Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Mitt Romney Makes ‘Redistribution’ Argument, Bolstered by Fox News, Conservative Media

Redistribution is a fact of life. The tax code, by it’s very nature, redistributes wealth. It has to, in order “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States“.

The real question is: What kind of redistribution works best for the country?

The republicans have embraced upward redistribution, a strategy that is decimating the middle class. In a consumption economy, this is fiscal suicide.

The Democrats embrace a strategy that funnels more money back into the economy, empowering demand and driving sustainable growth. This is a strategy that built the United States into the superpower it is today.

This image depicts the Territorial acquisition...

This image depicts the Territorial acquisitions of the United States, such as the Thirteen Colonies, the Louisiana Purchase, British and Spanish Cession, and so on. Possible Errors There is a concern that this map could have errors. For discussion, please see the talk page. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a strategy that predates either modern political party. From the Louisiana Purchase to the Alaska Purchase, tax money has been used for expansion from the very beginning. Land given to farmers and ranchers, schools and land grant colleges.

And the transcontinental railroad, much of it wasted by corporate greed.

The G.I. Bill helped create a golden age of prosperity, even as the rich were heavily taxed.

State agricultural colleges and their extension services made farmers more productive. Hydroelectric dams, the interstate highway system, NASA, DARPA…all created opportunities or entire new segments of the economy.

We would not be who we are if not for the kind of government spending that republicans are opposed to.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Direction, Governance | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Cantor’s Small-Business Tax Cut Faces Threat Of Presidential Veto

And a well-deserved veto it would be.

Holy Crap, Batman! Look at the numbers!

$46B added to the deficit in order to create 100K jobs. That’s $460,000/job. That’s likely 10 to 15 times the salary of the jobs created. There is no possibility that this would generate enough new revenues to pay for the cuts, even if the new jobs were taxed at 100%.

Cutting taxes for 22M “small” businesses to create 100K jobs means only 1 job would be created for every 220 businesses getting a tax cut – and that’s if the republican best-case scenario proves true.

Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that Eric Cantor and I have radically different definitions of “potent economic stimulus”. This is designed to be incredibly inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful as a “jobs” program.

Could the lies be any more blatant? Promoting this as a “jobs” bill is an insult to the intelligence of every American, and a clear demonstration that republicans are fiscally irresponsible in ideology and practice. After all, they can blame President Obama for not signing it, or the Senate Democrats for not passing it, and never face responsibility for passing it. I expect them to accuse the Democrats of playing politics in stopping this moment of insanity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

April 19, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Budget, Economics, Ethics, GOP, Legislation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gainful-Employment Rule – What Do We Think

Barnard College, 1913 (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Gainful-Employment Rule: What Do We Think?.

“Programs must fail for three years out of four before they are completely cut off from student loan or Pell Grant money. No programs will be ruled ineligible until 2015.”

I find it interesting that conservatives who want government to be run like a business reject the idea of evaluating a supplier based on return-on-investment criteria.

I don’t think there is a business in the world that would contract with a third-party supplier with such a parasitic and ineffective business model as some of these for-profit institutions embrace. Nor would I expect any business to be so lenient with failure.

“”We’re focusing on improving (for-profit programs) rather than closing them. Students would be better off if their programs were stronger rather than closed down,” said James Kvaal, a DOE official, during a conference call with reporters.”

Just the opposite of the approach republicans take toward public schools.

When it comes to funneling taxpayer money to private businesses, republicans are clearly selective about running government like a business.

“The controversy over the “gainful employment” rules highlights an important reality — mainly that the federal government is actively creating rules that will prevent many people from obtaining skilled employment or improving their job status.

The whole issue of higher education regulation is a debate worth having. There is widespread opinion that the federal government has once again overstepped its bounds. That’s why I’m looking forward to taking a close look at how we can improve higher education without selectively imposing draconian regulations that hamper innovation and job creation while reducing student choices.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.

The catch is that for-profit colleges are the only ones deliberately bilking the taxpayers and impoverishing their victims. You have to concentrate regulations on the bad actors in order to minimize unintended consequences.

And the truth is that we cannot afford the economic consequences of predatory for-profit colleges. The high cost of an honest college education already limits the disposable income of college graduates to a degree that weakens the economy. The problem becomes enormously worse when the education is worthless. The Congresswoman merely seeks to complicate and muddy the waters.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Education, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon buying chief: Navy can’t ‘hide’ nuclear sub fleet’s $60 billion price tag – TheHill.com

yellow submarine

Pentagon buying chief: Navy can’t ‘hide’ nuclear sub fleet’s $60 billion price tag – TheHill.com.

The Navy will have to find room in its annual shipbuilding budget for its $60 billion nuclear-powered submarine program, a senior Pentagon official said this week.

And how is it that Congress is not the one to “find room” in the budget for submarines? I know that the Pentagon has serious accounting problems, but they should not even imagine trying to build ships under the table.

This represents a mindset of ‘bills of any size always being paid’ catching a whiff of fiscal accountability and discipline coming down the hallway.

With each new nuclear-powered sub expected to cost around $5 billion, Navy officials have for some time said paying for a dozen models would “squeeze” their shipbuilding budget and threaten shrinkage of its future surface vessel fleet.

Their shipbuilding budget should be based on ships authorized to be built. Perhaps with a small margin for overruns, but not so much as to discourage efficiency. Certainly not enough to build a major ship.

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Budget | , | Leave a comment

112th Congress HConRes. 1 – Assembling Congress Outside the District of Columbia

112th Congress, H. Con. Res. 1


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),
That pursuant to clause 4, section 5, article I of the Constitution,
during the One Hundred Twelfth Congress the Speaker of the House and
the Majority Leader of the Senate or their respective designees, acting
jointly after consultation with the Minority Leader of the House and
the Minority Leader of the Senate,

 may notify the Members of the House and the Senate, respectively, to
assemble at a place outside the District of Columbia if, in their
opinion, the public interest shall warrant it.

            Passed the House of Representatives January 5, 2011.



  1st Session

                             H. CON. RES. 1


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Regarding consent to assemble outside the seat of government.


House Concurrent Resolutions (H. Con. Res.) and Senate Concurrent Resolutions (S. Con. Res.) require the approval of both chambers but do not require the signature of the President and do not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions generally are used to make or amend rules that apply to both chambers.

There does not seem to be any reason for this, and, considering the budget deficit problem, it seems like the worst time to take Congress on the road. I shudder at the cost.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Government, Legislation, Strangelove | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Leaving Billions In ‘Legacy Of Waste’ In Iraq, Special Inspector General Says

This is the dark side of capitalism. The primary goal was not to help the Iraqis, but to bill the American taxpayer. There were several projects that the Iraqis did not want, or wanted done differently, but the American contractors would not listen. The contractors did it their way, they did it for top dollar, and they frequently did it wrong.

The legacy is not just the litter of our wastefulness, but the symbols of our wealth and arrogance.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism | , | Leave a comment


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