Even for a Texas Republican, he's stupid. Here he is, trying to explain the deficit. Would someone please explain to him what a fiat currency is?
I suppose it's a good thing that I don't live in Texas, because I would probably spend a lot of time in jail for slapping Republicans. They're both stupid and shameless, and they seem to lack the capacity to learn a damned thing. Via Raw Story:
A Republican congressman from Texas on Monday suggested that many people were too lazy to get a job because unemployment benefits had “incentivized” them not to work.
“We’ve got to the point in this country where we incentivized people not to work, instead of incentivized them to work,” Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) told KFYO’s Tom Collins and Laura Mac. “And with unemployment benefits going for as long as 99 weeks, we’ve seen food stamps in this country increase 44 percent in the last four years. And so basically, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of incentive for some people to work. And that’s a reason we’ve got to reform some of these programs.
“We shouldn’t be allowing people to game the system by maybe only working part time so that they can get these other benefits,” he added. “In some cases, there may be full-time employment offered to them, but they’ve figured out a way to work part time and still get these additional benefits.”
But at the same time, Neugebauer questioned government figures that said jobs were being created and unemployment was going down.
“We’ve seen a large number, millions of people are dropping out of the workforce,” he explained. “And so these unemployment numbers are misleading. I think overall when you look at the economy for job growth in this country, we’re still very weak. We’re not creating enough jobs to keep up with just the normal population growth that’s in our country.”
So can you explain to me again how people are too lazy to work, but there aren't enough jobs?
President Obama sent his proposed jobs legislation to Congress today and as promised, it is fully paid for. From Monday's press briefing with Jay Carney and White House Budget Director Jack Lew:
This is a standalone bill. It has the investments in growth and jobs, and it has some provisions that pay for it. By raising the target of the joint committee what we're saying is Congress should pass the jobs bill now with the pay-fors, and when the joint committee reaches its decisions later in the fall, it can then either put in new offsets to pay for it, and that would trigger the pay-fors in the bill off, or it can do the original target of $1.5 trillion and then the pay-fors that are in the jobs bill will stand.
So how does that work, exactly? Well, the White House is calling for them to "pass this bill right now." They sent the bill to Congress. The bill has all of the jobs provisions he outlined in his speech last Thursday, along with two different pathways to pay for it. The first one is to increase the supercommittee targets. The second is to propose specific pay-fors which will trigger if the supercommittee does not meet the targets. Those are, according to Lew, the following:
First there's a limit on itemized deductions and certain exemptions for individuals who earn over $200,000, and families earning over $250,000. That limitation raises roughly $400 billion over 10 years.
There is a provision that would treat carried interest -- that's the interest earned by investment fund managers -- as ordinary income, rather than taxing it at the capital gains rate. And that would raise $18 billion.
There are a number of oil and gas provisions, which, collectively, raise $40 billion. That would -- with the enactment of these provisions, would treat the oil and gas industry like other industries, taking away the special preference. And finally, the corporate jet depreciation rule is changed. Right now corporate jets are depreciated over five years; commercial over seven. It would treat commercial and corporate jets the same, at five years. That raises $3 billion.
In the aggregate, these provisions actually raise $467 billion. It intentionally overachieves because these are based on our estimates internally. When the Congress estimates tax provisions, and we estimate tax provisions, they rarely are pinpoint-accurate to the same number. Sometimes they're higher; sometimes they're lower. And it just built in a cushion so that as we go through the process of having the scoring done on the Hill, we’ve built in a cushion for the differences that happen. But we do believe we’ve overachieved, which would leave a bit of excess.
I don't know if this bill will pass in any form. There's a systemic problem in the House of Representatives that may kill it. But we have an opportunity here. This bill, with few exceptions, is a progressive model for moving forward. It doesn't touch Medicare or Social Security. It pays for tax preferences and other expenditures with tax hikes on the rich. These are all ideas that an overwhelming majority of people in this country support, regardless of party.
However, Republicans are showing weakness. The conciliatory tone taken after the jobs speech was uncharacteristic, even if it's most likely an act. After three years of just saying no, they're suddenly all teary-eyed over bipartisanship. Awwww. That new love of bipartisanship wouldn't have anything to do with their drop in the polls and hostile town hall meetings over the summer, would it? Yet, their professed new love of bipartisan action hasn't swayed the White House this time around. The President responded to those calls for compromise, love and bipartisanship by saying they should pass the whole bill, right now. Jay Carney repeated that theme in his press conference today:
I'm going to -- before I go straight to questions, I'm going to respond to a couple of things here. Tricia, on yours, the President believes the United States Congress should, upon receiving the American Jobs Act, pass it. He is submitting a bill that, by the estimate of any economist on the outside whose PhD is worth the value of the paper it’s printed on, would say creates jobs and grows the economy by incentivizing the private sector, by putting more money in Americans’ pockets, by putting teachers back to work, putting construction workers back to work, police and firefighters. And he believes the American Jobs Act should be passed by Congress.
There's only one way I see for this battle to be won. It's going to be up to all of us to be out in the street (with correctly spelled signs, please) calling for the bill to be passed right now, as it is. Even then, it's doubtful it will pass, but it will at least draw a sharp distinction between who is acting on behalf of the people and who is acting on behalf of the wealthy people and corporate interests.
Ezra Klein sees it this way:
The GOP might be working to showcase a more conciliatory tone in public, but that new tone does not mean they’re willing to talk taxes. Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, e-mailed a quick, and negative, reaction to the White House’s announcement: “This tax increase on job creators is the kind of proposal both parties have opposed in the past. We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn’t appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit.”
But perhaps the point of the proposals isn’t to attract GOP support that, in all likelihood, will never come. Perhaps the point is to force the GOP to make a difficult choice: either come back with offsets the White House can accept in place of these policies, or try to explain why keeping taxes low on the rich is more important than helping the jobless.
All in all, these pay-fors make me less optimistic that much of the jobs package will pass, though my guess is they will make a lot of liberals more optimistic that the White House is finally willing to wage a public campaign on behalf of its policy ideas.
Jobs are a universal concern right now. From CEOs to factory workers, jobs are evaporating with nothing to replace them. The President has proposed a good first step. I understand the Progressive Caucus plans to announce augmented proposals to his, which I will be writing on when they are released. As I understand it, they will layer even more opportunities for jobs onto the AJA in a complimentary fashion. Without pressure on these stubborn, selfish Republicans to step up for the people they represent, they'll think it's perfectly fine to behave just as they have so far and cater to their corporate overlords. It's time they heard some other voices in their districts, in their states, and across the country.
I like the White House's approach on this. It would seem they're listening to progressives more carefully. That's not to say that we shouldn't have concerns about the separate deficit reduction package they're sending next week, but this bill, as proposed, would be good for the country and a step toward an improving economy.
Anyone remember what it was like to work in the late 1990s? The memories are fading fast as the years of persistent joblessness pile up -- years that began well before the big crash in 2008, when it was already self-evident that the Bush administration's claims that massive tax cuts for the wealthy were the sure route to full employment were an epochal load of hooey. Now even that seems like a quaint and distant memory.
In 1998, it was a workers' market: Everyone I know had a good job, and a lot of them were in the tech sector. Good benefits were a given, as were good salaries. If the working conditions sucked, there was always someone else who offered a better environment and maybe better pay too.
That was before the tech bubble burst in 2001. I spent that year working in investment journalism in a newsroom that primarily revolved around the stock market.
I remember remarking on a number of articles we published in which corporate honchos bitched bitterly about the fact that they had lost the ability to control their workers, to ignore their workplace demands, and to short-change their benefits, or whatever other steps they might take to shore up their corporate bottom lines and make their shareholders happier. I remember thinking at the time that the economic tides would inevitably turn, and the next time these folks wound up on top and it became, once again, an employer's market, they would make certain that they never found themselves in that position again.
We used to joke, back in the '90s, that a recession was the Republican way of shortening the lift lines. It's a truism that the wealthy despise having to share too much of their space with too many other people. And in the late '90s, they were having to share their space with a whole lot of freshly well-to-do people.
Well, that isn't an issue now. Problem solved. I imagine the wintertime lift lines at Sun Valley are pretty wide open these days.
Because the reality, of course, is that while the average CEO now makes (as of 2009) only 263 times what his average worker makes (down from a high of 525 times in 2000), they almost never in fact take the windfalls they reap from those huge tax breaks and actually invest the money in employing people. Instead, they ratchet up their bonuses and salaries another notch or two, buy another yacht or another condo in the Bahamas, and tuck the rest away in a tax-free account in the Caymans.
They're currently proving, by sidelining all this cash, that giving them tax breaks doesn't do a damned thing for job creation -- perhaps it does exactly the opposite.
Moreover, they continue reaping large salaries while worker payrolls are slashed. Now people just cling to whatever jobs they can, keep their heads down, and count their lucky stars if they still have work. Either that, or they join the ranks of the eternal jobless.
One comment in particular, however, stands out in my mind these days. We were talking about America's future, and where the conservative cadre that was then taking over the Republican Party intended to take us. His expression darkened, and it was clear that he had a good deal of foreboding in this regard. "What I fear most," he said, "is the Latin Americanization of America."
When (not if, but when) Rick Perry declares his candidacy for President, he will try to run on his jobs record. He will position himself as the state executive who created more jobs in his state than any other governor. His record will be indisputable in terms of numbers. It's only when you look closer at how those jobs were created, and under what conditions, that the entire argument falls apart.
But how could corporations get people to agree to something so patently unfair and weighted so heavily in their favor? Rick Perry. Under his administration, Texas unapologetically bars the courthouse door to average citizens.
Courts in this state say that just working for a company that has an arbitration clause in its employee manual deprives you of your Constitutional right to access justice. It’s not even a contract, they acknowledge, but you kept working there, so you consented to it.
Having a governor who does whatever businesses want — including appointing compliant judges who will freely disregard the law to serve the interests of large corporations regardless of what they do to people like Cathie Williams makes Texas extremely attractive to business. Corporations don’t generally care about miscarriages of justice. They care about being given free passes so they can earn more money. So Perry has made Texas a state with lots of new jobs because it has a court system weighted in favor of corporations against its citizens.
Rick Perry’s secret to job creation is no secret at all: It’s the same recipe used in places like Mexico and Malaysia. Here, companies save millions they would otherwise have had to spend on responsibility. It’s a tradeoff: Give up on public schools, healthy air, and your Constitutional rights and you can have a job.
Yippee! And if we read Texas textbooks, we can all be ignorant, too. Let's also remember that Texas had a $27 billion shortfall under Perry. But hey, there were jobs. Right?
Ya know, in a lot of ways, I really hope that Newt Gingrich runs for president, as we keep hearing he's threatening to do. (Thus the book tour, the wife's movie, etc. etc.) Because he really does represent the REAL Republican Party: the festering, corpulent, bloated, gaseous, slimy, and congenitally dishonest side of the GOP that guys like Mitt Romney are good at disguising.
With Newt, it's really on display, and pretty hard to miss. Like yesterday with Chris Wallace -- who actually displayed some smidgens of integrity with some tough questions -- on Fox News Sunday, talking about the economy:
WALLACE: Let me ask you another aspect of this, though. If you extend, as you want, as Republicans want, all the Bush tax cuts, that is going to blow a $3 trillion...
WALLACE: ... hole in the deficit. I thought your party was so concerned about debt and the deficits.
GINGRICH: Look, when you have a -- when you have a 16-year-old with a credit card who doesn't think the bills come due, you can never get caught up, because they'll just charge more.
The president of the United States has radically increased the size of the federal government since Bush left office. John Boehner has correctly proposed -- the Republican leader in the House -- let's go back to Bush's 2008 budget and you can save like -- something like a trillion, 300 billion dollars just by not spending the money.
So when we balanced the federal budget in the 1990s, which we did for four years, we controlled spending and we cut taxes simultaneously, and we reformed government. There's no reason...
WALLACE: But taxes were higher in the 1990s than they are now because you've got the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and '03. What about the argument -- I mean, John Boehner -- the House Republican leader's idea was go back to the last Bush budget and keep all the Bush tax cuts.
Isn't he making the Democratic argument that your party's idea is let's go back to Bush?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, if you want to go back to the world before Pelosi and Reid of December of 2006, there was a lot higher employment, a lot higher income. The middle class was much better off. That would not -- I think most Americans would...
WALLACE: Well, you can't blame the whole financial crisis...
WALLACE: ... on Reid and Pelosi.
GINGRICH: No, but you could -- you can blame the level of failure for the last two years and the level of spending for the last four years on the liberal Democrats both in the Congress and in the White House.
I'd make a -- I'd make a deeper argument here. You show -- you do an economic run of what this country would be like at 4 percent unemployment, with 5.5 percent of the country back to work full-time, with bringing down the under-employment number from 16 to 17 percent to about 7 or 8 percent, increase in revenue because people are back at work, decrease in food stamps -- this president's set an all-time record for the number of Americans on food stamps. I mean, that's not where you want to go. You want to go to a paycheck, not a food stamp.
Paul Krugman explains how the nation's elites are defining prosperity downward, and says our only real hope is public outrage. See any? Nope, me neither. Seems like the only people who really give a damn about the unemployed are... the unemployed:
Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal.
And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural,” a permanent part of the economic landscape — and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.
Not long ago, anyone predicting that one in six American workers would soon be unemployed or underemployed, and that the average unemployed worker would have been jobless for 35 weeks, would have been dismissed as outlandishly pessimistic — in part because if anything like that happened, policy makers would surely be pulling out all the stops on behalf of job creation.
But now it has happened, and what do we see?
First, we see Congress sitting on its hands, with Republicans and conservative Democrats refusing to spend anything to create jobs, and unwilling even to mitigate the suffering of the jobless.
We’re told that we can’t afford to help the unemployed — that we must get budget deficits down immediately or the “bond vigilantes” will send U.S. borrowing costs sky-high. Some of us have tried to point out that those bond vigilantes are, as far as anyone can tell, figments of the deficit hawks’ imagination — far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have been buying it eagerly, driving interest rates to historic lows. But the fearmongers are unmoved: fighting deficits, they insist, must take priority over everything else — everything else, that is, except tax cuts for the rich, which must be extended, no matter how much red ink they create.
The point is that a large part of Congress — large enough to block any action on jobs — cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can’t find work.
[...] In short, it’s all good. And I predict — having seen this movie before, in Japan — that if and when prices start falling, when below-target inflation becomes deflation, some Fed officials will explain that that’s O.K., too.
What lies down this path? Here’s what I consider all too likely: Two years from now unemployment will still be extremely high, quite possibly higher than it is now. But instead of taking responsibility for fixing the situation, politicians and Fed officials alike will declare that high unemployment is structural, beyond their control. And as I said, over time these excuses may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the long-term unemployed lose their skills and their connections with the work force, and become unemployable.
I’d like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry that our governing elite, which just isn’t all that into the unemployed, will allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on.
I'm really trying to understand what Nevada Tea Party Senate hopeful Sharron Angle thinks her job as US Senator should be. According to her remarks on this video, it's not the job of a United States Senator to be involved in job creation. Further, evidently job creation isn't something that's really a problem. No, the problem is that those unemployed people just think they're too good to scoop garbage out of the gutters as long as they collect the fat unemployment check every couple of weeks.
Really? The "unemployed as deadbeats" theme has been around for years. It's not new and it's not unusual from the right, though it usually doesn't come from candidates running for the Senate in a state where unemployment is at one of the highest rates in the country.
What resonates with me here (besides her amazing whiny-toned voice) is how utterly craven she is about slapping down people who have lost their jobs for no reason other than to bolster the bottom line.
I had a job from the time I was 15 to the time I was 51. Always full-time, and I was always self-sufficient. When I was laid off and had to apply for unemployment, it was a low day for me, and it's because of people like Sharron Angle who blame us for being in need while they do every thing in their power to make sure that need goes deeper and lasts longer than the last time someone was in need.
And no, we don't "make more" by collecting unemployment than by working.
Here's a little factoid for Sharron Angle: 51-year old workers don't get hired at McDonald's or elsewhere at minimum wage, even. They don't because we either don't fit the optics (young, up-and-coming staff), or we cost too much. We didn't ask to be laid off and we're not asking for a handout.
Angle's remarks about it not being her job as a Senator to create jobs or anything else, it seems, are a huge gift to Harry Reid. If ever there was a definition of 'workfare', it's Angle's idea about what it means to earn around $174,000 a year of taxpayers' money to NOT represent constituents.
Back in the days when I was in management, you know what I used to do with employees who said it wasn't their job to do whatever I'd just told them to do?
I fired them. When Angle is fired, she'll take comfort in knowing that unemployment benefits are not available to employees fired for cause, rendering her ineligible to apply for an unemployment claim.
How ironic. In Angle's case, losing an election will be truer to her values than winning it. No welfare queen, she.
Update:Rand Paul concurs. The chorus grows louder. And Rand Paul is even more egregious than Angle, because he advocates the unemployed taking pay cuts so the bottom lines of corporate America can be enhanced even more on the backs of American workers. Nice folks, these teabaggers.
BANGALORE: American lawmakers plan to make it less attractive for the country’s multinational giants IBM and GE to expand their workforce in cheaper locations such as India by taxing their income from international markets, and encourage job creation by renewing several expired tax breaks for local R&D.
Last week, the House of Representatives approved the ‘American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act’ on a 215-204 vote, clearing the way for the US Senate to hold final discussions in June. At a time when the unemployment rates in the US are hovering around 9.9%, lawmakers are under tremendous pressure to act against the companies seen as creating jobs overseas even as they lay off workers in the country.
“In this legislation, which is job creating, it closes the loophole which has allowed businesses to ship jobs overseas. Can you believe that we have a tax policy that enables outsourcing? So, if you have one thing to say about this bill to your constituents, you can say that today, you voted to close the loophole to ship US jobs overseas and giving businesses a tax break to do so,” House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi told the lawmakers before the voting process started on Friday last week. “It is not right. It will be corrected today.”
The proposal, expected to cost nearly $112 billion, will be discussed by the Senate during week of June 7 after Congress’ Memorial Day recess.
However, India’s $60-billion outsourcing sector, which counts GE and Citigroup among its top customers, does not see any direct impact.
I was taking a look at Gov. Chris Christie's budget today and then I saw this. Will New Jersey follow in California's footsteps and start governing by mood ring?
A state appeals court today ruled New Jersey’s secretary of state must accept a petition a citizens group filed to recall U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, but left open the question of whether the removal effort itself is constitutional.
The three-judge panel stayed its ruling to give Menendez (D-N.J.) the opportunity to appeal to the state Supreme Court.. The senator has 45 days to file an appeal but did not say today whether he would. He called the recall effort a "political stunt" that won’t distract him from doing his job.
"This an organization trying to undemocratically and unconstitutionally overturn an election in which more than 2 million New Jerseyans voted," said Menendez, whose term expires in 2012. "My focus continues to be on job creation legislation and delivering a successful extension of my local property tax relief bill."
The court found existing New Jersey law and the state’s constitution both allow U.S. senators to be recalled. For that reason, the appeals court said, the removal effort can proceed. But noting the absence of case law and precedent, it left the ultimate question of the constitutionality of the state’s recall law and amendment to a higher court.
"There are a host of genuine arguments and counterarguments that can be articulated and debated about whether or not the Federal Constitution would permit a United States Senator to be recalled by the voters under state law," the appellate judges said.
"I’m pleased," said Dan Silberstein, attorney for the Committee to Recall Senator Menendez, which is backed by the New Jersey chapter of the conservative Tea Party movement. "I think the appellate court made the right decision on where the case is procedurally."
Menendez’s attorney disagreed.
"The U.S. Constitution is clear that a senator’s term is six years and is not subject to recall," said Marc E. Elias. "The state attorney general correctly argued before the court that a recall is unconstitutional and a clear disservice to voters who take part in a petition process that is invalid. We are pleased the court stayed this opinion until the appeals process is completed."
Are the Blue Dogs shamelessly self-interested and venal, or are just plain stupid? Economists are predicting these high unemployment numbers through the end of 2011, and these clowns want to cut government spending even further. As long as they get to keep their jobs, they don't give a crap about putting even more Americans out of work. Lovely!
Blue Dog Democrats want Congress to go further than President Barack Obama’s proposal to freeze spending in next year’s budget.
The group of House centrists will soon introduce a bill capping discretionary spending at specific levels. The move would challenge their leadership and the president, who are balancing concerns with the nearly $1.6 trillion deficit in 2010 with those who say government spending on job creation is the way out of the recession.
The spending levels sought by the Blue Dogs may result in spending cuts, which would go beyond Obama’s proposal to save $250 billion over the next decade by freezing non-security discretionary spending for three years, said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a senior Blue Dog.
“Two hundred and fifty billion is a lot of savings with a freeze on discretionary spending, but I think we can do better,” Hill said in a brief interview.
The group has yet to hash out the details on the spending caps bill, but it has near-unanimous support among its members, a Blue Dog aide said.