Tag Archives: Budget Deficits

CBO: Income Of The Top 1 Percent Exploded Over The Last Three Decades

It will be interesting to see how the GOP handles this report from the non-partisan and highly respected Congressional Budget Office.

Well, not really.  They will just loudly spread lies and propaganda while impugning the reputation of the CBO.

At this point, their reaction to news and facts not supportive of their goals is really rather predictable.

From ThinkProgress.org:

The Congressional Budget Office today released a new report on the growth in income that’s occurred in the U.S. over the last three decades. CBO found that, “for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007,” while it grew by just 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent of the income scale. “As a result of that uneven income growth, the distribution of after-tax household income in the United States was substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979,” CBO said.

via CBO: Income Of The Top 1 Percent Exploded Over The Last Three Decades | ThinkProgress.

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American Idiots: How Washington is Destroying the Economy

Interesting article in “Fortune” magazine written by a soon-to-be ex-Republican.

Even the Business community and Wall Street are getting fed up with the Tea Party Republicans running the show in Washington and acting like spoiled children.

And these guys live in fear of the party nominating one of the extremist like Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.  They don’t recognize the existence of Sarah Palin or little Ricky Santorum.

These are the guys who supported George W Bush and the other Republicans in the past because they served their financial interests.  They don’t give a damn about social issues.

Now, the GOP is dependent on the Tea Party followers, who are economically ignorant, racist and irresponsible and the Religious Right, who these guys despise.

They are wondering where all their friends, the Country Club Republicans, went….

I have an answer:  They are now Democrats.

From Fortune.com:


The root of our current problem is that there are no grownups in positions of serious power in Washington. I’ve never felt this way before — and I’ve written business stories for more than 40 years, and about national finances for more than 20. Look, I certainly don’t worship Washington institutions. I called former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan the “Wizard of Oz” when he was known as the “Maestro.” I’ve said for more than a decade that the Social Security trust fund had no economic value and would be useless when the system’s cash flow turned negative — which I also predicted. But despite being an irreverent professional skeptic, I never felt there was a total absence of adult supervision in our nation’s capital. Now I do.

via American Idiots: How Washington is destroying the economy – The Term Sheet: Fortune’s deals blog Term Sheet.

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Wall Street Crashes, London Burns

As always, fascinating thoughts from Frank Rich…

And I saw the McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in June  and I was amazed at the crowds.  People waited hours to get in.  I’m a member of the Met so I skipped the lines and that’s the only reason I saw it.  I don’t do lines of more than a reasonable duration…It was fascinating and totally theatrical, but I could not understand why so many people were fascinated.

Now I know.  It was a sign of the end approaching…

And, I always knew “The Phantom of the Opera” would lead to the downfall of civilization…

Frank Rich in New York Magazine (Emphasis is mine) :

I think I’m moving from anger to dread, too. We pay attention to the market because it feels like a sport (scored in clear-cut numbers) and because one way or the other we know we will be affected by it, whether we own shares or not. I am completely unprescient about the market — though no less so than, say, S&P, Geithner, Bernanke, Greenspan, and all the others who failed to see the last crash and/or this one coming — but last Thursday, the morning just before the big drop began, I had a premonition. (And I am not by and large superstitious.) I was catching up (at the last minute) with the McQueen extravaganza at the Met. That same morning the Times had a front-page story about the rebound in luxury retailing. Once I entered the McQueen show, I was struck by how the installation, with its smoke and mirrors and S&M touches, looked like a cross between Phantom of the Opera**  and the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut** . Whatever else the McQueen show was about, it’s about decadence — and about luxury goods beyond the reach of 99.9 percent of the throngs gawking at them. Something about the discrepancy between the opulence and the masses thronging barricades to get in gave me a premonition that a crash was on its way. Maybe it’s because I associate the crash of 1987 with the opening of Phantom on Broadway in early 1988. Conspicuous over-the-top decadence in America always seems to lead to a bad end.

via Wall Street Crashes, London Burns: Frank Rich and Adam Moss Discuss Downgrades, Riots, and the Portents of McQueen — Daily Intel.

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Stock Market Plunges…

I hate to say it, but “I told you so”.

Congress is hurting the recovery, not helping it….

I’m afraid, it’s only going to get worse…

I’ll blame the GOP for creating this false Budget Deficit crisis which drove behavior in DC that only made things worse….

And I’ll blame the Dems for not having the guts to stand up to the GOP/Tea Party to force them to address the real issue:  Jobs.

From CNN:

Poof! There goes any progress stocks made in 2011.

Stocks plunged Thursday, with the Dow tumbling 400 points to hit its lowest level since December, as global economic fears gripped the market.

U.S. markets were already sharply lower on widespread worries, including the weak job market. But the selling gained momentum as Japanese and European policymakers stepped in with dramatic measures to shore up their financial markets.

There’s “total fear” in the market, said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at the world’s largest money manager, BlackRock.

All three major indexes tumbled more than 3% Thursday and erased all their gains for the year. The indexes have also pushed into ‘correction’ territory – defined as a 10% drop from their highs earlier this year. Over the past 10 days alone, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have dropped more than 8%.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve been through the ringer,” said Rich Ilczyszyn, market strategist with futures broker Lind-Waldock. “When we start looking at the recovery, there’s nothing to hang our hats on anymore.”

via Market Report – Aug. 4, 2011 – CNNMoney.

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Robert Reich is none too happy with the President or Dems in Congress

Great article from Robert Reich.

He pretty much nails it…

I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in the President and the Democrats for not standing up for our core values and fighting to do the right thing to restore the economy.  They are being bullied by the Tea Party minority and don’t seem to have the nerve to stand up to them….

Here is an excerpt and a link to the full article:

Many months ago, when Republicans first demanded spending cuts and no tax increases as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, the President could have blown their cover. He could have shown the American people why this demand had nothing to do with deficit reduction but everything to do with the GOP’s ideological fixation on shrinking the size of the government — thereby imperiling Medicare, Social Security, education, infrastructure, and everything else Americans depend on. But he did not.

And through it all the President could have explained to Americans that the biggest economic challenge we face is restoring jobs and wages and economic growth, that spending cuts in the next few years will slow the economy even further, and therefore that the Republicans’ demands threaten us all. Again, he did not.

The radical right has now won a huge tactical and strategic victory. Democrats and the White House have proven they have little by way of tactics or strategy.

By putting Medicare and Social Security on the block, they have made it more difficult for Democrats in the upcoming 2012 election cycle to blame Republicans for doing so.

By embracing deficit reduction as their apparent goal – claiming only that they’d seek to do it differently than the GOP – Democrats and the White House now seemingly agree with the GOP that the budget deficit is the biggest obstacle to the nation’s future prosperity.

The budget deficit is not the biggest obstacle to our prosperity. Lack of jobs and growth is. And the largest threat to our democracy is the emergence of a radical right capable of getting most of the ransom it demands.

Robert Reich is none too happy with the President or Dems in Congress.

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Seeking Arrangement: College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ To Pay Off Loan Debt

I wonder if this is what the GOP has in mind when they talk about small businesses and entrepreneurs?

It’s their policies that are driving this, so I hope they are willing to take ownership…

Or was this just another economic benefit for the Rich that they snuck in?

From TheHuffingtonPost.com:


Saddled with piles of student debt and a job-scarce, lackluster economy, current college students and recent graduates are selling themselves to pursue a diploma or pay down their loans. An increasing number, according to the the owners of websites that broker such hook-ups, have taken to the web in search of online suitors or wealthy benefactors who, in exchange for sex, companionship, or both, might help with the bills.

The past few years have taken an especially brutal toll on the plans and expectations of 20-somethings. As unemployment rates tick steadily higher, starting salaries have plummeted. Meanwhile, according to Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a professor of psychology at Clark University, about 85 percent of the class of 2011 will likely move back in with their parents during some period of their post-college years, compared with 40 percent a decade ago.

Besides moving back home, many 20-somethings are beginning their adult lives shouldering substantial amounts of student loan debt. According to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, while the average 2011 graduate finished school with about $27,200 in debt, many are straining to pay off significantly greater loans.

Enter the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon. This particular dynamic preceded the economic meltdown, of course. Rich guys well past their prime have been plunking down money for thousands of years in search of a tryst or something more with women half their age — and women, willingly or not, have made themselves available. With the whole process going digital, women passing through a system of higher education that fosters indebtedness are using the anonymity of the web to sell their wares and pay down their college loans.

via Seeking Arrangement: College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ To Pay Off Loan Debt.

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They, Too, Sing America

There really is a total disconnect between the people in Washington and the rest of the country.  I first got that impression when I volunteered on my first political campaign more than 20 years ago. That impression has been validated countless times over the years.  Now it seems it’s not just a gap, it’s a question of the Washington folks living in an alternate Universe….

They forget everyone else isn’t sitting in a DC restaurant drinking $350 bottles of wine.  Or they assume they aren’t doing so just because they are lazy.

These DC folks are totally out of touch with what is reality for most people….

Great article, below,  from Charles M Blow in the New York Times:

Last week I spent a few days in the Deep South — a thousand miles from the moneyed canyons of Manhattan and the prattle of Washington politics — talking to everyday people, blue-collar workers, people not trying to win the future so much as survive the present.

They do hard jobs and odd jobs — any work they can find to keep the lights on and the children fed.

No one mentioned the asinine argument about the debt ceiling. No one. Life is pressing down on them so hard that they can barely breathe. They just want Washington to work, the way they do.

They are honest people who do honest work — crack-the-bones work; lift-it, chop-it, empty-it, glide-it-in-smooth work; feel-the-flames-up-close work; crawl-down-in-there work — things that no one wants to do but that someone must.

They are women whose skin glistens from steam and sweat, whose hands stay damp from being dipped in buckets and dried on aprons. They are men who work in boots with steel toes, the kind that don’t take shining, the kind that lean over and tell stories when you take them off.

They are people whose bodies melt every night in a hot bath, then stiffen by sunrise, so much so that it takes pills for them to get out of bed without pain.

They, too, sing America. But they’re the ones less talked about — either not glamorous enough or rancorous enough. They are the ones without champions, waiting for Democrats to gather the gumption to defend the working poor with the same ferocity with which Republicans protect the filthy rich, waiting for a tomorrow that never comes.

via They, Too, Sing America – NYTimes.com.

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In Debt Talks, Obama Offers Social Security Cuts

If he does this, he’s lost me….

If he supports Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts, he might as well be a Republican President.  No Democrat should ever support cuts to these programs.

I will have no patience for this type of sell out.

I truly hope this is not true…

This is wrong on so many levels:  Factually and Morally.

From the Washington Post:

President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

That would represent a major legislative achievement, but it would also put Obama and GOP leaders at odds with major factions of their own parties. While Democrats would be asked to cut social-safety-net programs, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.

The administration argues that lawmakers would also get an important victory to sell to voters in 2012. “The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain,” said a Democratic official familiar with the discussions.

It is not clear whether that argument can prevail on Capitol Hill. Thursday’s meeting at the White House — an attempt by Obama to break the impasse that halted debt-reduction talks two weeks ago — will provide a critical opportunity for leaders in both parties to say how far they’re willing to go to restrain government borrowing as the clock ticks toward an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

Obama has already spoken to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) about the possibility of building support for a more ambitious debt-reduction plan, according to people with knowledge of those talks, who, like others quoted in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to shed light on private negotiations. The two discussed various options for overhauling the tax code and cutting entitlement spending, but they reached no agreement.

via In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts – The Washington Post.

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Obama’s Original Sin

Frank Rich is back….

I’ve missed his articles since he left the New York Times…

Well, he’s back at New York Magazine and better than ever…

As usual, he makes some very valid points and says them better than almost anyone else.  And New York Magazine gives him more room to say them than he dad at the New York Times.

Let me be clear:  I still support President Obama, but I am disappointed in some of his actions- or lack of actions.

But I also believe in “tough love.”

I truly think President Obama missed his chance to be the new FDR with how he handled- or mishandled- the Financial Crisis.

I just hope it doesn’t cost him a second term.

Thank god all the GOP Candidates we see, so far, are so obviously crazy only the GOP base loves them and/or such integrity-compromised flip-flopers who can’t excite the base.

If you have some time, please spend part of your July 4th reading this long, brilliant, incisive article….It puts so much of the last few years into a very clear picture.  That is something Frank Rich does better than almost anyone else.  He cuts through the Washington “smoke and mirrors” to provide a coherent, fact-based analysis that helps illuminate the past mistakes, but allows hope to work past them…

Here are a couple of excerpts from Frank Rich’s latest column.  I encourage you to read the entire article via the link:

What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe. Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Chronic unemployment remains a constant, painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust’s innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet’s father might have it, America will be stalked by its foul and unresolved crimes until they “are burnt and purged away.”

After the 1929 crash, and thanks in part to the legendary Ferdinand Pecora’s fierce thirties Senate hearings, America gained a Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Utility Holding Company Act, and the Glass-Steagall Act to forestall a rerun. After the savings-and-loan debacle of the eighties, some 800 miscreants went to jail. But those who ran the central financial institutions of our fiasco escaped culpability (as did most of the institutions). As the indefatigable Matt Taibbi has tabulated, law enforcement on Obama’s watch rounded up 393,000 illegal immigrants last year and zero bankers. The Justice Department’s bally hooed Operation Broken Trust has broken still more trust by chasing mainly low-echelon, one-off Madoff wannabes. You almost have to feel sorry for the era’s designated Goldman scapegoat, 32-year-old flunky “Fabulous Fab” Fabrice Tourre, who may yet take the fall for everyone else. It’s as if the Watergate investigation were halted after the cops nabbed the nudniks who did the break-in.


Obama can win reelection without carrying 10021 or Greenwich in any case. The bigger political problem is that a far larger share of the American electorate views him as a tool of the very fat-cat elite that despises him. Given Obama’s humble background, his history as a mostly liberal Democrat, and his famous résumé as a community organizer, this would also seem a reach. But the president has no one to blame but himself for the caricature. While he has never lusted after money—he’d rather get his hands on the latest novel by Morrison or Franzen—he is an elitist of a certain sort. For all the lurid fantasies of the birthers, the dirty secret of Obama’s background is that the values of Harvard, not of Kenya or Indonesia or Bill Ayers, have most colored his governing style. He falls hard for the best and the brightest white guys.





Obama had taken office at a true populist moment that demanded more than this. People were gagging over their looted 401(k)s and underwater homes, the AIG bonuses, and the bailouts. Howard Dean rage has never been Obama’s style—hope-and-change was an elegant oratorical substitute—and had he given full voice to the public mood, he would have been pilloried as an “angry black man.” But Obama didn’t have to play Huey Long. He could have pursued a sober but determined execution of justice and an explicit, major jobs initiative—of which there have been exactly none, the too-small stimulus included, to the present day.

By failing to address that populist anger, Obama gave his enemies the opening to co-opt it and turn it against him. Which the tea party did, dishonestly but brilliantly, misrepresenting Obama’s health-care-reform crusade as yet another attempt by the elites to screw the taxpayer. (The Democrats haplessly reinforced the charge with marathon behind-the-scenes negotiations with insurance and pharmaceutical- industry operatives.) Once the health-care law was signed, the president still slighted the unemployment crisis. A once-hoped-for WPA-style public-works program, unloved by Geithner, had been downsized in the original stimulus, and now a tardy, halfhearted stab at a $50 billion transportation-infrastructure jobs bill produced a dandy Obama speech but nothing else.



via The Annotated Frank Rich – The President’s Failure to Demand a Reckoning From the Moneyed Interests Who Brought the Economy Down — New York Magazine.

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Back in the USSR?

Interesting article from AlterNet.com that compares U.S. expenditures to European expenditures.

The U.S. spending supports a vast military industrial complex with Military spending being by far the largest part of the budget.  European countries focus on spending money on health care, education, transportation and improving the quality of life for its citizens.

Remember, one of the reasons the USSR collapsed was pouring too large a portion of their budget into “defense” or military spending.  Are we back in the USSR?

I much prefer the European model.  Let’s spend our tax money making the U.S. the most modern country on earth with the highest quality of life for its citizens.

Russia still hasn’t recovered from the collapse of the USSR.

Have we in the USA learned anything from it?


For their tax dollars –or euros — they get universal health care, deeply subsidized education (including free university tuition in many countries), modern infrastructure, good mass transit and far less poverty than we have here at home. That may help explain why we have Tea Partiers screaming for cuts while Europe is ablaze with riots against its own “austerity” measures.

And while we outspend everyone on our military, among the 20 most developed countries in the world, the United States is now dead last in life expectancy at birth but leads the pack in infant mortality—40 percent higher than the runner-up. We also lead in the percentage of the population who will die before reaching age 60. Half of our kids need food stamps at some point during their childhoods. There’s certainly a modest difference in priorities dividing the Atlantic, but common sense suggests that we’re the ones who have it all wrong.

via Are We Giant Suckers? While the US Blows Money on the Military, Europe Spends Dough on Social Programs | | AlterNet.

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