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Defending the indefensible

Any multi-national corporation that is paying no federal taxes should be immediately investigated by Congress. There is no excuse (unless you are Fox News and everything is hunky dory if you don’t pay any federal income taxes).

From TP:

Right now, the federal government is on the verge of being shutdown due to an impasse in funding negotiations. Conservatives want deep cuts to programs for Main Street Americans like the Pell Grant and Head Start, claiming that they are necessary to rein in the budget deficit. Yet at the same time, House Republicans voted unanimously to protect taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil, even with major oil companies like Exxon paying absolutely nothing in federal corporate income taxes in 2009.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) appeared on Fox Business Network yesterday and criticized the industry’s subsidies, asking why we they need billions of dollars a year from taxpayers. Host Eric Bolling attacked Garamendi for his criticism, saying that oil companies are paying the most taxes in the world and that their profit margins aren’t very high:

GARAMENDI: The wealthiest industry in the entire world, the oil industry …They’re going to see extraordinary profits yet about 12 billion dollars a year is used to subsidize the oil industry.

BOLLING: Sir do you know who’s paying the most taxes in the world? Do you know who’s paying the most taxes right now in America? Those oil companies you’re pointing the finger at. They’re paying taxes on the profits. Their profit margins aren’t high. By the way, they’re also paying royalties to be able to drill on the land.

GARAMENDI: So given all of that why do we subsidize them?

The U.S. federal corporate income tax rate of oil giant Exxon Mobil in 2009 was effectively zero. And its profits were far from low. In 2008, it was the world’s most profitable company; in 2009, it made $19 billion in profits.

By |2011-04-11T02:20:33-04:00April 11th, 2011|Big Oil|Comments Off on Defending the indefensible

Let’s play the Republican game – Shut it down!

Many Republicans are serious politicians who understand how the government process works. Several Republicans aren’t serious politicians and just want to make political hay. I guess that there are people back home who are cheering a government shutdown. This is the problem with the way that many Republicans are elected. They are completely supported by single issue folks. These single issue folks may have no other interests or thoughts except deep cuts in government spending. They can’t see the bigger picture because their rage is stoked by what they see is the root of all evil – the government.

From Political Animal:

The problem, of course, is that some lawmakers appear a little too eager to score political points, and deliberately avoid being practical.

Linda Bilmes, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, led a budget seminar for nearly 40 House freshmen before the start of the new Congress.

She believes freshman conservatives are itching to make a dramatic statement by shutting down the government.

“It was clear there was a group of new members who in my mind were more concerned with making statements than working with their own leadership to solve the nation’s problems,” said Bilmes. “Nothing I’ve seen in the last week changes my mind.

“There are certainly some elements within the Tea Party group that are looking to make a dramatic statement.”

Just so we’re clear, this is a sentiment that suggests Republicans would shut down the government, not just as a result of an irreconcilable dispute with the White House, but because GOP lawmakerswant to shut down the government.

On a related note, House Republicans had to know this was coming, but the White House went ahead and made the threat formal today — President Obama would have no choice but to veto the GOP’s proposed cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, if they reached the Oval Office.

“If the president is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the president will veto the bill,” the White House said in a statement. It added that while the administration supports reducing spending to cut the deficit, “the administration does not support deep cuts that will undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world.”

Just as a reminder, something has to do be done by March 4 — 16 days from today — or the shutdown will begin.

By |2011-02-16T09:05:06-04:00February 16th, 2011|Budget, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Let’s play the Republican game – Shut it down!

Merry Christmas, here’s your lump of coal

No matter what your religion, this is a time of year for happiness, togetherness and celebration. With more than 6.3 million Americans being unemployed for more than six months, it’s hard for me to generate a lot of happiness. The president’s deficit commission has put everything on the table in order to “balance the budget.” The Commission has proposed deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as well as other programs. Republicans, along with some conservative Democrats, have decided that renewing unemployment benefits for millions of Americans should not be automatic but instead should be a bargaining chip to extend the President Bush-era tax cuts, including slashing the estate tax!

So, while you and I are focused on how to pay our bills, keep the lights on and put food on the table, the mainstream media is focused on the fact that Newt Gingrich believes that the Obama Administration is chaotic. Also, they want us to know that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has a beef with Sarah Palin. By the way, did you know that Bristol Palin was not forced to dance on Dancing with the Stars? Who cares? Why is any of this important? How does any of this help you and me?

We have real problems in this country. Our unemployment rate is 9.8%. Our economy continues to be on life support. We want jobs. Jobs are not produced by tax cuts. They simply aren’t. If we learned one thing from President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics it was that it simply doesn’t work. According to the Economic Policy Institute, from 1980 through 1990 wages for the top 1% rose 80% to just under an average of $200,000 a year. During the same period, wages for the rest of us, the bottom 90%, rose only 3%. 3%! I won’t even mention that these tax cuts, combined with an increase in military spending, grew our national debt almost 200% during the eight years that President Reagan was in office. So, to prove that our experiment in Reaganomics was a complete and utter failure, we decided to repeat the experiment under President George W. Bush. The results were exactly the same. Incomes for the rich skyrocketed. Median income for the rest of us was basically flat. Trickle-down economics does not work unless you’re rich.

Cold hard facts are hard to find inside the Beltway. Somehow real data does not penetrate the Capitol. Our elected officials have been arguing over the Bush-era tax cuts for more than three months. Fiercely emotional arguments have been presented on both sides. Republicans have argued that the tax cuts are necessary to stimulate the economy, that they will create jobs. Democrats have argued that tax cuts for Rush Limbaugh, his rich buddies and Wall Street fat cats are ludicrous.

I think that you and I are missing the point. There seems to be universal agreement on Capitol Hill over corporate welfare. The financial sector has not had to lay off thousands of people. As a matter fact, in spite of a recession, the financial sector just racked up $19 billion in profits. According to Senator Bernie Sanders, the Federal Reserve gave away over $3 trillion in order to prop up ailing financial companies during the federal bailout. This is above and beyond the toxic asset relief program. This money wasn’t used to create jobs. Instead, this money was used to make Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, to name a few, look better on paper. Congress has consistently given us a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking while giving Wall Street truck loads of gold. Can you or I get a direct cash infusion from the Federal Reserve? I don’t need a trillion or even a billion… just a few hundred million dollars directly injected into my bank account would go a long way toward me my having a very Merry Christmas.

We need the unemployment benefits renewed. We need jobs. My Christmas wish is that we can get Congress to act on both of these critically important legislative issues. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

By |2010-12-16T08:40:42-04:00December 16th, 2010|Economy|5 Comments
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