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In 2013, the cost of tax breaks was equal to the entire U.S. discretionary budget . However, the discretionary budget is subject to an annual appropriations process, where Congress debates the proposed spending. Tax breaks, on the other hand, remain on the books until lawmakers modify them. As a result, over a trillion dollars a year in lost revenue – more than 1.6 times the 2013 budget deficit – goes largely unnoticed.
The cost of corporate tax breaks has trended upward in recent decades, totaling nearly $176 billion in fiscal 2013. In other words, the overall U.S. corporate tax bill was $176 billion lower than it would have been without the special deductions, credits, and exclusions written into our tax code. To put that in perspective, that’s about $1,328 per U.S. household. 
Which is bad news, right? Wrong! Look at that other box. That’s the deficit and it’s only 2/3 what the tax breaks are worth. So, when you get all frantic anxious about how the deficit is ruining the economy like FauxNews keeps telling you, just know that we can fix it in a single year by canceling some – not all, just some – of the tax breaks corporations that don’t actually need them have blackmailed the Congress into. See, easy!
Oh, who am I kidding? This will never happen. Case in point, a Republican named David Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Paul Ryan at the House Budget Committee have both submitted Tax Reform bills intended to “reform” the tax code to varying degrees. What? Republicans reforming the tax code to eliminate corporate tax breaks? Has the world turned upside down?
All of them claim to “reform” a discredited cesspool of a tax code, of course, but they have also been submitted in an election year. The GOP, if it knows nothing else (and it doesn’t), knows how to get credit for proposing popular legislation they don’t actually want at a time when there is no chance whatever for it to pass.
It doesn’t matter how easy the fix is if the fix is anathema to the Congress’ owners.
From Digby, who really ought to know better by now.
And once we cut the deficit by doing nothing and everyone has pulled themselves together after this collective panic attack, we can all sit down and have a rational discussion about long term health care costs and fixing that little shortfall in Social Security.
Isn’t that cute? She thinks we can still have one of those. She thinks there’s enough left of our brains after 20 years of Fox that we still remember what rational discussion is.
Of course, it’s possible she’s being sarcastic. I hadn’t thought of that.
As if poor Haiti didn’t have enough trouble, President Obama plans to send George W Bush, the man who took the disaster of Katrina and made it into a top-notch tragedy of epic proportions just to destroy a bastion of GOP political opponents, to Haiti to help straighten things out.
President Obama is asking his two immediate predecessors – George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – to come together to lead the nation’s humanitarian and relief efforts to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that has ravaged the Caribbean island.
The partnership is expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days, after officials have a better handle on the full scope of the devastation. Mr. Obama called Mr. Bush on Wednesday, aides to both men said, and Mr. Bush agreed to do whatever he could to help.
OK, so Clinton will be there, too. The Dynamic Duo? I don’t think so. Clinton knows govt and could help lobby for aid and clear away red tape. All Bush knos how to do in a disaster is stand in front of it and promise money he has no intention of delivering. So “whatever he can do to help” means photo-ops and empty promises?
Also known as “innocence” or “prolonged ignorance”, it is often encased in infantilism.
Shortly after the First World War, John Dos Passos declared in his seminal novel 1919 “the death of innocence in America”. It became a catchphrase, the summation of America’s sudden blasted knowledge of a world – Europe – from which it had always considered itself safely distant. The world had shrunk, Dos Passos was saying, and the USA had finally been drawn into it. We were part of a global reality whether we liked it or not. American men, after all, had died fighting a war that had started in Europe over European beligerences.
Needless to say, Dos Passos’ declaration of the death was premature and greatly exaggerated. It may have been clear to him and to the rest of that post-war generation of writers and political thinkers that the nation could no longer afford the luxury of the isolationism we had practiced with relief since the War of 1812, but as a people it turned out we had no intention of religuishing the useless but comforting ignorance that allowed us to escape responsibility for anything that happened on the world stage.
“Innocence”, either the loss of or the retaining of, became a major theme of the Roaring 20’s. Rather than embrace our new knowledge, we turned our backs on it and…played. From the self-involved if indistinct longing of Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby for easy pickings and no regrets to the open admiration of Capone and the Wild West he made of the Chicago streets as if the consequences could be shrugged off as easily as a viewing of a Hollywood gangster film, we clung to our native “innocence” as if it were armor plating against adulthood. We shrugged off responsibility, if anything, much more casually than our attachment to films and their stars. We shut our eyes and turned up our noses whenever “serious people” warned that Wall Street was having us on and the whole thing was going to come crashing down. When it finally did, we felt hurt, betrayed, as if a parental promise of an endless playtime had been reneged on without reason. We pouted.
Nobody seems to want to hire poor Gonzo and David Addington’s having trouble finding a job, too. In fact the whole Bush Gang seems to have been elevated to Pariah Status. SPI’s David Horsey offers one explanation.
Actually, in true Bushie fashion, the witch doctor is lying. He wasn’t Bush’s science advisor. He was Bush’s economics advisor. This is Bush’s science advisor:
Prosecutor: And so Mr Rummysfelt has admitted that he knocked an elderly woman on the head with a tire iron in order to steal her purse after she cashed her Social Security check.
Judge:(to Defense) So your client is pleading guilty?
Defense: No, Your Honor, my client isn’t pleading at all. My client wants the charges dropped. (more…)