Saturday, August 27, 2011

5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution -- 'Cuddly' Libertarian Has Some Very Dark Politics




Paul first drew the attention of progressives with his vocal opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Coupled with the Texan's famous call to end the Federal Reserve, that somehow rendered him, in the eyes of the single-minded, the GOP's very own Dennis Kucinich. Throw in Paul's opposition to the drug war and his belief that marriage rights should be determined by the states, and Paul seemed suitable enough to an emotionally immature segment of the progressive movement, a wing populated by people with privilege adequate enough to insulate them from the nasty bits of the Paul agenda. (Tough on you blacks! And you, women! And you, queers! And you, old people without money.)

Ron Paul's anti-war stance, you see, comes not from a cry for peace, but from the deeply held isolationism of the far right. Some may say that, when it comes to ending the slaughter of innocents, the ends justify the means. But, in the case of Ron Paul, the ends involve trading the rights and security of a great many Americans for the promise of non-intervention.

Here's a list -- by no means comprehensive -- of Ron Paul positions and associates that should explain, once and for all, why no self-respecting progressive could possibly sidle up to Paul.

The 10 States With the Best Economies in America




August 26, 2011

The best local economy in the United States, by far, is the DC metropolitan area. Average incomes in the region top $150,000, more than triple the national average. The reason for Washington's affluence (or parts of Washington's affluence – the Capitol also has abundant poverty) is clear: while the rest of the economy is facing a crisis in demand as a result of high unemployment and stagnant wages in the private sector, the Capitol, in classic Keynesian style, is making up for it with plenty of public spending, which has skyrocketed since 9/11 – defense and homeland security contractors, and other firms providing goods and services to the government are flush.

It's the same model that got us out of the Great Depression, but in this age of austerity, Washington isn't spreading enough public dollars around to help those of us living in the 50 states. Even so, not all states have seen the same kind of economic pain since the Great Recession began. Here are 10 that are doing pretty well, with relatively low unemployment, fewer homes in foreclosure, decent wages and a large share of their populations enjoying health insurance. It's not a comprehensive analysis of the thousands of economic metrics one might examine, but it does provide a handy snapshot of some of the states that are weathering the storm fairly well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Warren Buffett: "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich"


He reminds us that as recently as the '80s and '90s, taxes were much higher for the wealthiest in America. And, in one of my favorite pair of sentences in his piece, he states, “I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.”

By WARREN E. BUFFETT New York Times Op-Ed August 15, 2011 …While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans strug

By WARREN E. BUFFETT
New York Times Op-Ed
August 15, 2011
…While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent…
weve been conned