Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Who built that?

August 31, 2012

Mitt Romney doesn’t even acknowledge the $30 million Federal bailout that keep Bain Equity from going bankrupt, or the $10 million that taxpayers had to make up for when Bain Equity wriggled out of paying it back.

John Green gracefully acknowledges that without government roads his books would have a harder time getting to the much smaller market of literate people that would exist without public education.

I would say the main differences here are that the types of work John Green does has proven benefits, unlike that of Bain Capital, and that John Green has an awareness of the world that goes beyond base self interest. Oh, and that John Green has an admirable quality that Mitt Romney lacks: human decency.

John Green says it best in the last paragraph of his post:

Over the years, I’ve encountered a few successful people who believe they did it all themselves and achieved success because they are just better than their fellow human beings. Some were bankers; some were writers; some were lawyers. Some male, some female. Some rich, some not. Some were born into privilege, some weren’t. I guess they’re a pretty diverse crowd. They only have one thing in common, really: They’re all assholes.

Mitt Romney’s Financial Exploits

August 31, 2012

And never was there a more fitting use of the word exploit.

Mitt Romney doesn’t acknowledge the $30 million Federal bailout that kept Bain Capital from going bankrupt. Or the $10 million which never got paid back for which taxpayers had to foot the bill.

And that is only one example of Mitt Romney profiting, as Matt Taibbi puts it, “by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back.”

Or to put it another way:

Gawker has more information on Romney’s financial exploits.

Who must give up identity politics?

August 30, 2012

Joe Klein says Democrats must give up identity politics. Excuse me?

Was Todd Akin a Democrat when he attacked women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Was Alan Clemmons a Democrat when he wrote a law which would suppress the voting rights of minorities?

Was Jan Brewer a Democrat when she denied public benefits to young immigrants working in and to the benefit of this country?

Was Peter King a Democrat when he created a panel to persecute American Muslims?

And was the Republican Party Platform somehow hijacked by Democrats where it calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?

No. Those were all Republicans playing to their monochromatic base of male Christians.

Those were Republicans treating women’s bodies as their property, deciding that the voting rights of poor people, dark people, elderly people and students were not as important as winning an election, deciding that working to make a life in the land of the free should be as hard as the government can make it for immigrants, pissing on the First Amendment by trying to create classes of citizen where Christians are above suspicion while those other religions are the focus of hate and fear, and deciding that the genitalia of an individual matters more than the relationship between two people.

And the same things that motivate those Republicans would motivate those who come after, to come after contraception once abortion was illegal. They would further reduce the number of people who have the right to vote until it is only a few white males with enormous pots of money, own land, and have the good sense to be of the majority denomination. They would profit off of the labor of immigrants while paying them pennies and blaming them for anything wrong in a community. It wouldn’t be enough for it to be a Christian Theocracy after a time: you would have to be the right type of Christian. Which denomination of Protestant are you? Lutheran? You are too quiet for the American Christendom. Better to have been Baptist. And as for gays? Have you noticed that when Christian Republicans quote Leviticus, it always seems to be the same verse?

Who needs to give up identity politics?

Hell, nobody on the side of equality until the actions in the list above are political poison.

Immigration as economic driver (And why aren’t more Republicans like Jon Huntsman?)

August 29, 2012

Jon Huntsman, the token sane Republican presidential candidate who I previously hoped would be the Republican nominee, points out that we should be considering immigration for its economic benefits rather than as a security issue alone. He sensibly points out that supporting an aging population with young newcomers would be a benefit, as would the businesses started by immigrants.

Meanwhile, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer reacts spitefully towards children of immigrants who get work authorizations under Obama’s executive order.

Why can’t more Republicans be like Jon Huntsman?

Corn should not dominate our agriculture and economy.

August 25, 2012

I know this is going to seem radical, but:

Corn is a food. Corn is a food for humans, and quite good as such.

However, without the huge government subsidies it currently receives, it would not be a competitive way to sweeten drinks, feed livestock, or fuel cars. On that last point, the ethanol we get from biowaste- meaning all the stuff we don’t eat that goes in the trash- is not only cheaper, it is a way to get good value out of stuff we’d otherwise pay to dispose.

I’m not suggesting we hang farmers out to dry, I’m suggesting we go back to our old system of guarantees for years when the price falls. The government would say: If you want to plant corn for next year’s harvest, and can’t sell it for more than x, we will buy it for x and store it in silos in case of famine. That would be sensible.

Instead, what we are now saying is: if you grow corn, we will give you money. Not for the corn. Hell, you can let it rot in the fields and we will pay you for that, too. This is not sensible.

Is it news if it’s not reported?

August 24, 2012

 

 

 

Since corporate profits keep going up- showing that corporations are benefiting from the many services that our government offers- the fact that corporate tax revenue is decreasing seems relevant and necessary to our political discussions.

Does the very idea of those discussions happening strike anyone else as extremely unlikely?

Apparently so. (Note the third panel especially)

 

Chart found through Wonkwire. Comic through Political Irony.

Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

Elizabeth Warren for President 2016

August 16, 2012

After all of the fake and contrived controversy regarding Obama saying “you didn’t build that” regarding bridges, roads, the education provided to you by teachers, etc…

I am glad to remember that Elizabeth Warren said much the same thing as Obama, but allowed little possibility of the type of creative misunderstanding his words were put through:

Emily reminded me of this here, but I first saw Warren’s speech last year through Steve Benen.

Food, Education and Race.

August 14, 2012

 

At the same time as the CDC reports that obesity is increasing across the nation…

a study shows that school nutrition laws have a substantial correlation with reduced weight gain.

Also, studies show a persistent gap in health and longevity between people of different education levels and races.

If we were to make education through college- and quality school lunches in K-12- economically available to all Americans, perhaps we could substantially increase the health of America, and reduce health care costs as part of the deal.

Romney’s Ryan-Written 0.82% Effective Tax Rate.

August 11, 2012

With all the talk over Mitt Romney’s tax secrecy, Paul Ryan was probably not the best VP pick Romney could have made. After all, Ryan is an economic Randian who wrote a tax plan under which Romney would pay no taxes at all on the $20 million in capital gains and carried interest Romney makes every year.

Romney even admitted this when commenting on Gingrich’s similar plan in the primary.  The only income (that we know about) of Romney’s that Ryan’s plan would tax is the “not much” (hundreds of thousands) that he made in speaker’s fees in 2010, and the probably similar amounts he made in speakers fees in other years. When O’Brien did the math, Romney’s taxes under Ryan’s plan came out to an effective rate of 0.82% on $21,661,344.

Link found at Political Wire.