Thursday, December 13, 2012

Last Call

And Johnny Volcano and Team Volcano score a win, finally forcing Ambassador Susan Rice to withdraw her nomination.  President Obama's remarks:

Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State. For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant. As my Ambassador to the United Nations, she plays an indispensable role in advancing America’s interests. Already, she has secured international support for sanctions against Iran and North Korea, worked to protect the people of Libya, helped achieve an independent South Sudan, stood up for Israel’s security and legitimacy, and served as an advocate for UN reform and the human rights of all people. I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team, carrying her work forward on all of these and other issues. I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come, and know that I will continue to rely on her as an advisor and friend. While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.

Translation:  you win this round, McCain.  I'm still President.

The plan to force the President to nominate John Kerry in order to force a special election to get Scott Brown into office continues apace. I guarantee you only Kerry will be allowed through the gauntlet now.

So much fail.  And to be certain, putting "that one" in his place must feel really good to old, bitter, awful McCain.

Rice's explanation is here:

This was the right call, for four reasons.

First, my commitment to public service is rooted in the belief that our nation’s interests must be put ahead of individual ones. I’ve devoted my life to serving the United States and trying to mend our imperfect world. That’s where I want to focus my efforts, not on defending myself against baseless political attacks.

Second, I deeply respect Congress’s role in our system of government. After the despicable terrorist attacks that took the lives of four colleagues in Benghazi, our government must work through serious questions and bring the perpetrators to justice. We must strengthen security at our diplomatic posts and improve our intelligence in a volatile Middle East. Accomplishing these goals is far more important than political fights or personal attacks.

Third, the American people expect us to come together to keep our nation safe. U.S. leadership abroad is and always has been strengthened when we transcend partisan differences on matters of national security. America is seriously weakened when politics come first. If any good can come out of the experience of the past few months, I hope that it will be a renewed focus on the business of the American people — and a renewed insistence that the process of selecting potential candidates for high national security office be treated in the best bipartisan traditions of our country.

Finally, I have a great job. It’s been my highest honor to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. I’m proud that President Obama has restored our global stature, refocused on the greatest threats to our security and advanced our values around the world.

And so I fully support her decision. 

Meanwhile, John McCain's legacy now consists entirely of convincing the world that Sarah Palin was one of the most qualified women on Earth, and that Susan Rice wasn't.

Please proceed, GOP senators.

State Of Embarrassment

South Carolina continues to be the state that just quite hasn't figured out we're all laughing at you, not with you.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Thursday responded to Stephen Colbert's interest in filling outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint's seat. Haley's Facebook page posted: "Mr. Colbert, clearly a whole lot of people felt you needed a second look for U.S. Senate, and because I believe in doing my full due diligence ... this is what our vetting process came back with."

Oh, this is a good use of taxpayer money should be fun, right?

Stephen Colbert

I thought the Official SC State Amphibian was Lindsey Graham in a wet suit.  Go figure.

If It's Thursday, It Must Be Time To Cut Taxes On The Rich

The Wall Street Journal is complaining that taxes are just too darn high, and if President Obama doesn't lower them on the super-rich and especially on corporations, why we'll just have to cut all your hours to part-time status, peons.

High tax rates—on both labor income and consumption—reduce the incentive to work by making consumption more expensive relative to leisure, for example. The incentive to produce goods for the market is particularly depressed when tax revenue is returned to households either as government transfers or transfers-in-kind—such as public schooling, police and fire protection, food stamps, and health care—that substitute for private consumption.

In the 1950s, when European tax rates were low, many Western Europeans, including the French and the Germans, worked more hours per capita than did Americans. Over time, tax rates that affect earnings and consumption rose substantially in much of Western Europe. Over the decades, these have accounted for much of the nearly 30% decline in work hours in several European countries—to 1,000 hours per adult per year today from around 1,400 in the 1950s.

Changes in tax rates are also important in accounting for the increase in the number of hours worked in the Netherlands in the late 1980s, following the enactment of lower marginal income-tax rates.
In Japan, the tax rate on earnings and consumption is about the same as it is in the U.S., and the average Japanese worker in 2007 (the last nonrecession year) worked 1,363 hours—or about the same as the 1,336 worked by the average American.

All this has major implications for the U.S. Consider California, which just enacted higher rates of income and sales tax. The top California income-tax rate will be 13.3%, and the top sales-tax rate in some areas may rise as high as 10%. Combine these state taxes with a top combined federal rate of 44%, plus federal excise taxes, and the combined marginal tax rate for the highest California earners is likely to be around 60%—as high as in France, Germany and Italy. 

Except it's not, because of loopholes and deductions (and the lie about the top rate being 44% when effectively loopholes make it half that) and we're not living in socialist anything.

It's the same tired dogma of the Norquist age:  we can never raise taxes ever on anyone for any reason, because if we did, we'd have revenue enough to actually make government work.  Under no circumstances can that be allowed to happen on the GOP's watch.

It's like the last two presidential elections and the financial crisis of 2008 never happened.


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