Stealth Bananas!!!
…Here’s another crock of fresh bullshit delivered by the right wing of the Republican Party (which has become, so far as I can see, the only wing of the Republican Party): the richer rich people get, the more jobs they create. Really? I have a total payroll of about 60 people, most of them working for the two radio stations I own in Bangor, Maine. If I hit the movie jackpot—as I have, from time to time—and own a piece of a film that grosses $200 million, what am I going to do with it? Buy another radio station? I don’t think so, since I’m losing my shirt on the ones I own already. But suppose I did, and hired on an additional dozen folks. Good for them. Whoopee-ding for the rest of the economy….

Private investment per capita has grown during all presidential administrations since the Depression - except Reagan-Bush I and Bush II, in which tax cuts and deregulation were dominant economic policies.  These tax cuts were mainly for the upper brackets which are supposed to provide that investment. Conservative economic “theory” has it that reducing taxes and relaxing regulations should stimulate investment, but actual data on investment are completely incompatible with this….

Private investment per capita has grown during all presidential administrations since the Depression - except Reagan-Bush I and Bush II, in which tax cuts and deregulation were dominant economic policies.  These tax cuts were mainly for the upper brackets which are supposed to provide that investment. Conservative economic “theory” has it that reducing taxes and relaxing regulations should stimulate investment, but actual data on investment are completely incompatible with this….


…Look at government (all levels) purchases of goods and services, that is, actually buying stuff as opposed to transfer payments like Social Security and Medicare. Here’s the past decade…
…Obama, far from presiding over a huge expansion of government the way the right claims, has in fact presided over unprecedented austerity, largely driven by cuts at the state and local level. And it’s therefore an amazing triumph of misinformation the way that lackluster economic performance has been interpreted as a failure of government spending.

…Look at government (all levels) purchases of goods and services, that is, actually buying stuff as opposed to transfer payments like Social Security and Medicare. Here’s the past decade…

…Obama, far from presiding over a huge expansion of government the way the right claims, has in fact presided over unprecedented austerity, largely driven by cuts at the state and local level. And it’s therefore an amazing triumph of misinformation the way that lackluster economic performance has been interpreted as a failure of government spending.

Not that we’re that sensible:

"…Petrol prices in America are substantially below levels elsewhere in the rich world, and this is almost entirely due to the rock bottom level of petrol tax rates. The low cost of petrol encourages greater dependence; the average American uses much more oil per day than other rich world citizens. This dependence also impacts infrastructure investment choices, leading to substantially more spending on highways than transit alternatives. And this, in turn, reduces the ability of American households to substitute away from driving when oil prices rise.

"There are any number of good reasons to raise the petrol tax rate. The current rate no longer brings in enough money to cover current highway spending. Petrol taxes are an efficient way to raise revenue, and the government needs revenue; President Obama’s deficit commission recommended an increase in the federal petrol tax rate. Burning oil produces carbon emissions, and dearer fuel would reduce America’s sky-high per capita carbon footprint. But a higher tax rate would also diminish the possibility that a sudden rise in oil prices would throw the economy into recession. That would be a nice risk to minimise! And yes, higher tax rates would hit consumers just like rising oil prices. But those prices are rising anyway; better to capture the revenue and use it, all while improving behaviour…."

& not to mention that proactive weaning off of petroleum before post-peak declines force the issue is probably the less painful choice . … .

…From the closed gates and signs at the parks closed this winter, it might appear that all access is forbidden.

Nope. Parks are still open for walk-ins over or past the closed gates, but there are no signs at any of the parks and no notice posted at the State Parks website, parks.ca.gov, that explains that to the public.

What’s closed are parking lots and all services, several rangers said this winter, most notably Brian Barton, a public safety specialist for State Parks, and Deputy Director Roy Stearns. You can still hike in, or in some cases, hoist a bike over the gate and ride in. They ask all visitors to use a “leave no trace” approach.

No restrooms, running water, garbage service or camping are available at parks closed because of a funding shortage in the state budget….

…Locals who have figured this out are turning state parks into their personal playgrounds….

…All these polling data can paint a complex picture, but the clearest overarching conclusion is that Americans believe that a right to bear arms exists, but that there are many ways that right may be limited. This position is at odds with the near-absolutist stance taken by the NRA. Consequently, future debates over guns should and probably will be over which restrictions are reasonable, not over whether any restrictions at all are allowed….
…A common theme recurs in analysis after analysis: what the NRA claims credit for usually turns out upon closer examination to be nothing more than elections in which Republicans do well….

…Mr. Obama has not radically expanded the safety net. Rather, the dire state of the economy has reduced incomes and made more people eligible for benefits, especially unemployment benefits. Basically, the safety net is the same, but more people are falling into it….

…44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.”…

…the vast bulk of entitlement spending goes to the elderly, the disabled, and working families, so any significant cuts would have to fall largely on people who believe that they don’t use any government program….

…Yes, voters sent some severe conservatives to Washington. But those voters would be both shocked and angry if such politicians actually imposed their small-government agenda.

…we could put well over a million people to work directly, and probably around 3 million once you take other effects into account, without any need to come up with new projects; just transfer enough money to state and local governments to let them return to doing the essential business of government, like educating our children….