Tag Archives: Economy

Free speech for some but not for teachers in NC

The North Carolina senate has a bill before it which would punish teachers if they wear red clothes in their classrooms. Say WHAA!!??!!

Though not explicitly banning red clothes, a teacher wearing red to school might be seen as engaging in a “political activity”… There is a campaign in North Carolina, Wear Red 4 Ed (public education)

What has created “the notion that promoting public education has become a political statement.”?

What else but a well-funded campaign from the right. There is some justification for vouchers which allow public school students to attend private schools but there is also the reality that some folks see vouchers as a money-making proposition — and screw the kids.

h/t to Crooks&Liars

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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.

Hope – stupidity in one direction canceled by stupidity going the other way

Ignorance of history goes a long way in the modern world. Most think history is irrelevant, others know it is important but what they think they know of history is often wrong. Far too often history is used to excuse actions taken in modern society.

MsMaxy74 has some ‘issues’ with the world she lives in, however the responses to her are just as full of crap as her video.

It does seem like there are lots of people who love seeing themselves on the internets, no matter how clueless they come across.

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

American Idiocracy

from the Economist

American idiocracy

The civil war in Washington, DC, is damaging American business

Businesspeople still enjoy huge advantages from being in America. Business is part of its DNA in much the same way that la dolce vita is part of Italy’s. America has a disproportionate number of the world’s most innovative businesses, from greybeards such as 3M to toddlers such as Salesforce.com. And Americans are to management what Brazilians are to soccer. After studying 10,000 firms in 20 countries, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and three other academics concluded that American firms are the world’s best managed, with German, Japanese and Swedish firms a short way behind and Chinese and Indian ones trailing badly.

A commenter to this article asked if the comparison of management styles was done within each country as his ‘personal’ experience had found that Americans in general didn’t do well in dealing with other cultures.

This ideological civil war has led to the marginalisation of corporate America. In the Republican Party country-club types have been elbowed aside by Rush Limbaugh listeners. In the Democratic Party the business-friendly centrists who flourished under Bill Clinton have been sidelined by Ivy League intellectuals and trade-union and minority activists. Granted, Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, looks like a made-for-television business candidate: a Harvard Business School graduate and Bain consultant who helped to create successful companies such as Home Depot. But on the campaign trail he has devoted more effort to wooing Mr Limbaugh’s legions than to crafting businesslike solutions for America.

The civil war is creating two obvious problems for American business: paralysis and uncertainty. The Obama administration is still pockmarked with vacancies because Congress refuses to approve routine appointments. Important trade deals have been languishing for months. The Republicans are fighting a war of attrition against Barack Obama’s health-care reforms and his new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

All this has immediate consequences for business. The federal government not only runs basic services such as the Federal Aviation Authority (where thousands of workers were briefly laid off because Congress refused to renew the FAA’s authority). It also accounts for a quarter of the economy. Scott Davis, the boss of UPS, the world’s largest package-delivery company, recently complained that FAA funding disputes made him unsure how many of his aeroplanes to fit with new air-traffic-control gear, while the failure to ratify a trade pact with South Korea weakened the case for expanding his fleet of aircraft and lorries.

The direst consequences of all this lie in the future, however. America’s health-care system consumes a sixth of GDP but produces only mediocre results. America’s schools produce run-of-the-mill results despite generous funding. The immigration system leaves 11m people in the shadows and condemns many of the brightest graduates of American universities to years of grovelling before bureaucrats if they want to stay in America. Many give up and take their skills back to India or China.

Kinda sad really. Corporate types rail about government intrusion and “excessive regulation” and then complain when government services are taken away.

American companies are sitting on a gigantic pile of cash; Apple alone has $76 billion in the bank. Why won’t corporate America invest in America? It does not help that domestic demand is feeble, and that the global economy is in turmoil. But American politicians deserve some of the blame. Their unpredictability erodes confidence. The gulf between American business and the Obama White House is growing ever wider, as business-friendly insiders (such as Larry Summers, an economic adviser) leave the administration. Even more dangerously, the gulf between business and the rest of the country is widening: opinion polls show that American businesspeople are losing faith in their country even as ordinary Americans are losing faith in business.

The ever-widening split between those who are doing better than ever and the vast majority of Americans is now being furthered by certain politicians with their rants against the ‘others’ – the ones who aren’t Real Americans, the ones who just want to kill babies, the ones who are sucking on government’s teats, the ones who don’t think the world was created 6000 years ago.

Why do some support this evil? For they think they too will one day be part of the elite – never mind the reality of ever decreasing opportunity in this nation.