The Corporations versus the American People Battleground is the Fiscal Cliff

corporate politiciansWe have lobbyists controlling the fiscal cliff debate and the messaging:

By posing as populists hostile to “government social engineering,” the Right succeeded in duping large numbers of middle-class Americans into seeing their own interests – and their “freedom” – as in line with corporate titans.

Corporations are literally posing as grassroots activists with media appearances, twitter accounts, social media, major articles and dedicated websites, all in an effort to hoodwink the American people into signing onto having their social security cut along with their health benefits.

Pundits and Lobbyists all make huge riches ranting and prattling on how someone is stealing food stamps or how Grandma should have her social security benefits cut and denied health care. Corporate controlled financial press puts biased choices for their 1% audience. Those still ethical and objective cannot type fast enough to confront all of the lies on the fiscal cliff. We are being barraged with corporate money funded digital bitstream lies on an minute by minute basis.

Everyday we hear of controversy where there is none. Choices which are not. Take for example the never ending attack on social security. Congress, or should we say the corporations who control them, want to reduce your benefits. Even the name, entitlements tries to imply social security and Medicare are benefits you did not earn, when in fact you did. Let's be clear, there is no crisis in social security. No, the American people do not have to suffer.

catfoodIf one looks at the annual social security adjustments, the solution for any shortfall is obvious. Lift the maximum income cap which can be taxed, currently at $110,100. President Obama talked about this in his 2008 campaign. Yet this solution is not mentioned in the fiscal cliff media or by the political talking points. Instead we have false options on a crisis that does not actually exist, all to dismantle America's beleaguered social safety nets.

Even worse, most people don't even understand that chained CPI is a way to not adjust for the cost of living increases, which hurts the aged poor the most. There is no reason to reduce cost of living increases. All this will do is strap further the most vulnerable in American society.

Paul Krugman came out blasting so called Journalists publishing corporate written talking points. He made it clear these publications do not know what they are talking about. That's the real deficit problem, we have messaging instead of fact. We have talking points instead of cause and real effect of policy. The entire media show is run by imbeciles who sell their soul for seven figure paychecks and power.

To make the hypocrisy more obvious, we have the now infamous authors of austerity Simpson and Bowles making $40,000 an appearance pushing their austerity agenda on the lecture circuit. Simpson & Bowles targeted social safety nets and benefits for cuts under the guise of deficit reduction.

Bowles and Simpson get $40,000 a piece for speaking engagements where they push their agenda. This price tag tells us everything we need to know about what is going on here.

While $40,000 might not be big money among the people with whom Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson socialize, it sure is to the rest of us. This is a couple of thousand dollars more than the typical worker earns in a year. It is a bit less than three times the average annual Social Security benefit. And Bowles and Simpson get this money for spending an hour or so giving their tirade about the desperate need for reducing the deficit.

The incredible irony of these sorts of fees is that the substance of the Bowles-Simpson tirade is that paying for Social Security and Medicare will bankrupt our children and grandchildren. The two of them are running around the country telling people that Social Security checks to retirees that average $15,000 a year and providing health care insurance to seniors who have spent their lives working will have our children and grandchildren living in poverty.

Below is a Moyers & Company interview with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism and Bruce Barlett on the hype and lies of the fiscal cliff. This is a must watch interview, encapsulating the real problems going on with the corruption of our political system.

 

 

Solutions not on the Table

Just to show how tightly controlled the deficit reduction options presented are, we outline a few good choices to reduce the deficit that you'll never hear about in digital bits stream of lies coming from most media and politicians.

The real reason the deficit is so high is the employment crisis. If corporations really wanted to fix the deficit they would hire Americans instead of investing and hiring abroad. Corporations would also quit their importation of foreign labor used to displace Americans. Bloomberg recently tabulated the cost of unemployment on the debt.

Unemployment is costing the government more than twice the $220 billion taxpayers will spend this year paying interest on the debt.

If Congress really wanted to reduce the deficit they would be forcing employers to hire U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens and permanent residents work, they pay tax, including the deductions to pay into social security and Medicare. Congress could give tax rebates for those hired and retained, scaled to their wages. Congress could also offer a tax rebate for on the job training. On the job training could be anything from internships to full bore corporate funded graduate study. Corporations used to train workers, now they put those costs onto people who don't even have a guarantee of a job at the end of their efforts. With a tax rebate for training there is no empty argument employers cannot find the skills required.

Corporations, many who are currently trying to convince you to cut your own benefits via the fiscal cliff, have $1.6 trillion in untaxed profits parked offshore. That is the same amount Obama wants to raise revenues by. Congress could reduce the deficit with one very simple corporate tax change, repeal the rule that allows U.S. companies to defer taxes on their foreign income. Below is the chart of corporations with profits parked offshore.

 

repatriated corporate foreign profits chart

 

Congress could end corporate welfare. The federal government spends between $50 billion and $90 billion on direct payments and indirect subsidies to businesses each year. Most of these payments are with no strings attached. Corporations clearly are not acting in the national interest so why should they get the benefit of payments?

If Congress really wanted to reduce the deficit they would legalize marijuana. Then Congress could tax the hell out of pot at the federal level, seize all assets of Mexican drug cartels, regulate it as a domestic product and finally cut federal and states spending for the war on drugs against marijuana. Let's get real here, pot just isn't as bad as alcohol and from the demand side of the product, it's an impossible joke to try to stop people from using it. Marijuana far exceeds any other cash crop, with an estimated $40 billion annually with the potential to be a $100 billion market. While Congress debates on how to take even more money out of the pockets of Americans, the Obama administration is flip flopping on pot, one moment stepping up enforcement of the federal marijuana laws, the next relaxing them. Neither action does anything for the budget deficit by reducing the war on drugs or creating a federal tax on the weed. Legalization of a $100 billion cash crop could boost the economy, employ thousands and reduce costs through by simply seizing all cartel's assets. Instead of trying to capture marijuana at the border, it would be far more effective at stopping the illegal marijuana flows from Mexico by producing the loco weed locally.

Another possibility not the on the table is seizing all illegally laundered money at banks. Instead of slap on the wrist fines for banks illegal money laundering activity, seize the total amount laundered to pay down the national debt. One must wonder why banks fines are a token percentage of the total profits these banks made from illegal activity, never mind how the actual funds laundered are not confiscated.

These are just a few ideas on how to grow the economy and reduce the deficit at the same time. There are many more, well thought out, practical and effective. We won't hear about any of these ideas in the press or on TV talk shows.

Face it, the corporate agenda doesn't give a damn about the U.S. middle class. That's you, me and everyone you care about. They don't care even when it means destroying the U.S. economy and thus their own profits. The corporate lobbyist onslaught is to the point their agenda is simply class warfare. These days their legislative demands make no sense, even in terms of their quarterly profit statements. These corporations will shoot themselves in the foot just to use their muscle and get their way.

america wake upAmerica it is time to wake up. The attack on Americans is in full throttle. This isn't a bomb, or terrorists or even war, it's an economic assault on your money, on your careers, on your ability to put food on the table, have shelter, cloth yourself and even survive. The fiscal cliff isn't the crisis. Corporate control over America's politics and government is.

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Comments

Obama ready to "cut social security on compromise"

What a surprise, when social security has nothing to do with the deficit. Bloomberg.

Make no mistake, using chained CPI is cutting social security benefits and what we link to it and graph it up in the CPI overview.

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It's almost like they want people to rebel, madness

They destroy jobs, make it impossible to find jobs anymore (and of course if you know too much or work too hard, you're screwed because HR and CEOs hate troublemakers aka "overqualified"). They take away benefits on the job if you do work, so you can't afford to keep your spouse or kids healthy either. They want to privatize schools in addition to the outrageous property taxes people pay, so free education becomes impossible anymore. They keep raising rates for mandatory insurance on cars, and if you can find safe, reliable public transportation, those rates are always increasing. Want to smoke or drink or have a Coke and a smile to escape daily misery? Well, if it's not illegal, pony up "sin" taxes. If you get too old, the political bosses and their paymasters will demand that you force employers that despise anyone over 35 to hire you, and if they don't, the elderly (over 35) will just have to deal with it. Social Security and Medicare, sure, pay into it, but collect it? Nope. In a world that had legitimate laws, if someone took money for something and then refused to deliver when promised, they might be called lying scum criminals, especially when the consequences are life and death. But in politics and big biz, just another day at the office. And oh, by the way, while the average citizen can't speed or litter without paying $200 fines and ticket after ticket and court appearance after court appearance with ever more laws coming down on him/her, the big boys and girls can break as many laws as they want and can even write their own laws. In fact, you can aid America's enemies, arm terrorists and organized criminals, and make money off it. When confronted at any point, don't admit you weaken your own country, just pay a fine that you can recoup by jamming more fees onto citizens that actually care about their Nation, family, and neighbors. Patriotism? Hell no, profits only, and even when they admit they don't care about the Nation or patriotism, the politicians still service them (revealing their true nature and calling).

The same thing is going on around the world. Cameron in the UK is still pushing for social safety net cuts, still blaming people that collect welfare as those that don't want to work, etc. Yes, tens of millions of Americans and Brits and Greeks etc. just love facing homelessness and eventual death. Sure, who wants to work when losing your friends, family, and home are available. What dicks these pols are. Meanwhile, he loves paying taxpayer money to private contractors that force the unemployed to work for free. The money-men and women are in charge, and they want to bleed every nickel they can get before fleeing to their compounds on private islands. Is this govt. really by us, for us? Given the evidence, one would have to conclude . . .

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truly, this is just the latest chapter

Same song, different verse, little bit louder, little bit worse. We warned in 2008, Obama had an agenda to partially privatize social security and reduce benefits. This is just a dog and pony show to start that agenda and also blame the GOP politically under the lie of "saving us all from an economic recession".

This is simply a big "how to" avoid being electrocuted politically on the 3rd rail of politics, social security.

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On schools, there is one element that I'm sure many wonder about. The U.S. is legally required to provide free public education to kids here illegally or born in the U.S. of people here illegally. This is actually a huge cost and it's not politically correct to talk about of course. There are places like LA, Chicago where the percentages are huge, the costs are very high.

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Chained CPI

Every year your Social Security will be cut. Instead of a raise you will get a cut. How can Obama do this. He promised not to touch SS medicare and medicaid. Infact he said he would improve them. How can he even think of a deal like this. Let us go over the cliff.

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It is time to write your representatives

Folks, the latest fiscal cliff deal again is cutting benefits of social security by using chained CPI.

It's time to write your Congressional representatives and say this is unacceptable.

Millions of people have lost their retirement. 401ks tanked, they took them out early because they lost their jobs, pensions going into bankruptcy or never existed, so now more than ever, retirement is dependent upon social security only.

Cutting benefits is just a disaster in action. Truly you need to write your representatives and demand they vote no for anything that includes chained CPI usage on social security.

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AmEx Ken Chenault Treas. Sec loves outsourcing, $ laundering

New Treasury Secretary might be this dude. You need to check American Express - this bankster company is notorious for running fake jobs ads, taking them down after getting people to go through multiple rounds of interviews, decide "not to fill the position," and then repost the same ads. It's a scam for H-1B visas. Phoenix operations, etc. look to get rid of Americans. Also, they got busted for money laundering for cartels down in Miami - it wasn't even a sophisticated money laundering process, basically one that's known to amateur money launderers, but still AmEx didn't seem to care too much until they got caught and paid a minimal fine. No one went to jail or prison for aiding and abetting drug trafficking. While CEO of American Express in 2007, Chenault earned a total compensation of $50,126,585, and in 2008, he earned a total compensation of $42,752,461. But, it must be because he was such a bang up CEO? Well, American Express actually applied for and received $3.39 billion in TARP funds, so apparently Jane and Joe taxpayer had to help the bankster out, but why let that affect Chenault's gargantuan salary + options? Our money, his life of leisure and power.

I'm sure he can identify with the struggling 99% that break their backs for $10/hr. or face endless despair as long-term unemployed while their multiple degrees are now used for toilet paper. Yes Sir, this guy will be fighting for us, no doubt.I mean his resume from high school on doesn't reveal an ounce of busting ass in a factory or overseas or struggling to find work, but he'll take on banksters and help us on Year 4? 5? 6? of this "recovery" that never seems to come to fruition. Outsourcing, money laundering, overpaid bankster joker BRAVO! More of the freaking same. Check please, it's time to turn out the lights on the USA.

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lovely, seems corporations want Treas. Sec. position

This is the 2nd executive being floated around who is clearly worse than Geithner, if that was even possible. If Obama nominates someone this corrupt, clearly going to give MNCs carte blanche, well, it's just another major milestone down the road of government corruption to U.S.A. annihilation.

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AmEx lobbying information from opensecrets.org

Huge fan of opensecrets.org. While we may get destroyed by the plutocrats, at least we know which plutocrats and whose money is doing it to us.
American Express peak lobbying in 2008 with $3.79 million - TARP anyone? They paid out $3.7 million in that year to secure their whores', sorry, politicians', help. So with that, they received 1,000 X the amount they paid in lobbying. Nice returns! In 2008, American Express had 12 lobbyists, 6 of whom were considered "revolving door" lobbyists. In 2012, it has 10 lobbyists, 5 of whom are considered "revolving door" lobbyists.

In 2012, so far, $1.67 million in lobbying. Just imagine the returns for the money if Chenault could use shareholder money to secure himself a spot at the Treasury, talk about personal return on someone else's investment! He invests nothing, loses nothing, and makes money and buys a political office with someone else's money. Truly a mockery of our founding ideals, democracy, capitalism, and anything else we thought we understood or believed in.

According to opensecrets, finance/credit companies have 77.3% of lobbyists that are "revolvers." Beer/wine, tobacco, and TV/movies/music have greater percentages of "revolvers." American Express has the same old names and people that represent the US Chamber of Commerce, Honeywell, etc. that worked for House members, the SEC, etc. Yawn. Same old closed club with no morals or integrity.

Government of corporate boardrooms, by corporate boardrooms, and for corporate boardrooms. American citizenry and even common shareholders, be damned.

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Fiscal Cliff Theater

What's going on shows the theater involved with Congress and while Obama should be slammed for putting up retirement benefits and benefits generally to the people to be cut, it appears the GOP is even more insane. There is no mention on the negative impact to GDP cutting benefits will be, none. There also are a host of very practical cuts they could make which are not even being mentioned.

Just another glaring example of what a gerrymandering corporate purchased government brings to the nation.

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