Monday, October 31, 2011

Just Say Thanks - House GOP's "Job Creating" Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs

House GOP's "Job Creating" Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs

House Republicans took the government to the brink of shutdown last spring by demanding across-the-board budget cuts to many vital programs. Instead of focusing on job creation, as Americans wanted them to, the GOP turned its attention to slashing funds for programs that funded assistance for women and children, local law enforcement, the social safety net, environmental protections, and many other programs they deemed as either too expensive or unnecessary. Worse, when challenged on why they hadn’t made the effort to tackle high unemployment, Republicans insisted that their slash-and-burn budget cuts were meant to create jobs.

Not all of those cuts made it through, but the GOP succeeded in passing massive spending reductions as part of a continuing resolution that kept the government operating. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress’ Scott Lilly, those cuts didn’t result in the job creating boon Republicans insisted would follow. Instead, it has done just the opposite, as those cuts will result in the destruction of roughly 370,000 jobs.

Lilly’s report focuses on three major areas where Republicans insisted on spending cuts: funding for local law enforcement, environmental cleanup of sites where nuclear weapons were disabled and destroyed, and investments into construction, repair, and maintenance of government buildings. Cuts to just those three areas will result in the loss of 90,000 jobs, the report found — 60,000 from direct cuts, and 30,000 additional jobs lost from the secondary impacts of job losses in each community.

And according to Lilly, those three areas weren’t among the worst budget cuts forced through by the Republican House:

    “Similar stories could be told about many other budget cuts made in this bill—cuts that resulted in further job losses,” said Scott Lilly, author of the report and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “All of the various 250 program reductions in the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution probably eliminated more than 370,000 American jobs. The three areas selected for discussion in this paper are in my judgment neither the worst cuts made by the committee from a policy standpoint nor the best. But without a doubt they demonstrate the consequences of slashing government spending in a weak economy.”

According to the report, the $2.5 billion cut to local law enforcement funding could have prevented 36,000 police layoffs nationwide, and similar cuts made to grant programs could have prevented the loss of other state and local government jobs. Crunched by the recession and budget cuts, state and local governments shed more than 200,000 jobs in 2010 alone. Republicans not only cut such funding this spring but have now opposed the American Jobs Act — which included grants to state and local governments for the hiring of teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

No need to mount a search party for all the jobs the tea nut conservatives promised to create when they were running for office in 2010. They not only have not created a single job - congressional conservatives and conservative sate governors have been creating job losses like it was a contest to see who could create the most unemployment. Why are they doing this. besides their deep hatred for America and democracy they hate President Obama almost as much. Conservatives have and will continue to do whatever dirty deeds they can out of petty spite. Remember this starling bit of honesty - Bachmann: ‘I Hope’ Higher Unemployment Will Help My Campaign

Conservative Republican is just another names for being venal and irresponsible. Shifting blame to others is part of the right-wing agenda - Wash. Times' Lambro Falsely Claims Obama "Failed Miserably" On Economy

In a Washington Times column, former Times chief political correspondent Donald Lambro claimed that President Obama "failed miserably" on the economy by thinking "he could spend his way out of the recession." But independent economists agree that Obama's economic recovery act significantly increased employment and GDP.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rupert Murdoch's Anti-American Fox News Outrageous Claim - "Brainwashed" People Think Fox Isn't "Fair And Balanced And Everybody Else Is"

Rupert Murdoch's Anti-American Fox News Outrageous Claim - "Brainwashed" People Think Fox Isn't "Fair And Balanced And Everybody Else Is"

Yesterday on Imus in the Morning, Imus and his guest, America's Newsroom co-anchor Martha MacCallum, rehashed the usual argument Fox employees trot out when they want to insulate the network's supposed "journalists" (like MacCallum) from accusations of partisanship -- that there exists a firm line between the network's "news" and "opinion" programming.

During the discussion, Imus praised MacCallum and her co-host Bill Hemmer, saying that there is "no editorializing at all" on their show. While attacking the partisanship of other networks, MacCallum said, "a lot of people are sort of brainwashed into believing that line of thinking that we're not fair and balanced, and everybody else is."

MacCallum explained that "during the daytime, we try to shoot as straight we possibly can. Everybody is a human being -- there's going to be times when your feelings about something enter a discussion."

MacCallum's claim echoed comments made by Bill Hemmer last year, when he told TVNewser that the opinions of Fox's right-wing primetime hosts don't carry over into America's Newsroom because "our broadcast, with Martha MacCallum and me, we shoot it down the middle."

Setting aside the larger problems with Fox's supposedly unimpeachable "news hours" -- complicated by things like having a Washington managing editor that orders network journalists to routinely cast doubt on climate science -- America's Newsroom often resembles Fox's "opinion" shows. While MacCallum suggests her and Hemmer's "feelings about something" only occasionally enter the discussion, they both have a record of echoing GOP talking points, and MacCallum has even flatly endorsed conservative policies.

For a characteristic example, after the release of President Obama's jobs plan in September, MacCallum kicked off Fox's "news" attacks on the plan, echoing the immediate GOP spin. During an interview with Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), MacCallum trotted out the familiar, misleading talking point that the first stimulus plan "didn't work" and asked "why should everyone be convinced that this time it will work."

 MacCallum's "feelings about something" are often far more overt.

Last November, when covering Social Security reform, MacCallum stated that "we need to raise the age at which you can get" Social Security and also suggested Obama should come out and say, "let's consider investment accounts for younger people." More recently, she's been defending Rick Perry's assertion that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme."

MacCallum has told viewers that, like the old "Just Say No" to drugs pins, "we should have...Just Say No to more spending" pins. She has also compared America to a "drunk who finally hits bottom" in regards to budget deficits.

In July, MacCallum lamented America's pesky social safety net, without which we'd be in a "much better, stronger fiscal position" to "handle those things like the two wars."

Before MacCallum joined America's Newsroom, she was host of The Live Desk. During an interview in March 2009 with Rep. Michele Bachmann, Bachmann said that Obama's proposals constitute a "lurch toward socialism," to which MacCallum responded, "I think you're absolutely right about that."

What's more, "straight" news reporter MacCallum has frequently filled in on Fox's opinion shows. She guest-hosted for On the Record with Greta Van Susteren earlier this week, and has co-hosted Fox & Friends. It's hard to assert an inviolate division between "news" and "opinion" when you cross it with such ease.

Of course, cohost Bill Hemmer is not much better, and the problems with America's Newsroom as a straight news show predate MacCallum's move to the program.

Back in 2009, when Fox News was devoting much of their programming -- of both the "news" and "opinion" varieties -- to promoting the fledgling tea party movement, America's Newsroom was no exception.

Here's Bill Hemmer interviewing a tea party leader on April 7, 2009. Hemmer (and on-screen text) plugged the tea parties that were planned for April 15, and directed viewers to the America's Newsroom website, where "you can log on and see if there's an event in your area coming any time soon." ( reprinted here for educational purposes)
 Fox has proved itself to be nothing more than a propagnda outlet for rabid extremism, right-wing spin, conservative lies, gossip mongering, hateful insinuations, Anti-Americanism, rabid nationalism, an outlet for the weird theories and beliefs of screwballs and cranks. Someone might be brainwashed, but it is not those Americans who still care about the truth.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scott Olsen, marine wounded by Oakland police at OWS protest, is in ‘critical condition’

Scott Olsen, marine wounded by Oakland police at OWS protest, is in ‘critical condition’

In a video published early Thursday morning, ex-Marine Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old who suffered a fractured skull in Oakland on Tuesday night and is currently in “critical condition,” is seen standing peacefully in front of a police barricade next to a uniformed sailor just moments before officers deployed chemical agents to disperse the crowd.

While the video does not show what hit Olsen, it suggests that he was shot in the head by a tear gas canister at near point-blank range.  Olsen did not appear to be provoking officers, who’d repeatedly announced their intent to disperse what they’d declared an “unlawful assembly.” Others speculated that he was hit by a beanbag round fired from a shotgun.

Either way, the aftermath of the blow he sustained was severe. Photos of the scene are grisly and not for the squeamish.

He’s now sedated and suffering from brain swelling. Doctors say Olsen is in “critical condition” and could die of his injury.

The incident has sparked a wave of outrage among 99 Percent protesters, and even among other Marines, and on Wednesday night Current TV news host Keith Olbermann called for Oakland’s mayor to fire the police chief or resign. Vigils in solidarity with Oakland were held in numerous cities last night, with another wave planned in even more cities for later tonight.

Protesters were marching in response to a police action early Tuesday morning to clear out a camp demonstrators had been occupying for weeks, in solidarity with the protest that’s occupied a park near Wall Street for more than a month. Police claimed that some people threw paint and bottles at them, so they spent most of the night trying to disperse them at multiple spots around downtown. More than 100 people were arrested in the melee.

An update on Olsen’s condition is expected later this morning.

Video at the link. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan should fire the city’s acting police chief after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse “Occupy Oakland” protesters. This is America not Egypt or Libya.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anti-American Conservative Provocateur James O'Keefe is Lying About Medicaid Again

Anti-American Conservative Provocateur James O'Keefe is Lying About Medicaid Again

James O'Keefe is once again making completely false claims about undercover videos of Medicaid employees, saying that he has uncovered evidence of Medicaid fraud. But yet again, he has simply demonstrated that his tactics are fundamentally dishonest.

The latest video shows two women, identified as Medicaid workers in Maine, counseling a man who calls himself "Ted Ceanneidigh" (get it?), who claims to be an Irish fisherman, and who says he imports pharmaceuticals on a boat called The Bob Marley. O'Keefe claims that a Medicaid worker "coaches [Ted] by saying, 'If you can't prove income, you don't have income,'" which O'Keefe claims is evidence of Medicaid fraud and "government workers willing to aid people with criminal backgrounds."

In fact, the woman O'Keefe has accused of helping hide income and assets simply advised an applicant that he doesn't have to declare income if he doesn't earn any income, and she recruited a more senior colleague to answer more complex questions about income eligibility. That counselor, who identifies herself as Diane, aggressively questioned "Ted" about his sources of income and told him that he will be required to report that he has access to an account that is in his parents' name.

It's an astonishing display of hubris that O'Keefe is promoting this video as proof of Medicaid fraud.

On the video, O'Keefe's undercover reporter claimed that he works for his parents' fishing business on what he described as a "barter system." The so-called fisherman said his work includes importing pharmaceuticals. "Ted" told a woman identified as a Medicaid worker that he has access to the bank account for the family business, where he deposits the money he earns. But according to "Ted," he makes no income:

    [11:42] It's all cash and precious metals, and so none of this is declared, and once it gets into [his parents'] accounts, what they do with it -- what they file -- is on them and their business. But as far as I'm concerned, I don't have an income. They just help me out. I do have my name -- my name is on their account. So I can pull money from their account, but other than that.

At this point, the Medicaid worker encouraged "Ted" to look into private insurance, but if that is not an option, he could look into Medicaid. She made clear to "Ted" that the only thing she can do -- given the fact that he is not eligible for Medicaid based on age or disability -- would be to put him on a waiting list. "Ted" asked again about income:

    [19:29] MEDICAID WORKER: If you have income, we need proof of income.

    TED: Proof?

    MEDICAID WORKER: Yeah, like pay stubs or --

    TED: But I don't get any.

    MEDICAID WORKER: If you don't have --

    TED: I don't --

    MEDICAID WORKER: If you don't --

    TED: See, that's the thing I'm concerned about, because it's all a cash business and --

    MEDICAID WORKER: If you don't have proof of income, then you have no income.

At no point in the video did "Ted" fill out an application for or receive any Medicaid benefits. In fact, he declined to do so, claiming not to have ID. When the Medicaid worker offered "Ted" an application to fill out and submit, he asked her to once again go over the eligibility requirements. At this point, the Medicaid worker recruited another woman, identified later as "the senior person" whom she thinks is more qualified to answer "Ted's" questions about what income he would have to declare.

Recall at this point that no evidence of Medicaid fraud or willingness to aid in Medicaid fraud has been demonstrated. Recall as well as the entire point of the exercise has been to illustrate government workers helping criminals hide income and assets to perpetrate Medicaid fraud.

Keep that in mind as a Medicaid worker named Diane makes very clear to "Ted" that income he earns and assets he claims to have access to must be declared [starting around the 28 minute mark]:

    And then we have to have verification if you have any type of income.

Diane asked "Ted" whether he is self-employed. Diane asked "Ted" who gives him money. Diane told "Ted" that she would need a letter from his parents verifying exactly how much money they provide him with, and: "They need to sign it, and they need to put a phone number where we can call them to verify that they did actually write the statement."

Again: this is supposed to be an expose in government workers helping a criminal hide assets from the government in a giant Medicaid fraud racket.
Like his Anti-American cohorts - conservative pundits on Fox and Am radio - O'Keefe is lucky the standards for libel and slander are so impossibly high in the US legal system. If they were not O'Keffe would be up to his ears paying off the legal claims of people and organizations he has lied and bamboozled. O'Keefe has become the face of the Anti-American conservative movement. he possesses all of the perverse values conservatives have become known for.

Why it’s safe to ignore Republican criticism of Obama’s policy in Iraq.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Say The Darndest Things

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Herman Cain Flips Flops and Flips On a Woman's Right to Have Dominion Over Her Own Body

Herman Cain Flips Flops and Flips On a Woman's Right to Have Dominion Over Her Own Body

Here we go again with Herman Cain and his ever-evolving abortion stance. First, in February, 2011, he says as President, he'd sign legislation protecting the right of the unborn.

    I am a firm believer in the dignity of life and support a ban on partial birth abortion. If I were president, I would sign legislation that would protect the sanctity of life.

And on October 7, he says at the Values Voters Summit (video here):

    So I happen to believe that the Founding Fathers put it in that order— life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—for a reason. You can pursue happiness all you want to, as long as you don’t tread on somebody else’s liberty....You can pursue liberty all you want to, as long as you don’t tread on somebody else’s life. And that includes the life of the unborn.”


And on October 16, he begins to bob and weave, when he tells David Gregory on Meet the Press:

    MR. GREGORY: What about abortion? You want to overturn Roe v. Wade. Could you support or condone abortion under any exceptions at all?

    MR. CAIN: I believe in life from conception, and I do not agree with abortion under any circumstances.

    MR. GREGORY: Exceptions for rape and incest?

    MR. CAIN: Not for rape and incest because...

    MR. GREGORY: What about life of the mother?

    MR. CAIN: Because if you look at, you look at rape and incest, the, the percentage of those instances is so miniscule that there are other options. If it's the life of the mother, that family's going to have to make that decision.

    MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm. But you can--would you condone abortion if the life of the mother were...

    MR. CAIN: That family is going to have to make that...

    MR. GREGORY: You won't render a judgment on that.

    MR. CAIN: That family is going to have to make that decision.

Then he steps in it, as far as conservatives are concerned. On October 19, he tells Piers Morgan on CNN, it's not the President's job to decide whether abortion is legal.

    No, it comes down to is, it’s not the government’s role — or anybody else’s role — to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician. Not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision....The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make. ..............more at the link.

What a rosy future American women will have with a Cain presidency. Maybe he'll have federal marshals come to your home and have damn sure you carry that pregnancy to term or maybe he won't. It all depends on what mood he's in or what crowd he is trying to please. On the other hand you can bet that Rick Perry will use millions in tax payer dollars for the strong arm of the federal government to have dominion over every woman's uterus. Hey, isn't that what the Founders wanted for a tyrannical government to make personal decisions for women because they're not bright enough to make those decisions for themselves.

Goodbye National Treasures, Ron Paul Calls For Federal Public Lands To Be ‘Sold Off To Private Owners’

Goodbye National Treasures, Ron Paul Calls For Federal Public Lands To Be ‘Sold Off To Private Owners’

During a forum in Las Vegas Wednesday, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told the Republican audience he would like to see federal public lands in Nevada privatized.

Speaking at the Western Republican Leadership Conference, Paul declared that Nevada, which has a large percentage of federally-owned public lands, ought to become more like Texas, where “private owners” have “developed all the natural resources.” Paul went on to say “how wonderful it would be if land will be or should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners”:

    PAUL: Take a look at the state of Nevada. Do the people own the property in Nevada? No. Who’s the biggest landowner? It’s the federal government. I would like to see the development of this state the way that Texas had the privilege of developing. Before we went in the Union, it was owned entirely by private owners and it has developed all the natural resources, a very big state. So you can imagine how wonderful it would be if land will be or should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners.

Paul’s remarks fall in line with the attacks on public lands from conservative lawmakers and corporate front groups. For instance, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) has been waging war on public lands from his helm as chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, while the Koch Brothers have funded pro-oil events across the West.

For more information, read Center for American Progress President John Podesta’s article on defending public lands or a report from CAP’s public lands team on how public land conservation creates jobs.

Good old Ron is as wacky as ever. A libertarian who has spent most of his adult life in Congress getting rich off the people. he is a great example for American children. he has managed to amass have a super comfortable life without ever studying as issue or coming out with a well thought out solution. All of Ron's answers to everything can be found in a secret compartment he keeps where the sun never shines and he reaches up in there to pull out wacko solutions on demand. he hates government, so he does his best to make sure we have bad government, and hey kids he get about $174,00.00 a year for that little magic trick. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Christian Fundamentalists Disempower Themselves and Help Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

How Christian Fundamentalism Helped Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

As the Occupy Wall street movement spreads across the country and the world, we must bring attention to the enablers of the top 1 percent exploiting the 99. Fundamentalist religion made this exploitation possible.

Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn't say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism.

Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their "values" issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires.

Wall Street is a great target for long-overdue protest, but so are the centers of religious power that are the gatekeepers of Republican Party "values" voters that make the continuing economic exploitation possible.

Fundamentalist religion -- evangelical and Roman Catholic alike -- has delegitimized the US government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.

The fundamentalists have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) "morality" litmus tests of spurious red herring "issues" from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle-class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:    

    Declare the US government agents of evil because "the government" has allowed legal abortion, gay rights, etc.
    Declare that therefore "government is the problem," not the solution.
    The government is the source of all, thus anyone the government wants to regulate is being picked on by satanic forces. The US government is always the bad guy.
    Good, God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because "the government" is evil.
    So unregulated corporations, banks and Wall Street are always right and represent "freedom" while government is always wrong and represents "tyranny."

Like most evangelical/Roman Catholic fundamentalist movements in history, from the Bay State colonies to the Spanish Inquisition, the American Religious Right of today advocates the fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the "Christian America" idea of "American Exceptionalism" (i.e., a nation "chosen" by God), the form of government adopted by the Puritans' successors during the age of early American colonialism.

Thus the division between "real Americans" and the rest of us is the "saved" and "lost" paradigm of theological correctness applied to politics. Thus President Obama isn't a real American, or even a born American, he's "Other," a Muslim, an outsider, and above all not "one of us."

In other words you're not just wrong, but evil if you disagree with the Elect over abortion, or for that matter peace in the Middle East because you're "not supporting Israel."

"Bring America back to the Bible" is really no more subtle than the claim of the Iranian Mullahs to rule in "God's name" so that Iran too can come back to God. And if you can get Americans to worry about the Bible and not fairness and justice, then you have handed a perpetual victory to Goldman Sachs and company.

How Did We Get Here?

The unstated agreement went like this: Republicans will pander to the Religious Right on the social issues -- abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, creationism in textbooks, and not so subtly the endorsement of religious schools to help white evangelicals and Roman Catholics avoid integration -- as long as the Religious Right turned a blind eye to the fact that the Republican Party would sell the soul of the country to corporate America, a country-within-a-country where 1 percent of the population have more wealth than the 99 percent.

Deference to religion masquerading as politics must end, now.

Religion masquerading as politics is not true religion or politics-- it is a theocracy-in-waiting. This charade of power grabs in God's name needs to be exposed, and destroyed.

Democracy will not survive the continuing dirty combination of theocracy and oligarchy. That's where we're headed: bankers running the world backed by preachers who don't care about God but care about power.

The timely destruction of the economic elites and their religious facilitators begins by calling fundamentalist/evangelical/Roman Catholic "religion" what it is: a political grab for power based on literal madness of the sort that makes many terrified of modernity, truth, science and facts and leads them to deny evolution and global warming while believing that Jesus will come back any day now.

There are obviously lots of decent hard working Americans who call themselves Christians. Most of them live physically and spiritually in the 21st century. They don't let their faith get in the way of behaving like rational adults. The fair and decent free market vision they have is largely ignored. They are this generation's silent majority. While the loony right-wing Christianists get first priority on their backwards agenda.

Private Wall Street Companies Caused The Financial Crisis — Not Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Or The Community Reinvestment Act

After Confusing Himself, Plutocrat Herman Cain Decides That Rape Victims Should Be Forced To Carry Pregnancies To Term

Record number of deportations still not enough for anti-immigration zealots
The Obama administration kicked out 400,000 people this year, satisfying no one and winning no support for reform

Monday, October 17, 2011

Iraq Veteran Questions NYPD Violence Against OWC

Iraq Veteran Questions NYPD Violence Against OWC

Veteran Protests Heavy-Handed Police Tactics In NYC: ‘This Is Not A Warzone!’ | On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators occupied Times Squares when thousands flooded the iconic location to protest economic inequities. After a number of demonstrators refused to leave the streets there, police responded with heavy-handed tactics to arrest them. Now, video has emerged of an apparent U.S. military veteran speaking out against these police tactics. The man, who identified himself as Sgt. Shamar Thomas, explained that he spent fourteen months in Iraq and that his parents served in the military as well. “This is not a warzone. It doesn’t make you tough to hurt these people!” protested Thomas to police officers. “There is no honor in that.” The crowd gave the man a hearty applause. Watch it:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why Does Herman Cain Hate America - Cain’s Sales Tax Would Hurt Consumer Spending ’For Some Years’

Cain’s Sales Tax Would Hurt Consumer Spending ’For Some Years’

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s plan to create a national sales tax would hurt retailers, threaten economic growth and shift the tax burden onto the middle class and poor, tax experts and business groups said.

Cain’s so-called 9-9-9 plan, which would replace the current tax code with a system of three separate taxes of 9 percent each, has boosted his popularity among voters. The former chief executive officer of Godfather’s Pizza has surged in polls in recent weeks, and a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week put him in the lead.

Tax experts and business groups interviewed yesterday don’t like his tax plan as much as voters. They said it would shift the burden to middle-income and poor families and would hurt sales across the economy, at least in the short term.

“There will be a noticeable decline in consumer spending for some years,” said Rachelle Bernstein, vice president of the National Retail Federation, based in Washington, in an interview. “We know that that has an impact on consumer spending and GDP.”

Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

Cain has proposed a 9 percent sales tax on all goods and services, another 9 percent on personal income and the third on corporate gross income. During the debate in New Hampshire sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post on Oct. 11, Cain said the proposal is his top policy goal.

Expanding Tax Base

“It expands the base,” he said during the debate. “When you expand the base, we can arrive at the lowest possible rate, which is 9-9-9.”

That expansion means that long-standing tax breaks, such as the mortgage interest deduction and the exclusion from income of employer-sponsored health insurance, probably would vanish.

Although Cain hasn’t released extensive details of his plan, it also would probably add a sales tax on many products and services, such as new homes, financial transactions and even doctor visits. Several business and trade groups contacted by Bloomberg News declined to comment on the plan because they didn’t want to take a position on the presidential race.

Impact on States

Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, said the sales tax, on top of what state and local governments already levy, could make it difficult for them to adjust their tax rates.

“Would the 9 cents create a ceiling, or would states say, now we have to lower our costs because the cost of goods and services are higher than a lot of people are comfortable with?” Bird asked. “It’s hard to say.”

Robert Dietz, an economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said new homes sales would see a double tax increase. The house itself would be subject to the 9 percent retail sales tax, and then buyers would have to pay tax on the interest on their mortgage, as opposed to now when they can deduct that interest from their income.

“Layering a new tax on top of the sale of a newly constructed home would certainly be bad for the housing market,” he said. Each new home creates the equivalent of three full-time jobs for a year, he said.

Trucking Hit Hard

Small trucking firms and drivers may be hit hard by a sales tax on fuel piled upon already-high excise taxes, such as the 24.4 cent-per-gallon levy on diesel fuel and a surcharge already applied to new heavy-duty vehicles, said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents truckers under contract with larger U.S. companies such as Landstar Systems Inc.

Further taxing fuel “may be a hard sell for Mr. Cain at a time when diesel is headed back towards a $4 per gallon average,” Spencer said. “Adding a 9 percent sales tax and a 9 percent VAT (value-added tax) onto the 12 percent federal excise tax truckers already pay on new trucks and trailers would certainly cause them to think twice about buying new equipment.”

“There’s a lot in this plan that’s just kookie,” said Steve Wamhoff, legislative director at Citizens for Tax Justice, pointing out that it doesn’t tax dividends or inheritance at all, but does tax wages. “It makes the tax system much, much, much more regressive than it is today.”

The proposal would hit middle- and low-income people with a larger tax burden because they spend more of their money on food, clothing and household goods and have less left over to save and invest, which wouldn’t be taxed.
Herman and Anti-American right-wing zealot Rupert Murdoch's Fox News "likes" Herman's plan so end of story. Just disregard the facts. If conservatives started likling fact based economics we might actually pull out of this recession, but they don't want that because it doesn't benefit the cult of conservatism.

The 53 Percent Take on the 99 Percent - see photo at top of Anti-American proto-facist Erick Erickson.

But Think Progress takes their analysis a step further, looking into the claims of hardship made by Erickson:

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Interestingly, many of the claims made in the We Are the 53% blog echo those made in the We Are the 99 Percent blog: “got laid off”, “slept in my car because I couldn’t afford housing”, “after a mildly successful career, I lost everything in 2009”.

It’s not that the 53 percent people haven’t suffered, these pictures seem to say. It’s that having clawed their way out of crisis, they now see virtue in their suffering. One commenter on Think Progress site summarized the mindset:

Look at me. I ran through a field of bear traps and only had to gnaw off one limb. Builds character. 

Anti-American conservative like Erickson want America and its families to have a race to the bottom to see who can live without a living wage, food and medical care. The prize seems to be you get the title of the toughest wage slave idiot on the planet. You get to be the kind of worker they used to call serfs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Liars of the Week - Right-wing Conservative Bloggers. Obama Did Not Offer to Apologize for Hiroshima

Obama Did Not Offer to Apologize for Hiroshima

Here we go again. Based on a (probably deliberate) misreading of a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, the right wing media are having yet another attack of the vapors. Linked at Drudge Report...

Leaked cables show Japan nixed a presidential apology to Hiroshima and Nagasaki for using nukes to end the overseas contingency operation known as World War II. Will the next president apologize for the current one?

    The obsessive need of this president to apologize for American exceptionalism and our defense of freedom continued recently when Barack Obama’s State Department (run by Hillary Clinton) contacted the family of al-Qaida propagandist and recruiter Samir Khan to “express its condolences” to his family.

There is only one tiny problem with Drudge, Investors and the right-wing nutbars who echoed the story above. The very cable these honorless serial liars are using from Wikileaks says no such offer of an apology was ever made. In fact the Japanese sated that should anyone in the administration be thinking of apologizing, don't.

It never stops. No matter how many Al Qaeda terrorists the Obama administration eliminates, these people just keep feeding the right wing base fairytales about Obama’s “weakness” and his “apology tours.”

Here’s the truth, not that it matters in the wingnut echo chamber:

    A senior White House official asserts to ABC News that there was never any plan for the president to apologize for Hiroshima.  The cable does not state that the idea was from the U.S. Rather, Roos writes that Yabunaka thought that following President Obama’s call earlier that year for a world free of nuclear weapons, anti-nuclear groups would speculate as to whether he would visit Hiroshima.

In other words, there’s absolutely no evidence that this “apology” was proposed by the Obama administration. None. Here’s the actual cable they’re freaking out about:

    VFM Yabunaka pointed out that the Japanese public will have high expectations toward President Obama’s visit to Japan in November, as the President enjoys an historic level of popularity among the Japanese people. Anti-nuclear groups, in particular, will speculate whether the President would visit Hiroshima in light of his April 5 Prague speech on non-proliferation. He underscored, however, that both governments must temper the public’s expectations on such issues, as the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a “non-starter.” While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such program in the November visit.

The official U.S. line of apologizing for Hiroshima is that the U.S. will not apologize until the Japanese make several apologies that include Pearl Harbor, the March to Bataan and some other WW II atrocities. The Obama administration is sticking to those terms.

Ron Paul Calls Out Herman Cain For Lie Over Fed Audit During GOP Debate

Open Letter to that 53% Guy

Bachmann, Gingrich and WSJ agree: The financial crisis is poor people's fault. Maybe these right-wing freaks keep spreading the same falsehoods because they don't understand the truth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mitt Romney Might Be a Great Democrat President

Mitt Romney Might Be a Great Democrat President

Mitt Romney was more likable as a liberal. That, at least, was my conclusion after watching a devastating video put together by the Democratic Party’s best (and maybe only) strategist: comedian Jon Stewart. Before my eyes was an early Rombot model, circa 1994, that we’ve not seen since: emotional, passionate, lively. He sneered derisively at the “Reagan-Bush” years, bragged about being a political independent, and indignantly defended his “consistent” support of abortion rights. Romney was so proud of his pro-choice pedigree that he even tweaked his Senate opponent, Democrat Ted Kennedy, for equivocation. A few years later, when he ran for governor and was asked about support he’d received from a pro-life organization, he squirmed more uncomfortably than if he’d been forced to watch a marathon of “Mike and Molly.”

That, of course, is not the Mitt Romney running for president today. In fact the Republican’s encyclopedia-sized list of policy reversals makes 2004’s whipping boy, John “I voted for it before I voted against it” Kerry, look like an exemplar of political consistency. All of which raises a haunting question for the GOP as the clock ticks down to the Iowa caucuses: in a party whose potential nominees include Gary Johnson and Ron Paul, could the GOP’s “safe” choice actually be its most reckless gamble?

In 1994, Romney ran for the United States Senate as a “William Weld moderate” because that is what he believed it took to get elected in Massachusetts. On nearly every issue he was boldly to the left of the Republican mainstream. He labeled Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” too partisan, opposed capital-gains-tax cuts, vowed to encourage banks to give home loans to poor families, and, as The Washington Post put it, “stressed his support for universal health insurance and abortion rights.” At a debate with Kennedy in Boston, the paper noted, Romney “was more outspoken than Kennedy in arguing that the Boy Scouts should not exclude homosexual youths.” Romney once bragged that he voted for a Democrat, Paul Tsongas, in the 1992 presidential primaries, though he later tried to change his story and his rationale. Stewart pointed out that then-Governor Romney vowed to close “corporate loopholes” in the language now used by President Obama. And Romney’s ever-evolving position on his health-care proposal—which he once called a model for the nation—is notorious.

[  ]...Though Romney’s curious political conversion was well known to political operatives during his previous run for the White House, it was never fully examined. That’s because he was fortunate in his political opponents: his main rival, John McCain, was a notorious flip-flopper, and nobody ever paid much attention to anything Mike Huckabee said. This time, Romney won’t be so lucky. Already, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reminding voters of Romney’s former Massachusetts-friendly views on the environment. And if Romney is the GOP nominee, the Obama campaign would be even more hapless than it already is expected to be if it doesn’t turn to the same strategy.

It’s not clear if there is an easy solution for Romney. Perhaps his best bet is to find something to become passionate or emotional about, to find opportunities to demonstrate that his political views are principled, on issues that are hard or even unpopular. Otherwise, voters will find themselves preoccupied with another question: do they really know the man named Willard, then Billy, then Mitt who came from Michigan, then Utah, then Massachusetts? The real trouble for the Romney campaign is that it’s not entirely clear if the candidate has a firm answer to that question himself.

Who knows, Romney is running this time round on the extreme Right, but if he returns to his moderate roots as president he might be more liberal than Obama. Romney might in fact be this season's stealth candidate.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Five Reasons Patriots Should Move Their Money From Bank Of America

Five Reasons Patriots Should Move Their Money From Bank Of America

As hundreds of people remain encamped on Wall Street in New York City, and thousands of people across the country are taking part in a 99 Percent Movement aimed at battling economic inequality spurred on by enormous income gains by the richest one percent of Americans.

One of the financial institutions being targeted by protesters is foreclosure mill and government bailout recipient Bank of America (BOA). In Boston, thousands of people marched against BOA’s greed and in Los Angeles, numerous people were arrested while staging a sit-in at a local branch.

While many Americans may feel powerless against this banking behemoth, the truth is that Americans have a simple way to protest its greed and corporate malfeasance: simply move your money out of the bank to one of its competitors, such as a local credit union. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently encouraged Americans to do just that.

ThinkProgress has assembled five reasons why American consumers could consider moving their money and striking a blow to this abusive banking giant:

    1. Bank of America Just Unveiled A Shocking New Debit Card Fee: Late last month, BOA announced that it would start charging a $5-a-month fee simply for consumers to use their debit cards for purchases. Although a few of its competitors have started using similar fees in recent times, BOA’s presence as America’s largest banking chain means that if it successfully enacts such a fee, it may be able to set a trend in the industry to make such charges the norm. More than 137,000 Americans have signed an online petition protesting the fee. Most credit unions do not charge for using one’s debit card, and one credit unions, Delta Credit Union based in Atlanta, is even holding a “Switch Day” to encourage BOA’s customers to switch over to its services instead.

    2. Bank of America Has Spent Millions Lobbying To Gut Reforms With Your Tax Dollars: Despite being bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars by the federal government, Bank of America has still had the gumption to spend millions of dollars in Washington battling new reforms meant re-regulate the financial sector. It spent nearly $4 million hiring a double-digit number of lobbyists in 2010, mostly aimed at gutting legislation related to banking regulations. Meanwhile, it spent a million dollars on campaign contributions in the 2010 electoral cycle.

    3. Bank of America’s Practices Are At The Nexus Of The Foreclosure Crisis: Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan raised eyebrows recently when he excitedly cheered for faster foreclosures of Americans’ homes. Despite being found to be a major user of error-ridden “robo-signing” foreclosure practices last year, the mega-bank only briefly halted its foreclosure proceedings nationwide. It is also facing lawsuits by multiple states over its mortgage practices.

    4. Bank of America Just Announced That It Was Laying Off 30,000 People: The “firm’s 30,000 job cuts are more than double what any other U.S.-based employer has announced so far this year, according to a employment tracking group.” The layoffs come after a decision by Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Citigroup earlier this year to “outsource IT and back office projects worth nearly $5 billion this year to India, as they seek to lower costs.”

    5. Despite The Poor Economy, Bank Of America Continues To Reward Its Executives With Multi-Million Dollar Salaries: Despite blaming economic woes for layoffs of employees and its new debit card fee, the mega-bank continues to deliver huge paydays to its executives. The bank just announced that two of its former executives, Sallie Krawcheck and Joe Price, will receive a salary of $850,000 and a payment of $5.15 million and a salary of $850,000 and a payment of $4.15 million respectively. Meanwhile, BOA maintained its CEO’s salary of $950,000 plus $9.05 million in performance-based stock awards this year.

Americans do not have to stand by and allow a mega-bank to continue to rip off its consumers, to develop and foster abusive mortgage practices, reward its executives lavishly, and shortchange own workforce. They can strike a blow against this institution by simply moving their money away from it, either to its major competitors or into the country’s large network of community banks and credit unions.

In order to facilitate this process, Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) — shortly after meeting with Occupy Raleigh protesters in Bank of America’s hub city — has introduced the “Freedom and Mobility in Consumer Banking Act,” which would ensure that Americans “have the right to immediately close any account at any insured depository institutions on demand, without cost to the consumer, that consumers receive any balance in their account immediately, and for other purposes.” The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has launched a petition drive in support of Miller’s bill.

Americans who are afraid of the too big to fail merry-go-round should put their money into community banks and credit unions. It is one way not to have too big to fail financial institutions and another great recession in ten or twenty years..

Friday, October 7, 2011

Insane Republican Fool of the Week - Maine Gov. LePage dramatically changes his story on labor mural removal

Insane Republican Fool of the Week - Maine Gov. LePage dramatically changes his story on labor mural removal

There's a lot of competition for most evil among the governors elected in 2010; there's no competition for biggest buffoon. That is and always has been Maine's Paul LePage, and in this video clip, Brian Williams offers him the chance to burnish that reputation. Naturally, burnish he does.

Back when LePage was making headlines for having a labor history mural removed from Maine's Department of Labor, he offered a number of explanations for the decision—it was "one-sided," it made business owners uncomfortable, and so on. But all of his explanations made clear that the mural was removed because it depicted working people and their unions in a positive light.

Now, in response to Williams' question, he's claiming it's all about the funding:

    LEPAGE: I have absolutely nothing about organized labor. My objection to the mural is simply where the money came from. The money was taken out of the unemployment insurance fund, which is dedicated to provide benefits to unemployed workers. They robbed that account to build a mural, and until they pay for it, it stays hidden. [...] We are putting it under safe lock and key.

As Political Correction notes,

    LePage's new line accusing the department of 'robbing' the jobless to pay for a painting is smarter politically than his clearly stated original reasoning, but state officials say that "nobody lost any benefits to which they were entitled," according to the Portland Press Herald. Furthermore, the federal Department of Labor actually demanded that Maine return the money used to buy the mural if it is not going to be displayed any longer.

LePage getting some political sense will deprive the world of much-needed hilarity, but given that his recent forays into the news have included rejoicing over kids arriving at summer camp in private jets and signing a law easing child labor restrictions, it's not like he's about to become a political whiz en route to easy reelection.

A reproduction of the labor mural is on display at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. until Oct. 11.

Lepage is a poster child for the conservative conviction that American who labor for a living - Labor being what Abraham Lincoln called the foundation for all capital - are all thugs. The thugs meme is repeated across the internet and in right-wing conservative junk mail. Conservatives think Americans who work for living and organize are radical Marxist thugs. Labor unions and labor built America. They didn't sit behind a desk barking demands and whine about how unappreciated they are, nope, labor just did what needed doing. All they asked for is lunch breaks, fire escape doors that work, a fair wage they could live on. Lepage and his fascist-lite cohorts in the conservative movement have nothing but contempt for those people - people who do real work.

Herman Cain’s weird opinion columns published by birther website

Confronting the Malefactors

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.

When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.

It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.

A weary cynicism, a belief that justice will never get served, has taken over much of our political debate — and, yes, I myself have sometimes succumbed. In the process, it has been easy to forget just how outrageous the story of our economic woes really is. So, in case you’ve forgotten, it was a play in three acts.

In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. In the second act, the bubbles burst — but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. And, in the third act, bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support — and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts — behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis.

Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?

Now, it’s true that some of the protesters are oddly dressed or have silly-sounding slogans, which is inevitable given the open character of the events. But so what? I, at least, am a lot more offended by the sight of exquisitely tailored plutocrats, who owe their continued wealth to government guarantees, whining that President Obama has said mean things about them than I am by the sight of ragtag young people denouncing consumerism.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Herman Cain's Regressive Anti-American Budget and Tax Plan

Herman Cain's Regressive Anti-American Budget and Tax Plan

Herman Cain's tax-overhaul plan is helping fuel a boomlet in the polls, but conservatives are divided over its proposed national sales tax while liberals worry that his proposal would penalize lower earners.

The Republican presidential candidate wants to scrap the current system—with its income-tax rates as high as 35% for individuals and corporations—and replace it with a system that combines a 9% personal flat tax, a 9% corporate flat tax and a 9% national sales tax.

The plan would eliminate the estate tax as well as current taxes on investment income....

Cain used to be corporate CEO. I'm not sure that his experience means he has no excuse for not running his numbers or that since he was a CEO that explains why he doesn't care if his numbers don't work. More here Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan: Buy Less, Pay Less. Cain and his supporters apparently believe in the magic theory of economics. Yoy just invent things out of thin air and magically make them true. A Cain presidency, or Perry or Romney for that matter would be a return of the glory days of Bush-style economy management - which ended in driving the economy off the cliff the last time we tried it.

Andrew Breitbart is quite mad. Though like many mad millionaires his madness is taken for wisdom by his mindless genuflecting followers - Breitbart Smear: Obama (And Thousands More) "Marched With" New Black Panthers. More magic. It never happened but by cresting a narrative with some fuzzy pictures they can create the newest right-wing conservative urban myth.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Does Herman Cain Hate America and The Bill of Rights

Why does teahadist darling Herman Cain hate American values and the Bill of Rights - Herman Cain Defends His Sharia Conspiracy: ‘Call Me Crazy’

On ABC’s This Week, host Christiane Amanpour confronted Herman Cain about a comment he made to ThinkProgress. “There’s this creeping attempt…to gradually ease Sharia Law and the Muslim faith into our government,” Cain told us in March.

After showing Cain his quote, Amanpour asked him to respond to Chris Christie, who has said, “This Sharia law business is crap, it’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.” Cain responded:

    CAIN: Call me crazy. … Some people would infuse Sharia Law in our courts system if we allow it. I honestly believe that. So even if he calls me crazy, I am going to make sure that they don’t infuse it little by little by little. … American laws in American courts, period.

    AMANPOUR: American laws are in American courts. So the people of this country should be safe for the moment.

Watch it:

In July, Cain met with a small group of Muslims and said he was “truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it.” It’s therefore disappointing that Cain is still clinging to his anti-Sharia rhetoric.

The “creeping Sharia” threat, as CAP explained in our report “Fear, Inc.,” is the product of a hate campaign organized by a small number of Islamophobic actors who are trying to cast suspicion on the presence of all Muslims in America. In fact, Cain’s language of “American laws in American courts” is lifted directly from a right-wing lawyer named David Yerushalmi, who has been leading an effort to pass anti-Sharia measures in roughly two dozen states.

As the ACLU has explained in a thorough legal analysis, the “creeping Sharia” rhetoric is a mythical menace and a fabricated threat:

    There is no evidence that Islamic law is encroaching on our courts. On the contrary, the court cases cited by anti-Muslim groups as purportedly illustrative of this problem actually show the opposite: Courts treat lawsuits that are brought by Muslims or that address the Islamic faith in the same way that they deal with similar claims brought by people of other faiths or that involve no religion at all. These cases also show that sufficient protections already exist in our legal system to ensure that courts do not become impermissibly entangled with religion or improperly consider, defer to, or apply religious law where it would violate basic principles of U.S. or state public policy.

A Center for American Progress report on Sharia explained, “It’s important to understand that adopting” the creeping Sharia rhetoric “would direct limited resources away from actual threats to the United States and bolster an anti-Muslim narrative that Islamist extremist groups find useful in recruiting.”

Recall, in 2010, Oklahoma passed a “Save our State” ballot initiative that banned Sharia in its state courts. That amendment was halted from taking effect by a federal district court. District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange argued: “It would be incomprehensible if…Oklahoma could condemn the religion of its Muslim citizens, yet one of those citizens could not defend himself in court against his government’s preferment of other religious views.” The 10th Circuit court is now hearing the case.

The 1st Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees every American to follow the religion of their choice. Cain is "crazy" to think there is some special law by any special religious group that can bypass the Constitution. In pursuing this special crusade against Muslims Cain is helping to create a cultural and legal atmospheric where state or the federal government can pick favorites among religious groups. Thus every American will have less religious freedom because of wacky paranoia over a phenomenon that is not occurring. Cain is running against both American values and American law. One thing Americans do not have to tolerant is the radical UnAmericanism of Herman Cain.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Economics of Austerity - Serious Conservatives and The Consequences

Economics of Austerity - Serious Conservatives and The Consequences

Martin Wolf is getting frantic, as well he should. The austerians have brought us to the brink of a vast disaster. A recession in Europe looks more likely than not; and the question for the United States is not whether a lost decade is possible, but whether there is any plausible way to avoid one.

Wolf directs us to a recent speech by Adam Posen (pdf), which opens with a passage that very much mirrors my own thoughts:

    Both the UK and the global economy are facing a familiar foe at present: policy defeatism. Throughout modern economic history, whether in Western Europe in the 1920s, in the US and elsewhere in the 1930s, or in Japan in the 1990s, every major financial crisis-driven downturn has been followed by premature abandonment—if not reversal—of the macroeconomic stimulus policies that are necessary to sustained recovery. Every time, this was due to unduly influential voices claiming some combination of the destructiveness of further policy stimulus, the ineffectiveness of further policy stimulus, or the political corruption from further policy stimulus. Every time those voices were wrong on each and every count. Those voices are being heard again today, much too loudly. It is the duty of economic policymakers including central bankers to rebut these false claims head on. It is even more important that we do the right thing for the economy rather than be slowed, confused, or intimidated by such false claims.

Indeed. Posen’s “unduly influential voices” are my Very Serious People. And it has been an awesome spectacle watching the VSPs search, obsessively, for reasons not to fight mass unemployment. Fiscal policy must tighten to appease the invisible bond vigilantes and please the confidence fairy. Interest rates must rise because, well, um, inflation, well, no, low rates cause moral hazard — yes, that must be it.

And we’re not (just) talking about ignorant politicians. This stuff has been coming from the European Central Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Bank for International Settlements.

I don’t fully understand it. But a large part of it, it seems obvious, is the intense desire to see economics as a morality play of sin and punishment, where the sinners are, of course, workers and governments, not the bankers. Pain is not an unfortunate consequence of policies, it’s what is supposed to happen.

How obsessive are these people? So obsessive that when the financial doom they predict fails to materialize, they consider this a bad thing: punishment must be administered, so what are the markets waiting for? Here’s Alan Greenspan a while back:

    Despite the surge in federal debt to the public during the past 18 months—to $8.6 trillion from $5.5 trillion—inflation and long-term interest rates, the typical symptoms of fiscal excess, have remained remarkably subdued. This is regrettable, because it is fostering a sense of complacency that can have dire consequences.

Gosh, it’s regrettable that the markets aren’t confirming my warnings! And today Ronald McKinnon laments, yes, laments the failure of the invisible bond vigilantes to show themselves — they’re supposed to be “disciplining the government”, so why aren’t they here?

Just to reiterate a point I’ve made before, none of this reflects actual economic theory. Throughout this crisis, people like Adam Posen and yours truly have been basing our arguments on standard textbook macroeconomics, whereas the Very Serious People have been making up stories on the fly to justify their calls for pain. As Wolf, who really seems to have eaten his Wheetabix, puts it,

    The waste is more than unnecessary; it is cruel. Sadists seem to revel in that cruelty. Sane people should reject it. It is wrong, intellectually and morally.

And this cruelty rules our world.

We have never cut spending and taxes to turn a corner during a recession. No country has ever cut spending to the bone to recover from a economic downturn. America cannot cut spending as a way to recovery. Don't worry if you disagree, the serious people, the cruel people, the people who do not have clue, are winning and the world is likely yo to fall back into another bad recession as a result.