Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama & McCain on Taxes: Pretty Simple Really

I read an interesting piece this morning from "Business Week" by Chris Farrell- in which he discusses the difference between the two tax plans.

The article is worth a read. However, it all boils down to this:

Senator McCain's tax cuts would primarily benefit those with very high incomes,[emphasis mine] almost all of whom would receive large tax cuts that would, on average, raise their aftertax incomes by more than twice the average for all households. Many fewer households at the bottom of the income distribution would get tax cuts, and those whose taxes fall would, on average, see their aftertax income rise much less.

-- In marked contrast, Senator Obama offers much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers [emphasis mine] and would increase taxes on high-income taxpayers. The largest tax cuts, as a share of income, would go to those at the bottom of the distribution, while taxpayers with the highest income would see their taxes rise.

That is the most important thing for most people to remember. There are, however, to be fair, some interesting twists to Obama's plan. TazVox, the Tax Policy Center blog, lays out some interesting quirks of Obama's plan...particularly when it comes to Senior Citizens on a fixed income.

While very poor single seniors see a drop under Obama's plan, those with more moderately comfortable incomes see a rise, and, in another, more disturbing quirk, poor MARRIED seniors also see a rise-

On the whole, of course, Obama's plan is really the ONLY sane choice for this country...we've been trying Reagan's trickle down economics for over a quarter century...the gap between rich and poor is growing, the nation's treasure is spent and the debt is still rising, and each day sees the rolling back of middle class gains made in the years following Franklin Roosevelt's presidency...this, in turn, sees our nation grow weaker.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Climate Change and National Security

The debate about Global Warming has often been presented as a fight between hard-headed, profit seeking business types and fuzzy minded bunny hugging hippies.

It is time however, that America woke up and started confronting some of the REAL issues which may arise from a massive change in our climate. These go far beyond the loss of habit for small furry creatures...and may include famine, flooding, terrorism and war.

The US intelligence community has released a secret report to Congress, The National Security Implications of Global Climate Changes to 2030, which outlines to the nation's law makers the potential for global instability arising from massive migrations, failure in food supply, and opportunities for extremists to exploit political failures and up the tension levels.

As NPR's Tom Gelton puts the case: "With this report, the National Intelligence Council, coordinating the analysis of all US intelligence agencies, puts climate change in the same category as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and radical Islam: it's officially a security threat."

Listen to the story at National Public Radio. (Where you are there, check out their story about off-shore drilling as well, another story Rip and Read has been squawking about.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

John McCain: Oil in his Eyes

McCain Supports Bush Call for More Off Shore Drilling

According the AP, John McCain has joined George W. Bush in a call for offshore Drilling in American coastal waters.

The American working class needs relief from high gas prices that eat into weekly pay checks, but common sense says that offshore drilling is not the way to go about providing that relief.

As Barack Obama said in his speech on the subject: "The politics may have changed but the facts haven't."

Only One Winner

There is only one group of people who would win from a change in the off shore oil drilling rules: BIG OIL.

American Drivers wouldn't even SEE this oil for years...so there are much better ways to help working Americans make ends meet.

And, when the oil finally DOES arrive, there is no guarantee that prices will go down. In fact, Americans watched for years as OPEC worked very well to keep Oil Prices UP by intentionally limiting the amount of oil they took out of the ground...if supply goes up, prices come down- if you want to keep prices up, you limit the amount of supply. After these boom times, anyone who thinks that the Oil Business is looking for ways to lower prices and profits is a complete sucker.

The Rest of us Lose

Who looses?
Most of Us.

None of us see lower Gas prices anytime soon...if ever.

Fisherman, already waiting on empty boats for fish populations to bounce back, loose most hopes of returning to their jobs.

Working People in Coastal States who rely on Tourism loose when their beaches become blotted with oil bubbles, slicks and spills.

The alternative energy industry, which could help keep this country strong, is forced to wait again while people put off breaking their oil addiction.

We all loose as we continue to damage the planet's atmosphere through fossil fuel consumption.

Americans must resist economic panic. We need to look deeply at this issue and reject the short-sighted, crony capitalism as offered by Oil Man Bush and his would-be successor, John McCain.

When it comes to Oil...just say NO!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Junkies Need another Hit -Drilling Off Shore

Bush Renews Calls for Offshore Drilling

See: AP "Bush Looks Offshore for remedy to high oil prices"
As America's drivers scream in economic pain due to high oil prices, our President proposes to ride to the rescue. How? By lifting the ban on drilling in US Coastal Waters.

That, says Bush, will fix everything.


According to the same AP article, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama points out that even if we started drilling TOMORROW we wouldn't see the oil for another 5 years.

Meanwhile, over at the Wall Street Journal, they are not panicking, no sir, they are giving out advice: GET IN ON THE OIL BOOM WHILE YOU CAN!

It is time that Americans learn that the age of cheap oil is over. It will NEVER go back down to affordable prices unless something of epic proportions happens...

Adding a temporary increase in supply won't do it...Oil companies will simply drill more slowly and keep the price up...OPEC has done this for years already.

Place this almost non-existent drop in oil prices, that we won't see in 5 years, against what we might loose by drilling off our coasts. It's a bad deal

I'm not just talking about clean beaches for swimming, but about real money...the US offshore fishing market is in real trouble, and yet, in a world which is clamoring for FOOD as much as for oil, this is another potential gold mine for this nation- one even more important that oil (people CAN learn to drive, but they'll never figure out how to stop eating). American fisherman have been struggling on the margins, waiting for the our fish population to bounce back (read Mark Kurlansky's "COD" for a fascinating discussion of this overlooked but vital chapter in American and World History).

An invasion by Oil companies could put the final nail into that coffin. Far to high a price to pay.

Instead, let's use the next five years, not to wait for a temporary supply of cheap oil to come bubbling dangerously from the deep, but instead to break our addiction to this substance once and for all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Surfing- two good reads on the web

Radical Sheik

Once upon a time it was cool for rich hippie kids to sport a T-Shirt of Che Guevara. Later, the Black Panthers became a cause celebre- and of course, it's not uncommon to find T-Shirts celebrating cop killing gangstas or Al Pacino's vicious character in Scarface.

Now, a new mantle of cool seems to be slipping into American Pop culture from the Middle East. Check out this entry: "It's becoming cool to be Arab-American"

Rich Views

"If a place is truly beautiful, you can't afford to be there." The author of Nickel and Dimed discusses another crime of the super rich...This Land is Their Land.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Lion, The Witch, and The Lawyers

Suppose you bought your son a birthday present, and the giants of the media world decided to snatch it back?

Read more here... click me

Friday, June 06, 2008

Living History- World War Two in London

Poor Blog-
It's been a very busy month and a half. I found myself in the United States for most of May- work was fun, but non-stop. Now my friend John is visiting the UK.

"It's funny," he said, "At home, World War 2 seems like history, I guess I never realized what a deep effect it had on London. Everywhere you go, there's a monument to the war."

His words were truer than he knew, because Yesterday, our travel through the city was punctuated by announcements that the District Line would be closed from 9:30 pm on as the Metropolitan Police dealt with yet another reminder of World War 2....

...an unexploded Nazi bomb.

which started ticking again when it was uncovered.

That's the kind of living history exhibit I could do without.

The Full Story is here.