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Posted at 8:35 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Lefty groups enter the ad wars in Wisconsin: Progressive groups are going up in Wisconsin today with an interesting new ad that lets ordinary Wisconsinites make their case against Governor Scott Walker, an effort to harness the grassroots nature of the protests to increase pressure on senate Republicans to break with Walker and side with Wisconsin working people:

The ad -- paid for by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America -- slams Walker for "class warfare" and an "attack on the middle class," and directs people to a new Website, WarOnWorkingFamilies.com, where they can donate to keep the the spot on the air. Which raises a question: Has the Wisconsin fight made Americans more receptive than usual to the sort of class-warfare language that some Dems have backed away from in recent years?

Details on the initial ad buy to come.

* Wisconsin fight has revitalized labor movement: AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka makes some important points about Wisconsin's larger impact on the labor movement, arguing that it has given unions a high-profile opportunity to restate their case -- a case the public is listening to.

* How long will Dems stay away from Wisconsin? That's the key question right now, because as long as they stay away, there may be nothing whatsoever Walker can do to pass his rollback of bargaining rights.

* Smart GOP governors keeping Walker at arms length: Dem strategist Mark Mellman on how savvier Republican governors recognize that Walker's anti-union push is dangerous for the GOP.

* Fact-check of the day: Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler absolutely eviscerates Haley Barbour's reprehensible claim that Medicaid recipients are picking up their prescription drugs in BMWs.

Key takeaway: This is just another version of the false "welfare queen" archetype. No matter how many times it's debunked, the right-wing grievance-mongering myth of widespread welfare fraud -- that lots of folks are yukking it up and partying like the rich as they suck hard-working taxpayers dry -- will continue to persist in one form or another.

* Both sides wary of government shutdown: The GOP and Dems have reached a short-term deal to fund the government, but what about the long-term fight to come?

Karen Tumulty and Ed O'Keefe report on the very different political conditions between now and 1995, and why they have persuaded both sides that a shutdown could be politically disastrous for them.

* But unbridgeable differences remain: Despite the current detente, a shutdown is still very possible, because irreconcilable differences remain over the GOP's efforts to prevent the Obama administration from undertaking routine functions of government.

* Liberals fear Senate Dems will cave again: The willingness of Senate Dems to go along with short-term GOP budget cuts has liberals worried that their long-term strategy will be dictated by "centrists" who think they are politically vulnerable if they don't do everything in their power to shore up the conservative government-is-always-bad narrative.

* Washington's incestuous insider political-media culture: Good read from Dana Milbank on the real meaning of the Darrell Issa-Kurt Bardella-Politico tale: It reveals an important but unspoken truth about Washington as a "culture in which journalists implicitly provide positive coverage in exchange for tidbits of news."

* GOPers who refuse to join anti-Planned Parenthood jihad face consequences: The seven House Republicans who didn't vote to defund the reproductive rights organization are getting threatened by anti-abortion groups with primaries from the right, another sign that the abortion culture-war is back with a vengeance.

* The real problem with Huckabee's "Kenya" crack: It doesn't matter if Mike Huckabee merely misspoke when saying Obama grew up in Kenya, because as Steve Stromberg notes, the episode highlights conservative culture's more general addiction to imagining Obama as some sort of non-American and vaguely threatening "other."

* Today in head-spinning right-wing contradictions: Relatedly, Jon Chait marvels at conservatives who decry Obama's alleged "anti-colonial" worldview even as they revere the Tea Party as the political descendants of the founding fathers who cast off the yolk of British tyranny.

* And tens of tousands join up for "Ignore Sarah Palin Week": An online petition of people pledging to avoid media outlets when they lavish attention on Palin now has over 32,000 signatures. You can sign up right here.

What else is going on?

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Tea Party, budget  
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Next: Why did Huckabee think Obama 'grew up in Kenya?'

Comments

Greg - Don't be an enabler for our beloved Jon Chait's bad spelling! It's the British "yoke", like what you put on an ox, not the British "yolk", like what you find in the middle of an egg...

Posted by: bmoodie | March 2, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

We will see how long those Wisconsin Democratic Senators last (I hear that the pregnant one is ready to come back). Imagine the hate mail she will get from the left.

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

a tip of the hat to bmoodie

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

bmoodie, colonial revolutionaries throwing off the British yoke in 1776 is also quite different than a President of the United States burning the American yoke himself.

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

More bad spelling: Harness, not harnass. Doesn't WaPo have spellcheck?

Posted by: ndgirl | March 2, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

More bad spelling: Harness, not harnass. Doesn't WaPo have spellcheck?

Posted by: ndgirl | March 2, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Let the abortion culture war grab the headlines just to underscore, along with union busting and budget cutting leading to layoffs, just how "serious" Republicans are about Americans getting back to work.

That being what they were elected for, as well as being the farthest thing from their alleged minds.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are committed to fiscal responsibility and to ensuring that government lives within its means. With Big Oil raking in record profits, House Democrats offered a Motion to Recommit to the House Republican short-term spending bill this afternoon making a responsible cut to the budget: putting an end to taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies. [...]

Rep. William Keating (D-MA) offered the motion on the House floor saying "let's stop sending taxpayers' money to the most profitable companies in the world."

Republicans voted unanimously against the motion, defeating it by a vote of 176-249.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, on the vote:

On this first day of March, oil prices came in like a lion, but when it comes to taking away oil company tax breaks and cutting the federal deficit, Republicans act like docile lambs. Today a grand total of zero Republicans were brave enough to say the biggest oil companies don’t need 100 year-old tax breaks to sell $100 per barrel oil to make more than $100 billion per year in profits.

http://www.democraticleader.gov/blog/?p=3631

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 2, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

That's a great ad. I imagine it will certainly resonate with the general public. I wish they hadn't thrown in the term "class warfare", as it never seemed (to me) to be a very effective buzz-word.

I do think it's good that they are attempting to transition this into more than just a union fight. I've been arguing that the real danger for the GOP is if these protests were able to shift to a more generalized "workers rights > corporate greed" message.

This message (as pushed by this ad) could really sway a lot of people in the middle who might be wary of unions but not necessarily agree with Walker's plan.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | March 2, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

pragmaticagain, what if putting an end to taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies will worsen our own domestic energy crisis AND cost 100,000 American jobs?

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if any of you have read Charles Koch's opinion piece in the WSJ yesterday, very enlightening BTW, but Think Progress has been systematically taking it apart. Here's some of Part 2. It's worth a read if you're interested in the environment, aren't we all, or should I say shouldn't we all be.

""Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) demand that he be allowed to sell off Wisconsin’s state owned power plants with no-bid contracts has fueled suspicion that Koch Industries might take advantage of the deal, especially given Koch’s support for the Walker campaign and his current power grab. But the more dangerous Koch Industries kickback from Walker is likely to be from his administration’s approach to environmental regulations. Koch owns several Georgia Pacific plants along the Fox River near Green Bay. These plants are notorious for dumping thousands of pounds of toxic waste into the river, so it is discouraging that Walker’s administration has indicated that it will rollback environmental safeguards. If Walker allows Koch to pollute Wisconsin’s waterways, he is risking the lives and health of Wisconsin’s people.

In his book, the Science of Success, Charles pays tribute to libertarian scholar F.A. Hayek as one his role models. But Hayek famously wrote that pollution should be regulated not only for the “owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage,” but for society at large.

As one of the leading sources of carcinogenic chemicals and greenhouse gases, Koch’s financing of anti-regulation front groups is a back-door lobbying attempt to avoid having to pay for Koch Industries’ pollution. Refusing to pay for pollution is the core of the Koch business, and allows the company to make billions in illegitimate profits. Moreover, a business refusing to pay for its own pollution violates true libertarian principles.""

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/01/koch-polluter-bailout/

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

pragmaticagain, what if putting an end to taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies will worsen our own domestic energy crisis AND cost 100,000 American jobs?

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 9:12 AM

If there was any evidence that it would put 100,000 people out of work, I would think the GOP would be in favor of it.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 2, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

*Unhinged Union Thuggery du jour*

VIDEO: Wisconsin GOP State Senator Chased, Trapped by Mob of Screaming Leftist Goons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cx77K8e3WE&feature=player_embedded

*so progressive*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 2, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

This vote mirrors a similar amendment to the longer term Republican “So Be It” spending bill last month by Reps. Markey (D-MA), Hinchey (D-NY), Miller (D-CA) and Capps (D-CA) to close another oil company loophole and recover up to $53 billion in taxpayer funds from oil companies. While the Markey amendment was voted down 251-174, House Republicans passed several amendments benefiting Big Oil that have nothing to do with cutting spending like exempting arctic offshore drilling from Clean Air protections and blocking information on sources of carbon pollution.

http://www.democraticleader.gov/blog/?p=3631

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 2, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

BREAKING: Obamateur's EPA Strangles Another 7.3 Million Jobs

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_JOB_LOSS_CLAIMS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-02-28-03-24-16

Industry officials say with confidence that 7.3 million jobs will disappear if the Obama administration goes through with tighter rules to reduce smog... "Even if the numbers are half of that, the number is huge," he said.

*job*jobs*jobs*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 2, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

pragmaticagain, what if putting an end to taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies will worsen our own domestic energy crisis AND cost 100,000 American jobs?

==

More likely, and far more logical, that the billions saved would create 100,000 infrastructure jobs and do nothing to discourage oil companies from drilling for that toxic junk.

You. Bloody. Fool.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Well another month has gone so it is time for another round of who gets to lose to Barak Hussein Obama, only about 600 days to go. Mitt just isn't taken seriously anymore. With Mr. Obama able to sincerely congratulate him on his signature political achievement, he just can't counter, he is outflanked.

Mitch Daniels is the only other serious person being discussed. The rest have no shot, none. So, will Jeb run? To whom will Rove, formerly the architect, now, the bag man, throw the $120 million political payroll.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

No, pragmaticagain, we want those high-paying jobs (in our districts). Why do you think that Boehner wanted the Joint Strike Force jet engine (built in his district)?

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

This, btw, is a very important ruling which was thankfully if surprisingly unanimous.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1279.pdf

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

As if the mediocrity of the GOP field isn't enough, Romney is hampered *by his successes*

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Just like "Hitler" should be banned from any political discourse, so should "Jihad".

/just saying

Posted by: GavinM | March 2, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

This one too further refining the personality if you will, of a corporate entity, ending the chain of command ruse for improper firing. That is when a manager fires someone without good cause, but the actual firing is done by say, an HR officer.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-400.pdf

These are important, as everyone was wondering how far the court would go with the person-hood of corporations in the wake of CU.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

More likely, and far more logical, that the billions saved would create 100,000 infrastructure jobs and do nothing to discourage oil companies from drilling for that toxic junk.

You. Bloody. Fool.

Posted by: caothien9
___________________________

If you take away billions from the oil companies, they aren't going to create new jobs. Their board of directors has one single, and legally required, goal: make as much money as they can. Those billions lost are going to come from somewhere.

Until the law is changed to allow companies to pursue other goals beside profit, nothing will change and their won't be any focus on job creation. Jobs will only follow when the potential for profit outweighs the losses they take on salaries.

Posted by: Bailers | March 2, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff on C-SPAN this morning. Tom Coburn completely dismisses Newt Gingrich as divisive and temperamental.

Some caller later on called complaining about the fraction of the total income taxes that higher income people pay. The Democratic Rep asked back what fraction of income they earned. He knew his facts; the caller just had talking points.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@ Bailers - If they can't make money at $100/barrel, they're in the wrong business.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

BBQ: "I wish they hadn't thrown in the term "class warfare", as it never seemed (to me) to be a very effective buzz-word."

I think you are correct about it not being effective in the past, but I'm starting to see that change among the people I know. When you consider that the middle class has taken the brunt of the recession in lost homes, lost home values, lost retirement investments, the loss of millions of jobs and are now being pounded repeatedly for givebacks in the workplace, I'm seeing an awakening.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 2, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Sheen, then this Dior designer...

"Galliano Said to Be Headed for Rehab"

Anti-semites when drunk,
Mel "that's not me" Gibson,
not so alone anymore.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The most profitable industry in the history of the world needs tax breaks...

OR ELSE!

How they get conservatives to fall for this stuff is literally genius. They have to convince people like Jake here not only that what they are saying is right, but that they shouldn't bother to listen to dissenting views. That they are able to accomplish these feats in the information age -- when all someone has to do is google -- is nothing short of incredible.

Congrats Jake, you win the 2011 P.T. Barnum Prize for Outstanding Gullibility.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Re oil company subsidies: so the self-described conservatives here are opposed to free markets.

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 2, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

David Dayen begins the analysis of Walker's budget repair bill.

""The reality of Scott Walker’s two-year budget is setting in, and people have begun to connect the dots. The reason Walker needs to gut collective bargaining now is because he’ll need to silence state and local workers’ voices when he guts their pay later. That’s the only way you can have the municipalities and school districts absorb over $2.5 billion in cuts without any gaps in service. When Walker says he wants to give the local governments the “tools” they need, he means to cut their take-home pay. You can call it increases in health care or pension contributions or whatever else, the end result is a cut to take-home pay. What’s more, he wants to shift responsibility for those cuts to the local communities, making them the bad guys.""

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/02/walkers-two-year-budget-shows-repair-bill-to-be-trojan-horse/

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

ronnieandrush / LeftCoast, you would rather we go all nuclear power like France?

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

ADP: Private sector adds more jobs than expected in February

Private sector employers added more jobs than expected last month in a sign of steady improvement in the labor market, ahead of the closely watched non-farm payrolls from the Labor Department on Friday.

Employers added 217,000 jobs in February, the ADP Employer Services report showed on Wednesday, compared to expectations for a rise of 175,000.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/02/us-usa-economy-idUSTRE71R3OO20110302

The amazing thing about the "oh noezz we'll lose 100,000 jobs" myth re: oil subsidies is that, as cao rightfully points out, if we had ended the tax breaks for the most profitable industry in human history 6 months ago, we would have probably DOUBLED that number in jobs created by now.

And that growth would almost certainly come in the form of long term economic development and improvement in non-outsourceable non-polluting growth industries (mass transit infrastructure, energy efficiency, health IT).

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"Jobs will only follow when the potential for profit outweighs the losses they take on salaries."
----------------------------------------

But whether or not an employee is profitable doesn't necessarily change if a tax loop is closed. In order to offset the loss of profits caused by a tax increase, an oil company may lay off workers and transfer their workload onto someone else or cut someone's salary, but the person was no more or less profitable.

Your post also seems to imply that a board could be breaching fiduciaries if it chose to increase pay for employees as opposed to making more money and increasing stock prices. There are a variety of factors, many of which were exposed in the latest financial meltdown, that have led to profits being the end all be all.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 2, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"ronnieandrush / LeftCoast, you would rather we go all nuclear power like France?"

I would rather you get your head out of your rectum and deal with reality as it actually exists.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

ronnieandrush,
I think you should brush up on the difference between profits and revenues before yapping about economic growth. Just a thought.

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Some caller later on called complaining about the fraction of the total income taxes that higher income people pay. The Democratic Rep asked back what fraction of income they earned. He knew his facts; the caller just had talking points."

And what were the stats the Dem Rep cited?

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 2, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Fox is flat out dishonest:

On Monday during an interview with Fox News’ Mike Tobin, who is reporting from Wisconsin, O’Reilly was at it again, calling chants that “Fox lies” from pro-union demonstrators “some kind of organized deal.” But during the interview, Fox aired b-roll of some unknown protest that contained physical confrontations among demonstrators and simply labeled it “union protests,” as if it was coming out of Wisconsin.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/02/fox-protest-violent/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 2, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Fairlingtonblade,
do you know the answer to the question the Dem Rep asked? I do. It's still not close. Begs the question though: who's using talking points, you or the mysterious "caller"?

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

When you consider that the middle class has taken the brunt of the recession in lost homes, lost home values, lost retirement investments, the loss of millions of jobs and are now being pounded repeatedly for givebacks in the workplace, I'm seeing an awakening.
-------------------------------------

I also think, especially here in Michigan, the cuts to schools are also reinforcing the sense that the middle class is under attack. Snyder cutting corporate taxes (which I largely agree with) while weaking our education system really bothers many people. People will often vote against their own self-interests, but they will rarely vote against their children's best interests. Of course adding debt will likely result in higher taxes for future tax payers, but people seem to be getting the sense that the proper balance is not being struck.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 2, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

do you know the answer to the question the Dem Rep asked? I do. It's still not close. Begs the question though: who's using talking points, you or the mysterious "caller"?
---------------------------------------

If you are so concerned with the % of income taxes that the wealthy pay, then you should have been opposed to extending the Bush tax cuts. After the Bush tax cuts the % of income taxes paid by the wealthy increased. Oddly, the unfairness of that didn't seem to bother you (or the wealthy) because they were making more money and controlling more of the wealth than ever.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 2, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

bzod: "I think you should brush up on the difference between profits and revenues before yapping about economic growth. Just a thought. "

And you ought to brush up on the difference between propaganda and facts.

Here is a list of the 25 most profitable companies in the world (2007):

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/fortune/0707/gallery.global500_profits.fortune/

10 out of 25 of the most profitable companies in the world (40%) are oil/gas companies.

I hope you will acknowledge that your snide obnoxious personal attack on me was based on fraudulent pretenses.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"ronnieandrush / LeftCoast, you would rather we go all nuclear power like France?"

I would rather you get your head out of your rectum and deal with reality as it actually exists.

==

Save your time. Jake is a complete idiot.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

All, good stuff from Adam Serwer on Huckabee's Kenya gaffe:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/why_does_huckabee_think_obama.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 2, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hi everybody! Great comments today! :-). I'm carrying this over from the last thread.

DDAWD wrote: "hahahahahaha, you're not going to own your idiocy on the Bush tax cuts having zero effect on the deficit anymore?"

Hi DDAWD! Hope all is well with you! As per usual, a very interesting and provocative comment! For the record though, I'm the out and proud, flamboyantly TeaBagging idiot that originally wrote that! And I stand by it! ;-)

Keep up the great work! The same goes for everybody!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

From 2003 - 2008, 4 out of the top 15 industries with the highest rate of profit growth were related to oil/gas.

Each of them higher than 15% growth in profits, including the oil/gas services industry where the annual growth in profits reached an astounding 48.9%

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/performers/industries/fastgrowers/profit5yr.html

But all we hear is OH NOEZZZ the don't touch the tax breaks!!

Honestly, you hypocritical conservative idiots can go FYs.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hi everybody! Great comments today!

==

Hey, Troll.

Take this chirpy, perky, happy crap and stick a fụcking cork in it.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 2, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

ronnieandrush,
Is this 2007? If so, can I request that Obama not be in the WH any more? And what was the personal attack?

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2010/performers/companies/profits/

Seems to me that the banks and those other companies in bed with our savior Obama did OK this year. Should I assume you want to ding P&G, IBM, Wal-mart and Goldman Sachs as part of your efforts, or is it just the mean Republican oil guys?

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey bzod,

Are you still here?

Are you going to take back your comment to me that I don't know the difference between profits and revenues?

I've proven you wrong, now it's time for you take back your comment.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

ronnieandrush,
not that your true colors weren't exposed before, but telling those who disagree with you to go eff themselves is just so perfect I almost can't stand it. well done.

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Let's see here, a little google search on the "lefty groups" that Mr Sargent mentioned.

First is the hilariously named "progressive change campaign committee". Which is basically a Democrat operative, Adam Green, with the money coming from Moveon.org.

This is yet another opportunity to point out liberal rule number one. Mr Soros can fund all manner of lefty groups. The Koch brothers may not, as that would be doing as the liberals do, not as the liberals say.

next is Democracy for America, Howard Dean's, he of the racist comment, contribution to the liberal big lie machine.

But Kudos to Mr Sargent. He identified the groups he mentioned as being "lefty" that step toward honesty is refreshing. We're getting more of the picture.

Still, in this era of political warfare it is important to follow the money. It is the mother's milk of politics. Neither group listed their sources of funds on their web site. I wonder what it is they are hiding.

could it be that they are taking money from the Koch brothers?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"Hey, Troll.

Take this chirpy, perky, happy crap and stick a fụcking cork in it."

Hi Cao! Hope all is well!

No thanks! ;-)

Have a great one!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Clawrence: so you're confirming your opposition to free markets?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 2, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, look at your own link!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 out of the top 10 = OIL/GAS

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2010/performers/companies/profits/

Do they need TAX BREAKS?

Because that was the subject of this conversation before you obnoxiously accused me of not knowing the difference between profit and revenue.

Look at your own link.

Even better, since that was the Global 500, this is from the Fortune 500 of America's most profitable companies:

Exxon Mobil $19.2 B
Chevron $10.4 B
ConocoPhillips $4.8 B

That is data from 2010. Those are profits.

Answer me bzod:

Do these companies need TAX BREAKS? Yes/no

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

in response to this:
==========================
When you consider that the middle class has taken the brunt of the recession in lost homes, lost home values, lost retirement investments, the loss of millions of jobs and are now being pounded repeatedly for givebacks in the workplace, I'm seeing an awakening.
================================

Yes, I am seeing an awakening too. It was most evident just a few months ago, in November.

The taxpayers of America, looking at the smouldering ruins of the primary investments started asking as simple question: how did this happen?

the answer was troubling and lead directly to a mass movement of otherwise politically uninvolved Americans. The Democrats completely misread and therefore mishandled this response from the people. As a result they paid a price at the voting booth and America, thankfully, is no longer heading left.

One manifestation of this awakening is the scrutiny given to government spending. The Democrats are trying hard to frame this issue in a different manner it all boils down to the same thing: what is the government doing with our money and how much is enough?

When Americans facing the bleak prospects outlined above came to realize that thier neighbors who worked for the government were'nt facing the same challenges the sense of "fairness" immediately became an issue.

Yes, politicians on both sides are using the situation to promote their careers. But it is important to note which group wants to change things and which group is desperately clinging to the status quo.

It is the conservatives who seek change. It is the so called progressives who are resisting it.

The world turned upside down.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

kindly describe the "tax break" that you claim the oil companies recieve.

If you can point to the specific sections of the code that describe this break, that would be terrific.

thanks.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

You live in a fantasy world Skippy!

Posted by: DinOH | March 2, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

No, LeftCoast5 (but I note that you did not previously ask me that question). Subsidies AND burdensome regulation (such as preventing oil drilling in ANWR) certainly do not allow for a free market

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 2, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

skip johnson,

Here is "the world turned upside down"... A Tea Party governor with zero respect for democracy in Florida:

-Bipartisan Senators sue Gov. Rick Scott over high-speed rail-

"This is our American democracy," [said Thad Altman, REPUBLICAN state Senator], noting that the country's founders set up the three branches of government "to prevent a king from taking over."

The senators' attorney is Clifton McClelland Jr. from Melbourne, who is volunteering his time, according to Altman.

In effect, the petitioners argue, Scott is attempting a line-item veto of a law and appropriations approved "under a prior Legislature and a prior governor."

In 2009, then-Gov. Charlie Crist accepted the high-speed rail money, some of which is part of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package. In a special session late that year, the Legislature voted to support high-speed rail in Florida, established the Florida Rail Enterprise and appropriated $131 million in stimulus money to make it happen.

Appropriations, whether from state or federal sources, rest "exclusively" with the Legislature, not the governor, court documents say.

But Scott halted the project shortly after his Jan. 4 inauguration by refusing to complete the "ministerial act" of signing a contract to allow work to begin on the project, according to court records.

...

State Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said he supports the suit.

"I believe these constitutional issues need to be addressed and be resolved," he said. "This is an appropriate forum for that."

Simmons was among 26 senators who signed a letter rebuking Scott for the way he handled the rail issue. At least two senators who signed the letter later said they agreed with Scott's decision to end the project, but they didn't like the way he went about it.

In particular, they felt he didn't respect the legislative process.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/article1154516.ece

Rick Scott is true scum who hates democracy and hates the form of government set up by the Founders to prevent dictators like him from destroying our representative democracy.

Sadly, that's precisely why the Tea Party loves him. BECAUSE he is a dictator.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@bzod - After the caller couldn't (or wouldn't) answer, Rep. Fattah gave the number. Half of all income (I think it was the top 10% of earners). As to it not being close, it shouldn't be. Virtually nobody believes that the income tax system shouldn't be progressive. The so-called flat tax generally has large exemptions. It's more of an asymptotic tax rather than a flat one.

Rep. Fattah also made several important points. By focusing only income taxes, that ignores the taxes that lower income Americans pay. FICA is 14% right off the top. The employer contribution is simply lower income and the self-employed pay it out of pocket. Excise taxes also hit lower income individuals much more heavily. Property taxes as well (which are paid indirectly by renters).

I make a lot more than I did 15 years ago. I simply don't whine about having to pay a higher fraction of taxes.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

BB,
Thanks for reply. The numbers I have are: top 1% receive 20% of AGI, and pay 38% in taxes, top 5% are 34% and 59%, and top 10% are 46% and 70%. I get, and concede your FICA point, but being concerned/appalled at the top-heavy nature I don't think counts as "whining". At some point the pyramid tips over. If you are OK with the current progressiveness of the tax code (or want it steeper), is there a point or level at which you would whine? I'm not being facetious, I'm curious to know. Thanks in advance for the reply.

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Bzod,

Do you know the difference between profits and revenue?

Thanks for insulting me under false pretenses and then running and hiding from the facts, you obnoxious coward.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

bzodd- "At some point the pyramid tips over."
----------------------------------------

So you opposed continuing the Bush tax cuts which made the pyramid even more top heavy? You are basically asking us to reward the wealthy with lower taxes (unless you are asking for increased taxes on the middle class) for a decade of stagnant wages. Your argument would make sense if the growing "burden" on the wealthy was caused by increased tax rates, but it's caused by increased wealth disparity.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 2, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

ashotinthedark,
who is the us you are referring to? and what is my argument? I asked BB at which level he would consider speaking out (or whining) about the progressiveness of the tax code. feel free to answer also.
should the top 1% pay all taxes? should the top 10% pay all taxes? you tell me. I am really curious.

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 2, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ashot,

Bzod is an economics ignoramus. All he is doing is using what limited knowledge he has to inject his failed ideology into the conversation.

For starters, he wants to continue massive tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. That right there should give you pause that he is totally clueless on fiscal matters.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"who is the us you are referring to? and what is my argument?"

Oh PLEASE.

What a clown.

Bzod, go do some research on how well the wealthy have done over the last 20 years, at the expense of the rest of the 99% of America, and then maybe, MAYBE, you might be able to be taken seriously.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Clawrence: I only asked you that question once. But now are you saying you are opposed to tax subsidies for oil companies?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 2, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

bzod-
The us is voters/taxpayers. I'm not sure what your argument is. You seem to disapprove of the % of income tax being paid by the wealthy.

As for your question, I think focusing on the share a particular percentile pays of the overall income tax burden is a rather odd way of determining what tax levels should be. So I can't answer your question other than obviously the top 1% or 10% should not pay all the taxes (assuming they don't have all the wealth).

What is your solution to preventing the pyramid from tipping over?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 2, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Please define "Tasx Subsidies" as used in this sentence:
"But now are you saying you are opposed to tax subsidies for oil companies?"

What, exactly is a tax subsidy? If you can provide reference to the tax code, that would be most helpful.

thanks

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing2: are you speaking for Clawrence? The pertinent question is what does "tax subsidy" mean to Clawrence.

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 2, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Skip

The subsidies are provided for in the tax code of 1986. These are the subsidies "some" Democrats are trying to amend. You'll probably determine that the Environmental Law Institute is a left wing organization but maybe there will still be something useful in there for you.

""The research demonstrates that the federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Fossil fuels benefited from approximately $72 billion over the seven-year period, while subsidies for renewable fuels totaled only $29 billion. More than half the subsidies for renewables—$16.8 billion—are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the climate effects of which are hotly disputed. Of the fossil fuel subsidies, $70.2 billion went to traditional sources—such as coal and oil—and $2.3 billion went to carbon capture and storage, which is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Thus, energy subsidies highly favored energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases over sources that would decrease our climate footprint.

The U.S. energy market is shaped by a number of national and state policies that encourage the use of traditional energy sources. These policies range from royalty relief to the provision of tax incentives, direct payments, and other forms of support to the non-renewable energy industry. “The combination of subsidies—or ‘perverse incentives’— to develop fossil fuel energy sources, and a lack of sufficient incentives to develop renewable energy and promote energy efficiency, distorts energy policy in ways that have helped cause, and continue to exacerbate, our climate change problem,” notes ELI Senior Attorney John Pendergrass. “With climate change and energy legislation pending on Capitol Hill, our research suggests that more attention needs to be given to the existing perverse incentives for ‘dirty’ fuels in the U.S. Tax Code.”

The subsidies examined fall roughly into two categories: (1) foregone revenues (changes to the tax code to reduce the tax liabilities of particular entities), mostly in the form of tax breaks, and including reported lost government take from offshore leasing of oil and gas fields; and (2) direct spending, in the form of expenditures on research and development and other programs. Subsidies attributed to the Foreign Tax Credit totaled $15.3 billion, with those for the next-largest fossil fuel subsidy, the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels, totaling $14.1 billion. The Foreign Tax Credit applies to the overseas production of oil through an obscure provision of the U.S. Tax Code, which allows energy companies to claim a tax credit for payments that would normally receive less-beneficial treatment under the tax code.""

http://www.eli.org/pressdetail.cfm?ID=205

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that lms. Let's define subsidy, and then see how that works in the context of the statement you so graciously provided.

I simply cannot agree with the first definition offered:
"1) foregone revenues (changes to the tax code to reduce the tax liabilities of particular entities), mostly in the form of tax breaks, and including reported lost government take from offshore leasing of oil and gas fields;"

My objection here is pretty straightforward. The "logic" of the above is that any time the government allows us to keep the money we earned it is a "subsidy". So a tax rate of 35%, for example, could be termed a "subsidy" of 65%. since the government didn't collect all of the money I earned.

Next, let's look at the "direct spending". I would agree that if the government gives money to a firm, not for a purchase but to make up the difference between what the government wishes the firm to do and what is in the best interest of the firm, such payment is a subsidy.

Yet this sentence is troublesome: "Subsidies attributed to the Foreign Tax Credit totaled $15.3 billion,"

How is providing a "credit" different for any other manipulation of the code? The government decided to collect LESS. That is NOT a cash flow from the treasury to the oil company. It is simply another example of foregone revenues.

This same objection applies to the "the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels" Here the government is just using the tax code to incentize oil companies to behave in a manner that they find acceptable.

In both cases what we have is the government saying "Do what we want you to do and we'll take less of your money"

I still don't see a cash flow from the treasury to the oil companies.

If people think that the oil companies should pay more in taxes, why not just say so? The language used thus far is unnecessarily obfuscatory. That I can see, based on what was provided there is no "subsidy" as I understand the term.

Here is a definition from my old Websters:
(c) a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist in an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

WHAT A CROCK! Progressives (Liberals, Communists) want to whine about oil company profits, CEO compensation, and the like --- but we cannot cut the pay of teachers. WHAT A CROCK!

Posted by: whatacrock1 | March 2, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I understand your argument and have had the same one here on numerous occasions. If the tax code is changed so the government receives less money in whatever form, isn't it a mere technicality whether it is called a tax break, a tax incentive or a subsidy? The tax code is used for this purpose all time to encourage growth in new industry, research and development, transportation, small business, energy etc. Wouldn't ending the tax break or whatever you call it signify that the government no longer believes the incentive is beneficial either to the government, the public or perhaps the industry itself and the revenue gained could be better spent elsewhere? That's where the argument is IMO, differing opinions of how revenue should be spent and whether or not the increase in tax obligation out weighs the benefit to society versus the harm to the targeted industry.

Whenever we see a lowering of tax obligation for individuals or business no one ever wants it to be temporary even if it was designed that way. Understandable, but not necessarily beneficial to all parties in an equitable manner.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely the Democrats need to talk about class warfare, which is in fact what is happening. As Warren Buffett says, "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Its an easy thing to show people that the rich keep getting richer as their taxes get cut and the rest of us get poorer as our wages and benefits stagnate or get cut.

The fact that Democrats shy away from this argument is due to the fact that they are also beholden to rich corporate sponsors. For example, imagine how William Daley and Tim Geithner feel about "class warfare" rhetoric from their fellow Democrats - that's the real problem.

Posted by: Poster3 | March 2, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

LMS there is another question that we should confront: Should the government use the tax code to modify the behavior of the citizens or limit it strictly to raising necessary revenue?

I hate our current tax code for a variety of reasons, but one thing is clear: congress loves it.

My theory is simple, legislators can diddle with the tax code and the proudly proclaimed that they "did something" about whatever the issue is.

If the issue is that there aren't enough infants from the Kingdom of Burundi being adopted, congress can amend the tax code to provide a "credit" for both Americans who adopt.

If too much dilithium is being mined, congress can withdraw the tax credit.

And on and on.

I don't want the government meddling in my life. And using the tax code to manipulate me is just one of the methods our "leaders" seem to love.

Here's Reagan:
If it moves, tax it; if it continues to move, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.

I'd much prefer a flat reasonable tax rate and a simplified code. I am old enough to recongize that this would be just a pendulum swing because congress is what it is but it would be a great boon to us for a decade or two.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

""Should the government use the tax code to modify the behavior of the citizens or limit it strictly to raising necessary revenue?""

Wow, that's a loaded question isn't it? As long as the revenue is spent wisely in ways that promote the health and welfare of citizens I sort of believe in most ways behavior follows. I'm not a fan of consumption taxes ie cigarettes, alcohol, soda etc. although I see the merit in staying away from these products. To me education regarding a healthy lifestyle is money more wisely spent.

I'm not much of an expert on tax policy but I know I would never be able to navigate our business taxes on my own. The tax code changes every year and from our perspective they give with one hand and take away with the other but there always remains a sense of uncertainty to the whole thing which is not necessarily conducive to making wise business decisions.

I do believe in a progressive tax code however. I think it could be simplified and many loopholes closed. I do think some subsidies may be required to encourage development in new industries on a temporary basis, the free market doesn't always
transition very well from R&D to production without a bit of a leg up.

I'm not a small government girl or a big government girl, more of a somewhere in between girl. We need a wise and less wasteful government which protects it's citizens and invests in the future, which I doubt I'll see in my lifetime.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@bzod - Your response is much appreciated. In truth, I mis-stated the situation somewhat as I didn't take into account the earned income tax credit. That does quite a bit to counter regressiveness in the tax code--providing you have dependents.

My opinion is that progressiveness in the current tax code is about right with two big exceptions. The capital gains tax and estate tax. I know all of the arguments, but it seems that taxes that wealthier Americans pay are bad and taxes that working class pay are good. The worst example of this is carried interest in which investment managers pay capital gains tax rates on their share of their clients' investment income. There was no money at risk, but it's still treated as capital gains. That's sheer hypocrisy to support that.

Ultimately, I'd support the deficit commission's approach. Drop the rates and broaden the base. Tax capital gains as income AFTER indexing for inflation. The government shouldn't make money on inflation.

My general rule for the top rate? Total taxation shouldn't exceed one third of gross income. Speaking as a higher earner with plenty of deductions (house and 2 kids), I'm comfortable under that level.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

@skip -cosign

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

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