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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

CHART: How The 1934 Recovery Benefited The 99 Percent, While 2010's Benefited The Rich


In 2010, as the nation slowly ground its way from Great Recession to recovery, 93 percent of national income gains went to the richest 1 percent of Americans. As Reuters’s David Cay Johnston pointed out today, this makes the 2010 recovery quite different from the recovery that followed the Great Depression, as then, income gains were widely shared by the population, not concentrated at the very top:

The 1934 economic rebound was widely shared, with strong income gains for the vast majority, the bottom 90 percent.


National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.

Just 15,600 super-rich households pocketed an astonishing 37 percent of the entire national gain.


... to have a healthy, growing economy with good job creation we need much more of the wealth to be distributed to the middle and lower income groups so a greater proportion of it will be spent. We need demand for more products and services if we are to see good jobs growth. Under these conditions the very wealthy will actually do better - if they are invested in the right areas. With a growing economy the very wealthy, invested in the right areas will do better than in an economy where most of the people are effectively peasants without much money to spend.

Taxpayers Underpaid The IRS By $385 Billion In 2006, Agency Says

We could help the deficit situation a good deal just by collecting the taxes that are owed us.

Huffington Post

{all emphases are my own_Bill USA}
WASHINGTON — People and businesses underpaid their taxes by an estimated 17 percent in the most recent year studied, failing to send the government a massive $450 billion that it was owed, according to an Internal Revenue Service report released Friday.

The study covered 2006, the most recent data the IRS said was available. The amount of underpaid taxes far exceeded the size of the entire federal budget deficit at the time.

After IRS audits and other enforcement efforts, non-compliance in 2006 shrank to 14 percent. That left the final amount of unpaid taxes at $385 billion, the agency said.


.... [font size="3"]the total of unpaid taxes in 2006 was larger than that fiscal year's budget deficit of $248 billion. [/font]

To bridge the deficit, collect some taxes - Reuters

At a time when the U.S. government needs every dollar of revenue it can get, alarm bells should be sounding in Washington about a new IRS study showing that the Treasury is losing a fortune to tax evasion.

The study, released last Friday, found that the government missed out on $385 billion in uncollected taxes in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has complete data. If we extrapolate the IRS’s assumption that the U.S. government only collects about 85 percent of total tax liabilities, the revenue lost by the Treasury in the past decade exceeds $3 trillion.

That is serious money–nearly equal to all the new federal debt incurred during the Bush years. And without tougher action against tax cheats, the U.S. government stands to lose trillions more over the next decade.

Many of the biggest tax cheats are wealthy earners. While most working stiffs–the W-2 crowd–get their taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks, business owners and self-employed professionals have lots of ways to cheat. And cheat they do: Unpaid taxes by businesses and corporations accounted for nearly half of the total tax gap in 2006.

Finally, Obama 'get's real' in talking to Repunks- GOP r "licking their chops" at higher gas prices

Obama accuses GOP of playing politics with higher gas prices - The Hill

President Obama railed against Republicans on Thursday for [font color="blue"] “licking their chops”[/font] and using a spike in gas prices as a political opportunity.

Appearing at the University of Miami in a high-profile speech on energy, Obama aimed to deflect the criticism his administration has received for its energy policies and for higher gas prices.


[font color="blue"] “Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically,” [/font]Obama said before a crowd of students.

[font color="blue"]“You pay more and they’re licking their chops? And you can bet since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling.

“We heard the same thing in 2007 when I was running for president,”[/font] he continued. [font color="blue"]“We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.” [/font]

Romney's Budget Plan: $6 TRILLION in Lost Revenue over next decade (Tax Policy Center) - USA Today

Romney's Budget Plan doesn't Balance

The Republican front-runner has shown no sign of producing a credible plan to "get America to a balanced budget," as he promised in his Florida victory speech.

Most editorials are accompanied by an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature that allows readers to reach conclusions based on both sides of an argument rather than just the Editorial Board's point of view.
Romney's fiscal proposals are only slightly less fantastic than the moon-colony plans of rival Newt Gingrich. Romney mixes massive and immediate tax cuts with smaller spending cuts, the biggest of which would be phased in over time. Collectively, they would make the deficit bigger over the next decade, not smaller.

Romney would make the so-called Bush tax cuts permanent, slash the top corporate income tax from 35% to 25%, eliminate the tax on inherited wealth and eliminate the tax on capital gains, dividends and interest for people making less than $200,000 a year. These and other tax cuts would reduce annual revenue by $600 billion in 2015, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. That would translate to roughly $6 trillion in lost revenue over the coming decade.

Manufacturing growth fastest since June; construction spending up for 5th straight month - WaPo

Washington Post

<all emphases are my own, Bill USA>

By Associated Press, Published: February 1

WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing activity grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.

<continuing, the article points out that other reports also show a strengthening U.S. economy:>

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose last month to 54.1 from 53.1 in December. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Consumers are buying more cars and trucks, while businesses ordered more machinery and other equipment. [font size="3"]That has driven manufacturing, which expanded for the 30th straight month.[/font]

Both new orders and order backlogs rose to nine-month highs. Increasing order backlogs suggest manufacturers are lacking the capacity to meet demand. That could mean more growth in production and employment in the near future, economists said.

the fact that manufacturing has expanded for 30 straight months is kindof amazing considering the great efforts of the GOP to down-size any and all stimulus measures offered by the President. They successfully used the threat of filibuster to get the ARRA downsized with tax cuts (for people worried about their job security, meaning such cuts weren't spent but saved or used to pay down debt - no stimulus power there). By forcing cuts to States they caused layoffs of State and municipal workers (e.g. policemen, firemen, teachers) reducing demand further which helped GOP efforts to protect the Great Recession from whatever stimulus Obama could get through Congress.

Romney says he created 100,000 jobs. But that is the Gross number. What you need is the NET number.

A current topic of discussion is how many jobs did Mitt Romney, through Bain Capital, actually create. Romney has cited Sports Authority and Staples as shining examples of job creation. (How Many Jobs did Romney Create at Bain ).

But just looking at the number of jobs created (in various cited companies) does not get you the right number. The only meaningful number is the NET Jobs Created. Now, if Staples or Sports Authority added x number of jobs their success and growth came at the expense of their competitors. While they added jobs, their competitors lost jobs (all of them if they went out of business).

If the Sports Authority and Staples were so successful it's because they beat out their competition. And this most likely means they were offering products of comparable quality at a better price (there is not that much of a service component to sporting goods retailing). If people were buying product at a lesser price from SA & Staples then that means they have some money left over to buy other things ... (more i-Pods, pizzas, or whatever). This increased purchasing power would then lead to additional sales and this could result in increased employment. But the additional employment would be based upon additional demand produced from the money consumers saved buying items at the SA & Staples.

So, if SA and Staples saved buyers, let's say 10% on their purchases, then you could make an estimate of the increased employment (this would require more data to make real estimate - but for purposes of making a point I will use a very rough guesstimate) based upon the amount of money saved by the SA & Stapes customers (and therefor available to make other purchases). {This of course, is complicated by which sector the saved money was spent in (retail food, electronics, etc).} I will use a great simplification of assuming similar levels of staffing relative to sales revenues for SA & Staples and for the companies that gained the sales from the savings enjoyed by SA & Staples customers.

Staples had about 89,000 employees at the end of 2011. Sports authority is now a private company but when they were incorporated the available information showed they employed about 11,000. So let's say 100,000 employees total for both SA & Staples. If these two companies were able to sell product for 10% less than competitors - let's make a guesstimate that the money saved provided additional sales which lead to the hiring of an additional 10,000 employees at various companies where the saved money was spent (this assumes a similar number of employees to retail sales revenues to that for SA & Staples - big assumption but this is just to make a point.).

So the NET increase in Employment was not 100,000 but a percentage of that number, something like 10,000 (assuming SA & Staples saved their customers 10% on their purchases).

But it's not that simple! If SA & Staples beat out competitors by underpricing them 10% - it's quite possible that that greater efficiency achieved by SA & Staples, would have been reflected in fewer employeers for dollars of sales for SA & Staples than for their competitors. That is, their competitors may have employed more people per dollar of sales than SA & Staples. So it's possible the jobs lost as competitors down-sized or were driven out of business was GREATER than the jobs GAINED at SA and Staples. If the competitors who lost out to SA & Staples were 10% LESS efficient than SA & Staples then the NET jobs gained could have been ZERO - because the competitors (if they were driven out of business) would have lost 10% more jobs than SA and Staples created. I am assuming of course, that the difference in total efficiency was also reflected, to the same degreee, in different staffing levels in the competitors and SA & Staples.

So what really produces increased jobs/employment? Well, it's increased total Demand for Goods and Services which leads to increased sales and the hiring of more people. Efficiency improvement CAN lead to jobs gained but it's not as simple as just counting the additional jobs gained at the winning employer. You have to look at the nubmer of jobs lost at the competitor employers. And taking into consideration the competitors who lost out to the more efficient winning employers, the number of jobs lost at the losing companies would reduce the number of jobs gained at the winning employers, perhaps for a NET jobs gained of ZERO.

If you want to create jobs growth, increase demand for goods and services. And the best way to do that is to see that the largest part of the population isn't losing ground in terms of earnings. During the Bush administration median income in the U.S. went down about 4%. This does not (and did not) bode well for aggregate demand for goods and services and thereby jobs growth. during the Bush regime, the net job growth was zero. (Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. Economy, Workers

Five Facts And One Big Lie: A Closer Look At The Oil Lobby's Keystone XL Jobs Claims

Five Facts And One Big Lie: A Closer Look At The Oil Lobby's Keystone XL Jobs Claims

Independent Assessment Found That KXL Jobs Would Create As Few As 50 Permanent Jobs

Cornell University Global Labor Institute: Based On TransCanada's Numbers, "The Project Will Create No More Than 2,500-4,600 Temporary Direct Construction Jobs." From Cornell University Global Labor Institute's report: "A calculation of the direct jobs that might be created by KXL can begin with an examination of the jobs on-site to build and inspect the pipeline. The project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada's own data supplied to the State Department." [Cornell University Global Labor Institute, September 2011]

Cornell: "Almost All" KXL Jobs Will Be Temporary - Permanent U.S. Jobs Could Be "As Few As 50." From Cornell University Global Labor Institute's report: "t is also important to consider that almost all of the jobs (direct, indirect and induced) associated with Keystone XL will, of course, also be temporary. The operating costs for KXL are very minimal, and based on the figures provided by TransCanada for the Canadian section of the pipeline, the new permanent US pipeline jobs in the US number as few as 50. The other operating expenditures (for materials, supplies, services, electric power, property taxes, etc.) would comprise the bulk of operating expenses and would also have some job impacts. So considering a broad range of spin-offs, operating expenditures would have job impacts in the order of around 1,000 per year." [Cornell University Global Labor Institute, September 2011, internal citations removed]

ThinkProgress Graphic Compares TransCanada's Stats With Independent Figures: The following chart from ThinkProgress compares the high-end estimate of Cornell Global Labor Institute's report and the TransCanada-commissioned Perryman Group's estimate:


One Big Advantage Republican Pres Candidate will have over Obama (the GOP's Catch-22)

The Republican candidate for Pres. can point out that he won't have Republicans fighting everything he tries to do. Not that any Republican candidate will do anything constructive to help the country (their objective is to set up a Corporate Feudalist system), but this is the Republican promise (i.e. threat) of the Politics of Destruction: Don't elect us and we will do everything we can to keep your President from getting ANYTHING done (look at our record!). They will fight to continue this Republican Dystopia. Elect us and we won't fight passage of every constructive bill presented to Congress (of course, with them in control only senseless, destructive bills would be offered, so it's the worst kind of Catch-22 we could be confronted with).

Connecticut drops private for-profit insurers from Medicaid



Beginning Sunday, Connecticut will jettison its private health plans from Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program. Instead of paying the companies a set monthly fee to cover the health costs of more than 400,000 children and parents, the state will assume financial responsibility.

State officials say the companies, including Hartford-based Aetna, did not fulfill their promise of lower costs and better care.


...Oklahoma moved away from private plans in 2005, and officials there say they have no regrets. "While achieving very encouraging marks in both member satisfaction and quality, the cost per member has grown at a very low average annual rate of 1.2% over the last five years," says Mike Fogarty, Oklahoma's Medicaid director.


... state reports found the plans were spending too little on health services and published networks of doctors that were misleading because many doctors refused to accept Medicaid patients when "secret shoppers" called for appointments.

Easier for GOP to Rig Voting Than Win Elections Fairly

Easier for GOP to Rig Voting Than Win Elections Fairly: Voter Restrictions Based on Shoddy Evidence

To rationalize the "war on voting," Republican policymakers point to the scourge of voter fraud. The problem, of course, is that the allegations of fraud are largely imaginary, and GOP officials are really just looking for excuses to block traditionally-Democratic constituencies from voting.

But wait, Republicans say, occasionally there really is fraud. In fact, the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) released a report last week to document all the cases of voter fraud that have been prosecuted over the last decade.

And what did the group turn up? A grand total of 311 cases. Given the larger national context -- over 131 million Americans voted in 2008, for example -- that's an infinitesimally small number.

But as Julia Krieger explained, that's really just the start of the problems with the RNLA's findings.

"What's more, the RNLA is dishonestly representing their data when they describe it as "in the past decade": A quick gander at the website's evidence shows citations going as far back as 1997. Although they claim to have evidence of 46 states with voter fraud prosecutions in the last decade, their website only lists 44 states. For two of those 44, there are only examples from the 1990s up to 2000, bringing the state count down to 42. To be clear, that's eight states where they identified no instances of voter fraud in the last decade."

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