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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reach $544B Worldwide

http://domesticfuel.com/2013/12/09/fossil-fuel-subsidies-reach-544b/


According to the World Energy Outlook fossil fuel consumption subsidies have reached $544 billion in 2012, up from $523 billion in 2011. This news has caused the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) to criticize leaders of the most developed nations for failing to reduce fossil fuel subsidies despite their commitment to eliminate them four years ago.

This weekend marked the end of this year’s United Climate Change Conference and Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson said “Another year has passed without any progress being made in eliminating these wasteful crude oil subsidies. These market distorting subsidies hurt developing economies and slow the development of alternative fuels, like biofuels.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 11.22.41 AMIn 2009, at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, the world’s most developed countries committed to eliminating unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies. Back in 2009, fossil fuel subsidies had reached $300 billion, 45 percent less than where they are today.

This year’s figure of $544 billion in fossil fuel consumption subsidies shows that efforts to reduce them are not working says Baker. Even more egregious is the fact that this number does not include the production subsidies governments provide directly to crude oil companies, which is widely accepted to be in excess of $100 billion he adds.
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The government is the only reason U.S. inequality is so high (it's the tax code) -Dylan Mathews WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/05/the-government-is-the-only-reason-u-s-inequality-is-so-high/




While the rhetoric in President Obama's big inequality speech Wednesday was characteristically soaring, the policy proposals were largely rehashes of past administration initiatives. What's more, a surprising number of them had little to do with tax or transfer programs. Things like increasing exports, reducing certain regulations, boosting spending on scientific research and other investments, and raising the minimum wage are intended to reduce inequality before taxes or transfer programs like Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit come into the picture.

That's a totally valid way of tackling the problem, and there are plenty of other initiatives, such as patent reform or reducing occupation licensing requirements, that would reduce inequality before taxes and transfers. Dean Baker at the Center for Economic Policy Research has a long list of worthwhile proposals along these lines.

But it's worth noting that you can get U.S. inequality down to the levels seen in extremely egalitarian societies like Sweden by doing nothing but changing tax and transfer policies. Pre-tax/transfer inequality in the U.S., as the above chart by the Luxembourg Income Study’s Janet Gornick shows, is about equal to that of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Finland, Germany, and Britain actually have higher pre-tax/transfer inequality than the U.S. does.[font size="3"] The only reason these countries enjoy such low levels of inequality is that their tax and transfer systems reduce inequality much, much more than the U.S. system does.[/font]

And, interestingly, the way they do that is by using relatively regressive but highly efficient consumption taxes to fund very generous welfare states. That's a marked contrast to the U.S. approach of having relatively progressive income taxes but stingier spending programs.



We do our biggest redistribution of wealth by [font size="3"]Privatizing Profits and Socializing Losses[/font].. in other words, everybody picks up at least part of the tab for businesses losses (and those of gamblers like Hedge fund managers) while they keep the largest portion of their profits! WHAT A COUNTRY!!!



The Truth re Tax Cuts 4 The Rich, Deregulation & Job Creation: a GREAT debunking of Trickle-Down BS

.. this article dispatches the conservartive fairy tale of Trickle Down bullshit as good as any I have seen. It summarizes the various criticisms and provides links to great articles on the biggest con the CONservatives have been so successful selling over the last 30 yrs (thanks in no small part to the Corporate media GOP toadies)

http://bridgeproject.com/?reads_detail&id=48&sort=0

[div style="background: #eeeeff;border: 1px solid #000000;width:100%;" class="excerpt"]
Summary

Despite demanding immediate deficit reduction in a difficult economy, conservatives insist that any increase in tax rates for top income earners will kill jobs. Instead, they argue for lowering tax rates on the wealthiest Americans (while downplaying the deficit impact of such a tax cut) as way to increase hiring. There is no evidence for this argument, however intuitive it may seem. Lower tax rates on the rich are not associated with more hiring or stonger GDP growth, and while conservatives insist that top income tax rates hit small businesses heavily, their ludicrous definition of “small business” renders that statement meaningless. Along with the threat of higher taxes, conservatives insist that federal regulations are holding back job creation and have made loosening the rules a focus of their agenda. However, tax breaks for the wealthy and deregulation do almost nothing to increase consumer demand, which is the true driver of hiring and expansion decisions.

Tax Breaks For The Wealthiest Americans Do Not Create Jobs Or Grow The Economy

Lower Top Marginal Tax Rates Are Not Historically Associated With More Job Creation Or Economic Growth. The following two charts from the Center for American Progress show the average annual growth in GDP and total payroll employment, by top marginal tax rate since 1950:





According to CAP: “These numbers do not mean that higher rates necessarily lead to higher growth. But the central tenet of modern conservative economics is that a lower top marginal tax rate will result in more growth, and these numbers do show conclusively that history has not been kind to that theory.” [Center for American Progress, 6/27/11; Center for American Progress; 6/21/11]

[div style="background:#eeeeff; text-align:left;border: 0px solid #ffffff;" class="excerpt"]
CBO: Reducing Income Taxes Is Less Effective Than Other Policies To Encourage Job Growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office:

"Policies that would have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost in 2012 and 2013 are ones that would reduce the marginal cost to businesses of adding employees or that would be targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income. Such policies include reducing employers’ payroll taxes (especially if limited to firms that increase their payroll), increasing aid to the unemployed, and providing additional refundable tax credits in 2012 for lower- and middle-income households.

Policies that would primarily affect businesses’ cash flow but would have little impact on their marginal incentives to hire or invest would have only small effects. Such policies include reducing business income taxes and reducing tax rates on repatriated foreign earnings."

CBO prepared the following chart showing the projected effect on employment of various policy options:



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they referred to a David Leonhardt article in the NYT without giving a link. Here is the articles link:

Were the Bush Tax Cuts Good for Growth?
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/were-the-bush-tax-cuts-good-for-growth/?_r=0

... Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?

Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7.

The competition for slowest growth is not even close, either. Growth from 2001 to 2007 averaged 2.39 percent a year (and growth from 2001 through the third quarter of 2010 averaged 1.66 percent). The decade with the second-worst showing for growth was 1971 to 1980 — the dreaded 1970s — but it still had 3.21 percent average growth.

The picture does not change if you instead look at five-year periods. Here’s a chart ranking five-year periods over the past 50 years, in descending order of average annual growth:



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[font size="3"]This article provides a lot of good information in one place to use in commenting on web-sites like those of M$M and others where conservative loud-mouths shout their bullshit.

Those who have a web-site (free hosting provided by www.Google.com/sites) or a facebook page (create a new page just for public issue info. - if you use your own home page and paste a link in there it will soon slide down out of sight - hard to find when you need it.) You can also just insert/paste links to articles in a Word file and save it to you hard drive with a name which will enable you to find it later when you want to refer to the articles you have listed in there.[/font]

Jobs: 203,000 added in Nov, Unemployment rate 7% - There will be much gnashing of teeth & rending of

garments in Republican salons today. THe good economic data suggests we may be on our way to digging ourselves out of this Republican Dystopia of a lethargic recovery from the Republican Trickle Down-Deregulation disaster. All the GOP efforts to kill any recovery before it could begin by filibustering virtually every economic stimulus bill and demanding cuts to Government programs as the price for NOT causing a Government shutdown or default on the public debt - while certainly slowing the recovery by at least two years, seems to finally be failing to entirely kill off an economic recovery. Score one for America and one against the GOP - at last!



[font size="3"]
U.S. economy adds 203,000 jobs November; unemployment rate down to 7 percent[/font]


The Labor Department report also showed that the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent — the lowest level in five years. The decline reflected a pickup in hiring rather than a shrinking labor force, which has pushed down the jobless rate in previous months. An estimated 455,000 people joined the job market in November.

~~
~~

“This is just a clean sweep,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group. “It’s a very good report. It’s across the board.”

~~
~~


Strong data from the labor market signal that the private sector is healing despite the head winds from Washington, potentially prompting the Fed to pull back on its stimulus sooner rather than later. Government spending cuts and higher taxes enacted at the beginning of the year depressed gross domestic product growth by as much as 1.5 percentage points, analysts say.

Many economists worried that the federal government shutdown and partisan gridlock over the national debt limit this fall would throw a new wrench into the recovery’s momentum. But data over the past two months showed that businesses continued to hire at a rapid clip, manufacturing activity increased and consumers spent more.
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At Least 1 in 4 Dark Money Dollars in 2012 Had Koch Links - OpenSecrets.org

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2013/12/1-in-4-dark-money-dollars-in-2012-c.html

Political money flowed freely in the world of conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch in 2012.

With most of the annual tax filings for nondisclosing nonprofits now in, it's clear that no other conservative or liberal dark money network matched, in combined size and complexity, the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year.

In 2012 alone, $301 million poured into this system -- $196 million of which was given, in the form of grants, to dark money groups that engaged in federal electioneering. The network includes such well-known groups as Americans for Prosperity, 60 Plus and Americans for Job Security -- copiously funded 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations, none of which are required to disclose their donors to the public. Some of the entities in the web are simply way stations for cash that is doled out to other, more politically active groups in the system.

On the other side of the ledger, political spending reported by this system's members to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) came to $170 million in 2012. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that roughly $86 million of that -- or more than one-fourth of all dark money spending reported in 2012 -- came in the form of grants from other Koch-linked groups.



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The Media's Obamacare "Horror Stories" prove to be mostly BULLSHIT - if anybody would investigate

... I've been wondering if anybody was investigating all this anecdotal evidence of Obamacare disasters inflicted on people who have had insurance in the individual market. Knowing the penchant for Republicans to trot out half-truth reports which the GOP toadies of M$M are only too happy to pass on - WITHOUT INVESTIGATING THE SITUATION FULLY (Fuck "fully" try "at all".
In the past horror stories have been bounced around by the clowns of M$M only later to be shown to be mostly half truths and egregious distrotions (i.e. LIEs). - Of course, the FACTS got virtually ZERO air time from Republican sucking M$M clowns.

Here's some Obamacare horror stories courtesy of GOP toadies of M$M. This article should be referred to in comments all over the internet (including Corporate media sites) to shove the truth in the faces of people who still don't know that M$M gossip mongers don't investigate any of the GOP Propaganda they cheerfully repeat on the air for the suckers to swallow.


http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/11/05/the-medias-obamacare-horror-stories-continue-to/196753
[div style="background: #AAAAFF;" class="excerpt"]
MYTH: ACA Caused Family's Premiums To Double. Hannity's October 11 show also featured Allison and Curt De Nijs, a couple who claimed their existing health care plan was being cancelled and their new health insurance policy would double:

[div style="border: 1px solid #AA6666;" class="excerpt"]
ALLISON DE NIJS: Well, we became self-employed three years ago. And over the course of three years, our insurance has jumped 49 percent. We just got our letter from our insurance carrier that our policy is going to be terminated, and we're going to be transitioned to an ACA-compliant policy because it has to include essential health care benefits.

HANNITY: Right.

ALLISON DE NIJS: And we don't even have insurance for our daughter, who has a pre-existing condition. So we're looking at probably $20,000 in premiums next year.

HANNITY: Up from?

ALLISON DE NIJS: Up from -- well, originally, it started out at about $740 and going up to $1,105 next year.

HANNITY: Wow.

ALLISON DE NIJS: And plus our daughter's going to be about $600 a month.

HANNITY: So you're going to pay 13 -- 19,000 grand a year in health insurance, between you -- just you guys and your daughter, $19,000?

ALLISON DE NIJS: Yes.

HANNITY: Which is how much higher than what it was? Twice as high?

CURT DE NIJS: Twice as high. (Fox News, Hannity, 10/11/13)



REALITY: The Couple Had Not Compared ACA Plan Pricing And Would Likely Save Money On The Exchange. Salon's Stern also contacted Allison De Nijs, who admitted that she had not shopped on the exchange. After researching their situation, Stern found that the couple would save 60% on their health care costs:

[div style="border: 1px solid #AA6666;" class="excerpt"]
I asked Allison if she'd shopped on the exchange, to see what a plan might cost under the new law. She said she hadn't done so because she'd heard the website was not working. Would she try it out when it's up and running? Perhaps, she said. She told me she has long opposed Obamacare, and that the president should have focused on tort reform as a solution to bringing down the price of healthcare.

I tried an experiment and shopped on the exchange for Allison and Kurt. Assuming they don't smoke and have a household income too high to be eligible for subsidies, I found that they would be able to get a plan for around $7,600, which would include coverage for their uninsured daughter. This would be about a 60 percent reduction from what they would have to pay on the pre-Obamacare market. (Salon, 10/18/13)

MYTH: ACA Caused Couple's Premiums To Increase By 50 To 72 Percent. Hannity also hosted Robbie and Tina Robinson, who claimed that their plan was being canceled and similar coverage would increase their policy's cost by 50 to 72 percent:

[div style="border: 1px solid #AA6666;" class="excerpt"]
ROBBIE ROBINSON: Well, Sean, I've been -- I've been self-employed for 20 years and --

[...]

ROBBIE ROBINSON: But for about 20 years now. And recently, we heard from our insurance provider that our current policy will be canceled, no longer available when it ends. And our new policy that we can have won't have the same benefits to it. Anything similar, though, is going to rise between, like, 50 to 72 percent, and it'll have things in it that we have no choice. Like, we'll have to have maternity benefits. And we're not planning on having any more kids.

HANNITY: Yes.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: And we're going to have to have pediatric eye care and other things like that, and we -- our kids are all away from home.

HANNITY: Yes.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: So...

HANNITY: So it's not -- it's not -- it's not a plan that you need.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: Exactly. (Fox News, Hannity, 10/11/13)

REALITY: The Robinsons Could Access Coverage For 63 Percent Less Under ACA Exchanges. Stern contacted the Robinsons and found that they hadn't shopped for coverage on the exchanges, where they could have accessed a policy that would cost 63 percent less than their current plan:

[div style="border: 1px solid #AA6666;" class="excerpt"]
When I spoke to Robbie, he said he and Tina have been paying a little over $800 a month for their plan, about $10,000 a year. And the ACA-compliant policy that will cost 50-75 percent more? They said this information was related to them by their insurance agent.

Had they shopped on the exchange yet, I asked? No, Tina said, nor would they. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. Fair enough, but they should know that I found a plan for them for, at most, $3,700 a year, 63 percent less than their current bill. It might cover things that they don't need, but so does every insurance policy. (Salon, 10/18/13)
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Fox's Kelly Still Asking Long-Answered Benghazi Questions

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/12/03/foxs-kelly-still-asking-long-answered-benghazi/197130

Fox host Megyn Kelly repeated two long-debunked myths regarding the Obama administration's response to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, ignoring congressional testimony, military experts, and even photographic evidence in order to claim "we still don't have any answers" about military aid and President Obama's whereabouts on the night of the attacks.

On the December 3 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, Kelly hosted Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (CA) to discuss this week's closed-door congressional testimony from two CIA contractors present in Benghazi during the attacks on September 11, 2012. During the interview, Nunes claimed that there are still unanswered questions about the administration's response to the attacks, asking, "What were they doing? How come nobody came to help?" Kelly did not push Nunes on his claim, instead parroting it: "Your point is, they didn't dispatch any help, even when it was unclear whether the attack had ended or not. What would be the delay when they didn't know it was over?"

Kelly later asked if the congressional hearings had "been able to shed light ... about what the president was doing at the moment of the attack and on the night in question," to which Nunes said no. She concluded, "So we still don't have any answers."

Kelly's questions have been asked and answered.
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Is this a light at the end of this Republican Dystopia tunnel? Businesses hire 215,000 in November

.. maybe inspite of all the GOP's obstructions of economic stimulus (& jobs boosting) bills and the GOP's threats to shutdown the Government and the GOP's threats to force a default on the USA's debt - scaring businesses to avoid any expansions or additions of full-time permanent employees - creating this Republican Dystopia of a lethargic recovery from the Republican Trickle Down - Deregulation disaster.... perhaps the private sector is starting to drag us out of this Austerity caused Economic Miasma without much help from the public sector (save the heroic efforts of 'Sir' Bernanke, alone against the relentless Austerity Attacks of the 'dark knights' of the GOP).

[font size="+1"]
Firms add 215,000 jobs in Nov., beat estimates
ADP's estimate of private-sector job gains for November was the highest for any month since last November[/font]

Businesses added 215,000 jobs in November, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, fueling hopes that the government's closely watched employment report this week will continue a recent string of solid gains.

The increase was the most in a year and soundly beat economists' consensus forecast that 165,000 private-sector jobs were added. They anticipated that the Labor Department on Friday will report about 180,000 employment gains in its survey, which tallies net additions among businesses as well as federal, state and local governments.

The two jobs reports broadly track similar trends but ADP has had mixed success in forecasting the Labor tally. ADP, for instance, said businesses added 130,000 jobs in October while Labor reported 212,000 and 204,000 gains overall, including government positions.

In November, small businesses added 102,000 jobs; large companies, 65,000; and midsize ones, 48,000, ADP reported.

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to President Obama: Does a drowning man deduct style points from the man diving in to save him?

WHile M$M has had a ball reporting on the troubles on the Healthcare.gov website, there are millions of people who couldn't afford healthcare before who will now be able to afford it. THEY WANT TO SEE THE ACA SUCCEED. They are not the ones engaging in orgies of schadenfreude.


Obamacare website off to a rocky start on crucial deadline day

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/30/21687868-obamacare-website-off-to-a-rocky-start-on-crucial-deadline-day

WASHINGTON -- A crucial weekend for the troubled website that is the backbone of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul appears to be off to a shaky start, as the U.S. government took the HealthCare.gov site offline for an unusually long maintenance period into Saturday morning.

Just hours before the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to get the insurance shopping website working for the "vast majority" of its users by Saturday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was taking down the website for an 11-hour period that would end at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday.

It was unclear whether the extended shutdown of the website - about seven hours longer than on a typical day - represented a major setback to the Obama administration's high-stakes scramble to fix the portal that it hopes eventually will enroll about 7 million uninsured and under-insured Americans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

At the very least, the shutdown suggested that nine weeks after the website's disastrous launch on October 1 prevented most applicants from enrolling in coverage and ignited one of the biggest crises of Obama's administration, U.S. officials are nervous over whether Americans will see enough progress in the website to be satisfied.
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That tougher bankruptcy law that GOPers passed has lead to LESS recoveries for Creditors

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-27/study-finds-2005-code-reform-cut-recoveries-bankruptcy.html

“Creditors have done worse” since the bankruptcy law was amended in 2005 to enhance recoveries, according to a study by University of Maine School of Law Professor Lois R. Lupica.

In her study, funded by the American Bankruptcy Institute, Lupica said the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was intended to prevent “the discharge of debt consumers could afford to pay.”

“The theory that there are can-pay debtors lurking in the shadows was not confirmed by the data,” Lupica said in an interview.

The professor said the 2005 law was designed to compel individual bankrupts to pay more by restricting access to Chapter 7, where creditors typically get nothing. The theory, according to Lupica, was that more consumers would be forced into Chapter 13, where creditors are often paid a portion of their debts through payment programs spread over about five years.
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... what Lupica found was that is that recoveries fell by “statistically significant” amounts under the new law that the GOPers called Bankruptcy REFORM.

BTW the single biggest reason for personal bankruptcies is OVERWHELMING MEDICAL EXPENSES.

.... and how many people who declared bankruptcy for medical expenses HAD MEDICAL INSURANCE?? [font color="red"]75%!![/font]


"Overall, three-quarters of the people declaring bankruptcy due to medical expenses - had health insurance"


Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/05/bankruptcy.medical.bills/


Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148

Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings, and outpacing bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages, according to new data. And even having health insurance doesn't buffer consumers against financial hardship.

The findings are from NerdWallet Health, a division of the price-comparison website. It analyzed data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system and the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes access, quality and efficiency in the health-care system.

"A lot of Americans are struggling with medical bills," said NerdWallet Health Vice President Christina LaMontagne.

NerdWallet estimates that households containing 1.7 million people will file for bankruptcy protection this year.
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That's why Healthcare reform is necessary!!



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