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Tear Down Those Tax "Shrines" by Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly | January 3, 2013In the web-wide effort to identify winners and losers in the “fiscal cliff” battle, one of the arguments we’ve heard cited most often is that George W. Bush was the big “winner” because his signature tax cuts finally became part of permanent law, not some temporary budget measure. This conceit, in fact, has become a big part of the progressive case that Obama got rolled. Like Republicans rationalizing votes for the tax bill, these progressives are pretending most Americans got the Bush tax cuts all over again, shiny new and fiscally lethal as they were the first time around. And both sides are using the word “enshrined” to refer to the magical effect the vote had on the tax cuts first enacted in 2001. Sorry, I don’t buy it. read more »
8 Huge Corporate Handouts in the Fiscal Cliff Bill by Matt Stoller, alternet.org | January 2, 2013Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly come out and talk about how modest increases of tax rates on the wealthy were reasonable in order to deal with the deficit problem. What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205B of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on. So without further ado, here are eight corporate subsidies in the fiscal cliff bill that you haven’t heard of. read more »
Why Today's Fiscal Squeeze Imposes Needless Austerity by Michael Hudson, nakedcapitalism.com | January 2, 2013When taxpayers pay more to the government than the economy receives in public spending, the effect is like paying banks more than they provide in new credit. The debt volume is reduced (increasing the reported savings rate). The resulting austerity is favorable to the financial sector but harmful to the rest of the economy. read more »
Meet Five CEOs Who Prove That Lower Corporate Taxes Don't Equal More Hiring by George Zornick, alternet.org | December 17, 2012Corporate tax rates must be lowered in order to create economic growth: this is a key argument made by CEOs and their political allies while they push for a fiscal cliff deal. That was in the Bowles-Simpson plan, and members of Fix the Debt are pushing for that too, along with a territorial tax system. This desire is deeply held in much of Washington. Never mind for a moment the obvious problem with lowering tax rates as a means of fixing the long-term debt. Would allowing corporations to pay less taxes really mean more hiring? Luckily we have some interesting case studies. Several of the CEOs pushing this idea actually run companies that pay extremely low corporate tax rates, well below the statutory 35 percent rate—or pay none at all. So, via the invaluable Institute for Policy Studies, let’s see what kind of job creation these folks did while enjoying very low corporate tax rates. read more »
The New Treasury Secretary Must Have a New Client by Jared Bernstein, jaredbernsteinblog.com | December 17, 2012Secretary Geithner was met at the door in January of 2009 by a financial market meltdown and correctly undertook reversing that as his first job. That part of the market has recovered. The job market has not. But “wait a minute!” you say. That’s the labor secretary’s job—the secretary of the Treasury is responsible for financial markets, making sure our borrowing costs stay low (so s/he must worry about the budget deficit), international trade—stuff like that, right? Wrong! Or, at least only partially right. S/he must recognize the linkages between all of the above and the largely unfinished business of economic recovery. That is, in every policy matter, the new secretary must envision a new client. read more »
Not Another Wall Street Puppet by Timothy A. Canova, prospect.org | December 12, 2012In his first post-election press conference, President Barack Obama said voters had awarded him only one mandate: to help middle class families and those striving to reach the middle class. In line with fulfilling this charge, the administration’s top priority would be creating manufacturing jobs and rebuilding the nation’s schools and infrastructure. An early bellwether of the president’s commitment to this will be his selection of a replacement for Timothy Geithner, who is expected to step down as Treasury secretary early next year. The nomination presents an opportunity for a White House course correction, finally putting Main Street ahead of Wall Street. read more »
Dear CEOs: Please Stop Whining About Uncertainty by Matthew Yglesias, slate.com | December 11, 2012Look. Uncertainty is an intrinsic feature of reality. Business executives do not currently know what fiscal or regulatory policy will look like in 2017 and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to alter this fact. Executives in 1952 did not know what 1957 would look like and executives in 1992 did not know what 1997 would look like. There's no certainty about domestic public policy, there's no certainty about foreign crises, there's no certainty about technological trends, there's no certainty about consumer tastes, there's no certainty about anything. Life is hard. But Google's managed to build a lucrative business around web search and advertising without certainty. Apple and Samsung have built lucrative smartphone businesses without certainty. They pay the CEOs the big bucks because it's hard to know how to make successful products in an uncertain world. That's the job. read more »
The Budget Thugs: What Do They Know About the Economy? by Dean Baker, commondreams.org | December 11, 2012Ed Haislmaier, a senior scholar at the Heritage Foundation, made himself famous in this video where he appears to be assaulting people protesting a conference organized by Fix the Debt. While this act of bad temper may be uncharacteristic of the public behavior of this corporate-sponsored crusade to cut Social Security and Medicare, it does reflect the way in which they hope to bully their agenda through the political process. The line from Fix the Debt, an organization that includes the CEOs of many of the country's largest corporations, and allies like the Washington Post is that we better have cuts to Social Security and Medicare because they say so. Everyone knows that cuts to these programs are hugely unpopular across the political spectrum. The Fix the Debt strategy was explicitly to wait until after the election. They would then go into high gear pushing their agenda of cutting Social Security and Medicare regardless of who won the elections. read more »
Wall Street's Creative Extraction by Wallace Turbeville, prospect.org | December 6, 2012The financial sector provides a crucial function to society. It accommodates the movement of funds from investors to businesses, governments and individuals who use the capital for productive purposes. If the financial sector does this efficiently, the cost to the users of capital will be close to the price demanded by investors. The financial sector will have extracted amounts for providing the “capital intermediation pipeline” that are commensurate with the service provided. If asked, most people would say that the cost of capital intermediation must have gone down in recent decades. After all, advances in technology and quantitative analysis must have made the process less expensive. But they have not. Capital intermediation is now more costly than it was in the days of James Pierpont Morgan. read more »
Goodbye To All That by Josh Marshall, talkingpointsmemo.com | December 6, 2012President Obama made public comments to this effect in front of the Business Roundtable. And various other commentators have reported it. But it’s turning out to be far more important than the jousting over tax rates that President Obama is saying flatly that he will not negotiate under any circumstances over raising the national debt limit. Though there’s still a lot of back and forth over it, Republicans realize that the top marginal tax rate is going up. Given this defeat, House Republicans are saying they’ll regroup around the debt limit and force the president’s hands when they have all the power. This assumes a replay of 2011. But the President says he won’t negotiate under any circumstances. And his top advisors say he’s adamant on the point — not just because of the current impasse but to take hostage taking over the national debt off the table for good. read more »
Goldman Sachs 'Most Aggressive' In Demanding Cash From AIG, Huffington Post | July 9, 2010
Goldman Sachs was the "most aggressive" financial firm to demand cash from AIG on what it viewed as souring deals during the financial crisis, the head of a federal investigative panel said Wednesday. more »
N.Y. Challenger Saujani Embraces Wall Street in Bid to Enseat Rep. Maloney, The Washington Post | July 8, 2010
They did not always feel this way about Maloney. The 64-year-old Democratic representative hasn't faced a serious challenge to her seat since she was first elected in 1992. For nearly two decades, they have viewed her as a solid, if unremarkable, member of Congress. more »
Lobbyist Urges Community Banks to Back Regulatory Reform, Not Wall Street, bloomberg.com | July 7, 2010
A lobbyist for community banks privately urged his industry not to oppose the U.S. regulatory overhaul, warning that smaller lenders are being used by Wall Street to derail the legislation. more »
Sen. Brown: 'I'm Liking What I See' on Financial Reform Legislation, thehill.com | July 6, 2010
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) offered a hint that he may support the financial reform bill when it comes to a final vote later this month.
“I’m going to be making a decision soon, but I’m liking what I see,” Brown told WHDH television station in Plymouth, Mass., on Sunday. more »
Wall St. Plans Payback for Reg Reform, Politico | July 6, 2010
That compromise hasn’t stopped the financial community from singling out Lincoln for scorn.
"She told us she knew Congress had to be sensible in its approach to dealing with derivatives, and then she went and hit us with her amendment,” a financial executive said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Lincoln says she’s not worried, despite facing a difficult reelection fight this fall.
Democratic Campaign Committees Losing Big Wall Street Donors, The Washington Post | July 6, 2010
The drop in support comes from many of the same bankers, hedge fund executives and financial services chief executives who are most upset about the financial regulatory reform bill that House Democrats passed last week with almost no Republican support. The Senate expects to take up the measure this month.
Senate Dems Closer to Wall St. Overhaul as Cantwell Voices Support, blogs.abcnews.com | July 2, 2010
Senate Democrats took a big step towards passing the Wall Street reform bill tonight as Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, announced that she will vote for the measure.
Cantwell had opposed the bill when it first passed the Senate in May, but she now will support the version that emerged from the conference committee.
Regulators Made Sure Goldman Sachs Got All Of Its Bailout Money, truthdig.com | June 30, 2010
A devastating report in The New York Times documents how Timothy Geithner’s New York Fed worked tirelessly to make sure that AIG was forced to pay banks such as Goldman Sachs 100 percent on dubious contracts that might otherwise have been slashed or subjected to lawsuits. For his efforts, Geithner was promoted to run the rest of the nation’s economy. more »
Kagan Hearing Day One: The Battle To Define ‘Judicial Activism’ , wonkroom.thinkprogress.org | June 29, 2010
If someone does a word cloud of today’s opening statements in the Kagan hearing, the word “activism” will dominate the screen. And this is nothing new. Conservative senators figured out a long time ago that if they label anyone to the left of Samuel Alito a “judicial activist” then their more progressive colleagues will put their tail between their legs and cower.
Knocking Kagan's Experience, GOP Attack May Backfire , Huffington Post | June 28, 2010
As the Senate begins hearings for Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, Republicans are returning to a critique that separates Kagan from every sitting Justice. She has no judicial experience. more »