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Monday, May 31, 2010

Obama Not the 1st President to Miss Memorial Day at Arlington

Radio and TV talker Glenn Beck (on May 25) said, "Obama is skipping out on a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery because he'll be in Chicago on vacation." On his show, Beck incorrectly asserted that the president "has decided not to honor our troops on Memorial Day."

Beck said, "Maybe this has happened before. I don't recall it."


Only a cretin of the highest order would be stupid enough to say things so patently false and easily debunked. And if he's not this stupid, then he is clearly and most certainly one of the most reprehensible creatures ever to use mass media to make himself wealthy while knowingly misleading those who are all too willing to be misled.

It's an unforgivable smear on the gravity, dignity, and importance of this day of somber remembrance. I couldn't let it pass.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How I Solved the Debt Crisis

How I got the U.S. to an acceptable debt level at My selections are in bold below.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Reduce Troops to 60,000 by 2015

Reduce Troops to 30,000 by 2013
Maintain Current Funding Levels

2001/2003 Tax Cuts
Renew All the Tax Cuts
Renew the Tax Cuts on Income Below $250k/200k
Reduce Lower Rate Cuts by Half and Let Upper-Income Cuts Expire
Allow All the Tax Cuts, Except for AMT Patches, to Expire

Discretionary Spending Growth
Grow Regular Discretionary Spending with GDP
Adopt the Discretionary Spending Growth Rates in the President's Budget
Grow Regular Discretionary Spending with Inflation

Defense, Diplomacy & Security
Enact Administration's Proposed Weapon System Cuts

Foreign Aid
Cut Foreign Economic Aid in Half

Increase Foreign Economic Aid by 50%

Veterans' Benefits
Reduce Veteran's Income Security Benefits
Expand Veteran's Income Security Benefits

Cancel Missile Defense System

Reduce Spending on Ship Building

Increase Homeland Security Spending

Troop Levels
Increase Number of troops by 46,000
Reverse "Grow the Army" Initiative

Domestic Social & Economic Spending
Cancel TARP and Rescind Unused ARRA Funds

Enact New Jobs Bill

Food Stamps
Gradually Reduce Benefits to 2008 Levels
Index Current (Post-Stimulus) Benefits to GDP

Freeze Average Unemployment Benefits at 2009 Levels
Cut Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program
Cut Federal Funding of K-12 Education by 25%
Eliminate the New Markets Tax Credit
Cut School Breakfast Programs
Double Funding on Adoption and Foster Care
Increase Funding for the Education of Disadvantaged and Disabled Children

Social Security
Raise the Normal Retirement Age to 68

Slow Initial Benefit Growth
Gradually Reduce Scheduled Benefits (by 30% in 2080)

Progressively Reduce Benefits, Protecting Low Earners
Progressively Reduce Benefits, Protecting Low and Medium Earners
Use An Alternate Measure of Inflation for COLAs

Reduce Spousal Benefits from 50% to 33%
Increase Years Used to Calculate Benefits
Include all New State and Local Workers
Institute a Minimum Benefit

Health Care
Modify Health Care Reform Law

Expand Coverage to an Additional 5 Million People
Reduce Insurance Subsidies by 20%
Repeal Entire Legislation
Repeal Legislation, but Keep Medicare/Medicaid Cuts
Increase Cost-Sharing for Medicare
Raise Medicare Premiums to 35% of Costs
Reduce Spending on Graduate Medical Education
Enact Medical Malpractice Reform
Increase the Medicare Retirement Age to 67
Replace Traditional Medicare with Insurance Vouchers
Modify Federal Medicaid Funding to States

Reduce Funding Removing Floor on Matches
Increase Average Matches from 57% to 60%

Other Spending
Eliminate Certain Outdated Programs
Reduce Federal Highway Funding
Reduce or Eliminate Certain Transportation Programs
Cut Federal Workforce by Five Percent
Cancel NASA Missions to the Moon and Mars
Reduce Farm Subsidies
Expand Spending on Federal Research & Development
Cut Earmarks in Half

Increase Mass Transit Funding

Increase User Fees Across the Board
Sell Certain Government Assets
Impose Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee
Reform International Tax System
Enact Carbon Tax or Cap-and-Trade
Increase Gas Tax by 10 Cents per Gallon
Enact Five percent VAT With Partial Rebate

Gradually Increase Dependent Exemption by $3,500
Impose Surtax on Income above $1 million
Gradually Increase Payroll Tax by One Percentage Point

Raise Social Security Payroll Tax Cap
Raise Cap to Cover 90% of Earnings

Institute Two Percent Surtax on Earnings Above Cap
Reduce Corporate Tax Rate from 35% to 30%
Index Tax Code to Alternate Measure of Inflation
Improve Tax Collection (Reduce Tax Gap)

Tax Expenditures
Convert Mortgage Interest Deduction to a 20% Credit
Limit Itemized Deductions for High-Earners
Curtail State and Local Tax Deduction
Eliminate Life Insurance Tax Benefits

Eliminate Subsidies for Biofuels
Make Research & Development Tax Credit Permanent
Extend $400/person Making Work Pay Credit

Tax Credits for Children and Families
Cut the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit
Extend "American Opportunity" College Tax Credit

Tax Treatment of Employer Sponsored Health Insurance
Begin Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans in 2013 Instead of 2018

Repeal Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans
Replace Employer Health Care Exclusion with a Flat Credit (In Place of Excise Tax)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reinventing financial regulation

I'm glad to see a return to some degree of sanity.

How many more times will we fall for the lies and deceptions of so-called free markets and deregulation before we learn the lesson?

Eff the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act and all the harm it and Randians everywhere have done to our great country, our economy and our once great society. How much more proof do we ordinary citizens need that the people with money and power can never, ever, ever be trusted to do what's right for anyone but themselves?

Markets only work for everyone when there are some rules that enforce fairness and honesty.