Monday, 4/1/13, Public Square

close loopholes


by | April 1, 2013 · 6:00 am

21 responses to “Monday, 4/1/13, Public Square

  1. Last I heard we need to add President Obama’s picture to the ones who need to understand!

  2. Social Security, Present and Future

    (from the link): WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH SOCIAL SECURITY? The answer is a long-term shortfall. Social Security plans for solvency over 75 years, but because of demographic pressures and the weak economy, it is currently solvent only until 2033. After that, without reforms, it would pay about 75 percent of promised benefits.

    Meanwhile, the nation is having a retirement crisis. Even before the recession, people had not saved enough to make up for the loss of traditional pensions. The downturn and slow recovery have made things worse. Less than half of households ages 55 to 64 have retirement savings, and of those, half have less than $120,000. Many near-retirees also have lost home equity or a job.

    All that will leave most retirees heavily reliant on Social Security, which currently pays a modest benefit, on average, of $1,265 a month. Already, the majority of retirees — with annual incomes up to $32,600 — get two-thirds to all of their income from Social Security.

    Even at higher incomes, up to $57,960, Social Security is the single biggest source, accounting for almost half. Only the top fifth of seniors, with incomes above $57,960, do not rely on Social Security as their largest source of income; most of them are still working.

    Going forward, there is no escaping the reality that Social Security will be more vital than ever. To save it, we need consensus on direction and principles, among Democrats and across the aisle, along these lines:

  3. California: The liberal state that conservatives love to hate. Paul Krugman explains what happens when obstructionist Republicans are voted out of office and are relegated to a minority voice? California now has a projected budget surplus, in part because the implosion of the state’s Republican Party finally gave Democrats a big enough political advantage to push through some desperately needed tax increases.

    Lessons From a Comeback

  4. Wow, have you guys seen this?” It is behind a pay wall but if you click “no thanks” you can read it. It’s kind of going viral. Pretty much says it all about Kansas and how it has turned into Brownbackistan.–Probst-column

    If you have trouble reading it, I’ll copy and paste. It’s long for a post, but well worth it.

    • Yes, it’s long like PP said, but let’s just have it here to ensure everyone can read it. We can share scroll grease if we need to.

      Kansas 1861-2013
      By Jason Probst

      TOPEKA – The Great State of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013, after a long and difficult battle with extremism that became markedly more aggressive in 2010. The struggle left the state so weakened it could no longer fight against the relentless attacks by the fatal disease.

      Kansas was born on Jan. 29, 1861.

      The state is preceded in death by fair taxation, good highways, strong education, family farms, a good public parks and wildlife system, open government, neighborliness and belief in helping each other out, freely elected public servants, and political moderation.

      Kansas is survived by widespread poverty, low-wage jobs, high property taxes, pollution, poorly educated children, outmigration and rural depopulation, foreign land and farm ownership, lobbyist-funded legislators, chronic mistreatment of the disabled, a maniacal hatred of government and children who dream of living anywhere else.

      During its early years, Kansas played a pivotal role in the Civil War by staking out a strong progressive stand against slavery. Despite repeated raids from border ruffians, Kansas held firm to the belief of free men and free soil.

      Throughout its life, Kansas often aligned with leading progressive causes. William Allen White, one of the state’s most notable residents, once wrote that “if it’s going to happen, it happens first in Kansas.” That once was true. Kansas was the first state to ban the Ku Klux Klan, and the first to elect women to public office – one as mayor and another as sheriff.

      It was the birthplace of the populist movement, rising as farmers and ordinary people grew weary of the Gilded Age politics of the late 1800s and early 1900s that favored investment interests over those of landowners and laborers.

      Kansas was a leader in public education, with one-room school houses dotting the plains. A full 12 years before it was a national concern, Kansas established child labor laws that restricted employment of children in potentially dangerous industries.

      In the 1950s, Kansas laid the path to civil rights for African-Americans with the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case – the first in the country to rule against a policy of segregation in public schools.

      Despite its compassionate nature, Kansas proved to be a state teeming with inventiveness, ingenuity, determination and a savvy sense of business.

      Cessna, Beech and Stearman helped establish Kansas as a center of the aviation industry. Coleman launched an international company from Wichita that became a household name. Pizza Hut and White Castle – two iconic eateries – both got their start in Kansas, and the man who helped establish the American automobile industry called Kansas home.

      Kansas’ history is filled with vibrant, dynamic people. Settlers who claimed land once described as a desert and turned it into the world’s garden; immigrants who came by the train-load and brought with them the hard winter wheat that germinated the state’s prosperity. Throughout the years, Kansans endured drought, grasshopper plagues, depression and fierce weather, yet its people worked to hold tight to their land and the belief that there was goodness in Kansas. In spite of those hardships, the state produced world-renowned artists, writers, inventors, business leaders, astronauts, even a president.

      Kansas was a strong-willed state whose hands were calloused enough to turn up the hardest sod and tender enough to calm a crying child.

      Despite its strength and vitality, Kansas couldn’t survive the influences of outside political machines that sought to use this fertile ground and its people as a test plot for an ambitious political experiment.

      The elections of 2010 and 2012 brought the poisoned pill that would bring about Kansas’ untimely end. The first election seated a governor who tossed aside Kansas’ storied history and replaced it with a vision of his own design. In 2012, record setting campaign contributions from out-of-state donors financed the defeat of those moderate Republicans who had spent the last of their political careers keeping Kansas alive.

      One by one, the things Kansas had spent a lifetime building were dismantled, until the state was rendered as empty and uninviting as it had been in those early days when the first settlers eyed its endless expanse.

      Along the way, the state’s defenders – the farmer, the laborer, the property owner and the shop keeper – stood mute and passive, hoping for a day when the state would spark back to life, as it had always done before.

      They remained silent too long.

      In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Policy Institute, or Americans for Prosperity all in care of Gov. Sam Brownback, Office of the Governor, Capital 300 SW 10th Ave. Ste 241S, Topeka, KS 66612-1590.

      • Thanks, Fnord. I debated how to post it, so I’m glad you posted the whole thing. Like I said, it’s well worth the read and is apparently going viral.

      • I went into to link PP provided and it was interesting to see the few comments that were obviously Brownback supporters.

        One had to attack this writer’s integrity as the ‘editor’ and asked why was he showing his bias …

        So….I see the GOP has not changed their tired old tactic of – attack the messenger when the message hits the particular nail on its pointy little head.

  5. RD posted this yesterday…..I think it is worth re-posting – don’t you?

    If you do not want to have your right to worship as you would do not deny others their rights.

    Funny thing – this simple logic does not apply to just religious freedom of worship – does it?

    This applies to ALL our rights – simply put by R.D. –

    if you want YOUR rights then do not deny others THEIR rights

  6. Robert Reich says:

    As we begin debating competing budget plans, regressives want Americans to believe the fundamental issue is the size of government, but it’s not. It’s whom the government is for. Wall Street got bailed out, and the biggest banks are still reaping a huge financial advantage by their implicit guarantee they’ll be bailed out if they get into trouble. But underwater homeowners are still in jeopardy. Big agribusiness, Big Pharma, and Big Oil all get special subsidies and unique tax breaks. Military contractors are already planning their post-sequester moves. The wealthy are the largest beneficiaries of the tax preference given capital gains. Hedge fund and private-equity managers still get their own “carried interest” loophole. The rich can deduct unlimited mortgage interest on mansions as well as second and third mansions, while a majority of Americans now rent their homes and have no mortgage interest deduction at all. The Medicare drug benefit is a giant give-away to the pharmaceutical industry. Social Security tax revenues continue to grow as a proportion of federal revenues while corporate tax revenues continue to shrink.

    Were we to rid ourselves of these special bailouts, subsidies, and tax giveaways, we could reduce the budget deficit and have enough left to invest in the future of our people (world-class education, infrastructure, and basic R&D). We would not have to do it on the backs of the middle class and the poor, or to the disadvantage of our children our seniors, but by placing responsibility on those best able to bear it.

  7. Paul Davis, Kansas House Democratic Leader, asks:

    If Governor Brownback’s income tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations were the “adrenaline shot to the economy” that he promised they would be, why are our only options “making major cuts” (ie, slashing funding for your local school), or hiking the state sales tax (ie, shifting the tax burden to you)?

    Brownback wants to keep higher state sales tax; Democrats say that proves his income tax policy isn’t working

    • If Brownback truly cared about families – then get rid of the sales tax on groceries.

      I’m tired of seeing from $5 to $10 in sales tax on my receipts..

      • I really don’t think a majority of Kansans are Brownback supporters BUT he has that little R beside his name, it isn’t likely a republican will step forward at the primary level and Kansans vote against their own best interests habitually, so I don’t see anything changing until he is term limited. That’s how stupid the majority of Kansas voters really are!

      • Are you of the same mindset that I am when it comes to Sam Brownback?

        I think Pastor Sam has planned to use the governor’s chair to bounce right up there to a possible V.P. pick for 2016.

        With any luck – Pastor Sam will bounce right off to that moon base that his fellow Catholic CON says he thinks the USA should spend OUR tax dollars to colonize the Moon.

        On second thought – I might be willing to spend my tax dollars to colonize the moon on one condition…

        ALL the CONservative Right Wingers be given a one-way pass…….

        NOW that would be money well spent..

      • And, Fnord, to your comments, the Kansas Democratic Party has no one to run against Pastor Sam. They can’t find their asses with a map, a flashlight, and both hands. They have invested more in running off party activists than they have in developing talent or a “bench” to run for future office. The strategy of “Everything for Sebelius, Paul Davis, and Anthony Hensley and nothing for anyone else” is showing its results. It is finally coming to fruition. And does the KDP care? Hell no. The above mentioned people have gotten theirs and they don’t give a damn about the part, the state, or YOU!

  8. David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, slammed Bush and his former boss in an op-ed in The New York Times Sunday. Stockman argued in the piece that Reagan’s view on the deficit “created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge.”

    “(Reagan’s deficit policies) allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy,” Stockman wrote.

    He didn’t leave out either President Obama or Congress in his critique either. In fact, he attacks lawmakers, Federal Reserve and Treasury officials and Wall Street for a combination of easy money and deficit expanding policies that he argues will lead to another Wall Street bubble explosion in the near future.

    Bush isn’t the only Republican leader to draw Stockman’s ire in recent months, though. During the 2012 presidential election, Stockman called Republican candidate Mitt Romney “a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses…” He also attacked Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s budget, arguing that it was “devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.”


    • I’ve often wondered…..did Reagan know what he was doing to the country when he pushed his trickle-down crappola?

      I remember Chris Matthews asking Ron Reagan Jr if his father really believed in the trickle-down economics..

      Ron Reagan Jr looked like he was taken back by the question but then he had a slight chuckle in his voice and said something to the effect that ‘he must have’ …

      Is it possible that Reagan truly thought if the wealthy got more money then they would feel the compassion to share their good forture?

      If this was the case – then Reagan was a damn fool…….

      There are not too many cases where a wealthy person gets more money and then suddenly finds a beating heart somewhere in his chest…..

      More times than not – getting more money just creates more greed..

      Then you throw in these Corporate Churches – which Reagan was also the fool that let that happen to the inner circle of the GOP.

      • IMHO – Mitt Romney was the classic example of greed …..of course, covered in that cloak of his deep-rooted religious beliefs.

        Well….come to think of it…..the Mormon Church could qualify as a Corporate Church – IMHO

      • Sometimes I wonder if we might finally have a better idea of when Reagan’s illness began after Nancy dies.

      • You may be correct – fnord.

        Ron Reagan Jr also said that his father’s Alzheimers disease was prevalent in his later years in the White House – but according to other published reports, the disease did not really present itself until AFTER Reagan left office.

        Wait a minute…..wasn’t Dick Cheney also in the Reagan bunch? I wonder how much influence did ol’ Dickie have during those years?

        Nancy Reagan seems to me to be the type like my aunt when my paternal grandmother died from cancer. My aunt told everyone in our small suburb that Grandma died from her diabetes.

        You see, my aunt viewed cancer as ‘one of those diseases’ and didn’t want to admit that cancer ravaged my grandmother’s vital organs one by one. ‘

        By the time she died, cancer had metasacized itself and she had lost more than 100 lbs in 6 months.

        Diabetes does not usually do that your a body…and, besides, everybody knew what was going on – and felt compassion.

        But, for some reason, my aunt viewed cancer as something to be ashamed of…..and thought people would judge grandma ..

        I didn’t understand my aunt’s thinking at the time…..and I still don’t understand it……and it’s been about 30 years ago ..

        Maybe some people just don’t want to face the truth??

      • correction: Grandma died about 20 years ago …… this was the grandma that would wrinkle up her face and say that she did not like Reagan when was a player, so why would she want him as her president.

        Grandma …she was a hoot…