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Fourth, would the upper-end tax increases programmed to take effect in January be a disaster?  No, they would not be.  There is no evidence that the low tax rates on the wealthy encourage them to spend or invest, no evidence that higher tax rates would deter the spending and investment that they might otherwise do.

-- James K. Galbraith





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Lloyd Blankfein is the Face of Class Warfare
No, President Obama.  No matter how you and your cronies try to spin it, America did not vote for you to cut our earned benefit programs.  These numbers have not changed and you are well aware of that.
Tax the Rich, Take Your Hands Off Medicare: Overwhelming US Majority

Roughly sixty percent of those asked stated that they would like to see higher income taxes on those in higher income brackets -- $250,000 and greater.

Only 37 percent opposed a progressive tax system.
[...]
Seventy-three percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents support higher taxes on the rich. 59 percent of Republicans oppose it.

Additionally two-thirds of Americans oppose a raise in Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as is proposed by many Republican lawmakers. Only 30 percent support it.

Bernie Sanders.
Working Families vs. Millionaires

In his letter to colleagues, Sanders laid out examples of Simpson’s hostility to Social Security and highlighted his “rude, inaccurate, and derogatory statements.” He also faulted Simpson and Bowles for misusing their positions to engage in partisan politics. Before the Nov. 6 election, for example, Bowles showered praise on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan (watch the video) to slash Social Security and eliminate Medicare.

“Even more distressing, in my opinion, is the belief that the Simpson-Bowles plan is a balanced approach to deficit reduction that we should be using as a model,” Sanders said in the letter.

Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles Praises Paul Ryan: 'This Guy Is Amazing'
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Wants Seniors to Get Less

The hypocrisy of Lloyd Blankfein, a Wall Street banker, and other corporate leaders who have inserted themselves into the debate over major tax and spending decisions under consideration in Congress is nothing short of repugnant. Blankfein's Goldman Sachs got billions from the federal government during the Wall Street bailouts, enabling him to hold a job that paid him $16.1 million in 2011, and now he wants the rest of us to take a pay cut -- now and in the future. Referring to Social Security, he told CBS, "You're going to have to do something, undoubtedly, to lower people's expectations of what they're going to get." That's a second-rate vision for a first world country, and we just voted for a lot better than that.
[...]

Each of these executives has amassed retirement assets averaging more than $9.1 million, according to a report released today by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). Of the more than 90 CEOs involved in Fix the Debt, 41 run companies with pension programs, but only two of those plans are fully funded, IPS said. It's the second impressive IPS report in the last week, and it lays bare the flagrant hypocrisy of these captains of finance and industry.

Today's IPS report outlines how these CEOs have bloated their personal golden parachutes with millions of dollars of company funds while shorting their employees' retirement plans by an astonishing $103 billion -- all while taking aim at government programs that benefit the sick and elderly. Many of the companies in the Fix the Debt campaign also make their profits from defense contracts and other federal government business.


(From Health Care for America Now)
CEOs Looking To ‘Fix The Debt’ By Cutting Social Security Sit On Huge Retirement Accounts

Several CEOs — under the guise of a campaign known as “Fix the Debt” — have recently called for cuts to Social Security and other entitlements. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, for instance, said that “there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised.” “The solutions [to the fiscal cliff] are – it’s the retirement age; means testing Social Security and Medicare,” said Aetna CEO Mark Berolino. “We just need to get leadership.”

Of course, these CEOs have little cause for concern if government retirement assistance is cut, as they have millions of dollars squirreled away in their personal retirement accounts:

The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs of public companies have average retirement assets of $9.1 million. Of these 71 CEOs, 54 participate in their company‘s retirement programs and have collective pension assets of $649 million, or more than $12 million per CEO — enough to generate a $65,873 pension check each month for life. In contrast, the average monthly Social Security check for retired workers is $1,237.
Galbraith: “Fiscal Cliff” a Pretext to Target Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Galbraith recently wrote the piece “Six Reasons the Fiscal Cliff is a Scam,” which states: “Stripped to essentials, the fiscal cliff is a device constructed to force a rollback of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as the price of avoiding tax increases and disruptive cuts in federal civilian programs and in the military. … Is there a looming crisis of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, such that these programs must be reformed? No, there is not. Social insurance programs are not businesses. They are not required to make a profit; they need not be funded from any particular stream of tax revenues over any particular time horizon. …

Kucinich to Corporate CEOs: Push the Middle Class Off the Cliff? No WAY!
“Those who have already shoved their own retiring workers off the fiscal cliff want to do it to the rest of the middle class and poor. NO WAY.”
[...]
“These 71 CEOs who come to Washington to preach fiscal austerity have average retirement assets of $9.1 million. That’s about a $65,000 pension check each month for the rest of their lives. In contrast, the average monthly Social Security check for retired workers is $1,237.

“Of all these debt cutting CEOs, only two have sufficient assets in their company’s pension funds to meet their obligations to their own workers. The rest who pay any pension at all have underfunded their workers’ pension funds by $103 billion.

“Those who have already shoved their own retiring workers off the fiscal cliff want to do it to the rest of the middle class and poor. NO WAY.”

Military feared independent reviews of Bradley Manning's Torture at Quantico

Quantico base commander Col. Daniel Choike revealed in testimony today that the military barred or delayed independent analyses of PFC Bradley Manning’s abusive confinement, claiming that Bradley’s defense could “exploit” such a review in the press, and instead sought reviews that would confirm and justify the military’s handling of the young private.

Col. Choike answered defense lawyer David Coombs’ questions for nearly eight hours today at Ft. Meade, Maryland, during the defense’s Article 13 motion to dismiss charges based on unlawful pretrial punishment that Bradley endured for more than nine months at Quantico. ...

Col. Choike testified at length about his specific role in reviewing and maintaining Bradley’s maximum security, the collective refusal to listen to brig psychiatrists’ recommendations for medium security, and just how involved three-star General George Flynn was in directing Bradley’s confinement.

Earlier this fall we learned that Gen. Flynn oversaw Bradley’s confinement from the Pentagon. Today, Col. Choike revealed that Gen. Flynn primarily wanted to be notified of changes in Manning’s status or new elements regarding his conditions before the media got wind of them, so that he could control the narrative regarding Bradley’s conditions, or, as Col. Choike said today, be “ahead of the disinformation campaign.”






Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


The Evening Blues
WH Advisor David Plouffe and Goldman Sachs CEO Agree That Medicare and Medicaid Must be Cut

Please Save Our National Parks from Fiscal Fail #Action






Deep Purple - Soldier of Fortune






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Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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