Archive for the ‘capitalism’ Category

The Man Who Made His Accountant Cry

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Larry Ellison Loves Himself

What has 23 acres, an 8000 sq. ft. house with two wings, a guest home, three cottages, a gym, a 5-acre lake, two waterfalls, two bridges, and hundreds of mature cherry and maple trees planted among 1000 redwoods pines and oaks?

The $200 million estate of Larry Ellison, the $25 billion, 12th-ranking member on the Fortune 500 list of world’s richest asswipes. The one that had his aptly-named Octopus Holding company buy it from him in 1995 for a deflated $12 million. The one that just “earned” him a $3 million property tax cut based on a professed 60% decline in the home’s value vs. the 6.3% for an average home. An average home - the ones not being foreclosed on anyway - that is being over-assessed because the neighbors can’t pay their mortgages down at Loan Shark Larry’s Savings and Loan.

And the rationale for the cut? It’s even richer than Larry (and apparently God) himself.

According to his tax appeal, the behemoth bungalow in his private redwood grove suffers from “significant functional obsolescence” because there apparently isn’t much of a market for $200 million pimp cribs. He also says the 16th century Japanese architecture, “over improvements”, and “excessive landscaping” are too costly for mere millionaire to maintains, so gee he’d appreciate it if just give him a break willya?

The Woodside White Elephant
In other words, Larry builds a Japanese-bred white elephant that no one can afford to buy, maintain, or want to live in so the taxpayers now owe him $3 million for his foresight in building such an opulent slum. Or as a consumer watchdog group puts into perspective, “Three million dollars to Larry Ellison is the equivalent of $300 to the average home owner.” Oh, and just so you know we aren’t picking on poor beleaguered Larry, Bill Gates did the same thing several years ago with his Redmond, WA-based monument to ostentation, avarice, and greed.

It makes you really admire modest billionaires like Warren Buffett, who actually pay taxes.

But Woodside, CA town manager Susan George says the deal is on the up and up. “It shouldn’t make any difference how much money he has if the process is fair. We’ll miss the money. We always have good things to do with it.”

True enough, but that’s relatively easy for George to say. Cash-flush Woodside is usually the top or near-top median income ZIP code in the country. The rest of relatively affluent - but still within human understandingly affluent - San Mateo County isn’t so lucky. They have people who can’t afford to claim their E. Palo Alto, cockroach-infested apartment is worthless because it’s “significantly functionally obsolete” with a leaking roof and broken plumbing. BTW, East Palo Alto is the other Palo Alto, the one that’s not home to multiple multi-millionaires and Stanford University. The folks in E. Palo Alto suffer from a crippling crime rate and crumbling housing over there on the wrong side of the freeway - the side that isn’t protected by sound fencing like the gracious folks across the road.

Rich Shouldn’t Matter
In principle I agree with the town manager. It shouldn’t matter how much money you have. So I suppose Larry wouldn’t mind if his revaluation was the going 6.3% - just to be fair and all. I’m sure he won’t mind, because he could just recoup the money by delaying the painting of his yacht, the world’s largest. Or perhaps he could stop routinely violating nighttime noise restrictions at San Jose International for landing after hours in his private Gulfstream jet. He was exempted from the noise restrictions too.

Larry is well-known as the infant-terrible of Silicon Valley. He runs his company Oracle based on the principles of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

He regularly buys out any competitors, frequently in hostile takeovers - and grinds their successful products under his heel in order to buy new sails for his America’s Cup yacht or gas for his aerobatic team. At each hostile takeover, employees lose jobs to feed Larry’s Giant Maw of GreedTM. And it’s a hungry maw indeed. So hungry, that Larry’s accountants warned him several years ago to cut his fantastic spending lest he bankrupt himself.

It’s Tough Out There for a Billionaire Pimp
I guess $12 billion doesn’t go as far as it used to.

I’m a firm believer in capitalism, although I recognize its limitations if left totally unrestricted. I have nothing against people earning money. In fact, I don’t care if a person makes billions - more power to them. But if you make billions you also inherit some responsibilities.

One of those responsibilities is paying your taxes like any other good citizen of modest means without a buttload of full-time shysters to find boondoggle tax breaks. It also comes with a moral responsibility to not deprive others to feed your own hubris and greed. Don’t take money away from schools and hospitals simply because you can. It’s not a frickin’ game to see who dies with the most toys. Don’t lay off employees to get that quarterly bonus that’s just about equal to the money you “saved” by laying them off. I don’t require you to find the light and abandon your Marley-like stinginess like Bill Gates turned away from his once well-known anti-philanthropic ways. Hell, you can even illegally fly your jet late at night provided you pay buy soundproofing for the more modest home owners who will go to work exhausted tomorrow from a lost night of sleep courtesy of your (literally) money-burning flying hard on. In short, all I ask you to do is act like a normal human being instead of a shit stain in the crotch of humanity’s Jockey shorts.

In short Larry, stop being such an asshole.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

mature women having sex
Textbook Pussies-6 CD-1
hot ebony ffm dd
redhead young
piss lovers
masturbation techniques for men
male ejaculation pics
vaginal masturbation photo
hot petite lick
hidden toilet vids
sexcam sul lavoro
blond ass
forced gay
Latina Anal Heartbreakers
paying off student loans
sucking toes stories
devils own foot infantry
nylon feet sex
anal shit
extreme incest
nude stud factory
thick black chicks
birthday party teen ideas
grannys porn
fake celebs nude
bad girls short skirts
web sexcam
latina teens
ariel xxx
baby bottle fetish
gay muscle stud
woman with camel toes
cigarette girl costume
hard disk data recovery
pa zoo
fairy tribal tattoo designs
olsen twins hot
tight teen ass
ex-girlfriend oral sluts
hardcore videos
dog knot women
down south hustlers mp3
free mature hairy pussy
pressure treated tongue groove
pantyhose and nylon smut
just like facial flex
horny mom get banged
latex cosmetic sponges
throat tumors
Assapalooza-3 CD-2
animated teen chat rooms
olsen twins still virgins
sex machine plans
snake bite lip piercings
sex toys for women
quit smoking hypnotherapy philadelphia
stories about school spankings
midget cum anal
first anal pain
free hentai game
chubby college girls
pics of female rapper trina
big dicks little chicks
Other Peoples Honey
parents allowing body piercing and child abuse
extreme ping pong
ashley olsen naked
davinci’s notebook - enormous penis mp3
petite teen twins
free couples sexcam
anal oriental
drunk vip girls
xxx passwords xxx
big tits work
lesbian squirt bukkake
kid thong underwear
free adult erotic comics
rich little bitch lindsey meadows dvd previews
english hentai games
hack hp cm8060 blogs
erotic sex outdoors
b12 tongue vitamin
tattoo studios in paris
lesbian threesome orgy
top vagina
keira knightley breasts
joe cocker with a little help from my friends
chubby lesbian sex
panty hose teacher
wiccan tattoo designs
deep river mp3
My Wifes 1st Monster Cock-9 CD-1
birthday party for ninety years old
luxury dog beds
naked brazil
indian porn movie
milwaukee county zoo ala carte
pregnant wives
fifty first dates soundtrack
boys taking showers
double anal triple penetration
porn hand jobs
mature women licking young girls
schoolboy spanking
hairy strip
fucking machines beerandshots
for microsoft office home and student 2007 keygen
adult voyeur
black rape
gay movie download
squirting ass
officegirl bukkake
lesbian dildo fucking
filipina escorts
gay mature porn
fucking women
free porn websites
hot brunette squirting
paris hilton boob job
over the mouth gag
black gang bangs
young sexy teens
bbw phone sex
family gay
jizz swallow
lesbian white lingerie
hentai fuck
teens at the beach
male animal sex
chubby girls having sex
wife black cock
courteney cox naked
female apartment wrestling
huge tits teacher
tranny many
latex masks halloween
gay fat cocks
freckled boobs
brazilian porn stars
roll to roll hot foil label machines
student fucks teacher
from fist to last
disney penis
furry artwork adult
indian naked
boba fett toys
adult thumbnail post
orgasm dildo
hard gay dick
brazil firewall router block port
asian thong gallery
labanese gay chat
teen hitchikers
topless sunbathing voyeur
smoking zyban
nudist nudism beach girls
tattooed nipples
closeup pussy shaved cunt
big tits bikini
youn girl and big stud

tes post to see if spamming assholes have hacked our site

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

You piece of dung spamm sucking assholes

“Live Within Your Means!”

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Talk about mixed signals. This article is basically lecturing people about sticking to a budget. Of course it’s good advice, especially with the housing crisis, credit crisis, the tanking economy…

But a huge percentage of our economy is based on discretionary consumer spending. Where would we be without it?

Every year starting in late November, tens of millions of Americans go into a crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth shopping frenzy. They spend money they don’t have, to buy a bunch of expensive presents nobody needs, just so they can impress people they don’t even like.

And while this mad stampede is going on, millions of business owners are terrified — mortified. They’re scared shitless that this year’s shopping stampede might not be quite as frenzied as last year’s.

If everyone started living within a budget and buying only what they could afford, this country would go through cold turkey that no junkie ever imagined. It would’ve been better if this whole credit/debt concept had never been adopted. But now that we’re in this mess, what’s the best way to get out?

There was an excellent TV series a few years ago — American Dreams (2002-04). It was about an extended family in Philadelphia during the early 1960s. The father owned a TV store. One day another merchant was telling him about this revolutionary new phenomenon: credit cards. The TV store owner said “What, somebody’s gonna pay more for something just so he can have it now instead of waiting ‘til he can afford it? No way!”

[sigh] if only…

Now that more Americans are being forced to live within their means, maybe the government could try the same thing. Riiight. After all, credit and bankruptcy counselors have to lay out strict merciless budgets for their clients. If any item isn’t absolutely crucial — Ixnay! Imagine somebody telling our reckless president:

“I’m sorry George, you just can’t afford to invade any more countries. Look at this multi-trillion dollar debt you’ve run up. Look at this shit! What were you thinking??”

And while we’re at it, can we afford to keep spending billions of dollars on some asshole’s “Family Values” agenda?

“War on Drugs? Are you crazy? You’ve spent yourself into bankruptcy trying to enforce your “values” onto everybody else. Not one more cent for your Morality Industrial Complex. Nope, I don’t want to hear it.”

Why Spitzer Had to Go?

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Here’s another one sent to me by Chris – this time by my son Chris rather than my friend-since-ninth-grade Chris: http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/291.html As the link points out, the takedown of Elliott Spitzer for admittedly sleazy behavior, using what should have been confidential FBI information, took place shortly after he publicly pointed out the role of the Bush administration in creating the subprime mortgage mess by blocking the efforts of the state attorneys general to regulate lenders and investigate predatory lending. It sort of reminds me of the way Nixon used the IRS as his personal political hit team against people that made his enemies list.

George Bush (Brillant Master Of The Obvious) Says, “In The Long Run, Our Economy Is Going To Be Fine”

Monday, March 17th, 2008

No one ever claimed that George Bush has a powerful intellect. Certainly, you can’t expect more from the man who claimed a while back that we should “not misunderestimate” him. I cannot help but hearken back to that wonderful scene in the classic movie Animal House - where with the hoards roaring at him, the ROTC cadet yelling “all is well, remain calm” while getting flattened by the onrushing mob.

George Bush is so insignificant to the economy except for the inexcusable abuse of his administrations authority to get our country into this situation. His recent one minute speechifying is proof that he is irrelevant at this point in time:

9:40 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for coming by today to talk about the economic situation — we’ll be meeting later on this afternoon with the President’s Task Force on Financial Markets.

First of all, the Secretary has given me an update. One thing is for certain — we’re in challenging times. But another thing is for certain — that we’ve taken strong and decisive action. The Federal Reserve has moved quickly to bring order to the financial markets. Secretary Paulson has been — is supportive of that action, as am I. And I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for working over the weekend. You’ve shown the country and the world that the United States is on top of the situation.

Secondly, you’ve reaffirmed the fact that our financial institutions are strong and that our capital markets are functioning efficiently and effectively. We obviously will continue to monitor the situation and when need be, will act decisively, in a way that continues to bring order to the financial markets.

In the long run, our economy is going to be fine. Right now we’re dealing with a difficult situation and, Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you very much for your steady and strong and consistent leadership.

Thank you very much.

END 9:41 A.M. EDT

So, in the one minute it took George Bush to deliver his comments, has he been able to restore your faith in his leadership to deliver us from the mess he helped cultivate? Right, of course our economy will be fine in the long run. We recovered from the Depression right? It’s what’s happening right now that hurts.

Pretty soon, they are going to foreclose on the undelivered FEMA trailers and then what? Too bad George can’t think past saving his pals in big business. If he was so keen to screw the little guy by routing the Chapter 11 laws, why wouldn’t they have let Bear Sterns sink in it’s own sauce?

When it gets right down to it, we see the President and his staff doing the time honored W, Rove and Co thing, saving their friends asses, screwing the little guy, and then blaming some one else for the economy they delivered.

Q For people who are losing their homes, or losing their jobs, and then they see the government helping engineer this $30 billion line of credit for Bear Stearns, and help for other financial investment firms on Wall Street, how do you reconcile the two?

MS. PERINO: Well, the way I would answer that question is in two parts. One, this isn’t about bailing anyone out. These actions are intended, as I said earlier today, to minimize financial market disruptions. And investors in Bear Stearns are taking large and significant losses in this transaction. And that’s not what happens in a bail-out. They bought into a company, they took a financial risk — and it had paid off quite well for them a while ago, but today they’re looking at a stock that’s only worth $2. And the Fed, what they did last night, is try to provide liquidity to the markets so it would stabilize, and we could have orderliness in the system.

But I would also say that a major market disruption would have very damaging consequences and be very painful for everybody, from the small business owner to the homeowner, for everybody all the way up and down the economic food chain. And the goal here is to prevent a major disruption in financial markets. And the Fed is taking decisive action when necessary, and that is what they saw last night.

In addition to that, homeowners and small business owners and everyone across America needs to know that we’ve acted on multiple fronts, starting back in August — that was when the President recognized that we might be heading into some headwinds in the economy, with several different aspects of it. And if you look back consistently over those past several months, he has said that we needed to take some action. And over time, we proposed legislation, dealing with the housing market. We also worked with the private sector to help homeowners, through HOPE NOW, and then Project Lifeline. We supported legislation that would not penalize people for writing down mortgage debt when they did a refinancing. And that finally became law.

We haven’t had Congress act on one of the most important things they could do, which is Federal Housing Administration — changes in reforms that we’ve asked for. It’s been about seven months since the President first announced that, and Congress is now and again on a two-week recess, and nothing is going to happen.

But at the same time, back in January, the President said, when we worked on the stimulus package, that the reason that we’re doing that is because we could see in the future there could be a potential downturn in the economy. And so if things were to get worse, we would have a stimulus package in effect. We called that, remember, an insurance policy, a booster shot, that we said would take effect and have impact later in the summer. And the President and Congress were right to work together on that bipartisan package, because those tax rebates will be going out to people all across the country, including the homeowners that you talk about.

Q But, Dana, how does this square with sort of traditional conservative economic principles of limited government involvement in terms of, sort of, maybe culling the herd a little bit, letting the firms that are going to fail, fail, and thus more can sort of live on the back end?

MS. PERINO: Well, I would point out again that, remember, investors — Bear Stearns basically went from a company that was doing quite well to failure, and at $2 a share, I should think that those investors are seeing — feeling today the consequences of that risk in a marketplace. But I would remind you that what’s right for the markets and stability for the financial system had to be taken into consideration. And that’s what the Fed decided to do, is to act quickly, to act decisively, to make sure that we could provide what’s needed right now, which is stability and liquidity and orderliness.

And the Treasury Department is able to answer lots more of detailed questions, and the Fed certainly on historical questions in this matter.

Q But people who are facing, say, foreclosure, the individuals, the little guys who are facing a foreclosure are looking at the big guys getting government, if not brokered, certainly they’re overseeing deals that are engineered to sort of keep the big picture financial community afloat, and they’re saying, well, where’s my boost of liquidity?

MS. PERINO: They’re going to get that boost of liquidity in the form of a stimulus package and a tax rebate that’s coming to them the second week of May.

Q But that’s not going to save their houses.

MS. PERINO: The other way to help work on the housing issues is to take advantage of some of the programs that we have in place, to talk with HOPE NOW or Project Lifeline, for those who are in more serious dire straits, and also to work — for us to continue from the administration to call on Congress to finally take action on Federal Housing Administration reforms, which we think are necessary to help homeowners across-the-board.

But I would remind you, and remind consumers all across America, that the decisive action taken by the Fed yesterday was precisely to prevent long-term economic harm to everybody in the United States, including, as you said, the little guy.

Right, so they are suggesting the 300 or 800 so dollars you and I get are the equivalent of the multi-billion dollar bail out of the investment industry? Right. When was the last time Reagan applied strategy of “trickle down economics” actually worked to help leverage the little guy up out of an economic hole she or he didn’t create?

Uh Oh!

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Sure fire way to get the market to tank even further? Add President Bush’s sharp intellect to solving the fiscal woes of our country:

President George W. Bush plans to meet on Monday with top U.S. financial policymakers, the White House said, at a time of increased strains in credit markets and fears of a recession.

What’s that sucking sound? That’s the market drowning in corporate bail outs (read: corporate welfare) for the already rich (Bear Sterns ring a bell any one). Any one taking bets on if Bush will be able to fix this situation like he’s fixed Iraq?

We Don’t Need No Steenkeeng Record Companies

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

First Radiohead; now Nine Inch Nails. This makes two popular bands whose latest CDs were released online. They’ve completely bypassed the recording industry. There’s nowhere else for this trend to go but UP.

Another dinosaur is slooowly losing its grip. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of douchebags. The world is full of meanspirited amoral industries, but when it comes to taking a shit on the general public, the Recording Industry Association of America stands head and shoulders above the rest.

As you know, the RIAA has sued thousands of individuals. For the heinous crime of downloading music for free, they’re often sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars each. OK, so it’s wrong. But a $200,000 fine?

On top of that, the RIAA has virtually strangled Internet radio. Sky-high royalty fees — for which the RIAA is responsible — have forced a lot of webcasters to close down. Their new fees (retroactive to 2006) are proportionally much higher than those paid by large commercial broadcasters. It was nice while it lasted.

Record companies have also been catching it from Big Box retailers. Because CD sales have gone way down lately, Target and WalMart (among others) are setting aside less shelf space for CDs. And as fewer CDs are available in stores, the public will buy fewer CDs, stores will set aside even less space for CDs, and the cycle continues…

Personally, I probably won’t make use of these online CDs. I’ve never downloaded anything (but I listen to music on YouTube a lot). I’m one of those Luddites who has to have a solid physical record reel-to-reel tape eight-track cassette CD right in front of me, with a label that says “Name of Song” by “Performer.” (But I still tape music off the radio, which supposedly brought the recording industry to its knees in the 1970s.)

But as people buy fewer CDs and get more music online, the RIAA will ultimately go the way of the covered wagon repairman. It can’t happen soon enough.

What? Nothing yet on the Spitzer scandal? [Edit: I see I’m not the first]

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Very well then, allow me to be the first [Edit: I see someone beat me to posting on this.]. It is being reported that Eliot Spitzer, Democratic Governor of New York, has been ‘caucusing’ with some pretty high class and expensive prostitutes. When I say expensive, I mean in the $1,000 and $5,500 per hour, $50,000 per week-end range. He at least has the decency to avoid the “wide stance” style defense and is considering resigning. He’s made his apologies. Spitzer hasn’t been charged with a crime, yet, although, depending upon how he paid for the services, he could be charged with a crime worth up to five years in prison if he attempted to conceal the source and purpose for the payment, which I think it likely that he almost certainly would have done. The question is, what now?

Can he — should he — stay in office? Of course if he committed a crime, even if he’s not indicted for it, he probably will have to resign. After all, as chief executive for New York, he’s the guy at the head of setting policy for prosecutions and the administration of justice in the state. How would it look to have someone who committed a crime while in that position to stay in office. And, of course, if he’s convicted of a crime, he’ll be forced to resign or be impeached as I doubt he can run the state from his prison cell.

But what if he committed no crime? After all, presidents have engaged in sexual daliances while in office — Kennedy and Clinton spring immediately to mind but they certainly don’t exhaust the list — why should governors resign just because they’ve been caught in extra-curricular activities? Spitzer isn’t even splitting hairs over what the definition of ‘is’ is.

This also raises the question, peripherally, of whether prostitution should be illegal at all? The Libertarian in me says “No” but the Christian moralist in me says “Yes.” The ‘we mustn’t enact Christian morals into law in a secular nation’-ist in me says “I’m not sure that there aren’t sufficient societal harms involved in prostitution to keep it illegal even without questions of religious scruple but it’s possible that those societal harms aren’t mostly the result of its being illegal” so I just don’t know.

Anyway, what do you all think?

Total Control

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Twenty-five years ago I was sitting in a political science class listening to the professor explain how the extreme right and the extreme left end up in the same place - Totalitarianism. At the time I was taken by surprise. How could the extremists goals of two completely opposite ideas result in the exact same result?

From time to time that same circular diagram that that professor drew on the black board pops into my head. The diagram continues to remind me that moderation may be the best action with the most reasonable results. But, the diagram also has its subtleties. For example, are government interventions always bad? How much government intervention is too much? Can one side of the political aisle claim to be the party of less government? Isn’t it true that extreme conservatives will eventually demand the government to take control - like the Fascists of World War II?

Unless one is a true libertarian, which is a very small portion of the American electorate, Americans actually want our government to take some control. The argument isn’t really about more government and less government as the Reagan Conservatives claim. The argument is about which things the government should have a hand in. Religious conservatives want the government to control the culture. Fiscal conservatives want the government to control the working class. Environmentalists want the government to control those who feel they have a right to rape the heartland. Whoever believes in the law wants laws enforced by the government.

So, if most people want the government to intervene in some way, the question should become “What do we want our government to do?”

When we finally stop arguing over the false dichotomy of whether we want more or less government we need to begin to construct an honest idea of what we want a functional government to do. Then we can begin to move in a direction toward a solution that the majority can agree to.

Liberals and Conservatives already have many positions on many issues, and these positions suggest what the total function of government might be. The majority of Americans will agree that government needs to create laws the majority can agree to except to live by. But, what should the purpose of these laws actually be? Should laws be created to restrict the general population, because the general population can not be trusted. Or, should laws be created to restrict those who have power, because those with power can not be trusted? Or, should laws be created to empower the weak because they are at a disadvantage? Should laws be created to protect the weak? Should laws be created to protect property so that the wealthy will not be able to lose their property, even if they are careless with it? Should the government encourage or discourage risk and investment? In the simplified view, should the government control, encourage, discourage or ignore what we do as citizens in order to protect us?

I think that it is interesting to study the two paths in which extremists on the left and on the right eventually come to the conclusion that totalitarianism is the solution. Totalitarianism is type of government that controls all aspects of our lives.

Extremists on the political right are Fascists. Even though many conservatives of today claim that they want less government, they certainly do not want to do away with laws and law enforcement. If these conservatives truly believed in the idea of more freedom and less government they would be happy to be placed in the middle of some failed state like Somalia. In Somalia people are at the will of he War Lords that maintain control by force without law. In reality laws do exist, because the War Lords create their own personal laws to suite themselves. The power of force - be it military, monetary or religious is placed over those forced to obey. Many conservatives view the world based on an extension of this view. Leaders are strong and powerful and they enforce their will by creating rules enforced by power. Since this is the nature of the world the only problem with it is the way in which the rules and laws are created and enforced. If the laws could be created and enforced more fairly everyone could live in peace. Conservatives can see that the main problem is that many different leaders created many different rules and laws. If there were a way in which one universal system of rules could be created then our problems could be solved. Religious conservatives already understand that the problem is solved, because God has given us the universal guide to law. Not all conservatives agree to this. In fact fiscal conservatives believe that business should be free of law and workers should be made to conform to society’s needs. Fascists take the conservative idea of laws to an extreme where every possible law is created in order to make society run a smooth as possible. Whenever a problem is encountered, then a new law is created to fix the problem. If people don’t comply with the rule or law, then the penalty is increased until society conforms and becomes efficient. The government ends up taking control of every aspect of life.

On the other hand the left begins with the idea that workers should be able to live a reasonable life with very little constraint. Workers should be able to have the jobs that they chose to do and be paid a reasonable amount for the work that they do. Immediately we realize that there is a problem here. How can workers demand to be paid for doing a job that society does not need or want? If every person decided to run his or her own company we end up with all chiefs and no Indians to use a politically incorrect metaphor. One way to fix the problem is to demand that people are allowed to do this work and be paid to do it by law. Extremists on the left quickly find that the utopia must be created and fueled by the government. And, the people quickly find that they are forced to do work that the government needs to be done and they are paid what the government decides to pay. The leaders will continually explain that this totalitarian government is only temporary until people realize that what the government is forcing them to do is what they wanted all the time anyway. However, the future never comes and the government wouldn’t know what to do if it did come anyway. The goal ends up becoming creating rules and laws until society conforms and becomes efficient. Which means that the government ends up taking control of every aspect of our life.

So, in America we praise freedom and liberty as a check on either type of extremist. Freedom of speech allows us to question the extremists before they build up enough momentum to make all of the rules and laws that end up controlling our lives. Under the Republican controlled congress and the Bush administration our liberties and freedom were beginning to be stripped away. This is the first step in the direction of either extremist movement. Fortunately the election of 2006 was able to wrest away the congress from the extremists. Similarly, if the left were to begin to make laws restricting our freedoms and liberties another election would give some check to the right. And, once again we would see that the checks and balances of American democracy really does work.

—————————————————–

Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

The Price Of Economic Inequality?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

A report on the rising number of incarcerated Americans provides a disturbing look at the unspoken impact of economic inequality and the high cost we pay for perpetuating it. At the same time, during each election cycle, politicians from both parties accuse each other of practicing suspect fiscal discipline.

For this discussion, I want to look at the costs of incarceration in relation to providing universal health care as well as the Bush tax cuts. Time and again, the GOP points out the exorbitant costs that might be associated with providing universal health care. From what I’ve read, the plans being pushed by Senators Clinton and Obama are reported to cost 10 to 15 billion dollars annually. That’s a big expense…but before one concludes we can’t afford it, one must consider the burgeoning costs of incarceration and the distribution and impact of the Bush tax cuts.

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

NEW YORK — For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 - one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

So in the course of 20 years, we have increased our annual corrections spending by a whopping $38 billion dollars. That is roughly three times the projected annual cost to provide universal health care…health care that would help elevate the very people who are disproportionately represented in the prison population. Factor in the following data on the Bush tax cuts and one will begin to see the larger picture.

From MSNBC.com:

WASHINGTON - Since 2001, President Bush’s tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the Congressional Budget Office has found, a conclusion likely to roil the presidential election campaign.

The conclusions are stark. The effective federal tax rate of the top 1 percent of taxpayers has fallen from 33.4 percent to 26.7 percent, a 20 percent drop. In contrast, the middle 20 percent of taxpayers — whose incomes averaged $51,500 in 2001 — saw their tax rates drop 9.3 percent. The poorest taxpayers saw their taxes fall 16 percent.

Unfortunately, these percentages are deceptive. Let’s look at a practical explanation of what these tax cuts meant to the working poor.

From BusinessWeek.com:

Imagine you are a waitress, married, with two children and a family income of $26,000 per year. Should you be enthusiastic about the tax cuts proposed by President Bush? He certainly wants you to think so. He uses an example of a family like yours to illustrate the benefits of his plan for working Americans. He boasts that struggling low-income families will enjoy the largest percentage reduction in their taxes. The income taxes paid by a family like yours will fall by 100% or more in some cases. This is true–but highly misleading.

President Bush fails to mention that your family pays only about $20 a year in income taxes, so even a 100% reduction does not amount to much. Like three-quarters of working Americans, you pay much more in payroll taxes–about $3,000 a year–than in income taxes. Yet not a penny of the $1.6 trillion package of Bush tax cuts (in reality, closer to $2 trillion over 10 years) is used to reduce payroll taxes. Moreover, should your income from waitressing fall below $26,000 as the economy slows, your family could be among the 75% of families in the lowest 20% of the income distribution that stand to get absolutely zero from the Bush plan.

The President claims that the “typical American family of four” will be able to keep $1,600 more of their money each year under his plan. Since you won’t be getting anything like that, you might be tempted to conclude that your family must be an exception. Not really. The reality is that the President’s claim is disingenuous. Eighty-nine percent of all tax filers, including 95% of those in the bottom 80% of the income distribution, will receive far less than $1,600.

In other words, when a 100% tax cut is the equivalent of $20.00, a family of four might be able to translate that twenty dollars into a meal at McDonalds…one time in 365 days. On the other hand, if one is lucky enough to be in the top one percent (those with $915,000 in pretax income…and first class health care) of earners and receive a 20% tax reduction, I suspect the savings would buy more than one fast food dinner over the course of a year. The skewed advantages…and disadvantages…suddenly become obvious.

If that isn’t bad enough, let’s return to the costs of incarceration and look at future cost projections.

From The New York Times:

By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

In less than four years, we will spend another $25 billion annually (more than enough to pay for universal health care) to incarcerate more and more Americans…the bulk of which come from the economically underprivileged.

More From The New York Times:

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are.

Let me be clear…crime is wrong…and it should be punished. However, we cannot ignore the factors that facilitate crime. Failing to provide opportunities to those most lacking in resources is also wrong…and it often leads to a lack of education and therefore a susceptibility to participating in crimes that are driven by poverty.

We have likely exceeded the point at which it will cost us more to punish and incarcerate those who commit these crimes of poverty than it would have cost us to insure their education, to raise the minimum wage above the poverty level, and to grant them the dignity and peace of mind that comes with knowing one’s family members can receive health care when it is warranted; not just when it is necessary to prevent death.

Instead, under the guidance of the GOP, we have elected to ignore the fact that 47 million Americans lack health care and to focus upon further enriching the wealthiest…all the while being forced to endure asinine arguments that doing so will create jobs and thus facilitate a rising tide to float the boats of all Americans. It simply isn’t true.

At a savings of $20 a year, millions of Americans can’t even buy a seat in the boat…let alone stay afloat by treading water in the midst of the steady deluge of ever more ominous waves. If the number and availability of life preservers continues to dwindle, we are fast approaching the point at which our society will collapse under the weight of the inequity we chose to ignore.

If that happens, it will be as my grandfather argued many years ago, “They can eat you, but they can’t shit you”. The cannibalism has begun. What follows will not be pleasant.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


Fish.Travel