Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

National Security vs Politics

GOP elephant pooping, Elephant ShitSenator Jon Kyle (R, AZ) and Republican Senators have put politics above our national interest by refusing to vote on the New START Treaty with Russia.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, was on ABC's This Week this morning where he was questioned by host Christiane Amanpour. He unequivocally supported the START Treaty. When asked repeated questions about whether this treaty was good for the country and should be passed, he made clear that it was in the best interests of National Security that the START Treaty be passed ASAP. Even in a lame duck session. He emphatically said "ASAP".

When asked if the Republican opposition was based on politics or policy, Admiral Mullen obviously refused to comment. But it was clear from all his other comments that he saw no national security reasons for delaying ratification of the treaty.

Sometimes is hard to tell when Republican obstructionism is principled or political. In this case it is obvious.

WTHWYT - Rep. Allen West

Representative Allen West (FL), recently elected Tea Party Republican, was on Meet The Press this morning. He was commenting about the uproar over the new TSA airport screening procedures which give passengers a choice between a revealing electronic scan or a thorough pat down search. He was complaining about the poor job of marketing for the new TSA rules when he said that the Obama administration should have had a better marketing plan and should have "put out some feelers" to airline passengers.

Really! What The Hell Were You Thinking?

If your marketing plan was to get your face on every late night comedy show, you succeeded.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Repeal tax cuts for rich

GOP elephant pooping
Republicans want to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including the tax cuts for people making over $250,000. This would be $250,000 of taxable income, after deductions, etc.

Their argument is that many of the people affected are small business owners and the extra tax burden would cause them not to grow their businesses.

Let's think about this.

First of all the, these high income people would still get the tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income. Assuming that the current tax rates on income under $250,000 are extended, the higher rate after January 1 would only be on any income over $250,000.

So if I understand the rates correctly, the rate for income over $250,000 will change on January 1, 2011 from 35% to 39.6%.

Let's say you are a small business owner, have $250,000 of taxable income and starting 01/01/2011 you have the opportunity to grow your business and raise your income from $250,000 to $350,000. At the end of the 2011, your tax bill will be $4,600 greater if the Bush tax cuts for the rich are not extended. The federal tax on that $100,000 would be $35,000 if the tax cuts are extended and $39,600 if they are not.

So Republicans think this business person would not grow their business by $100,000 and increase their after tax income by roughly $60,000 because they would have to pay an extra $4,600 a year in federal taxes. That doesn't make sense.

I know that $39,600 in taxes on $100,000 sounds like a lot, but these rates would be the rates that were in effect in 2000. Not exactly a bad year for business.

When the current lower tax rates were passed:
1) They were not paid for. These tax cuts were paid for by increasing the debt. The Chinese and others loaned us the money to cover the increased debt these tax cuts caused. Everybody got a tax cut that would have to be paid for by tax payers in the future when that debt (plus interest) was paid off.

2) The tax cuts were not made permanent when they were initially passed as part of a political ploy. The tax cuts were designed to expire in 2011 because they were so damaging to the debt. Republics used a gimmick based on how the actual cost of the cuts were calculated and reported at that time. Politicians made the total effect of these tax cuts look lower than they would actually be by making them expire in 2011 rather than making them permanent. Secretly they figured politicians in 2010 would be politically forced to extend them.

We can debate whether or not a tax rate of 39.6% on adjusted income over $250,000 is reasonable or excessive, but to argue that this change would hurt job creation is Elephant Shit.

This will be a fight. We need to balance the budget and not extending the tax cuts for income over $250,000 can help us get there. Democrats need to clearly explain why it makes sense that we do not extend the tax cuts for the rich.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Constitutional Scholar

Guy doesn't realize the concept of 'separation of church and state' really is in the Constitution.
Constitutional Scholar.
Click on comic strip to enlarge.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Are Republics Principled Or Just Political?

Elephant poopingSenator McConnell has announced that one of the highest priorities of Republics is to repeal health care. I thought the number one priority was jobs. I guess I just haven't been listening over the last few months.

I've heard several Republics say that they favor complete repeal of the new health care law and then they would pass a series of common sense measures to replace it.

Bull. If they are really interested in making health care better, let's demand that they explain what they are going to replace the new health care law with before they try to repeal the current law.

Everyone agreed that we needed to reform health care. Well, almost everyone. Democrats finally got an imperfect bill passed. We all agree that the current health care law was not the best we can do. We knew this sausage would need some fixing. If Republicans have better ideas, I want to hear them. I really believe they have some ideas that would help. I just want to hear these ideas debated before they try to repeal the whole bill.

What we have is not perfect, but it is better than nothing. It is a starting point that we can modify and build on.

But just in case the Republicans have some ideas they have never told us about, let's hear what they propose to replace the current health bill with. Then we can decide if we agree before we throw out the current bill. Is that unreasonable?

This is a test for Republics. They will soon have control of the House. Republics in the House can propose and vote on any legislation they want.

If Republicans in the House and Senate show us their proposed legislation to reform health care before or when they propose legislation to repeal the Democrats health care plan, I will admit they are acting on their principles.

If Republicans propose legislation to repeal the Democrats health care plan without showing us legislation for how they will reform health care, their actions can rightly be labelled as purely political. This would prove they are more interested in scoring political points than helping people.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

So we lost. Stay the course.

The voters have spoken. They've made it clear they are angry and are more interested in punishing someone rather than understanding the issues.

The president inherited the worst economy in decades and voters blame him and Democrats for not fixing it in 2 years. Do they really believe if it were at all in the president's power or Democrat's power to turn the economy around they wouldn't have done it? Instead, voters decided to give control back to the party that led us into this mess. Remember, Republicans and the Tea Party only got serious about budget deficits when it became a good way to attack the president.

Back in the early days of the last presidential campaign, before the economy tanked, I had a letter published in the local paper explaining to Senator McCain that you can't really cut taxes when you are running a deficit as he promised to do if elected. You can't really cut taxes when you are running a deficit, you are just deferring payment until some time in the future. Your tax reduction plus interest will be paid by someone later. Where were the Tea Partiers back then?

Were voters watching while the Republicans did everything to block the president for the last 2 years? Where were all the great ideas from Republicans to turn the economy around? Republicans didn't have any ideas or at least not any they would make public. By the way, if they had or have any great ideas, why didn't they offer them when they did have power in the first six years of the Bush administration?

Republicans have had no incentive to help make the economy better. If they had worked with Democrat's the past two years to make the economy better and they were successful, would Republicans have made such large gains in this week's election? Not likely.

Republicans have no incentive to help make the economy better over the next two years. They rightly believe that if the economy stays bad for the next two years, President Obama will be a one term president. Pay attention over the next two years. Are Republicans trying to help or just stalling for two more years?

The Republicans goals for the past two years have been to make things look as bad as they could and they lied whenever they needed. Remember death panels? A total lie. And either Republicans knew it was a lie or they are just stupid. Would you really vote for someone that stupid?

Republicans railed against the bail out of banks, automobile companies and the stimulus bill. A large number of voters believed the bail out was Obama's. Of course the bailout was passed under President Bush. People are crying about losing jobs, especially good paying manufacturing jobs. How much worse would the economy be if we had lost the automobile industry? Republicans act like helping the automobile companies was complete folly. Why?

All we hear from Republicans is how worthless the stimulus bill was. Of course economist tell a different story. And most people are unaware that many Republicans actively worked to get stimulus money to their states or districts. They never said it out loud, but there is a paper trail of letters they wrote asking for money and saying how many jobs that money would generate. We are not talking about a few Republicans. We are talking about dozens and dozens. The list is very long. The stimulus bill generated or saved millions of jobs. Republicans have been lying about it for political gain.

Republicans brag that they stopped “cap and trade”. Of course, many of these Republicans were for cap and trade until it became politically advantageous to be against it. We need to address global warming. It is real. The Department of Defense identified global warming as a national security threat years ago.

The Republican goal for the next two years will be to look like they are doing something, but hoping Democrat's will block them so they can get even more power in 2012. Be are smart voter. Pay attention. Whenever either party obstructs or is uncooperative, are they doing it for principle or political gain? Voters want jobs. Let us see who is working to make jobs and help the economy and who is not.

Republicans are saying the the President and Democrats need to heed the election results and cave into all Republican ideas. Do you remember the Republicans acknowledging the election the President and Democrat's won in 2008? Did they cooperate with the new president even a little? Not hardly. Hell, many of them still won't admit he is the president.

President Obama is too smart to think that Republicans will do anything that will make him look better. It is not in their self interests.

Republicans act like the entire country is behind them. But there are millions of people who want the president to stand up for his and our principles. We should stay true to our beliefs. If we lose again in 2012 so be it. I would rather lose defending my principles than lose trying to work with a party that has no incentive to cooperate.