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Deep thought

“The problem with being ahead of your time is that by the time everyone else catches up to you, you’re bored.”

- Fran Leibowitz

American: The Bill Hicks story

Coming to a theater near you — or on-demand services now:

Uh, guys? Supply side doesn’t work

David Cay Johnston is perhaps the best-informed reporter in the country on tax policy, and he’s been a one-man band for a long time, beating the drum for fairer taxes:

For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980.

For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.

You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades. You would think the practitioners of the dismal science of economics would look at their demand curves and the data on incomes and taxes and pronounce a verdict, the way Galileo and Copernicus did when they showed that geocentrism was a fantasy because Earth revolves around the sun (known as heliocentrism). But economics is not like that. It is not like physics with its laws and arithmetic with its absolute values.

Tax policy is something the framers left to politics. And in politics, the facts often matter less than who has the biggest bullhorn.

The Mad Men who once ran campaigns featuring doctors extolling the health benefits of smoking are now busy marketing the dogma that tax cuts mean broad prosperity, no matter what the facts show.

As millions of Americans prepare to file their annual taxes, they do so in an environment of media-perpetuated tax myths. Here are a few points about taxes and the economy that you may not know, to consider as you prepare to file your taxes. (All figures are inflation-adjusted.)

I especially enjoyed the information on just how much the poor pay in taxes — especially compared to the rich.

Unpopular

Let’s see: There were so many union supporters that Sarah Palin was drowned out at this Madison rally Saturday, yet the AP just can’t estimate how many of the thousands of people who attended were supporting unions. Here’s a clue, guys: They’re the only ones with the wacky, misspelled signs.

Oh, by the way: Gov. Scott Walker is planning to take over towns and fire their elected officials, just like the Republicans did in Michigan!

Capitol Police estimated about 6,500 people converged on the building Saturday, but said it was impossible to tell how many were tea partyers and how many were labor supporters.

Tea party activists are a loose coalition of community groups largely made up of people with conservative views who believe government has grown too large. They take their name from a 1773 protest in which activists in the then-British colonies in America boarded ships and dumped their cargo of English tea into Boston harbor.

“Loose coalition of community groups.” Nothing about Dick Armey or the Koch brothers’ money that’s funding this, not even a mention of where these demonstrators came from — and who paid for their buses.

The tea partyers appeared clustered in front of the building, waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and signs that read “Public workers — the party is over,” ”Thank you, Scott,” and “Tax and spend brings the end.”

Counter-protesters surrounded them, banging drums, bellowing into bullhorns and ringing bells. Bitter arguments broke out along the edges of the two groups over everything from the size of government to corporate power. At one point conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart took the stage and told the labor supporters to “go to hell.”

“I’m serious!” he screamed. “Go to hell! You’re trying to divide America!”

Carl Jung, genius. Talk about projection, eh?

Palin told the tea party rally that Walker is working to solve Wisconsin’s long-term budget problems so it can honor pension commitments to public workers.

“This is where the line has been drawn in the sand and I’m glad to stand with you in solidarity,” Palin said.

Oh, Mrs. Palin. Are you simply woefully misinformed, or shamelessly cynical? (I’m going with the latter.) Wisconsin’s public pension fund is fully funded.

Just keep shifting the goalposts. That’s why you get all that money, after all.

Sounds like Spitzer’s on a campaign to push hard for the prosecution of Goldman Sachs. This, from last week:
Eliot Spitzer challenges investment banker Goldman Sachs: “Sue me. I don’t care. You lied to the public, you should be prosecuted” during an interview with Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate subcommittee charged with investigating the causes of the financial crisis.

Here’s a transcript of what Spitzer said:

SPITZER: Senator, I’m going to take a leap. I’m going to say it out loud. Very directly.

Goldman Sachs, you lied to the public. You lied to your clients. You’ve got a problem. You come on the show. Sue me. I don’t care. You lied to the public, you should be prosecuted.

I’m going to say it right now. And I hope they are.

Listen to Spitzer challenge Holder in his appearance on Anderson Cooper, then go read this William Greider article on “How Wall Street Crooks Get Out of Jail Free”.

Then read this Politico piece on how conservative members of Congress are more upset that Holder is refusing to devote DoJ resources to prosecuting something much more important: online pornography.

Rats

I told you blogging was killing me!

Hmm

Let’s see: You announce you have enough petition signatures to successfully force the recall of a WI Democratic state senator, and then just coincidentally, your recall office gets broken into and the petitions AND your office computer are “stolen.”

Uh huh. Right.

Now, imagine if the situation was reversed, and Democrats claimed their office was broken into. Oh, what moaning and gnashing of teeth from the Rethugs, claiming the whole thing was a setup!

How can anyone believe anything they say?

Shame

PJ Harvey:

Virtually Speaking Sundays

I’ll be co-hosting tonight with Culture of Truth. The conversation ranges over news of the week, what the Sunday morning talking heads spun or ignored. Listen here beginning Sunday, April 17 @ 9pm eastern/6pm pacific.

Listen here! Call 646-200-3440 with questions or comments.

USUncut actions for Tax Day

Why weren’t you there? I can’t stand up that long, my ankle’s still too weak. I’d be there if I could. Why not go to one of tomorrow’s events?

San Francisco:

GE tax hoax:


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