Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

Moore’s Chain of Non Sequitur

Michael Moore is generally clueless. Or dishonest. I know, he’s a big documentary film maker who tackles significant issues, but when you hear the man talk, you see that he really doesn’t get it.

Some things to note in the video above. He talks about personal responsibility. Good. But he seems to buy the legal myth that corporations are people because he goes on to say that GE and Bank of America lack “personal responsibility”. A corporation can’t have personal responsibility, a corporation isn’t a person.

I think he catches himself because he goes on to ask, “Where is the personal responsibility of the people that built these into great companies?” Great question! Yes, these are great companies and the personal responsibility of those who built them is present in the fact that they are great companies. Their job was to make those companies successful and they did. Of course they should do that responsibly and ethically, but Moore’s rant is about a 70 year old woman who can’t afford healthcare. Are the men and women who built GE and Bank of America responsible for her? Or are their companies? What is Moore’s point? I haven’t a clue but I’m not supposed to figure that out, I’m supposed to be incensed by the injustice and applaud politely. Never mind how much Moore is worth, he’s not the 1%.

Next he says that GE didn’t pay any taxes. That simply isn’t true. “Did GE pay U.S. income taxes in 2010? Yes, it paid estimated taxes for 2010, and also made payments for previous years. Think of it as your having paid withholding taxes on your salary in 2010, and sending the IRS a check on April 15, 2010, covering your balance owed for 2009.” Also, GE did not “get money back from the government”. Apparently he is right about Bank of America not paying taxes and the Obama administration did give BofA a boatload of money.

The problem (beyond inaccuracy) with him bringing up GE and BofA’s tax bills are that he started his talk about healthcare bills. He then jumps the rail to personal responsibility and then jumps again and ends up on corporate taxes. Talk about a chain of non sequitur. I’m actually bothered that he is trying to make himself part of the Occupy Wall St. movement. He hasn’t been part of the 99% for quite a while. And CNN doesn’t get it either. Their banner on the video is a throwaway line from the beginning of the clip that has nothing to do with the rest of his rant.

Morning Politics

Did you hear that Bank of America want’s to start charging $5 per month for its members to use a debit card? Sounds outrageous doesn’t it? President Obama waived the consumer finance protection bureau stick in the direction of BofA during an interview at ABC. I have to admit, I’m kind of cheesed about that fee but I really don’t think government regulation is the answer. I like what Dick Durbin said, “Bank of America customers, vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank. Find yourself a bank or credit union that won’t gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day.” Government isn’t the answer to everything.

You know what is really kind of odd? The reason BofA is implementing the fee is because their other revenue source on debit cards has been throttled so they’re seeking money elsewhere. Those debit cards don’t operate for free. There is a nation-wide secure computer network that supports them and someone has to pay for it. So who throttled what? The 2010 Dodd-Frank law included a provision that cut the “swipe fees” that debit-card issuers charge merchants. That means the banks were restricted in how much they could charge stores on each transaction. And who authored this restriction? Neither Frank nor Dodd. It was none other than Dick “These Shoes are Made for Walkin'” Durbin. I wish he’d have heard his own philosophy when he authored that amendment in the first place.

In somewhat tangentially related news (both touch Wall St.) a liberal talking head on some radio station said that it is “media crime” that Fox and CNN are interviewing less articulate Wall St. protestors. Apparently it is okay to find the most red neck Tea Party supporter but if you do the same for the Occupy Wall Street group, that’s bad.

Finally, President Obama wants to increase taxes on couples who have more than $250k in taxable income. The Democrats don’t like that and would rather institute a 5% surtax on those who have $1 million in income after all the deductions. Why the disagreement? NPR summed it up:

The disagreement in their ranks arises partly from how the president proposes to pay for his plan, an approach seen by some senators as potentially making their already difficult path to re-election even more so.

So let’s set aside for the moment that someone might not get reelected and ask what should be done here. The tax increases are both intended to pay for the president’s job stimulus package. The fact that Democrats want to actually pay for what their spending is a good sign but how do you do that in an economy as sluggish as ours? There are two things that have to happen: don’t raise taxes and don’t cut spending. The idea is that there needs to be as much money floating around the economy as possible at this point. Taking it out of people’s pockets and dumping it in a money black hole is a bad idea. The Republicans want to cut spending and the Democrats want to raise taxes in order to balance the budget. The truth of the matter is that we need to do the opposite of what both parties are banking on. We’re in trouble if they fail to get a collective clue.

Once the economy starts picking up, tax revenues will increase as more people go back to work and start buying more stuff. Once tax revenues start increasing we need to do the opposite of what seems reasonable. Then we can start scaling back government spending and we can fiddle with taxes a bit. That seems counter-intuitive doesn’t it? We have more money coming in so we can spend more and since we have more money coming in we don’t need to mess with taxes, right? Wrong. Once the economy starts moving again that’s when the government has the leeway to reduce spending. The government doesn’t need to worry about upping their portion of spending into the economy, the people are able to do that. And when money is flowing we can start working on making taxes fair and equitable once again without the fear of causing those with money to hold on tighter to what they have.

But that kind of thinking won’t get you reelected. Isn’t soundbite worthy.