Category Archives: Economics

Kasich’s Ohio ain’t done so well

Kasich, like many GOPers has been an advocate for charter schools during his time as governor.  The original idea behind the charter school movement was to provide institutions focusing on specific fields of study, such as: theatre arts, science, music and broadcasting. Then the “free market” types saw an opportunity; the charter schools in most cases didn’t have to comply with the standards demanded of those “union-dominated” public schools.  ‘Teachers’ weren’t required to hold the same certification as public school teachers, the charter schools funding wasn’t monitored as closely as that of public schools and so we have ended up with a situation in which most, not all but most, charter schools in Ohio provide much poorer education than the denigrated public schools.

Ohio is the home of three of the worst owners of charter schools: K12 Inc.  White Hat Management and  The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) — all owned by major donors to the GOP.

More on the story may be read at Ohio’s charter schools ridiculed at national conference, even by national charter supporters

The problem for taxpayers is exemplified by a quote from the chairman of the Ohio House Education Committee Public access to charter school spending is “just not going to happen”

The problem of Ohio’s charter schools along with advocating for the expansion of Medicaid show the likelihood of a failed Presidential campaign for Mr Kasich. Of course the fact he has pissed off both left and right means he’s a centrist and everybody just loves them centrist types.

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Gingrich: Obama has ‘anti-American’ energy policy

from

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

more Republican TRUTH telling (or is that Republican TRUTH babbling? so difficult to tell the difference)

Gingrich: Obama has ‘anti-American’ energy policy

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich is asserting that President Barack Obama pursues an “outrageously anti-American” energy policy that snubs the Keystone oil pipeline and puts too much stock in electric car technology to wean the country from foreign oil dependency.

The former House speaker tells CBS’s “This Morning” show gasoline prices have skyrocketed since Obama took office. He says Obama entertains a “fantasy” that the electric car “is going to liberate us from Saudi Arabia.”

the real world

U.S. oil gusher blows out projections

The United States’ rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.

After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation’s oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.

The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quad­rupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.

The US now producing so much gasoline that it is exporting the stuff to other countries.

So why are oil prices rising? Do the Administration’s policies have much to do with the increase in gas prices at the pump? Some folks don’t think so, but then some folks aren’t focused solely on the upcoming elections in America.

Speculation driving oil prices

LONDON, Feb. 21 (UPI) — Fretting over the saber rattling with Iran, rather than an actual issue in the oil market, is what is driving energy prices up, an executive from Total said.

The European Union said last month it would place an embargo on Iranian crude oil starting July 1, prompting Iranian lawmakers to consider legislation to pre-empt the Europeans. Prior to that, Iran threatened to close key oil-shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation to increased sanctions pressure.

Christophe de Margerie, the top executive at French supermajor Total, was quoted by the Platts news service as saying speculators were driving oil prices up.

“All the noise on whether (the ban) will affect the price is what is affecting the price,” he said.

Is it possible that the multi-national oil companies are raising prices for some reason other the actual costs of producing their products? What happened to supply and demand economics? The US produces enough fuel that it is now exporting more than it imports, yet prices continue to rise – Why?

Higher gasoline prices could hurt recovery, Obama’s re-election chances

Obama’s approval ratings have steadily climbed since the debt-ceiling debacle last year, reaching 47 percent last week according to the Gallup poll, the highest they’ve been since June 2011.

But gasoline sticker shock could change that trend, many Republicans believe. House Speaker John Boehner reportedly has urged GOP House members to make gas prices an issue on the campaign trail this fall.

Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich also have moved gas prices to prominent positions in their stump speeches. Gingrich in particular has made fuel prices a campaign theme, bitterly criticizing the administration at every campaign stop.

“Stop bowing. Start drilling,” the Gingrich website proclaims.

Santorum also has made the price of gas an issue.

“This president systematically is doing everything he can to raise the price of energy in this country,” he said over the weekend.

Robert Dewhirst, a political science professor at Northwest Missouri State University, said the attacks are predictable. Gasoline prices are among the most important issues for any presidential candidate, he said, because they become a campaign commercial every time the tank is filled.

Unreasoning Opposition

The present day Republican mantra or one version thereof

“tax reform and revenue enhancement”

Tax reform = cut taxes for that percent of the population which has benefited most greatly from recent “tax reform” and raise taxes on those who have not received such benefits.

Sweeping statement but hey! that’s the game that is played. Serious tax reform would not start with tax cuts but with actual study of how groups, corporations, individuals have benefited from government subsidies and then the economic result of said subsidies and regulations. In almost every case, there are pro and con arguments, the difficulty lies in determining overall benefit and negative of any single provision for our society.

Revenue Enhancement = raise tax rates that most adversely affect low and middle income Americans.

Of course there is waste and duplication in government. “Government” is bloody huge and it is made up of human beings, therefore – targets of opportunity for those ideologues who know little of history and prefer to claim the Truth supports them – no matter what the facts are.

For some reason, some seem to think that any regulations on capitalism and governmental actions beyond national defence leads quickly to Communism. On the other side there are those who think their opponents would prefer to live in a state of near anarchy where the wealthy all live in fortified manor houses with private security armies – kind of mediaeval society – like modern day Somalia.

Extremism in belief and actions with the resultant refusal to listen objectively to one’s opponents have led us to the present situation in Congress where a significant number of elected representatives of the people are following the orders of a minority in opposition to the wishes of the citizenry.

My only hope for the future is the (slim) possibility that one day, the concept of “corporate personhood” is made non-existent. At this time, it does seem the idea of having more money gives one the right to more influence in society – more dollars = more votes.

Warren Buffett agrees: There is ‘class warfare’

from a piece at the Plum Line

QUESTIONER: Are you happy seeing your suggestion, this new Buffett Rule, becoming more of a basis of a political battle that really has turned into class warfare?

BUFFETT: Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically.

If you look at the 400 highest taxpayers in the United States in 1992, the first year for figures, they averaged about $40 million of [income] per person. In the most recent year, they were $227 million per person — five for one. During that period, their taxes went down from 29 percent to 21 percent of income. So, if there’s class warfare, the rich class has won.

last paragraph of Sargent’s piece

Buffett agrees with Obama — if there’s been any class warfare in this country, it has been waged from the top down for decades, and the rich have won.

Yet some folks still refuse to understand why there are people protesting on Wall Street and in other cities across the country.

Is this America’s future?

from the Maddowblog

A question of democracy in America

Michigan’s revamped emergency manager law allows (Emergency Financial Manager) Mr. Harris to do just about whatever he pleases. The state has deemed Benton Harbor in need of serious help, such serious help that democracy itself is part of the problem. Democracy is seen as part of the problem, until it isn’t. Mr. Harris has placed the charter changes he wants on the November ballot. This is one that the people of Benton Harbor will get to vote on.
(…)
If you’re working for political change, just getting on the ballot is a major hurdle. Folks like Eclectablog have been toiling for months now to get to get a repeal referendum up for a vote, but Emergency Manager Harris types up an order and he’s in.

Oh yeah – it’s always better if we tell the poor folks what they are allowed to vote on. After all, those in charge know what’s best for the poor folks.

True throughout history.

The right has so altered the political environment in America they are now passing laws to subvert democracy, as with the Michigan law. State legislatures are able to do this because far too many Americans have come to believe the memes created and promulgated by the well-funded right wing noise machine.

Such actions seem to be insufficient for some on the right, now they are beginning to openly promote the idea of restricting the right to vote to those who fit their definition of “Real Americans”. Matthew Vadum, in a recent American Thinker op-ed argues the poor shouldn’t even be allowed to vote, writing that “Registering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.” The comments at the American Thinker are rather indicative of the type of ‘thinking‘ found in a faction of the American right.

Samples of American Thinker ‘thinking’

syrin23 – I agree completely with this article and have a simple solution to fix it. Every person’s vote is weighted according to how much they paid in taxes. Everyone gets a default value of one. So of that evil CEO paid $750,000 in taxes, his vote would be the equivalent of 750,000 voters who paid nothing.

PattyMor – Not only we have representation without taxation; we also have representation without citizenship. Luis Guiteriz(sic) is their champion and La Raza is their non-profit money generating scheme and advocate. Since there weren’t enough U.S. citizens to sign up for welfare, they began importing them.

Wayward Son – One person one vote is a recipe for political suicide and the Communist’s dream.

In other words “Democracy is for those who agree with me – all those others, Fuck ’em!

One of the ways being implemented to make it more difficult for the poor to vote, is the requirement for new state-issued identification. Owing to civil rights laws passed back in the sixties, states can’t charge for these IDs because that would amount to a poll tax. Wisconsin has one of those new ID laws but recent news reports have revealed that the state has sent a notice to all offices issuing IDs that workers are not to volunteer information about the free IDs available. One state worker has already been fired because he had sent out emails to friends about the order from on high.

Refuting the “50% don’t pay taxes” Canard

An excellent refutation (complete with data and charts, something not often found in the babblings of those who make the claim about non-paying Americans) of the statement that “50% of Americans pay no taxes!” may be found at fayfreethinkers.com

You Can’t Just Be Against the President: says Jeb Bush

from PBS NewsHour

“I think the president means well, but his policies have failed, and to point that out — nothing wrong with that. That’s politics,”

Jeb Bush

So Jeb plays nice guy but in this talk with Cavuto on FoxNews, he makes the big statement that the eventual Republican nominee will run on – “The President’s policies have failed!” Nevermind what the CBO and numerous economists have said about those policies: Without the stimulus and other measures promoted by the President and his Administration, such as the payroll tax cut which the Republicans want to end, the American economy would be in far worse condition.

Two problems for the President – One, the economy was much closer to depression than anybody knew back in Jan 2009 and therefore the stimulus was less than conditions called for. Number Two, and perhaps more important, the President does not appear to like being confrontational. No matter what rightie pundits and pols say about Obama “constantly attacking” them and their ideas, reality says he has not fought back as strongly as the American public wanted to see in their President.

Graph of US GDP 2000 - 2010
Is this a graph of ‘failure’? Please note that following the dip in GDP due to the recession of 2008-2009, the economy’s growth is now paralleling its earlier track. Yes, I know that 2011 has shown a decrease but one might argue the decrease is due more to Republican obstructionism than the ‘failure’ of the Administration’s policies

Mr Bush is correct though, in saying that Republican candidates must present ‘real’ ideas to the American public if anyone of them is to have a chance at beating Barack Obama in the next election cycle. So far, the candidates seem to think that attacking every action the President takes while constantly referring to God and American exceptionalism are sufficient – I don’t think so.

Deeper in the PBS NewsHour article we see a fine example of the Republican noise machine making up something. Using the technique known as “quote mining”, commonly found in the fight over teaching the Theory of Evolution, where a few words spoken or written by an opponent are taken out of context, thereby completely changing the meaning of the speech or essay from which the words were extracted.

“…the vice president has also come under attack from some Republicans for comments he made at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, which they say expressed support of China’s one-child policy.”

When one reads the complete statement by Biden, it is 180 degrees from “support of China’s one-child policy”

Biden: “But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”

The Vice President says he “understands” why China instituted the policy but he also says it’s, “Not sustainable” in a following sentence. Doesn’t look like he “supports” the idea at all.

Nice work Republican Noise Machine