Thursday, May 5, 2011

SAR #11125

Are we a little less sophisticated than we think?

Recovery: Food stamps now feed 1 in 7 Americans. In some states it's one in five while the 400 richest Americans still receive 10% of the country's entire income and pay little if any taxes.

Equality – More or Less: Portugal’s bailout terms are ‘severe’ despite PM Socrates's claim that he had won concessions. The terms are said to include hikes in sales, property and health service taxes, cutting unemployment benefits to 18 months from three years, and cuts to state pensions. Privatization of TAP Air Portugal, ANA airport management company, the national postal system and the national electric distribution network are mandatory. Investments in public works, such as a high-speed rail, are to be postponed. Hasn't worked in Greece, won't here, but it does let the banks and bondholders loot the economy. Shock Doctrine, chapter and verse.

What She Said: “This [the GOP’s No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act] is about whether we should use the tax code as a moral club to impose the religious views of a few members of Congress on the entire nation.”

Asked & Answered: Why are yields are down, across the board, on the staples: Corn, Rice, Wheat, Soybeans? The FAO reports a rapid slowdown in productivity growth as application of more and more fertilizer returns ever smaller gains. There's probably a message here.

Positively: Various not wholly innocent bystanders insist that torture was valuable in bin Laden's assassination. Many of those making this claim are those ultimately responsible for the Bush administration torture that did not lead to bin Laden's hideout – the ones who are afraid of prosecution for crimes against humanity.

Rose By Another Name: The possibly well-intentioned Republicans will demand mandatory cuts in Social Security and Medicare as the price for increasing the debt ceiling. Of course, being Republicans, they won't say that's what they are doing. Instead they will insist on a “mandatory global spending cap” which will include Social Security, Medicare and every other social support program - food stamps, unemployment benefits, public health services and the rest. It'll have a patriotic name to sugarcoat the destruction of the country in order to give even more tax breaks to millionaires.

In Review: The International Monetary Fund's “World Economic Outlook” includes a chapter entitled "Oil Scarcity, Growth and Global Imbalances". Wonder what prompted that?

Over There: Results from the austerity and privatization laboratory – aka Great Britain – continue to get worse, and worse. But the GOP won't let little things like the facts dim their enthusiasm for making the same mistakes here.

Drumroll: In a rare display of corporate humor, Blackwater, mercenary supplier to the world, has appointed John Ashcroft its new Ethics Chief. Yes, that John Ashcroft.

Baby Steps: The South Carolina Supreme Court, in the name of judicial efficiency, has halted all pending foreclosure hearings and ordered a mandatory foreclosure intervention program. South Carolina is a judicial foreclosure state, so each individual foreclosure is a separate legal case that must go completely through the court system. And there are simply too many foreclosures for the courts to handle them, thus the judges want the parties to work something out – in every case – or face a hostile judge in court.

Porn O'Graph: Click and weep.


I'm Not POTUS said...

Whats next in la la land, Clinton is appointed as Head Instructor for Sexual Harassment Training at NPR?

Also, is it talk like a pirate day or r there 1 too many r's in A&A?

As for an answer I recently saw on a TV news program a graphic of the top 5 useless college degrees. Agriculture was on the list but Business was not.

That may have something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

The top 400 receive 10% of capital gains, not all income. For all income (the AGI line) it was 1.59%, which is still a lot. It was 0.52% in 1992, which in dollar terms means the top 400 earned $150 billion more in 2007 than they would have if the ratio had stayed the same. The average tax rate was 16.62%.

Anonymous said...

Drumroll: Actually, I've always thought Ashcroft was ethical If not naive or stupid.

Let's face it, Gonzales went to his hospital bed and did a "Luca Braza" on him.

"Comey described what happened next: "The door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the Attorney General very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there — to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was — which I will not do." Ashcroft bluntly rebuffed Gonzales,...",8599,1622832,00.html#ixzz1LWalo1tV


Anonymous said...

There is so much fraud associated with food stamps that nobody knows what the "true" number is, but it's far less than 1 in 7.

I'm Not POTUS said...

I will personally attest to the fact that WIC vouchers are not fraudulently used.

I saw a lady buying flowers at a flower shop, she rummaged around here purse looking for cash to pay. She pulled out some WIC vouchers and a BLACK American Express card, but could not find cash in her Fendi bag. So she used the BALCK Amex and not the WIC vouchers.

Obviously if I see one recipeant use them correctly, they all must be doing the same thing.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

INPotus – Precipitous little jump there, no? You see food stamps and a black Amex card and assume the food stamps were obtained fraudulently, not the card.

As for fraud, food stamp use has risen pretty lock-step with total unemployment /underemployment (U6), which suggests that if there is fraud (and there is) it is a constant percent of recipients. (See here: ).

If 10% of the 44.2 million recipients are fraudulent – which would be a very high number – that would still leave 40 million eligible recipients, which is 1 in 8 instead of the frightening 1 in 7.

I feel better already. I'd feel much better if more than 66.8% of American men had a job.


Anonymous said...

You obviously don't have a clue about how many folks are working under the table and/or scamming the government in other ways. I can't even imagine how much waste, fraud and abuse there is, including the corporations and the rich, who accomplish the same results via loopholes.

But it's the logical result of bureaucracy and concentration of power in Washington. You lefties are deluding yourselves thinking more government is utopia; keep dreaming.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 12.54 - Nope, not a clue. You got data? Something more than an anecdote or two from the local Grab and Run or Wal-Mart cashier? Y'know, something disreputable like an actual survey or sociological study published somewhere?

I travel a lot and rather think that several Northern European countries (based on observation and data, both!) are closer to utopia than this woe-begone delusional republic - go back and read the infant mortality data, the poverty levels, the gross gulf between the haves and the rest... Ah, nevermind.


Anonymous said...

You got that right, never mind. Let's wait and see what more government does for us. Comparing our supposedly crappy country to a few small, demographically monolithic countries is cherry picking to the extreme.

I'm Not POTUS said...

Oh no CKM, I assume she legitimately qualified for both the WIC and the BLACK.

Everyone who tells the IRS they are poor IS "OFFICIALLY POOR" to the rest of the government.

Experian, TRW and EQUIFAX tell AMEX who the rich are. AMEX doesn't take her word for it.

The problem is that AMEX and the Agriculture Department rely on 2 distinct and separate data sets that decide what each American is worth.

I found it actually quite an amazing accomplishment on her part. She has got the system efficiently maxed out across the entire financial spectrum.

A feat, such as hers, done in the electromagnetic spectrum would have garnered a Nobel prize for sure.

Not everyone is a cheat and not everyone is honest. The system we have now, benefits cheaters at the expense of honest folk.

Society just has to work that way.

If living were governed by honesty and fairness, dishonest people would not be able to function much less survive. Honest people being made of much tougher stuff can survive this joke of a life we have to live.

Ergo, as they say, no good deed ever goes unpunished.

Lying is not lying, they are just "statements not intended to be factual".

Lies committed by the financial industry in the course of business transactions "do not rise to the level of criminal behavior and are only subject to civil court matters".

These statements were made by elected and appointed members, respectively, of the government currently holding office.

The people in charge of this circus need the "people" to be like her, they want the "people" to be like her.

Honest people are terribly inefficient in the task of acting as money multipliers. Liars can make everyone millionaires, then billionaires then on and on from there to infinity. Remember it is all about growth not contentment.