The man with no spine and the man with no shame
Photo courtesy Huffington Post
Before anyone groans and decides not to read this because it’s about the debt ceiling, consider this: unless you live in a gated community, you’re getting screwed. Big time.
Why? Because Obama the Spineless agreed yesterday to allow Social Security and Medicare to be included, and therefore vulnerable to attack, in debt ceiling negotiations. Way to draw a line in the sand, Barack.
A Facebook friend posted this as her status yesterday:
I am as close to giving up on Obama as I've ever been. The "new" deal the politicos have worked out is a travesty! The rich win.
The debt ceiling issue isn’t just about defaulting on our loans or limiting our debt. It was an opportunity for Barack Obama to prove that he had testicles – an opportunity he’s apparently decided to ignore. And it’s an example of the gridlock and petty game-playing and capitulation and skewed prioritization that pass for public policy development in Washington these days.
It has brought out the absolute worst in the worst of the two political parties, the Republicans, and proven that our system of governance is broken, the electorate is too ignorant to be entrusted with the responsibility of choosing lawmakers, and the rules governing Congress are ineffective and actually harmful.
I wrote before that if the ceiling isn’t raised and we default on our loans, interest rates could soar, another financial crisis could be sparked and hundreds of thousands of businesses could be crippled. (According to the Congressional Research Service, "Not only the default but efforts to resolve it would arguably have negative repercussions on both domestic and international financial markets and economies.”)
I already mentioned that it’s been raised 74 times since March of 1962; ten of those times have occurred since 2001.
I wrote about how Eric Cantor (R-VA), the Number Two Republican in the House who’s done everything he can to muck up debt ceiling negotiations, actually benefits financially if there’s turmoil surrounding the issue.
We already know that Democrats wanted to end subsidies for oil and gas companies and people who make more than $500,000/year, but House Speaker John Boehner bombastically and irresponsibly insisted that no tax loopholes would be closed, new revenue generated or compromise reached.
This isn’t about conservatives taking a courageous stand against out-of-control spending by tax-and-spend liberals. This isn’t about protecting those poor, already-overburdened corporations that, if just left alone by the heavy-handed gubment, will gleefully and faithfully employ Americans because providing jobs are what they do best. (The same corporations that have been enjoying tax breaks have been laying off workers, not hiring. Citigroup, for example, paid at just 16.9 percent of its supposed 35 percent tax rate last year and sent 5,000 employees home.)
This is about Republicans reshaping the size and scope of government to suit their ideological needs, reward their greedy, unscrupulous corporate overlords/campaign contributors, and further reduce the ability of anyone who lives from paycheck to paycheck – if they’re lucky enough to earn one at all – to respond to the class warfare that’s been launched against them.
- General Electric, the largest company in America, made worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion from its U.S. operations alone. But instead of paying taxes, it’s claiming a $3.2 billion credit.
- ExxonMobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009; rather than paying federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
- Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a trillion-dollar bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury.
- Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after making $10 billion in profits in 2009.
- Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
- In 1955, corporate taxes made up 27.3 percent of federal revenue compared to just 8.9 percent today. At the same time, individual income and payroll taxes have increased from 58 percent to 81.5 percent of total federal revenue.
- Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the distinction between corporate and individual expenditures in American elections. In their Citizens United v. FEC ruling, the Supremes reversed a century of law and opened the floodgates to corporate and special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in U.S. elections. Independent groups that don’t disclose the identity of their donors spent $132.5 million to influence elections nationwide last year.
Nancy Pelosi, who threw fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner under the bus but gave Republican David Vitter a free pass for doing far worse, apparently pledged yesterday that House Democrats won’t sign off on cuts to Medicare or Social Security.
I wonder if the Ex-Speaker found her spine and, if so, how long it’ll take before the corporate overlords get to her too.
Sources: Forbes, The Maddow Blog, Huffington Post, AFSCME, Buzzflash.com.