Thursday, August 2, 2012

The National Debt Crisis


Republicans blame Obama for increasing the National Debt.

Liberal Answer

How much has Obama increased the Debt compared to Bush?

Bush $6.1 trillion
Obama $3.9 trillion

The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.

Republicans try to blame Obama for increasing the National Debt, even though it's only gone up 25% since he was in office, and it went up 75% under Bush, with Republican support. They also fail to mention that 95% of Obama's budget deficit is carryover spending from the Bush Administration's policies.

If you look at state and local taxes, the working poor actually pay a higher percentage of their income in these taxes in every state except for Vermont. In “Alabama, for example, low-income families (which make less than $13,000) pay 11 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while those making more than $229,000 pay just 4 percent.” Rather than taking aim at some of the poorest members of our society — 62 percent of whom have incomes under $20,000 — Americans should be asking how we can get the super-wealthy to pay tax rates closer to their modern historical average and how we can lift up the incomes of those who are too impoverished to be asked to pay federal income taxes.

Sixty percent of the deficit is due to the Bush tax cuts

Assuming the Bush tax cuts continue through 2019, CBPP estimates that the Bush tax cuts plus associated debt-service costs for those tax cuts would make up 55.6 percent of the deficit in 2019. that's close to Dean's 60 percent claim. Over the 2009-2019 period, CBPP estimates the tax cuts would cost $3.7 trillion plus $1.7 trillion in debt-service costs for a total of $5.4 trillion. That would be 43 percent of CBPP's estimated cumulative deficit for the decade of $12.6 trillion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Clint Eastwood Chrysler 'Halftime in America' Ad


Karl Rove told Fox News:

This is a sign of what happens when you have the government getting in bed with big business like the bailout of the auto companies.  They begin to, the leadership of the auto companies feel they need to do something to repay their political patrons. Remember, we lost $1.8 billion as taxpayers on the government bailout of Chrysler, and we’re going to lose $14 billion in the bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. And you got to bet in the boardrooms and management suites of these two big car companies, they are saying to themselves, “Look, the president bailed us out rather than making us go through the normal bankruptcy, he bailed us out. We’re going to end up not having to pay back this money to the taxpayers."

Liberal Answer

First, let’s be clear about Clint, if that’s possible. He was actually opposed to the bailouts. As for his political ideology, things are a bit ambiguous. He was the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel, Calif., for two years. George H.W. Bush considered asking Eastwood to be his running mate in 1988. While he has supported some Democrats in California, Eastwood said in 2011 that he couldn’t recall ever voting for a Democratic presidential candidate. In 2008, he supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Now let’s get to Rove’s deceptive lateral pass of all the Chrysler bailout blame to the Obama administration. Rove didn’t mention that it was Bush who first agreed to save Chrysler. How convenient. Chrysler nearly collapsed in late 2008 under private equity ownership. Bush agreed to a $4 billion bailout of the company.

Chrysler received $4 billion on Jan. 2, 2009, (18 days before Obama took office) and $8.5 billion on April 30 (when Obama was president). When Chrysler filed for bankruptcy on April 30, 2009, the “new Chrysler” that emerged assumed only some of the $4 billion loaned by the Bush administration. In a new report issued last month, the G.A.O. explained that Treasury — under the Obama administration — “wrote off $1.6 billion” of the “original $4 billion loan extended to the old Chrysler.”

As of May, Chrysler had “returned more than $10.6 billion of that amount to taxpayers through principal repayments, interest and cancelled commitments.” However, Treasury conceded that it “is unlikely to fully recover its remaining outstanding investment of $1.9 billion in Chrysler.”

In July 2011 the government sold its stock in the company, further reducing the loss. As The Times reported: 

The federal government on Thursday shed the last of its stake in Chrysler, giving majority control of the carmaker to Fiat, the Italian company, while leaving taxpayers $1.3 billion short of recovering the full investment they made two years ago to keep Chrysler from going out of business. 

The Treasury Department said in a statement that it had recovered $11.2 billion of the $12.5 billion it lent to Chrysler and that it would write off the bulk of the balance. The unpaid portion is on the balance sheet of the “old Chrysler” — a collection of unwanted assets being liquidated in bankruptcy.
Now, let’s weigh whatever losses there may be against the benefits. As David Kiley, editor-in-chief of AOL autos, put it in May 2011: 

In all, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Mich., reckons the government’s bailouts of the U.S. auto industry spared more than 1.14 million jobs in 2009, and prevented ‘additional personal income losses’ of nearly $97 billion in 2009 and 2010. Another 314,400 jobs were saved in 2010. The research organization based its conclusions on the potential impact of auto-industry collapse for jobs at U.S. automakers and suppliers, and ripple effects on the economy at large.
When viewed this way, a $1.3 billion loss, or as Rove puts it a $1.8 billion loss, is negligible and well worth it.
Trying to eschew Bush’s role in order to tarnish Obama’s results is fundamentally dishonest.
Trying to put the bailouts or the loss solely on Obama is simply dishonest.

-New York Times By CHARLES M. BLOW

It's Halftime in America - Official Chrysler 2012 Big Game Commercial (Video)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

California Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional


This decision disregards the will of more than 7 million Californians who voted to restore marriage as the unique union of only a man and woman.

Liberal Answer

Some civics lessons as to why sometimes the majority vote does not count. We have 3 branches of government. When the legislature gets to make some decisions, the courts (judiciary) are a check on either the legislature or the tyranny of the majority. Sometimes the majority, with the passion of the times and the prejudices of the time, are not going to get it right which is why we have never before put civil rights up to a public vote! To assert that somehow the majority of the voters are being denied their right to exercise their prejudices against a whole group of people for no reason other than they don't like those people - that runs counter to what it means to being in a democracy.

-KQED Forum 2/7/12