Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sorry to "go on hiatus" once again

I had hoped to be able to blog here at least once a week, but life it just too hectic to keep this up.

Between work, and soccer and the house, there just isn't time to write about events consistently.

I have two new Op-Eds in the works and have not been able to finish either one, so it's also likely a motivational thing as well. I'll have to figure that out.

So for regular readers, thanks for your interest and ideas.

I'll see you here again at some point...

- Universal

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Keeping up with Blogging

As usual, it has been difficult to keep with with blogging along with other needed pursuits, such as work and family and music.

The key things I've been noticing lately are that more people in the media (Joe Scarborough) seem to be at least bringing up the idea of the middle class taking the brunt of the current poverty trend we're all on, while the very rich sail away on their yachts. They don't do what's really needed which is to challenge the idea of tax cuts for the rich along with cutting government to balance the budget. Only Robert Reich and Thom Hartmann write about the logic of raising taxes, especially on the very rich to get the economy going again.

I've also been sensing the corner that history and speeches have painted President Obama into regarding Libya. He talks about liberty, (without helping in Bahrain, where the US 5th Fleet is based) but we shouldn't start bombing another country to try to free people, like we've done to Iraq and Afghanistan, yet Obama has said Quaddafy "has to go," so what now? The Arab states don't like American intervention, but they don't seem to be bellying up to do a no-fly zone on their own, so once again, the US and Europe will go in with guns blazing and make things worse.

The problem with the Arab states in all of this is they are largely authoritarian and don't like these uprisings and so would rather leave the Libyan rebels to die. So we're in a position of having to do something militarily that we'd rather not, because of our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we feel obligated to because to do nothing would draw attention to our hypocritical foreign policy where we support dictators and undermine democracies whenever it suits the cause of "stability" which is what our leaders really value over any silly notions like "freedom" or "democracy."

If I was president, here's what I would do. I would insist that Arab states take the lead militarily (if they are so opposed to US intervention in the region) and I would provide logistical support and would air-drop food and materiel to the Libyan rebels. This would help them continue their fight.

The fundamental mistake the Libyan rebels made was pursuing a violent revolution. Tunisia and Egypt were peaceful and successful revolutions because modern media exposes harsh reprisals and most nations (except China) care enough about their international image that they will refrain under the glare of FaceBook and Twitter (and CNN...) Because they rebels chose violence, we are being drawn in and we should not be.

- Universal

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jack sums it up quite nicely here

I told Jack I would post this without further comment on my part. - U 
Excerpt from earlier Envision Something Better posting: 
"We know from the economy we see before us that lowering taxes does not raise wages or create consumer demand, nor create incentive to invest in jobs by the investor class, or automatically create jobs."
You need to look at whom benefited most from the Bush era lowering of taxes. People earning on the order of $400,000 and up got the lions share of the tax reduction, people with incomes below that level got a token tax reduction at best. The structure of the tax reduction, not the fact that there was a tax reduction can explain the phenomenon you describe. Workers did not receive a significant enough increase in their income as a consequence of the tax reduction to encourage an increase in spending. What did occur, and is documented in at least one government study, is that those in the working class that received a marginally significant tax reduction used what they got to retire debt. Those that received less used what they got to back-fill an already stressed household budget. The wealthy on the other hand had no incentive to create new jobs in the U.S. Return on investment is what drives the choices made by the investor class and at least at the moment, there are investments other than those that create domestic jobs that have a higher return on investment.

A tax plan that is not graduated will neither create jobs nor will it raise the wages of the working class. At best, the working class will be left treading water and at worst, see their spending power further erode. The only sane tax plan is to return to the tax structure that existed at the start of the Reagan era under which the highest income levels were taxed overall at close to fifty percent. At the same time, the working class paid on the order of thirty percent for taxes overall. If there is to be a change in tax structure at all, then it should be a meaningful tax cut for the lower classes which would do more to increase domestic spending than any other tax structure. Increasing taxes on the working class will not have the desired result of increasing their income, at least not for any amount other than one that would keep them treading water.

As evidenced by the recent Rhode Island gubernatorial race, the concept of a graduated income tax seems to have disappeared from the American consciousness. The only tax proposals the leading candidate was willing to put forward were regressive tax structures and they weren't even analyzed as the lesser of two evils but rather the best thing for our economy since sliced bread.