Saturday, June 30, 2012

Romney/Obama Care

   On Friday, while browsing the Internet for political jokes to put in my “ Friday Funnies “ post to this blog, I ran across the viewpoints of many surfers who happen to be against the Affordable Care Act ( ObamaCare ) which I call RomneyCare being that he was the actual creator of the bill while governing the state of Massachusetts.

    What struck me as strange and funny was the total hate that many people spewed towards Chief Justice Roberts because he helped to stay the health-care law. Ignorant/stupid people at websites such as Redstate and Freerepublic spew such hate that it is unbelievable when one reads their rhetoric.  I’m not speaking only of Justice Roberts, but they continually call for arms against Liberals, Progressives, and Democrats in general because assholes such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage push for such shit, if indirectly.

   I also checked out some of the rants and ravings on Twitter, which was quite enjoyable. Read the screwed-up thoughts of some Fox News Channel watching wing-nut and you are guaranteed a good laugh for a bit. My favorite rants about the ACA was tweeted by a few people who said that they are now moving to Canada because America is going to hell in a hand basket.  

    The prospect of a small step towards Universal Health Care is going to ruin America? Are they serious? Really? My question is, Do you not know that Canada has basically “ Healthcare for all? '” Does one not understand that they would be moving to a country which has what the Obama administration is attempting to create in America?

   Speaking of Fox News Channel, now in the entertainment division which was appropriate on Thursday:

I can understand Rupert's business decision.

They're calling the mandate the most bizarre tax in US history because it's based on behavior.

Really? We pay higher taxes because we choose to be childless. That doesn't depend on our income but only on our behavior, too.  DKos

  I might ad that the cigarette tax and the liquor tax is based on behavior. Pretty much every tax that we pay is based on behavior, so get over it clowns.

   Now, as is the usual Republican, House Speaker Boehner has stated that the House will attempt to rescind the ACA in July. Naturally, the Republicans in the house are still more concerned with destroying any gains made by the Obama Administration which just might help the average middle class/ working poor in America. As has been the case since Bush the lesser, there is still no Republican plan to create jobs. At least not in America.

   Lets not forget wanna-be-president Willard ( RomneyCare ) Romney. He has stated to his poor foolish followers that if elected President, his first priority will be to overturn the ACA. His first priority? Not the economy? What about jobs since he is the self-proclaimed “ jobs creator?” In Chinas maybe,but, not in Massachusetts, or in Freeport, Illinois. The residents there can tell you just what kind of a job creator that Mitt Romney isn’t.  Romney has created nothing of value for the average American, and he never will. In fact, with Romney as president, you can bet that he and his ilk will attempt to take away what little the working class has left. He has proven that time and time again while he was at Bain Capitol.

Click the following link to hear about one of Romney’s job creations.   Brief transcript:

Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30 foot stage.
Gathered the guys, and we built that 30 foot stage, not knowing what it was for.

Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse.
(The company was profitable, with 3 shifts working.)

A group of people walked out on that stage and told us the plant is now closed and all of you are fired.
I looked both ways. I looked at the crowd and ah, we all just lost our jobs.
We don't have an income.

Mitt Romney made over a 100 million dollars by shutting down our plant and devastated our lives.
Turns out that when we built that stage it was like building my own coffin, and it just made me sick.

   This is the Republican-Conservative- Christian-Teaparty of the 21st century. They are not very nice to you unless you make at least $1 Million + per year.

   The good news is that Willard cannot overturn the ACA no matter how much he howls to his based that he will. It ain’t gonna happen if he makes it into the Oval Office, which he will not.

    You GOP supporters need to get with the program, and to quit cutting your own throats at election time over bullshit that is based on nothing but ungrounded fear designed to keep you scared, ill informed, and voting for these losers.

   Hey Mitt, will you also repeal RomneyCare in Massachusetts since it and ObamaCare are the same?


Supreme Court Leaves Romney in the Cold

by Robert Scheer   Friday, June 29, 2012 by

Mitt Romney is an idiot or, even worse, is pretending to be one. His tantrum of a response on Thursday to the Supreme Court’s health care decision was pure playground: As president I will own the ball, and the game will be played by rules that leave me a winner.

That game has already been called in a decision written by the top-ranking conservative jurist, and shorn of the constitutional objection; Barack Obama’s health care plan now will be judged by its practical outcomes. Romney’s promise that “I will act to repeal Obamacare” from “my first day as president of the United States” is a prescription of destructive gridlock for a program already well under way.

By immediately committing to reverse a health care reform based on the very program he implemented as governor of Massachusetts, Romney has gone to war with himself. Obviously, neither he nor his advisers has yet grasped that the decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts has changed the terms of the debate.

The issue is no longer one of states’ rights. That would have been the case if the court had relied on the Constitution’s commerce clause, leaving Romney to argue that it was legal for his state to have required a mandate but is illegal for the feds to do so. However, the court decision, based as it is on the right of the government to raise taxes to pay for a public need, makes the states’ rights claim irrelevant.

The issue faced by the court was the same on the federal level as it was on the state level; if the public, through its government, must ultimately bear the cost of caring for the uninsured—as would be so in any society possessed of even a modicum of shared social responsibility—then it can vote to levy taxes to finance that effort.

Why did Massachusetts under Romneycare have a right to tax to pay for mandated health care but the federal government would have no such right? All the Obama campaign needs to do is play that video clip from April 12, 2006, when Romney signed into law a Massachusetts mandate, justifying his tax penalty on those who failed to comply by saying it would help “hundreds of thousands of people ... have healthier and happier lives.” President Obama could claim correctly that he added 30 million Americans, not blessed to be living in Massachusetts, to the healthy and happy category.

Clearly the Romney campaign staff was not prepared for what it must now view as Justice Roberts’ betrayal. Based on the oral proceedings of the court, Romney’s aides felt assured that Justice Anthony Kennedy would join his four conservative colleagues in voting to reverse the law.

“My guess is that they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight,” Romney chortled the day before the ruling. With egg on his face the morning after, a subdued Romney, standing behind a podium sign promising to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare,” committed to sinking into a political swamp of winless contradictions.

The danger for Romney is in the word “replace,” for there is no way he will persuade even a Republican-dominated Congress to get rid of the obviously popular requirements of the new law, now declared constitutional. While the mandatory aspect—pay for insurance or pay a fine—remains unpopular, not so the programs that expand medical coverage to the uninsured. Three-quarters of those polled by The Associated Press said they wanted Congress, instead of sticking with the status quo, to come up with a new plan if the court threw this one out.

Romney’s devil is now in the details. What exactly in this massive overhaul, much of it widely popular although costly, would he shed? The court already has limited federal pressure on the states to increase assistance to the poor. Bereft of that handy demagogues’ argument, Romney and his fellow critics are left with eviscerating programs that assist the struggling middle class through obviously fairer access to heath care than has been provided previously by the insurance industry.

If Romney now dares to oppose the popular items in the bill, such as requirements for the insurance companies to cover young adult children or people with pre-existing medical conditions, he is finished as a candidate before he begins. And if it is the universal coverage mandate that he would eliminate, he is left with the government stepping in to fund the good stuff, and that is what the Republican right derides as socialized medicine.

This is the petard that now hoists Romney.

© 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Funnies: “ RomneyBamaCare “ Passes Edition

   So the Supreme Court upheld the ACA for the most part, which pissed-off a lot of Teabaggers and conservatives everywhere. If you wish to read some of their comments, then I would suggest that you go to or for some very amusing content. Some of the comments show one just how stupid and ignorant the right-wing truly is. I didn’t link to those sites because I do not wish to be responsible for the psychiatric treatment that you will need after visiting them.




David Letterman's "Top Ten Things You May Not Know About The United States Supreme Court"
10. For summer promotional campaign, it's been renamed the Taco Bell Big Beef Supreme Court
9. Public courtroom seating has a two-drink minimum
8. Under rare circumstances, decision is handed down based on applause
7. Court mascot "Supreme Kurt" is available for parties and corporate events
6. Prior to oral arguments, the justices spend 15 minutes discussing "Hot Topics"
5. Court basement features an indoor gavel range
4. Thanks to grass-roots Internet campaign, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will host "Saturday Night Live"
3. For the last two weeks, Chief Justice John Roberts has been out on jury duty
2. Fridays are "robe optional"
1. Antonin Scalia: Vampire Hunter

Jimmy Fallon:  "A new study found that a record number of America's wealthiest citizens are renouncing their citizenship to avoid high taxes. Which explains why today Donald Trump claimed HE was born in Kenya."

"Yesterday in New Hampshire, President Obama said Americans need someone who will wake up every single day and fight for their jobs. Then he said, 'But until we find that guy, I'm still your best choice.'"

Conan O'Brien: "Today Joe Biden said the only place Mitt Romney has created jobs is in China. This has sparked an angry rebuttal from Romney spokesperson Wen Cheng-Bao."

"Obama called Romney a pioneer of outsourcing jobs. A spokesperson for Romney said, 'I dare him to come to India and say that to my face.'"

Jay Leno: "Analysts, according to The Wall Street Journal, say the weak economy is causing less energy use, resulting in falling oil prices. So basically the worse the economy is, the lower the price of oil. Do you know what that means? If Obama gets re-elected, gas could be free."

"A group of gay Republicans called GOProud has endorsed Mitt Romney. There was some confusion. When they heard Romney had a reputation for going either way, they didn't know that meant flip-flopping."

"The Chicago police are sponsoring a gun buy-back program. Anyone who returns a gun, no questions asked, gets a $100 gift certificate in return. To which attorney general Eric Holder said, 'Why didn't I think of that?'"

Some Employers and Republicans Want to Lower the Minimum Wage -- Here's Why They're Completely Out of Touch

Published on Friday, June 22, 2012 by Common Dreams

By Elizabeth Parisian

If you've been on Facebook this week, you've probably seen the Chris Rock quote making the rounds:

"I used to work at McDonald's making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss is trying to say? It's like, 'Hey, [if] I could pay you less, I would, but it's against the law.'"

Now it seems that some minimum wage employers are trying to pay their workers less -- and to even make it legal to do so. It seems unfathomable that anyone would consider the minimum wage -- which, for a full-time worker, provides a yearly salary that is thousands of dollars below the poverty line for a family of three or four -- to be too high. But in Arizona, Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would allow employers to pay teenagers working part-time a full three dollars per hour less than the state minimum wage, which works out to a mere $4.65 per hour.

And the Florida legislature is considering lowering the state minimum wage for tipped employees by more than half, from the current $4.65 per hour to the federal minimum of $2.13. OSI Partners, the company that owns Outback Steakhouse, supports the legislation. Given the current political discourse on how best to create good jobs and help struggling families, OSI's involvement is especially noteworthy since the firm is owned by Bain Capital, the company that Mitt Romney co-founded and in which the Republican presidential nominee still has tens of millions invested.

The federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, has been raised only three times over the last 30 years. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the last few decades, it would now be $10.55 per hour -- arguably still not enough to support a family, but a marked improvement from where it is presently.

Luckily, despite the fact that some Republicans think the minimum wage is still too high for some workers, there are many, many folks who support a substantial wage increase. One of these folks is Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who in March introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 over two and a half years and peg it to inflation -- a move supported by over two-thirds of voters. Hundreds of economists, including several Nobel Prize winners, have spoken out in favor of raising the minimum wage, along with large employers like Costco and business organizations like the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce that recognize that higher wages are good for workers, employers, and the economy.

Unfortunately, this overwhelming support for raising the minimum wage does not extend to most of corporate America, which has a tendency to prize the short-term bottom line above all other considerations, including the ability of its workers to make ends meet. The anti-minimum wage gang will "twist itself into knots rationalizing a corporate-backed agenda," John Stoehr observes in The American Prospect. And there is no question that those opposed to raising the minimum wage will prey upon our fears of joblessness and the bad economy to try to convince us that the minimum wage needs to stay where it is.

Corporate lobbyists are busy spreading distortions and outright lies in their attempt to hold back minimum wage increases supported by the vast majority of working people. Here are some of the biggest falsehoods that are going around, along with facts you can use to discredit them (with many thanks to for providing much of this information):

Myth No. 1: Raising the minimum wage will kill jobs

Facts: Rigorous research carried out over the last two decades has demonstrated that raising the minimum wage does not result in job loss -- in fact, it's been shown to result in increased employment. For example,
an analysis of Illinois, which raised its minimum wage in 2004 and 2006, showed that the state experienced more job growth than surrounding states where wages remained at the federal minimum.

And contrary to the claims of corporate America, large companies can easily afford to pay workers an increased wage without suffering losses. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), corporate profits now represent the largest share of GDP -- and wages and salaries represent the lowest share -- in over half a century.

Myth No. 2: Raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses

Facts: According to NELP, two-thirds of all minimum wage employees work in companies with at least 100 workers, and half of all minimum wage workers work in companies with over 500 workers. For those small businesses that do employ minimum wage workers, there is good news: a 2006 study found that small businesses experienced higher rates of growth in states where the minimum wage was higher than the federal minimum.

Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, explains it this way:

"The business owners with whom I talk every day believe that, far from hurting their businesses, raising the minimum wage in fact helps small businesses, women workers and the broader economy. Raising the minimum wage reinforces their business strategies, rather than undermining them."

Myth No. 3: We can't afford to raise the minimum wage during a recession

Facts: Raising the minimum wage would provide the stimulus we need to speed economic recovery. A 2011 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that every dollar increase for a minimum wage worker results in $2,800 in new consumer spending by his or her household over the following year. Put simply, low wage workers have a desperate need for any increased income and spend it quickly, often on the local level, which provides a huge boost to the economy--as even conservative economists have documented.

There is no doubt that the current federal minimum wage is too low, and that raising it would provide a much needed boost not only to low-wage workers but also to the sluggish economy. Now that election season is in full swing, it's important to find out where candidates seeking our votes stand on the issue of raising the minimum wage -- and to let them know where we, along with the majority of Americans, stand on the issue as well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare ( ACA ) Upheld

  The United States Supreme Court has upheld ALL of the ACA, which has sent House Rep. Boehner into a closet with boxes of tissues for the many tears that will flow.

  It’s also nice to see many other republicans in mourning over some healthcare reform being deemed “ legal.” Of course, now the House leadership and Senate Minority Leader Bitch Mitch McConnell and sidekicks will come up with other ways of obstruction to keep the economy from getting better, as well as keeping their owners ( Koch Brothers ) and their “ boy “ Mitt Romney from diving even deeper in the polling.

Wasteful Government Spending: JP Morgan Chase’s $14 Billion Yearly Subsidy…

    … which as you can guess is a subsidy provided to them by you, the United States taxpayer.

   From Think Progress:

Study: Mega Bank JP Morgan Chase Receives A $14 Billion Annual Subsidy From The U.S. Government

By Pat Garofalo on Jun 19, 2012

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testified on Capitol Hill today for the second time in two weeks, appearing before the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the trading debacle that has cost his bank billions of dollars. Before the hearing, Bloomberg News pointed to a new study showing that JP Morgan Chase receives a $14 billion annual subsidy from the U.S. government. This subsidy is due to JP Morgan’s reputation as a too-big-to-fail bank, which lets it borrow money at lower rates than other, less systemically risky banks:

JPMorgan receives a government subsidy worth about $14 billion a year, according to research published by the International Monetary Fund and our own analysis of bank balance sheets. The money helps the bank pay big salaries and bonuses. [...]

In a recent paper, two economists — Kenichi Ueda of the IMF and Beatrice Weder Di Mauro of the University of Mainz — estimated that as of 2009 the expectation of government support was shaving about 0.8 percentage point off large banks’ borrowing costs. That’s up from 0.6 percentage point in 2007, before the financial crisis prompted a global round of bank bailouts.

To estimate the dollar value of the subsidy in the U.S., we multiplied it by the debt and deposits of 18 of the country’s largest banks, including JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. The result: about $76 billion a year. The number is roughly equivalent to the banks’ total profits over the past 12 months, or more than the federal government spends every year on education.

JPMorgan’s share of the subsidy is $14 billion a year, or about 77 percent of its net income for the past four quarters. In other words, U.S. taxpayers helped foot the bill for the multibillion-dollar trading loss that is the focus of today’s hearing.

At the last hearing, the Senate all but groveled at Dimon’s feet, and today’s questioning was not much better. But Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) did ask Dimon about the Bloomberg study. Dimon denied that his bank receives a funding advantage due to its size, saying that the bank is “probably pretty much like everybody else.”

As Bloomberg’s editors put it, “when Dimon pushes back against [regulations like] capital requirements or the Volcker rule, it’s worth remembering that he’s pushing for a form of corporate welfare that, left unchecked, could lead to a crisis too big for the government to contain.” Yet that’s precisely what he did today.

© 2005-2011 Center for American Progress Action Fund

America In Decline    

Published on Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Reuters

America's Long Slope Down    by David Cay Johnston

A broad swath of official economic data shows that America and its people are in much worse shape than when we paid higher taxes, higher interest rates and made more of the manufactured goods we use.

The numbers since the turn of the millennium point to even worse times ahead if we stay the course. Let’s look at the official numbers in today’s dollars and then what can be done to change course.

First, incomes and jobs since 2000 measured per American:

Internal Revenue Service data show that average adjusted gross income fell $2,699 through 2010 or 9 percent, compared to 2000. That’s the equivalent of making it through Thanksgiving weekend and then having no income for the rest of the year.

Had average incomes just stayed at the level in 2000, Americans through 2009 would have earned $3.5 trillion more income, the equivalent of $26,000 per taxpayer over a decade. Preliminary 2010 data show a partial rebound, reducing the shortfall by a fifth to $2.8 trillion or $21,000 per taxpayer.

Wages per capita in 2010 were 4.3 percent less than in 2000, effectively reducing to 50 weeks the pay for 52 weeks of work. The median wage in 2010 fell back to the level of 1999, with half of workers grossing less than $507 a week, half more, Social Security tax data show. The bottom third, 50 million workers, averaged just $116 a week in 2010.

Social Security and Census data show that the number of people with any work increased just 1.5 percent from 2000 to 2010 while population grew 6.4 times faster. That’s why millions of people cannot find work no matter how hard they try.

In May, nearly 23 million workers, 14.8 percent, were jobless or underemployed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. At, a website dedicated to exposing and analyzing flaws in government economic data, economist John Williams also counts people who have given up hope of finding work. His figure for May brings the total to almost 30 million people, one in five.


An economy with many millions more workers than jobs puts downward pressure on wages, especially for those without highly developed skills.

Now let’s look at debt per American since 2000 using Federal Reserve data:


Mortgage debt grew 51 percent through 2010, even though incomes and wages fell, which should result in steady or lower housing prices, not higher prices.

(In 2011, as banks foreclosed on more homes, mortgage debt per capita declined, but was still 42 percent greater than in 2000.)

Consumer debt was virtually unchanged, at nearly $8,300 in 2010, helping explain weak sales of automobiles, furniture and appliances.

how about trade? Exporting more than we import creates jobs and riches.

From 2000, the year before China joined the World Trade Organization, to 2011 imports from China grew 62 percent faster than exports to China, Census data show. The annual trade deficit soared to $302 billion from $112 billion.

U.S. exports to China in 2011 ($106 billion) were smaller than US imports from China back in 2000 ($133 billion), showing the lopsided nature of trade with China, where workers lack rights, safety rules are minimal and pollution rampant.

Some 56,000 American factories have closed since 2000, as jobs and the knowledge that goes with those jobs moved to China.

Trade with China has destroyed every 55th job in America, nearly 2.8 million positions, analysis of government data by Robert E. Scott of the Economic Policy Institute shows. That equals wiping out every job in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. Nearly two million of those jobs were in manufacturing, Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. International Trade Commission data show.


And what of taxes? The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were promoted as keys to prosperity. Now Mitt Romney, virtually all Republicans and a fair number of Democrats say more tax cuts will make us prosper. President Barack Obama wants to cut corporate tax rates by a third.

Again, measured per capita, the IRS data show a pattern of shrinking numbers, with modest upticks in 2010.

Individual income taxes in 2010 averaged $2,995, down $1,654 or almost 36 percent from 2000. Use 2001 as the base year — because it was both a recession year and the first year of the temporary George W. Bush tax cuts — and in 2010 per capita income tax revenues were down one third.

In 2011, as the economy improved slightly, income tax revenues rose, but were still 26 percent smaller than in 2000.

The bottom line: less income, hardly any more jobs, sharply increased mortgage debt and Washington ledgers awash in red ink as voters are asked to endorse even more tax cuts.

How many years of evidence does it take to establish that a policy worked or failed?

Will continuing our current tax, credit and trade policies produce favorable results in the future? Will they produce higher incomes?

My reading of this and tons more data is that the Bush tax cuts utterly failed, the Fed’s artificially low-interest rate policies under presidents Bush and Obama do far more damage than good (especially to savers), and that the United States is harmed both by the imbalance in the trade relationship with China and scores of trade agreements with South Korea and other low-wage countries that are deeply flawed at best.

We need to recognize that the tax cutters were snake oil salesmen, the Federal Reserve an enabler of damaging debts and that bilateral trade deals are written of, by and for global financiers, not workers.

To paraphrase the Huey Lewis song, we need a new policy.

© 2012 Reuters

David Cay Johnston is the author of Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill).


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obamacare: 10 Things You Will Miss If It’s Gutted

   So the Supreme Court decided to put off on their ruling over the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare ) until Thursday, June 28th, 2012, at which time many believe that Obama’s signature piece of legislation will be disabled.

    Many of you may think that gutting this healthcare bill is a good idea, but, have you thought about what effect that this may/will have on you and your pocketbook?

   The following is a list of 10 things that you should think about before you approve of the possible Supreme Court ruling against the ACA, brought to you by

  By Igor Volsky on Jun 24, 2012

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act this week and could potentially strike down part or the whole of ‘Obamacare.’ Below are 10 things you will miss about the law if the justices invalidate it:

1) Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will find coverage under the law. Middle-class families who buy health care coverage through the exchanges will be eligible for refundable and advanceable premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to ensure that the coverage they have is affordable.

2) The ability of businesses and individuals to purchase comprehensive coverage from a regulated marketplace. The law creates new marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to compare and purchase comprehensive coverage. Insurers will have to meet quality measures to ensure that Americans can access comprehensive coverage when they need it.

3) Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer deny insurance to families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurers are also prohibited from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and rescinding insurers except in cases of fraud. Insurers are already prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.

4) Tax credits for small businesses that offer insurance. Small employers that purchase health insurance for employees are already receiving tax credits to encourage them to continue providing coverage.

5) Assistance for businesses that provide health benefits to early retirees.The law created a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing health insurance coverage to retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare, reimbursing employers or insurers for 80% of retiree claims. The program has offered at least $4.73 billion in reinsurance payments to more than 2,800 employers and other sponsors of retiree plans, with an average cumulative reimbursement per plan sponsor of approximately $189,700.

6) Affordable health care for lower-income Americans. Obamacare extends Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line, guaranteeing that the nation’ most vulnerable population has access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.

7) Investments in women’s health. Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging women substantially more than men and requires insurers to offer preventive services — including contraception — at no additional cost.

8) Young adults’ ability to stay on their parents’ health care plans. More than 3.1 million young people have already benefited from dependent coverage, which allows children up to age 26 to remain insured on their parents’ plans.

9) Discounts for seniors on brand-name drugs. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to provide a 50% discount on prescriptions filled in the Medicare Part D coverage gap. Seniors have already saved $3.5 billion on prescription drug costs thanks to the Affordable Care Act provision.

10) Temporary coverage for the sickest Americans. The law established temporary national high-risk pools that are providing health coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions who cannot find insurance on the individual market. In 2014, they will be able to enroll in insurance through the exchanges. 67,482 individuals have already benefited from the program.

© 2005-2011 Center for American Progress Action Fund

Mitt Romney’s “ businessman “ Lie

By David Waldman

Back in January, we discussed a little bit Mitt Romney's life as a locust capitalist.

And on Wednesday, we discussed an interesting chart that told the story of how the workers who actually performed the labor behind a remarkable and history-making increase in productivity were left behind when it came to sharing the fruits of that increase.

So I've been thinking about revisiting the topic of just how Romney managed to keep making so much money from companies that, in many cases, ended up failing.

From Florida's Broward Palm Beach New Times, helpfully titled, "Mitt Romney and Bain Capital Represent Everything You Hate About Capitalism."

So yeah, it's largely like I said it was in January. Romney borrows money to buy a majority stake in a company, takes over its board of directors, and uses that position to vote Bain a fat management contract, and take out the biggest loans possible from the company's bank. That money goes to pay back the people who put up the money for the purchase, as well as giant bonuses for Bain managers. But now the company has a huge debt to the bank (the interest on which is, of course, tax deductible), which the Bain managers sorta-kinda attempt to pay back by cutting payroll, benefits, investments in equipment, etc. Basically anything they can find to transfer the pain to anyone other than themselves.

Thanks, Secretary Reich! Beautiful job!

And now you know something about the mechanisms that produce economic insanity like this:

From 1978-2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725% while worker compensation grew 5.7%. #Budget #ows
@SenSanders via web

So, yeah. What that means is that not only is Romney not a "job creator," he's not a even really a "businessman," either. He's a financier, but he knows that's always been kind of a dirty word. So it's "businessman," or "entrepreneur," or... "job creator."

To a financier like Romney, what a business does, and who does it, doesn't matter. He's in it for the money. Specifically, taking money from other people.

And as the video now makes clear, the "business" theory of "businessman" Romney is first and foremost that all businesses are the same. You'll notice that Secretary Reich never even has to mention what's being made. What a company makes is of no concern to Romney, except insofar as the infrastructure built up by the original owners around the process of making it can now be used as collateral for loans Romney never really needs to worry about repaying. The company, to Romney, is nothing more than a vessel full of money to be moved and extracted. That it might make something or provide some service—and employ thousands of people who make a living from doing it—is merely incidental.

A real "businessman," as we're traditionally meant to understand it, wants to make a good product for it own sake, and take profit from other people's appreciation for its quality and value. But that's not and never has been what Romney's "business" has been.

The business experience Romney has is finding ways to make the work of others pay for him. That's not the kind of experience in building for a nation and a people that we're looking for in a president. And it puts a frightening new spin on the old Republican saw about running a government like a business. Running a government like a business, to Romney, would mean finding ways to make the work Americans do worth more money to its president. And that has nothing at all to do with the concept of America that most people have. (It used to be that I would have felt more confident saying nobody thought of America that way, but things have changed.)

What we need is a president who can find ways to make our government worth more to the Americans it serves. That's the social contract. Can Obama do that? Can any president do it? I don't know. But I know I'd rather elect someone who's not ideologically opposed to trying.

But forget running government like a business. Romney doesn't even really know how to run a business like a business. He knows how to run a business like an investment, but that's a very different thing. Anyone who's ever worked for a company that was doing fine, if not exactly going gangbusters, but went sour once bought out by venture capital can tell you the difference in how they run. It's an all too familiar story these days. It's familiar because it happens a lot, and it happens a lot because it's worth a lot of money.

Not only did Romney run businesses only as investments, they were short term ones. He didn't actually have to try to extract value from profit, because buying a majority stake in the company and putting his people on the board of directors meant he could extract his profit right away, from the company's credit. Profits weren't necessary.

And when there was no more credit to be exploited, Romney extracted value from the company's assets. Either from the workforce, whose payroll and benefits he cut, or from deferring equipment upgrades, closing plants, etc. Profit-making for the companies never really had to be a concern. But if you could show one on paper by imposing what amounted to company-wide austerity programs for the workers (even as Bain executives took huge, credit-financed bonuses), then the option of flipping the company rather than just bleeding it dry remained viable. Which is always nice.

What it comes down to is that Romney didn't really run businesses. Running a lemonade stand is running a business. Buying one and telling them to eliminate the lemons and send you a check for the difference is not. He wasn't running businesses so much as taxing them privately, by forcing those he bought to pay Bain "management fees" for the privilege of being told how to do their jobs by MBAs who did not, themselves, have any idea how to do it. And the fees were payable even if they were being run into the ground. But, no, he didn't really run them. That's just a part of the image of the "businessman" label he's hoping to cash in on.

Now, it's not that Romney never invested with an eye toward growth. He sometimes did. Especially in the beginning, with the start-ups his campaign likes to talk about, like Staples and the Sports Authority. That's something Romney and Bain did when he could afford no more than a minority stake in a company. If he wasn't in complete control of how it spent its money, he had to take an interest in seeing a company become profitable, since that was the controlling factor in how much money he made from his minority investment.

But when Romney could afford a majority stake, the game became much easier to win no matter what happened. All he had to do was eat the muscle and sell the bones.

Or another way of putting it, to finally get around to justifying the title of this post, is that Romney was a businessman like the Hamburglar is a rancher. All the guy does is steal the burgers, gobble them up, and throw the wrappers on the ground. But here he is campaigning for president on the notion that his gluttony means he has experience in the beef business. Here he's been scarfing down burgers as fast as he can, and you're meant to think he's been painstakingly raising prize cattle.

Not only is it misleading to say he was a "job creator," he actually did everything he could to make it impossible to create any. Remember, Romney extracted his profit by draining the credit lines of the companies he bought. Credit lines are supposed to be how a company accesses the capital it needs to expand and create jobs, and here he was draining and pocketing them! The Romney/Bain model was pretty much what people used to call "eating the seed corn." Only now, it's what our our MBA-indoctrinated business class celebrates as "maximizing shareholder value." The profit comes from eliminating jobs, not creating them.

Romney, in other words, is hard-wired to do the exact opposite of what the country actually needs. In fact, he's ideologically opposed to it, because in his mind, the benefits of a booming economy belong to the investors in that economy, and he means the cash investors. If all you're doing is earning a paycheck, you're nothing but a drag on Mitt Romney's version of the economy. There's nothing he can do for you, nor is there anything he thinks he should do for you. He's incapable of helping people who don't bring cash to the table as investors. Sweat equity is not in his vocabulary. Romney simply doesn't believe in non-cash stakeholders. He rejects the concept. So if your investment in building something is actually, you know, building it, there are no future dividends for you. It's a cash transaction. You get the day labor rate, and that's that. All future benefits belong to the people who put in cash.

Is that a fair thing to do? Well, like the question of whether to call Romney a "financier" or a "locust capitalist, the answer lies mostly in which end of the pointy stick you were on. If you were on the dangerous end of the stick, Romney's a pirate. If he was wielding the stick for you, perhaps he's something more akin to a privateer. Remember those guys? They were "legalized" pirates, chartered by the state to take whatever prizes it could, so long as they were from "the enemy," whomever that might have been at the time. Of course, if the enemy caught you, your commission as a privateer was of no interest to them. They hanged you as a pirate, because that's what you were. Never mind what your fancy paper said. Of course you'd claim it was "legal" for you to steal for (and make payments to) the private financiers who paid to outfit your ship. Your government said so, and it was the financiers' money backing the government. And in many cases, they were the government. But the people you robbed couldn't care less why you did it. And if you were in their hands, the legal niceties didn't matter. They hadn't bought into that deal, so privateers hanged, and any justice due for hanging a privateer had to be extracted in open warfare.

Things have settled down a bit since those days, of course. Although Tony Soprano's practice of raiding a business's credit line isn't significantly different from Mitt Romney's, the boardroom bust out enjoys certain legal protections. Why? Well, the people who provide the bulk of the money it costs to run for and hold elective office know that without the latitude to exercise their "business judgment," even (and perhaps especially) when it's so poor that it ends up bankrupting the company and costing thousands of jobs while making them personally rich, they can't get as rich as they are. Which is to say, rich enough to continue to provide the bulk of the money it costs to run for and hold elective office. So in exchange for providing that money, they ask for and receive the state's commission as privateers, and leverage the state's monopoly on the legal threat of the use of force to run the bust out game, with sheriffs' deputies and U.S. marshals in place of the leg breakers.

As a "private citizen" (a heavily subsidized private citizen, but we allow him the label nonetheless), Romney operated as a privateer. His machinations were, at some level, not really your problem, though you were paying for them. You just didn't notice, and kicking up a fuss would upend too much of the system we'd just plain gotten used to, and which after all, did comfortably make sure that very day the sun rose, there were still 31 flavors available down at the Baskin-Robbins, my favorite consumerist metaphor for all being right with the world.

America's a nice place, and there's a certain amount of bullshit most of us are willing to swallow to keep it that way. The question underlying the Romney candidacy, though, is whether we're willing to take double rations so he can move up to emperor. Oh, and maybe just give his kids a go at running the same game in the meantime.

Things are fucked up and bullshit as it is. Let's not make things any worse.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mitt Romney Is A Pathological Liar, But You Won’t Hear It From The Media

    If the mainstream media were as Liberal leaning as the Communist Republican Party has always suggested, then the low- information voter would be very aware that pretty much every time Mitt Romney opens his mouth, he spews forth nothing but lies. Romney is not only a pathological liar, but he is also massively factually challenged.

   From News Corpse for Media Watch  on Fri Jun 22, 2012

Steve Benen, writing for the Maddow Blog, has compiled a list of 30 flagrant lies told by Mitt Romney this week alone. It's an eye-opening collection of falsehoods so egregious that it's mind-boggling that he has been permitted to get away with it. All Al Gore had to do was be misquoted about his participation in promoting the Internet and his name became synonymous with "stretching" the truth. But Romney seems to have no limit for deliberate deception and he is still taken seriously by the press who should be holding him accountable.

Here are just the first 10 items on Benen's list:

  1. In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Romney claimed it's fiscally responsible to eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act: "It saves $100 billion a year to get rid of it."

    That's the opposite of the truth. According to the CBO and other nonpartisan budget estimates, killing the law would make the deficit go up, not down, and would cost, not save, the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years.

  2. In the same interview, Romney said, "I think a lot of people forgetting is there is only one president in history that's cut Medicare by $500 billion and that is President Obama."

    Romney says this a lot. He's not telling the truth.

  3. Romney also said, "I see people holding up signs, 'Don't touch my Medicare.' It's like, hey, I'm not touching your Medicare."

    Romney endorsed Paul Ryan's House Republican Budget plan, which ends the Medicare program and replaces it with a private voucher scheme.

  4. In the same interview, Romney said President Obama has "never had the experience of working in the private sector."

    Actually, that's not true. Obama worked at a private-sector law firm before entering public service.

  5. Romney also told Hannity Obama went on "an apology tour" in his first year.

    As Romney surely knows by now, he's lying.

  6. Romney, trying to talk about foreign policy, said Syria is Iran's "route to the sea."

    Iran doesn't share a border with Syria, and Iran already borders two bodies of water.

  7. At a campaign event in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney claimed, "Bill Clinton and so many other mainstream Democrats are revolting against the backward direction President Obama is taking his party and our country."

    In reality, Bill Clinton supports the president's re-election and recently said a Romney presidency would be "calamitous for our country and the world."

  8. At an event in Cornwall, Pennsylvania, shared an anecdote about a local optometrist who was forced to fill out a "33-page" change-of-address form -- several times -- at the post office.

    There is no such change-of-address form.

  9. At the same event, Romney said Obama is "taking away" scholarships and charter schools for "kids in Washington, D.C."

    This has become a line in Romney's stump speech, but it isn't in any way true.

  10. Romney also claimed, "This president has put together almost as much public debt as all the prior presidents combined."

    That's a lie.

There are 20 more lies like this in the past week, and Benen has chronicled 22 weeks of further fabrications. This is not the typical behavior of a politician, who can be expected to "interpret" information in self-serving ways, or to waver from veracity from time to time. This is evidence of a clinical psychosis. Romney has been rated as untruthful 54 times by PolitiFact, and 13 of those were “Pants-on-Fire” lies. Is it just me, or shouldn't this be newsworthy?     Ninja