Republicans want to hold our economy hostage again!

The last government shut down cost our nation billions, but Republicans are thinking about doing it all over again just to protect Big Oil and the Coal Lobby. This week, Senate Republicans held appropriations bills hostage in an attempt to cut off funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. Their latest round of hostage-taking is a response to President Obama announcing an executive order on coal pollution, and to EPA Chair Gina McCarthy's recent comment about a “War on Coal.”

Shutting down the EPA could endanger millions of Americans with dirty air and water, but that's fine with Republicans as long as the Oil and Coal lobby money keeps rolling in. The Right claims that regulating coal pollution might hurt our economy and cost thousands of jobs, but there's no question that another government shutdown would have those exact same effects. Republicans don't give a damn about how regulations effect Americans. They only care about the billions of dollars that these industries pump into campaigns.

President Obama has repeatedly tried to work with Congress to enact climate change legislation, but they left him no choice other than to act on his own. Scientists, economists, labor groups, and the vast majority of Americans all agree that we must take immediate action to fight global warming. Rather than debating how we do that, Republicans are putting their heads in the sand and protecting the fossil fuel industry at all costs.

Perhaps they don't remember their poll numbers after the last government shut down – but we do. Come November, Americans will let Republicans know exactly what we think about lawmakers who put corporate greed ahead of the needs of We The People.

Comments

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#1

Kend -- Is there a comment in any blog on this site that supports what you say? That is,

Quote Kend:They believe If you move to Dakota and work 16 hours a day 7 days a week for years in the oil business you should have the same standard of living as a women who has 4 children from 4 different fathers before she is 24.

With regards to when enough is enough, I will give you an answer. I think the appropriate limit would produce a gini coefficient of 0.386, not the current value which is greater than 0.477. My real point is that you keep asking for linear answers to highly non-linear system.

I think my best answer is to eliminate reaganomics. Let us return to the economic policies of the days of the New Deal and the Great Society. It should be noted there was no limit on how much one could make in those days. In those days the lower 47% were protected from the 0.01% (mostly). Because of this protection the super-rich had to work much harder to make their wealth.

Incidentally, Walt was taxed at a rate above 90%.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 24 weeks ago
#2

Marc - I think you would really like the book "My Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs. He's a NYC-based humor writer, and he decided to write down every single rule from the Bible, and live them out for an entire year. It's very funny stuff - like how he "stones and adulterer" by dropping a pebble on that guy's foot. Jacobs is Jewish, so he spends a lot of time on the rules from Leviticus, which is from the Old Testament. Most Christians believe that the rules changed when Jesus came around, which is why we don't keep Kosher.

Interestingly, Jacobs found that for every rule, there are still dedicated people who follow it. He had a professional rabbi cloth-checker come and make sure his clothes were not made of mixed fabrics. And he found special farms that grew crops according to scripture. He carried around his own chair, to be sure he wasn't sitting on it after a woman had sat on it.

Another interesting fact: Rabbis tell Jews not to eat broccoli or cauliflower, since small non-kosher insects might be in them. They also won't eat turkey, since it was native to the New World, thus they don't know if it's kosher or not.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 24 weeks ago
#3

Thanks Kend. I'm not trying to convert anyone though. Our opinions only really matter one day every two years, not counting primaries. And for me, personally, it doesn't matter at all. It's not like elections are really up for grabs in Chicago.

I was just looking for a dollar amount on maximum incomes to see if I was getting close; to see if I should start feeling guilty yet. I sure don't think my wife and I make our money on the backs of the working poor. But maybe, in some indirect way, we do. But it's kind of like environmentalists who still have to pollute to live - there is no viable alternative.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#4

Chi Matt -- Why do you ignore my responses and then say things like

Quote Chi Matt:I was just looking for a dollar amount on maximum incomes to see if I was getting close

It would be nice if paid some cursory response to my comments.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 24 weeks ago
#5
Quote kend: Do you think Disney would be what it is if Walt was taxed 90 %. I don't think so.

In 1923 Walt Disney, along with his brother Roy, pooled their money together to set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood.

In 1923, the Top Federal Income Tax Rate was 43.5% for regular income and 12.5% for capital gains.
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In 1939, several of his movies were great successes and he was able to build a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which opened for business on December 24, 1939.

In 1939, the Top Federal Income Tax Rate was 78% for regular income and 30% on Capital Gains.
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In the early 1960s, the Disney empire had become a major success, and Walt Disney Productions had established itself as the world's leading producer of family entertainment.

In 1960, the Top Federal Income Tax Rate was 91% for regular income and 25% on Capital Gains.
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Walt Disney died in 1966.

In 1966, the Top Federal Income Tax Rate was 70% for regular income and 25% for capital gains.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 24 weeks ago
#6

DAnnemarc: #40 ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 24 weeks ago
#7

To the men who get all cocky about how much wealth they have accumulated...just wait till the divorce and alimony and child support bursts your bubble.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 24 weeks ago
#8

Aliceinwonderland: I think you're right. They are just itchin' to tie our "internet tubes" so that we won't be able to freely communicate our dissenting messages. We'll have to go back to yelling at the TV.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 24 weeks ago
#9

Chuck, do you really think these guys (Kend & Matt) are worth so much effort? Seriously. Like this comment of Matt's, for example: "I was just looking for a dollar amount on maximum incomes to see if I was getting close; to see if I should start feeling guilty yet." Does that sound to you like someone interested in serious discussion, or engaging in anything remotely akin to thought-provoking discourse? Ditto "OU's" so-called "mythical enemies". If you truly believe your efforts aren't wasted, then have at it my friend! But when these people say the same things over and over like Kend, or make stupid, dismissive comments like Matt & OU just to ridicule and belittle us, and trivialize what we have to say (or twist it to mean something completely ludicrous), well Chuck, that's my cue to bail from the conversation and look for more fertile ground. Of course I realize we all have different tolerance levels for the kinds of bullshit these people dish out here. But I've about had my fill of it. - AIW

NC Linda's picture
NC Linda 8 years 24 weeks ago
#10

I just DARE the 'Cons to shut down the government......again!


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 24 weeks ago
#11

Hi guys. Sorry I've been gone so long but my system went down over the weekend and it took me this long to troubleshoot and repair it.

ChicagoMatt ~ Thanks for the reference to Jacob's book. It sounds truly interesting and I'm going to have to check it out first chance I get. Someone should really consider making it into a movie. Bill Maher comes to mind. He'd probably jump at the chance.

Palindromedary ~ I thought you might enjoy post #40. Great stuff to throw back into the face of the Burble thumpers. Also, thanks for all the dirt on Walt Disney. You sure are an information blood hound. Well done!

chuckle8 ~ I think it might really help if you explain the "gini coefficient". I probably could do my own google search; however, I'm too burned out from troubleshooting, moving furniture and swapping cables to have the energy right now. Besides, you brought it up. If I'm clueless to what that is Kend probably is too.

Aliceinwonderland ~ I know how you feel. Usually a good walk in the park clears my head in these matters. Then I usually come back refreshed and with less anger then when I left. It's hard to trip on some of the thoughtless things some people say on this blog after listening to birds sing for an hour or so.

Kend ~ Speaking of thoughtless things I haven't forgot about you. You and your friends seem to be rallying up a lot of aggression and resentment with your less than profound comments. Also, you seem to be skimming over many responses and then asking the same dumb questions over and over again. Very annoying to say the least. Perhaps you skimmed over post #40. Did you know that it is perfectly acceptable within Biblical law for us Americans to purchase you as a slave? That's right! You might want to watch yourself if you don't want to find yourself making us breakfast in bed and scrubbing the stains out of our underwear. But, then again, you seem to have no problem with hard work at slave wages... You might just enjoy it and find it very rewarding!!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#12

AIW -- You do know that bullshit is a good fertilizer.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#13

DAM -- I used the gini coefficient to show some of the complexities in understanding economies. For example, a simple concept like a maximum income is not one of the components of a vibrant economy. I cannot begin to explain the details of the gini coefficient. You should just look at the beauty of the equations in wikipedia. I did create a spreadsheet to compute it for various trials and errors.

Some of the limit values of the gini coefficient could be informative. If one is computing the Gini coefficient for income, then a value of zero would mean everyone has the same income. If the value is one, that means that one person has all the income.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 24 weeks ago
#14
Quote chuckle8:If one is computing the Gini coefficient for income, then a value of zero would mean everyone has the same income. If the value is one, that means that one person has all the income.

chuckle8 ~ Thanks Chuck! Though still a little fuzzy it makes much more sense now.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 24 weeks ago
#15

Relax Chuck - I had some things to take care of and didn't have time to respond last night. While your model with the Gini coefficient and income levels may be sound, it's not practical, which is what I always think about when it comes to politics. First of all, it requires an understand of something complicated. Perhaps you've had different experiences with your fellow Americans, but for me, asking the average American to understand or even care about something like that is far-fetched. Secondly, like all other Progressive economic theories, it requires a massive redistribution of assets and wealth, but doesn't also require a redistribution of work ethic and knowledge. I know some poor people never had a fighting change. I know some rich people didn't earn it. But those are the fringes. Despite what Thom and other negative-minded people may think, there is still a chance to get ahead in America, if you work hard enough. I am proof of that. And I see it in the people around me, some are highly-motivated to work their way up the economic ladder, and some don't bother trying. I'm sure we all know someone like that. For me, I have a relative in her mid 20s who still babysits for a "living", not because she can't find a job, but because she isn't even looking. She's more concerned with her social life than with her future. Why should I, who worked two jobs when I was her age and had zero social life, so I could save my money, be compelled to "share the wealth" with her?

Yes, I know that's just one example, and I sound bitter, because I am.

When I worked retail, we had people who would come into our store and offer use of their LINK cards (IL version of welfare - it's like a credit card for food) to anyone for half-price in cash. One of my employees always took them up on the offer, and I never said anything about it. The two would go accross the street to the grocery store, she would get a lot of groceries, he would pay with his card, and she would give him half of the value in cash.

I've seen a lot of similar scams first-hand as well. I know several small businesses that pay minimum wage over the table, and cash under the table, so their employees will still qualify for assistance (and avoid child support in some cases.)

I bring these up to point out the impractibility of Progressive economics in this country. People will ALWAYS find a way to scam the system, and it can't possibly be enforced without a police-state sort of government. It's the same argument that leads to the legalization of marijuana - people will do it anyway, and it's impossible to enforce.

Not to mention that the wealthy will also just find new ways to hide their money if a new system were to come along.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 24 weeks ago
#16

Marc - That's why I quit posting for about a week - it was bringing me down and I needed to clear my mind. I had written out a long reply to someone, and as I read it back, I realized I was being a real jerk and making things personal. So I deleted it, closed the laptop, and went for a walk.

I think there's a good reason it's considered rude to discuss politics in person.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#17

Chi Matt -- Thank you for intently thinking about what I said.

I presented the gini coefficient for exactly the reason you stated. Economics is complicated. Actually, it is human behaviour that is complicated and very non-linear. Therefore, when you say what is the maximum income one should make, that is trying to simplify something that needs a more complete view.

When you say

Quote Chi Matt:Despite what Thom and other negative-minded people may think, there is still a chance to get ahead in America,

We agree. We only want economic policy that improves those chances (social mobility has been consistently going down since reagan). In a similar vein, you say people will always scam the system. We agree. We just want to make it harder for them to scam the system (e.g. bring back Glass-Steagal).

My next question how is higher tariffs a redistribution of wealth? How is raising the top tax rate to 91% so the wealthy can pay less in taxes (just ask Rush) redistribution of wealth? How is protecting pensions from private equity firms a redistribution of wealth? How is paying CEOs in actual dollars vice options a redistribution of wealth?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 24 weeks ago
#18

Chi Matt --- Also, how is raising the capital requirements for banks a redistribution of wealth?

ChicagoMatt 8 years 23 weeks ago
#19

Excellent points Chuck. I agree with raising tariffs. I disagree with telling private companies what or how to pay their people, pension-wise or CEO-wise. If a pensioner feels like they have been cheated out of their money by a private equity firm, that's a matter for the courts, not the legislature.

I'm glad you bring up pensions. We have a crisis on our hands here in IL, particularly in Chicago. Our pensions are underfunded by BILLIONS. The people who made those promises to city employees back in the 70s and 80s, in exchange for votes, have long since moved on. Now that the baby boomers are retiring, and they want what they were promised, there is only one option: raise taxes. So, again, they take more from me (it's not really "paying taxes", since they take it before I get it), and yet there is no improvement in services. That money is all going to people who no longer work.

As always, I can't speak for everyone my age, but pensions seem like a pyramid scheme that's collapsing before our eyes. And no one I know below the age of 40 has one.

For pensions to work as designed, you need three things: 1. An always-expanding workforce paying into the system, 2. A workforce that's willing to participate, and 3. Retirees who don't spend too long on the receiving end of the pension. This may have been the case in the past, but not anymore.

It is not at all impossible for someone to work at a place 20 years, and collect a pension for 40 years afterwards. Isn't a system like that doomed to failure?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 23 weeks ago
#20

Chi Matt -- How can a federal court overturn a federal law if it is constitutional?

Quote Chi Matt:If a pensioner feels like they have been cheated out of their money by a private equity firm, that's a matter for the courts, not the legislature.

The workers had a agreement with the corporation and our society that the pensions could not be taken by the company to cover their bankruptcy. The repugs passed a law that said they didn't care about their agreement.

Quote Chi Matt:The people who made those promises to city employees back in the 70s and 80s, in exchange for votes, have long since moved on.

I think they promised then very good pensions not for votes, but so they could hire the teachers at a much lower salary. Back in the '60s and '70s, teacher salaries were much less than jobs outside of education with the same level education. The same could be said for police and fireman. Of course you are right, they did not want to raise taxes back then to enable them to pay the teachers well. One of the reasons they did not want to raise taxes

ChicagoMatt 8 years 23 weeks ago
#21
Of course you are right, they did not want to raise taxes back then to enable them to pay the teachers well. One of the reasons they did not want to raise taxes

So they kicked the can down the road, which is coming to an end. Those of us who are still in our prime money-making years are going to end up paying, either through higher taxes, fewer services, or both. Gee, thanks generation that came before us.

And civic jobs - teacher, fireman, policeman, sanitation worker, etc... those are all highly-desirable, highly-paid jobs now. They don't need pensions to attract talent.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 23 weeks ago
#22

Chi Matt -- I agree with you that it would be great to let the free market determine how to pay CEO's.

Quote Chi Matt:I disagree with telling private companies what or how to pay their people, pension-wise or CEO-wise.

I wish you would have told Reagan and the boys the same thing. The paying of CEOs with options was "forced" by the tax structure that reaganomics set-up. I am a little sketchy on the details, but I will try. I think the scheme that reagonmics set up for the 0.01% was to say any salary for a CEO above a million had to come out of profit. However, if you pay them in stock options it does not. The details are difficult and not straightforward. One could sell the scheme to the American voters by saying the CEOs would be sure to make their company perform well so the options would increase. Unfortunately, the CEOs found it much more enriching to manipulate the stock price. A scheme which does not require investing in the future of the company; after all, investing is such a risky thing. One of the ways that is used to manipulate the stock is to use profits to buy back stock with company profits. This increases the price of the stock, so they can sell their options and make a huge income. Of course, the company is starved of those investments in its future, and, consequently, the company starts to fail (a scenario that makes the company a tasty treat for a private equity firm; especially if their is a large pension fund). The CEO takes his huge short term income from selling the options and departs for the next company to repeat the process. Before reaganomics, the average time a CEO was with a company was 30 years; after reaganomics it was 5 years.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 23 weeks ago
#23

ChicagoMatt complains: "Those of us who are still in our prime money-making years are going to end up paying, either through higher taxes, fewer services, or both. Gee, thanks generation that came before us." Sorry Matt, but I'm a little short on sympathy. We've all got our crosses to bear. As Thom explains it, Reagan doubled the boomer generation's Social Security taxes, making us the only generation burdened with paying our parents' SS as well as our own. Now that we are finally coming of age, the "Party of No" is doing their damnedest to steal it from us. And we're taking the same hits on social services and the safety net as the rest of you. - AIW

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