Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Same Old Song and Dance

Our elites are scared.

What more can you say about a blaring headline and a story like this on MSNBC as we head towards the weekend? One authored by "senior producer" John W. Schoen? One that posits that our economy will be crushed if the Bush tax cuts expire?

Well, this is where you have to scream bullshit.

It's a very neat trick to link spending cuts with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. They are not the "Bush-era" tax cuts; they are the tax cuts that gutless Democrats helped pass in the early 2000s and we are still paying a steep price for this neat little piece of fiscal insanity and monetary redistribution. They are what's killing this country. They are what is allowing the One Percenters to continue their scam. And their scam is obvious. In exchange for "creating jobs" they are going to continue to demand their tax cuts.

The problem with this scenario is that they're not creating jobs. They're hoarding their wealth.

I'm all for a rollback on these tax cuts. If they want to replace them with targeted incentives--like actually hiring people or investing in green technology--fine and dandy. But don't link these tax cuts to a "crushing" of America's economy. That's absurd.

Our elites--Bernanke especially--have failed to accomplish much of anything with regards to restarting America's economy. It's time to end the cozy relationship between failed Wall Street bankers and failed ex-Wall Street politicians and go back to a tax rate of 39% for everyone who makes more than $250,000 per year and a 45% tax rate for everyone who makes more than a million dollars a year. And if you have more than a billion dollars in assets, we'll be taking half, please.

It's the least you could pay for living in the one country on Earth where such wealth actually allows you to live without fear of paying a 90% rate or being thrown in prison with the other oligarchs because the Prime Minister thinks you may be too popular for your own good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Petty Theft Gets You a Felony in Florida

I'm sure that they'll throw the book at this man over a dollar's worth of soda, and there will be many who say that he has it coming and what part of illegal don't you understand and that we should jail the bastard for the rest of his miserable life. So long as someone else is getting the business end of the broomstick, right?

Come on. He was drunk, down on his luck, and he went into a fast food joint and got out of hand. Did he hurt anyone? No. Sober him up, jail him for a few days for the drunk and disorderly, and then let's move on. Charge him for with a felony? Over this? That's the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, and of the excess of the law with regard to piling on charges. Does this case even remotely appear to be the even and fair application of the rule of law? No. What a nightmare.

Why not throw him on the rack and whip him without regard for this quaint notion of mercy and compassion?

At some point, it will dawn on the rest of the country that Florida's laws were written by the priests on loan from the Spanish Inquisition.

The Hysteria Will Continue

This is one of those stories that, in our anti-intellectual times, will be seen but not believed. Already there are probably a dozen or more wingnut bloggers, ready to slap this down.

America has a lot of problems, but far down on the list are problems directly related to so-called illegal immigration. The real problem, as far as I can see, centers around the fact that there are no jobs, there is no money, and no one is doing anything about it. So, why wouldn't people go back to where they came from?

Immigrants are not here to steal American jobs; there aren't any jobs anymore. And what few are available, nobody wants. Does anybody want to go pick cucumbers or tomatoes in Alabama this summer? Because there might have been jobs for that (this year, I don't think too many farmers in Alabama are going to plant food that no one will ever pick). Does anybody want to live in a large American city and make menial wages cleaning buildings and preparing food? Jobs a-plenty for that. Does anyone want to work construction when there's nothing worth building right now? Nope.

There are going to be a lot of jobs available when President Romney caves in to the base and builds a massive fence from California to the Gulf of Mexico. This fence will be designed so that the waves of immigrants who aren't coming anymore can watch how it keeps Americans from leaving.

Another Kind of Brain Drain

There is a parallel here in the American experience with foreign students. After 9/11, American policy towards students from abroad and student visas became harsher and more restrictive. This resulted in a redirection of students to places like Canada and Germany. Now, we're seeing the flip side of this.

Students that would have maybe studied in America are finding themselves leaving Germany as soon as their education is completed, due in large part to the complexity and difficulty of complying with restrictive, anti-immigrant laws that discourage keeping intellectual capital in the country. Germany needs foreign workers, desperately, in order to maintain its status as a net exporter of goods. It is not uncommon for one German worker to support as many as five other individuals (extended family, etc.) and it is entirely possible to do that here.

If you are going to bring people to your country and educate them and provide them skills, keeping them should be easy. Instead, these people, who have great value and potential, move on, looking for something palatable. Who can blame them?

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Obama Administration is Actually Enforcing the Law

I want to highlight a few things here.

First, the immigrants who have been rounded up and detained are not all of Hispanic origin. This is clear from the article. And it is clear that the Obama Administration is not in the business of targeting Hispanics for harassment and illegal detention.

Second, this was the "biggest ever" roundup, meaning that the Obama Administration has done a better job of enforcing America's immigration laws than the Bush Administration ever did. Apparently, the Bush Administration couldn't find this many criminals to sweep up and detain. File that under the things that make you go "hmm."

Third, these were violent and dangerous criminals who were taken off the streets of America, meaning that the Obama Administration is doing a better job of keeping Americans safe than the Bush Administration.

Think you'll get that from the wingnuts and the mouth-breathers who talk about birth certificates and a gun treaty with the United Nations?


Now, let's be frank about this. I am not always happy with the way my government goes about enforcing the law and dealing with the law. But this is an election year, and the Obama Administration is clearly doing all that it can to protect Americans.

At least it is doing more than the Bush Administration ever did.