PoliticsView from the Center and Left

Previous 10 Next 10 
To: T L Comiskey who wrote (173736)10/15/2011 10:16:18 AM
From: Wharf Rat
of 370076
Texans Face Billions in Water Works Bills as Drought Saps Perry’s Economy
By David Mildenberg and Whitney McFerron - Oct 13, 2011 9:01 PM PT

Allan Ritter pushed a bill to make 25 million Texans pay an extra $3.25 a year to help provide water for decades. Then, with a record drought devastating farms and ranches, the state representative’s party leaders waded in.

“We couldn’t get the votes,” said the Republican from Nederland who heads the Natural Resources Committee in the
House of Representatives . Lawmakers who run the chamber sought to oblige Governor Rick Perry ’s pledge not to boost taxes instead.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (3)

To: Dale Baker who wrote (173708)10/15/2011 10:17:59 AM
From: Dale Baker
of 370076
Ezra Klein's Wonkbook

William F. Buckley described the conservative impulse as the desire to stand athwart history and yell, “Stop!” But the candidates vying for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination want to go considerably further than that. They want to stand in front of history and yell, "Back!" The Republicans at the debate Tuesday evening were clear in their diagnosis of America’s economic woes: It’s the government’s fault. Rep. Michele Bachmann was quite explicit on this point. “If you look at the problem with the economic meltdown, you can trace it right back to the federal government,” she said. No one around the table disagreed. Quite the opposite, in fact. “I want to second what Michele said,” offered Newt Gingrich.

If the problem is government, then it stands to reason that the solution is less government. A lot less. And the discussion, at times, took the form of a game of one-upsmanship over just how much less government the candidate would promise.

“I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank,” bragged Bachmann, referring to the financial regulation overhaul.

“Repeal Dodd-Frank, and get rid of the capital gains tax,” countered Herman Cain.

“Dodd-Frank obviously is a disaster,” agreed Rep. Ron Paul. “But Sarbanes-Oxley costs a trillion dollars, too. Let’s repeal that, too!”

It was Gingrich, however, who emerged with the most creative solution to dissuade Congress from expanding the reach of government. “If you want to put people in jail,” he said, “you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.”

Protesters may want to occupy Wall Street, but the Republican candidates want the government to vacate it as quickly as possible.

The proposals to roll back the growth and complexity of the state did not stop with the financial sector. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman promoted his plan to “clean all of the loopholes and the deductions” out of the tax code, which would mean removing the mortgage-interest deduction and the exclusion for employer-based health care, just for starters.

Cain scoffed at such incrementalism. His 9-9-9 plan, he said, “starts with throwing out the current tax code,” and then replaces it with a 9 percent sales tax, a 9 percent income tax and a 9 percent corporate tax.

Paul was not impressed. “What I hear here is just tinkering with the current system and not looking at something new and different,” he said, going on to suggest “a free-market economy without a Federal Reserve system.” That would be new and different.

Mitt Romney promised that on Day One, “all 50 states” would get a waiver to slip free from “Obamacare.” And on Day Two? “We have to repeal Obamacare,” he said.

If every idea uttered around moderator Charlie Rose’s table was made into law tomorrow, the financial-regulation bill would be gone, as would health-care reform and the Federal Reserve. The tax credits that support the housing market would vanish, and so too would Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed housing giants that guarantee the majority of new loans. There would be a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, which would require more than $1 trillion in spending cuts if it was to be satisfied in 2013, and China would be branded a currency manipulator.

It is hard to predict the effect all of that would have on the economy. The housing sector, which is already weak, would probably freeze. The financial markets, which depend heavily on the central bank’s management of the economy, would be in uncharted territory. The tax code would be completely different. Businesses would no longer be able to offer health care to their employees without paying taxes on it, which would kick the struts out from under the employer-based health-care market that provides insurance to more than 150 million Americans.

Of course, not every solution proposed at the debate will become law. And Romney, the candidate who leads in most of the polls, was more careful with his recommendations than his competitors were. Challenged by Cain to recite his 59 economic recommendations by heart and persuade the audience that they are “simple, transparent, efficient, fair and neutral,” Romney replied that “simple answers” are “oftentimes inadequate.”

This got a laugh out of Cain. “So, no, it is not simple, is what you are saying?” he asked.

But Romney didn’t back down. “To get this economy restructured fundamentally,” he said, “to put America on a path to be the most competitive place in the world to create jobs, is going to take someone who knows how to do it. And it is not one or two things. It is a good number of things.”

For Romney, however, like for all the Republican candidates, all of those things are really the same thing: less government. In that way, even Romney’s solution is simple. The question is whether our economic problems are simple — whether weak consumer demand and heavy household debt and millions of vacant homes and 9 percent unemployment and turmoil in Europe and paralysis in Washington can be solved by the steady application of small-government principles.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (2)

To: Wharf Rat who wrote (173737)10/15/2011 10:33:34 AM
From: Wharf Rat
of 370076
Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African 'army' leader

... "I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama said in letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army.

"I believe that deploying these U.S. armed forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa."

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: Dale Baker who wrote (173738)10/15/2011 10:44:36 AM
From: Sam
of 370076

Paul was not impressed. “What I hear here is just tinkering with the current system and not looking at something new and different,” he said, going on to suggest “a free-market economy without a Federal Reserve system.” That would be new and different.

Actually, it wouldn't be "new and different." It is more or less what we had in the Gilded Age and the first decade or so of the 20th century. A period marked by enormous growth (the American frontier was being opened and exploited, once those pesky Injuns were either killed or corralled into their reservations, and the railroads built to transport all those natural resources east) and by frequent financial panics and recessions. Not to mention monopolies and increasing concentrations of wealth. Although it is also true that many people got rich in the period--they almost had to, given the enormous natural resources of the country and the influx of immigrants.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Wharf Rat10/15/2011 11:00:57 AM
of 370076
Hillary Hits the MarkOct 14, 2011 5:39 PM EDT

Buried in a dull speech Friday, the Secretary of State gave D.C. a major reality check: in today’s world, economic power matters more than military might, says Leslie H. Gelb.
Print Email Comments

In a long speech drowning in State Departmentese that will not garner the attention it deserves, Hillary Clinton said something of surpassing importance on Friday—in today’s world, economic power counts more than military punch. That point has been obvious to most leaders around the world for 20 years now, since the end of the Cold War. But it has not registered in Washington. There, in the home of the non sequitur, the inaccurate fact, the seven-second “truth bite,” and the economics-challenged, the talk is all about how much will be cut from the precious Pentagon budget over the next 10 years.

That budget is all the Washington political and media elite know about. For legislators, it’s their political honey pot. For foreign-policy experts, it’s their way to show their toughness. For media, the planes and tanks are visual lollipops.

But in the 21st century, money talks louder than the size of one’s military budget. So as not to offend anyone in Washington, Hillary’s speech on Friday to the Economic Club of New York did not rhetorically nail this point down. Indeed, she almost buried the applause line in diplo-speak: “Today, our foreign and economic relations remain indivisible. Only now, our great challenge is not deterring any single military foe, but advancing our global leadership at a time when power is more often measured and exercised in economic terms.”

But let’s hammer her great point to the masthead. Today, the United States is the sole global military power, and yet our influence is waning. Why? Because our economy is declining. Today, China is the first global power in history not to be a global military power. Its military might is pretty much restricted to its borders; its money travels everywhere. Today, Brazil, India, and Turkey top the list of emerging powers. Why? Not because any of them is a regional military superpower, but because all now carry market weight. Hillary put it this way: “And everywhere I travel, I see countries gaining influence less because of the size of their armies than because of the growth of their economies.”

The secretary tries to help the Washington uncaring comprehend the vast array of economic connections between America and the world—on which rise or fall America’s prospects, standard of living, and international power—trade, investment, currency exchange rates, the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, aid, technology transfers, the roles of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, the sale or withholding of natural resources, the debt and banking crises in America and Europe, and on and on. In those transactions and in those venues, the fates of nations and people are being sealed. Hillary still needs to do more to tie the pieces together and show the connections to American power.

She’s right. Everything comes down to the strength and vibrancy of the U.S. economy—the fate of American democracy and, yes, U.S. military punch itself.

Michael Loccisano

China possesses global power today because of the dynamism of its economy. It is systematically buying up resources—copper, oil, and the like, from around the globe. Businesses must have access to the expanding China market. Countries seek Chinese investment, and Beijing has well over $1 trillion to invest. China can help or harm other nations without firing a shot, just by passing its money around, or not. Nations around the world already see China as the future No. 1 economic power, even though it still lags behind the U.S. substantially in most categories. It’s the perception of them going up and us going down. And upon such perceptions, power is based.

Here’s how Hillary puts this essential punch line: “A strong economy has been a quiet pillar of American power in the world. It gives us the leverage we need to exert influence and advance our interests. It gives other countries confidence in our leadership and a greater stake in partnering with us.” She’s right. Everything comes down to the strength and vibrancy of the U.S. economy—the fate of American democracy and, yes, U.S. military punch itself. The main reason Washington has to cut defense spending is that it can’t begin to afford $750 billion yearly in military expenditures anymore.

This should compel every last foreign-policy expert and political leader to face the new 21st-century reality—that gross domestic product matters more than military might. And as Hillary has been trying to do for some time now, we have to rethink and center U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy on economics. Sure, we have to remain first and above all others in military power, but the main business of international affairs will be conducted on this new and complicated economic plane. Secretary of State Clinton is to be congratulated for pointing the Washington blind to where they must walk to protect and advance U.S. interests.

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Leslie H. Gelb, a former New York Times columnist and senior government official, is author of Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (HarperCollins 2009), a book that shows how to think about and use power in the 21st century. He is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: Dale Baker who wrote (173738)10/15/2011 11:42:15 AM
From: bruwin
of 370076
What appears Very Ironic to me is the fact that there are those who keep preaching about LESS Government, BUT YET they are doing EVERYTHING they can to be elected INTO GOVERNMENT.

So what are they going to do when they get there ? Is their first and major act going to be to DISBAND or REDUCE Government ?

If you take it to the nth degree, and if you assume that they will stand up for their principles, then surely they should cut back government, drastically, and have only a handful of workforce around themselves and also be prepared to roll up their OWN sleeves and get to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, in order to ensure that so much more is done with so much less, bearing in mind the pay and perks they get for doing whatever they do, or don’t do ….

Can you ever see anything close to that ever happening ? NO, … and nor can I.

What they are good at is standing behind podiums or sitting around tables and complaining, pointing fingers at others, moaning, finding fault, etc.. etc.. But when it comes to making sensible, practical, meaningful, well thought out suggestions and recommendations they go missing.

What the world needs LESS of are politicians who can only fill a political space without having the necessary know-how, suitable education and experience to make cogent, final decisions when called on, without having to only rely on the fawning, sycophantic input of their appointed lackeys.

What the world needs MORE of are individuals who do have the necessary know-how, education and experience to best fill the positions they are elected or appointed to and who, genuinely, want to work hard, collectively and unselfishly, for the overall good of all and not for their own personal aggrandisement.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Dale Baker10/15/2011 11:43:04 AM
of 370076
Occupy Wall Street easily out-polls Tea Partiers

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen Democratic leaders make a more concerted effort to show support for the Occupy Wall Street protests, while also tying Republicans to the Tea Party. It’s pretty clear what’s driving the strategy: one burgeoning movement is vastly more popular than the other.

This will very likely come as a surprise to the political establishment, which mocks OWS activists and shows undue respect to Tea Partiers. (In the case of CNN, this includes partnering with a Tea Party political action committee.) And yet, the attitudes of the political mainstream are rather one sided.

A new Time magazine poll asked respondents for their opinion of “the Tea Party movement.” Just 27% had a favorable opinion. Then the poll asked about OWS.

“n the past few days, a group of protestors has been gathering on Wall Street in New York City and some other cities to protest policies which they say favor the rich, the government’s bank bailout, and the influence of money in our political system. Is your opinion of these protests very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, very unfavorable, or don’t you know enough about the protests to have an opinion?”

A combined 54% had a favorable impression — exactly double that of the Tea Party.

The same poll went on to ask about a variety of specific OWS-related positions, all of which enjoyed strong support — 68% want the wealthy to pay more taxes; 71% want to see bankers prosecuted for the 2008 crash; 79% believe the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has grown too large; 86% believe Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence.

It’s almost as if Occupy Wall Street concerns mirror the American mainstream’s concerns.

Now, it’s worth noting that the Tea Party folks have seen their support falter badly, but that’s after two years of often-incoherent complaints from its activists. Americans have had time to grow tired of the bizarre, far-right antics. In time, maybe sympathies for OWS will fade, too.

Or maybe they’ll grow. Time will tell. The larger point is, the establishment seems to assume Tea Partiers are sensible patriots, worthy of considerable attention, while Occupy Wall Street includes a bunch of hippies, not worth taking seriously.

Americans, in general, appear to believe otherwise.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: Tom Clarke who wrote (173731)10/15/2011 11:46:28 AM
From: JohnM
of 370076
Turns out Naomi Klein praised the Tea Party after all.

That's a silly headline for a rather provocative piece you posted. Her praise for the Tea Party was about as left handed, back handed, underhanded, what not as one can offer. Something like "they are deluded, mislead, ignorant" but in their delusion they've stumbled on something that Klein thinks is fundamental.

Her argument is, as I said, provocative, intriguing, etc. and well worth reading but, at least for my tastes, a bit too starkly dichotomous.

But your headline frame is irresponsible dart throwing.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: Steve Lokness who wrote (173735)10/15/2011 11:47:34 AM
From: JohnM
of 370076
Ah, Steve, you left out my full thought. The way you get get to growth is not by reducing spending, reducing jobs, etc; but by increasing them. More and more and more demand.

Share KeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: T L Comiskey who wrote (173736)10/15/2011 11:51:23 AM
From: bentway
of 370076
After Reagan's, Bush I's and the Bush II's tax cuts, we SHOULD be FLOATING in all the jobs and additional revenue provided by the tax cuts, should we not? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

Could it be that perhaps, tax cutting does not create jobs and additional revenue? Is that POSSIBLE?

During the brief, 8 year change of leadership, Clinton RAISED taxes and somehow MILLIONS of good paying additional jobs were created and so much additional revenue came in the he had a current operating surplus - the first in my lifetime!

Could it be that raising taxes creates jobs and additional revenue? Against all right wing theory?

Share KeepReplyMark as Last Read
Previous 10 Next 10 

Copyright © 1995-2018 Knight Sac Media. All rights reserved.Stock quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes - See Terms of Use.