To say the obvious: Democrats won an amazing victory. Not only did they hold the White House despite a still-troubled economy, in a year when their Senate majority was supposed to be doomed, they actually added seats.
But one goal eluded the victors. Even though preliminary estimates suggest that Democrats received somewhat more votes than Republicans in Congressional elections, the G.O.P. retains solid control of the House thanks to extreme gerrymandering by courts and Republican-controlled state governments. And Representative John Boehner, the speaker of the House, wasted no time in declaring that his party remains as intransigent as ever, utterly opposed to any rise in tax rates even as it whines about the size of the deficit.
So President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately, about how to deal with continuing Republican obstruction.
How far should he go in accommodating the G.O.P.’s demands?
My answer is, not far at all.
Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this is definitely no time to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
In saying this, I don’t mean to minimize the very real economic dangers posed by the so-called fiscal cliff (see photo) that is looming at the end of this year if the two parties can’t reach a deal. Both the Bush-era tax cuts and the Obama administration’s payroll tax cut are set to expire, even as automatic spending cuts in defense and elsewhere kick in thanks to the deal struck after the 2011 confrontation over the debt ceiling.
And the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily large enough to push America back into recession.
Nobody wants to see that happen. Yet it may happen all the same, and Mr. Obama has to be willing to let it happen if necessary.
Read more, HERE:
I know it won’t happen, but it still would be nice to see Paul Krugman as the new Treasury Secretary.
Common sense, AND back-bone, would be welcomed.
And outside the Capitol, the top Republican leaders, including Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) engaged in a PR campaign to win over conservative interest groups and opinion-makers.
The Republican leadership trio has privately reached out to conservative TV personalities like Sean Hannity and Brit Hume, and Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, National Review’s Kate O’Beirne, Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard, David Brooks of The New York Times, George Will, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and groups such as The Heritage Foundation, among others, have all heard from Republican leadership. And even former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), the chairman of FreedomWorks and a tea party favorite, got a call from GOP leaders.
the only thing it sets out to do — solve the deficit — despite claims from Washington journalists that his plan is “serious.”
VIA: Think Progress
FREELAND: You worked for Ronald Reagan. Do you think the American economy — so you’re, like, a red-blooded capitalist — could it sustain higher taxes than it has now?
STOCKMAN: Absolutely. In 1982, we were looking at the jaws of the worst recession since the 1930s. We overdid it in 1981, cut taxes too much. We came back with a big deficit reduction plan in 1982.
Unemployment’s at 10 percent, the economy is in dire shape, and WE RAISED TAXES by 1.2 percent of GDP, which would be $150 billion a year right now — not 10 years down the road — but RIGHT NOW.
Eliminate the Bush tax cuts and the oil subsidies; and fund the IRS to go after the off-shore corporate and personal tax evaders, and you won’t need to raise taxes by 1.2 percent of GDP.
Via: Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday the Department of Justice should give the House money to defend the Defense of Marriage Act since the agency is not willing to defend the law itself.
“Obviously, DOJ’s decision results in DOJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA,” wrote Boehner in a letterr sent to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DOJ, defending DOMA.”
Boner and House Republicans have retained former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend the constitutionality of DOMA.
REDUCE THE DEFICT:
Don’t pay GWB’s former Solicitor General +$5million!
via: (CBPP) Center on Budget Policy Prorities
MESSAGE to the BAGGER: Let the BUSH Tax Cuts EXPIRE, dummy!
The Internal Revenue Service avoided a $603 million budget cut proposed by HOUSE REPUBLICANS, preventing changes that could have cost the government $4 BILLION in UNCOLLECTED REVENUE.
Under the proposed spending bill released today, the IRS budget for fiscal year 2011 would be $12.1 billion, or 0.2 percent less than in fiscal 2010. That level would subject the IRS to the same across-the-board funding cut as all domestic, non-defense agencies.
Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who has called for the IRS to be more aggressive in pursuing offshore tax evasion, today said Congress should give the agency more resources.
“It’s going to hurt,” he said. “I think it’s a mistake. We ought to be INCREASING their enforcement budget instead of DECREASING it.”
“You must spend money to make money”
- Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 – c. 184 B.C.)
via: New York Times
A client of the British bank giant HSBC pleaded guilty on Monday to offshore tax evasion as part of a widening government inquiry of banks that may help tax dodgers.
The case includes as co-conspirators five unidentified bankers, who according to the indictment worked at a large international bank based in Britain.
The defendant, Vaibhav Dahake, admitted in United States District Court in New Jersey to conspiring to conceal accounts in India.
Mr. Dahake is an Indian native who became an American citizen in 2006 and now lives in Somerset, N.J.
The plea comes days after federal prosecutors said that an HSBC unit in India potentially helped thousands of Americans to dodge taxes. Prosecutors are expanding the government’s inquiry of offshore tax evaders and their banks.
The government is requesting authority to serve a “John Doe” summons on the bank to obtain the names of an unknown number of individuals who may have engaged in tax fraud.
Prosecutors used the same John Doe summons strategy in their case against UBS, which ultimately settled government charges against it by paying $780 million and agreeing to hand over the names of nearly 5,000 clients to the United States.
via: Huffington Post
Peggy Schulz was fed up. In March, after being unemployed for nearly TWO YEARS, she performed an experiment: She went to a job-search website, limited the search to the Milwaukee area and typed in a simple term: “bus line.”
The results displayed what had long been plaguing her. Job posting after job posting featured similar caveats:
“this is not on a bus line”
“need reliable transportation not on bus line”
“positions are NOT on a bus line”
“our client that is not located on a bus line is interested in having you work …”
“Here it was in black and white,” she later recalled with a bitter laugh. “It’s been very frustrating to look through the want ads, look online, think about places I could work and realize, ‘Nope, can’t get there on the bus.’”
Schulz is 53. She has years of experience as a legal secretary. But she does not own a car.
Over the last decade, as Milwaukee County has inflicted relentless cuts to public transit, she has watched her primary means of transportation decay. After she was laid off in June 2009, a pattern emerged: She’d find what seemed like the perfect job opportunity, only to discover that bus service cuts had rendered it inaccessible.
Schulz, for her part, got the job. But it didn’t turn out to be all she had hoped. Now, she wants to look around for other work, but she dreads diving back into that process. That’s assuming she stays in Milwaukee.
“I might have to go to, I don’t know, Chicago, maybe? Canada?” she said in an email. “Any suggestions?”
Walker, who in recent months has championed a high-profile effort to strip unions of collective bargaining rights, was Milwaukee county executive before becoming governor. Elected in 2002 and serving until the end of last year, he presided over the bulk of the transit cuts.
related wordpress blog:
via: Huffington Post
Despite a falling unemployment rate and encouraging signs of a healing economy, a new report suggests America is NOT adding the RIGHT kind of jobs.
Most newly-created jobs don’t pay enough to meet even the most basic of needs, according to a reportreleased by Wider Opportunities for Women on Friday.
The report came as a USA Today study found CEO pay climbing back to pre-recession levels. In data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate inched down to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent.
But with wages virtually static, job creation modest and the cost gas and energy rising, the timing couldn’t be worse for low-wage workers, who are bearing the brunt of the recession that has seen state and federal governments slash their safety nets in the name of deficit reduction.
There are two ways to reduce the deficit:
1. CUT costs
2. INCREASE Revenues (taxes)
Gawd forbid, I’m NOT suggesting taxes should be incrreased, but we need to generate BETTER PAYING JOBS.
People with BETTER PAYING JOBS pay more taxes – federal, state, FICA, sales taxs, >>>
People with LOW PAYING JOBS, often need MORE government services.
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