Lemkin

Gone To Since 1984

And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.

George Carlin

  • June 15, 2012 12:00 pm

    "…we’re hearing an awful lot about those spoiled government employees with their flush pay packages and their godawful unions. The worst, of course, are the teachers’ unions. They are responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in America today. […]

    Dallas’s incoming superintendent of schools—a government leader, right?— will enjoy a base salary of $300,000. His chief of staff will make $225,000. His chief of communications (i.e., press agent) will make $185,000. And his “chief of talent and innovation,” whatever that is (it’s a new position), will make $182,000.

    All of these people make more money than the Dallas police chief, who makes do with about $175,000. Meanwhile, those greedy Dallas teachers, who are represented by the American Federation of Teachers, bump along with an average salary of about $56,000. That’s nearly 20 percent below the average household income in the U.S. ($67,530).

    Being a teacher is back-breakingly difficult work. It is also extremely important work. Being the press agent or innovation chief for the school superintendent is, by comparison, fairly easy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the hours are much shorter. It’s also fairly trivial. Being superintendent or the superintendent’s chief of staff is important work, but there’s no chance it’s as difficult as being a teacher, and I hesitate to say that it’s as important. The boss always makes more, and I guess we can’t begrudge him that. But for the boss to make more than six times more than the average teacher is freaking outrageous."

    Timothy Noah making a point that is as cogent as it is (apparently) unutterable on the national stage. You want to energize the great unwashed? This is your platform. It combines the necessary economic narrative with the need for better education in this country, and the universal desire for one’s children to “do better” than Mom and Dad ever did. Use it within these next several months in which teachers are still considered people of consequence. The GOP is doing everything it can to reverse that notion. Wonder why.

  • December 15, 2011 3:04 pm

    Both Sides Not Equally at Fault

    TNR’s Timothy Noah has a nice piece up detailing polls that show the general public largely gets that it’s the GOP being more obstructive, more extreme, and (even among Republicans) ultimately less popular and more deserving of being shown the door. But then Noah writes the funniest thing I’ve read in a while:

    I hope the “objective” press reports these findings accurately, and doesn’t bend itself into a pretzel trying to portray this poll as mere generalized disgust with partisan bickering in Washington.

    What color is the sky in your world, Tim?

  • November 28, 2011 4:03 pm

    "She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President. And besides, she has cancer."

    Newt Gingrich, disgraced former Speaker and loving husband, describes his first wife in a Katharine Q. Seelye profile. Ladies and gentlemen, your next GOP frontrunner.

    (Source: tnr.com)

  • October 28, 2011 3:29 pm

    "On the domestic side, both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive. This has led to a kind of frustration."

    Bill Daley, White House Chief of Staff. This is why they fail.
    Anyone, and I mean anyone who holds this opinion, much less speaks of it to a journalist of any stripe, should resign immediately or have been fired long ago. You think this is frustrating Bill? You think “your” side is equally to blame? Then go the fuck home. You are part of the problem and we’ll get nothing truly worthwhile done until everyone who thinks like you has long since left the scene.

    (Source: tnr.com)

  • September 19, 2011 4:00 pm

    Trickle Down

    Timothy Noah nails it:

    You still can’t say [publicly] that Fortune 500 chairmen need to maximize their incomes, but it’s now perfectly OK to say that real estate speculators and day traders who pay taxes as S-Corporations to dodge Social Security and Medicare payments need to maximize their incomes. By God, they built this country!

    Yep. Twenty years of message discipline gets you places. The Democrat could learn something from this sort of thing but never does.

  • September 17, 2011 9:50 am

    Don't mince words, Tim

    Newish TNR man Timothy Noah weighs in on Politico, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Obama, and reporting in general (emphasis in original):

    The main problem with the Politico piece is that its central example is Daley’s mishandling of the scheduling of Obama’s jobs bill speech. Obama wanted to give it in the House of Representatives on a Wednesday and Boehner said no dice, you have to give it on a Thursday. This somehow became a two-day story and a referendum on Obama’s impotence and the House Republicans’ incivility. I don’t care about how Daley handled this trivial scheduling conflict. I care about how Daley advised Obama during the disastrously drawn-out debt-ceiling negotiations, in which Obama really did look impotent and the House Republicans looked not merely uncivil but bent on destroying the economy. But Politico has nothing on that except a passing reference to Daley cutting Senate leaders out of the loop during the negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently called Obama to complain that Daley keeps him in the dark. That’s interesting.

    This simply isn’t done. In one short paragraph, we have Noah pointing out the vacuity of a competitor, sure, but to me this reads as broader indictment of the Beltway style of political “reporting” in general. Noah actually seems aware of objective reality, makes not one “pox on both their houses” hedge, and points out a real point of contention between a Democratic power center (Reid) and the White House, all while noting that none of this gets covered in the “who won the day” obsessed political press and what does get mentioned is not only often plainly wrong but in a different zip code than anything approaching reality. More please.

    (h/t Jason Zengerle)

  • September 2, 2011 11:14 am

    "If you were an evil genius determined to promote the idea that libertarianism is a morally dubious ideology of privilege poorly disguised as a doctrine of liberation, you’d be hard pressed to improve on Ron Paul."

    Will Wilkinson, Libertarian, on Ron Paul.
    (h/t IlyaGerner)

  • August 19, 2011 1:38 pm

    Chait’s Venetian Blind Alley

    Jon Chait unleashes the snark over a suggestion that we have a seperate Super Committee tasked only with “[encouraging] the new supercommittee to ‘go big, or go home.’”

    What if we determined the membership of the meta-committee via some non-political selection method — perhaps through the creation of a new group containing, Republicans and Democrats, dedicated to finding the right mix of politicians of both parties, who would be tasked with coming up with a bipartisan plan to lobby the bipartisan supercommission to come up with a bipartisan plan to reduce the deficit?

    Actually, the loyal Lemkin reader will realize we covered this one, er, one year ago:

    Thirty electors were chosen by lot, and then a second lottery reduced them to nine, who nominated forty candidates in all, each of whom had to be approved by at least seven electors in order to pass to the next stage. The forty were pruned by lot to twelve, who nominated a total of twenty-five, who needed at least nine nominations each. The twenty-five were culled to nine, who picked an electoral college of forty-five, each with at least seven nominations. The forty-five became eleven, who chose a final college of forty-one. Each member proposed one candidate, all of whom were discussed and, if necessary, examined in person, whereupon each elector cast a vote for every candidate of whom he approved. The candidate with the most approvals was the winner, provided he had been endorsed by at least twenty-five of the forty-one.

  • July 5, 2011 11:19 am

    Dean Baker AND Ron Paul

    An interesting read in which Dean Baker agrees with Ron Paul’s idea:

    …the Fed has bought roughly $1.6 trillion in government bonds through its various quantitative easing programs over the last two and a half years. This money is part of the $14.3 trillion debt that is subject to the debt ceiling. However, the Fed is an agency of the government. Its assets are in fact assets of the government. Each year, the Fed refunds the interest earned on its assets in excess of the money needed to cover its operating expenses. Last year the Fed refunded almost $80 billion to the Treasury. In this sense, the bonds held by the Fed are literally money that the government owes to itself.

    Unlike the debt held by Social Security, the debt held by the Fed is not tied to any specific obligations. The bonds held by the Fed are assets of the Fed. It has no obligations that it must use these assets to meet. There is no one who loses their retirement income if the Fed doesn’t have its bonds. In fact, there is no direct loss of income to anyone associated with the Fed’s destruction of its bonds. This means that if Congress told the Fed to burn the bonds, it would in effect just be destroying a liability that the government had to itself, but it would still reduce the debt subject to the debt ceiling by $1.6 trillion. This would buy the country considerable breathing room before the debt ceiling had to be raised again. President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership could have close to two years to talk about potential spending cuts or tax increases. Maybe they could even talk a little about jobs.

    In addition, there’s a second reason why Representative Paul’s plan is such a good idea. As it stands now, the Fed plans to sell off its bond holdings over the next few years. This means that the interest paid on these bonds would go to banks, corporations, pension funds, and individual investors who purchase them from the Fed. In this case, the interest payments would be a burden to the Treasury since the Fed would no longer be collecting (and refunding) the interest.

    More detail at the link. I’m no economist, but it sounds like dodging the interest alone is worth doing in exchange for a fairly minor “bank tax” down the road as the reserve rate requirements would necessarily ratcheted up slightly to offset the eventual inflationary pressure caused by The Great Bond Shredding of ‘11.

    Were I Obama, I’d get out on the hustings this very second talking about how under no circumstances should the Fed order these bonds be destroyed. Go have lunch with Joe Biden. Come back out and say “well, it is with a heavy heart I have to bow to the demands of my GOP overlords. We shall shred the bonds effective immediately. Bipartisan!”

    After all, the only way to get something done in this government is for Obama to come out against it and wait for the GOP’s reflexive adoption of the opposite position no matter what the issue. That the Democratic leadership in DC haven’t yet figured this out is why they fail.

  • July 1, 2011 2:38 pm

    Mittmentum!

      Mitt Romney in GOP debate:  [Obama] didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer.
      Mitt Romney in NH on Monday:  The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.
      Mitt Romney when challenged on veracity of "worse":  I didn't say that things are worse.