Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts about justifying a second Obama Administration

Before I get too far into the topic I'd like to commend Driftglass & Blue Gal for the work they do day in and day out. Since they are on my weekly things to do I prefer not to think of them toiling away in obscurity but sparking the thoughts that I share because I think they have merit and will no doubt not meet this definition by either of them. To their collective horror what follows did not have anything to do directly with any single podcast – available at their web sites, Crooks & Liars, Facebook and I Tunes (hope I got that right!) – but to a fairly prolonged exposure to their efforts. They are to be married soon and I promise to send a cash gift for that event but an additional amount to help promote their efforts and the internet kitties.

I have for a while tried to justify my support of President Obama for many reasons even though I am one of those “emoprogs” that seem to get no respect for our feelings.

I have tried to justify the President’s lack of fight for good and right causes due to the inevitable end of that process leading to defeat if not compromised.  This is due to the number of Democrats in the House and Senate not being sufficient to pass and hold more progressive desires and the rules these bodies have put in place. However, it does not console me when I see him start his negotiation from a point somewhat closer to the right than seems appropriate. This leads me to believe, despite the campaign rhetoric, that I was na├»ve and duped.

I have also tried to justify his turn to the right since the inaugural as the pragmatic move of a black man in this country. A country that claims to have made so much racial progress but ignores the institutionalized racism that is still afoot but just not talked about. The very thought that intelligent people in this country continue to use the ends of this racism as the very explanation of it. I could spend an afternoon writing on each manifestation of our secret racism but just take a look at how unemployment and voting rights reflect an unequal treatment of the races in our country. One of my fears for voting for him was the target I felt I was pinning to his shirt so that some nut job would seek his/her infamy.

I have lately taken to the idea that I would be protecting future Supreme Court selections.  Without a doubt in this area my President has proven himself with the selections he has already made. However, I am also concerned that any future selections will not meet the standards that he has set. It won’t be because we would suddenly want more Alito’s or Scalia’s on the Court but that the Republicans in the Senate will do just as their leader has stated. Everything will be a hostage situation and my President has not yet set a line on the political hostage taking as he did with the Somali pirates.

How do I justify voting for a President that knowingly put himself into a dangerous and difficult situation by asking for my vote in 2008 after the evidence is evaluated? Will he suddenly become the President I thought I voted for or negotiate from a position of strength which his office affords him? Do I have the right to demand of him more than he has already delivered and at what risk? I am torn by my feelings. If he asks for my vote he will get it but it doesn’t make me feel good about it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Entitlements is not a 4 letter word

If you are making less than $106,800.00 a year then you are disproportionately paying for entitlements that you count on being there for your retirement or if you should become disabled.  Without a doubt the wealthiest 2% are set for any eventuality that comes their way but these are entitlements for which you were required to make contributions and therefore should not be discarded by the weasels in Washington today. To take your money with the promise of future benefits then not deliver is fraud and the only reason that Washington thinks of these entitlements as part of the spending problem is due to their mismanagement of the budgets since the Reagan Administration.  Do not misconstrue what I am saying here – this is a history lesson not a call for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

The people we sent to Washington decided to borrow money from the surpluses that our entitlements were generating and now do not want to levy the needed taxes to repay those loans. In lieu of repayment they want to retroactively change the terms of those loans and accuse us of being some kind of mythical welfare queen/king or malcontent.

To help with the problems with which these entitlements are saddled we need to understand that we have already paid for them outside of our Federal Income Tax responsibilities and the funds belong to us and were entrusted to the government so that games that are played on Wall Street would not negatively impact a secure future.

First – collect more from those making more than $106,800 a year. This can be done at a reduced rate and without an employer matching over that amount as to not further chill an already cold jobs market.

Per the AFL-CIO’s Pay Watch the average salary and bonus of the S&P 500 CEOs is $1,345,402.00 which is an hourly rate of $646.83 or $153.58 per hour 24-7. For comparison’s sake the poor shlub making $106,800 per year would only be making $12.19 per hour 24-7. At the CEO’s rate he would be done making any contributions to Social Security and Medicare before the end of the first month. 
“In 2010, Standard & Poor's 500 Index company CEOs received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation— a 23 percent increase in one year.[1] Based on 299 companies’ most recent pay data for 2010, their combined total CEO pay of $3.4 billion could support 102,325 median workers’ jobs.”

Using numbers reported by Forbes the average compensation for the top 500 averaged $8,000,000 which means by lunchtime on the third working day of 2009 the CEO has stopped all contributions to Social Security and Medicare. Is there any wonder why these essential programs are being starved to death as compensation continues to grow at the higher end of the scale and not so much at the lower end?

Special Report
What The Boss Makes
Scott DeCarlo, 04.28.10, 06:00 PM EDT
Our analysis of executive pay shows which big bosses made the most and which deserved what they made.
In total, these 500 executives earned $4 billion in 2009, which averages out to $8 million apiece.

Second – do not vote for anyone that would fraudulently take away from you what you have already paid for when they refuse to fix a problem instead of killing your benefits off.

The Debt: GOP, Tea-Partiers and my children

Help me understand why the GOP and Tea-Partiers are concerned about my children and grand-children and the debt…

They say we can no longer pile up the deficits and debt that have become all too commonplace since the days of President Ronald Reagan. Yes I know – they don’t recognize any debt or deficits before 2008 – you know – when that foreign born Kenyan socialist (communist) melanin enhanced fellow usurped our country’s government by declaring himself president. Please note the sarcasm - I support and voted for President Obama.

They say we have a spending problem that begins with the very programs that most of us have been paying a disproportionate share for since their inception. Let’s clear up one thing up front: these are already paid for entitlements and failure to honor them is the same as any fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff or Florida Governor Rick Scott when he was in charge of HCA.  Since the wealthiest of us get some relief from the payroll related taxes for Social Security and Medicare after they have banked the tidy sum of $106,800 in earnings. You have to be earning more than $51.35 per hour to earn that break – and the wealthiest of us are sending those jobs off shore where they can be compensated at an even lower rate and starving those programs of funds – as the pool of salaries for the less affluent is redistributed upward to the more affluent (definitely not socialism!). A large part of compensation to the wealthiest has also magically become investment income instead of salaries or wages and therefore the payroll taxes do not apply.

Well since the moneyed class seems to be doing very well these days as, evidenced by the news that more luxury items are flying off the shelves than ever before, perhaps they can kick in a few extra bucks to help pay for the deficits and debt that threaten our future. Perhaps the industries and corporations that benefit from doing business in the United States can give up a few of the tax breaks they’ve enjoyed and which never seem to trickle down to the consumer can build some goodwill for the future. Perhaps these same companies – with the same rights that I enjoy (maybe a little less since the Patriot Act)  - can pay their taxes instead of finding creative ways not to.

What’s that? The yell of the wounded orange-hued Speaker of the House and his evil laryngeal prominence enhanced troll Majority Leader and their human-turtle hybrid sidekick Senate Minority Leader say “HELL NO! We cannot ask of these mythical job creators share in the solution to the problems we’ve created within our lifetimes. No. Let the poor and middle class – who are already used to sacrificing do more sacrificing (along with their future progeny)”.

So if the upper 2%, corporations, GOP and Tea-Partiers don’t see this as a shared problem to be fixed with a shared solution that includes more revenue – why do they care about my kids and grandchildren? Are they afraid that their future generations will eventually understand the problem is shared and act like the grownups their parents and grandparents couldn’t? Their kids would want to be part of the solution instead of the problem? Perhaps they are just wishing for the USA to crumble under this debt so that their family and corporate fortunes can be taken into their new Eden – the Free Trade Agreement-land in the Global Economy.  

If Government doesn't create jobs how can tax policy?

The simple truth:  jobs are not created by tax policy but by demand.

As long as big business continues to make record profits while cutting their workforce and as long as those governing and running big business are able to pillage their companies through unjustifiable compensations there will be no corporate behavioral change.

As long as there are enough politicians willing to enable corporate malfeasance through the crippling of regulations and oversight while collecting huge amounts of money and aid through corporate lobbyist, Super-PACs and campaign contributions there is little we can expect in corporate behavioral change.

We have been sold out to corporations that know there is no way we can feed ourselves from home based gardens or the remaining family farms that are not already wedded to a corporate master.

Big business believes that there are now enough politicians in place that have little or no regard for the future of unions that they can now intimidate their workforce into a future compliant to only corporate goals. Give corporate treasuries and those that control them more or we will off shore your job and future. In fact there are so many openly anti-union politicians in place we see huge gambits being played to permanently tilt the playing field into the corners of the corporatist.

Eric Cantor – the bottom feeding Majority Leader in the House of Representatives says of the recent profiteering by airlines as “I guess that’s what businesses do…” while the FAA was unfunded (by his majority over unionization rights) and not collecting the taxes which the airlines continued to collect and pocket.

The day will come when big business wakes up to find that the profits are drying up due to the fact that no one can afford to buy their goods and services since the jobless can’t afford them any longer. Henry Ford – no bleeding heart liberal - realized that he could make more money in volume sales by giving his workforce the ability to afford the cars which they were making. Only if there more Fords in today’s boardrooms and executive offices the problems might not seem so insurmountable.

Welcome to the down-grade - your share of the deficit just went up

Peace Planetologist
S&P downgrades US debt - "Nobody I have known of has been more wrong than them." - Rep. Barney Frank | Rachel Maddow
So now is the time to watch for the ultimate GOP and Tea Party hypocrisy as they point fingers at the Democrats for the downgrade. The fact that they drove what should have been a fairly straightforward process to the point of default causing unnecessary stress and calling the world’s attention to the fact that we are now governed by political hostage takers instead of men and women that can sit down and come to a reasonable solution for the problems we face together. This again will prove that they are unworthy of any support in the future as they will demonstrate the limited historical memory and their entire belief that nobody understands the situation as well as they do. They have through their complete disregard for anyone else’s opinion taken more money out of an already stressed economy by making it more costly for this country to do what it must.