Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Last Call For The Nameless Bunch

Team Cheney's Rehabilitation Breakfast and War Criminal Fete, courtesy of Politico, was simply too much for Chuck Pierce to take as he righteously savages everyone involved in this festering mountain of stupid.

Its puerilty has finally crossed over into indecency. Its triviality has finally crossed over into obscenity. The comical political starfcking that is its primary raison d'erp has finally crossed over into $10 meth-whoring on the Singapore docks. Once a mere surface irritation, Tiger Beat On The Potomac has finally crossed over into being a thickly pustulating chancre on the craft of journalism. It has demonstrated its essential worthlessness. It has demonstrated that it has the moral character of a sea-slug and the professional conscience of the Treponema pallidum spirochete. Trust me. Stephen Glass never sunk this low. Mike (Payola) Allen has accomplished the impossible. He's made Jayson Blair look like Ernie Pyle. 
It's not just that TBOTP invited the Manson Family of American geopolitics to come together for an exercise in ensemble prevarication. It's not just that the account of said exercise is written in the kind of cacophonous cutesy-poo necessary to drown out the screams of the innocent dead, and to distract the assembled crowd from the blood that has dripped from the wallet of the celebrity war-criminal leading the public display. And it's not as though this was a mere interview—a "get" that could help you "win the morning (!)." In that, it might have been marginally excusable. No, this was one of Mike Allen's little grift-o-rama special events—a "Playbook lunch," sponsored by that noted mortgage fraud concern Bank Of America. There's an upcoming TBOTP "event" in L.A. that is sponsored by J.P. Morgan. I know what Mike Allen is, but I am so goddamn tired of haggling about the price.

And it gloriously goes on from there.  As Pierce reminds us, Dick Cheney happily botched 9/11, then used it to personally enrich himself and his friends at the cost of thousands of US troops, millions of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, and trillions of bucks.  The guy should be in a hole.  Instead, he gets meet and greets.

Dick Cheney is everything wrong with American politics, and Politico is everything wrong with political journalism.  Of course they deserve each other.

Kansas's Tax Cut Failure Is Complete

The New York Times editorial board takes Kansas Republicans and Gov. Sam Brownback to task for destroying the state's economy by literally creating a recession through draconian cuts to government services.

There was a windstorm of hasty excuses in recent weeks after Kansas reported that it took in $338 million less than expected in the 2014 fiscal year and would have to dip heavily into a reserve fund. Spending wasn’t cut enough, said conservatives. Too many rich people sold off stock in the previous year, state officials said. It’s the price of creating jobs, said Gov. Sam Brownback. 
None of those reasons were correct. There was only one reason for the state’s plummeting revenues, and that was the spectacularly ill-advised income tax cuts that Mr. Brownback and his fellow Republicans engineered in 2012 and 2013. The cuts, which largely benefited the wealthy, cost the state 8 percent of the revenue it needs for schools and other government services. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, that’s about the same as the effect of a midsize recession. Moody’s cut the state’s debt rating in April for the first time in at least 13 years, citing the cuts and a lack of confidence in the state’s fiscal management. 
The 2012 cuts were among the largest ever enacted by a state, reducing the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating all taxes on business profits that are reported on individual income returns. (No other state has ever eliminated all taxes on these pass-through businesses.) The cuts were arrogantly promoted by Mr. Brownback with the same disproven theory that Republicans have employed for decades: There will be no loss of revenue because of all the economic growth!

And of course, because the voodoo economics of Laffer Curve nonsense never work, the Kansas tax cuts failed spectacularly.

But the growth didn’t show up. Kansas, in fact, was one of only five states to lose employment over the last six months, while the rest of the country was improving. It has been below the national average in job gains for the three and half years Mr. Brownback has been in office. Average earnings in the state are down since 2012, and so is net growth in the number of registered businesses.

And of course the big reason why is that when you cut thousands of state government employees and put them on unemployment, they don't exactly contribute to the economy as much as they would if they were working.  America's super rich aren't exactly flocking to Kansas to enjoy lower taxes, nor are businesses flocking to the state when they know they're going to have a rough time convincing people to move there to take jobs when schools and teachers are being slashed to ribbons.

By the way, Brownback is having troubles in the polls due to this mess and he's sinking fast.  No surprise there as he's up for reelection in November, and Democrat Paul Davis looks like he's going to make Brownback pay.

A Turtle Selling Beachfront Property In Kentucky

Sen. Mitch McConnell tries to con Kentuckians and the rest of the country into thinking Republicans care about working-class families in a USA Today op-ed piece.

One bill I recently introduced with Sen. Ayotte, the Family Friendly and Workplace Flexibility Act, would help Americans better balance the demands of work and family by allowing workers to take time off as a form of overtime compensation. It's an idea that's tailored to the needs of the modern workforce, it's something a lot of working men and women say they want, and there's no reason not to provide a little more flexibility to working families. Another bill I introduced, the Working Parents Home Office Act, would reduce the hassle and cost of child care for working parents already stretched thin enough. My legislation would do that by changing the law to allow parents to write off a home office even if they happen to have a crib in the room. Currently, the law treats working moms and dads unfairly by disqualifying them from this deduction if they care for their child while working in a home office. So making that change is just common sense.

I've talked about this particular piece of nonsense before: the Family Friendly and Workplace Flexibility Act really needs to be called Your Employer Doesn't Have To Pay You A Dime For Overtime Anymore Act.  Here's how the scam works:  your employer can choose to give you comp time instead of overtime pay.  Your employer then decides when you're allowed to take that comp time, and then decides when that comp time expires.

So you work 44 hours one week, you get 4 hours of comp time.  Only your employer never has to actually let you take it, that's up to your employer. You could cash out the comp time, but only at standard hourly rate, and not overtime.  In other words, it suddenly becomes very, very easy for employers to pressure all workers into taking comp time instead of overtime, and then pressuring them into not taking that comp time ever.  Boom, unlimited overtime without pay.

How many employers do you think would love to have that option?  "Work overtime and take this comp time that you'll never be able to use or else" seems like a pretty great deal for the bosses and not so much for employees.

Of course the GOP House passed this bill last year.

Oh, and that other part, the Working Parents Home Office Act?  How many working-class parents do you know have a home office?  Because the tax burden of a home office is really the issue with being able to pay for childcare, right?

And finally, let's remember that Mitch the Turtle here voted against the Family Medical Leave Act, guaranteed sick pay legislation, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, things that actually would help families struggling here in Kentucky (and did when Clinton signed the FMLA into law).

This con game is what Mitch McConnell is selling, and the only thing between you and your boss getting you to work like indentured servants is the Democratic party.

Might want to keep that in mind.


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