Saturday, November 26, 2011

National Debt Chart

Climate Scientist Calls Hacked 'Climategate' Emails 'Truly Pathetic'

"A truly pathetic episode," Mann added. "Agents doing the dirty bidding of the fossil fuel industry know they can't contest the fundamental science of human-caused climate change. So they have instead turned to smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails in their effort to try to confuse the public about the science and thereby forestall any action to combat this critical threat."

End Herbert Hoover-style ‘trickle-down economics’ to pay off nation’s debt

Trickle-down economics has not worked since Herbert Hoover tried it. It is a myth that adding money to the wealthy through tax cuts stimulates jobs and grows the economy. Under Democratic presidents since 1930 who have emphasized people programs and resisted tax breaks for the richest, annual growth in GDP has averaged 5.4 percent, according to Commerce Department and Office of Management and Budget statistics.

Richard Trumka, American

The American worker has been getting thrashed for thirty years. Jobs leaving the country, wages flat, his boss getting rich. One coal miner from Pennsylvania knows exactly what to do about it.

When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?

From David Frum -- the article appeared in New York magazine recently. Interesting to read the Republican perspective -- very insightful:

I’ve been a Republican all my adult life. I have worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, at Forbes magazine, at the Manhattan and American Enterprise Institutes, as a speechwriter in the George W. Bush administration. I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. I voted for John ­McCain in 2008, and I have strongly criticized the major policy decisions of the Obama administration. But as I contemplate my party and my movement in 2011, I see things I simply cannot support.

The GOP’s dual trigger nightmare in one graph

From Ezra Klein (excellent graph):

To get a sense of how progressive, here’s a graph comparing the spending cuts and tax increases in all of the major deficit-reduction packages proposed thus far. (Note: I’m measuring revenues against the tax code as it it is right now, and I’m not including savings on interest payments.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Republicans’ Latest Supercommittee Offer: $181 in Spending Cuts for Each $1 in Revenue Increases

Would you say there's a slight imbalance here -- $181 in spending cuts for each $1 in Revenue increases??? Graph courtesy of Jared Bernstein and story linked below:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why doing nothing yields $7.1 trillion in deficit cuts

From E.J. Dionne:

In my column today, I note that because certain things will happen automatically if Congress does nothing, inaction would lead to $7.1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. For that reason, I argue, failure by the supercommittee to reach a deal would not necessarily be a bad thing for those who want a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

The Rising Age Gap in Economic Well-Being

From the Pew Research Center:
Households headed by older adults have made dramatic gains relative to those headed by younger adults in their economic well-being over the past quarter of a century, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of a wide array of government data.

Funny Video from Stephen Colbert

After dealing with Occupy Seattle protestors, the police insist that pepper spray is no more dangerous to a 10-year-old than to an 80-year-old.

How Alan Greenspan Helped Wreck the Economy

The following is an excerpt from Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present by Jeff Madrick.

Ayn Rand Part II -- On Capitol Hill, Rand's 'Atlas' Can't Be Shrugged Off

More on conservative idol Ayn Rand -- sad that rather than being debunked, these ideas are now the bedrock of conservative ideology. I think we were smarter in the fifties -- see the following quote from the article:

At the time, Rand's novels were almost universally panned. Her ideas were called "the height of immorality." Her followers, the objectivists, were seen as a radical sideshow in politics and economics.

Back in that 1959 interview, Wallace asked Rand why — if her ideas were so right — Americans, in their democracy, hadn't voted to protect the all-important producer class.

Her answer? Because the people hadn't been given that choice.

"Both parties today are for socialism, in effect — for controls. And there is no party, there are no voices, to offer an actual pro-capitalist, laissez-faire, economic freedom and individualism," she said. "That is what this country needs today."

If Rand were alive today, she might be pleased to see that, more and more, Americans do have that choice. And her ideas are alive and well-represented in the U.S. Capitol.

What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral.

Excellent article on the origins of the financial crisis:

A Big Lie is so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. There are many examples: Claims that Earth is not warming, or that evolution is not the best thesis we have for how humans developed. Those opposed to stimulus spending have gone so far as to claim that the infrastructure of the United States is just fine, Grade A (not D, as the we discussed last month), and needs little repair.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them.

Architect of Romney's healthcare law says it's 'the same' as Obama's

Jonathan Gruber, a key intellectual architect of President Obama's overhaul of the American health care system, is a little frustrated.

"I'm frustrated that the future of the American health care system rests in the hands of one or two of these unelected people who might make the decision based on political grounds," Gruber, an M.I.T. professor, told me in a phone interview on Monday, a few hours after the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to hear challenges to the Affordable Care Act. "It's very disturbing."

Lawrence O'Donnell Shreds Racist Ron Paul Re. Civil Rights Act

I enjoyed seeing Ron Paul squirm in this clip from August 2011 Lawrence O'Donnell interview:

The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand

A good reminder of the type of ideology from the right that is so misguided...Mike Wallace's interview with Ayn Rand in 1959 is still relevant today.

Paul Ryan’s solution to inequality helps the rich, does nothing for poor

From WaPo's Greg Sargent:
Yesterday Paul Ryan released a very serious looking report entitled: “A deeper look at inequality.” Ryan’s effort — a rebuttal to that recent CBO report on growing inequality that got so much attention — was applauded by conservatives as an important contribution to the debate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The End of Loser Liberalism

Courtesy of Jared Bernstein (who provided the link on his blog), this book by Dean Baker is available free in PDF format at this link:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy?

Excellent article from Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine:,1518,793896,00.html

Through the 1970s, income for Americans across all social classes rose nearly in lockstep, by an annual average of roughly 3 percent. Starting in the 1980s, however, this trend underwent a fundamental transformation. Granted, the economy continued to grow -- but almost exclusively to the benefit of the country's top earners. The major economic expansion under President Ronald Reagan benefited only a few, and the problem only grew worse under George W. Bush.

Can Anyone Really Create Jobs?

From the NYT:

Can Anyone Really Create Jobs?
The fact is that creating them in a far-too-sluggish economy is practically impossible in our current capitalist democracy. No corporate leader is rewarded for hiring people who aren’t absolutely required. Most companies hire only when its workforce can no longer keep up with the demand for its products.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Super Dupes

From Robert Kuttner:

"With the Congressional Super Committee required to produce a bipartisan budget-cutting plan by November 23, the best possible outcome would be for the committee to collapse of its own weight.

With no deal, automatic cuts would kick in beginning in 2013. Those budget cuts would be excessive, but that question could—and will—be reopened after the election. And in the meantime, $4 trillion in Bush tax cuts will expire, solving most of the deficit problem.

If Democrats win, it’s all up for grabs. If Republicans win, the cuts will be even deeper.

The 2012 election will be a referendum on whether we want growth or austerity, and whether we want tax fairness."