Mother Jones:

Watch Rick Scott’s CNN Implosion

By Adam Weinstein

When not looking for national security news, I like to check in on Florida politics, which are a great bellwether for the nation at large. Specifically, I like to track tea party Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who lives just a couple blocks from me, and who’s setting records for unpopularity, just months into his tenure.

Scott’s latest crusade is to argue against any rise in the federal debt ceiling—an issue in which he has no official say, and whose basic economic consequences he seems to grasp not one jot. (This week, Scott said Florida would see no effects from a US default; his opponent in last year’s gubernatorial race, former state CFO Alex Sink, called his statement ”clueless…That’s Florida Budgeting 101.”) The beleaguered guv took his case to CNN today, and managed to get himself yelled at by two anchors. At one point, Ali Velshi gave up. “Why is this difficult for you to understand, governor?”

A failure to articulate basic principles of macroeconomics is all the more disturbing when you consider all of Scott’s corporate work before taking over the Sunshine State. That MBA really paid off.

Fun With Numbers!
Mother Jones:

 
The latest NAEP results in geography were released today. So how did the youth of America do? You know the drill:

Geography Report Card Finds Students Lagging


It’s cause of those damn Great Lakes mountains.

Mother Jones:

The latest NAEP results in geography were released today. So how did the youth of America do? You know the drill:

Geography Report Card Finds Students Lagging

It’s cause of those damn Great Lakes mountains.

"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President."

A section from the anti-gay marriage Family Leader pledge that Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann signed today.

(via Mother Jones)

It took me about 20 minutes to pick my jaw up from off the floor.

Mother Jones asked this on twitter.
They’re also on tumblr, so help them out.

Mother Jones asked this on twitter.

They’re also on tumblr, so help them out.

motherjones:

Sincerely, Kevin Drum.

Come on Mother Jones, you can’t post this article and not include the accompanying picture:

In case you’re interested, the BBC Arnold story and the other one.

Mother Jones:

Chart: Who’s Bearing the Tax Burden?
It’s April 15, tax day in spirit if not in practice this year. The chart above, put together by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, shows that the gap between the share of taxes paid by individuals and the share paid by corporations over time. By now you’ve probably read or heard about the big story in the New York Times about how G.E. paid far below the putative 35 percent corporate tax rate in the United States on its $14.2 billion in global profits last year. Similarly, maybe you checked out David Cay Johnson’s excellent “9 Things the Rich Don’t Want You to Know About Taxes" in Willamette Week from Wednesday, that talked about various ways wealthy individuals pay less in taxes, strangely reminiscent of the tax perks enjoyed by corporations. The point is there’s a chance you’ve noticed that these types of stories are everywhere. Here’s a chart to illustrate one aspect of a debate that continues to provoke impassioned responses on both sides.

Mother Jones:

Chart: Who’s Bearing the Tax Burden?

It’s April 15, tax day in spirit if not in practice this year. The chart above, put together by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, shows that the gap between the share of taxes paid by individuals and the share paid by corporations over time. By now you’ve probably read or heard about the big story in the New York Times about how G.E. paid far below the putative 35 percent corporate tax rate in the United States on its $14.2 billion in global profits last year. Similarly, maybe you checked out David Cay Johnson’s excellent “9 Things the Rich Don’t Want You to Know About Taxes" in Willamette Week from Wednesday, that talked about various ways wealthy individuals pay less in taxes, strangely reminiscent of the tax perks enjoyed by corporations. The point is there’s a chance you’ve noticed that these types of stories are everywhere. Here’s a chart to illustrate one aspect of a debate that continues to provoke impassioned responses on both sides.

The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions

Forbes (FORBES!):

Pulitzer Prize winning tax reporter, David Cay Johnston, has written a brilliant piece for tax.com exposing the truth about who really pays for the pension and benefits for public employees in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans. Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

Via tax.com

How can this be possible?

Simple. The pension plan is the direct result of deferred compensation- money that employees would have been paid as cash salary but choose, instead, to have placed in the state operated pension fund where the money can be professionally invested (at a lower cost of management) for the future.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of deferred compensation from reading about the latest multi-million dollar deal with some professional athlete. As a means of allowing their ball club to have enough money to operate, lowering their own tax obligations and for other benefits, ball players often defer payment of  money they are to be paid to a later date. In the meantime, that money is invested for the ball player’s benefit and then paid over at the time and in the manner agreed to in the contract between the parties.

Does anyone believe that, in the case of the ball player, the deferred money belongs to the club owner rather than the ball player? Is the owner simply providing this money to the athlete as some sort of gift? Of course not. The money is salary to be paid to the ball player, deferred for receipt at a later date.

A review of the state’s collective bargaining agreements – many of which are available for review at the Wisconsin Office of State Employees web site - bears out that it is no different for state employees. The numbers are just lower.

Check out section 13 of the Wisconsin Association of State Prosecutors collective bargaining agreement – “For the duration of this Agreement, the Employer will contribute on behalf of the employee five percent (5%) of the employee’s earnings paid by the State. ”

Johnston goes on to point out that Governor Walker has gotten away with this false narrative because journalists have failed to look closely at how employee pension plans work and have simply accepted the Governor’s word for it. Because of this, those who wish the unions ill have been able to seize on that narrative to score points by running ads and spreading the word that state employees pay next to nothing for their pensions and that it is all a big taxpayer give-away.

If it is true that pension and benefit money is money that already belongs to state workers,  you might ask why state employees would not just take the cash as direct compensation and do their own investing for their retirement through their own individual retirement plans.

Again, simple.

Mr. Johnston continues-

Expecting individuals to be experts at investing their retirement money in defined contribution plans — instead of pooling the money so professional investors can manage the money as is done in defined benefit plans — is not sound economics.  The concept, at its most basic, is buying wholesale instead of retail. Wholesale is cheaper for the buyers. That is, it saves taxpayers money. The Wisconsin State Investment Board manages about $74.5 billion for an all-in cost of $224 million. That is a cost of about 30-cents per $100, which is good but not great. However it is far less than many defined contribution plans, where costs are often $1 or more per $100.”

If the Wisconsin governor and state legislature were to be honest, they would correctly frame this issue. They are not, in fact, asking state employees to make a larger contribution to their pension and benefits programs as that would not be possible- the employees are already paying 100% of the contributions.

What they are actually asking is that the employees take a pay cut.

That may or may not be an appropriate request depending on your point of view – but the argument that the taxpayers are providing state workers with some gift is as false as the argument that state workers are paid better than employees with comparable education and skills in private industry.

Maybe state workers need to take pay cut along with so many of their fellow Americans. But let’s, at the least, recognize this sacrifice for what it is rather than pretending they’ve been getting away with some sweet deal that now must be brought to an end.

This should be the new timekeeping standard.

This should be the new timekeeping standard.

AMAZING HOW MY DASHBOARD IS A MILLION TIMES MORE INFORMATIVE THAN ANY OTHER NEWS SITE, TV CHANNEL AND RADIO PROGRAMME IN MY COUNTRY. FUCK YOU MAINSTREAM MEDIA, JUST FUCK YOU FOR BEING SUCH IGNORANT FUCKS.

veronica-echolls:

If the entire world read Slate, The Atlantic and Mother Jones, watched PBS, BBC and al-Jazeera, and paid attention to everything that NPR does, I’m convinced we’d all be better off.

(Source: veronicaecholls, via theheartacheandthehope)

I’m currently fascinated and, honestly, frightened by Muammar Gaddafi’s speech to Libya right now, which has been going on for more than hour.
He’s essentially promising to shoot any people that protest his regime in order to maintain his position. He blames everything that’s happening in Libya on Israel, the United States and other foreign entities.
Al-Jazeera is picking and choosing what it wants to translate, leaving out the most inflammatory statements, specifically what I mention in the previous paragraph.
For background on Libya, read this from Mother Jones.
For what the United States and other nations can/should do, read this from Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch.
For more options, read this from POMED.

I’m currently fascinated and, honestly, frightened by Muammar Gaddafi’s speech to Libya right now, which has been going on for more than hour.

He’s essentially promising to shoot any people that protest his regime in order to maintain his position. He blames everything that’s happening in Libya on Israel, the United States and other foreign entities.

Al-Jazeera is picking and choosing what it wants to translate, leaving out the most inflammatory statements, specifically what I mention in the previous paragraph.

For background on Libya, read this from Mother Jones.

For what the United States and other nations can/should do, read this from Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch.

For more options, read this from POMED.

(Source: motherjones)