Please note: An estimated 85,000 people turned out to see this event — about the same number that turned out for a certain media clown’s recent Washington rally:
A few lucky Philadelphia-area residents went for a swim in the Delaware river this weekend. Philadelphians were not re-creating their favorite Seinfeld moments, they were competing in the 2010 Red Bull Flutag (Flutag is German for “flying day”). Why would someone want to crash a crude vehicle into the water? Most participants just said “why not.” The Philadelphia and Camden hosted event attracted over 85,000 people hoping to see a few maritime disasters—they were not disappointed.
A significant amount of time and money goes into creating the floats. After speaking with several of the participants, the cost ranges from a few hundred (because they already had tools and materials) to several thousand. All of the competitors said it took between 300 – 400 hours to make their crafts; quite an effort for a 30-second one-way trip.
The weather created some drama due to Hurricane Earl. Thanks to Earl’s strong winds, the competitors and the crowd waited for the officials to green-light the flutags to take flight (the event was delayed about 40 minutes). Once the winds and river currents calmed, 32 competitors managed to get their hard work into the waters of the Delaware. The “Giant Flying Llama” team took the top prize by flying 36 ft. which was impressive considering the massive crosswind. The “5 Guys 1 Clock” team took the coveted People’s Choice award for their odd cuckoo clock theme.
In sum, Obama’s proposed corporate tax cuts (1) won’t generate more jobs because they don’t put any cash in worker’s pockets (as would, for example, exempting the first $20,000 of income from the payroll tax and making up the difference by applying the payroll tax to incomes over $250,000); (2) will subsidize companies to cut even more jobs; and (3) will cost $130 billion — money that could better be spent helping states and locales avoid laying off thousands of teachers, fire fighters, and police.
So why is Obama proposing them? To put Republicans in a bind. If they refuse to go along he can justifiably say they have no agenda other than obstruction. After all, the only thing they’ve been arguing for is lower taxes. On the other hand, if Republicans agree to support these corporate tax cuts, Obama can claim a legislative victory that will help Democrats neutralize their opponents in the upcoming elections.
The proposals also make it harder for Republicans to argue the Bush income tax cuts should be extended for the richest 3 percent of taxpayers because small businesses need it. Obama’s corporate tax cuts would appear to do the trick.
The White House probably figures even if Republicans agree to the proposed tax cuts, nothing will come of it. Congress will be in session for only about two weeks between now and the midterm elections so it’s doubtful these proposals would be enacted in any event.
But this cynical exercise could backfire if Republicans call Obama’s bluff and demand the corporate tax cuts be put on a fast track and get signed into legislation before the midterms.
More troubling, Obama’s whopping proposed corporate tax cuts help legitimize the supply-side dogma that the economy’s biggest obstacle to growth is the cost of capital, rather than the plight of ordinary working people.
The New York Post takes time out from Muslim-bashing to celebrate the return of a clump of wreckage to America’s holiest permanent construction site. The paper uses the front page to relate how the “first of two steel ‘tridents’ that once formed the base of the soaring towers was lowered into place at the 9/11 memorial, where they will stand sentinel as poignant reminders of the missing skyscrapers.” I guess it’s okay that the paper can fetishize a couple of chunks of rubble in the service of commemorating a tragedy. It would be even nicer if it could be as compassionate about the rescue workers who risked their lives down at the site during the event but who are now castigated as leeches of the state for receiving the retirement benefits they were offered so many years ago.
Republican Pat Toomey crusaded against earmarks for most of his three terms in the U.S. House, and not long ago took a live pig to Independence Mall as he challenged his Senate-race opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, to swear off the funding that lawmakers direct to their pet projects.
But in his first term representing the Lehigh Valley’s 15th District, Toomey won at least $9 million in earmarks, including $3 million for a private company that became for a time his largest single source of campaign contributions.
Air Products & Chemicals Inc., a major corporation based in Allentown, was awarded the money in October 1999 to develop a ceramic-based technology to generate sterile compressed oxygen for use by the military on the battlefield, in planes, and on ships.
All told, Toomey got at least three earmarks that year, according to news releases archived on his old congressional website. He served in Congress from 1999 to 2005.