mykeystrokes.com

Indebted America is in danger of turning into destitute Greece, or so congressional Republicans and conservative commentators have been warning us for years now. For many reasons, this is an absurd comparison – but it may not always be quite so ridiculous if Washington’s advocates of austerity get their way.

The Republicans actually want to impose Greek-style budget-slashing on the United States. And the federal budget sequestration scheduled to take effect next week could represent the first serious step here toward the kind of fiscal policies that have proved so ruinous not only in Greece — raising unemployment, destroying hope, and encouraging extremism — but across Europe.

Nearly every day, House Speaker John Boehner or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – or Senator Rand Paul or Rep. Paul Ryan, or almost any other prominent Republican – insists that the only way to improve the economic prospects of the American people…

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mykeystrokes.com

One of the issues baffling non-conservatives in assessing the latest stage of the fiscal conflict in Washington is that Republicans are treating Democratic demands for loophole-closing on the wealthy exactly like it’s a tax rate increase. That’s odd, since it’s Republicans who have continuously injected loophole-closing–or as they usually call it, “tax reform”–into the debate. For years they’ve discussed it as a possible way to finance a revenue-neutral tax rate cut. Paul Ryan made it (or at least a very vague version of it) central to the math and marketing of his various budget proposals. During most of the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney touted “tax reform” in the more traditional way, as a magic asterisk that would both limit revenue losses from the tax rate cuts he was proposing, and would also (even less plausibly) prevent his overall plan from changing the distribution of the tax burden. After the election…

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Bell Book Candle

If we pay payroll taxes for 30 or 40 or 50 years as I did, then an individual is entitled to expect that the government lives up it its promises and provides adequate Social Security and Medicare benefits. If lenders lend money to the US government to fund the US national debt as wealthy citizens here in the US and around the world together with some governments have done, then they are entitled to expect repayment with interest in the future. Thus it is possible to look at all government expenditures as an entitlement of some sort. One principal difference among the various forms of entitlement is whether the funding is voluntary or forced through taxation. Another principal difference and one that is often overlooked is who are the beneficiaries of government entitlements? In the case of Social Security and Medicare, the beneficiaries are the 99%. The 1% pay…

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This Just In

Congressional leaders have been invited to the White House on Friday, the day forced federal spending cuts are scheduled to start taking effect, according to a senior Republican aide.

The aide told CNN that Republicans do not anticipate the meeting to be anything more than optics an effort, the aide said, by President Barack Obama to show he is at least talking to Congress on the day the cuts are supposed to kick in.

But the aide added it wasn’t clear what was on the president’s agenda.

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mykeystrokes.com

There’s a little known fact about guns in America, and it’s one that the firearms industry and its political allies don’t like to dwell on: The rate of gun ownership in America is declining.

This has been the case for decades. Rates peaked way back in the 1970s, the era of disco balls and bell bottoms. In 1977, 54 percent of American households reported owning guns. In 2010, the last time the General Social Survey data was compiled, the percentage had shrunk to 32.

The Violence Policy Center follows such data, as analyzed by the National Opinion Research Center. The center’s last report was “A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America.”

The trend is expected to continue. It seems counter-intuitive, given all the recent headlines about people lining up at gun stores and given the stranglehold the gun lobby has on American politics. It raises all…

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Bell Book Candle

What do debt, as in national debt, and deficits have in common, besides both beginning with the letters “DE?” I think that many Americans are confused about the difference and the media and the GOP are doing nothing to clarify the difference. If the Federal government spends more than it takes in in revenue, the difference is a deficit and that adds to the national debt, which we owe mostly to ourselves. The only way to reduce the national debt is to take in more revenue than we spend as a nation, run a surplus in other words.

The best way to reduce deficits and thereby reduce the national debt is to stimulate the economy to produce more jobs and thereby more tax revenue. Austerity does not work, just ask the European nations who have tried it since the crash of 2007, England, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and…

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The Snark Who Hunts Back

Nanny Bloomberg just can’t help himself, he just needs to fix everyone’s life through regulation, because people just need to be controlled. Or in the words of a certain super villain, “The world is a mess and I just… need to rule it.”

To that effect Bloomberg plans to expand his soda ban, taking it to the level of banning 2 liter sodas from your pizza deliveries and pitchers of soda from your children’s birthday parties and mixers at bars , because clearly those are meant for one person to guzzle down.

No surprise that this, like most other liberal regulations, will raise costs for businesses.

So Bloomberg has built his own little fiefdom in New York City and he wants to spread his influence from one urban corner of New York state, out into the rest of New York state…and then THE WORLD! *Maniacal Laughter*

His excuse to infringe…

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mykeystrokes.com

I’m beginning to think an infectious disease is spreading in the nation’s capital. Symptoms include memory loss (forgetting everything Republicans have done in recent years), blurred vision (an inability to see obvious GOP ploys), and an uncontrollable urge to blame “both sides” for everything, even when it doesn’t make any sense.

The disease has already affected pundits like Bob Woodward, Ron Fournier, David Brooks, nearly everyone on the network Sunday shows, and today reaches the editorial board of the Washington Post. Indeed, the Post‘s editors seem to have come down with an especially acute case today, as evidenced this bang-your-head-against-your-desk editorial on the sequester, which cavalierly ignores the paper’s own reporting, and demands that President Obama “lead” by somehow getting congressional Republicans to be more responsible.

You can almost feel James Fallows’ frustration.

In short the facts before us are: an Administration that has gone some distance…

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