The DC Folly Trolley – 09/23/12

Let’s raise taxes on the wealthy. Let them eat caviar.  A generic brand, that is. The beluga sturgeon is an endangered species. Hate to make rich folks suffer like that but should the sturgeon become extinct aristocrats may never again experience the joy of feasting on beluga caviar.

File:Caviar spoon black.jpg

Beluga caviar – always served on a Mother of Pearl spoon so as not to disturb the subtle essence of this rare delicacy.  (Photo courtesy of THOR and Saibo).

***

Mitt’s campaign is in great disarray

Even Republicans are walking away

They’ve left Mitt behind

To watch him unwind

And refuse to join in the fray.

.

Apparently for Mitt Romney’s campaign the shit has finally hit the fan. Solution: Get a new fan.

Same old shit.

***

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Mitt Romney.

No, not Romney. Actually, Yogi Berra.

English: Yankees players (L-R:) , , in 1953.

English: Yankees players (L-R:) , , in 1953. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yogi Berra, left, with Yankee teammates Hank Bauer and Mickey Mantle (right).

Another Berra-ism we should all keep in mind: It ain’t over till it’s over.

***

Mitt Romney says energy oughter

Stress solar, wind and water

But coal, gas and oil

Give cash to despoil.

So wind turbines will go to the slaughter.

.

Mitt Romney sorta like maybe praised Adolph Hitler for his energy policy. Isn’t it strange how the right wing brain wanders aimlessly until it hits a Hitler note.

Birds of a feather.

Actually I’ve heard that Hitler did make the trains run on time. What a guy!!!!!

Actually Mussolini also made the trains run on time. But the passengers had to peddle really, really fast.

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, G...

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, Germany (Photo credit: Marion Doss)

That’s not an Italian joke; it’s a Mussolini joke, feeble as it may be.

.

My paternal grandparents despised the pompous dictator and as a child I remember that when conversations arose about the evils Mussolini inflicted upon Italy and tempers began to flare, an uncle would always pipe up in a smartass tone: “But he made the trains run on time.” The second line never needed repeating, it was simply understood. And the laughter wafted through the large rooms of that grand old house.

Those discussions came up many times long after Mussolini’s dismembered corpse met its desecrated end.

It was years later that I came to understand that the seemingly innocent pun originated out of the contempt and bitterness Italian-Americans felt toward the foolish little man who envisioned the restoration of the Roman Empire.

However, not even Mussolini could get the trains to run on time during the summer. Italy closes in August.

That’s an Italian joke, feeble as it may be.

However, it’s not too far from the truth. Having dealt with Italian companies for many years now, I’ve found that service levels do indeed decline during the month named after the first Roman emperor. Many Italians vacation during August and some companies work only with skeleton crews.

***

Speaking of empires, other than Roman that is, Obama seems to be deflating what many of our brethren have come to call the American Empire. He’s already pulled troops out of Iraq, although not entirely by choice. And now he’s drawing down troops committed to the conquest of Afghanistan. Could this mean our Empire is in retreat after only slightly more than a century of existence (assuming it began after the conquest of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War). We can only hope.

***

We may be tucking tail and pulling some troops out of Afghanistan. But we’ll leave some behind though and a puppet government besides.

Afghanistan, as you probably know by now, is rich in rare elements.

Abandon three trillion dollars in natural resources and a pipeline to gas and oil in former Soviet Republics!!!!! That’ll be the day.

And so, as from the beginning of time, the ruling class today expects the small people to cater to their needs. The small people have been placed on this Earth to serve. If they must die in that service, oh well, that’s why God made the small people. Right Mitt and Ann.

We will maintain a presence in that poor, war torn country because Wall Street is salivating over the wealth that can be extracted from that mineral rich region; and the people of that exploited nation will get what the common man in Iraq got – squat.

***

The national debt is titanic

It’s making us all rather manic

But the crisis is a load

Since most money is owed

To ourselves so there’s really no panic

.

The national debt is around $16 trillion give or take a couple hundred billion. We owe ourselves about $2.5 trillion for Social Security funds stashed in the safest investment in the world called US Treasuries – and, by the way, earning interest. After subtracting other government trusts, we owe about $12 trillion dollars to the public.

Most of that is owed to – drum roll please – ourselves. Yes, we owe us a lot of money, most of which is invested by wealthy Americans in mutual funds which in turn invest a portion of the money they receive in – drum roll please – US Treasuries.

We owe China about $1.2 trillion and the rest of the world slightly more – about $2.8 trillion.

So it’s no wonder rich Americans are worried about the debt. They own most of it and would like to get their money back some day. And they will, mostly because the level of debt we now owe as a percentage of GDP is quite manageable.

If, however, the right wing wackos decide that the US Government should default, the most efficient sequence would be to welsh on the debt we owe to rich Americans After all, wealthy people have scads of loot to fall back on.  And a default of that nature would mean we’re not paying ourselves what we owe us in the first place. We would, of course, instantly wipe out more than half of the debt. No problem.

***

Now let’s look at the national debt from a different perspective and compare it to household debt – uh, with a few minor changes.

Let’s say your spouse spends a thousand dollars a week every week. Not a good situation if you’re household income is only one hundred dollars a week.

Not to worry though. And here’s why. In your garage you have a machine, which you’ve named the Fed, that can print legal tender. So you go into the garage once a week and print nine hundred dollars. Voila, balanced budget.

But your spouse knows this and ups the ante and now spends two thousand dollars a week.

Not to worry. And here’s why. You have one thousand neighbors who will pay you ten dollars a week more than they are now paying just because you tell them they have to.

Now hold on here. Something is very wrong. 1000 x 10 = 10,000. You have an eight thousand dollar a week surplus and if that excess continues, you will soon have a recession to deal with because all that revenue you’re collecting is no longer available to your neighbors to buy things.  So, to avoid a sharp decline in demand, you must now tell your spouse that he/she must find a way to spend eight thousand dollars a week more.

A better way might be to tell your neighbors that they can now pay you nine dollars a week less. That will make them very happy. But your spouse might be sad because now he/she can only spend the original two thousand dollars and no more to keep the household budget in balance.

Well, as you might expect, your spouse refuses to cut expenses and continues to spend the whole ten thousand dollars every week.

Not to worry. And here’s why. You can sell bonds – call them Household Treasury Bonds – at the rate of eight thousand dollars a week to a central bank you created for just that purpose. The central bank- it’s the same one that owns the printing machine in the garage and which you’ve named the Fed – buys the bonds and you get the cash. Voila. Balanced budget.

There are hazards with the scenario no doubt. We mentioned one – recession. If excess funds collected from your neighbors – call them taxes – continue to mount you will soon find that some of your neighbors are losing their jobs. The other danger is inflation.  If you print too many dollars relative to your GDP, that is, the goods and services produced by those neighbors who so obligingly give you a portion of their paychecks every week,  your dollars will be worth less and you’ll need more of them to buy a loaf of bread.

However, your household system of managing the budget can be manipulated in such a way so as to avoid both hazards.

Oh, if we only had our own printing presses and a private Fed.

***

Paul Ryan is having a sad thought

The campaign is coming to naught.

Shoulda stayed in the House

As quiet as a mouse

Instead it’s with nightmares he’s fraught.

.

Hello, Paul. Paul, it’s me, your mother. Call me. If you don’t call me I’m voting for Obama.”

***

Mitt Romney defined middle class

With numbers he pulled from his ass

Instead of a hero

He’s turned into a zero

In this game he gets no free pass.

.

Mitt Romney defined “middle class” as persons earning something in the neighborhood of a quarter million dollars a year.

This is the group of people, and those earning more, for whom Romney intends to lower taxes. Of course, this dufus plan is just another installment of Randian, supply side silliness. But we are talking Republicans here.

The Romney/Ryan plan would cut taxes for everyone but balance the budget by eliminating deductions. The specifics are lacking; but only because the net result of cuts plus dropping deductions and credits would increase taxes for most lower and middle income Americans, that is, the vast majority of us.

The deductions most likely to vanish are the mortgage interest deduction, the employer expense deduction for medical benefits (you pay the difference), the child tax credit, the earned income credit, the education credit…. Well, you get the picture.

 

If deductions for upper income persons amounted to less than the cuts, the wealthy would benefit enormously. Shhhhh, that’s a secret.

As for the rest of us, if we don’t earn that kind of scratch, well, that’s just our fault isn’t it.

File:Ben Bernanke official portrait.jpg

Ben Bernanke – playing politics as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank by ignoring the mandate of the Fed to help create jobs.

***

The American Jobs Act could have created 2,000,000 jobs. But Republicans couldn’t allow that to happen. If the GOP is to win the election, the American people must suffer.

The GOP voted down the Jobs for Vets legislation. Hey, just because they’re vets doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to suffer too. Right GOP? Right.

***

A conservative Democrat failed to impose his right wing agenda to profitize a big city school system. Rahm Emanuel tried his best to put some school scratch into his Wall Street buddies’ pockets. But, alas, he failed.

Wall Street must be in tears now that their attempt to demonize teachers and their union has been thwarted – for three more years anyway.

Now there’s a method to this madness and it’s called profit.

According to studies, however, profit charter schools aren’t doing much better at educating children than some public schools. The charter schools do provide a handsome return for investors – which is really the movement’s primary function.

Charter schools are doing approximately 17% better than public schools according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals and most of that improvement comes in the better school districts.

Where savings are achieved they come largely at the expense of teacher salaries. Cut teacher salaries????? The perfect storm for failure.

A study from Stanford University, one from Rand Corporation and another from the Department of Education found improvements in profitized schools versus public to be mediocre at best and again mostly in the better school districts.

And bear in mind the charter system is a movement desperately trying to prove itself. Once advocates succeed in destroying public education, we’ll see the reality of this demented idea and it is likely to be nothing more than a profit monster for investors.

I’m sure there are many other studies and it may be too early for a verdict but evidence to date suggests that the charter school movement is on a path to failure.

Why? Simple really. The charter system isn’t a movement to improve the education of kids. It is another method of extracting taxpayer dollars to benefit investors by redistributing wealth upwards.

Blame teachers; profitize schools; cash dividend check; relax on yacht; deposit profits in Caymans.

Nice haul of taxpayer dollars if you can smoke enough voters.

This idea is getting stale.

***

Mitt Romney and that fella from Wisconsin he chose for his running mate are losing ground on the issue of health insurance for seniors – mostly because their plan is not Medicare.

It’s called Vouchercare, the anti-Medicare program.

Here’s how it works.

Blame “greedy geezers” for outrageous health care costs; profitize health insurance for seniors; cash dividend check; relax on yacht; deposit profits in Caymans.

Another nice haul of taxpayer dollars.

***

She’s baaaaaaack! Michele Bachmann is in the news. She must have been getting depressed from lack of media attention.  

She ridiculed Obama’s foreign policy by calling it “genius.”  She continued that the policy was responsible for the anti-American riots in Arab countries. 

Remember she gets migraines. Yes, they’re awful. So awful in fact they can interfere with performance.

Whether or not she had a headache when she made that statement isn’t really the point.; She gives everyone a headache every time she speaks.

I guess we all know by now that Michele is on the House Intelligence (sic) Committee. Irony compounded!!!!!

Only in America.

***

Obama seems to believe the Republicans will be more amenable to his agenda in a second term. Does he really think they will help elect Joe Biden in 2016???

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the president has a vision or is having visions.  

Even loyal supporter Nancy Pelosi disagrees.  She stated that Republican obstruction will continue if Obama is reelected.

Barack just doesn’t get any respect.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

***

Eric Cantor admitted that cuts to government spending will eliminate jobs. That admission was GOP heresy of course even though it is truth so obvious you have to be economically ignorant to deny the fact

Actually, several Republicans made that public admission by fessing up to the fact that cuts to the war budget would cost jobs. Some of our most cynical officials – hello, Lindsey Graham, are you there – encouraged war contractors to fire employees before the cuts were enacted in a devious effort to head them off. Since the war budget is financed solely by taxpayer dollars, i.e., government spending, the GOPers who opposed the cuts admitted that the despised spending really, really does create jobs.

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5 Comments to “The DC Folly Trolley – 09/23/12”

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