The problem is that the system worked.
Honesty: This country's taxes are levied for every possible reason except the straight-forward one of raising money – to encourage, to nurture, to punish, to reward. But the cost of taxes is always passed on, as it must be – it is a cost of doing business. Taxes ultimately must come from income producing activity. Why not simply tax only individual incomes (at any rate and way you wish), and quit using taxes as a hammer in the behavior modification lab?
Does this Dress Make Me Look Fat? World leaders are again calling for each other to commit to clean energy and carbon dioxide emission reductions. You first.
Fun With Numbers: Citigroup lost $7.6 billion in 4Q09, but only $1.6 billion for the whole year. They blamed most of the loss on paying back TARP, but losses came from their mortgage and credit units, a trend that is likely to continue. Even though it dropped credit card customers (down 8%) and raised fees (up 20%) this did not entirely make up for the $10.7 billion in write-offs of card balances. The Fed reports 2009 revolving consumer credit balances have plunged more than $100 billion through November. These credit balances are headed down over the coming decade, dropping from $900 billion to $300 - $500 billion, as the consumer economy becomes less all-consuming. More to come as “the bloodbath continues.”
Without Comment: “Australia would find it much easier to meet its climate change targets if it slashed the migrant intake.”
Be More Afraid! Sources say Al-Qaeda “might be preparing a new attack on the United States”, and that the dangers posed by extremists linked to Yemen should be taken seriously. An Al-Qaeda figure has even been reported to have “made ominous threats against the United States .”
Envy: Illinois, tired of California getting all the attention, is “close to de facto bankruptcy.” Or at least close to not paying its bills, with a $5.7 billion shortfall. State officials would rather have the state sputter to a stop than to act responsibly to raise taxes and cut spending. Similar budget gaps have opened in at least 31 states since FY 2010 began. NY Gov. Paterson wants to cut aid to public schools and raise taxes by over $1 billion – even add fees to the state's program for autistic kids. Can you say “one term”?
Colosseum: The US media – the whole spectrum from NBC to FOX and CNN - is simply disappointed that the Haitians have not rioted on cue. Just as with Katrina, a lot of “aid” effort seems to be packing assault rifles and shotguns. And just like NOLA, Haiti is relatively well behaved and calm as responsible people try to survive. The only known “looting” took place four or five days after civilization broke down and the hungry were driven to gather berries where they found them. The media wants to lead with bloodshed and violence and death... that's understood. But why do we, the viewers, the proletariat, have this thirst to watch hapless people turn to feral animals? Projection?
Quoted: “At this point, there is no reason to take it on faith that cleverness in the financial industry is a net social good.”
Fill In The Blanks: _________ the leader of _______ , a poverty stricken country of no apparent value, realizes that the US has lots of money available to fight FLEAS, so he suddenly discovers that his country is over-run with FLEAS and pretends to combat them as best his little country can. An individual (who is conning whom?) who passed through _______ is found with is underpants on fire. This is obviously (well, let's pretend) an act of the FLEAS local branch in _____. Suddenly ____ is the USA's best buddy and billions of dollars are rolling in. It will, of course, take 8 or 10 years to hunt down all the FLEAS in ______. The longer it takes to stamp out the FLEAS, the better the aid prospects for the country and the president, who gets to keep 10% of the funds.
Holes-In-Pockets: It seems that $10 billion actually is only $5 billion, at least $5 billion of the Abu Dhabi bailout of Dubai wasn't actually part of the $10 billion bailout. Also, it seems that while Dubai only got half the rescue, its debts were twice as high - $170 billion, not just $80. We regret any inconvenience this
duplicity may have caused...