Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chris Christie Thinks His Half Million Dollar Income Doesn't Make Him "Wealthy"

Well this should be fun when it starts making the rounds on the internets:

Gov. Chris Christie insists he's not rich, but is nonetheless confounded by the complexity of his tax returns and again hinted that he might back a simplification of the U.S. income tax code should he run for president.

"The fact that my wife and I, who are not wealthy by current standards, that we have to file a tax return that's that thick ... is insane," Christie told the editorial board of the Manchester Union-Leader on Monday, holding his thumb and forefinger several inches apart.

"We don't have nearly that much money," he said.
 So how not nearly that much money does Christie actually have?

The Christie family reported $698,838 in income on their 2013 tax returns, the most current year available.

Only eight-tenths of one percent of all U.S. households had an adjusted gross income over $500,000 in 2015, according to the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan think-tank based in Washington.

Poor guy. He's only a mere semi-millionaire. Someone should start a GoFundMe page for him.

How does the Governor compare against the people in the state he serves?
In New Jersey, the Christies are also in a rarified strata: According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income for the state of New Jersey between 2009 and 2013 was $71,629. The Christies most recently-reported income in 2013 is more than eight times that amount.

"If the Christies had an adjusted gross income of almost $600,000, they're certainly in the top 1 percent," said Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center.

Only  eight times more than the median household income in New Jersey? Come on, like that's even worth mentioning.

Chris Christie may not see himself as "wealthy", but he knows who actually are. This apparantly includes people on social security making more than $80,000/yr. and families earning under $28,665/yr.

The governor seems to have rather unfortunate timing, as Republicans recently have concocted the genius idea to attack Hillary Clinton for supposedly being an out of touch, tone deaf, plutocrat. Oops.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ted Cruz Demonstrates Why The Healthcare Debate Has Been Wrapped In a Mobius Strip of Idiocy

I've been meaning to comment on this exchange between CNBC's John Harwood and Ted Cruz that took place last week:

Harwood: Now, a third Texas president, L.B.J., created Medicare in the mid-'60s. Your hero, Ronald Reagan, campaigned vigorously against that, saying it would lead to socialized medicine, it would end liberty in the United States. Who was right, L.B.J. or Reagan?

Cruz: ​You know, at the end of the day— it's not worth tilting at windmills. And we are at a different point in time than we were in the 1960s. Today, Medicare is a fundamental bulwark of our society.  And there is an entire generation of s—
 
Harwood: ​So, the philosophical objection just goes out the window?

Cruz: ​At the— I'm— I'm a big believer at focusing on battles that matter and that are winnable. And there is a broad, universal consensus that Medicare is a fundamental bulwark of our society that's fundamentally different. Look, it's one thing to have asked 50 years ago should we have created it. It's another thing when you have a generation of seniors who paid into it 30, 40, 50 years who have been made promises. We need to honor those promises—

Harwood: Fair enough. But—

​​Cruz: ​—and— and— and—

​​Harwood: ​—do you think at the time Reagan as right?

​​Cruz: You know, I don't know. I wasn't alive then. What I do know is that today, we have got to preserve and reform Medicare.

Most political commentators  have zeroed in on  that last line from Cruz. But while that comment was no doubt breathtakingly stupid, it is, amazingly enough, not the most idiotic thing he's said during that exchange.

Ted Cruz, like every Republican politician in the country, hates Obamacare, and has vowed to repeal every word, if given the chance. Why? Because he and his ilk, are ideologically opposed to the idea of "government run" healthcare. Sure, Obamacare, as it was crafted, doesn't result in the government actually delivering healthcare, and mainly relies on private insurers to do most of the work, but even that's a bridge too far for Calgary Cruz.

Which makes his comments on medicare all the more interesting/moronic.

Cruz says that there's a "broad, universal consensus" that medicare is "a fundamental bulwark of our society". Why is this a problem? Because medicare just happens to be one of those wretched, awful, anti-freedom government programs that Cruz absolutely loathes. To be clear, it's not just a government-run program like Obamacare. In fact, it's far, far worse.

As mentioned earlier, Obamacare relies mainly on private insurance providers. Private. Medicare, by contrast, is entirely administered by the government. You know, the same government that conservatives are supposed to hate? Yeah, that's the same one that handles this wonderful medicare program that Cruz thinks is a "fundamental bulwark of our society".

I can already predict the rebuttals that will no doubt be flooding the comments section. "Medicare is completely different! People spent their entire lives paying for it, and should be able to reap the benefits as they had no choice in the matter!". This is true. It's also completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

Right-wingers like Cruz aren't just making the argument that the free market can deliver better quality healthcare at lower cost. They are making the argument that government involvement in healthcare (or really almost anything else for that matter) is not only inefficient, but immoral, and evil. Indeed, prominent conservatives have literally argued that government-run health care will lead to genocide!

If Republicans had any internal consistency, you'd see people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, etc. vowing to repeal every word of medicare, considering it's a far more liberal, and therefore, far more of a socialist monstrosity than Obamacare. Instead we have a situation where Ted Cruz is actually falling over himself to defend this wretched creature spawned from the Great Society. Hell, during the last election, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan performed an impressive feat of Rovian political jiu-jitsu by attacking the socialist tyrant, Obama as the true enemy of medicare!

This is the state of our national healthcare debate.

George Will Fudges Reagan's Economic Record

Last week, George Will appeared on Fox News Sunday, and said something that was particularly absurd. It turns out that March's employment numbers weren't exactly impressive, with the economy gaining a mere 126,000 jobs. Commenting on it, Will had this to say:

“Let your mind go back to November last year. There was job creation of 321,000 jobs and the administration said this is a miraculous achievement and a harbinger of things to come. It wasn’t a harbinger and it wasn’t miraculous. During the Reagan recovery there were 23 months of job creation over 300,000. Reagan had a month of job creation of 1 million and this was at a time when there were 75 million fewer Americans.”

Unfortunately, that claim wasn't exactly true. Well, technically it was true, but as is the case when dealing with conservatives, very misleading. Over one million jobs were definitely created in September of 1983, but if you look at the jobs numbers the month before that, you'll find something interesting:



As Brother Benen at the Maddowblog pointed out:

If you check with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and take a look at the monthly job totals from 1983, you’ll see something interesting: the U.S. economy, the data shows, lost over 300,000 jobs in August 1983, only to then add over 1 million jobs literally the next month, in September 1983. If something about this sounds fishy to you, trust your instincts.
Indeed. As Business Insider further explained:

So, sadly for the Reagan zealots, President Reagan, his economy, his tax cuts, his supply-side economics, etc., etc., never produced one million jobs in one month, or anything close to it. It was a simple matter of striking communications workers dinging the payroll numbers one month and, upon their return, goosing them the next. Nothing more, nothing less. Could not be more straightforward.
 
If you look at the data, the following month, the numbers of jobs added went all the way down to 271,000 jobs. Not that that's a bad number or anything, but the point being is that if we're supposed to credit the explosion in job growth in September to Reagan's economic policies, then the question arises, what happened to bring that number down so much? 

The answer is of course, nothing. It was a one time anomaly and Reagan hadn't had anything around the same ballpark before or after. The second highest month of job growth he had was in October 1987, at 492,000 jobs. Definitely a good number, mind you, but far from over 1 million.

The entire so-called Reagan economic boom, while admittedly very good in terms of job numbers, wasn't some major benchmark that the country had yet to surpass. Job growth was more impressive under Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Yes, Jimmy Carter, who despite being the second worst U.S. president in history, presided over 10 million jobs in term, as opposed to Reagan who presided over nearly 16 million in two terms. For those of you keeping score, that's a higher rate of growth under Carter than Reagan.  And of course, Bill Clinton presided over 23 million jobs over his two terms.

Also (and this is really important), both Clinton and Carter did so without the power of REAGANOMICS. Carter dealt with a 70%+ top margical tax rate all throughout his presidency, and Clinton enacted, at the time, one of the largest tax hikes in recent memory. Yet somehow they were both able to keep up with and even surpass Ronaldus Magnus' job growth. How in the world can such a thing be possible?

Finally, let me just say that while March's numbers aren't anything to brag about, but 1) we've still had 59 straight months of private sector job growth, and 2) we should probably wait to see if this is the beginning of a trend, or was just a one off thing. After all, even the Gipper had several months of unimpressive growth as well (there were seven months after the recovery began that had job growth under 150,000).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blogging's Been a Little Light, I'll Admit...

Sorry for being gone for the past few weeks. Had to deal with some personal issues, sadly. But hopefully I'll start posting regularly starting today.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sheriff Mack Says He's Not A Beggar, But He WILL Take Your Money, Thank You Very Much

The hits keep coming from freeloading freedom lover, Sheriff Mack. As I posted the other day, the Sheriff hates the idea of socialism, including things like social security, but will happily collect checks from said socialist program because it's "his" money. Now, Mack churned out this gem from a recent interview with liberal radio host, Thom Hartmann:



"Yes, we have some very serious medical problems.  and no, I did not go begging in the streets or begging on GoFundMe or any place else."

Now technically, he is correct. Mack didn't set up the GoFundMe page. That was done by some of his friends and his son.

Does this mean that Mack will be refusing all the money that's been collected so far on his behalf? Haha, of course not. At the end of the interview, the Sheriff directs "liberals" to go to his GoFundMe page and help him out. This is what's considered "self-reliance" among conservatives.

Hate to break it to ya, Sheriff, but it doesn't work that way. Just cause you yourself didn't set up this GoFundMe page, and weren't physically out on the streets with a tin can in your hand, doesn't mean you're not a beggar. Begging by proxy is still begging. Especially when you're keeping the money raised by such dishonorable means. Why should other people be taking care you for your own health problems? Why is it okay for you to be leeching off of other people? Why can't you solve your own issues?

Not surprisingly, this is the exact same excuse offered by a RedState.com editor, who was in a similar situation. "It can't be begging if someone else is doing it FOR me!"

None of this should be surprising though. Conservatives bark the loudest when it comes to things like personal responsibility, self-reliance, and good ole' fashioned bootstrapping, but the moment they face any difficulty whatsoever, they are the first to solicit help from anyone else to bail them out.

Begging, like with every other negative thing in life, is perfectly okay, if you're a conservative.


POST SCRIPT:

Also, can I just ask what this moron is actually protesting to begin with? He says he's against Obamacare (obviously), but what the hell does that mean? Obamacare is not a product. You can't go to a hospital or pharmacy and say "I'd like to buy some Obamacare, please". Obamacare is a system that regulates the private insurance market. That being the case, if one "opted out" of Obamacare, that would mean they would have to opt out of buying any existing private insurance plan.

That leaves the Sheriff with very few alternatives. Either he keeps paying for all his medical bills with his beggar funds for the rest of his life, or he waits until he's eligible for medicare. Considering he seems to have very little problem with collecting social security, it seems he won't put up much of a fight when it comes to being forced to take medicare. Which in itself is even more idiotic because medicare is way more of a socialist program than Obamacare is!

Reminder: Rush Limbaugh Vowed To Move To Costa Rica If Obamacare Was Still Around In 2015

(A tad late for this because my computer crashed the other day and wiped away all my notes about important upcoming dates to keep an eye on)

Five years ago, conservative Godfather, Rush Limbaugh made the following promise regarding Obamacare:


"I'll just tell you this, if this [Obamacare] passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented -- I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica." 
Well, here we are five years later. Will Rush keep his word, and move to a supposed free market utopia that amusingly enough...has universal health care? Probably not, cause he's Rush, and as such, he never does anything that results in net positivity. But if by some miracle, he decides to follow through on his "threat", well, don't let the Statue of Liberty hit your ass on the way out.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sheriff Mack Hates Socialism, But Will Gladly Accept Social Security

Last week, Talking Points Memo posted this karma-tastic story of right-wing jackass, Sheriff Richard Mack, currently being overwhelmed by medical bills because he refuses to by health insurance on account of the President's cooties:

Former Arizona county sheriff Richard Mack, a fierce opponent of Obamacare and a leader in the "constitutional sheriff" movement, is struggling to pay his medical bills after he and his wife each faced serious illnesses. The former sheriff and his wife do not have health insurance and started a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations from family and friends to cover the costs of their medical care.

"Because they are self-employed, they have no medical insurance and are in desperate need of our assistance," reads a note on Mack's personal website.

Some of you may remember, the good sheriff was one of the few remaining patriots that stood by Cliven Bundy last year, supporting his constitutional right to kill any federal agent that decided to bother him for whatever reason. He came up with the ingenious idea to use women and children as human shields in attempt to make the government look bad should they have decided to open fire. Real swell fella, this one.

The idea of an anti-Obamacare dipshit being unable to pay for his own medical bills  provides a great helping of schadenfreude for liberals.


On Wednesday, Marc Lamont-Hill interviewed Mack on Huff Post Live. As you would expect, I, and many others, were no doubt interested to see if Mack had learned anything at all from his experience. Being a fanatical "constitutional" conservative for decades, however, it was a safe bet to assume the answer was "no":

"Socialized medicine, I don't believe was supposed to be part of the constitution of our country or its foundation.

...

We're not supposed to be a socialistic country.

I have bad news for the good sheriff. We've actually had socialized medicine (at least to some small degree) since the founding of the country.  So yes, we've been a socialistic country for a good while now.

But the best part of the interview was towards the end, when Lamont-Hill asks Mack how he feels about other socialistic programs like social security, medicare, and the VA:

"Social security is my money, and I want it back. But no, I don't support a federal government that believes it's there to take care of me from cradle to grave."
I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised Mack is willing to take back "his" money, despite the fact that it would be contaminated with government pathogens. I'd venture a guess that Mack would also be open to accepting help via medicare as well (which would be hilarious because both social security and medicare are WAAAAAAY more socialistic programs than Obamacare, but hey, who cares about minor details like that?).

I will give the Sheriff this much. At least when it comes to Obamacare, he does appear to be sticking to his principles by adamantly refusing to buy any form of health insurance.

But conservatives shouldn't celebrate Mack's courageous stand, just yet. There's another layer to this that needs to be pointed out.  See, conservatives like Mack love to mock and berate liberals for supposedly being moochers and leeches (as their most recent failed spokesman so eloquently stated). But now Mack himself is in the position of those he's despised.

But some may argue that, sure, Sheriff Mack may now an official member of the 47%, but he's only asking for voluntary donations. Thus, it's perfectly fine because thus nobody is being forced against their will to help him out.

Sorry, that argument won't fly. Whether you're begging for help from the government or begging for help from your "community", the fact of the matter is that you're still begging. Mack no doubt loves to think of himself as someone who solves his own problems, being a self-reliant, patriotic red-blooded American, but he's anything but at this point.

 "I don't want to be taken care of by Washington D.C. bureaucrats or politicians."

No, of course not. He wants to be taken care of by private citizens who feel sorry for him. That's how all real bootstrappers handle things, after all. And it seems he'll be relying on the kindness of friends and strangers for the next two years until he becomes eligible for (and accepts) that horrid socialized health care program we call medicare.

An almost identical situation happened with Caleb Howe, an editor for Redstate.com a couple of years ago, which I wrote about. And just like Sheriff Mack, he hated Obamacare with a passion, and wound up begging people to help out with his medical bills, and proceeded to not learn anything whatsoever with the ordeal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tennessee Republican Suggests The Creation of an NAAWP

Well, this is a fun story. Did you ever wonder why there seems to be no organizations dedicated to fighting for the plight of White people? Well good news.  A Republican state legislator by the name of (and I swear, I'm not making this up) Sheila Butt, was thinking the same thing. In response to an article by the civil rights group, CAIR, prompting Republican presidential candidates in 2016 to promote tolerance for Muslim Americans, Representative Butt posted the following:






Of course, it would appear that this was one of those unfortunate instances where an idea sounded great until you actually told other people about it. As such, it was subsequently removed, but followed up with remarks from Butt blaming everyone else for totally getting the wrong idea:


Butt, a tea party-leaning Republican from Columbia who was newly elected as floor leader, repeatedly refused to explain to Pith what she meant by the comment and the meaning of NAAWP. She said only that reading the acronym as the National Association for the Advancement of White people is “totally misinterpreted.”

“I think that’s funny because that isn’t even what that’s supposed to be. You’re making a story out of nothing,” said Butt, who then refused to explain what she meant by the comment. “Oh, I know exactly what it is, but it’s not what you say it is.”

“I’ll let people decide,” she said.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm struggling to think of many other words beginning with "W" that the Representative could have been referring to. Indeed, as Andrea Zelinski explains:
NAAWP has been used by various white-power organizations over the years. In 1980, David Duke announced that he was leaving the Ku Klux Klan to head an incarnation of the NAAWP. He used the organization to deny the Holocaust and promote racism.
But whatever that "W" word is that Butt was thinking of, it was clearly so obvious that Butt won't even bother explaining what it was supposed to be. Imagine that.

Once again, the party of Lincoln, ladies and gentlemen.



UPDATE:

In a separate report from the Columbia Daily Herald, Butt finally reveals what the magic "W" word was supposed to be:

Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Ohhh, it stands for "Western", not that other word. Well, considering that the "C" in NAACP stands for "Colored", and that the NAACP handles issues specifically regarding race, it would be difficult to give Butt the benefit of the doubt that her play on words was supposed to be devoid of race. Others happens to agree as well:

A Democratic state representative from Memphis said Butt’s comments were racist.  “There’s nothing else it could be,” Rep. Johnnie Turner told Nashville Scene. “It’s a sign of an underlying belief that whatever special privileges that are afforded to people who are white are now being taken away by people of other races, color, ethnicity, etc.  “It just reinforces my belief, and others who think like I do, that there is still a lot of do that we still have a lot to do, that there is still racism prevalent.”

 Not that it would be that much better if we accepted Butt's claim to begin with.


A Democratic state representative from Memphis said Butt’s comments were racist.
“There’s nothing else it could be,” Rep. Johnnie Turner told Nashville Scene. “It’s a sign of an underlying belief that whatever special privileges that are afforded to people who are white are now being taken away by people of other races, color, ethnicity, etc.
“It just reinforces my belief, and others who think like I do, that there is still a lot of do that we still have a lot to do, that there is still racism prevalent.”
- See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Poll: Most Americans Support Tax Hikes On The Rich; Conversely, Republicans Support Tax Hike On The Poor

According to a recent AP-GfK poll, it appears the American people love themselves some class warfare:


The rich aren't taxed enough and the middle class is taxed too much. As for your taxes, you probably think they're too high as well.

Those are the results of an Associated Press-GfK poll that found that most people in the United States support President Barack Obama's proposal to raise investment taxes on high-income families.

...

According to the poll, 68 percent of those questioned said wealthy households pay too little in federal taxes; only 11 percent said the wealthy pay too much.

Also, 60 percent said middle-class households pay too much in federal taxes, while 7 percent said they paid too little.
As you would probably expect, Democrats were most open to tax hikes, while Republicans were least open to tax hikes. Well, most tax hikes anyway:

Republicans, in general, are more likely than Democrats to oppose higher taxes, except when it comes to low-income families.

Only 19 percent of respondents said low-income families pay too little in federal taxes, but there was a significant split between the political parties. Just 10 percent of Democrats said low-income families pay too little, while 33 percent of Republicans said they don't pay enough.
I'll never understand why people have the impression that Republicans hate poor people.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Obamacare Fails At Killing Corporate Profits

Once again, a new report from Bloomberg proves what I've been saying for years now: President Obama is the worst socialist tyrant ever.

The biggest entitlement legislation in a generation is causing barely a ripple in corporate America.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- otherwise known as Obamacare -- is putting such a small dent in the profits of U.S. companies that many refer to its impact as “not material” or “not significant,” according to a Bloomberg review of conference-call transcripts and interviews with major U.S. employers.
That’s even after a provision went into effect this year requiring companies with 50 or more full-time workers to provide coverage, and after more workers are choosing to enroll in existing company coverage because of another requirement that all Americans get insured. 

Tsk Tsk. A REAL socialist would have made sure every single company in the country filed for bankruptcy mere hours after the law took effect.


“It’s just part of doing business,” said Bob Shearer, chief financial officer of VF Corp., which owns the North Face and Vans apparel brands. “Obamacare has added costs, but not so much that we felt we had to talk about it specifically.”

The collective shrug from the nation’s biggest employers undermines the arguments of Republicans, who call the law a job-killer as they seek its repeal.
While U.S. health-care costs continued to rise faster than inflation in the five years since the law was passed, their rate of growth has slowed. Employers spent an average of $11,204 per worker for health benefits in 2014, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, according to Mercer LLC. That growth rate was 6.1 percent or more each year from 1998 to 2011. 
So despite a presidency that has enacted massive government spending, high taxation and overly burdensome regulations, it appears that the life blood of our economy, the private sector, is still somehow doing just fine. Seems the president really needs to go back to collectivist dictator school.

ads