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Do you ever wonder about the super rich? Not the everyday, "ordinary" rich making salaries of $500,000 a year, but the super rich? The ones making millions per year and the ones with net worths in the $$$billions?

Why do they fight so hard to hang on to their 15% tax rates when it wouldn't even make a dent in their lifestyle if they had to pay 50%?

An eye-opening column in the NYT today provides insight into the psychology of the super rich. It's written by one who knows--an ex-trader who used to make those multi-million dollar bonuses.

He's says he's a recovering "money addict". And he recognizes the harm that money addiction does to our economy.

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It couldn't be simpler.

The republicans want to "negotiate."  To "compromise."

What are the republicans prepared to give up in a negotiation?

The government shutdown! That's all!

Therefore, it's clearly their shutdown!

They want the President to give up some or all of the ACA, and in exchange they're giving up nothing but the shutdown itself.

Ok, republicans.  Own it!


George Zimmerman's team had a clear theory of what happened February 26th. If you suspend your common sense, it was reasonably consistent with the physical evidence and witness testimony.

Unfortunately, it was the only clear theory of the night offered to the jury. The State raised some doubts but they never offered their own version of what happened.  And they left many unanswered questions. Since Trayvon had not a mark on him, why would he have screamed for help?

Unlike the prosecutors, I think the evidence paints a very clear picture. Please read on and you'll see that picture.

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This morning C-SPAN was asking viewers “are you better off today than you were four years ago?”  Listening to the answers (most said no, with the republicans using the opportunity to spout off every right wing talking point from the national debt to Solyndra), I thought about where we were four years ago.

Four years ago on this date, the economy was wobbly but it didn’t feel like economic Armageddon .  Economically speaking, it felt like an ordinary recession.

Then came September 15.  Armageddon.

When Lehman went under, the stock market sank like a rock and international markets panicked.  The swelling disaster prompted Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson  to beg Congress on bended knee to pass his TARP bill.

September 15th was an economic 9/11.  It changed everything.

It’s been a huge Democratic mistake to miss singling out 9/15 and treating it as a turning point.  Again, 9/15 changed everything.  More below the orange squiggle.

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Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 10:53 AM PDT

NYT: Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs

by Happy Days

For the first time, a major newspaper has talked to business, large and small, and has discovered--EUREKA--tax cuts will not spur hiring.  Increased demand will.

Imagine, it's a front page story in the New York Times!  Of course, it's not headlined in terms of the tax cut impotence.  The headline reads simply: "Employers Say Jobs Plan Won’t Lead to Hiring Spur".  But when you read the article, it's the tax cuts that businesses refer to when they say it won't affect their hiring plans.  

(So now that President Obama has proposed tax cut measures, the media investigates and pronounces the approach toothless.  Where were their investigators all these years the repubs were clamoring for tax cuts for "job creators"?)

But at any rate, I'm glad to see this information on the front page of the NYT now.  Perhaps the secret will get out and become more widely recognized:  tax cuts don't cause hiring--increased demand does.  If this gets out, it will be hard for congressional repubs to pass only the tax cut provisions of the bill while leaving everything else on the cutting room floor.

See below the fold for some good quotes from the article.  It's good ammunition to spread far and wide--write LTE's to local and national papers, use them in blog comments on trad media comment sections etc.

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Revenue has become a bad word to repubs.  They now oppose anything that raises revenue, even closing loopholes for oil companies, multi-billion tax avoiders like GE or hedge fund managers.

And that makes their position look pretty ridiculous to the average American.  Repubs are ideologues.  You can't govern effectively as an ideologue.  Reality is more nuanced than anyone's ideology.

Some progressives have the same kind of knee-jerk reaction to "cut regulations" as repubs have to "raise revenues."  OMG, that must be de-regulating. It must be bad.

Reality.  Not so simple.  Yes, financial, environmental, food and drug and many more areas of regulation are critical.  In the financial area, we need more regulation to protect our economy and our citizens.

BUT, over the years, many government regulations have been written that add red tape and hours of make-work--especially onerous for small business, who do not have huge staffs to handle it.  

When the President announces the results of a major effort to overhaul government red-tape, this is a good thing.  This is an example of making government work for the people.  Follow me below the fold.

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When it comes to tax increases, you've heard the refrain.  Repubs say "you can't tax the job-creators (TM)."  We all know that's bogus and that the jobs problem is lack of demand, not fear of higher taxes, but somehow the refrain seems to be accepted and gets no push-back from the media talking heads.

The repubs have successfully framed anything the Dems recommend as "job-killing"--job-killing tax increases, job-killing regulation, job killing environmental concerns.  And this frame is probably working for them.  The public sees no jobs, so the refrain sounds plausible--after all, something is killing the jobs.

Something is killing the jobs.  It's spending cuts. And if a debt ceiling deal brings draconian cuts while the economy is fragile, it will be job-killing on steroids.

None other than BusinessWeek has recognized this in their current issue.  More below the fold.

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Tea baggers love to compare government spending to their family budget.  But they haven’t thought that all the way through.  Follow me below the fold.

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As Paul Krugman identified in his January 14 column, there is a chasm between progressive and conservative views of the role of government—a fundamental, moral split.  

Progressives believe that justice calls for a social safety net, so no one need die of hunger or untreated disease, and conservatives believe that justice calls for each to sink or swim according to his or her own actions only, with government tending to the role of military protection.  

It is often framed as “big government” vs. “small government.”  However that is a republican frame, and we need to shun it. The difference is real.  But that frame is toxic.

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President Obama is for tax cuts for everyone.  Even millionaires. That's right, no one is left out.  That's fair, isn't it?  America is for fairness.  Democrats are for fairness. This is good. Equal opportunity tax cuts.

Under President Obama's proposal, everyone gets to keep the tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income. Millionaires, too.  They're not discriminated against.  These are tax cuts I can believe in.

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When it comes to the expiring Bush tax cuts, I can’t believe that the Democrats see political peril.  Frankly it’s a political gold mine—unless they blow it and extend all of the cuts for two years as repubs want to do.  

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"Will David Cameron Ever Kick Barack Obama's Ass?" reads the headline at the Telegraph, a UK news website.  A couple of my British friends--who are very liberal and were staunch supporters from afar in Barack Obama's race for the presidency--are now cringing with every utterance of "boots on necks," "ass kicking" and other macho proclamations.  If the Telegraph story (and comments from readers) is any indication, US anger at BP is being taken very personally in the UK.  It's always interesting to look at any issue through another lens, so please follow me below the fold.

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