Friday, January 20, 2012

Put Up or Shut Up on Taxes

Warren Buffet calls the bluff of congressional Republicans.  McConnell challenged him to send in a voluntary contribution to pay the national debt.  Buffet countered with an offer to match whatever congressional millionaires contribute.  For Mitch, he would even go 3-to-1.  From the Republicans?  Crickets....

Fighting Citizens United

With the stroke of a pen, Obama could expose big corporate political contributors.  That would shine a light on corporations that make their money off the taxpayers and try to influence elections.

Stopping E. coli

low voltage electrical shock can safely kill bacteria in ground beef.  And it would certainly be less controversial and safer to producers than irradiation.

Drinking Antidote

How would it change things if there were a simple substance that inoculates against drunkenness?  Perhaps as an after-party pill?

Romney's Business Experience

It's interesting that Romney's business experience consists, essentially, of borrowing great sums of money to buy out troubled companies and resell parts of them.  Do the Republicans really want this debt-hog in the White House?

Unintended Consequences

A study finds that abortion rates are higher where it's illegal. So that is what all those pro-life folks are unknowingly trying to achieve.  When we outlaw abortions, there will be many more of them.  On the other hand, access to contraception and comprehensive sex education have proven to bring abortion rates down.  Remember. the cause of most abortions is unwanted pregnancies.  And therein lies the solution as well.

Puncturing the Tax Cut Myth

Paul Krugman, once again, points out that low taxes on the rich don't help the economy. Three quarters of the nation's capital gains income goes to the top 1 percent and that income is taxed at 15%. Back in the days when the source of income didn't affect the rate (before W), the economy did just fine. Those who want "fair" taxation should start here.

For completeness, here's the smoke and mirrors response.  Because of the high corporate rate, the contention is that rich people's money get taxed twice.  But corporate profit isn't personal income except when viewed from Wall Street.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Payment Where Payment's Due

The argument against the healthcare mandate is that the government can't force people to participate in a section of commerce against their will.  But since our laws require care for the uninsured, they already participate by making the insured bear the cost.  Either the Supreme Court will acknowledge this or there will be some really tortured reasoning in the majority opinion.

Born on Third Base

Most of those who occupy the top tiers of the income spectrum benefit from the birth lottery.  With the current assault on programs that level the playing field for the lower classes, we can expect America to be less and less a meritocracy and more and more an aristocracy.

Greenpeace Claims about GM Corn

It appears that claims that a pest has increased its destruction because of genetically modified corn don't withstand scrutiny. Every time the green folks jump too quickly to conclusions, they hurt the credibility of a truly valuable cause.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

A falling empire

When the military successes of Rome brought in all those slaves it wasn't too long before your lower- and middle-class Roman had no way to earn a living.  Slaves were doing all the work.  To keep the peace, the ruling class had to give away food and create increasingly elaborate forms of entertainment.

In our modern empire, the role of the slaves has been replace by automation and cheap foreign labor.  The results are similar.  Lower- and middle-class citizens are deprived of the means for earning livelihoods.  Our problem today is to find a solution for this that is better than the Roman solution was.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Boring Banks

To protect our wealth, banking should be tightly regulated and boring.  In the run-up to the 2008 meltdown, Canadian banks were prohibited from taking the kinds of risks that the U.S banks were taking.  Their profits weren't as good, but they didn't destroy the economy either.


Where the lobbyists get their mojo on.  This organization is like a trade convention for lobbyists and the government officials they want to buy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Montana Rejects Citizens United

Even though the Supreme Court may have decided that corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals, the facts of Montana's history lead that state's high court to rule to the contrary.

An analysis of the Montana Supreme Court's chances is here.

'via Blog this'

Young People More Likely To Favor Socialism

Given that the evils of unchecked capitalism are so apparent in today's economy, it's not surprising that young people are looking for an alternative.

Psychopaths on Wall Street

Psychopaths may always be with us but we need to learn how to keep them away from the reins of power.

They “largely caused the crisis” because their “single- minded pursuit of their own self-enrichment and self- aggrandizement to the exclusion of all other considerations has led to an abandonment of the old-fashioned concept of noblesse oblige, equality, fairness, or of any real notion of corporate social responsibility.”

Monday, January 02, 2012

Understanding Debt

Debt, by itself, isn't bad.  But you must have good discipline to handle it. The real problem is that Republicans in Congress don't have a informed, mature attitude about it.  The investments our country made with borrowed money during and after WWII brought about a period of good economic growth.  It's too bad the facts are on the wrong side of Republican conventional wisdom.

An Inconvenient Truth

Reagan raised taxes and expanded government.  Not only that, the economy did quite well.  But Eric Cantor and other Republican ideologues just blow their circuit breakers when asked to think about that.