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Archive for the ‘Marie Antoinette Republicans’ Category

RE: The Medicare cuts forced by the new Republican tax bill:

There are people who vote for the “Leopards Eating Faces” party then are surprised that the leopards actually ate their faces. But they’re outnumbered by far by the delusional morons who claim that no, the leopards did *not* eat their faces (as the blood from the raw meat of their ripped-off faces drip onto the carpet). Or who claim that no, it wasn’t the “Leopards Eating Faces” party that ripped off their faces, it was that woman, over there, who isn’t an elected official and holds no government position of any sort, who actually ripped off their faces. NOT the members of the “Leopards Eating Faces” party.

This has been the most bizarre time in my entire adult life. WTF, people? If you elect a party into office that promises to cut Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, why would you be surprised and upset when they actually do so?! Elect the “Leopards Eating Faces” party into power, and that’s what they do — they rip off people’s faces!

– Badtux the Baffled Penguin

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Here’s the bill. Scroll down to SEC. 11002. INFLATION ADJUSTMENTS BASED ON CHAINED CPI.

First of all, what is chained CPI? Basically, it’s a way of cutting benefits and increasing taxes. To quote an SSA report: “Moving to the chained CPI would reduce Social Security benefits by 3% for the bottom 60% of Social Security recipients and 4% for the top 40% of beneficiaries per estimates for 2050 from the Social Security Administration”.

By using C-CPI rather than CPI for adjusting income tax brackets, you get a similar effect of invisible tax increases. The Tax Policy Center estimated that changing to the Chained CPI would increase the taxes paid by 30% of the bottom 20% of the income distribution, 70% of the next 20% of the population, and nearly all of the people in the top 60% of the income distribution.

In short, the bill fucks almost every American over time in exchange for a short-term tax break. A short-term tax break that gets bigger the more money you make. The top earners, who mostly earn their income from capital gains, will see their taxes decline by 1/4th. That’s a 25% cut in their taxes. Meanwhile, my own taxes, based on my preliminary estimates, will go down by about $500 — a cut of 2.5%. Yay. The rich get a 25% tax cut, I get a 2.5% tax cut. In what universe is that fair? The Trump universe, apparently.

So anyhow, I’m still chugging through the list of programs to which the C-CPI is now applied rather than the CPI. I haven’t seen Social Security in here yet. But I *have* seen plenty of programs that the average Social Security recipient qualifies for and often receives, such as the low income housing tax credit, which will now be tied to C-CPI rather than CPI. See, the average Social Security recipient only receives $1,360/month, or basically chicken feed money when you consider that this is taxed and that Medicare takes a huge chunk of it. Needless to say the average Social Security recipient depends a lot on various government programs and tax credits in order to make ends meet, otherwise we’d see lots of prunes starving in the streets. All those programs, it appears, are now going to be invisibly chopped by now being tied to C-CPI rather than CPI. Yay. Yet the Trumpanzees are all over this like a crack whore who just saw the crack dealer toss his entire inventory out the window. They don’t care that years from now they’re gonna be dying on the streets. Give’em that quick hit, man, give’em that brief hit of crack, that’s all they live for. The fact that it’s going to kill them in the end… well, that would require being able to think logically and rationally. And if they were capable of that, they wouldn’t be Trumpanzees.

– Badtux the Still-reading Penguin

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Did the economy do better under Ronald Reagan than under Jimmy Carter? There’s lefties who argue that Republicans are *always* worse than Democrats, but then Republicans shout, “Jimmy Carter!”. Was it true?

Technically yes. According to the St. Louis Fed, GDP in chained billions of dollars was 5732.462 in on 1/1/1977, and 6635.726 on 1/1/1981 when Reagan took office, for an average increase of 3.9% per year. GDP in chained billions was 8831.544 when Reagan left office, for average increase of 4.1% per year. So yeah, technically, you’re right, Reagan’s economy performed better than Jimmy Carter’s, but it’s like claiming that your guy will give us 11 cents rather than the other guy’s 10 cents. Nobody’s going to get too excited about the minimal difference there.

When you look at wages, on the other hand, things look different. In inflation adjusted dollars (taking Bureau of Employment Statistics numbers and feeding them into the official inflation calculator), average hourly wage for non-supervisory workers fell from $21.82 in January 1977 to $20.07 in January 1981, or an average of 2% per year. From there they then fell to $19.35 in January 1989. So: average hourly wages for non-supervisory workers fell by 0.45% per year under Reagan, as versus 2% per year under Carter.

In both cases the working class was fucked. But they were fucked less under Reagan than under Carter.

So I call foul on the notion that Republicans are *always* worse for the economy (and for wages) than Democrats. It is true that Clinton and Obama did better than any Republican president back to Eisenhower, but Jimmy Carter is the counter-example that proves that the rule really isn’t a rule.

On the other hand, Reagan’s policies decidedly set up today’s situation where wages are in free-fall for everybody who’s not one of us technology elites, so this isn’t saying that Reagan was a great President or anything. I mean, real wages fell during his Presidency. You can’t say a President is great if real wages fall during his presidency. On the other hand, he was not the Worst president of the past fifty years. That honor falls on Jimmy Carter, a nice man who tried (and tries) to do right, but a lousy President.

– Badtux the Numbers Penguin

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Those things have to arise elsewhere, because they are not natural attributes of capitalism or markets. As the following example makes clear.

So, you’re a retailer. A hurricane has hit your city and the city water plant was wiped out. The water won’t be back on for weeks at the earliest.

You have four cases of water in your store. Four people come into your store:

Person A: A wealthy banker with $250,000 in the bank and $500 cash in hand who wants to buy all four cases of water at $80 apiece.
Persons B,C,D: Three single mothers with two kids making $400/month at a minimum wage job while living in subsidized housing. Most of her money goes to food, utilities, or the car that is all that allows her to get to her job, and she has a total of $20 cash left over from paying that month’s bills. She wants to buy a case of water at the normal $4.95 price in order to keep her family alive until FEMA water deliveries start.

What do you do?

If you’re a follower of Ayn Rand, a worshipper of capitalism, you say “Sell the water to the wealthy banker.” It’s what gets you the most money. Which is the whole point of capitalism, right?

If you’re a worshipper of the Free Market Fairy, you’ll say “well, I’m sure those mothers will find some resources *somewhere* to buy water if they really need it,” and shrug your shoulders. If they don’t find water elsewhere, or can’t raise the money in any way, well, they must not have tried hard enough, right?

If you’re a typical economist, you say “well, there’s not enough water to fulfill demand, so high prices ration it amongst the multiple parties.” Ignoring the fact that the rich person can buy more water than he needs because he has money coming out of his ears, while the single mothers even combining all their resources can’t even afford $80 for the single case of water that one of their families needs to stay alive. But dead single mothers aren’t a concern of economists, they’re all about abstractions. Ignoring the fact that their rationing abstraction ends up with 75% more people dead than if the rationing was done according to need rather than according to wealth.

If you’re a Republican sociopathic lizard person (but I repeat myself), you say “those poor people don’t contribute anything to the economy, while the rich man does, so I’ll sell it to the rich man because he’s the only one who deserves to live.” Ignoring the fact that the average rich person would starve to death if it wasn’t for all those poors stocking shelves and cashing out people at supermarkets, and waiting tables and cooking the food at restaurants.

If you’re a moral person, you ration the water — you give each person who comes through a fixed amount that they need to get through the next couple of days, and that’s that. So you sell one case of water to each single mother at the regular price, and one case of water to the rich banker at the regular price, and four people survive to live to see FEMA come in, rather just one. Four people surviving is more moral than only one person surviving, right?

But there seems to be fewer and fewer moral people each year. Perhaps what we need to be selling are moral compasses. Sadly, the vast majority of them seem to be defective right out of the box. Maybe because we outsourced production to China. In the absence of a moral compass, we rely on government to impose morality on the market via, e.g., anti-profiteering laws. When government doesn’t do that… we get dead bodies.

And nobody seems to care.

– Badtux the Morality Penguin

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Researchers find that 40% or more of residents of a neighborhood in Lowndes County, Alabama, have or have had hookworm.

This is a disease of extreme poverty that results in anemia, confusion, extreme lethargy on the part of its sufferers. The end result was generations of Southerners stereotyped as lazy and dim-witted. It was eradicated, people thought, by septic systems and shoes. But now it’s back.

And don’t think this is just a disease of poor blacks. Some of my white relatives in Louisiana are living under similar conditions where they regularly come into contact with raw sewage pouring out from underneath their decrepit trailer homes. Really, they were living under more sanitary conditions before they got indoor plumbing — outhouses, at least, didn’t drizzle raw sewage onto the ground. But the Public Health Service that eradicated hookworm by building twenty million outhouses in the 1920’s and 1930’s is long gone. As are the outhouses, and people for some reason don’t want to go back to using outhouses, they insist on using the toilets that deposit raw poop straight onto the ground outside their decrepit trailer homes.

There are two other alternatives that at least sort of resemble a toilet in that you don’t have to go outside your house in the middle of winter and sit on a cold outhouse toilet seat — composting toilets, and the Incinolet. The wiring in many of these homes won’t support an Incinolet, and nobody is pushing or subsidizing composting toilets as a solution. Not to mention that composting toilets are rabidly opposed by the poor people who would use them, “we want to just sit down on our toilet and flush like you rich people, we don’t want to have to mess with throwing dirt in with our shit and turning a handle and such.” That’s if they even know composting toilets exist — most don’t, because we no longer have a Public Health Service that is focused on sanitation, and county health departments only fine people, they don’t educate people, so nobody contacts the county health department asking what they should do.

And the result of this Libertopia, where nobody enforces sanitation laws or helps poor people comply with sanitation laws, is the return of a parasite that plagued the South for centuries and led to all the stereotypes of lazy stupid Southerners… yay, Libertopia! But maybe that’s the point. If you keep them lethargic they won’t rise up in rebellion. If you keep them dazed and confused, they won’t vote for the Democrats who could help them. Why, if you’re a Republican, a hookworm epidemic or a brain-invading parasite epidemic is exactly what you want! Yay!

– Badtux the “Libertopians are idiots” Penguin

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They don’t care about whether the blue-collar workers they hire know how to do the job, they’ll train them. But even with that, employers *still* can’t find enough workers who aren’t dope addicts.

Wow. Just wow. Some of the stories in this article are crazy. They can’t even rely on people passing the drug tests for assuring that they get a reliable employee who won’t OD or show up zoned out on drugs. There’s one employer that says he’s hired over 100 people who passed the drug tests, who got clean for long enough to pass the drug tests, and after six months he’s only got a dozen of those people left, the rest all fell off the wagon and showed up at work stoned or with the works for injecting themselves or whatever and had to be fired.

This is a problem way too big for individual businesses to handle, especially the smaller businesses, like the roofer who can’t find people willing and able to stay clean enough to climb up on roofs and hammer nails. Not brain surgery, but you can’t do it stoned, you’ll fall the fuck off the roof. What the fuck is he supposed to do? He can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars to send employees to rehab clinics! Roofing doesn’t have that kind of profit margin!

In short, this is a problem that government needs to step up and solve, because that’s the whole fucking point of government — to take care of problems too big for individuals to solve. I mean, that’s why we have a fucking military, not just everybody having their own rifles and shotguns and taking care of national defense by themselves — it turns out that building fucking atomic bombs, nevermind tanks and jets and shit, is too big a deal for individuals to do it on their own.

Expecting to hear Republican legislators talking about the laws they’re going to pass to help their constituents beat this narcotics addiction problem in 3 … 2 … 1…. NEVER. Because they’re too busy sneering that all these dope addicts need to just quit using or die, already. In fact, the Republican politicians of many of these states have even talked about cutting off Narcon to people who have had to be resuscitated multiple times. Think I’m kidding? Nope, I’m not kidding. Just let them die. That’s the Republican solution to the opioid crisis.

Yeah, let them die.

I guess that’d solve it. But it’s part and parcel of Republican solutions to every single other problem facing this nation, all of which solutions seem to involve stacking bodies like cordwood ’cause, like, dead bodies give them fucking woodies and shit. Sick sociopathic cold-blooded lizard fucks, the whole lot of them. Bah.

– Badtux the Drug Penguin

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So, the Senate decided to start deliberating their bill to repeal Obamacare. That’s the vote that succeeded today. That’s not a vote to repeal Obamacare, that’s a vote to bring the bill to the floor for debate. Will it pass? We’ll see.

But really, what I want to talk about is John McCain.

He showed up on the Senate floor to vote to bring it on the floor. A vote that, basically, is a vote for 20,000 people to die if the bill passes.

I don’t get it. He’s a dead man walking. He’s going to be dead within 15 months. That’s how this brain cancer thing works. He is going to be dead well before his term of office runs out in 2022. He doesn’t have to worry about being primaried in 2022. Because he will be dead. Why did he vote for party unity, when party unity is useless to a dead man?

The only thing I can think of is that the evil that permeates the Republican party has eaten away his soul, leaving only a black cesspool heart of old man yelling at cloud, “you darn Democrats, get off my lawn!”. Sad. Really sad. At one time, he had integrity. Now… not so much.

– Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

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