When a bipartisan Senate panel last week lambasted Swiss bank Credit Suisse for helping rich Americans evade billions in taxes, some watching the high-profile hearing couldn’t help but notice an elephant in the room.
That is, Sen. Rand Paul.
The connection? Paul for years has single-handedly blocked an obscure U.S.-Swiss tax treaty that lawmakers, prosecutors, diplomats and banks say makes the difference between U.S. law enforcement rooting out the names of a few hundred fat-cat tax evaders — and many thousands more.
Kentucky’s tea party darling says the treaty infringes on privacy rights. But his critics say Paul’s hold just hamstrings the Justice Department’s tax evasion work.
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Why There’s No Outcry, by Robert Reich.
People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.
Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?
The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.
JFTR, I disagree with this bit:
It’s possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they’d never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn’t even try for change.
But it’s more likely they merely allowed all this to unfold, like a giant wet blanket over the outrage and indignation most Americans feel but don’t express.
To believe this, one would have to suspend belief that the Koch brothers and their astroturfed teabagger division exist. I don’t.
It’s an absolute fact that the GOP tries to destroy this country, and any other country they can, when they’re not in power, and try to destroy the country (and any other country that gets in their way) when they are in power.
But the rest of it, I think, is spot on.
Apex predators are (almost?) always the smartest animals in their ecological niche. Yeah, I know baleen whales can be smart, but toothed whales are smarter. Chimpanzees actually wage wars against “enemy” chimpanzee tribes.
Human beings are (arguably) the smartest apex predators on the planet, so we’re “wired” to be libertarians; winner-take-all pricks who truly don’t care about their fellow man. “As long as I’ve got mine/more than you…”
So it’s no wonder that the selfish pricks have taken over the world. Again. Not for the first time.
The only question is, when do the rest of us start killing them, again, like in the French Revolution? I don’t want cake crumbs, I want my neighbor to be able to keep his house! It’s an age-old battle that will be fought many times before the sun eventually burns out.
All of which is cover for posting this link, which I have not yet read to the end. I just want to save it and read it tomorrow.
Here’s how it starts:
When the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union message next week, he’ll be speaking to the wealthiest Congress in history. What does it mean for a representative democracy when most of its representatives are insulated from the real-world economic experiences of its citizens?
A new report from Open Secrets shows that, for the first time, the average member of Congress is worth more than $1 million. It’s hard to say how much more, because the House has adopted the Senate’s less stringent financial reporting requirements, but most representatives are, as they used to say back home, “pretty well fixed.” More than half of them are worth more than $1 million, according to Open Secrets.
Some members of Congress aren’t wealthy, of course. But if the President sticks with his recent theme of inequality next week, he’ll be doing it in front of an audience that has disproportionately benefited from the very phenomenon he’ll be describing. Some reports say that the president may ask for an extension of unemployment benefits, too. If so, he’ll be proposing it to a room full of people who are unlikely to ever feel unemployment’s anguish and terror themselves.
Red state GOP voters and ESPECIALLY teabaggers are stupid. Really. Just stupid. Baleen whale stupid. I mean, “leave me alone, I want to stand here and pound my head against this brick wall a while longer” stupid. I don’t even want to talk to them, any more.
A poor person paying income tax at a 20-25% rate, even up to 39%(?) defending rich fuckers paying 15% (translates to 7-9% when you have a good accountant, see “Mitt Romney won’t release his tax returns because his rich buddies would turn on him for revealing their scam” for details) is beyond my ability to understand.
When people say “I don’t understand economics” I think “yeah, but I bet you know that the fundamental rule of economics is ‘supply and demand’, don’t you?”
Put all of the money into a few hands, and there’s no demand. No demand means no need for supply. No need for supply and the jobs dry up.
Sometimes I just want to punch people for being so willfully stupid (not willfully ignorant, willfully stupid).
This is the best analysis I can point to that tells you how I feel about a bunch of tards shutting down government.
Fuck the teabaggers.
Seriously, fuck them.
Don’t give an inch.
The survival of the government our parents fought for depends on it.
The husband of US Senator Dianne Feinstein has been selling post offices to his friends, cheap.
My yearlong investigation has uncovered evidence of multiple conflicts of interest and problems with post office sales supervised by Blum’s company, including:
• CBRE appears to have repeatedly violated its contractual duty to sell postal properties at or above fair market values.
• CBRE has sold valuable postal properties to developers at prices that appear to have been steeply discounted from fair market values, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in public revenue.
• Senator Feinstein has lobbied the Postmaster General on behalf of a redevelopment project in which her husband’s company was involved.
I can understand why some “red” state Democratic Senators might be more conservative than we might like, but why CA keeps electing the odious DiFi is beyond my ability to understand. I mean, how many wars does she have to promote to offset the whole Harvey Milk thing?
At any rate, her husband is another crook, ripping off the taxpayers and systematically dismantling the government. Ho hum, right?
When the super-rich feel threatened, they foment grass-roots uprising on their behalf. Here’s why it always works.
Confession: I haven’t read this, yet, I’m only posting so I’ll remember to read it, tomorrow. Although I likely will have an opinion on it if you post a response, ESPECIALLY if I can find fault with your opinion, any fault at all, I have no opinion on it, right now.
Comments or observations on the most easily duped scumbag dumbasses in America, today, anyone who even dares to sympathize with even one thing the teabaggers purportedly stand for?
Badomp, ching. (Hat trick)
The filthiest fact is that Congress wants to cut the food benefit to hungry Americans, almost half of them children, so that money can keep flowing to the top.
The ongoing, current class war began under Reagan, who the GOP’s sycophants have nominated for everything from a fifth head on Mt. Rushmore to having his know-nothing head memorialized on a coin. I vomit in my mouth a little whenever I fly in or out of “Reagan National” airport.
It probably began when he pushed “trickle down economics” on us, based on the laughable (and thoroughly disproven) “Laffer Curve”, but a case could be made that it was when he began the ongoing destruction of unions by firing the striking air-traffic controllers. Maybe they’re tied…
“Trickle down”, called “voodoo economics” by the sire of Bush the dim, has been tried twice and it’s failed MISERABLY both times, most recently lending a a helping hand to the worst recession in our nation’s history, by cutting taxes on the wealthy (read “war profiteers” here and you won’t be too far out of line) at the same time Cheney talked his smirking chimp of a boss into launching not one, but two, count ‘em, two unfunded wars. (Aside, I still remember John Thune as a new Senator telling Tim Russert how “easy” it is to keep the budget balanced when fighting two unfunded wars: “Just take them off the books.” This is what passes for GOP “leadership”).
Make no mistake, the war continues to this day. Unless you make something on the order of a Bazillion dollars a year, it’s a war on YOU. And if we don’t work together to fight back, we will lose this war (if it hasn’t already been lost).
Do you remember/know of the Overton Window? It’s time to embrace “wealth redistribution” as what made America great, in the past.
I support a 90% tax rate for individual incomes over $1,000,000.00/yr. Steep inheritance tax on estates over $5,000,000.00, to stop the Walton-like handing down of power (like a monarchy) in this capitalist society.
You should, too.
In general, US public opinion is trending liberal. Not that you’d know it from state legislatures bought by conservative dollars
Probably not “news” to most of you, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves WHY America seems to be so batshit crazy when, really, the guy sitting next to you on the train probably ISN’T a RW asshole.
It is no secret that if you want to get large numbers of lower-income people to support a rightwing fiscal agenda, social issues are a necessary distraction. There is, however, another factor at work, and it has to do with the machinery of American politics. Where do you find the army of activists necessary to push through a rightwing economic agenda? How do you motivate people to commit the time and energy to run for minor political offices? How do you mobilize campaign staffers and volunteers?
That’s where the culture wars come in. Pushing complicated tax schemes to sustain oil companies in their riches won’t get a lot of state legislators and their supporters up in the morning. On the other hand, opposing abortion, stopping sodomy, and taking back the country for God will.
The culture war also allows this militant minority to sustain the delusion that it speaks for the majority. By wrapping guns and crosses in American flags, they derive power from falsely believing that they represent the “real America”. And as they become bolder in their claims, those of us who, in fact, represent the majority – supporting equitable policies on taxation,
gun safety, access to reproductive care and the like – tend to limit ourselves. We begin to believe that we represent a minority in our country. We don’t.
Republicans holding continuing tax cuts on income below $250K for ALL taxpayers for ransom to protect income above $250K, enjoyed by a chosen few, from a modest 4% raise.