December 8, 2014 archive

What’s the point of a Party?

Make no mistake about it, Parties are machines to win elections.  When there is no electoral victory, there is no reason for their continued existence except sentiment and inertia.

Wall Street’s Democrats

Robert Reich

Monday, December 8, 2014

In Washington’s coming budget battles, sacred cows like the tax deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable donations are likely to be on the table along with potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

But no one on Capitol Hill believes Wall Street’s beloved carried-interest tax loophole will be touched.

Don’t blame the newly elected Republican Congress.

Democrats didn’t repeal the loophole when they ran both houses of Congress from January 2009 to January 2011. And the reason they didn’t has a direct bearing on the future of the party.



Carried interest allows hedge-fund and private-equity managers, as well as many venture capitalists and partners in real estate investment trusts, to treat their take of the profits as capital gains – taxed at maximum rate of 23.8 percent instead of the 39.6 percent maximum applied to ordinary income.

It’s a pure scam. They get the tax break even though they invest other peoples’ money rather than risk their own.

The loophole has no economic justification. As one private-equity manager told me recently, “I can’t defend it. No one can.”

It’s worth about $11 billion a year – more than enough to extend unemployment benefits to every one of America’s nearly 3 million long-term unemployed.

The hedge-fund, private-equity, and other fund managers who receive this $11 billion are some of the richest people in America. Forbes lists 46 billionaires who have derived most of their wealth from managing hedge funds. Mitt Romney used the carried-interest loophole to help limit his effective tax rate in 2011 to 13.9 percent.

So why didn’t Democrats close it when they ran Congress?



The Democrats’ unwillingness to close the carried-interest loophole when they could also goes some way to explaining why, almost six years after Wall Street’s near meltdown, the Obama administration has done so little to rein in the Street.

Wall Street’s biggest banks are far bigger now than they were then, yet they still have no a credible plan for winding down their operations if they get into trouble.

The Dodd-Frank Act, designed to prevent another Wall Street failure, has been watered down so much it’s slush. There’s been no move to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act separating investment banking from commercial banking.

Not a not a single Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for his involvement in the frauds that caused the mess.

Wall Street was the fourth-largest contributor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, and is already gearing up for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run.



This must stop. America can’t tackle widening inequality without confronting the power and privilege lying behind it.

If the Democratic party doesn’t lead the charge, who will?

Addition by Subtraction

by Gaius Publius, Hullabaloo

12/08/2014 10:00:00 AM

Democratic voters again showed they don’t want corporate Democrats in office, which hands wins to Republicans. More and more it seems entirely likely – it’s at least worth considering – that to defeat Republicans, we have to take control of the party first and remove bought “leaders” who are electorally weaker than we are. Because more and more, electoral losses are on them and not on us.



Klein compares Lieu’s electoral results to Waxman’s in the same district. Then he compares Lieu’s results to California Assemblyman Muratsuchi’s, whose Assembly district lies within Lieu’s congressional district.



Klein offers other examples as well, including the fact that a corporatist will set up the party’s “Post Mortem” committee. (That committee will include the ultimate corporatist, Google’s Eric Schmidt.) The lesson of these examples is clear. In today’s electoral climate, progressives mainly win and corporate Democrats mainly lose. (Muratsuchi’s loss just cost the Democrats their super-majority in the CA Assembly.) Yet as seems more and more obvious, corporate Democrats in leadership positions would rather keep Money happy than keep voters happy, and it’s costing the party at the booth.

If they’re the reason the party is losing, not us, shouldn’t they be taken out first? After all, as the Piketty world grows darker and more stark, it’s our solutions that voters are looking for. Should we let “party loyalty” prevent us from giving the country and its voters what they both want and need?

In that sense, perhaps the 2014 election was a win after all. Addition by subtraction. Also, a useful signal that 2016 may not be Ms. Clinton’s Dem-corporate cakewalk and needs a rethink. Time to start challenging those “leaders” for party control? I would say Yes, and firmly.

“People Don’t Even Know”

Chris Rock

source link For all the current conversation about income inequality, class is still sort of the elephant in the room.

Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge1, they’d go, “What? follow link What? This is food, and it’s free, and they … what? Massage? Are you kidding me?”



follow url Obama’s been faulted for not showing anger in public, and for not speaking in simple, declarative Bushisms. Of course, the moment he does do that, he’s accused of being an angry black man.

There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, generic levitra from canada What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do! So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.

http://cmcpediatrics.com/?search=best-price-free-levitra What has Obama done wrong?

When Obama first got elected, he should have let it all just drop.

go to link Let what drop?

Just let the country flatline. Let the auto industry die. Don’t bail anybody out. In sports, that’s what any new GM does. They make sure that the catastrophe is on the old management and then they clean up. They don’t try to save old management’s mistakes.

http://community2community.info/?search=accutane-canadian-pharmacies That’s clever. You let it all go to hell.

Let it all go to hell knowing good and well this is on them. That way you can implement. You hire your own coach. You get your own players. He could have got way more done. You know, we’ve all been on planes that had tremendous turbulence, but we forget all about it. Now, if you live through a plane crash, you’ll never forget that. Maybe Obama should have let the plane crash. You get credit for bringing somebody back from the dead. You don’t really get credit for helping a sick person by administering antibiotics.



What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?

I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.

Well, that would be much more revealing.

Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Right. It’s ridiculous.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Gaius Publius

Five hundred billionaires, 15,000 people all averaging $2,800,000 per year, and every group below them averages a tenth or less in earnings. Look at that list above, and notice the bottom bullet. Everyone from the top 2% through the top 10% averages less than $200,000 per year – 1/120th of our lucky 15,000.

Why point this out? Because people have no idea what life for the 15,000 is actually like, much less life for someone in the David Koch class. When we think of the wealthy, we imagine MacMansions blown big; we conjure pictures we’ve seen from wealthier neighborhoods, and we just … scale up a bit. We see monster Cadillac SUVs and say, “Ah, the very rich.” People who live like us, but with more stuff.



Our image of the very very rich – MacMansions, only scaled up; nice cars, only pricier; like us, but with more toys – is very very wrong. It’s also one reason we haven’t had a class revolt since the New Deal era.



Except even he (Chris Rock) doesn’t scale up enough. These people never ride first class because they never fly commercial. He rides first class; they own airplanes. They don’t own homes, they own estates – so many of them in fact that not one is “home” in the normal sense. Now extend that – for most of these people, not one country is home either.

Transcript

Cartnoon

TBC: Morning Musing 12.8.14

I have 3 articles for your perusal this Monday morning.

First up, a great piece about what will happen if we stay on our current trajectory:

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring-or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

Jump!

On This Day In History December 8

This is your morning propecia tablets no prescription Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future

Find the past see “On This Day in History” here.

December 8 is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 23 days remaining until the end of the year.

John Lennon, October 9. 1940 – December 8, 1980

The Tea Maker

http://creativelittleparties.com/?search=viagra-in-uk Yoko Ono

John and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats – Sasha, Micha and Charo – are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.

Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.

“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English. So I gave up doing it.

It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but …”

“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”

“Yeah …”

We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.

Late Night Karaoke