Friday, February 24, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
And Dimon acknowledges the issue highlighted by Occupy Wall Street. “I do think we’ve become a less equitable society,” he told me. “So I’d ask the question—let’s say we agree it’s become less equitable—what would you do about it?”
“I would tax dividends and interest income higher and capital gains,” said Dimon. “Have a higher tax rate. If you said there’d be a certain percent rate for people making over a million dollars and a higher percent rate for people making over $10 million, no problem with me. I don’t think people should be able to pass unlimited amounts on to their kids.”
Wow. Simply friggin' wow. In one fell swoop, Dimon acknowledges income inequity and its bad effect on the nation, prescribes a progressive income tax on the wealthy and uberwealthy, AND endorses an estate tax!
And yet, Occupy Wall Street is just a rag-tag rabble of aging unemployed free-laoding hippies and young, debt-laden college kids terrified of getting their hands dirty at the fry counter.
All of this comes against the backdrop of President Obama's announcement of a new corporate tax plan, one that will close loopholes while lowering the corporate tax rate to 25-28%.
OK, I can get behind that plan. After all, our nominal tax rate on corporations is 35% but no one actually pays that anyway, and it's about mid-pack for industrialized nations, plus we see so little benefit in society from a rate that high.
In fact, I'd go Obama one better: I'd cut the tax rate to 15%
...wait for it...
On gross revenues. No more dodging the tax man by purchasing this asset or stowing money in some tax shelter. You earn it, you pay on it, just like a person.
You'll note that, since taxable income is usually only a small fraction of gross revenues, this is a bonanza for the nation. Now, we can argue and adjust the tax rate to be sure (15% might be a bit high, but hey, if it's good enough for a poor family...) but the simple fact is, if corporations wish to have free speech like the rest of us, then they ought to be as subject to tax burdens as the least of us.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan —Deeply angered over reports that U.S. troops had burned copies of the Koran, Islam’s holy text, thousands of protesters on Tuesday tried to storm the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.
The protests erupted early in the morning, after Afghans working inside the Bagram air base reported to local residents that a number of copies of the Koran had been burned. The incident prompted the top U.S. military officer in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, to offer a public apology and order a prompt investigation.
“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them,” Allen said in a statement. “We are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. I assure you … I promise you … this was NOT intentional in any way.”
It's not hard to find out that the proper way to dispose of a Koran is by burying it or releasing it into flowing waters. You can burn it, but there had better be no other option available.
It seems to me that, in the largest military base in South Asia, there's a front loader lying around idle somewhere.
Santorum, a conservative Catholic, is fairly strict when it comes to religion. You might want to check out his 2008 speech at Ave Maria College — just do the Google — in which he said that "mainline Protestantism in this country ... is in shambles (and) is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it." Which may come as a surprise to many of the millions of mainline Protestants.
Indeed. Not content with sticking his foot in his mouth, Santorum proceeded Sunday to shove his kneecap in there, as well:
But on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Santorum insisted he wasn't talking about Obama's Christianity or religion at all, but, rather, about the theology of "radical environmentalism," which he explained this way:
"But we're not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. And I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside-down."
You know who else believes in global climate change?
While some lawmakers and ideologues blithely challenge the world's leading scientists, along with a growing number of military leaders concerned about this issue as a global security risk, they also part company with the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI. The Green Pope, as some have called Benedict, has frequently addressed climate change and care for the environment as profound moral issues. The pope has touted solar energy, the benefits of local agriculture, sustainable development and the perils of hyper-consumerism. He has spoken boldly about the shameful reality of "environmental refugees" and recognizes the link between war and ecological exploitation. The Vatican has even taken steps to become the world's first "carbon-neutral state."[...]
For Catholics, caring for creation and being prudent stewards of our rivers, mountains and forests is not a trendy cause. It's a Biblical mandate, and a necessity to promote the sacred dignity of life. The Catholic Church has been in the forefront of these efforts long before rock stars and Hollywood celebrities made it cool to be "green." In particular, faith communities have a unique role to address the ways the poor and vulnerable around the world are most impacted by climate change.
(Emphases added for contrast)
Yea, that world leader who Santorum suggests we should model our own laws and customs on. One wonders if the Pope is now mainstream Protestant or if Santorum has decided to convert to Evangelicalism.
The right wing of this country will spend the next several months playing "Wack-A-Mole" with President Obama, trying to find any weakness in his armor that can be summed up in a soundbite. You see, it's hard to say he's been horrible with the economy since people intuitively grasp that the economy was bad, got worse, but is now better.
It's hard to say he's been on the wrong side of social issues, since the grand majority of people agree with his centrist, principled stances.
And it's hard to paint him as corrupt because, hello, not a whole lot of "there" there.
So the hammer keeps bashing, and the President keeps ducking back into his hole until all that's left for conservatives is to hit themselves in the head with the hammer and cry foul.