Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last Call

What's Newt's play here?

Newt Gingrich slammed the House GOP budget on Meet The Press this morning, telling interviewer David Gregory that replacing Medicare with a voucher system was too "radical" an approach. His words were by far the harshest of any major presidential candidate towards Paul Ryan's proposal on entitlements.

"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," Gingrich said, calling the plan "too big a jump" for the country. "I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."

Gingrich has distanced himself from the Ryan plan in recent weeks, calling instead for a system that would preserve the current Medicare program alongside a voluntary, privatized version. But nothing he has said came close to the full frontal assault he unleashed on his own party's top priority in Congress. 

He later went on to agree with the individual mandate for health care featured in both the Romney and Obama plans, coming not 36 hours or so after suggesting poll tests for voters and calling Obama the "food stamp President".

So is he appealing to the Tea Party or is he telling them to screw off?  Because it seems like he's trying to have his cake and eat it too, trying to be a racist nutjob and a serious Washington candidate.  You can't be both, Newton.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

The NY Times fails at financial math.

Whatever the policy debates, households at President Obama’s dividing line might be wealthy, but that doesn’t mean they feel wealthy.

On a Yahoo message board, a poster named Mason, who lives in Manhattan with two young children, said his household income was $262,000. “I understand the need to raise taxes,” he wrote, “but I don’t understand why people like us are lumped in with millionaires and billionaires.” 

Andrew Ross Sorkin spends the entire article shaming you for thinking we can raise taxes on the rich.  People making $250,000 a year aren't rich.  Not at all.  We can't increase their tax burden!   Mean old Obama would make Mason pay higher taxes.  That's theft!  Throw the bum ou...oh wait.

The poster child for this story is a person named Mason, who live in Manhattan with 2 young children and reportedly makes $262,000 a year. Since the 3 percentage point increase in the tax rate would only apply to income above $250,000, or $12,000 of his income, Mason would have to pay an additional $400 a year in taxes.

This comes to approximately 0.16 percent of Mason's income. If he gets his entire income from working a 2000 hour year, then Mason will have to work about 3 more hours a year to cover this tax increase.

This is the equivalent of somebody making $25,000 a year having to pay an extra $40 a year in taxes.  We're told under no circumstances can we do this.  Oh, and PS:  President Obama slashed payroll taxes for all Americans...including Mason here.

The tax cut extension means big bucks for the super-rich. LeBron James, who makes $14.5 million each year, will save more than $600,000 in taxes for this year. A family making $100,000 per year will pay about $6,000 less in taxes than if the tax cuts had expired. The average savings for all Americans, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, is about $2,800. 

But if we make Mason pay $400 more after we cut his taxes by over $10,000, Mason will go Galt and withhold his productivity and America will disintegrate overnight. As a financial reporter, Sorkin should know better.  But that's not the point of the article, now is it?

Dear America:

"Isn't it great that we live in a country where destroying the American economy is merely socially and morally horrific rather than actually illegal?  Here's a long list of the truly awful things the main figures in the financial crisis did, and they cost this great country trillions of dollars and now you little people will have to spend the rest of your lives paying for it as we demand you must bear the brunt of the coming austerity cuts.  But really, if we had criminalized any of this, what kind of democracy could we call ourselves?"

--Roger Lowenstein, Bloomberg News

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

To prosecute white-collar crime is right and proper, and a necessary aspect of deterrence. But trials are meant to deter crime -- not to deter home foreclosures or economic downturns. And to look for criminality as the supposed source of the crisis is to misread its origins badly.

Taking an apple is illegal.  Taking an entire economy is free market capitalism at its finest.

And Oh What Heights We'll Hit

On with the show, this is it!

It appears that Bugs Bunny is about to be rebooted.  In a new project airing on Cartoon Network, Bugs and friends will be coming out in what is described as a "Seinfeld-like" sitcom.  Instead of shorts, there will be continuing storylines and (gasp) character development over a long curve.  Full episodes will cover a huge spread of characters, but center around the main cast.

This could be an epic fail, but I am intrigued.  It's taking a classic and putting a fresh spin on it, which can be the most epic failure ever.  However, it has the potential to be great stuff, and I miss my childhood pal. I am cautiously optimistic, and will blog an immediate review as soon as I catch the debut

It's No Wonder, After All

NBC took a pass on the Wonder Woman pilot.  There was some serious criticism of the choice for the leading role, and her costume.  The vinyl atrocity was bad, and I continue to hope that a future attempt brings Diana to life so we can enjoy her, not mock her.  It would take a lot to make a convincing story, but because she is a personal favorite of mine, I always feel a little excited when I hear of an attempt.

Better luck next time, guys.

Our Liberal Media Strikes Again

Steve Benen notes today's Sunday show lineup.

I promise not to do this every Sunday morning — it only seems like I will — but take a look at today’s guest lists for the five major Sunday shows.

* NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)

* CBS’s “Face the Nation”: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

* ABC’s “This Week”: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R)

* Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday”: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)

* CNN’s “State of the Union”: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former Bush administration officials Dennis Blair and John Negroponte

For those keeping score at home, that’s two Republican presidential candidates, two House Republican leaders, two Senate Republican leaders, one Republican governor, two Bush administration officials, and one Democrat.

Liberal media, indeed.

And I'm honestly surprised it's not another John McCain appearance.   It's not like the Sunday shows are going out of their way to represent the minority party view in Washington, either...because when Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House, Democrats were equally as ignored week after week.  Even in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats controlled Congress and the White House, it was still Republicans all over the Sunday airwaves.  The same is clearly true now.

A 8-1 ratio for any party is just ridiculous, but it's become the norm now.  You wonder why Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich are considered "serious" politicos in 2011?  This is why.
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