Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jobs Plan As Seen From Far Away

This Republican Jobs Plan, which they claim is the "detailed" version, has very little detail, other than a lot of bullets on things that may or may not create jobs.

If it passes.

Anyway, it's ten pages in large type, three-and-a-half pages of which are devoted to full-page graphics or photos of various significant things. One of the full page graphics is a guy in horn-rims reading a piece of paper between two stacks of paper. This, I believe, is meant to indicate a man beset by financial worries, or perhaps a man who is trying to fill out his taxes. This amuses me, since I suspect someone wearing horn-rims would probably use a computer. But maybe I'm just being stereotypical in my thinking.

Anyway, back the very lean meat of this "detailed", essentially six-and-a-half-page proposal.

Regulations are all Evil... EVIL... EEEEEEEEEEVIL

First up for the chopping block are regulations (like the EPA regulating greenhouse gases - JOB KILLING!). Even worse, this document claims the government is currently contemplating another 184 new regs, which could cost the economy as much as $100 million each. Or a large turnip. Their argument once again devolves to allowing Congress to look at every regulation and run a cost-benefit analysis to make sure the regulation is worth doing. If you're the local Rep for W R Grace, you'll think twice before allowing certain chemicals to fall under any regulatory agency in the government, or else Grace might send the campaign contributions they have earmarked for the year to someone else. Oh, sorry, we meant that the health benefits for regulating this particular arsenide is far outweighed by the economic benefits to Grace & Co... I mean, to the local community!!! Human beings are worth exactly x dollars. And so on...

Next - TAXES.

Corporations pay way too much in taxes, and they want to bring the top tax rate down to 25%. Fine by me as long as they pay their taxes. Tax revenues taken from businesses are lower than they have been in forty years. No business I know pays the full rate of 39% anywhere in the world, and if they do, they should fire their accountant. When you consider that Exxon and GE both managed to avoid paying any taxes on billions and billions of profits. The Repugnicans also want to allow profits made overseas (that have already been taxed overseas) to be brought back to the States and not be subject to taxes. As opposed to leaving them overseas where they will continue to remain untaxed.

So let me get this straight: Exxon - who paid no US income taxes on profits last year, and most specifically paid no US income taxes on profits that they made overseas - Exxon should be allowed to being that money back to the States and not pay taxes on it, either. If they bring it back to here, will they have to pay taxes on it overseas, still? The Rs refer to this as double taxation, but I dunno, if I make money as an American corporation while overseas, and the other country wants me to pay taxes to them, I think that's fair. I also think that (since I'm an American corporation) I should also pay taxes to the US Federal Government, since otherwise I pay no taxes to them at all, while enjoying the benefits of being a corporate citizen in the States. So they want Exxon to be able to take the money that it makes in Ireland, maybe not have to pay taxes in Ireland (because the profits are coming back to the States, after all), and then bring it home and not pay taxes here either.

Which is kinda funny, since it appears Exxon doesn't make any money in the States at all. I don't know how they achieve this, but they have some of the best tax accountants and tax lawyers in the world. Hell, Exxon even gets subsidy money from the Federal Government and the occasional tax refund (while making $billions per quarter). So I'm not sure, but it sounds as though the Repugnicans want to make us a new, extra-jumbo-size Cayman Islands, or something.

Free Trade Agreements, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Being a Slave in my Own Country.

Those damn Democrats are holding up trade agreements between us and S Korea, us and Colombia, and us and Panama. If any of our previous Free Trade Agreements are illustrative, I'm damn glad we're not doing this without a very careful review of these agreements by Ross Perot (is he still alive and compos mentis?). NAFTA turned Mexico into UnemploymentLand, once the Maquiladora factories closed down, and the farms of the south were undercut by ADM and other American AgriMegaBusinesses. While trade agreements are a good thing, free trade agreements generally do not do a service to the more well-off nation of the trading partners, and yet somehow still manage to totally screw the less well-off nation's economy, too. It's almost as if it was designed to funnel money to those that already had it, while driving everyone else's wages into the ground. Naaaahhhh........

Patents and Torts

We're behind in our patent approval by 700,000 applications. One of these is the Pet Rock, right? Oh, we'll never catch up to the Japanese at this point, what with our litigious society and bureaucratic nightmare of a patent system. So how do we solve this? Tort Reform, of course... And there's already been a bi-partisan patent reform bill passed through the House Judiciary Committee, which might end up on the House floor one of these days - or are they waiting til they get a President they like into office before passing something that supposedly everyone already likes? Wouldn't that be a political calculation? Of course not!

More Visas for More Foreign, Skilled Workers

Whaddya mean, make higher education less expensive in the US? What are you, a commie?

The FDA Doesn't Work Well, so Turn Off the Money

After VIOXX and other delightful drugs that do things other than advertised, and hamburgers that kill (it's not the Hamburgler, it's the Hamspreekiller), the Repugnicans are saying the FDA doesn't do it's job properly. Wow, I agree. Their solution? Make the whole process more streamlined. I thought that was the problem - things move too fast through the system and allow major issues to get missed, ignored, or covered up.

Energy Policy, or, You're Not Choking on the Fumes Yet, so Keep Drilling

Surprisingly, they mention new energy sources. Not surprisingly, they don't mention what these might be. This section is illustrated by a picture of a car with a gas nozzle sticking into it. I could get all Freudian here, but energy porn isn't my forte. I think the new energy sources are probably fracking, coal out of national parks and oil out of our own version of tar sands. I guess if you can still see your hand in front of your face, it's not polluted enough yet. Again, all the obvious points, nothing new here.

Raise Taxes? What are You, a Commie?

Of course, the final nail in the coffin of the American Dream (i.e., the Repugnican Jobs Plan), is the idea that the wealthy are taxed more than enough, and your grandmother should have planned better for her retirement and her health care. God forbid we don't buy the latest bomb from Lockheed-Martin, and God forbid we actually support our elders (well, we can give them a little bit of help) as they pass into retirement age. I'm reminded of a spoof TV show on the back of Craphound #6 called "Survival of the Fittest", which was a test of the survival skills of infants and toddlers, illustrated with a picture of a baby, crying in a plastic bag. I guess they've taken that idea and applied it to Grandma and Grandpa, since, in the Repugnican budget just recently passed, folks under fifty-five years old can look forward to receiving a "voucher" for $15,000 per year to cover all medical expenses and/or insurance premiums, instead of the less-expensive and more efficient Medicare. This will, they say, cut the budget. I'm sure it will, because a lot of those eventual senior citizens will not be able to survive with that level of medical care, and our life expectancy averages will go down fast. Meanwhile, we must lower taxes on the wealthy (since they will give jobs to all those senior citizens who can't afford to live on their lousy Social Security check or retirement savings), and we must remember to never, ever cut the budget for the military, no matter what boondoggles they come up with to take our cash in ever-increasing doses, like a heroin addict who always needs a little more each time to keep from feeling "bad." The US has a monkey on its back, and its wearing a uniform...

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