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Links With Your Cocktails -The Future Past

  • Catholic League NYT Ad: Priests Unfairly 'Singled Out' Over Sex Abuse Scandal

    [L]et's get it straight--they weren't children and they weren't raped. We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape). The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that "more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia." In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia.

  • Global military spending hits high

    Worldwide military spending edged up in 2010 to a record $1.6 trillion, a leading think-tank said on Monday.

Global spending rose 1.3 percent in real terms, a slowdown from 5.9 percent the year before as the economic downturn caused by the 2008 financial crisis hit military spending, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.

  • It's the Inequality, Stupid

    A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

  • The 10 atheist commandments But its impossible (Tip to the Pedant)

  • David Christian - Big History - TED 2011

    Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.



Well, Cory (Syngas), you wanted to discuss economics. The Mother Jones graphs give you an on-topic opportunity to tell us how it's all gonna trickle down. (Tell us about the rabbits, George.)

Maybe after the restoration of 1980's tax levels we cut the militay budget and cut subsidies to multinational corporations.

Rabbits? huh? I thought the CNN money article rather bizarre.

It says, "To show the disparity, consider some recent calculations by the Congressional Budget Office. Raising all six income tax rates by 1 percentage point would yield an additional $480 billion over 10 years. By contrast, raising the top two rates by 1 percentage point would yield just $115 billion."

Therefore, the article concludes, that taxing the rich doesn't yield enough. BUT,

Raising the top two rates to those of the Reagan years, e.g. to 66.4% from the current 32.4%, (rather than raising them 1% as this article postulates, would raise ($115 Billion * 34 = 3910 Billion.) just from the top two percent. Sounds good to me. Hell, with that we could fund our 180 billion/yr Afghan war for another 20 years, just by raising taxes on the top two percent. If we brought our troops home instead, we could fix our bridges, earthquake proof our schools, invest in R&D for clean energy, pay our teachers, and provide a single payer health care program for everyone.

It sounds nice Betty Jo, but would it really work that way? I mean if you double the penalty for making money, wouldn't you expect people to find ways to avoid the penalty? Maybe move to a different country where the penalty isn't so high, or hide their investments in island countries that offer such cover? What happens when all that money leaves the US? Sure the equality factor would be better, but only because the wealthy left, not because the poor got any richer.

Before you scoff, check out this gem. If Bono would do it, you can bet Bill Gates and Warren Buffet would.

I mean if you double the penalty for making money, wouldn't you expect people to find ways to avoid the penalty?

So your argument is that since people will try to find ways to violate the laws, we shouldn't bother making any.

There's nothing illegal about becoming a citizen of another country, or moving your corporate headquarters.

Which Utopia will they all go to?

re: syngas "if you double the penalty for making money, wouldn't you expect people to find ways to avoid the penalty?"

Taxes are not a penalty. They are the way that a country invests in the infrastructure and support services that make everything work.

Did you notice that this month Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan Chase, received a $5m cash bonus, The 55-year-old chief executive was awarded stock options worth $17m and a "cash incentive" of $5m in 2010, on top of his basic salary of $1m.

So, $23 Million a year. Were it taxed at 66% (as Reagan did), the poor boy would only have cleared $8 million for a year's work. Somehow, I think he might be able to scrape by.

Those who wish to offshore their assets to avoid making contributions to the general good will do so irrespective of how high or low the tax rates are. Indeed, their minions in Congress insure that the penalties and investigations that could stop that outflow are never acted upon.

Sorry, we cannot make the tax rate low enough to satisfy those bloodsuckers.

Such compensation as we see with Mr. Dimon is wrung from the Economy, it is not just magically pulled off a tree. That is money that ought otherwise have been used to write down bad paper, rather than keep foreclosures rates high and force more folks to walk away from their homes.

Across the board, such compensation is drawn out from our economy and our pocketbooks - BP, Chevron, etc. pay their execs from their profits. Their profit rates are indefensible. The prices used to generate those profits place enormous economic strains on the entire rest of the economy. We are ALL pitching in our pennies to help pay that executive compensation. The hedge funds and speculators play with our lives just to make an extra ten million in a week.

We allow that to happen. At least we ought expect that these guys help fund the country's work - the transportation, communication, environment, health, education and security upon which the whole kit and kaboodle of an economy depends.

I say Tax the Rich. We still have a few. This is America.

Then why stop at 66%? Wouldn't 99% be better?

What is that, some bizarre attempt at making a slippery slope argument. And yes what makes you think taxes are a penalty? Do you view them like a speeding ticket or something?

Perhaps penalty is too harsh. How about disincentive?

1% of $23 million is still 230,000. That's still way more than I'm making. I'm sure Jamie wouldn't mind.

Are you advocating 0%?

Better for whom? If 99% of the annual income over, say $20 million, received by every person at Goldman Sachs or AIG or Enron over the past 10 years had been taxed away and as a result these people hadn't "worked" so hard, most Americans would be much better off.

Jeez, Catholic defends touching little boys as not as bad as raping infants and you all end up debating an economic philosophy long discredited by any real world evidence.

It would be amusing if it was some sort of joke: They started with "IT DIDN'T HAPPEN" but now they've backtracked all the way to "Well, uh, not all the children that were sexually assaulted were pre-pubescent..." Seriously?

PS. I was totally going to make this comment before you made yours, RedSeven. I just, um, got distracted.

While Donohue is a scumbag he raises an interesting point nonetheless: why do most of the victims seem to be male children?

Wikipedia says most of them indeed are:

    "In the United States, the abuse was primarily sexual in nature and involved mostly boys between the ages of 11 and 17; in Ireland, the allegations involved both physical and sexual abuse, and children of both sexes were involved, although a large majority were male."

It's a question that should be investigated, assuming it hasn't already.

Priests usually mingle with boys and sisters with girls. Also, probably parents are more confident leaving their boys with a male stranger than their girls.

Is that just your impression or is this well documented?

I was raised catholic in a catholic country, and all congregations I've seen work like that basically. The parents thing is just an assumption.

I think one of the most interesting contrasts in the Mother Jones stuff and Cory's CNN post are to be found in the latter's passage

"You'd have to raise rates an awful lot on the wealthy," Williams said. And by that he meant to heights that would be neither politically nor possibly even economically feasible.

and the full chart from the source material for Real vs. desired distribution of wealth (see Figure 3 on the last page). That figure reveals that there is virtually total agreement across a wide swath of incomes, political views, and even gender as to what the distribution of wealth is in the United States. There isn't even a very large divergence for the same groups as to what the ideal wealth distribution would be (which is much less unequal than what they think it is). But, of course, the dramatic divergence comes in comparison between American's perception of our wealth distribution and how unequal the wealth distribution actually is.

The chart is remarkable. First, as if anyone needed a further demonstration, it demolishes the ridiculous claim that the media in America is "liberal". It is not possible that American's perceptions (and even more so, American's ideals) are so disconnected from the facts of American economic reality in favor of the plutocrats if the media really had a "liberal bias". The chart is powerful evidence that the opposite bias is much closer to the truth.

That goes a long way toward explaining Jeanne Sahadi's (or Williams's) assumption that much higher taxes on the wealthy would not be "politically feasible". As long as the media doesn't talk much about the biggest economic story of this era, then the political will to do anything about it will indeed be difficult to put together. As long as Sean Hannity can scream down his guests with 'the top 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of taxes' without his listeners ever hearing that the the top 1% of taxpayers get more than 40% of disposable income, the suckers who listen to him are likely to keep listening to him.

re: RedSeven "Jeez..."

The Catholic church is irrelevant to any but the faithful. Whereas, the rabid right (e.g. Republicans) are threatening to destroy the faith and credit of the US Government and with it the world's reserve currency unless Mr. Ryan's destruction of Medicare and Medicaid, and making permanent more tax cuts for the rich are agreed. The continuing spread between the well being of the very rich and everyone else is a more serious threat to this country than the whining excuses of a church mired in the middle ages.

re: bettyjo said "The Catholic church is irrelevant to any but the faithful."

That was one of the stupider comments I've made. Sorry. Norm: Thanks for the "Woman, know thy place" article. Too sadly true.


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