Archive for austerity

GOP austerity bit GOP in their IRS scandal ass

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issa Via Jamal Said-Reuters IRS

Image via Jamal Said-Reuters

Here we go, another full-on assault by Darrrell Issa, BSer In Chief, a rabidly fixated man suffering from Hyperventilitis Uninterruptus in search of a scandal. A hypocritical, lying camera-hog who is escorting a rabidly fixated gang on a desperate hunt for grounds to impeach President Obama. Somehow. Somewhere. Anywhere, dammit. Watch out, IRS, you're back in the exploitation hot seat.

From everything that's been reported, there may indeed be problems with the agency, but the IRS witch hunt is unlikely to lead back to the White House. So much for that wet dream.

I ran across some of the contradictory news on the topic, starting with a Los Angeles Times editorial that included this sentence:

But rather than addressing that issue systematically, the IRS gave extra scrutiny mainly to tea party groups, often in inappropriate ways, an inspector general reported.

But back in April 2014, there was this Think Progress headline :

New Records: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups More Extensively Than Tea Party

L.A. Times, your thoughts?

failure to communicate

Speaking of the Times, here is an interesting tidbit that they reported in an IRS Scandal for Dummeez article:

So wasn’t there a backup?

There was, but the backup tapes were recycled after six months, Koskinen said, and the agency didn’t try to recover Lerner’s emails from the tapes at the time. Budget cuts left the IRS with aging computer systems that limited the size of employees' inboxes and lacked the capability to archive everybody’s emails, he said. The agency decided it couldn’t afford the estimated $10 million it would cost to upgrade the system, he added.

Apparently, the GOP obsession with austerity bit the obsessed GOP in their obsessed GOP ass. Yes, Republicans, budget cuts-- the ones you insist upon and covet so very much and so very LOUDLY-- were a factor in the Big IRS Scandal Version Something.0 that you may very well have helped to create.

Give yourselves a big pat on the back, Team Issa. Then go back to doing what you always do:

blame obama

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"Think what Ballmer's play money could do to help farmers and their children."

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it's all about the money 2

Let's talk money. Few people have enough. A very, very few are sitting on craploads of money, *coughKOCHS, ADELSONcough* but most of us aren't.

GOP Congress members block any Democratic bill that aims to rectify that. *coughMINIMUMWAGEcough* Without wage hikes, the "have-nots" can't spend money. Without that money going into the economy, our situation remains stagnant. And Americans continue to struggle.

But that's okay with Republicans. That way they can blame it all on the president and use his/the Dems' "failure" as a fundraising ploy to win elections while claiming they could do better. Never mind that they've come up with no plan of their own other than that proven catastrophe called austerity. *coughPAULRYANcough*

Billionaires and corporations continue to hoard their money, while the rest of us agonize over how to stay above water, feed and clothe our kids, and simply make it through another day.

And with that, here are a couple of Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Thank you for Friday's compelling story about agricultural workers in the Central Valley ("Dreams die in drought"). I was moved by the plight of these families struggling to get by, and chagrined at the number of children they bring into the world and the stress that this adds.

If someone ever wondered about the differences between the haves and the have-nots, one need only read this story and the adjacent one about the obscene price Ballmer might pay for the Clippers ("NBA record $2 billion offered for Clippers," May 29) .

The fat cats sit game-side doodling on their cellphones while field laborers eke out an existence, or don't. Just think what Ballmer's play money could do to help these farmers and their children.

I only hope the Mormon missionaries in the moving Column One learn from the example of Jesus to not only feed the poor but also to fight for justice for the least of those among us.

Philip Spradling

Pasadena

***

Economist Brad Schiller cautions that President Obama's proposal to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. He doesn't mention the multiplier effect of a wage increase. ("A higher minimum wage -- at what cost?," Opinion, May 27)

The multiplier effect is the single most powerful factor in growing an economy. It is to macroeconomics what compounding is to investing.

Schiller mentions the 500,000 jobs that "might" be lost (according to the Congressional Budget Officer report), but he conveniently omits the fact that the CBO also states that the wages of 16.1 million workers would go up. The positive multiplier effect on the 16.1 million workers would more than make up for the negative multiplier effect of the 500,000 who "might" lose their jobs by creating new jobs due to added demand.

In 1992, James Carville famously coined the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid." It's time for an update: "It's the multiplier effect, stupid."

Eric Geisterfer

San Pedro

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Don't let Paul Ryan near your money

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Paul Ryan ugh this guy

He's ba-a-ack. Yes, Paul Ryan and his "budget" (quotes required, because it's not a budget, it's a redundantly cruel joke) have returned to make the 99% miserable as it caters to the top 1%.

In his Los Angeles Times column, the brilliant Michael Hiltzik takes Paul Ryan and his Very Serious Plan apart. He rips into Privatize Ryan's latest attempt to screw the middle class and the poor by cutting government programs, killing Medicare and Social Security, and thumbing his nose at everyone who knew better than to vote for him and his "severely conservative" running mate.

Read our lips, Paul: Austerity doesn't work.

Via AusterityNut.com

What's the definition of insanity again? Oh yeah:

insanity doing same thing over different results

Hiltzik also manages to get a word or two in about GW Bush's squandering of the Clinton surpluses on tax breaks for the wealthy and how he spent borrowed funds on wars without bothering to raise income taxes.

Take it away, Michael:

There should be a rule--or even a law--that politicians who propose "fixes" to Social Security should at least show they know something about the program. By that standard, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., would flunk. [...]

But the trust fund is still growing, because Social Security's income streams--the payroll tax, interest on its bonds, and revenues from income taxation of benefits--still are sufficient to cover current benefits, and then some. [...]

As I've written before, when you hear people like Paul Ryan talk as though the country can't afford to pay back the money by redeeming the bonds in the trust fund, what you're hearing is the sound of the wealthy preparing to stiff the working class. [...]

[I]f Ryan has his way, yes, the money will be stolen. It's up to you and me to make sure that doesn't happen. So, to put all these pieces together, there's no "dubious government accounting" involved here--the dubious accounting is all Ryan's. [...]

The most important factor is the one that people like Ryan want you to forget: The money in the Social Security trust fund came directly or indirectly from the payroll taxes paid by millions of American workers--100% of it. It was paid by workers in the trust that the government would pay it back. Paul Ryan is hinting, pretty strongly, that he doesn't want to pay it back. 

So why would you trust him? 

Exactly. Why would anyone trust this guy? Especially after the abysmal response to his previous Kill Medicare/Social Security proposals.

paul ryan really really bad screen grab

Please read Hiltzik's entire piece here.

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Republicans Traumatize School Children By Starving Them, Forcing Them To Watch As Their Lunch Is Tossed Into The Garbage

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Republicans Congress

Republicans in Congress

They cut back food stamps. They drop long term unemployment benefits. They trim millions from the SNAP program. To Republicans, that's not cutting aid  to the needy. It's austerity. That's just taking freeloaders off the rosters. Those poor will find another way.

Really? How about in Utah? Or the rest of the country?  CNN:

(CNN) -- Dozens of children at a Utah elementary school had their lunch trays snatched away from them before they could take a bite this week.

Salt Lake City School District officials say the trays were taken away at Uintah Elementary School Tuesday because some students had negative balances in the accounts used to pay for lunches. But they admit the situation should have been handled differently.

Elementary school kids are being punished by the Republicans because their parents can't find work and don't have the money or wherewithal to cover the essentials. Is this the face of the GOP's austerity program -- starving kids?

starving kids

So the GOP takes the food out of students' mouths, embarrasses and stigmatizes adolescent kids in front of their peers by actually going over and taking back the food they've already been handed. And what do they do with the confiscated food these starving young kids need to keep going?

What else-- they make the kids dump their food into garbage cans in front of the rest of the students. Talk about traumatizing young people.

And how about the school's public ridicule of the kids, stamping their hand or foreheads, making them wear a Hester Prynne scarlet letter so everone else can laugh and ridicule the poor kids? That's what the Republicans have done. But lets not blame just them. The Democrats let this happen with their approval of a farm bill that cut SNAP. There's blame to go around. And here's a clip from the Ed Show where Shultz goes off the charts over this tragedy.

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Jeb Bush Got It Wrong -- Again

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Obama closes Vatican embassy

The Bush family of blunderers is at it again. First it was GHW  'no new taxes' Bush,  then the ever-challenged scion GW 'Iraq is my game' Bush, and now older brother, Jeb 'Lost in the' Bush. Can a family really be that misinformed collectively? Two Presidents and a governor and not a penny of common sense among them?

Well, seems the Bushes could easily be a sketch on SNL once again -- "Meet The Foot-in-Mouth Family."

According to HuffPo reports,

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called out President Barack Obama for closing the U.S. embassy to the Vatican, questioning whether the decision was political "retribution" for Catholic opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Here's the actual tweet: (from @JebBush on Twitter)

Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.

There's just one small problem. The Vatican Embassy isn't actually closing. It's moving. A bit of a difference there, but subtly has never been a Bush family trait.

For cost saving purposes, some $1.4 million per year, the current standalone embassy will relocate to a larger compound shared with the U.S. Embassy in Italy, as well as the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. New address. Same embassy.

Okay, it's possible Jeb the dunce missed this, but then to accuse Obama's decision as being a political "retribution" for Catholic opposition to the Affordable Care Act. That takes some balls. And Jeb doesn't have them.

Apply this logic and see where it takes you. Obama is closing (or moving) the US facility to the Vatican, Pope Francis's home, because of fear over the the Catholic Church's take on healthcare? That's what Jeb's saying. But it's also not true. The Church is absolutely for the Affordable Care Act.

It was just a few days ago that the Pope, the Holy See, came out publicly and nailed the US Republicans to the holy cross for their discarding the poor in favor of the almighty dollar?

Doesn't Jeb have a TV or radio? Is he too ignorant to know how to turn it on? You can't have missed the Pontiff's speech. Even Fox News covered its contents, before labeling Francis a heretic.

Pope Francis, in his first apostolic exhortation has condemned the trickle down economics, the mainstay of the Reagan-GHW Bush fiscal plan. Pope Francis also denounces tax evasion and economic inequality, and he exhorts governments to ponder a saying that “not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood.”

That condemnation, my dear readers, is of the Republican Party platform and programs. It is though, what the the church says is categorically "unchristian."

So letting logic dictate, if anyone wanted to shut the Vatican Embassy down, it would be Bush's GOP party. Fortunately, no such move is planned. A cost cutting effort to bring our budget under control is being exercised by Obama. It's called fiscal prudence, not political retribution. That's the Tea Party's game, not Obama's or the Democrats.

Jeb, you're the acorn that didn't fall far from the Bush-- but the fallow one that never took root. Time to abort.

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Pope Francis Condemns Most Republicans, Especially Paul Ryan

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis has made all kinds of news since he became the Holy See. Whether it's embracing a boil-covered disfigured man, or speaking out on tolerance for homosexuality or most recently on the economy, a call in trouble brings Papa on the double. There's no doubt this soft-spoken pontiff is using his bully pulpit to inspire and in some cases, enrage his flock. And humanity and humility are being best served.

Of his latest target, the Pope is concerned that Capitalism is out of control. It's breeding contempt for the poor while promoting the enrichment of the elitists. He particularly singles out the turning of the collective backs of the capitalists and budget cutters on the poor. Who are these betrayers of human decency? The Republican party in the United states. And who is the contemporary Judas Iscariot? Paul Ryan.

Take a look at a few of the recent quotes from the man in the big pointed hat in his just-issued Apostolic Exhortation. He addresses the global debate about inequality:

"Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food - that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way."

The "cult of money" is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods.

Now if you want to look at the GOP's recent Pope of capitalism, the corrupt but sanctified hero of the Republicans, Ronald Reagan put forth the policy which became knows as "Trickle Down Economics." It started us on the downward into the death spiral where we find ourselves today. And how does Pope Francis view Reagan's fairy tale plan for economic growth?

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Do you hear that Catholics in Congress? This man is your spiritual leader. Do you wish to believe the Gipper who was a sinner or Francis who is the Pope?

He's talking to all of us, Jew and Gentile, in the Apostolic Exhortation but especially to you Republicans who consistently seek to harm and punish the poor, the young, the elderly and those who try, but cannot succeed because of your oppressive ways.

These are not the protests and warnings of some mad, 14th century mind. This pope has actually acclimated to modern ways to reach the world with public appearances, television addresses and even Twitter.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!

Well all you GOP mindless zombies who believe the only purpose for a budget is slash it of every social service. Is that how your God teaches you? Not mine.

Now Paul Ryan and your co-horts, remind me again about joining a move to not only blunt a raise in minimum wages, but in some case even proposing doing away with a minimum wage all together. Here's how Francis sees that:

"Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!"

Here's another tweet that is meant for you:

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost.

Ah, but the Pontiff doesn't stop there.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

Prayer, humility, and charity toward all are essential in the Christian life: they are the way to holiness.

And here's a final tweet that should cause you to wake up and realize you're committing crimes against humanity in the eyes of your holy leader.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.

We here in America want a great society (thanks LBJ and now Pope Francis). That's not what we're getting from our 113th Congress, especially the Tea Party heathens who claim their part of the the religious right but are actually full-blown hypocrites, one and all. I find no fault having beliefs of any kind. I gladly accept atheism which seems void of most established beliefs which is a belief, in and of itself. What I do fault is those who harm others under the name of religion yet who don't even know they're breaking their own tenets. Those are the living lost souls. Those are the Republicans who deny aid to those in need.

Life for most is too short. Yet for a growing number its far too long as they suffer every moment in poverty, sickness, joblessness and GOP-austerity. Their torment seems to never end exacerbated by seeing the stock market rise to record numbers while our the GOP denies aid to our poorest.

Wake up Congress. Join the world's 1.21 Billion Catholics who are being told to stop worshiping false idols of capitalism and let faith and charity lead the way. You may not become richer in money, but you will in humanity. Stop the GOP hate machine and do something positive -- for a change. The party of "no" must become the party of "no longer out of service."

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Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net

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GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!

Yay

Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.

booo

Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.

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