Archives for category: Economy

Thom Hartmann looks back to the Ronald Reagan presidency to explain how Republicans seized the strategy of tax cuts and spending to counter the Democrats’ winning formula of social welfare spending. Now Republicans are threatening to force the federal government to default on the national debt, which would plunge the global economy into chaos, unless Democrats make deep cuts in social programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Hartmann writes:

The media refers to it as a debate around the debt ceiling, but it’s actually far simpler than that. And entirely political.

Back in November, a few weeks after House Republicans won the election and seized control of that body, I wrote to you warning that the House Republicans would try the same scam that Ronald Reagan first rolled out in the 1980s. I wrapped the article up with the “hope that Democratic politicians and our media will, finally, call the GOP out on Wanniski’s and Reagan’s Two Santa Clauses scam.”

So far, no soap. I haven’t heard a single mention of Two Santas in the mainstream media, and I’ll bet you haven’t, either. That’s the bad news.

The good news — perhaps — is that the scam has lost its sting after working so well for them for 42 years. President Biden and House Democrats are standing firm, saying they have no intention of negotiating around the debt ceiling with terrorists threatening to destroy our economy.

But even if it’s the last gasp of this scam, it appears House Republicans plan to go out with a bang. So let’s quickly review how Two Santas works.

Back in 1976 the Republican Party was a smoking ruin. Nixon had resigned after being busted for lying about his “secret plan to end the Vietnam War,” his involvement in the Watergate burglary, and his taking bribes from Jimmy Hoffa and the Milk Lobby. He only avoided prosecution because Gerald Ford pardoned him. 

His first Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had also resigned to avoid prosecution for taking bribes.

Newspaper and television editorialists were openly speculating the GOP might implode. The Party hadn’t held the House of Representatives for more than two consecutive years since 1930(and wouldn’t until 1994), Jerry Ford had ended the War the year before in a national humiliation, the unemployment rate was over 7 percent, as was inflation after hovering around 11 percent the year before.

The Republican Party had little to offer the American people beyond anti-communism, their mainstay since the 1950s.

Americans knew it was Democrats who’d brought them Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, subsidized college, the right to unionize, antipoverty programs, and sent men to the moon. And they knew Republicans had opposed the “big government spending” associated with every single one of them.

But one man — a Republican strategist and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal named Jude Wanniski — thought he saw a way out. It was, he argued, a strategy that could eventually bring about a permanent Republican governing majority.

In a WSJ op-ed that year, Wanniski pointed outthat Americans thought of Democrats as the “Party of Santa” and Republicans as, essentially, Scrooge. Republicans, he noted, hadn’t even proposed a tax cut in 22 years!

The solution, Wanniski proposed, was for Republicans to start pushing tax cuts whenever the GOP held the White House. This would establish their Santa bona fides, particularly if Democrats objected. It would flip the script so Democrats would fill the role of Scrooge.

To make it even easier for Republicans to cut taxes, Wanniski invented and publicized a new economic theory called Supply-Side Economics. When taxes went down, he said, government revenue would magically go up!

Four years later, when Reagan came into the White House with the election of 1980, he picked up Wanniski’s strategy and doubled down on it. (In the primary of 1980, he’d even run on it: his primary opponent, George Herbert Walker Bush, derided it as “Voodoo Economics.”)

Reagan not only cut taxes on the rich: he also radically increased government spending, goosing the economy into a sugar high while throwing the nation deeply into debt.

Citing Supply-Side Economics, in eight short years Reagan ran up greater deficits than every president from George Washington to Jerry Ford combined, taking our national debt from around $800 billion all the way up to around $2.6 trillion when he left office.

By 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency, Reagan and Bush’s debt had climbed to over $4.2 trillion, giving Republicans a chance to double down on Two Santas. Bill Clinton would be their test case.

House Republicans loudly demanded that Clinton “do something!” about the national debt, waving the debt ceiling like a cudgel. Over the next eight years they repeatedly wielded the debt ceiling, shutting down the government twice. The battles lifted Newt Gingrich to the speakership. 

Clinton caved, making massive cuts to the social safety net to get a balanced budget, a gut-shot to the Democratic Santa programs.

By the end of the Clinton presidency the formula was set. When Republicans held the White House, they’d spend like drunken Santas and cut taxes to the bone to drive up the national debt.

When Democrats come into the presidency, Republicans would use the debt ceiling to force them to cut their own social programs and shoot the Democratic Santa. 

As I noted last November, when Clinton shot Santa Claus the result was an explosion of Republican wins across the country as GOP politicians campaigned on a “Republican Santa” platform of supply-side tax cuts and pork-rich spending increases.

Democrats had controlled the House of Representatives in almost every single year since the Republican Great Depression of the 1930s, but with Newt Gingrich rigorously enforcing Wanniski’s Two Santa Claus strategy, they used the debt ceiling as a weapon.

State after state turned red and the Republican Party rose to take over, in less than a decade, every single lever of power in the federal government from the Supreme Court to the White House.

Looking at the wreckage of the Democratic Party all around Clinton in 1999Wanniski wrote a gloating memo that said, in part:

“We of course should be indebted to Art Laffer for all time for his Curve… But as the primary political theoretician of the supply-side camp, I began arguing for the ‘Two Santa Claus Theory’ in 1974. If the Democrats are going to play Santa Claus by promoting more spending, the Republicans can never beat them by promoting less spending. They have to promise tax cuts…”

Ed Crane, then-president of the Koch-funded Libertarian CATO Institute, noted in a memo that year:

“When Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich, Vin Weber, Connie Mack and the rest discovered Jude Wanniski and Art Laffer, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven. In supply-side economics they found a philosophy that gave them a free pass out of the debate over the proper role of government. … That’s why you rarely, if ever, heard Kemp or Gingrich call for spending cuts, much less the elimination of programs and departments.”

Two Santa Clauses had fully seized the GOP mainstream.

Never again would Republicans worry about the debt or deficit when they were in office, and they knew well how to scream hysterically about it and hook in the economically naïve media as soon as Democrats again took power….

Please open the link and read the rest of the article.

Heather Cox Richardson writes a blog about national affairs, often drawing upon her background as a historian. In this post, she writes that Biden is not getting credit for his successful legislation. In the excitement about the Georgia race, I didn’t see any mention of what happened in Arizona, which she describes here.

Today, President Joe Biden traveled to Arizona to highlight how the CHIPS & Science Act is bringing innovation and jobs to the country. He visited a facility that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is building north of Phoenix, where he met with chief executive officers from several companies and with lawmakers. TSMC has recently committed to investing $40 billion in Arizona to produce advanced semiconductors, the very sort of investment the CHIPS & Science Act was designed to attract.

Biden noted that this investment will bring more than 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 jobs in high tech, and he emphasized that the Democrats’ investment in the nation’s economy is paying off. The country has added jobs in every month of Biden’s administration—10.5 million of them—and exports are up, helping the economy to grow at 2.9% last quarter. And Walmart’s chief executive officer yesterday said that prices are coming down for toys, clothing, and sports equipment, while the chief executive officer of Kroger says prices for fresh food products are also easing.

But, Biden said, he is “most excited” about the fact that “people are starting to feel a sense of optimism as they see the impact of the achievements in their own lives. It’s going to accelerate in months ahead, and it’s part of the broad story about the economy we’re building that works for everyone: one… that positions Americans to win the economic competition of the 21st century.”

“Where is it written that America can’t lead the world once again in manufacturing?” Biden said. “We’re proving it can.”

Biden has apparently tried to undercut the radical right by ignoring its demands and demonstrating an America in which everyone works together to solve our biggest problems. His trip to Arizona was in keeping with that program, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters that his trip was about “the American manufacturing boom we’re seeing all across the country thanks to, again, his economic policies… [and] in large part thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act the President signed into law—and a historic—let’s not forget—a bipartisan piece of legislation.”

But reporters immediately asked if President Biden would visit the border in Arizona, bowing to a right-wing talking point. Jean-Pierre responded that Biden would not engage in a political “stunt,” as the Republicans have been doing, and was instead going to Arizona “to talk about an important initiative that’s going to change Americans’ lives, specifically in Arizona.”

The follow-up? “If the President is not going to make time to visit the border during [this] trip…, will he do it… in the new year?”

The news from the right-wing faction in the nation often seems to steal the oxygen from the sober, stable politicians trying to address real issues and doing so with more than a little success.

In an impressive achievement for families and children, New Mexico passed an amendment to its state constitution guaranteeing free childcare to families that need it most. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the nation. Free childcare will enable mothers to work to support their children. Unlike “reform” programs that emphasize standardized testing, New Mexico’s pioneering emphasis on child wellbeing really does put children first.

New Mexico in May became the first state to offer free child care to most of its residents. Now, after a November referendum, it’s also the first state to enshrine child care funding in its constitution, effectively making the service a universal right – and perhaps offering a model for how other states could serve their youngest residents and working parents.

Nationwide, the average cost of child care for families outpaced the rate of inflation in 2021, according to analysis from Child Care Aware of America. A low-income family should have to spend only 7% of its income on child care, per a federal benchmark based on an average of census data. But the national average cost of child care – $10,600 annually – is roughly 10% of a married-couple family’s average annual income and 35% of a single parent’s income, the analysis found…

The scheme – hatched by a willing governor, state lawmakers and determined child advocates – effectively makes child care free to families making up to 400% of the federal poverty level, or about $111,000 for a family of four. The state’s median household income is $51,243.

At its core, the program aims to provide a safe environment for children at a stage of critical brain growth and development. Further, saving caregivers money on child care lets them invest more in their families, from putting healthy food on the table to home ownership, a key official said….

More than 70% of state voters approved the proposition, which will be funded by oil and gas revenues.

There has been a strong will in New Mexico to improve its slice of the widely broken US child care system, mainly because it is one of the poorest states and consistently ranks among the worst for child well-being, state officials and child advocates say.

Child advocates some 12 years ago sparked the movement to get a permanent funding source for child care enshrined in the state’s constitution. It was a long-game strategy for a coalition of non-profit, grassroots groups, including New Mexico Voices For Children.

That organization in 2010 first brainstormed using funds from oil and gas production revenue to fund child care and early education, said Amber Wallin, its executive director….

Under Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has established a minimum wage for child care workers: Entry-level employees now earn $15 dollars an hour, and more experienced lead teachers earn $20 dollars an hour. The pay raises aim to help improve workforce retention; before the raises, workers could earn a higher wage working at a fast-food restaurant than providing child care, child advocates told CNN.

New Mexico also created the first state agency and cabinet post focused on early childhood education and care. Also, “we were the first state to set our cost of what we reimburse child providers for child care at the actual cost of delivering care, and we were the first state to make child care free for most families,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, the state’s first secretary for early childhood education.

Ryan Cooper writes at The American Prospect that Elon Musk is a walking, talking demonstration of the problem that affects billionaires and oligarchs. His extreme wealth, which at one point, was $300 billion, was about the same as the GDP of Finland. His bid for Twitter far exceeded its actual stock value, which is why he tried to back out of his offer.

He writes:

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter does not seem to be going well. Just three weeks after buying the company, Musk has fired the entire executive suite and half the staff, fired dozens more for insufficiently slavish devotion, and most recently has apparently driven off something like 40 percent of those who remain with an abrupt demand to submit to a “hardcore” new contract without most of the relevant details.

Though Twitter is still functioning at time of writing, in my experience it has become notably more glitchy and is swarming with bots. Informed observers are predicting that absent a major change of course, serious technical instability, major security breaches, or even total collapse are just a matter of time. “I know of six critical systems (like ‘serving tweets’ levels of critical) which no longer have any engineers,” one former employee told The Washington Post. “There is no longer even a skeleton crew manning the system.”

We can conclude one thing from this mess for sure: The oligarch class has entirely too much money.

One of Musk’s bad ideas was to change the verification system. Previously, if you established your identity, you got a blue check mark next to your name. Musk decided that anyone could buy the blue check mark for $8 a month, and a large number of fake accounts were created and used to insult or mock others. Someone opened a Pepsi account and advised people to drink Coca-Cola.

Musk promptly obliterated the company’s business model. He drove out the head of ad sales, alarming the companies that account for nine-tenths of Twitter revenue. He implemented a new verification system where anyone can pay for a blue check, which (of course) led thousands of people to impersonate celebrities, politicians, and huge companies. Eli Lilly and Lockheed Martin lost billions of dollars in market capitalization because two jokers spent $8. Advertisers, logically fearing Twitter would turn into a cesspit of abuse, racist slurs, and child porn, and turned off by Musk’s erratic behavior, started shunning the company….

Strictly speaking, an individual’s net worth is not the same as national GDP; one is a stock and the other is a flow. But it gets at the important point, which is that Elon Musk and his fellow ultra-oligarchs command resources comparable to those produced by a small wealthy nation over an entire year. Economists assume wacky stuff like “hugely overpaying for a company and immediately driving into a ditch” won’t happen, because all the monetary incentives are against it. But while Musk has lost nearly half his net worth since its peak, and probably will lose a lot more once all this is finished, he will almost certainly still be a multibillionaire at the end. Guys like him can lose more money than any single person has ever lost in history, in less than a month, and still have enough to live 10,000 lifetimes in resplendent luxury.

The odds of such a thing happening increase when one considers the social effects of extreme wealth. Being that rich tends to both convince people that they are heroic geniuses far beyond the capabilities of ordinary mortals, and isolate them from any normal social interaction or criticism. It is exceptionally easy to attract a coterie of yes-men and toadies who will indulge your every whim and bad habit. Substance abuse problems and delusions of grandeur are frequent. Sound familiar?

Non-rich people can be erratic weirdos too, and ordinary businesses without megalomaniac oligarch CEOs have destroyed themselves in the past. But allowing wealth to concentrate to such a degree greatly increases the chance of the kind of completely pointless disaster that has befallen Twitter.

During the New Deal, the oligarch class was cut down to size with confiscatory income taxes on the very rich, which topped out at 94 percent for the top bracket. We could go one better by adding a wealth tax to the largest fortunes, as economists Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman suggest, perhaps even plowing the proceeds into an Alaska-style social wealth fund for the benefit of all.

The solutions are readily available. The larger point is this: The existence of major companies shouldn’t hinge on the behavior of loopy, Reddit-poisoned crackpots.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that Florida will withdraw $2 billion in investment funds from BlackRock because the firm abides by standards against racism and for environmental awareness. This sort of ethical investing is repulsive to Governor Ron DeSantis and the extremists in his government. Republicans usually represent and celebrate big corporations. But in the past decade, many Republicans have turned against the same corporations for what they call “woke capitalism.” That is, a number of big corporations have sought to placate their Black employees and customers, their LGBT+ employees and customers, and socially aware young people.

When corporations take stands on sensitive issues which make their employees and customers angry, hat’s “woke capitalism.” When they oppose hate laws and work to promote diversity and equity, that’s “woke capitalism.” The more they step up to support minority causes, the more they enrage reactionary Republicans like DeSantis.

Here is an example of Governor Ron DeSantis acting boldly to crush “woke capitalism.”

Florida will pull $2 billion from the largest asset-management firm in the world over ideological differences.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronisannounced Thursday that Florida will immediately freeze about $1.43 billion in long-term securities and about $600 million in short-term overnight investments managed by BlackRock because of the firm’s use of “Environmental, Social, and Governance” standards — known as ESG.

Patronis in a prepared statement said he doesn’t “trust BlackRock’s ability to deliver” and “BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is on a campaign to change the world.”

“Whether stakeholder capitalism, or ESG standards, are being pushed by BlackRock for ideological reasons, or to develop social credit ratings, the effect is to avoid dealing with the messiness of democracy,” Patronis said.

Republican leaders in Florida and across the country have targeted ESG ratings, which can involve considering a wide range of issues in investments, such as companies’ climate-change vulnerabilities; carbon emissions; racial inequality; product safety; supply-chain labor standards; privacy and data security; and executive compensation.

Patronis said the state Department of Financial Services oversees about $60 billion and that the money with BlackRock will be moved “elsewhere.”

“I think it’s undemocratic of major asset managers to use their power to influence societal outcomes,” Patronis said. “If Larry (Fink), or his friends on Wall Street, want to change the world — run for office. Start a non-profit. Donate to the causes you care about. Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock’s social-engineering project isn’t something Florida ever signed up for.”

Fink is a leading proponent of ESG metrics. In a letter this year to corporate executives, Fink said companies using the standards are “performing better than their peers.”

“Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics,” Fink wrote. “It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke.’ It is capitalism, driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you and the employees, customers, suppliers, and communities your company relies on to prosper.”

BlackRock manages over $8 trillion in assets. They are unlikely to miss Florida’s $2 billion.

Blogger Robert Hubbell analyzes the choices that President Biden had to make to avoid a shutdown of the nation’s rail system and concludes that he made the best decision. Some support—any support—from Republicans would have made it possible to include paid sick days, but Republicans adamantly oppose a perk that they themselves enjoy.

The Republicans know what they are against: anything that helps middle-income people, low-income people. They don’t know what they are FOR. Do you know? Well, tax breaks for the rich and corporations.

Democrats lead the way in the effort to avert a rail strike.

The House passed a bill to avert a rail strike, which passed with broad bipartisan support. The House also passed a separate bill authorizing seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers; Republicans voted in near lockstep against the bill providing for sick leave—221 to 207. Of course, the Republicans who voted to deny sick leave to rail workers have unlimited sick days themselves. See Newsweek, Republicans With Unlimited Sick Days Vote Against Time Off for Rail Workers.

Senate Republicans will vote against the paid sick leave bill but support the bill to end the strike, thereby forcing a contract on rail workers they rejected over the absence of sick leave. In a truly perverse display of GOP deceit, Senator Rubio tweeted that he would “not support a deal that doesn’t have the support of the rail workers.” Of course, if Rubio voted to support the sick leave bill, that would be the “deal” that rail workers want. Rubio gives politicians a bad name—and that is saying a lot!

Many readers sent emails and made comments in support of the rail workers’ demand for paid sick leave. For an explanation of the arguments in favor of allowing a strike over paid sick leave, see Ryan Cooper’s op-ed on MSNBC, Biden picked the wrong side in the rail union strike. As Cooper explains, the refusal to grant sick days will harm the operations of rail carriers and eventually lead to many of the supply chain issues that Biden is seeking to avoid.

Mr. Cooper’s arguments are unassailable, but he describes only one side of the argument. He does not address whether a strike now that would impose $2 billion in daily losses to the economy and cause the loss of 700,000 jobs is an appropriate way to secure a benefit for 115,000 rail workers.

Mr. Cooper could reasonably say, “Yes, the loss of jobs and harm to the economy is worth it because we must draw a line in the sand somewhere” (as one reader said in an email). But simply ignoring the harm to the economy and job losses is hardly fair to President Biden if your thesis is that Biden picked the “wrong” side in the dispute. It was a difficult choice and Biden made a tough call. As with almost every issue, Biden will be blamed for seeking to protect the interests of tens of millions of Americans. It comes with the territory!

The New York Times reported that rail workers’ unions felt betrayed by President Biden’s support of legislation that imposed a settlement and averted a national strike.

This is the same president that Trumpers call a “radical,” a “socialist,” and a”communist.”

The agreement Mr. Biden asked Congress to impose would raise pay nearly 25 percent between 2020, when the last contract expired, and 2024, and allow employees to miss work for routine medical appointments three times per year without risking disciplinary action. It would also grant them one additional day of paid personal leave.

It would not provide paid sick leave, however, a provision that many workers argue is the bare minimum they can accept given their grueling work schedules, which often leave them on the road or on call for long stretches of time. Rail carriers say workers can attend to illnesses or medical appointments using paid vacation.

Four of the 12 unions that would be covered by the agreement voted it down, and several others approved it only narrowly.

Tony Cardwell, the president of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division — International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which voted down the agreement Mr. Biden has asked Congress to impose, said that simply asking Congress to include paid sick days in the agreement would have gone a long way toward satisfying his members.

“If he would have said, ‘I want this one thing,’ it would have changed the whole narrative,” Mr. Cardwell said in an interview on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members on Tuesday night that she would hold a vote on a separate bill that included seven paid sick days, but it was unclear whether it could pass both houses of Congress.

Our reader, who signs in as Joel, has frequently noted the bias in the media towards negativity and “worst case scenario.” How many stories were published predicting a Red Wave, lamenting the dozens of seats that Democrats would lose, predicting doom and gloom. There is also its problem of “both-sides-ism,” as though the scientist who says the sun rises in the west is as equal in credibility as the one who says it rises in the East. I leave his own sentence structure unchanged.

I asked Joel to describe himself. He wrote:

I am a retired Trade Union activist who sees the attacks on America’s teachers as an attack on the most visible and the largest of Americas unions.
It is no accident that whether the Billionaire oligarchs / plutocrats / politicians who attack public schools and their teachers consider themselves socially progressive or are religio fascist , they abhor Unions.

He writes:

So for two years now I have been pointing out crime statistics on Diane’s blog and on Union Facebook page’s. Knowing that the American Public is always a sucker for the big bad Black man coming to get you; or simply the Willie Horton story . Which actually predates Willie Horton going back to Goldwater and his Nation of Moral decay and Nixon’s war on drugs. Which targeted minorities disproportionately.

Both on crime and inflation the supposed “Liberal Media” did its best to prove Trump correct in his charges against them. Whether it was intentional or not, the hype was far greater than the reality. For a group of people who profess to despise Trump and his merry band of seditious Neo Nazi White Christian Nationalists, they did their best to bring them back to power. Crime sells advertising .

They say, Inflation is the worst it has ever been— except at its peak, it was half the rate of the 1980s and accompanied by 3.5% unemployment now, not 8%. Endless stories of the terrible economy.

Last Fall when they started blasting away, it was under 5% . With gas lower than it had been from 2011-14 . Wage inflation was already moderating. Tough to have a wage price spiral without the wage component. The media frenzy did allow Corporations with virtual monopoly power to take the Public’s expectation of inflation and deliver it to them, tacking on record profits far above increased costs.

But Crime is the issue that may have cost Democrats 4-5 seats in NY and with it the House. All in Down State districts formally represented by Democrats . Far more harm done to Democrats on MSNBC , CNN, WaPo and the NY Times than on Fox News, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal”’…. No one who follows the Murdoch rags is voting Democratic to begin with.

On top of a redistricting enabled by Cuomo appointed Judges as part of bone thrown to Republicans when they controlled the State Senate with the help of Cuomo’s turncoat IDC caucus. On top of Adams and Suozzi running around like they were Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, there were 800 stories a month in 2022 about crime in the NYC Media Market vs 130 a month in deBlasio’s last term ending in 2021. Talk about manufactured consent.

What was the reality. Last year there were fewer murders than 2011 a year Bloomberg was running around calling NYC the safest big City in the Nation . This year with a 13% reduction there will be fewer murders than 2012 the next to last year he was in office when he was taking bows for how safe the City was .

But not only lower than 2012; significantly lower than every year between 2012 all the way till when America was GREAT in 1960.

Your odds of being injured on a 2 mile ride in your car are greater than being injured in a violent crime in the NYC Subway. The murder rate in NYC truly does make it one of the safest cities in America with bail reform having little or no impact on recidivism.

Of course that is not the narrative from CNN, MSNBC, nor the local mass media. The Press made it sound that murders were like the terrible 60s when there were 1000 murders a year by mid decade . The 70s when there 1500 , the 80s when there were 1800 to 2000 and the early 90s when there were 2400 murders . There were 468 in 2021 and 379 as of last week in 2022 with only 6 weeks to go.

So here is the thing . Excluding the Garbage dump in the Harbor (Staten Island) that should be turned over to NJ. 82 % of Manhattan residents voted for Democrats. Ah but they are just woke liberals . 79% of Bronx Residents voted for Democrats not so woke , 73% of Brooklyn and 67% of Queens residents. So where all this supposed crime was happening it was not a concern enough to sway voters .

Yet in the NYC suburbs (all six counties) where all the seats were lost. Crime was lower in almost every major category recorded. 2021 Lower than not just 2020 but most years back to 2017 the last year listed in the state crime registry. The 100 million dollar Republican Willie Horton Campaign supplement by the ” Liberal Media ” and their 800 stories a month.

Heck of a Job Joe Scarborough, mission accomplished. And I know he is a Conservative Republican but he also claims to be a never Trump-er. Perhaps they will give him an extra hour to cover Hunter Biden’s Laptop.

Robert Weisman president of Public Citizen, explains why the price of gasoline is so high and what todo about it.

Being a multinational oil company looks like good work if you can get it:

  • Oil giant Chevron raked in $11.2 billion in profits from July through September.
  • Exxon did even better, making $19.7 billion in profits over just those three months — its most profitable quarter EVER.
  • In fact, the three top oil companies — Chevron, Exxon, and Shell — have more than tripled their profits compared to this time last year.

Again, we’re talking about profits. Not overall revenue. Sheer, unadulterated profits.

And it’s not like these companies, you know, pay Mother Nature for each barrel of oil they suck out of the ground. Or that they gave their rank-and-file workers mega-bonuses this year (unlike the excessive pay and stock options they lavish upon their executives.)

This is just plain old profiteering, pure and simple.

Big Oil is exploiting the global economic disruption and uncertainty caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine — along with recent cuts in oil production by OPEC that seem intentionally designed to destabilize things even further — to extract as much money out of all of our pockets as they can.

Meanwhile, oil prices fuel the inflation that is wreaking havoc on everyday Americans and the global economy. And the price of a gallon of gas is a major factor in how Americans vote, with Election Day right around the corner.

Today, President Biden publicly floated the idea of taxing Big Oil’s outlandish profits — something Public Citizen has been pushing the administration to do over the past year.

However, President Biden held out this kind of tax — known as a “windfall profits tax” — as a punishment only if oil companies don’t ramp up domestic production.

But ramping up domestic oil production is a bad idea for many reasons, including that more oil from U.S. lands will just be exported — as 29% of U.S. crude production currently is — denying any benefits to American consumers.

And the existential threat of climate change demands that human society move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible, not that we let Big Oil extract even more oil out of the Earth and even more profits out of everyday consumers.

By the way, 80% of American voters — including 73% of Republicans — were in favor of a windfall profits tax on Big Oil even before President Biden’s announcement.

So there’s no need to manufacture counter-productive reasons to threaten to do something later that an overwhelming majority of Americans think we should be doing already.

It’s time to do some drilling of our own — deep into Big Oil’s overflowing pockets — by taxing the industry’s unjust, and unjustifiable, windfall profits and returning the money to the people.

Add your name as a citizen co-signer of our message to Congress:

American consumers need help. And somebody has to say “Enough is enough!” to Big Oil’s shameless profiteering. Pass legislation to tax the oil industry’s windfall profits now — not as a threat that will only entice them to drill more — and give that money back to hard-working, everyday Americans.

Click now to add your name.

Thanks for taking action.

For progress,

– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

Public Citizen | 1600 20th Street NW | Washington DC 20009 |

I have been surprised that Democrats have been so mealy-mouthed about inflation. Yes, inflation is bad, and it hurts everyone, especially those living from paycheck to paycheck. Gasoline costs more than we are used to paying (while the big gas and oil corporations are reporting record profits).

But why don’t Democrats tell the facts: Inglation is a global problem. The Ukrainian war—Putin’s war—has cut off energy supplies and raised prices. Europeans have as much inflation as we do, maybe more. There have been mass protests against inflation in other countries.

To hear Republican ads, Joe Biden is uniquely responsible for inflation. Is he causing inflation around the world or shouldn’t we be talking about the “Putin tax”?

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times reveals an important truth: the Republicans have no plan to reduce inflation. It’s their biggest issue, by far, and they have not said what they would do to curb inflation.

A look at the GOP’s election manifesto, the “Commitment to America” recently issued by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), reveals no specifics. Nor have Republican candidates done so during the multitude of appearances they’ve made on cable talk shows, despite specific and pointed questions by the hosts….

Here, for example, is Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) on Aug. 21, responding on “Meet the Press” when Chuck Todd asked, “What is the Republican plan to deal with inflation other than not supporting Joe Biden policies?”

“Well, we have a positive agenda. We have a commitment to America, and we’re going to get back to basics. … We don’t need more IRS agents. We need more Border Patrol agents. And we have a common sense plan to reduce the cost of living, to lower the cost at the pump.”

But what that “common sense plan” was, Barr didn’t disclose.

Nothing is new about this campaign technique from a minority party. It consists of repeatedly citing a problem and tying it to the party in power, assuming that voters’ impulse to “throw the bums out” will deliver electoral victory…

The “Commitment to America” also claims to have a scheme to “regain American energy independence and lower prices at the pump.” A couple of problems with that. One is that the U.S. already is energy-independent — it’s been a net exporter of oil almost every month since the last quarter of 2019 and a net exporter of natural gas since mid-2017, according to government statistics.

When McCarthy says he intends to “maximize production of reliable, American-made energy” as though that will bring prices down at the pump, he’s emitting vapor.

Additional production of energy within the U.S. will simply enter the international market, where it will be subject to global price pressures such as the supply reduction caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and by OPEC’s decision to reduce its own output. Those are the influences driving up gasoline prices here, not the pace of production from U.S. wells….

Republicans would extend the tax cuts they enacted in 2017, when they controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House — a giveaway mostly to the rich and corporations that blew a hole in the U.S. budget estimated at $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion over 10 years — and one without any lasting positive effect on economic growth.

They’re talking about benefit cuts for Social Security and Medicare recipients, which would certainly make it harder for those households to make ends meet. They’ve talked about refusing to increase the government’s debt ceiling next year, using it to extract benefit cuts. As I’ve reported, this is playing with fire….

Undoubtedly, more can be done. President Biden is jawboning oil companies about their huge run-up in profits, but that’s just one industry. Corporate profits have soared since mid-2020 while average worker earnings have remained muted — a little-noticed spur to inflation.

Has the GOP embraced those ideas? Of course not — corporate managements and the big oil companies are its patrons. Instead of pointing the finger at them, Republicans complain that Social Security beneficiaries are collecting too much and the rich are staggering under the burden of the lowest marginal federal tax rates in more than half a century.

If you want to know why that party has nothing to offer on inflation, it’s because anything that really would address it in a way that helps average Americans would hurt its friends. We can’t have that, can we?