How do we decide who deserves how much? How much money, how much health, hunger, pain?
A Beginning: Bernie Sanders and Harry Reid have introduced a bill to “strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly every else already pays.” Currently, earned income in excess of $113,700 is entirely exempt from the 6.2 percent payroll tax that funds Social Security benefits. Simply by eliminating the payroll tax earnings cap — and thus ending this regressive exemption for the top 5.2 percent of earners — would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, solve the financial crisis facing the Social Security system..
A Second Comimg: Europe's social fabric is falling apart. The European economic and monetary union cannot hold under the current political, social, economic and financial arrangements. The European electorate – the Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek thus far – have long since lost their innocence. The union that was meant to promote peace and prosperity is delivering neither. Only the leadership, with their blind, passionate embrace of austerity do not understand that the future is in jeopardy.
Just Wondering: "Why is it good for the private sector to borrow more to invest in good projects when the cost of borrowing is cheap, but when the government does the same thing it involves believing in magic?"
Handwaving: While we are not actually drowning in 'new' oil, we are certainly drowning in propaganda that would lead you to believe we are. BP's CEO says 'peak oil' is a thing of the past and that we live in "an age of energy abundance." Peak oil is a thing of the past only in the sense that we passed it a few years ago. What's the motive behind this effort to mislead? Oil company executives know they are prevaricating - and if they don't they shouldn't be in the positions they are. The current increase in oil production is proof of peak oil - now that we're on the downslope, the hard to get and very expensive to wrest from the ground becomes profitable - because the less expensive stuff is gone. There's lots of $500 a barrel oil left. Too bad you can't afford it.
On The Record: The current Dow heights are not really 'records', not once you include inflation. And even if they were, it would not signify much - soon after the last "record highs" came the crash and Recent Unpleasantness. Celebrate, but have a designated driver.
Il mio piano: Remember, Italy's proconsul Monti was decisively dismissed by Italian voters in favor of Grillo. While seen in the US media as a clown, Grillo actually ran on a platform and the people actually voted for it. His plan called for Italy to unilaterally default on the its public debt (see Iceland, Argentina, Russia), claiming that the budget was out of control only because of interest payments on the outstanding debts. He would nationalize the banks as a natural social and economic monopoly that should be operated by the state in the interests of the people, not for the benefit the bankers. And the third leg of Grillo's stool is a guaranteed "citizenship" income of 1000 euros a month - not 'welfare' but patrimony. Some think it could work, many think it couldn't be any worse than the future the EU/ECB technocrats have in mind.
Asked & Avoided: How long will voters let Republicans put the rich before everyone else? Dunno, how long you got?
Value, Added:In the last 30 years the cost of college has gone up 600%, while the wages of college graduates have not. Expect the trend - higher costs, lower rewards - to continue as the country is led further into unnecessary austerity. Of course the costs don't matter too much for the rich, they manage to send more than half their kids to college. Only 9% of low income students complete college, here in the land of equality where everyone gets only what they can pay for and not a damned bit more.
Love Thy Neighbor: A larger percentage of US Roman Catholics support gay marriage than does the average run of the American public. Someone should tell the Vatican that Jesus' message is getting through.
Shedding: Canadian glaciers, the world's third largest store of ice, are melting. The process is irreversible at this point, and 20% of their mass will melt away by 2100. And they will continue to melt for a couple of hundred more years, until they have all run into the seas. That's at a modest 3ºC of global temperature rise. In that we're on course for more like 5 or 6ºC, a somewhat more rapid melt is to be expected.
Porn O'Graph: Baby steps.
The Parting Shot: