The employment situation in America is more unstable than it has been in generations. Finding a job in this economy is not easy, and it is more art than science. Many people face the challenge of transferring their skills to new opportunities as old ones decline.
During this episode of Italian Tomatoes on BlogTalkRadio, we focus on the task of finding a job in America’s new normal.
Today’s job market is characterized by seemingly endless restructurings, downsizings and layoffs, events which often strike with little warning and force people to pack up their skill sets and set off to find new career paths. We will use Australia’s unofficial national anthem as our muse, which tells the tale of an itinerant laborer living in unfortunate times.
Social media plays a big role in the modern employment market, so the podcast focuses on two enormously helpful applications: LinkedIn and Glass Door. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone needs to customize their search technique, and there is an array of resources to help with that. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. People whom you already know will be quite willing to lend a hand. Human resources experts emphasize that networking skills are as important as credentials, and an investment in them, which can be daunting at first, will pay big dividends in the future.
http://clashdaily.com/ Hippie chick recites the Left’s mantra … “The State is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want (Ps.666).” the column is here … http://clashdaily.com/2012/11/progressives-the-state-is-my-shepherd-i-shall-n…
Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all understood that the most effective way to perpetuate their ideologies was to control what was taught to the children. After all, what children learn greatly influences what they will think and do as adults.
This is why our “sister” organization, ACT! for America Education, spent two years researching how 6th grade American textbooks treat the subject of Islam.
A recent column in WorldNetDaily (below, highlights added) is the latest reminder of the problem of Islamic bias and indoctrination uncovered in the ACT! for America Education report.
Some of our chapter leaders in Texas brought this to our attention last year, and are actively working behind the scenes to expose and oppose this new Texas curriculum.
TEXAS TEACHING ‘ALLAH IS THE ALMIGHTY GOD’
Curriculum under fire for radical ideas, secrecy
John Griffing is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and is published across an array of conservative media, both in the realm of commentary and research.
In the 70 percent of Texas public schools where a private curriculum has been installed, students are learning the “fact” that “Allah is the Almighty God,” charge critics of a new online curriculum that already is facing condemnation for its secrecy and restrictions on oversight.
The program, called CSCOPE, is a private venture operating under the umbrella of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, whose incorporation documents state its independence from the State Board of Education of the Texas Education Agency.
Other reports previously have raised alarm over the curriculum’s depiction of the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist act on par with the 9/11 attack.
According to documentation that has leaked out, the program describes the Boston Tea Party this way: “A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation’s busiest port. Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities. It is believed that the terrorist attack was a response to the policies enacted by the occupying country’s government. Even stronger policies are anticipated by the local citizens.”
There also have been reports that the curriculum – contrary to recent Supreme Court rulings – says the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right to bear arms, is limited to state-run organizations.
“The collective right’s advocates believed that the Second Amendment did not apply to individuals; rather it recognized the right of a state to arm its militia. It recognized limited individual rights only when it was exercised by members of a functioning, organized militia while actively participating in the militia’s activities.”
Now come concerns about what critics describe as a definitively pro-Islam bias.
The critics say the studies border on proselytizing.
In one scenario, students are asked to study the tenets of Islam, and critics say the materials provided exceed impartial review of another faith, extending into requirements of conversion and moral imperatives.
A computer presentation utilized as part of a study of Islam includes information on how to convert, as well as verses denigrating other faiths.
According to excerpts, under the heading, “Who Is Allah?,” students are told:
“Allah is the Almighty God.”
“Allah alone is the Creator. He alone deserves our devout love and worship.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: WHEN RELIGIONS LIKE CHRISTIANITY ARE DISCUSSED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE WORDING IS TYPICALLY SOMETHING LIKE “CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE MESSIAH.” NOTE THE SUBTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS WORDING AND HOW ALLAH IS PRESENTED, NOT AS A BELIEF, BUT AS FACT.]
Muhammad is described as having become “disillusioned with the corruption in the city and the growing gap between the urban dwellers and the Bedouins (nomadic herders).”
But there is no mention of his documented sex activities with a child or his penchant for beheading entire indigenous people groups.
CSCOPE’s geography curriculum also is being scrutinized.
A high school question on a geography test asks, “Which of the following has been a benefit of globalization?” Possible answers are as follows: a) pandemics, b) increased standard of living, c) loss of local culture, and finally, d) widespread environmental impacts.
The only “correct” answer accepted in the context of the test is “an increased standard of living.”
WND recently reported the Texas State Board of Education was hearing concerns expressed by parents.
The debate carries national significance because of the influence Texas has on textbook and curriculum publishers as the only state that adopts uniform standards.
CSCOPE advocates say that the volume of information to which students now have access outside the classroom necessitates the move away from textbooks.
“If they’re sitting in a classroom with a textbook, that’s not the world anymore,” said Anne Poplin, Education Service Center Region 9 executive director.
“We’re moving to Bring Your Own Devices. It’s a disadvantage (for children) not to have access to their devices. It’s not a textbook-driven environment. If it is, they’re behind,” Poplin said.
An estimated 70 percent of Texas schools already are involved in the program.
But one of the concerns is that state law requires textbooks to be reviewed by the board of education, and parents are allowed to have access, since CSCOPE is considered a private venture it operates independently of state or local school board oversight.
The state attorney general’s office has ruled that CSCOPE is a government organization subject to requirements of transparency, but because of loopholes in the Texas Public Information Act and Senate Bill 6, passed in 2011, CSCOPE has thus far been able to keep its content from public review. Even parents are denied access.
Kimberly Thomas, a teacher in the Lubbock school district, calls CSCOPE a “joke,” identifying a ninth-grade lesson that asks students to circle capital letters in a sentence.
Her department was rated exemplary by the state prior to the installation of CSCOPE. As Thomas notes, CSCOPE “forces our own department to undo the proven, successful curriculum we have developed that gave us an exemplary rating.”
Just days ago, Thomas Ratliff, a member of the state board and supporter of CSCOPE, said CSCOPE was “supplemental” and that textbooks still are being used.
“CSCOPE is not designed to eliminate textbooks or other instructional materials. It is designed to complement them for the benefit of the teacher and the student,” he wrote in a prepared statement.
CSCOPE employees, on the other hand, claim the software is designed to replace textbooks and, indeed, has in many Texas school districts.
Addressing the issue of the program’s secrecy, Ratliff slammed critics who say they want government to be “run like a business” but then get upset when that happens.
But critics argue private schools, the closest thing to a school being run like a business, still make instructional materials available to parents, something that CSCOPE refuses to do.
The “parent portal” provided on the public portion of CSCOPE’s website has not allayed critics’ concerns. Some of the lessons leaked to the public have contained wide disparities from the summary pages viewable in the public section of CSCOPE’s website.
Ratliff defends this dichotomy by saying that, like iTunes or any other “business,” some things must be placed behind a “pay wall” as part of a business plan. Ratliff claims that CSCOPE is created by “teachers, for teachers.”
Complicating the issue is the fact that school districts usually purchase CSCOPE with state tax dollars.
While Ratliff calls the curriculum “instructional material” he said state oversight wouldn’t help, and “I would much rather have 7,000 locally elected school board members decide what content is best for their students, not the 15-member SBOE. Allowing CSCOPE to be developed and implemented at the local level is the ‘local control’ Texans say we want. Injecting SBOE oversight into this would shift us into a ‘controlling the locals’ approach.”
Critics say that’s not the way the system is set up, and CSCOPE actually ends local input since it prevents, on penalty of copyright litigation, distribution of its content to parents.
A vocal critic has been Texas State Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Republican.
“I did pretty well with textbooks. Benjamin Franklin did pretty well with textbooks. Are they going to say reading books is not effective? Should we all stop reading our Bibles?
“Call me old-fashioned, but there is something about the feel, smell, holding a book; there is a lot to be said for holding a hard copy,” she said.
Separately but in a related issue, Attorney General Greg Abbott has released an opinion that is being quoted by critics as disqualifying Ratliff from the state board because of his connections to companies doing business with schools in Texas.
Senator Jim DeMint, president-elect of The Heritage Foundation, talks about how conservatives are perceived and what he sees for the future of the movement. This is the first and second video in a three-part series.
Jim DeMint on the Future of Conservatism
Jim DeMint on Success and Failure
The controversial portion of the HHS mandate has been temporarily blocked for 10 of 13 corporations who sued on religious liberty grounds – an indication of the strength of their case. The owners of these corporations include Catholics, Evangelical Christians as well as Mennonites.
- Korte v. Sebelius – (7th Circuit injunction granted pending appeal)
- O’Brien v. HHS, (8th Circuit injunction granted pending appeal)
- Newland v. Sebelius (Hercules), (D. Colorado, preliminary injunction granted)
- Legatus v. Sebelius, (E.D. Mich., preliminary injunction granted for Weingartz plaintiffs)
- Tyndale Publishers v. Sebelius, (D.D.C., preliminary injunction granted)
- Am. Pulverizer Co. v. HHS (Griesedieck) (W.D. Missouri – preliminary injunction granted)
- Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, (E.D. Pa. temporary restraining order granted)
- Domino’s Farms Corp. v. Sebelius, (E.D. Mich., temporary restraining order granted)
- Sharp Holdings, Inc. v. HHS (E.D. Missouri ND., temporary restraining order granted)
- Triune Health Group v. HHS (N.D. Illinois, preliminary injunction granted)
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Autocam Corp., and Grote Indus. LLC have been denied an injunction.
After threatening another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating before the fiscal cliff deal, agencies like Moody’s and S&P both essentially say nothing’s changed. Washington’s failure to address our long-term debt continues to put Americans at risk of higher interest rates and undermine our standing in the global economy. With today’s jobs report showing hiring is still well-below the typical rate needed for this stage of a recovery, the question is whether Washington will finally wake up to its overspending … or if America will continue to sink into “an abyss [we] can never come out of.”
CREDIT RATING AGENCIES SEE NO “MEANINGFUL IMPROVEMENT,” CITE FAILURE TO ADDRESS DEBT
CNN’s Felicia Taylor: “As one analyst said, we only got half a loaf out of Washington. We didn’t get the full thing yet. We’re still waiting to find out if those spending cuts are actually going to happen. … The deal just wasn’t enough.” (CNN Newsroom, 1/3/13)
Moody’s: Fiscal Cliff Deal Not Enough To Avoid Risk Of A Downgrade. “Moody’s Investors Service warned Wednesday that the ‘fiscal cliff’ tax deal was not enough to remove the risk of a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. … [T]he package, which averted income tax increases on most Americans, did not produce ‘meaningful improvement’ in the ratio of the federal government’s debt to its economic output.”(Jim Puzzanghera, “Moody’s says fiscal cliff deal doesn’t end credit downgrade risk,” Los Angeles Times, 1/2/12)
“The nation’s debt outlook after those negotiations will determine whether Moody’s downgrades the U.S. rating a notch to Aa1.”(Jim Puzzanghera, “Moody’s says fiscal cliff deal doesn’t end credit downgrade risk,” Los Angeles Times, 1/2/12)
Standard & Poor’s: “[T]he compromise doesn’t affect our [S&P] view of the country’s credit outlook, given that we believe yesterday’s agreement does little to place the U.S.’s medium-term public finances on a more sustainable footing.” (Standard and Poor’s, “”Fiscal Cliff Deal Will Not Affect U.S. Outlook,” Reuters, 1/2/13)
GLOBAL INFLUENCE CONTINUES TO DECLINE
Military Leaders Worried U.S. Is Squandering Its Global Influence. “Most pointedly, military and diplomatic experts wonder whether the United States is at risk of squandering its global influence.” (David E. Sanger, “Fiscal Cliff Deal Fails To Allay Doubts On U.S. Global Power,” The New York Times, 1/4/13)
State-Run Chinese Xinhua Newspaper: “‘The politicians have chosen to kick the can down the road,’ [China’s] state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on Wednesday. ‘The can will never disappear,’ it continued, warning that the United States was falling ‘into an abyss you can never come out of.’” (David E. Sanger, “Fiscal Cliff Deal Fails To Allay Doubts On U.S. Global Power,” The New York Times, 1/4/13)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the impending downfall of the ‘US empire,’ blaming the collapse on a combination of the country’s massive debt and its loss of legitimacy within the international community, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported Thursday. ’How long can a government with a $16,000 trillion foreign debt remain a world power? … The Americans have injected their paper wealth into the world economy and today the aftermaths and negative effects of their pseudo-wealth have plagued them.’” (“Iran: How Long Can Debt-Laden U.S. Remain World Power?,” Jerusalem Post, 10/18/12)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble: “In an unsatirizable display of chutzpah, Mr. Obama reproved Europeans for not wrestling their debt problems under control. … ‘People are always very quick at giving others advice,’ an irritated German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday. ‘Mr. Obama should first of all take care of reducing the American deficit, which is higher than in the eurozone.’” (Brett Decker, “Obama’s German Tutorial,” Washington Times, 6/25/12)
EXPLODING DEBT UNDERMINING U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY
Long-Term Debt A Growing Concern For National Security. “Now that Congress and President Obama have slipped past the latest budget deadline with a bill that does little to address the country’s long-term debt issues — and by some measures might worsen them — the worries of the national security establishment have been reignited.” (David E. Sanger, “Fiscal Cliff Deal Fails To Allay Doubts On U.S. Global Power,” The New York Times, 1/4/13)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waded into the nation’s fiscal debate Wednesday, calling the expected $1.3 trillion U.S. deficit a ‘message of weakness internationally.’ ‘It poses a national security threat in two ways: it undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable…’” (“Clinton Says deficit is a national security threat,” The Hill, 9/8/10)
Debt Could Limit U.S. Leverage With Foreign Powers. “If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. government will be constrained in its ability to pay for what it wants to do militarily and diplomatically. And it could limit the country’s leverage with foreign powers.” (Jeanne Sahadi, “Why debt is a threat to national security,” CNN Money, 10/22/12)
WHILE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY CONTINUES TO SPUTTER
Hiring Well Below Typical Pace. “Other employment indicators suggest the U.S. continues to add jobs at a modest pace. While hiring is taking place fast enough to slowly reduce the unemployment rate, it’s well below the typical pace of job creation at this stage of a current economy recovery.” (Jeffry Bartash, “U.S. Gains 155,000 Jobs in December,” MarketWatch, 1/4/13)
‘Least Anticipated Jobs Report of All Time.’ “There was no political angle or economic angle that anyone was excited to see … And the meh number justifies the lack of hype. It’s a fine, nothing special number that won’t move the needle on anything.” (Joe Weisenthal, “The Least Anticipated Jobs Report of All Time Comes in Exactly as Expected,” Business Insider, 1/4/13)
Spending Daily | January 4, 2013
Debt Taking Down U.S.?
According to The New York Times, “Two years ago the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, declared that ‘the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.’ After a decade in which the nation had chased Al Qaeda and invaded Iraq, Admiral Mullen was saying, in essence, that the biggest enemy was us. Now that Congress and President Obama have slipped past the latest budget deadline with a bill that does little to address the country’s long-term debt issues — and by some measures might worsen them — the worries of the national security establishment have been reignited. Most pointedly, military and diplomatic experts wonder whether the United States is at risk of squandering its global influence.” A state-run Chinese newspaper said of the U.S. fiscal crisis, “’The politicians have chosen to kick the can down the road. … The can will never disappear,’ it continued, warning that the United States was falling ‘into an abyss you can never come out of.’”
Gov’t and Union Leaders “Nervous” Over Looming Spending Cuts
The Washington Post reports, “The fiscal pact Congress reached hours into the new year will delay $109 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts for two months. But it will make a down payment on those reductions that will affect federal operations this year and next. The eleventh-hour agreement to avoid a ‘fiscal cliff’ of higher taxes put off the major cuts known as a sequester until March 1, when another showdown is expected over the federal debt limit and how much to reduce the size of government. Congress and the White House agreed to find $24 billion to pay for the delay… The remaining $12 billion in cuts to domestic and defense agencies will not take effect until at least March 27, when the stopgap budget funding the government expires. … The cuts will be rolled into budget deliberations on Capitol Hill, and no one knows what agencies and programs they will affect. … On Wednesday, government and union leaders said that threat, just two months away, is making them nervous.”
Cliff Deal Included Nearly $1B Retroactive Tax Break for Biodiesel
The New York Times reports, “The Congressional budget deal brokered this week kept tax breaks in place for a variety of industries, but biodiesel got something even better: a retroactive reinstatement of a dollar-a-gallon credit going back to January 2012, when it lapsed. The retroactive portion of the credit, which will run through the end of 2013, represents a benefit to the blenders of about $1 billion. And the $1 per gallon of biodiesel amounts to roughly one-quarter of the fuel’s current wholesale price.” The Associated Press reports, “Tucked into the ‘fiscal cliff’ tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles. Click here to see a list of some of the more interesting tax breaks.”
“Time for leaders to delegate on the budget”
Bob Woodward writes in The Washington Post, “The agreement on the ‘fiscal cliff’ left the nation’s major economic problems — its federal deficit and debt, high unemployment and low growth — on the negotiating-room floor. What went wrong? Part of the problem may lie with the negotiating style, the procedures and methods of both the Obama administration and Congress. They all try to run it from the top.”
Unemployment Rate Unchanged in December
MarketWatch reports, “The U.S. economy created 155,000 jobs in December – matching its two-year average – and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8%, the government said Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected an increase of 160,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate, originally reported as 7.7% in November, was changed to 7.8% after the Labor Department’s annual revision conducted each December. The unemployment rate over the course of 2012 was little changed, however.”
“Tax Deal Is A Victory For Hollywood Cronyism”
Matthew Continetti editorializes in the Washington Free Beacon, “My least favorite political cliché—that liberal donors don’t ask for anything in return for campaign contributions—was exposed as laughably false by the Kick the Can Down the Road Act of 2012, also known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act, or the ‘fiscal cliff deal.’ Consider what the bill revealed about Hollywood’s relationship with the Democrats who run the Senate and live in the White House. It is a relationship fraught with denial, in which the gooiest rhetoric obscures the most self-interested acts. For example on May 11, 2012, filmmaker and actor Rob ‘Meathead’ Reiner appeared on ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’. The previous day Reiner had attended one of several Hollywood fundraisers at which President Barack Obama raised a total of $15 million. Wasn’t it ‘interesting,’ Matthews said, that when individuals on ‘the Republican’ side ‘invest in a Republican candidate, they’re investing in their businesses.’ … All too revealing that well-heeled lobbyists, many of them liberal, are able to secure some $40 billion in tax breaks for connected interests while the elected representatives of the United States of America are unable or unwilling to stop a $100 billion payroll tax increase affecting 160 million people.”
Earmarks Live On In Hawaii, Despite Informal Ban
The Washington Guardian reports, “Congress showed us anew over the last year that an earmarking system that secures federal money for political pet projects is alive and well — despite a promised ban by lawmakers. In fact, such funding even can live on after the sponsoring lawmaker has died. Take the case of the East-West Center, a nonprofit center in Hawaii that for years received tens of millions of dollars in federal funding secured by its favorite homestate backer, the late Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye. … For creating a system that has sustained earmarks — and allowed them to outlive their sponsors — Congress earns this week’s Golden Hammer, a dinstinction awarded by the Washington Guardian to examples of spending that sting the fiscal funny bone. … Since 2009, the center has received roughly $81.6 million through the State Department budget. In 2011, for instance, it got another $23 million even though State had proposed half that amount a year earlier.”
Debt Ceiling Crisis Takes Foreground For Freshman Lawmakers
Roll Call reports, “Many new members approached their swearing-in day with giddiness and a sense of awe, but for the 95 new senators and representatives, the honeymoon is likely to be short. The final act of the 112th Congress — a last-minute deal to avert tax hikes on most Americans — only set up trickier budget decisions for the 113th to tackle. Though the tax question is largely settled, new members will almost immediately have to grapple with how to deal with automatic spending cuts now set to begin in March, the urgent need for another debt limit increase and a spending bill to keep the government from shutting down. But perhaps sensing the coming political perils, many incoming members argued like pros Thursday that they’d deal with it some other time.”
Bankrupting America this week launched a new campaign, “Talk is Cheap, Overspending is Not.” In the aftermath of the fiscal cliff deal, Bankrupting America wanted to remind lawmakers that spending caps are not spending cuts with this image:
Click here to find out more about the “Talk is Cheap, Overspending is Not” campaign.
Life is good when you’re in the majority—and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) seems to believe he’ll be there forever.
Reid has already effectively shut down the opportunity for minority Senators to offer amendments to bills. Now he is angling to change the Senate’s rules so that minority members cannot filibuster a bill.
The way the Senate is set up, every Senator has the ability to debate legislation. But as Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky notes, “If members lose these abilities, the majority party will have the unchecked capability to shut off debate and pass legislation without opposition.”
The filibuster—famously depicted in the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—actually doesn’t happen that often. As Senator Jim DeMint wrote for Heritage in November, “The last person to engage in a genuine filibuster was the ultraliberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In 2010, He spoke on the Senate floor for eight hours straight in an attempt to defeat legislation to extend tax rates.”
In recent years, Republicans have not filibustered legislation, despite Reid’s current crusade. DeMint notes that “filibusters have not prevented the Democrat-led Senate from passing a budget over the past three years, preventing the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ or taking steps to reduce our $16 trillion and rising debt. Harry Reid has.”
To shut down debate takes a vote of three-fifths of the Senate. But Reid wants to change longstanding Senate rules so that a simple majority of 51 Senators could end any debate. This has been called the “nuclear option.”
Of course, Reid seems to assume that his party will never lose the majority, and this rule change would work forever in his favor. Both Reid and President Obama have previously argued against changing the rules when it wouldn’t benefit them.
In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama correctly argued:
what [the American people] don’t expect, is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet…everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster—if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate—then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.
Reid isn’t the only one looking to change the Senate rules. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) are now claiming that their plan for a bipartisan “reform” of Senate procedures is a better idea. But von Spakovsky explains that it would “create a new category of super senators who will be empowered to participate in the legislative process to the exclusion of rank-and-file members.” It would concentrate power in the hands of only four Senators, excluding the other 96 from being able to offer amendments to legislation.
“This proposal may be worse than Reid’s because it would empower the leadership of both parties to the detriment of open debate and a free amendment process available to all members,” von Spakovsky writes.
The Senate’s rules were set up for very good reasons. Von Spakovsky reminds us that “George Washington told Jefferson that the Senate was intended to ‘cool’ House legislation in the same way that a saucer was used to cool hot tea.” Unlike the House, in the Senate, every state has equal representation, and every Senator should have a voice. If the rules change every time the majority party changes, the Senate will lose its ability to deliberate in the way it was designed.
Debt Wish: Cheating Debt
According to the Associated Press, the fiscal cliff deal was “supposed to be a way to force Washington to confront our long-term debt problem.” Unfortunately for Americans, politics prevailed. After taking us to the brink of another recession, Washington still managed to carve out some special stocking stuffers for their favorite political allies. If higher taxes were a serious solution to reducing our deficit, would lawmakers really be giving breaks to Hollywood studios, Puerto Rican rum distillers and electric scooter makers? Instead of pushing for real tax reform, it looks like Washington is back to picking winners and losers.
CRONY CAPITALISM: DEFICIT REDUCTION DEAL INCLUDES HOST OF POLITICAL GIVEAWAYS
Lucky Few Escape Fiscal Cliff Tax Hikes:
Fiscal Cliff Bill Extends Tax Cuts For Select Few. “…The ‘fiscal cliff’ bill that passed Congress on Tuesday contained a bonanza for single-issue lobbyists, extending supports for Puerto Rican rum distillers, Hollywood studios, tribal-lands coal, electric-scooter makers and other corporate interests that Congress will subsidize through the tax code for another year or two.” (Editorial, “Congress Gives Out End-of-Year Perks to Interest Groups, Washington Post, 1/2/13)
$100 Billion In Special Tax Credits. “… Under the plan, the federal government would eat nearly $100 billion in forgone tax revenue over the next two years by extending special tax credits for select businesses that had been set to expire.” (Devin Dwyer, “’Fiscal Cliff Deal Also Doles Out Millions for Hollywood, Railroads, Rum Producers,” ABC News, 1/1/13)
$430 Million For Hollywood. “$430 million for Hollywood through ‘special expensing rules’ to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.” (Devin Dwyer, “’Fiscal Cliff Deal Also Doles Out Millions for Hollywood, Railroads, Rum Producers,” ABC News, 1/1/13)
$59 Million For Algae Growers. (Devin Dwyer, “’Fiscal Cliff Deal Also Doles Out Millions for Hollywood, Railroads, Rum Producers,” ABC News, 1/1/13)
$331 Million For Puerto Rico And The Virgin Islands Rum Subsidies. (Devin Dwyer, “’Fiscal Cliff Deal Also Doles Out Millions for Hollywood, Railroads, Rum Producers,” ABC News, 1/1/13)
Extends Tax Credit For Indian Coal Facilities. (“Other nuggets in the fiscal cliff bill: Rum, electric vehicles and motor sports,” CNN Political Ticker, 1/1/13)
Extends Tax Credit For Wind Energy Industry. (CJ Ciaramella, “Congress Extends Eagle-Killing Wind Incentive,” Washington Free Beacon, 1/2/13)
WASHINGTON BACK TO PICKING WINNERS AND LOSERS, PUTTING POLITICS OVER ECONOMY
Sweetheart Deals Undermine Deficit Reduction:
Washington’s Favorites Secure ‘Sweetheart Deals.’ “…As usual, well-connected special interest groups — from Hollywood to the booze lobby — secured sweetheart deals for their own narrow interests. So the industry that employs Sean Penn and Ed Asner gets a nice fat tax break, and poor people with jobs get the shaft. The people who rail against ‘corporate welfare’ and ‘crony capitalism’ took the time to cut a nice side deal for the rum industry.” (Kevin D. Williamson, “Opinion: Democrats Raise Taxes on Poor to Subsidize Millionaires,” National Review, 1/2/13)
Only Some Will ‘Finally Pay Their Fair Share.’ “Obama said Tuesday that ‘millionaires and billionaires’ will finally ‘pay their fair share.’ That is, unless you are a Nascar track owner, a wind-energy company or the owners of StarKist Tuna, among many others who managed to get their taxes reduced in Congress’s New Year celebration… Congress and the White House want everyone to ignore this corporate-welfare blowout.” (Editorial, “Crony Capitalism Blowout,” Wall Street Journal, 1/2/13)
Real Costs Outweigh The Estimates. “The costs of all this are far greater than the estimates conjured by the Joint Tax Committee. They include slower economic growth from misallocated capital, lower revenues for the Treasury and thus more pressure to raise rates on everyone, and greater public cynicism that government mainly serves the powerful.” (Editorial, “Crony Capitalism Blowout,” Wall Street Journal, 1/2/13)
Congress Dodges What Fiscal Cliff Deal Was Originally Designed To Do: Address Deficits And Debt. “The ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline was originally designed to force lawmakers to confront trillion-dollar annual budget deficits that pile the nation’s debts higher each year. … The next two months will be another opportunity to come up with a plan or dodge the issues again.” (Connie Cass, Fiscal Cliff Deal Leaves Lots Of Issues Dangling,” Associated Press, 1/3/13)
Failure To Confront Debt Just The Latest In A “Long Series” Of Broken Promises. “Congress’ hectic resolution of the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis is the latest in a long series of decisions by lawmakers and the White House to do less than promised – and to ask Americans for little sacrifice – in confronting the nation’s burgeoning debt.” (Charles Babington, “Analysis: Cliff Deal Is Another Pain-Free Punt,” Associated Press, 1/3/13)
“CORPORATE PORK” CRITICAL TO FINAL PASSAGE
Fiscal Cliff Bill Becomes All About “Corporate Pork”:
‘Tax Extenders’ Critical Part Of Fiscal Cliff Bill. “…What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as ‘tax extenders,’ or roughly $205 billion of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on.” (Matt Stoller, “Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR,” Huffington Post, 1/2/13)
Trading Off Billions Of Dollars In ‘Corporate Pork.’ “Surely, a modest hike in income taxes for people who make more than $400,000 in income and stupid enough not to take that money in capital gain would be worth trading off for the few hundred billion dollars in corporate pork. This is what the fiscal cliff is about — who gets the money. And by leaving out the corporate sector, nearly anyone who talks about this debate is leaving out a key-negotiating partner.” (Matt Stoller, “Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR,” Huffington Post, 1/2/13)
Designed To Reduce Deficit, Instead Adds $74 Billion In Spending. “The ‘fiscal cliff’ law passed so quickly, many in Congress never realized it was full of special interest tax breaks…the fiscal cliff law designed to reduce the deficit, added $74 billion in spending through changes in the tax law.” (Wyatt Andrews, “’Fiscal Cliff’ Bill Had Some Hidden Pork,” CBS News, 1/2/13)
What Happened To No More Pork Barrel Spending? “The issue with these middle-of-the-night tax breaks is that for many in Congress who had sworn off pork barrel spending, these represent a new level of pork.” (Wyatt Andrews, “’Fiscal Cliff’ Bill Had Some Hidden Pork,” CBS News, 1/2/13)
RightWing News – With the return of Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party to power in Japan, the market for US Treasuries may be losing its last external pillar of support. Re-elected on September 26th, Abe has quickly set a course for limitless inflation, saying Japan must “free itself from deflation and the strong yen.” This is significant to the global economy as Japan is the largest foreign power left with a strong appetite for US Treasuries. If this demand falters, the Fed may be the only remaining buyer of new Treasury issuance.