IBI Watch 8/14/11

14 08 2011

Support the Job Creators – Really

Every time you turn around, you hear the refrain from a Congressional Republican leader – Mitch McConnell or John Boehner – or a right-wing pundit.  “We can’t raise taxes on Job Creators.”  This is propaganda point  #1 for maintaining the Bush-era tax cuts, i.e., keeping federal marginal tax rates at their currently low levels.  That’s right, low levels.  So with those low taxes – down since President Reagan ‘taught’ us that tax cuts were good, and especially since President W decided they were the all-purpose elixir – you would think that those Job Creators would be hard at it.  That is, freed to do what they do best – create jobs for the masses – we would soon inhabit a humming economic paradise.  Turns out that the idea that lowering taxes on the wealthy will be good for the country as a whole, and drive the economy toward high productivity, has minimal support from most economists, and little or no real-world success.  So you have to ask – what gives?  Could it be that placing ever more money in the hands of the wealthy – regardless of public implications – could be the REAL prime directive for the modern Republican Party?  I know, shocking to consider – could it be true?!!


Here are a few other ideas for creating jobs.


First idea – build demand for products by making sure that more people are employed.  That of course involves – in the short term anyway – a government push,  including spending – to get more people working.  Faster than waiting for the ever-wealthier Job Creators to work their lordly magic.  Hear from three important thinkers – Paul Krugman, Jim Hightower and David Cay Johnston.





Second idea – Capitalize on two huge, current opportunities (or challenges) – the ‘jobless recovery’ and the need to create clean, efficient energy.  Van Jones – former Obama green jobs advisor – has some great ideas in this regard.  The link includes a supporting video from Robert Reich, Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.




Third idea – Protect the environment for a sustainable economy, and country, for the long haul.




The Power of Three – Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

The results of the 8/14 Iowa Straw Poll indicate there are three serious candidates fo the Republican 2012 presidential nomination.  This made me think of a certain trio of wild and crazy entertainers past.  Here is plenty of recommended reading and some video – serious and otherwise – about Rick ‘Moe’ Perry, Mitt ‘Larry’ Romney,’ and the poll’s victor, Michele ‘Curly’ Bachman.


Texas Governor Rick ‘Moe’ Perry’s dramatic entry into the nomination fray can hardly be called a surprise.  After all, the path from Texas governor to president was blazed just a few years back.  And the governor’s supporters would have us believe that the ‘Texas miracle,’ engineered by this brilliant leader, points toward a successful presidency.  This pistol-packin’ politician shares many resume line items with the Decider, well beyond sharing the Austin governor’s office.  Things like hostility to environmental protection, a strong connection with GOP mastermind Karl Rove, and an overt, public piety that has blossomed at politically convenient moments.  If we want to return to the good old days of good old boy politics, Perry’s our guy.  Want to know why he must be stopped?  Each of these links has many reasons.  If you start with the first, you can check to see where this ‘miracle’ state ranks among the 50 in all sorts of measures.






Mitt ‘Larry’ Romney has long been a very obvious choice for GOP standard bearer.  A successful stint as a moderate Republican governor in a blue state, a state copy for health care reform, a competent, confident bearing. . .  Of course there is that religion issue – not an evangelical Christian – and the Tea Party’s instinctive revulsion for anything moderate.  And now the good governor has stepped into the long-running controversy about corporate personhood.  Remember George HW’s out-of-touch marvel at grocery store price scanners?  This moment is one of those and better.



Give Michele ‘Curly’ Bachmann credit.  She shrugged off a petty pounding from frustrated, desperate Tim Pawlenty, and came out on top in the first 2012 test. She remains a faithful fountain of wacky, fact-challenged ideas, but has earned the right, for now, to celebrate with a corn dog.  The last link includes a short Bill Maher commentary.






And just for the record, this knucklehead’s money is on Moe.


What’s Going On?

Mainstream media pound out the message.  Government spending is THE problem.  The deficit must be solved now, and the solution is to cut spending.  Here are some alternative views on what is driving our economic problems, and what we might do to get on a sustainable track.  Here is a Paul Krugman quote from the second-to-last link:  “The truth is that as far as the straight economics goes, America’s long-run fiscal problems shouldn’t be all that hard to fix. It’s true that an aging population and rising health care costs will, under current policies, push spending up faster than tax receipts. But the United States has far higher health costs than any other advanced country, and very low taxes by international standards. If we could move even part way toward international norms on both these fronts, our budget problems would be solved.”  And just in case the seriousness is bringing you down, check the Onion’s idea in the last link.









The Republican 10 Commandments, Studies in Hypocrisy, and a Modest Proposal

Somehow these two items belong together.  The current dogmatic Republican approach to policy resembles a religion – the religion of divine free markets.  And yet, in practice, it’s not hard to find politicians not living by the creed.  A favorite of mine was certain Tea Party congressional freshmen last fall moaning about how they had to wait (?!) several weeks for their public-funded health care to kick in.  And now this.  It’s a safe bet that the good Congressman Graves would not apply his ‘don’t blame me’ logic  to the recipients of subprime loans.  Remember, in the Tea Party universe, those borrowers were THE cause of the 2008 bank crisis.  It’s followed by a pertinent cartoon on hypocrisy.  And don’t forget to check the modest proposal – an idea we can all get behind.  It’s at least a start.






Manmade Climate Chaos – An Ongoing Project with a Bad End

The congressional fight over solving the deficit problem is just getting going.  A safe bet is gridlock of course, but a good second bet is that the arguing will mainly be about where to cut the most.  And it’s hard to see environmental protection – including cutting greenhouse gas emissions – not being decimated.  But remember that Mother Nature bats last.  The problems we are creating with our fossil fuel burning only get more serious, and more costly to solve, the longer we wait to take meaningful action.

I rarely link to anything connected with Al Gore on this issue.  Let’s face it – he is a favorite target of the willfully ignorant right, and he has large, clay feet.  But the former V-P has continued to work on the issue.  And this video – first link – is worth watching, as he really lets loose on the know-nothings, profanity and all.  It also includes an excellent, short National Geographic video that sums up the issue very effectively – good for explaining to the ignorant.  Both the honest and the willful varieties.  Additional links are updates on how the problem continues unabated, and on the daunting psychological and sociological issues in play.






Time for Pragmatism

You have probably seen what I see recently.  Progressives disappointed with President Obama talk seriously about supporting a Democratic primary challenge to the president.  Though I count myself among the disappointed, I contend that pulling support now will lead to one thing – a Republican president.  Probably Perry.  No thanks.  The only reasonable course, until we can reform the system, is to elect Democrats and hold their timid feet to the fire.  Two links supporting this point of view, from different angles.




New Life for Ponzi Pants

If you are tempted to think America has lost its entrepreneurial spirit, you have not heard about Frederick James.  What is not to like about this recycling innovation?




“No matter how cynical you get, it’s almost impossible to keep up.”  – Lily Tomlin



Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Allyson Harper




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