last election. In practical terms, they will be unelectable.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 1 year 35 weeks ago
#12

Too many of us regard the Republican leadership as a Moron Nation cabal of stupidly dysfunctional politicians engaged in an idiotic frenzy of mindless fanaticism.

Especially for the progressive elite, it's a profoundly appealing portrait, evoking all the boundless self-flattery implicit in redefining "conservative" as a synonym for “imbecile.”

But what if the Left -- as it habitually does -- is again suicidally underestimating the iron will and Machiavellian sophistry of the enemy?

What if these politicians are not "dysfunctional" at all?

What if they are part of a disciplined cadre of Wall-Street-funded agents methodically creating dysfunction and chaos to lay the groundwork for a military-industrial coup?

Frightening as such a possibility is, it is actually far more plausible than the alternatives evoked by super-smug dismissal of the Republican Obersturmbannführers as hopeless idiots.

(Investigative reporters -- if indeed there are any left -- please take note.)

rhym's picture
rhym 1 year 35 weeks ago
#13

You need to look up the Congressional Republicans that were just voted out of office in Illinois, especially Joe Walsh. He loves to see himself on any public media that is available - look him up, he makes Blago look like he has his act together. Please look him up - you will love it.

akunard's picture
akunard 1 year 35 weeks ago
#14

"The fact that we are here today to debate rasing America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure" .

2006 what Senator uttered those words on the Senate floor?

Last 2 years of Bush first 2 years of Obama who controled BOTH houses? And it's still Bushes fault!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 35 weeks ago
#15

You are saying what Thom has already said.

What do you think Obama meant when he said the debt ceiling can no longer be used for political leverage?

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 1 year 35 weeks ago
#16

Akunard, Obama only had control of the Senate, i.e., a veto proof majority for the first two months of his term. After Scott Brown was sworn in late NOTHING that Democrats wanted got through the Senate.

Also, Bush raised the debt ceiling 10 or 15 times. It wasn't considered a crisis then and only is now because Republicans are hyping the sham to scare the public into accepting tax and program cuts.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#17

Last year's BIG DRAMA was the so-called government shut-down. This year it's the myth of the "Fiscal Cliff". Be very scared....

How about taking away the ill-gotten entitlements congressmen have enjoyed at our expense? Personally, I'd like to shove all those worthless scumbags off a REAL cliff.

Palindromedary 1 year 35 weeks ago
#18

Rather than a "Fiscal Cliff" it is more of a "Fiscal Cave" where most people live. They see only the shadows on the wall of the cave which determines everything they believe. Those outside of the cave create the shadows on the wall of the cave. All they have to do to manipulate the cave dwellers is to create the shadows they need to make them believe certain things and act in certain ways. Some may have dared to peek out of the cave and know that not all is as it is portrayed in the shadows. But how do you convince all those others in the cave who are too afraid to see beyond the shadows?

But, when people get hungry and desperate enough perhaps they will dare to take a peek; but, by then they'll be to sick and emaciated, physically and mentally (not to mention having been convinced to give up any weapons that could have mattered) to be able to fight back. By the time we have to pay several hundred dollars for just a bag of groceries and $50 or $100 per gallon for gasoline..not long now. When fuel or electricity we need to keep us warm in the winter is way more than most people can afford, will people, like ostriches, keep their heads buried in the sand...and the shadow people will continue to speculate on the meaning of various shadows? I'd say some shadow people still believe that Obama and the Democrats will do something worthwhile to counter those who are also driving the Republicans but there really is no substantive difference between them. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are the shadow makers for the ruling elite. They will continue to play us all for fools and will keep squeezing us till we all drop dead.

All ye Troglodytes arise...you have nothing else to lose but your chains!

Futurenow 1 year 35 weeks ago
#19

Fiscal cliff? Defaulting on loans? Refusing to raise debt limits? Hit the US where it will hurt the most? Anyone suspect another strategy going on with this reckless financial behavior?

We know what the IMF and the World Bank has done to the economies of so many nations, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", all to create indebtedness nation by nation, so each nation loses sovereignty. So, how would the top Billionaires, the elite Bankers of the elite, bring down the most powerful economies of the world? We see what is happening in Europe and in the United States. It is time to ask why are the Republicans, i.e. Corporatists, behaving so destructively? What is the real objective? It is not enough of a reason just to win the next two elections because this is making them very unpopular among the majority of Americans.

It is worth consideration here to hypothesize that the top bankers of the world want more ultimate control. And the top Bankers are working an inside plan with the Mega-Corporations, aka Republicans. If a majority of nations in the world have a collapsing economy and are desperate, just watch some group of bankers trot out a "Salvation Plan" of debit cards and electronic money, no more dollars or coins in our pockets. Then they can track everything and charge fees. No economy without them, no privacy, no sovereignty, no democracy, and no power. They own the people. They have been working to destroy the Constitution for years.

It is time to look deeper into this arrogance and stupidity of Republicans and call them on their game. They don't love our country! There could be a reward for them if they "help" pull this off, so they can't be reasoned with. For years now, we have watched the one-track mind of the Republicans, and it is obvious that they are up to no good. They want destruction. They want to provoke such a desperate situation that the people will be forced to accept a no-good deal of enslavement. Remember serfdom?

The people have to say "NO" and never give in or give up. Stay sharp. It's not just as it appears. We must keep our democracy. Find a way to sovereignty, worker-owned businesses, co-operatives, being inventive and creative, and not doing everything in the same old way. We can do it! We are the 99%! We have adaptability, flexibility, and we care about our world and each other. We will get through this together. We are powerful.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 1 year 35 weeks ago
#20

The second paragraph in Thom's blog pretty much says it all regarding the damage the Tea Party and Citizens United has caused our fine country. But in addition I think a Tea Party member backlash has to be brewing by now. I mean how long can it take to wake up and figure out your being used as a chump in a fake populist movement created by billionaires. I would of thought the Ryan budget Plan was enough to trigger a, " wait just one minute buster," moment. I fear that inevitably this moment will come and I use the word fear more in reference to potential violence directed at the Tea Party Representatives currently responsible for all of this needless economic hardship.

I live in an economically depressed rural District with a Tea Party Rep. and believe me I know the character of its citizens. Many are simply misinformed by Fox TV and always vote Republican without question. That said I also believe that some of these same individuals just having knowledge of what's in the Ryan Budget Plan would become enraged enough to jump in their rusty pickup trucks held together with bumper stickers that read things like, "gun control is the ability to hit your target," and head for our Reps. district office and start breaking windows. In my opinion the time is coming when these Tea Bag Reps will have to relocate to communities where their identities are unknown. I think the same backlash is going to happen to Fox. We're already close to this French/Russian Revolution melting point right now.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 1 year 35 weeks ago
#21

It is impossible for someone to be both a billionaire and a good person. It is impossible for a person to have $100 million and be a good person.

A good person would realize that with so many people starving or hungry, un-educated, wrongly-educated, falling victim to wealthy thieves such as the medical and pharmaceutical industries and thereby losing their houses, there is no sane excuse for hoarding that much money.

And when a person who has $100 million donates $1 million, sure it helps. IF he donates it to a real charity and not some self-serving bunch of rich people who skim millions of dollars out of the donations for "expenses" such as lear jets and limos. But when a person who has $100 million donates $1 million, he still has $99 million left. Which is much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much more than he or his family will EVER need. In other words, he's a pig who is trying to look like a nice guy. Which is why in the Bible, Jesus said that the poor woman who gave her last penny, had given more than the rich hypocrite who gave 0.00000001% of his assets.

With the rich, it's always about looking good. It's about being tan, it's about making sure the camera catches their good side, it's about being seen at the right parties and in the company of the right people, and dropping impressive names. In other words, they are plastic manikins with pretensions of humanity.

Having that much money when so many people have so little, is obscene. It is a crime against humanity. Particularly when it is virtually impossible to make a billion dollars unless it is done directly at the expense of the human race, such as by using slave labor, prison labor, and child labor, and by polluting, by bribing governments, tax dodging, and other unsavory activities. They're like Al Capone, getting their money through criminal activities and then buying expensive clothing and saying, "Look at me, I sure cleaned up good, ain't I?" Except that a wealthy person would never use the word "ain't." Oh no, they speak proper English, and that cancels all of their crimes.

And it's significant that the billionaires gate themselves off from the rest of humanity. They tell themselves, "Let's just get away from those inferior people, they're so uncooth," but the truth of it is that they feel the poor people looking at them when they drive around in their $500,000 cars and live in their $10 million houses around the world. And they feel those poor people saying, "Oh. So THAT'S what that thief is doing with the money he stole from my pension fund. I am eating dog food so HE can drive that car. I am living in my old beater car that I can't afford to put gas in, so HE can enjoy the $500,000 that he charged me for treating my mate's illness, which is why I had to sell my house. Ah. So THAT is what he is doing with the money he made manufacturing the chemicals that made my mate sick and the chemicals that the doctors used for treating that illness. And THAT is what he is doing with my money that he stole from my bank. I get it now: people starve to death in Africe so this guy can eat duck liver and caviar with a golden fork and a platinum spoon."

The people who have stolen hundreds of millions or billions of dollars want to shove as much caviar into their faces as possible, before what they have done to humanity gets shoved into their faces. And it will be shoved into their faces. If the poor don't do it, the universe will. It is inevitable. And isn't it interesting that the hyper-rich want to do as much damage as they possibly can before the consequences of their actions are visited upon them? Why would they want to do that? Well, they do that because they have the most dangerous mental illness that has ever existed on this planet: they are not capable of controlling their obsessive, well-manicured, desperate, urbane, clawing, well-dressed, murderous, polished, lying, perfectly-coifed, cheating need for more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more money.

It's ironic that the rich made fun of drug-addled hippes who said, "Too much drugs is never enough," and yet here are the rich saying, "Too much money is never enough." Let's compare those two groups of people: the drug-addled hippies damaged themselves; the rich are destroying this entire planet and harming every living thing on this planet, including themselves. Oh Gee, I am sure glad that the supreme court's legislate-from-the-bench fascists have given me the "freedom" to get rich by harming and killing people and destroying the environment. And anyone who doesn't like it is free to try to cheat me out of my money before I cheat them out of their money Yes sir, let freedom ring! God bless our mental illness!

The bottom line is that the rich can't control themselves. They are like supercharged motors without governors, oscilatting dangerously out of control, harming everything they touch. For their own sake, to prevent them from creating yet more bad karma for themselves, and to save humanity, the rich need to be controlled.

It should be against the law for any one family to have more than a few million dollars. And if they think that's unfair, well, they can just go "create jobs" on mars, because humanity doesn't need them around. In fact, the only way humanity will survive is if we eradicate the mental disease of wealth.

And to pre-empt those who like to state the obvious as if it were a revelation: yes, I am a socialist. Socialism is a good word, it means that I am concerned about other people besides myself. But while we're on the subject of what words me, I should mention that rich IS a dirty word. Let's clean up the rich. And clean them out. And put their ill-gotten gains to good use.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#22

I salute you, Dave Abbot... Ya took the words right out of my mouth! I could not have said it better. I'd be hard-pressed to find a single statement in your long entry that I could disagree with.

I too am a socialist; a democratic socialist, to be exact. And an athiest. And proud of it. - Aliceinwonderland

ken ware's picture
ken ware 1 year 35 weeks ago
#23

Palindromedary & Bliss - Gentlemen, I can assure you the American population will never give up their weapons of War. Those of us who have served in the military still retain the same skills taught to the military of today. Speaking out of personal experience for myself and those who I know are armed, they will never give up their weapons or bow down to a military takeover of our government. The local police in most small and large cities are aware of the massive fire power that arms the civilians in their own community. People know their own communities and cities far better than any military power that may have the ill-conceived idea of in stowing Marshall Law and confiscation of our fire arms. True, the military has equipment that far exceeds our own. But, the ability of people to fend off any military type intrusion into their community is far beyond the grasp of any military of police planners. A simple look into what the civilians are capable of doing is found in the Middle East for one example. We as a military force far out gunned our adversaries in Vietnam and yet we still lost the overall war to so called peasants. We killed at least 2 million North Vietnamese as well as countless South Vietnamese and they still ended up the victor, no matter how the U.S. Government would like us to believe we won, we did not. The Dept. of Homeland Security ordered 350 million rounds of anti-personal ammo. You have to ask yourself who they were arming themselves to fight. They fear us a great deal more than anyone in the government would like to believe. If our government ever tried to use its military power against the civilian population, you would also see mass desertion by its troops, the same troops they might someday try to use against us as American Citizens. The amount of homemade weaponry that could be assembled would boggle your mind. It is the government, who should think twice about ever using force against its citizens. Americans are the best armed and most violent population of this Earth. I am not saying that is a good thing in itself, but it should reassure those who fear the government concerning a military type takeover of what is left of our rights. The scenario that was played out by the Para-military police during the protests would have a completely different outcome if it was tried against armed and trained individuals protecting our citizens. The police forces and National Guard had a hard time trying to keep unarmed and untrained rioters in check in past riots of the 60's and 1990's. I in no way am suggesting we ever take up arms against our government. But if some type of military coup tried to usurp our rights as citizens of this country, they would be faced with an army of civilians that the world has never experienced in the past. I do not fear this government in any political or military form. They have given most police forces federal grants to enhance their ability of fend of terrorists. They are not afraid of terrorists, they are afraid of the American public if they should get really angry against the acts that the government might try to impose on us. Sleep well; we are a nation of warriors that would never accept any such actions by our government to suppress the people Today, the L.A. police Dept. gave $100 and $200 gift certificates for any weapon or firearm that the population had in their possession and would turn them in, with no questions asked of those who turned in the weapons. In a population of millions of people they only had 1500 takers. Everyone else decided to keep their weapons with them or at home. That gives you an idea of how fond people are of their weapons. They will not give them up easily to anyone. Whether this is a good thing or not, is up to your own opinion on gun control. Point being, people will defend themselves against any one or any organization that tries to infringe on their constitutional rights. I guess I should be careful what I write, one never knows who is reading these comments and how they could be misconstrued.

lesliengland's picture
lesliengland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#24

OUTLAW BILLIONAIRES. Good idea, but how? This iceberg of capitalism isn't threatened yet by fossil fuel induced global warming, it remains the underpinning of the country, and turning our immense ship of state has taken every bit Obama has been able to muster in four years. god bless him. Before he is even resworn the consuming gun debate has started, pot is going to be a tough issue, and the overwhelming flaws of election laws, the supreme court, for god's sake CONGRESS, energy policy, infrastructure, education, complete health care, housing, foreign policy, climate change, are bursting at the seams. Technology is probably not the panacea and obfuscation seems to be the instrument. Sincere, deliberate leadership, like we have now despite the SINISTER efforts of the bully Murdochs, Palins, Coulters, Norquists, the Trump guy, ad nauseam is our slim claim to a better future. How do we do it Thom?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 1 year 35 weeks ago
#25

How do we determine how much is too much for a person or corporation to make? We can not even get the President and Congress to pass a budget to prevent the so called fiscal melt down. And for those who depend on the government for help in everything from education to housing, going over the fiscal cliff is as real as real gets! To bad the government is less concerned about the American population, then they are about going home for the Holidays!

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 1 year 35 weeks ago
#26

We the People hold the power of hereditary right.

"The equal right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...When Government becomes destructive of those ends it is the right of the People to alter or abolish that government." Declaration of Independence

"Obedience to government is the sign of a Totaltarian State" H. Zinn

Regardless of your party preference...Both sides are failing the general public. It is up to us, the People, to clean house and hold those (individuals and corporations) accountable for commiting fraud and recklessly disableing the working middle class.

It ain't the working poors responsability to pay for the fraudulant actions of this Government. Let those uber rich war profeteers...Military Industrial Complex Contractors pay the bill off.

Palindromedary 1 year 35 weeks ago
#27
Quote ken ware: "We as a military force far out gunned our adversaries in Vietnam and yet we still lost the overall war to so called peasants. We killed at least 2 million North Vietnamese as well as countless South Vietnamese and they still ended up the victor, no matter how the U.S. Government would like us to believe we won, we did not."

I agree, but the people who really won was the Military Industrial Complex. They made scads of money during Vietnam and in the Middle East wars. The American taxpayers lost and so did the families who lost loved ones including the 58240 US soldiers (not to mention the many, many more disabled physically and/or mentally) and the over 2 million Vietnamese. We also have to look at how many Laotians lost their lives...millions..some through our covert illegal bombing and later through Pol Pot. Had the Nixon not lied to the American people and not secretly and illegally bombed Laos...Pol Pot would not have risen to power.

And in reference to the gun ownership...as soon as they started talking about banning some guns...some gun store owners have reported that sales skyrocketed...people buying them before they can't legally buy them anymore. Some have said that they have sold more guns in the last couple of days than they did all year.

Palindromedary 1 year 35 weeks ago
#28
Quote Loren Bliss: "What if these politicians are not "dysfunctional" at all?

What if they are part of a disciplined cadre of Wall-Street-funded agents methodically creating dysfunction and chaos to lay the groundwork for a military-industrial coup?"

I suspect you are quite correct but perhaps...a military-industrial-bankster coup? I believe they have already overthrown democracy. All that is left is for us to resign ourselves to spit-shine their jack-boots, give them the old seig heil salute, and then roll over and die.

Palindromedary 1 year 35 weeks ago
#29

Aliceinwonderland: Me too...on all counts.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#30

Having just re-read the message from "futurenow", I've gotta hand it to him or her; these comments are food for thought, worthy or serious consideration. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if some sort of devious Master Plan was hiding behind the ineptitude and "stupidity" of Republicans, Blue Dogs and their ilk. If we simply dismiss them as a bunch of idiots, we do so at our peril. What we're actually up against is a small group of ruthless predators. Their agenda is world domination, at any cost. This is what fascism looks like.

We are being jerked around & manipulated en masse by these Plutocrats. We'd better wake up and look beyond face value here, because the stakes are higher than most have dared to imagine.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#31

In an earlier discussion on this blog, I recall suggesting that perhaps we are heading towards a new era, one in which most of us are self-employed rather than working for "The Man"; also participating in more bartering types of transactions for our basic needs. How else can we disengage ourselves from a toxic economy that no longer serves us?! By growing more autonomous, we can take back much of the freedom these predators have stolen from us. If we really want to let the air out of Mister Piggy's balloon, we must create alternatives for ourselves. Imagine products & services like fossil fuel, for example, or health insurance, becoming worthless & irrelevant! Those parasites would no longer hold power over us. All the guns in the world wouldn't have nearly the impact of us "ordinary" folks simply re-adapting and disengaging our way out of this nightmare. - Aliceinwonderland

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 1 year 35 weeks ago
#32

Maybe we're watching a right-wing coup in the process? I don't know if many people doubt that they are entirely willing to destroy the country, if that's what it takes to grab power. So, what are we going to do about it?

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 35 weeks ago
#33

Fortunately the deficit and national debt are problems with a simple, fair solution. Consider the following:

Increasing the top ordinary income tax rate by only 3.5% to 39.5% on marginal income over 250K ( Obama's proposal ) would generate about $70 billion a year; but letting it rise from there to 70% over 400K ( the pre-Reagan top marginal rate ) would generate about $700 billion a year.


 And applying this 70% marginal rate to any combination of all forms of income over 400K ( including stock grants, options, dividends and capital gains ) would generate hundreds of billions a year more.
 The result would be a budget surplus.

And since the richest 1% now have a net worth of about 20 trillion dollars, an effective 
( loophole free ) top estate tax rate of 90% on marginal wealth over 50 million dollars 
( the pre-Reagan top rate was 77% over 10 million ) would generate enough revenue within a generation to eliminate our national debt.

And the richest 1% would still be the richest 1%.

How do we end the buying of lawmakers ( from both parties ) by the richest 1% who naturally oppose the solution? - entirely public financing of lawmakers' campaigns and service, followed by mandatory retirement for life on a generous government pension. How much would this cost the average taxpayer? - about 10 dollars a year.

Two other current economic problems, the trade deficit and high unemployment, also have an easy, historically tested solution:

We now import over a trillion dollars worth of computers, cell phones, TV‘s, furniture, appliances, toys, tools, clothes, and car parts annually from countries like China, Mexico, Indonesia, and India; - corrupt Third World nations where tens of millions are kept desperately poor so that they must accept less than $4000 a year and work 70 hours a week just to survive like animals in polluted slums or crowded barracks.

Do some arithmetic; - one trillion dollars worth of Third World imports divided by 14 million unemployed American workers equals a little over $70,000 per worker.

So; if we restored tariffs on slave wage nations and saved a trillion dollars by making products that we now import, we would create 14 million manufacturing jobs worth $70,000 a year, eliminate our 500 billion dollar trade deficit, and have $500 billion left to buy all the oil we need at a fair market price. ( making military occupations that invite terrorism unnecessary ) We could even afford enough oil ( a nonrenewable national resource ) to put some back in the ground for future generations.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 1 year 35 weeks ago
#34

I wonder how (or if) our own subminimum wage workforce would factor into this. While we weren't paying much attention, we've seen an expansion of those who can be paid less than the legal minimum wage. A whole lot of family-supporting jobs were broken down into super-cheap prison, workfare, "sheltered workshops," etc., labor.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 1 year 35 weeks ago
#35

Those who run the Government (Big Corporations), are only concerned with one thing... TAKING all the money and paying the least amount of taxes; while claiming to be "job creators". If FORCED to pay higher taxes they will take it out on what is left of the poor working class.

Why are We the People okay with this?
I know most people regardless of party preference - have quite a rant regarding this matter - including myself - but why haven't there been mass protests on the steps of the Capital Building and throughout the streets of Washington and around the country???Why has it been business as usual for all of us???Why do We the People not have faith in our heratage...our History...our born rights as Americans?

Most people are okay with paying taxes for roads, bridges, schools, etc, because we all use those resources. But to force working poor and middle class people to pay the bill left by Corporate Opportunist from Left and Right of the aisle along with cutting programms that aid those who cannot afford the basic cost of living is the worst act of violence towards working class people.

The United States of Corporations (U.S.C.) ARE the terrorist and it is up to We the People to stop them. It is up to We the People to set the ground rules and enforce policy and Law. It is the Right of the people to abolish or alter the government when it becomes destructive of the principles that We the People stand for...The right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Further more it is the working middle class that is to blame for the dire straights we are in. Too many times people have cast a fear vote for the so called "lesser of two evils" only to get screwed just the same; then do it again 4 years later.

ORGANIZE, RALLY, PROTEST, BOYCOTT, STRIKE, SABOTAGE, ABNOLISH!!! And remember; All the U.S.C. care about is profit and leaving the bill in their wake for the working class sucker who can barely make ends meet...So hit them where it counts...in the pocket. Do away with N.A.F.T.A. Stop spending your hard earned dollars with companies that commit acts of violence towards poor and middle class working people here and abroad.
TIME TO GET OFF OUR BUTTS AND TAKE TO THE STREETS...ONLY THIS TIME WE GET STRONGER AS THEY ATTACK US.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 1 year 35 weeks ago
#36

Very interesting points of view

When is control of money supply to be taken out of private hands?

This is a fundamental question that underlies all enquiry with respect to subject

joelweihe's picture
joelweihe 1 year 35 weeks ago
#37

Welcome to the new American Oligarchy.

zephyrr's picture
zephyrr 1 year 35 weeks ago
#38

There seems to be a decades old plan on the dark side to systematically take over all democratically organized government. Well, finally the voters in America rose to the call to dump the hyenas that have called themselves Tea Partiers. So keep up the resistance, don't fall into the pit of pointless paranoia and keep voting and working against the dark and cruel promulgaters of Chaos.

jstrahan's picture
jstrahan 1 year 35 weeks ago
#39

Just what does it take for this country to comprehend that the most dangerous element this country has ever faced is the Republican Party.Republicans continue to refer to the left wing media distorting the facts. What left wing media? 90% of all media, written, radio, or television is controlled by the wealthy Republicans. The American public is just as misinformed as citizens of Russia and Iran do complete absence of honest discussion of the real facts that exist such as exist through this source and MSNBC evening programming. It is time to make a final decision as to whether we should refight the Civil War as is the wet dream of S. Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, Montana, North and South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, W. Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, etc. or do we want to have one country for all Americans where bigotry is no longer acceptable and the average American matters as much as those born from wealthy parents. It is time for honest discussion. I for one voted equally until 2008 for both parties but now hold the Republicans in the highest level of contempt imaginable.Does anyone really believe the Democrats want to take everything away from the wealthy and give to the people of color? Isn't it time to put this 70 year myth to bed for good.

Futurenow 1 year 35 weeks ago
#40

Well said, Aliceinwonderland!... "the stakes are higher than most have dared to imagine." Which means, it is time to create, not follow the old ways because they brought us to this moment which is disfunctional disaster. I like your next entry, too where you talk about our possibilities of barter, not working for "the Man", etc. I do like a democratic co-operative. Where they do exist, they are doing very well and operate with respect for the people. Nearby, we have a 35-year-old food co-operative that has grown into two stores and sells produce from local farms and vendors; also we have a growing "Time-Bank" where working for others is a recorded investment of hours that can be used to get help and services when you need it... all in the "Bank" by the hour.

Thom has talked about the Mondragon Co-operative Company in Spain. The Basques, who were always persecuted by Franco, were desperate in the 50's (no jobs) and started a school (to train labor) and a bank as a co-operative. It has sustained the people to this day, grown to a world-wide co-operative, and when the world economy was crashing, no one was layed off, but everyone took turns working with full salary, then not working with an allowance. In many ways, hierarchical structure where the power and money is at the top like a dictator, is on its last legs. What a failure capitalism and the corporate structure have been! LIke you said, "we must create alternatives for ourselves by re-adapting and disengaging our way out of this nightmare." Then, we can call life an adventure to enjoy our own creativity and genius!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 35 weeks ago
#41

Although the suggestions you make are fair they are not simple. They are not simple in two ways.

First, getting congress to pass any of these ideas is in no way simple.

Second, the economy has so many lags and non-linearities we need to look historically to see what might work. The first is my favorite "how can this be moment". When Reagan lowered the top tax rate from 78% to 35% the rich paid 2 to 3 times as much in taxes. Therefore, if one was to introduce a 70% tax rate there would be less revenue from the rich. Thom has sort of explained why this is. I will give my explanation if anyone cares.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 1 year 35 weeks ago
#42

Thank you, Futurenow! We will survive, one way or another. Creativity is our salvation. And it's important to have hope. Without it, we're doomed. - Aliceinwonderland

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 35 weeks ago
#43

Consider the following statements by Adam Smith, the founding father of Capitalism, in his book Wealth of Nations:

" The rate of profit of merchants and master manufacturers is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin."

“ A man must always live by his work, and his wages must be at least sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family.”

" The ultimate object [ of Capitalism ] is to enrich the country by an advantageous balance of trade. It discourages the export of the materials of manufacture 
[ natural resources ], and of the instruments of trade 
[ machinery and factories ], in order to give our own workmen an advantage. It encourages the importation of the materials of manufacture, in order that our own people may work them up more cheaply, and thereby prevent a greater and more valuable importation of the manufactured commodities." 
( the Reaganites have us doing the exact opposite )

In summary, a Capitalist nation must have effective progressive taxation, a living minimum wage ( at least $15 an hour today ) for all adult workers at home, and tariffs on products made by slave wage labor abroad.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 35 weeks ago
#44

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We know that the marginal rates I suggested are politically possible because they were in effect from 1942 until 1981.

Ronald Reagan put America on the road to economic ruin in the 1980's with his flat tax, free trade policies ( Reaganomics ) that allowed and rewarded predatory mercantilist behavior, and we have not had a government run by either party promoting a productive capitalist economy ever since.

The results of Reaganite flat taxes and free trade over the last 30 years; -

Cumulative trade deficit zero in 1980; 8 trillion today


National debt less than 1 trillion in 1980; 16 trillion today


19 million manufacturing jobs in 1980; 11 million today


S&P 500 profits up over 900% since 1980; hourly wages stagnant


Combined net worth of the top 1% - 20 trillion; the bottom 40% - zero

The only remedy? - scrap Reaganomics and replace it with Capitalism.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 35 weeks ago
#45

I am totally in favor of the marginal rates you suggested. What I am saying, they are neither politically or economically simple. Also, you should adjust your numbers for inflation, or it sounds like you are blowing smoke. With regards to debt, you should always consider the ratio of debt to GDP. That ratio exposes the fact that austerity (spending cuts) always fails. Another benefit, the ratio does not require inflation adjustment since both the numerator and denominator are effected by inflation.

Politically the problems with using the 1942 to 1981 timeframe are the changes in the laws and SCOTUS decision. Some of that timeframe is even before Taft-Hartley. It is definitely before the Citizens United decision, and I think before Buckley vs. Valejo. It is also before the repeal of Glass-Seigle (sp?).

Economically, the effect of the increase in marginal rates is not as straightforward as you describe. The increase rates do increase revenue from the rich. They persuade the rich to invest in America. Thus, the denominator of the debt ratio is increased.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 35 weeks ago
#46

Wonderful quotes. Thanks.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 34 weeks ago
#47

The marginal tax rate increases and tariffs that we need to solve our debt and unemployment problems might be politically impossible until we end the buying of lawmakers ( by the richest 1%) through public financing of campaigns and retirements as I suggested in my original comment, but afterwards the solutions would be as simple as putting a pen to paper.

The results of Reaganite flat taxes and free trade that I listed are massively negative with or without inflation adjustments. And as I clearly said, I believe that our national debt should not exist, in which case the ratio to GDP would always be zero and austerity is a nonsensical concept.

Abraham Lincoln also believed that our national debt should not exist: - "Government, possessing the power to create and issue currency and credit as money, and enjoying the right to withdraw currency and credit from circulation by taxation and otherwise, need not and should not borrow capital at interest."

( Read that Lincoln quote again and you will see that it is also an argument for nationalizing our privately owned, cunningly named 'Federal' Reserve. )

I agree that changes in our tax and trade laws enacted by bought lawmakers since 1980 caused our economic problems. I also agree that five cretins on our Supreme Court who can't see that money doesn't speak, it buys, are an impediment to solving the problem of bought lawmakers, - but Obama will probably give us a rational Supreme Court within four years.

Our government doesn't 'spend' money, it transfers money from some people to other people; - because the inflation adjusted rate of GDP growth was the same before Reagan as it was during and after Reagan, all that his flatter, 'fairer' tax rates did was 'redistribute' trillions in wealth from the majority of Americans to the richest 1%. Economically, in addition to eliminating the national debt, the increase in marginal rates that I propose, in combination with fair trade laws and a living minimum wage, would return most of that wealth to the majority who produced most of it.

In summary; - effective progressive taxation, a living minimun wage, and tariffs on products made in slave wage nations would end our ongoing Reaganite nightmare and give us a booming Capitalist economy within a few years.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 1 year 34 weeks ago
#48

Ravi Batra in his book "Greenspans' Fraud" points out the growth rate of the GDP during the Reagan years (decade) dropped by about 30%. He summarizes this in a table on pg 174 in my edition.

I am sure I do not fully comprehend Lincoln's concept of no debt. Although I am mired in ignorance, I would like to make a couple of observations. Lincoln's idea would probably work if Lincoln were running the country. However, the issuing of money without restrictions sounds a lot like the Weimer (sp?) Republic in Germany. The result was a high rate of inflation.

Don't forget another weapon we need to build a strong economy is the vigorous enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Of course, all this discussion is irrelevant if can't stop the buying of politicians (lawmakers).

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 34 weeks ago
#49

Inflation adjusted rate of GDP growth: Eisenhower years +3%, Kennedy/Johnson +4.85%, Nixon/Ford +2.8%, Carter +3.25%, Reagan +3.4%, Bush I +2.2%, Clinton +3.9%, Bush II +2.1%

Lincoln never said that currency should be created without restriction, and neither did I. The issuing of money ( through deficit spending ) by the government of a Capitalist nation must be tied by law to the historical rate of domestic wealth production ( GDP ) for two reasons:

First - a nation always destroys the value of its currency when it buys more wealth from abroad than the labor of its people produce and export from home.

Second - a nation always destroys the value of its currency when it creates money at a faster rate than the labor of its people produce wealth at home.

Consequently a Capitalist economy must be labor based; and a Capitalist nation should produce all of the goods and services that it can at home, and buy nonrenewable resources ( like oil ) from abroad. Our current Reaganite economy ( a form of 18th century Europe's money based mercantilism ) has us doing the exact opposite.

Your last statement about the buying of lawmakers is both vitally important and entirely correct - the buying must be ended; but it cannot be ended without mandatory, publicly funded retirement of lawmakers for life. As long as ultra-rich predators are allowed to promise (and provide ) 'retirement' jobs paying millions a year to our lawmakers in return for their votes, votes will be sold.

P.S. You are clearly not mired in ignorance, and I appreciate both your willingness and ability to engage in this discussion.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 1 year 34 weeks ago
#50

Flat taxing Reaganite lawmakers from both parties, bought with the promise of retirement jobs that will pay them millions a year, just passed a tax bill with top marginal rates of only 20% on capital gains and a permanent cut from 55% to 40% on estates; - so the redistribution of wealth from the majority of Americans to the ultra-rich that Reagan started 30 years ago will continue.

From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
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