“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Senator Jeff Sessions and the Unbelievable Testimony of Tim Geithner on The Budget


  1. This should be the lead story, but I'll leave the jokes for Sam.

    Obama's Treasury Sec. trying to defend the indefensible.

  2. Mubarak's Rev Wright Moment

    Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak refused to respond to telephone calls from US President Barack Obama because he still felt offended by Obama's statement in which he called on Mubarak "to step down immediately," London-based Arabic language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Thursday.

    Mubarak, still living in "presidential style" in Sharm el-Sheikh, according to the report, refused an invitation from Saudi King Abdullah to come to the kingdom, telling him he preferred to die on Egyptian soil.

    The report said that it was not clear if Mubarak had been in contact with Egypt's new military rulers through his former deputy Omar Suleiman.

  3. Which begs the question, what is the Republican plan?

    To cut $61 B from a $1.3 Trillion Deficit?

  4. We collected $3.6 Billion from Corporations last month.

    This off of approx. $140 Billion in profits.

    Even if the Republican $61 B in cuts go through we're looking at a $1.24 Trillion Deficit.

  5. Even if the economy came roaring back (and, I mean "rip-roaring) we would still be looking at almost a $1 Trillion Deficit.

    We can't "grow our way" out of this one. They're going to have to make some Big cuts, AND raise taxes.

    Or, we're going over the edge.

  6. Warren Buffet's effective tax rate is 17%.

  7. Exxon's effective tax rate is Zero.

  8. Now, please explain to me "why you should pay 39%, and Warren Buffet should pay 17%?"

  9. Or, let me put it differently:

    Are you a fucking Idiot?

  10. The same held true of Mrs McCain, rufus. I do not recall the exact numbers, but she paid a very small percentage of of her $3 million plus income, in Federal taxes.

    Compared to the "Average Joe", earning $300,000 a year, or so.

    FICA forgiveness may play a large part of that. She not covering that 15.3% bite on the majority of her income.

    A huge "loop hole" that should be closed.

  11. Treat all income as equal, ending the tax discrimination that has prevailed against labor, since the ratification of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Treat income from labor on the same basis of income from capital.

  12. End the era of US tax avoidance by going "off shore", for both corporations and individuals.

  13. hmmmm, problems, problems, problems... out for the Bond Vigilantes!!

    "Illinois Pension Bonds to Test Investors’ Faith

    The first time Illinois tried to bail out its teetering pension fund by borrowing billions of dollars, it ended in disaster.

    Nevertheless, the state is trying again.

    Illinois hopes to sell $3.7 billion of bonds to make this year’s contribution to its fund. It is essentially paying a single year’s bill by adding to its already heavy debt load. That short-term thinking is not unlike Americans taking out home equity loans to pay for cars and vacations before the housing bust.

    But investors have learned a lot about the pitfalls of debt since the state tried to shore up its fund a few years ago. This time the municipal bond markets are jittery, and federal securities regulators are investigating whether Illinois has been properly describing its pension fund and the risks it may pose.

    Amid the heightened oversight, Illinois is providing more information about its troubled finances than in the past. So much unfavorable detail is emerging that the bond issue will test investor faith in a deeply troubled state’s commitment to do whatever is necessary, raise taxes or cut services, to keep its promises to bondholders.

    Illinois was initially scheduled to sell the bonds on Thursday. But on Monday, the sale was pushed back until next week, state officials said, so the bond markets, and overseas investors, would have more time to digest Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address on Wednesday.

    In his budget address, Mr. Quinn praised what he called “the most far-reaching.


  14. Why, don't you know Rat, that if we made Warren Buffet pay the regular rate on his profits he would just bury his money in a hole in the ground, and quit investing?


    Man, they have sold us on some ridiculous propositions, haven't they?

  15. .

    Since retiring, my tax burden has been miniscule here in Michigan. That is all likely to change under Rick Snyder's (new governor) budget proposal. He was elected to address Michigan's financial problems and he's doing it. His proposal provides a balanced budget for the next two years.

    It's atough budget that hits everyone. I would have to admit it's fair. The problem is, in my opinion, he lied while getting elected.

    Michigan has something called the single business tax. It's weird and is on top of a bunch of other taxes which makes Michigan uncompetitive as a place to work. Businesses end up paying taxes even if they have made no money in a given year. Democrats and Republicans have been trying to find a way to get rid of it for years.

    To offset the cost of getting rid of the tax (a couple billion) Snyder has proposed doing away with the pension exemption for retirees (me), eliminating the earned imcome credit for the poor, and the Homestead Property tax exemption, as well as, some personal exemptions.

    Going into it, had Snyder campaigned on all of this I would still have voted for him; however, he didn't. What he campaigned on was to cut spending and no increase in taxes. That has now morphed to no 'net' tax increases as he shiftes the burden away from business and onto retirees, the working poor, and the middle class.

    For me, since everyone's ox is being gored, the plan is more fair than not. That being said, it is like a G.H.W. Bush moment on taxes. Don't lie to me I get enough of that from D.C.

    It's unlikely I'll vote for the guy again.


  16. Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Egyptian authorities have received the request to grant the vessels passage, while a Suez Canal official said the Defense Ministry would process the application.
    In Tehran, Iran's official English-language Press TV cited an Iranian naval official saying the two warships are to pass through the canal. The official said Tehran was in contact with Egypt about the ships

    Does it mean anything? No, other than American influence is the are is not quite what it used to be. We have enough troubles of our own.

  17. How ironic that Jesse Jackson is now getting invloved in Wisonsin. He shows up now! Where does he stand on the 20,000 that will lose there jobs if this bill doesn't pass. I guess he is one of the "caring individuals" that will support those who are going to be victims. I guess Mr. Jackson doesn't believe that public sector employees have to PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THEIR EMPLOYEMENT BENEFITS!. Mr. Jackson is for pay descrimination!!!

  18. "Canal officials say that under international agreements regulating traffic through the waterway, Egypt can only deny transit in case of war or if the ships do not meet safety requirements."

    Mind you it is the first time an Iranian Naval vessel has transited the Canal since the clerics came to power.

  19. Buffet's in favor of paying more taxes, along w/Gates, etc.
    ...except in the Real World.

    They should bundle up those Illinois Bonds with some CA's, and sell derivatives.