July 2011
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Month July 2011

So there’s a deal

NYT: Under the plan as described by officials briefed on its outline, the debt limit would be increased by $900 billion in the first installment, subject to a Congressional vote of disapproval that President Obama would be able to veto. To prevent a default, $400 billion would be added immediately. A second increase of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion would be available subject to a second vote of disapproval by Congress. At the same time, a new joint Congressional committee would be created to find a like amount of cuts. If the evenly divided committee failed to agree on a plan, Congress would either have to approve a balanced budget agreement or accept an across-the-board cut in spending in line with the committee’s goal, with 50 percent of the savings coming from the Pentagon beginning in 2013. Medicare would also sustain cuts, though the reductions would be capped. Talking points from the White House (email, no link): The debt deal announced today is a victory for bipartisan compromise, for the economy and for the American people. The agreement: ·         Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to […]

Business insider says “The whole world thinks Republicans are dangerous maniacs”

Here is the link:  http://www.businessinsider.com/its-official-the-whole-world-thinks-republicans-are-dangerous-maniacs-2011-7 The Germans think we have gone nuts.  A number of countries are furious that the Republicans are playing with fire and may ruin THEIR futures. Way to go Republican Party and Congress – YOU are ruining “The American Brand” and the question is, can the dollar and American credibility recover?  Check out the links in this story if you think this is a minor matter. Republican mole vision may just ruin the markets for American exports for decades to come by their Tea Party shenanigans and fiscal nonsense plans. HINT:  other governments are not amused.  Government is what makes a strong nation.  Hello?  Any remaining New Deal Democrats or Eisenhower Republicans OUT THERE listening?  

How to recapture the agenda in Washington, jump-start the economy, and help assure the President’s re-election

I fear we are letting the Republicans set the agenda here, and then we are spending our time & effort arguing over points in their playing field. Whatever the outcome of the current Debt Ceiling dust-up, it will only hurt the still-struggling economy. And “it is the economy, stupid,” not the debt ceiling, where next year’s election will be won or lost. We need to change the agenda. After reading Robert Reich’s “Aftershock” last year, I believe there is a relatively simple way to jump-start the economy, thus helping insure the President’s re-election with all its Congressional coat-tails. It will also rob the Republicans of their main issue and back them into a corner. Here are the three salient facts that Reich presents in far more detail than I can here: 1. The day Ronald Reagan walked into the White House, the richest 1% of Americans commanded 9% of the income. Today that number is approaching 25%. For the record, “richest 1%” today means an income of $500,000 or more. 2. We no longer have a manufacturing-based economy. Today’s economy is highly consumer-driven, and consumers no longer have the income to support it (see #1 above). Reich believes that until […]

Just don’t lose them

The awesomest way I’ve yet seen out of the debt ceiling crisis.  No pesky constitutional issues, yet completely bypasses the ongoing congressional clusterf&*#. Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there’s a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time. Ironically, there’s no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds. Sure, printing money tends to carry inflationary risk.  But (a) in this case, the risk would be somewhat offset by resolving a political crisis that is causing a lot of angst in the markets, and (b), To prevent the money from contributing to too rapid inflation, the Fed could simply conduct reverse QE—sell some of its enormous stock of government debt to absord some of the new money in the system. Though it’s unlikely that inflation would be too serious an issue; indeed, it could be helpful. So, sounds like a […]

Online Bidding Auction Site

Most of us heard about the auction sites, but the newly launched site dealfun.com stands unique in all ways of bidding auction. DealFun.com provides shoppers an exciting new method to obtain vast discounts on name brand products in a high energy and exciting auction format. Your preferred name brands and high end items like iPods, Computers, Jewelry and much more are all accessible for wonderful deals in these fast-paced auctions. DealFun makes the bidding risk free with their expedient “Buy It Now” choice ensuring no bidder goes away blank handed. Shoppers of dealfun can simply select from a selection of bid packages pre-purchased in order to bid on the auctions of their selection, with every bid pushing the auction price up only one cent at a time. The majority items on dealfun.com sell for as much as 85% less than the standard cost and with no weekly or monthly win caps, every DealFun shopper can take home lots of huge new gear or win kind gifts for friends. The site also provides complete 24/7 customer support to answer any questions along the method. Even for the consumers who don’t succeed an auction, their bids will not go to waste with […]

Aligning money and mouth

I have a proposal for how to balance the federal budget: The Aligned Money and Mouth Bill. The “Aligned Money and Mouth Bill” has two parts: 1. Have the CBO compile regularly (each year? each quarter?) a report that shows, at the congressional district level the net federal funds coming into or out of each district. 2. Impose legislation that specifies that if the representative of a district has voted against federal tax increases or in favor of federal spending in that district, then federal expenditures in that district are capped at whatever the district’s net contribution is. 3. Districts whose representatives vote in favor of the tax increases or against the federal spending in their district are exempted from this restriction. Several sources (Here is an example) have noted that the “red” states, clamoring most loudly for destroying the federal government as we know it, also happen to be net recipients of federal spending. That’s right. The same states that squawk the loudest about the “out of control” deficit also receive more than they contribute. The “blue” states typically pay more in federal taxes than they receive in goods and services. Perhaps if the voters who put these incompetent, […]

Welcome Creditor Overlords

Cross-posted at Letters Blogatory One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the Treasury bondholders will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new creditor overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted commentator on judicial assistance, I can be helpful in navigating the labyrinth of US civil procedure. In that spirit, here are some helpful hints on how to go about suing Uncle Sam for payment: Which court? The Court of Federal Claims is probably the right court for bringing an action for debt against the United States. The court’s general jurisdictional statute, the Tucker Act, provides: “The United States Court of Federal Claims shall have jurisdiction to render judgment upon any claim against the United States founded either upon the Constitution, or any Act of Congress or any regulation of an executive department, or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort.” Aliens (mostly) welcome! By statute: “Citizens or subjects of any foreign government which accords to citizens of the United States the right to prosecute claims against their government in its courts may sue the United States […]

Saturday Joke Revue — Fox: “Obama Weary, Nostalgic for Land of Birth”

Borowitz: According to the Fox News Channel, President Barack Obama is so weary of the debt ceiling stalemate in Congress that he is beginning to wonder why he moved to the United States in the first place. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith broke the story today, reporting that “sources close to the President say he’s increasingly nostalgic for the land of his birth.” “To someone like President Obama, this wrangling in Congress must seem very foreign,” said Mr. Smith. “In Kenya, debt ceilings are raised automatically by the village elders, who then celebrate with a ceremonial feast of cabbage, mangoes and goat.” While Mr. Smith stopped short of saying that Mr. Obama planed to leave Washington and return to his native Kenya, “his birth certificate does allow him to return at any time he sees fit.” “As he sees Congress push the United States ever closer to default, who can blame Mr. Obama for longing for simpler times, roaming free on the savanna?” Mr. Smith reported.

Rep. Jim McGovern tells it like it is

Harsh – and entirely appropriate – commentary on the ongoing buffoonery in the House of Representatives.  Well said.

Will the Farm Team ride to the rescue in 2012?

Much of the world is moving forward towards a renewable, sustainable future.  The USA may be left behind due to a lack of strong political leadership, and the capture of the USA’s business culture by corporate greed.  Fortunately, this is not true in every country, or even in every city, town, and county in the USA. There are several positive currents, both internationally and nationally.  One of the most positive developments internationally is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  The changes flowing from the GRI should not be underestimated.  For more information, either google GRI, or go to its website http://www.globalreporting.org/Home The premise of the GRI is similar to the premise of the Public Policy Institute – countries, corporations, and politicians behave differently when someone is watching.  What the GRI has done is ensure that corporations commit to being “watched”.  As a result, there is positive  feedback and increased profitability when the GRI involved companies plan for a future in which they remain profitable because the societies where they are located benefit from long term corporate planning that leads to thriving societies with cleaner water, lower health costs as diseases are reduced, and a more productive workforce. I realize the GRI initiative […]