The Definition of Insanity: Deregulating Over and Over and Expecting Different Results
PAUL BUCHHEIT, Feb 20, 2012
A cynic might argue that business leaders and their friends in Congress weren’t expecting different results.
In either case, we’ve become a bipolar nation, 1% manic and 99% depressive. Our affliction is caused by a 30-year experiment in the dismal economics of delusion. Deregulation for corporations and tax cuts for the wealthy have defined conservative policy since the 1970s, when University of Chicago economist Arthur Laffer convinced Dick Cheney and other Republican officials that lowering taxes on the rich would generate more revenue.
Ronald Reagan complied in the 1980s by dramatically reducing the top marginal tax rate. And while declaring government “the problem” he eased a half-century of protective regulations on mortgage lending.
In the Clinton years, Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan and Phil Gramm and others lobbied against regulations on the derivatives that evolved into toxic assets a decade later. A lonely voice of opposition, Commodities Trading Commission head Brooksley Born, was denounced by the powerful Treasury men, who were shocked by her affront to the nation’s “financial stability.”
The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 removed long-held protections for commercial bank deposits, as the newly liberated financial institutions now coveted the unprecedented profits in high-risk investments. Soon after, the 2000s brought us the Bush tax cuts, which have cost the nation over two trillion dollars, and a further assault on the Securities and Exchange Commission by Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions committed to “self-regulation.”
So what’s the result of all this? The financial collapse of 2008, of course. But it goes way beyond that. Tax cuts and deregulation led to the worst inequality since the Great Depression, with the top 1% nearly tripling their income while wages leveled off. The richest 10% own 80% of the “unearned income” that gets taxed at rates lower than those for teachers or health care workers. Corporate profits are at a record high, having accounted for 88% of the recovery after the 2008-9 recession.
The US doesn’t need a new ‘culture war’ that will only benefit Republicans like Rick Santorum. Most Americans are pro-choice
Amy Goodman, Thursday 9 February 2012
“Let your elected leaders know that you want religious liberty and rights of conscience restored and that you want the administration’s contraceptive mandate rescinded.”
Obama is now under pressure to reverse a healthcare regulation that requires Catholic hospitals and universities, like all employers, to provide contraception to insured women covered by their health plans. Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said:
“This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets.”
In the wake of the successful pushback against the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration should listen to the majority of Americans: the United States, including Catholics, is strongly pro-choice.
Most politicians, like most people, don’t meddle in others’ sex lives because that’d be creepy. Santorum is not like most people
Thursday 16 February 2012
Instead of writing this column, I should just be able to turn in a picture of the witness table at Thursday’s congressional hearing (convened by showy California Republican Representative Darrell Issa) on Obama’s birth control policy: five middle-aged men. When Democrats tried to put a female college student on the witness list, Issa rejected the appeal, saying:
“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception, but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”
I watched an hour or so of the hearing and I’ll give Issa partial credit: the hearing was definitely about the administration, and it was definitely not about reproductive rights. It was about the opposite of reproductive rights.
Republican congressmen used their time on the C-Span stage to rail against the administration supposedly overstepping its bounds, a weird formulation when you consider that providing birth control is a way of offering people more choices, more freedom. There was a lot of hand-wringing about Obama’s lack of respect for the first amendment, a topic guaranteed to generate so much echo-chamber energy that it propelled some representatives to eyebrow-raising rhetorical excess. Rep Trey Gowdy (Republican, South Carolina), veering off the whole “religious freedom” script, questioned government involvement in birth control access on any level: “What,” he sputtered, “is the compelling state interest in providing free contraception?”
“Portraying himself as a native son of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum Monday emphasized his heritage as the grandson of a coal miner and railed against environmental regulations that have diminished the coal industry in the region.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we need someone who understands, who comes from the coal fields, who comes from the steel mills, who understands what average working people in America need to be able to provide for themselves and their families,” Santorum said to a crowd of about 500 people in the Democratic-leaning eastern edge of the state.” Full Story
The Real Job Creators: You and Me
Mitt Romney & Co. want us to think that making the rich richer will create jobs. That’s not true. And it’s not the American way.
For three decades, we have been told that “trickle-down” economics that benefit the wealthy is the key to creating jobs. But that’s baloney. The evidence shows that ordinary people, not the rich, are the real job creators.
Conservatives like to promote a simplistic view that all you need are capital (cash or goods that produce income) and entrepreneurship in order to create wealth. They maintain that wealth, in turn, spurs rich people to do productive things, like creating jobs, and so the more concentrated wealth is, the more jobs are created. If you tax the rich, they argue, then jobs will be destroyed. Mitt Romney frequently echoes this line of thought by promoting economic programs that would give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% and concentrate wealth in their hands. Romney, who paid 13.9% in taxes in 2010 and likes to tout himself as a job creator, has just announced a plan that calls for preserving the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, lowering the corporate tax rate, and repealing the estate tax.
Turns out, this ‘trickle-down’ mythology it is horribly wrong, and the 99 percent has paid for it. There’s a reason why the Wall Street Journal acknowledged that George W. Bush, the last trickle-down president, had the worst job creation record in U.S. history. So before we consider having another trickle-downer in the White House, let’s talk about the failure of this idea and why if you want to see a real job creator, you should look in the mirror.
Continue: Who Really Creates Wealth and Jobs?
Monday 20 February 2012
Erik Hoffner, Truthout: “In some cities, such as New York, [National Lawyers Guild director Heidi Boghosian] said, ‘police are scanning irises of arrestees and are detaining those who refuse to be scanned. The stated purpose of the scans is to avoid mis-identifications in court, but this unregulated taking from those arrested for engaging in free speech activities is ominous; it would not be surprising if a database is being amassed of iris scans of political activists.'” Read the Article
Daily Kos: The Religious Bigotry of Rick Santorum “Frederick Clarkson rightly draws our attention to the ridiculous statements of Santorum: I cannot recall any major pol challenging the legitimacy of anyone’s religious traditions in the U.S. …”
Pa. Priest Faces Trial On Child Abuse Cover-Up Charges “He willingly oversaw numerous reports of child sex abuse,” says Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton, a consultant to the first grand jury. “And he willingly put these men in positions where…”
Show Me a Wealthy Christian, and I’ll Show You a Hypocrite “Anyone familiar with the Christian bible will know that there are many inconsistencies. But there are also parts that seem quite clear and that show up in multiple places. When I was a Christian, I always considered these examples to be among the most important parts of the bible. This was especially true when more than one of the gospel authors had Jesus saying virtually the same thing. I considered these particular sayings to be worth additional attention”.
Culture War 2.0 or Same Old War? “Contraceptives, religious freedom: Are we in a new culture war?” was the title of a recent article on CNN.com by Brianna Kellar and Eric Marrapodi. The argument appears to be that abortion and gay marriage have been set aside by the right and replaced with contraceptives and talk of a “war on religion.” They go so far as to refer to “culture wars 2.0.” But this is all part of the same culture war, one that has been waged by the Christian right for some time now. It is a religiously-motivated war on modernity, and it has many fronts”.
I thought “Mixing the Races” would cause the downfall of mankind: “Interracial marriage rate doubles in 30 years: how US attitudes have changed“
“He Gave Up His Life for You… “It’s a “Christian parody” of Bruno Mars‘ “Grenade.” (NOTE: I’m so out of the loop, I have no idea who Bruno was so I checked out the video this young lady was parodizing (sp?) ‘Grenade‘. Bruno has a great voice. However, I don’t know why she would want to parody this, unless of course, him pulling a piano offender her, because only her Jesus can be a victim, and only those who follow him can. I can see no other reason why she would re-make the song.)
Feb. 15, 2012
One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans and liberals and conservatives is the size of government.
Americans on the left see government as a strong force that should be there to take care of its citizens, giving everyone an equal chance at perusing the American Dream.
Conservatives want government to be limited, sometimes completely eliminated with the exception, at times, of the military.
Whether you are a strong government liberal or a small government conservative, everyone seems to have their reasoning behind how and why they believe what they do.
More Fun Reading For The Weekend:
The Christian Right’s War on Education
Many Christians value a strong system of secular public education. They are not interested in having their children taught religion in schools; they would prefer to do that at home or in their churches. They would like for their children to grow up being able to compete in the modern world, and they recognize that reality-based education is a vital part of the preparation their children require. These Christians have much in common with atheists, and we should welcome their involvement in defending secular public education from the Christian extremists who seek to destroy it.
Sarah Palin revs up CPAC faithful
“Conservatism”, the ideology itself is pure evil. Profits before people is the bottom line. Mix it with religious ideology and you get the current “religious right” that has taken over so much of the USA; politics, military, foreign policy etc.
Civil Rights, Woman’s Suffrage, Abortion Rights, Evolution, Separation of Church and State, Public Education, Immigration Reform, and Racial Integration, are just a few examples of where “conservative Christians” have been, as it is said; “on the wrong side of history”.
Don’t expect any of this to change. “We the People” is NOT “Profits before People”, conservative Christianity is not good for this country and only supports war, oppression, inequality and misery.
Today’s “conservatives” resemble the negative version of Socialism they so love to demonize. Here are some examples:
While it was fashionable to run on anti-federal government platforms this campaign cycle, it is hard to ignore that Alaska has a notorious love-hate relationship with federal cash. And many might say that the relationship, for the large part, actually falls more on the “love” side
Conservative Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in
And……..a thought for the road:
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
~ Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife
Va. personhood bill sparks outrage
A petition opposing two abortion-related bills winding through the Virginia legislature is spreading like “wildfire.” In just over 24 hours, 17,000 people have signed the measure that says the Virginia government is conducting a “war on women.”