Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So let me get this straight...

So, many in the Republican Party are going out and saying letting the Bush Tax Cuts (enacted in 2001/2003) expire in December of this year will undermine any progress made in economic recovery in America. They say this because those who would be affected the most by the expired tax cuts, upper-high income Americans, are one of the big keys to improving the economy..While sounding like a valid point, allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to continue (and possibly be made permanent) strongly contradicts a major GOP battle cry this election year: The Deficit.

First off, indeed many Small Businesses in American do classify themselves as individuals when it comes to tax time and they will experience a tax increase if the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to expire. Also true is that many economists agree that Small Businesses are a major factor in any possible economic recovery. So logically, allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire would possibly hurt or slow down such a recovery...

Second, Democrats have blamed these Tax Cuts for far too much as of late. Yes they are a large component of the current Federal Deficit but they are hardly the only major factor. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, TARP, the Stimulus all have affected and greatly increased to the Federal Deficit and to bash the Bush Tax Cuts are being the most destructive of these is short-sighted and hypocritical.

However, there is something the Republicans don't really want to talk about when one discusses the Bush Tax Cuts..the Deficit.

Most economists estimate the Bush Tax Cuts have cost the Federal Government well over $1 Trillion in lost revenue (not taking into account side-effects on other sections of the economy) already. Even more frightening, the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts in May of this year estimated that if the Bush Tax Cuts were made permanent for all taxpayers, they would add $3.2 trillion in the next decade...3.2 Trillion Dollars..Thats more than twice the current Federal Deficit. That alone should make any supposed Fiscally conservative person shutter..but it gets better! In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that if the Bush Tax Cuts were allowed to expired, they would reduce the annual Federal deficit by $200-300 billion..ANNUALLY.

Historically, Republicans will tell you tax cuts can fix practically any economic woes...And they are sometimes a fairly good tactic, but many economists will also tell you tax cuts rarely if ever pay for themselves (something Republicans demand any spending bill should do). And while it's possible allowing these tax cuts to expire may affect the speed of a prospective economic recovery, I personally believe the obvious possible reduction of the Federal Deficit outweighs this and Republicans need to decide whether they are really worried about the deficit and allow the Tax cuts to expire or at least modify them, or just using it for political gain. I strongly suspect the later, especially when one studies their track record with the economy in the last few decades. They claim they have changed and are ready to make cuts and reduce the deficit by almost all means necessary..but is 4 years really enough time for the GOP to change its fiscal stripes? We shall see...


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back...With a Vengence!

I have taken a small break from blogging as of late...but a recent story in the news has moved me to return and rip a few people a new one!

As many of you may have heard..Yesterday a video posted on a website owned by Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart claimed to shows an African-American USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, telling a story about how she denied full help to a white farmer who was facing the possibility of losing his farm at a NAACP event. Not surprising to anyone who doesn't watch FauxNews only..they quickly picked up the story and presented it as a current USDA official actively practicing racial discrimination. As usual with FauxNews, they discussed the story practically 24/7 for the next day and shortly thereafter word got out that Ms. Sherrod had resigned her position in the USDA, and this was confirmed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (native of my home state). Also not long after, the NAACP also denounced her and her supposed actions..Sounds open and shut right? Wrong..

Just one big problem with this case..Andrew Breitbart is involved. This man has a record of creating his own "truths" and shouldn't ever been considered a good source of anything other than Right-Wing propaganda. And shock of all shocks, the video has been heavily edited and leaves out several huge details that will become clear in a moment..

The main part of this story, is Ms. Sherrod telling a story of her being asked by a white farmer for help and believing he was acting 'superior' and he considering how many blacks have lost their farms in the area and she states that she wasn't going to give him her "full force" to help him. What the chopped version of the video on Breitbart website doesn't show is the full story. Here are the 2 big points that are not mentioned in the edited video or in FoxNews' early reports on this story:

1. FoxNews initially claimed that this story Ms. Sherrod was discussing happened while she was employed by the Federal Government. This is incorrect as Ms. Sherrod states in the video, this incident occured right after the Federal government extended Chapter 12 Bankruptacy to family farms..which happened in 1986. That is 23 years before Ms. Sherrod ever worked for the Federal government. Ms. Sherrod was at the time working for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund in Georgia.

2. If you listen to her entire story, she is trying to make a point. When she was first approached by this white farmer (a Mr. Spooner), she said this:

“The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm, he took a long time talking but he was trying to show me he was superior to me,” Sherrod said in the video. “I know what he was doing. But he had come to me for help. What he didn’t know while he was taking all that time, trying to show me that he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people lost their farmlands, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I can do.”

And that's all you heard if you only watched FauxNews' coverage of this story..But they missed to real story. Contrary to what Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews initially tried to tell you, she didn't actually withhold any help to Mr. Spooner. In fact the story was about how this incident taught her that she should help all poor in Georgia, not just blacks. In fact, the Spooner family came to Ms. Sherrod's defense today and stated that without her help they would have lost their family farm.

Today the NAACP came out apologizing for their condemnation of Ms. Sherrod and accused FauxNews and Andrew Breitbart of "snookering" them. As of now, Secretary Vilsack hasn't apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though I strongly suggest he should. And that's the real sad part and surprising part of this story..How quickly and stupidly Mr. Vilsack, the NAACP, and possibly the Obama administration fell for it. How much influence President Obama had in this situation is currently unknown but many do believe they may have pressured both Ms. Sherrod and Mr. Vilsack into their actions. Why Mr. Vilsack and the NAACP acted without even talking to Ms. Sherrod or looking into this chopped video I don't know..but they should both be ashamed of themselves...And speaking of being ashamed of themselves..I have a few words of FauxNews and Mr. Breitbart..

First to FauxNews..I am not at all shocked by how you failed to do any follow-up on this video and its full content. You are a sorry excuse for a reputable News organization and have proven time and time again to be just as biased, if not more so, than any other major news source in America. While not shocked, I do think you as an organization owe Ms. Sherrod an apologee, not that I expect you will do so. Regardless, the people at FauxNews should be ashamed of themselves..

Secondly, to Mr. Breitbart. I will give him credit for normally being a man who never backs down and fully expressing his Right to Free Speech. However, it was his website that started all this by posted this edited video and he has a responsibility to actually look into the content of his websites. He has stated since the truth was revealed that he doesn't have the original video, just the version his people posted. However, Mr. Breitbart makes a habit of claiming others edit videos of him or conservatives and take things out of context so I find it terribly ironic that he/his people have allowed an edited video on their website. Since it was a NAACP function she was speaking at, couldn't Mr. Breitbart or his people ask them for the full video so as to verify what the video depicted? They certainly could have but they must have seen the video as political gold and didn't even both to look into the video. And for that Mr. Breitbart, you are at fault.

Finally, the NAACP. This organization has been having a public fight with the Tea Party movement over its supposedly tolerance of Racists in their midsts. As such, this public fight may have caused the NAACP to be overly worried about possible cases of so-called 'reverse-racism' by people associated with the NAACP. As such, when this story first broke the NAACP over-reacted and condemned Ms. Sherrod without even talking to her or looking into the story further. More importantly, as Mr. Breitbart's website BigGovernment pointed out, the NAACP should have known better, since she was speaking at a NAACP event which means the organization had the original video! As such, they first should have looked up the video, watched it and then should have defended Ms. Sherrod not stupidity rush into condemning her on Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews' word for it. However, unlike the other two previously discussed, the NAACP has at least apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though the NAACP is still blaming Mr. Breitbart and FoxNews mostly for their error.

Long story short, there is alot of blame and shame to go around, with FoxNews, Mr. Breitbart, and the NAACP each had a hand in ending Ms. Sherrod employment. As such, they all need to admit such and apologize to Ms. Sherrod sooner rather than later..Though I have a feeling the NAACP will be the only one to do so..

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wow...I Don't Even Know..

A theme here as of late is the concept that to put it mildly, Many Americans are just stupid when it comes to How our government works and even basics of American History. Sadly, we have even more proof of this..Just today a Marist Survey Poll published some sad and shocking results..The polls asked respondents Which Nation did the United States declare its independence from on July 4, 1776? Sounds really easy right? Apparently not for everyone..

ONLY 74% of respondents correctly responded "Great Britain". Which means 26% of Respondents either didn't know or said a different country. The majority of these, lets say, IDIOTS, honestly said they didn't know while 6% said some other country...To be honest I can't really think which is worse! On this 4th of July weekend, please keep in mind the very reason we celebrate this holiday and who we have to thank for it..God Bless America! (even the idiots)...