Recent comments

  • Good point about the FICA tax cut, if the concern was for SS and Medicare solvency, why on earth would the revenue stream be cut? made no sense then and even less so now

    Another good point about wage stagnation limiting contributions as well There is an excellent article over at Manufacturing and Technology News linking wage stagnation and income inequality to stock buy backs

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   15 hours 28 min ago
  • Social security is solvent for well into the 2030's and at current rates of job growth that should only improve as more in the workforce are contributing - so one fix is make sure people have good paying job opportunities for two reasons - contributing to the fund, and so that people can have retirement and other savings

    But to answer your question, there are three main ways that social security can be bolstered, one is to roll back the Bush tax cuts so that the government is adequately funded again as it was during the Clinton years (Not popular with the anti-govt, anti-tax crowd), raise the retirement age (not popular with 90+% of the public), lifting the salary cap on SS contributions (not popular with the 1%ers)

    By far the easiest and least painful thing to do if we had a functional congress would be to raise the salary cap, as currently those earning over $118,500 do not contribute.

    I find a disconnect in that those who oppose social security are also the same people that have pushed people off of traditional defined benefit pensions and into the economically volatile 401k defined contribution plans. which makes people even more dependent on social security

    Another thing that would have helped would have been Al Gore's much ridiculed 'lock box" that would have prevented the SS fund from being raided for other uses, had we this lockbox we probably wouldn't be talking about this right now

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   15 hours 35 min ago
  • You may want to lay off the AM radio for a while. Deficits exploded under Reagan and Bush, and were reduced under Carter, Clinton and even Obama.

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   15 hours 37 min ago
  • Corporate Taxes - The "effective" tax rate and the "statutory" tax rate - BIG DIFFERENCE!

    • The corporate share of federal tax revenue has dropped by two-thirds in 60 years — from 32% in 1952 to 10% in 2013.
    • General Electric, Boeing, Verizon and 23 other profitable Fortune 500 firms paid no federal income taxes from 2008 to 2012.
    • 288 big and profitable Fortune 500 corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of just 19.4% from 2008 to 2012.
    • Profitable corporations paid U.S. income taxes amounting to just 12.6% of worldwide income in 2010.
    • U.S. corporations dodge billions in taxes by shifting profits to subsidiaries — often post office boxes in tax havens.
    • U.S. corporations officially hold $2.1 trillion in profits offshore — much of it in tax havens — that have not been taxed here.

    The "statutory" corporate tax rate may be one of the highest in the world, but the "effective" tax rate (what they actually pay) is one of the lowest.

    The National Debt - $6.5 trillion since Obama and $4.9 trillion under Bush

    George W. Bush more than doubled the debt. Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by launching "The War on Terror" (two unpaid wars) which drove military spending to record levels. Bush also used the 2001 recession as an excuse to pass the Bush tax cuts, which reduced revenue by giving tax breaks that the rich mostly benefited from. Bush also approved a $700 billion bailout package for the banks during the 2008 global financial crisis (which started in part by Clinton's deregulation of the banks.)

    Both Presidents Bush and Obama had to contend with higher mandatory spending for Social Security and Medicare (which is less susceptible to a president’s policy preferences than discretionary spending; and that is spending that Congress must approve of an annual basis. Stagnant wages mostly contributes to the shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund. Bush also first approved expanding unemployment benefits (99 weeks) in July of 2008 in response to the Great Recession (which officially began in December 2007.)

    Obama didn't inherit Clinton's economy, he inherited Bush's. Obama's budgets included the economic stimulus package, which included cutting payroll taxes (and at the insistence of the GOP, extended the Bush tax cuts for two more years). Obama also extended Bush's unemployment benefits, which was contingent on extending the Bush tax cuts. Under Obama, Congress also funded job-creating public works projects. Obama's budget also included big increases in defense spending. And federal income was down, thanks to lower tax receipts from the 2008 financial crisis (mass unemployment). Obama also sponsored Obamacare, which was designed to reduce the debt over 10 years (although, these savings didn't show up until the later years).

    Government Budgets and Household Budgets (Apples and Oranges)

    The U.S. may have $19 trillion in national debt, but it's not $19 trillion "in the hole". The U.S. most likely has over $200 trillion or more in net assets. The U.S. government's real constraint is inflation, not solvency (which hasn't been a problem). The "national debt" is a vastly different issue than the one the GOP and media usually harps about (with regards to the budget deficit and government spending). The U.S. government can be thought of as a contingent currency issuer who can issue funds to spend, making it very different from a typical household budget.

    And none of this even touches on the operational realities behind the United States monetary system, and the fact that we’re not going bankrupt unless we choose to go bankrupt...and we’re not going to be unable to pay the bills on debt denominated in a currency we can print, unless we choose not to pay those bills.

    If you had a job paying $50,000 a year and you owed the bank $150,000 on a mortgage, would you be very concerned about your debt or budget? Now imagine you also had $1 million in gold coins stashed away in assets. Now imagine you could also tax your rich neighbor. Now imagine you can also print your own money. That "household budget" and your "household debt" doesn't look so bad after all.

    Scrap the Cap

    Eliminate the $118,500 income "cap" that is subjected to Social Security taxes so that even all members of Congress have to pay this tax on 100% of their earnings (They make $174,000 a year). That also means, don't just subject hourly wages reported on W-2 forms, but also income from capitals gains (which is taxed much less than the top marginal tax rate for wages — 23.8% vs. 39.6%)

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   1 day 19 hours ago
  • So we are in $19trillion of debt. But the good news is that no one is poor so the welfare rolls and foodstamp needs are nill, right?
    Oh wait. We overspent by $19trillion -with the third highest Corporate tax rate in the world- and people are still poor?
    AND we cannot even afford Social Security soon? Is this anyway to run a household budget?
    Bush spent like a drunken sailor and Obama spent like a shipload full of them.
    If the author is so worried about millennials should he not worry that we will pass this debt down to many generations to come?

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   3 days 9 hours ago
  • In those rare occasions when you can pin a "skills shortage" promoter down as to exactly what skills are lacking they will say its creativity, critical thinking, and communication - all skills not usually part of a typical stem curriculum, but are part of those dread liberal arts courses

    Reply to: Job Training isn't a Silver Bullet for Job Creation   3 days 12 hours ago
  • Don't forget that "Easy Al" Greedspan advocated the idea of flooding the market with educated workers as a way to suppress middle class wages.

    It is a common fallacy among the punditry and political class that creating a supply of skilled and educated workers somehow magically creates demand for them

    Reply to: Job Training isn't a Silver Bullet for Job Creation   3 days 12 hours ago
  • vehicle & parts orders were $53,253 million, up 4.0% from $51,226 mllion, nondefense aircraft and parts wee a $16,507 million, down 6.0% from $17,556 million, and defense aircraft and parts were at $4,415 million, down 13.1% from $5,081 millon....that does not add up to the total transportation equipment new orders of $83,231 million, up 4.7% from $79,476 million..

    best i can figure is that they're including a big military vehilcle order in here that they don't show in the totals above...

    Reply to: Durable Goods Up 2.0% for July   3 days 17 hours ago
  • The Swiss National Bank is privately held

    Reply to: Are Central Banks Corrupted?   4 days 7 hours ago
  • That is just percentage change against itself in category. I don't have the solid figures but assume autos durable goods sales are $80 billion for the month but airplanes would be say $10 billion or so. The overall change would be impacted most by auto sales since by volume and dollar amounts, they are most of transportation sales on a monthly basis.

    Reply to: Durable Goods Up 2.0% for July   4 days 12 hours ago
  • maybe i'm missing something, but new orders for transportation equipment don't add and parts, up 4.0%, commercial aircraft down 6%, defense aircraft down 13.1%, and the total of those is up 4.7%?

    i also added the dollar amount and they came up way short:
    see if you can figure out what i might have missed...

    Reply to: Durable Goods Up 2.0% for July   4 days 16 hours ago
  • You are against any reduction in Social Security and advocate for increasing benefits. Yet Social Security cannot maintain the current levels of benefits, much less increased ones you advocate. What would you change to ensure Social Security would be solvent? Something must change, or it will be a ~17%(?) reduction once the trust fund is exhausted. Is that your preference for dealing with the issue?

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   5 days 11 hours ago
  • oil's been between $38 & $40 so far this week, $39.37 as i write this...the Exxon refinery in Torrance CA saw a big explosion in early April which covered the area miles around with white ash and it's been down since; that's about 5% of West Coast capacity...this BP Whiting refinery, largest in the Midwest, is down for a month with leaky pipes...those two outages have resulted in gas prices of $3.50 /gal in california and along the west coast, $3.00 a gallon in the Midwest and even higher in Chicago, while the states in the deep South are paying less than $2.00...

    in the Midwest, we're importing gasoline from Canadian refineries, while US oil is refined in the Gulf and sent to Europe...

    Reply to: Oil Industry Pushes to End the Ban on Oil Exports as Imports Hit High for the Year   5 days 19 hours ago
  • He's really taking off and kicking out that Jorge Ramos univision reporter just gets a hand clap from me. That guy constantly claims anyone who isn't for open borders or unlimited migration is a racist. That is not reporting in the first place.

    Reply to: A Strategy for Anti-Establishment Conservatives   6 days 3 hours ago
  • The refinery games are never ending. Gee wiz, they are shut down for maintenance, gee wiz, we need to limit capacity and on and on. They especially try to limit supply on the West coast. Last I checked oil was below $45, so I expect to see even more refinery shenanigans.

    Reply to: Oil Industry Pushes to End the Ban on Oil Exports as Imports Hit High for the Year   6 days 3 hours ago
  • "This measure does not include any unemployed person who has become discourage from the inability to find a job and has not looked for a job in four weeks."

    Those "discouraged" workers may still be looking for a job. We're not asked about our employment searches after we're no longer eligible for unemployment benefits... at least I know I've not been asked.

    Reply to: The Real State of Unemployment   6 days 11 hours ago
  • It seems that both Trump and this article have it wrong. The US "negotiators" are not stupid nor do we have a situation where "the US negotiates on the basis of fidelity to some imagined set of international rules of fair play, which just so happen to perpetuate the current system that enriches the global elite at the expense of national integrity." Fidelity schmidelity. That result is not due to misguided adherence to imagined ideals. The US is being sold out intentionally, with full knowledge of the consequences to this once great nation. I believe that Trump is holding back on stating unequivocally that he too knows that to be the case, i.e. that the US "negotiators" are not stupid but instead are at the very least duplicitous and are arguably downright traitorous. I believe that 'The Donald' - who is said to speak his mind without considering the consequences - is holding back on his rhetoric in this case, which is the smart thing to do until he is in the White House. Go get 'em Trump!

    Reply to: Donald Trump vs. Davos Man   6 days 16 hours ago
  • We've seen this movie before - eighty years ago.

    In a book entitled "It Can't Happen Here" Sinclair Lewis foretold the coming of
    an ultra-wealthy "Man Of The People" who swept the "establishment" aside and rose to dictatorial power.

    Donald Trump, meet your literary counterpart, Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip.

    In his seminal book "Zero Hour" , "Buzz" Windrip detailed all of the crimes of the current establishment, from excesses of speculation to the poverty and misery
    (inflicted by the establishment class) upon the people.

    But The Donald can't do it alone. He is going to need volunteers. He will need his
    S.A., "Freikorpen" and "Blackshirts" to do battle in the streets for him.

    He will need ARMED companies and battalions of "volunteers" to break up the rallies of his GOP rivals and put fear into them. If handled right, the police forces
    of cities across the country are NATURAL allies, given as how they are under attack by the same corrupt and beyond-rotten "establishment".

    America doesn't need a Hitler - but a Mussolini or Franco, well now you're talking.

    A ten to twelve-year period of "Corrective Realignment" (even Great Britain had its Cromwell), would do wonders.

    Reply to: A Strategy for Anti-Establishment Conservatives   1 week 4 hours ago
  • I am supporting Donald Trump. However if it comes time to fold I would not consider supporting Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee, and I will not withhold my fire from these candidates for a simple reason: none of them has a credible case for the presidency and can therefore be easily defeated and/or co-opted by the GOP cadres to neutralize whatever positive or salutary effect they may have had on the debates or on the Overton window. Rick Santorum was exactly the same beast. Call it "controlled opposition." I tend to be of the opinion that they need to be called out for their unwitting play into the hands of the Great Satan - err, Red Elephant.

    Further on the co-optation point, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee have shown themselves to be unreliable and unpredictable on questions of crime and race/ethnicity, as well as immigration. Given the news coming in over the past year in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, I see these issues as encompassing no less than an existential threat. I do not think any time or energy worth throwing into candidates who would not hit these problems head-on.

    Reply to: A Strategy for Anti-Establishment Conservatives   1 week 10 hours ago
  • If you tell a lie often enough and loud enough it becomes the truth.

    Reply to: The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security   1 week 14 hours ago