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May 12, 2012

California’s budget deficit is a lot worse than expected

  • $16 billion budget shortfall for California this year source

» The Not So Golden State: Back in January of this year, California state officials were anticipating a $9.2 billion budget shortfall for 2012 — an enormous deficit, though considerably  less than the $26 billion that faced Governor Jerry Brown when he took over in 2010. Brown announced,while revealing the startling new figure, that he’ll be placing an initiative on the November ballot to raise the sales tax by .25%, and add an income tax surcharge for wealthy Californians. If the initiative fails, expect deeper than anticipated spending cuts to follow.

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20:10 // 2 years ago
October 29, 2011
Republicans moralizing about deficits. That’s like an arsonist moralizing about fire safety. These guys have zero credibility.
Vice President Joe Biden • Turning up the funny at a speech to Florida Democrats at Walt Disney World on Saturday afternoon. source (viafollow)
18:12 // 2 years ago
March 19, 2011

On why a government that taxes isn’t like a “mugger”

neightkelly said: Not taking the money from people does not add to the government’s deficit, it’s not the government’s money. It’s like saying because you aren’t mugging that person you are now down 25 dollars.

» We say: Think about it this way. It’s like going to college. You may not like all the classes, but they still need to be paid for by the collective student body. Because, since they get all that tuition, they have room to offer a Women’s Studies program. And a wider variety of programs ensures a better experience for everyone. If money goes away, programs get cut. That’s the thing with your “mugger” analogy that doesn’t work. Even if you’re a hardcore libertarian, you’re still benefitting from that tax income whether you choose to enjoy it or not. There is a benefit to paying your taxes. You drive on those roads that the government provided the money and planning to create and maintain. You eat food made healthier by government regulation. You don’t get sick because the government put money into improving medical standards. You live in a safe country because the government did things to improve our country’s security both here and abroad. I’ve yet to meet a mugger who gave back so much after they stole your wallet. (EDIT: Now this is not to say that the government is the best at these particular jobs, but it is how they use the money.)

14:44 // 3 years ago
February 25, 2011

In case you didn’t see our comment on Rachel Maddow’s war of words with PolitiFact, we’d like to point it out again for your kids. We think that there is a lot of context worthy of your time. Above is Maddow’s clip from last night, which, while accurate in pointing out that PolitiFact isn’t always right, does the same kind of cherry-picking that PolitiFact did. From the report, they only quoted a two-second part of a clip that has much more direct context at play. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite took a swing at this whole issue, too, and you know what? He noticed the same thing we did about her surplus/deficit quote. "That passage can be read both ways, but in at least the semantic sense, Politifact is wrong. Their reading of this passage is a matter of interpretation." In other words, while the exact quote Rachel Maddow pulled proves PolitiFact’s headline is in fact “False,” the problem is that the larger context, which claims that Walker turned a surplus into a deficit (the point of the article), is closer to the truth than Maddow’s people will like. Sorry, Rachel. source

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14:25 // 3 years ago
February 19, 2011
In our judgment, the continuing opposition…in the House would undermine and damage our capacity to create jobs and expand the economy.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner • Claiming that the GOP’s spending-cut-heavy plan threatens to severely hurt job creation. Geithner’s advice? Strengthen the economic recovery, then focus on deficit-cutting. “I am very confident that the Democrats and the Republicans will come together on a program to not just reduce spending but reduce long-term deficits,” he continued. source (viafollow)
22:30 // 3 years ago
Are the Tea Partiers in Madison really that big a deal, anyway?
So how many Tea Partiers went to Madison today? While these crowds look reasonably large in size, they don’t appear to hold a candle to the 40,000+ union protesters going around Madison today. These arial shots seem to suggest much smaller crowds of Tea Partiers than pro-union folks. But guess which ones CNN decided to cover today? Take a guess. (photo from Americans for Prosperity’s Flickr stream) source
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So how many Tea Partiers went to Madison today? While these crowds look reasonably large in size, they don’t appear to hold a candle to the 40,000+ union protesters going around Madison today. These arial shots seem to suggest much smaller crowds of Tea Partiers than pro-union folks. But guess which ones CNN decided to cover today? Take a guess. (photo from Americans for Prosperity’s Flickr stream) source

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21:23 // 3 years ago

From someone who’s been there: Here’s a clip Tumblr user definitelynotcanon sent our way. Her friend Anna, who says in the clip that she’s never made a video blog, offers some perspective from the front lines of the protests in Madison, and wants to encourage better coverage of the entire issue. The important part is that the stripping of collective bargaining rights is the key issue here – not the current budget issue. We do have one point to make about all this: The part that she brings up about the special interest groups is actually inaccurate, as pointed out by Politifact. (It’s not spending on special interest groups, but tax breaks.) The heart of her argument still stands up, though. It’s OK though, because Ezra Klein has her back. After watching that, read this: source

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15:43 // 3 years ago
February 17, 2011
We were left with no choice … The question is when are the Republicans going to sit down seriously with the other side on this issue and try to work something out.
Democrat Wisconsin state Sen. Jon Erpenbach • Explaining why he chose to leave the state, and what it will take to get him back. He and every other Democratic state senator in Wisconsin left in protest of a GOP-backed plan to limit public employees’ abilities to collectively bargain for better wages, in a push to stop a deficit crisis. As a result, the GOP doesn’t have quorum – because 20 state senators need to be there, and there are 19 Republicans. This is the first such incident were an entire party left a state to avoid a vote since Democratic members of the Texas state senate and state house left the state to avoid a vote on redistricting – the same vote, mind you, that led to Tom DeLay’s corruption conviction. source (viafollow)
19:55 // 3 years ago
Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally seems like more of an assault on unions. I think it’s very important for us to understand that public employees, they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends.
Barack Obama • Coming out in support of public employees currently facing the squeeze in an anti-union fight in Wisconsin. The vote will likely take place today, and it’s clear where Gov. Scott Walker is leaning – he’s budget-minded first, and sounds frustrated by the fact that collective bargaining agreements take so long. “I don’t have 15 months to balance a budget, and I certainly am not going to pass a budget on a hope and a prayer that that might happen,” he said. Hey Scott, based on the protests, it’s clear that a balanced budget is not the top priority for the people who have been flooding Madison the last few days. Consider that. source (viafollow)
11:27 // 3 years ago
February 16, 2011

Not bad, Scott Walker. You’ve been Wisconsin’s governor for like two months, and you have half of Madison aiming for your throat because you made a power play to take away public employees’ collective bargaining rights. And you threatened to get the National Guard involved if union members tried to walk out in protest. Dude, this is Wisconsin, Union Central! You’re screwing with the teachers, not the bureaucrats! And Madison is like the hippie mecca of the Midwest! What did you think was going to happen? Not everyone is this hardcore about budget deficits. The Green Bay Packers (!!) have turned against you, and now you have people comparing you to Hosni Mubarak. A tad overwrought, yes, but the point is pretty clear. By going for the jugular a little too harshly, you’re making your political bed, Scott. Why can’t you be cool like this Scott Walker? source

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20:59 // 3 years ago