Republicans vs Democrats in a Nutshell – DC

DC is taxed – but does not have representation in Congress.  Its such an established problem their license plates read “taxation without representation”.

Democrats have in the past tried to fix this by working to get them representation, but have failed in their attempts.  Partially because of opposition from Republicans concerned that DC will tip the balance in favor of the Democrats.

So a Republican has proposed ending the taxation.  How perfectly conservative – drain the federal budget, avoid solving the root problem, further institutionalize the deprivation of voting rights for a group of people who trend Democrat, and snag some stellar PR at the same time.

Expect the Democrats to raise a few lion like mews and maybe put up a kabuki fight, then lose.  Or hell, they might actually fight it by pushing back against the specific proposal.  Imagine if they had the guts and strength to turn this into an issue of giving the residents of DC representation instead?



Tax Havens Are Un-American

When you realize that nearly a $100 billion, annually, in tax revenue is going unpaid by large corporations, you have to wonder where are their tea parties?  Where are the pundits questioning the patriotism of companies that are so clearly helping send our country into debt by skirting federal taxes?  Are any of the companies receiving bailout money using tax havens?  Ah, the answer to that question is YES.

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Why We Don’t Trust Our Political System

Unqualified dynasty relics can snag an office by doing political favors.

Corrupt politicians who maybe possibly might be impeached someday for trying to sell a senate seat, can easily find someone sad and greedy enough to nominate.  And the Senate can’t do a thing about it.

Even the most exciting and inspirational politician to come along in a generation slinks back into the status quo before he even takes his oath of office.

Criticizing politicians for blatant racism can damage your political career even as it boosts the prospects of the racist.

Our tax dollars are sent to rabidly anti-gay-rights theocrats convinced Halloween and Harry Potter lead to Satanism.

The government is willing to spend billions to send us deeper into debt to fund war and large corporations, supposedly to safeguard our future.  Politicians are equally eager to gut public schools and trash our future intellectual capital.

Patents stifle rather than protect and encourage innovation, to the point that insanity seems plausible.

A white militia murdered black people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The details are only now coming out, and the liklihood of a criminal investigation seems unlikely.

A Bush aide scheduled to give evidence about election fraud in 2004, among aother Bush misdeeds, dies in a plane crash.  Media coverage and criminal follow-up is minimal.

A lot of people are optimistic about 2009.  I can’t share in that optimism, but I am fired up.  How can I not be?

ObamaBiden Tax Calculator

I think this is a wicked awesome idea.  A website with a tax calculator to let you see how you’d fare under the tax plans for each candidate.

Here’s a few fun figures:

If you are over 65, married (joint file), have a combined income of 20,000, 3+ dependents, are saving for retirement, have childcare expenses, and an outstanding mortgage of $250,000, the results are:

Obama: $3,327    McCain: $0

Ok, so maybe you are filing as the head of the household, make between 50 and 70 thousand a year, have two kids, college expenses, and a mortgage of $50,000:

Obama: $805     McCain: $270

How about you make 75,000-100,000 a year, are single, have no dependents, college expenses, or mortgage?

Obama: $250     McCain: $0

To be fair, it doesn’t calculate taxes for income above $200,000 a year.  For all the Republican faithful like to make noise about Democrats raising taxes, its pretty clear who will actually lower taxes where it counts.

700 Billion Gone

700 Billion or more gone if we don’t act.  The Democrats are ready to sit down with the Republicans and talk turkey.  Our turkey:

“We now have between House and Senate Democrats an agreement on what we think should be in the bill, and we have a meeting scheduled at 10 a.m. tomorrow to meet with the Republicans,” said Frank, chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

How will we pay for it?

Will we listen to fear?  Or will we listen to reason (St Louis Post Dispatch):

More than 180 economists, including David Levine and Michele Boldrin from Washington University, have signed a letter opposing the $700 billion financial bailout now before Congress. They see “three fatal pitfalls” in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s proposal: Its fairness, its ambiguity, and its long-term effects on the economy.

We need to take the long term impact on the economy into account (emphasis mine):

The economists, who include three Nobel laureates, are especially worried about the long-term effects:

If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America’s dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity.  Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

We’re on the verge of making a very expensive mistake.

Will the Inclusion of Foreign Banks Stop the Bailout?

The 700 billion dollar bailout is generating justified rage.  Will the inclusion of foreign banks in the US taxpayer funded bailout be enough to sink it?

Right now, the Republicans are taking the heat for the economy.  If the Democrats pass this bill, that is going to change quickly.

Johnathan Schwarz:

Write and call your representative and senators plus Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid this morning and tell them to tell the Bush administration NO on their proposed $700 billion handout to Wall Street. Congress obviously can propose a much better plan of its own, but the first thing to do is kill this monstrosity.

Congress main line
(202) 224-3121

Write your representative

Write your senators

Nancy Pelosi
(202) 225-0100
Write Pelosi (corrected)

Harry Reid
(202) 224-3542
Write Reid

Our government has been racking up the failures over the past 8 years.  This one is going to hurt.  We just can’t afford it, and any politicians not on the page of sound economic recovery are going to pay for it dearly: Its hard to put “700 billion dollar bailout”, “foreign banks”, and “you lost your job” together and spell “electable”.

Sean Tavis vs the Creationist

Via Majikthise, Sean Tavis is running a campaign for state representative in Kansas (inspired by xkcd and the 300) against a regressive fundamentalist.

He is running against this guy:

Arlen Siegfried (R), who is anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-creationism, anti-privacy, and pro-censorship.

His blog is here, and you can donate here (lower right).

Arlen Siegfried is a guy who ought to be defeated, Sean Tavis might be just the geek to do it.  (Dig the anti-regressive sales tax position)