Saturday, February 27, 2016

Democrat versus Republican Economic Records, 1981 to 2016

Over the last 35 years Democrats have been in charge for 15 years Republicans for 20. As Vice President Biden once said, “Past is prologue.” What then does the economic record of the last 35 years tell us about the future? A lot to anyone paying attention.

Reagan inherited stellar monthly job creation from President Carter of 218,000 per month. His economic and tax policies caused the Reagan Recession of 1982, then the 2nd greatest economic implosion in history. By the end of his 1st term Reagan had cut Carter's job creation number by more than half. The deficit exploded under Reagan and the debt tripled. His stacking of the labor relations boards devastated organized labor, a setback they have never recovered from. When he left office his average monthly job creation numbers were a mere 167,000, nearly 51,000 less per month than President Carter.

Reagan turned the reigns over to George H.W. Bush who rightly raised taxes that Reagan had cut to head off the stunning rise in the deficit and rapidly expanding national debt. But the damage done by Trickle Down was so great it only marginally reduced the ballooning debt. Bush I's policies created yet another recession and produced the lowest job creation numbers since Herbert Hoover.

Wild Bill took over, aggressively overturned much of Reagan's tax give-a-ways to the rich. Wild Bill balanced 5 budgets, which is 5 times as many balanced budgets as the prior 5 Republican Presidents combined. Clinton produced the greatest job creation numbers in recorded history, the greatest expansion in the stock market in recorded history, and the greatest increase in wealth in recorded human history. No recessions occurred under Clinton. His economic and tax policies produced the biggest surplus' in recorded history, $287 billion

George W. Bush, losing the popular vote by 597,897, was selected president by a partisan Republican Supreme Court. W re-installed Reagan's tax give-a-ways to the rich and by August of 2001 had taken the greatest surplus in history and driven us into the red. He embarked on the worst foreign policy blunder in history, the war of choice in Iraq, costing an estimated $6 trillion in spending, 4500 American dead and 10's of thousands of severely wounded soldiers. The occupation was perhaps one of the most stunning examples of ineptitude and abject failure in US history. His tax policies produced the greatest deficits in recorded history, $1.4 trillion in fiscal tear 2008-2009, and gave us The Great Recession, the 2nd greatest economic implosion in US history. His job creation numbers were the second lowest in history, 2nd only to Herbert Hoover (R). Bush has the dubious honor of having presided over 2 recessions a club exclusive to Republican presidents.

President Obama inherited an economy in free fall. Record deficits, record job losses and a culture of crony capitalism from his Republican predecessor. Obama saved the auto industry, which touches one of every 10 jobs in the US. He reversed the record job losses producing the greatest turn-a-round in that metric ever recorded. He cut the $1.4 trillion deficit by 2/3's an amount in raw numbers greater than every other president -combined.- His economic policies have produced the greatest increase in raw numbers of the DOW in recorded history, and in percentages second only to Wild Bill. His even hand and unblemished character and integrity have produced one of the most scandal free administrations in history. Compare that to the culture of corruption of George W. Bush or the 137 members of the Reagan administration that were under investigation, indictment and/or convicted of crimes.

And President Obama accomplished all this without a shred of co-operation, and in the bitter face of historic unprecedented Republican obstructionism.

One party has produced an 80 year record of unmatched economic success. The other a record of unmatched FUBAR, failure and foul-up. In 2016 we can choose to bet on the winning, undefeated horse or choose the sway backed, three legged pregnant nag that has never won a race. Choose wisely my friends.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Tax Burden in Ilinois -it's not what those on the right claim-

Governor Bruce Rauner, his shills, "The Illinois Policy Institute," and many on the right end of the political spectrum are weaving a web of deception by highlighting the fact that property taxes in Illinois are the 2nd highest in the nation.  Their attempts to link LOCAL taxes to the totally unrelated 50 year underfunding of Illinois pension funds are misleading at best and when coupled with their frequent claims of taxes in Illinois being out of line with our neighbors are flat out lies.

Close examination of the facts lays the lie to their claims and actually points out that the "flat income tax" structure in Illinois coddles the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor, a fact they'd rather not talk about.

The most relevant, apples to apples comparison, weights the total tax burden by percentage of income. Rated as a percentage of income Illinois ranks 14th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia.
Ranked by percentage of income, Illinois has lower overall taxes than Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kentucky. Regionally only Iowa and Missouri has a lower overall tax burden and only by 1/2 of a % and 1% respectfully. We are not only in line with our regional neighbors, we are below the median.

If this distinction bothers you, ranked by tax dollars, CNN Money ranks Illinois at #29 out of 50 states. No matter what standard you use Illinois is not one of the highest taxed states. It never has been, especially for the rich.

There is one category however, in which Illinois finds itself in shady company. Our "flat income tax" ranks us as among the worst states in exacerbating the historic income inequality gap by codling the wealthy and putting an undo burden on the Middle Class and the Poor.
This dubious trait is shared by many "Red States" and helps explain in part the historic economic underperformance of these states and regions of the country. If you've ever wondered why Lousiana, Mississippi, Tennesee and West Virginia have always been at the bottom of our national economic dog piles, the chart below points out a big reason why.

This convenient omission of this inconvenient  fact by Governor Rauner, "The Illinois Policy Institute," and others of this ilk, cements together their fundamental dishonesty of policy and character. They should be ashamed. But they are not.

A New Low In Illinois Politics

This past week marks a new low in Illinois politics. Two, Governor Rauner linked, character assassination pieces were mass mailed to voters in Illinois' 76th House district, attacking Frank Mautino one of Illinois' most respected, knowledgeable and decent legislators. Following is my take on one of these pieces of tripe from "The Illinois Policy Institute:"
Remember the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” –God-

  Budgets are presented by governors in Illinois, and mandated as such by our constitution. We have paid once in the last 50 years the needed amount of money into the pension funds. In that 50 year period Republicans have controlled the Governor’s Mansion for 34 years, Democrats for 16. If assigning blame makes you feel better then by all means assign Republicans 68% of the blame and Democrats 32%.

Total tax burden in Illinois ranks 14th out of 50 states.  We pay a lower tax burden in Illinois than Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky. Illinois is higher than Iowa by only ½ of 1% and only 1% higher than Missouri. By zeroing in on part of the overall picture of taxes (property taxes) the Rauner linked “Illinois Policy Institute” is telling a half truth, and insulting the intelligence of the Illinois voter.

Pension fund contributions are discretionary under our constitution (an abomination). If the proper amount had been donated to the pension funds then our budgets would have been in the red for 49 of the last 50 years. By listing only the last 10 years the “Illinois Policy Institute” ignores the 36 years of fiscal malfeasance of Republican Governors. Pension Holidays started under Big Jim Thompson (R), were continued by the felon, Grumpy George Ryan (R) and exacerbated by “The Pension Ramp” which was foisted upon us by Jim Edgar (R).

Representative Mautino is fighting for people in his district. Wrong Way Rauner is attempting to destroy working people and their ability to organize. It took the Wisconsin Weasel, Scott Walker, 5 years to plummet to 41% approval. Rauner has death spiraled to 35% in just 7 months. Atta boy Bruce.

Everyone that pays local taxes better wake up and pay attention to what Rauner is doing. He is cutting spending in Springfield by pushing the problems onto local governments. ex. His proposed cutting 1/2 of the local share of state income taxes wouldl cost Bureau County local governmental bodies over $2 million dollars. Last week the governor zeroed out all motor fuel tax disbursements to local governments. While the county of Bureau’s Highway Department has reserves to carry us until sometime next year (good fiscal management requires reserves) some township Road Districts will be in the red by year's end. If you live on a potholed, rutted gravel road, get used to it. If a bridge fails be prepared to have it remain closed for a while. Maybe a good long while.

These political character assassination pieces cost $20,000.00 a mailing. These 2 pieces of tripe were mailed out last week, the week before Representative Mautino undergoes surgery to remove a cancerous growth. Nice touch Governor. What's next, zeroing out funds to bury indigent people? Oh ya, You've already went that route.

To a billionaire plutocrat like Rauner, this utter waste of $40,000.00 is chump change but take hope in the fact when he spent a record $65 million to buy the governor’s mansion in 2014, a year noted for the lowest turnout since 1942, Rauner picked up ZERO seats in the House and Senate. Republicans in Springfield are complaining to their Democratic counterparts that the votes Rauner has forced them to take will cost their party between 3-6 seats in 2016. From their lips to God’s ears.

Governor Rauner has proposed approx. $820 million in cuts. He is short approx. $3.4 BILLION from scratch. In percentages, after 7 month's, Rauner is almost at 19% of where he needs to be. That's an F minus to the 10th power. Rauner should issue a balanced budget as the constitution mandates him. His failure to fulfil this basic duty has created this crisis. He should come up with an additional $3.4 billion in cuts and/or a combination of cuts and new taxes. This is not rocket science.

Addressing the budget requires simple math skills, which I am sure Rauner possesses. But it also requires courage, and a moral compass. Rauner has bluster and certitude down pat. As to actual courage however he falls somewhat short and his ethical needle points far south of true north.

“The Chicago Tribune,” frequently refers to Rauner as a “rookie.” That’s generous. He’s an oaf, a bully, and a sociopath, a typical CEO and a personification of why such blights on humanity are so uniquely unsuited to public office.

On election eve Rauner issued a statement that he had called Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton, talked with them and offered his hope for bipartisan co-operation. These calls and discussions did not happen. The governor-elect then spent the next 3 days walking this series of lies back with another series of lies.

We don’t expect much from our governors here in Illinois, but never in our history has a governor sold his credibility out so fast, for so little gain and so inexplicably. It’s going to be a long, unproductive, 4 years and yet another wasted opportunity.

Prepared by the Selby Township, precinct #1, Committee for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. mike kohr –President-

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Republicans Save the Worst Insult for Last and Call JFK One of Their Own

On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death the right-wing is attempting to claim his legacy for their own. After excoriating President Kennedy as soft on communism and a socialist they now call him a conservative, the cruelest cut of all. One of the biggest lies they tout is President Kennedy's tax cuts. Like all great lies it is wrapped in a kernel of truth. Kennedy did indeed cut taxes, but unlike tax give-a-ways to the rich President Kennedy's tax cuts were skewed heavily in favor of the working man. And that's why they worked and "Trickle Down Economics has never worked. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When Republicans Cite JFK's Tax Cuts They Are Not Telling the Truth, -here it is- Bill O’Reilly repeated a familiar refrain to go after President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy in 2013, relying on President Kennedy’s tax cuts in 1962 to make a misleading historical point. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is urging President Obama to follow President John F. Kennedy’s footsteps and propose lowering taxes for the rich to spur economic growth. […] “[I]n 1962, President Kennedy proposed a big tax cut for the rich in order to stimulate the economy and encourage investment. And the rates have been moderating ever since.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/22/11] This comes up from time to time. It’s a little game the right plays to make it seem as if tax cuts are, or at least were, a bipartisan approach to economic growth. Given the spectacular failures of the Bush-era tax breaks, it’s tempting to think even the most stubborn Republican hack would give up and move on, but apparently that’s not the case. So, let’s set the record straight. When Kennedy cut taxes, he lowered the top marginal tax from 91% to 65%. Many congressional Republicans opposed his plan at the time, citing concerns that the treasury couldn’t afford such a tax break — the Republican Party used to be quite serious about fiscal responsibility, but it’s been a half-century — but Kennedy proceeded anyway because the higher rates, instituted during World War II, were no longer necessary. Also at the time, the country had very little debt — Eisenhower, thankfully, kept taxes high throughout the 1950s — almost no deficit. Fiscal conditions, obviously, are far different now. Keep in mind, unlike contemporary GOP policy, Kennedy’s plan distributed “peace dividends” broadly across the wage spectrum. As the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation explained at the time, the bottom 85% of the population received 59% of the benefits of JFK’s tax cut. The top 2.4% received 17.4% of the tax cut, and the top 0.4% received just 6% of it. Those on the right who see themselves as descendants of the Kennedy policy are either deeply confused or they assume you won’t bother to learn the truth. Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Filibuster" is an old Dutch word for "Free-booter or Pirate"

That is exactly what the unprecedented Republican obstructionalism and massive abuse of that rule is, piracy. It is the theft of the treasure of democracy: civil discourse and deliberation. The Senate should have dealt with these thieves the same way President Obama dealt with pirates, quickly and decisively.

And as abuse of the filibuster grew, effectiveness in the Senate fell to record lows.

Monday, April 1, 2013

President Obama, the greatest deficit reducer of all time

by mike kohr 5/1/2013
Super Deficit Reducer
-President Obama-
You'd never know this fact if all you listened to was the Chicken Little, sky is falling crowd, of Faux Gnus. And if all you listened to was the Nixon aide, turned right-wing propaganda huckster, Roger Ailes's, fact free network, you certainly would not be aware that President Obama's deficit reduction results would be even greater if the obstructionist Congress would allow the President to remove the biggest single contributors to today's yearly deficits, namely the George W. Bush era tax give-a-ways to the rich.   

Republicans ran the economy over a cliff, put in place spending and tax policies that exploded the debt, and then  after America elected Barack Obama as President, engaged in unprecedented obstructionism all the while crying that President Obama is not fixing their catastrophic failures quickly enough.
Most amazing in all this, is that on a political level, the Republican Party and Faux Gnus has succeeded. Most Americans are not aware that President Obama's economic policies have actually shrunk the yearly deficit both in raw numbers, and in relation to GDP, the only true way to examine the size of the national debt from administration to administration.

In the fiscal year 2008-2009, the last year of George W. Bush's budgets, the yearly deficit was $1.4 trillion dollars. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the upcoming 2014 deficit will :  "shrink this year to $845 billion, or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), its smallest size since 2008."

Steve Benen of the Maddow Blog, notes that this is the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II and at the same time resulted in the strongest job creation in 8 years.

For the math impaired Republican Party and their hair on fire friends at Faux Gnus that is a reduction of $555 billion or a reduction of 40%. In raw numbers, -the misleading numbers that Faux Gnus uses- this is more deficit reduction than all other presidents in history combined.
Adversity presents opportunity, and President Obama, like every other Democratic President was presented with the opportunity to fix a failed economy from his Republican predecessor. President Obama has achieved historic accomplishment because in part he was presented with a a failure of epic proportions.
Republican criticism of the President is nothing more than they wishing to be the hero of their own self inflicted disaster.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hey Wisconsin! How's that Walker thingy workin' out for ya?

hate to say we told you so, but....

“Now is the time for leaders in Illinois and across the nation to take on these tough choices,” Walker wrote in an opinion column in the Chicago Tribune last summer after that state’s Legislature voted to raise taxes.
Still, despite new highway signs touting Wisconsin as “Open for Business” the state has continued to sputter. It ranked 42nd in overall job creation for the one-year period ending June 2012, according to the federal Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), a statistically accurate survey of 96 percent of state employers.
-end of clip-


And while jobs are fleeing Wisconsin, Walker is keeping the criminal justice operation in Wisconsin humming:
•Walker's campaign website manager Brian Pierick was sentenced Thursday to community service and a $2,100 fine for the misdemeanor of sexting a 17-year-old boy.

•Walker's deputy chief of staff, Tim Russell, was sentenced in January to two years in prison for stealing from a charity meant for military combat veterans and their families.

•Walker's constituent services coordinator Darlene Wink took a plea deal in which she was given probation for two misdemeanors for planning campaigning fundraisers, including one with Sarah Palin, on the taxpayer dime.

•Walker's Veterans Services Commissioner Kevin Kavanaugh was convicted in December of stealing $51,000 from a charity for military combat veterans. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

•Walker's deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch took a plea deal and was sentenced in November to six months in prison and probation for doing political fundraising at her county job.

•Walker's campaign contributor William Gardner was convicted on two felony counts for the largest campaign finance violation in state history. He laundered more than $43,000 to Walker's campaign. He was fined and sentenced to two years of probation.