Day: August 7, 2011

Paul Ryan Signals Willingness To Raise Revenues, Shifting Positions Following Downgrade

So, it appears that it took the S&P downgrade to make some Congressional Republicans come to their senses.

Think Progress

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he is open to revenue increases as part of a deal to reduce the deficit today, seemingly shifting positions from the hardline opposition his party has maintained against revenue growth. Ryan said on Fox News Sunday that he would be open to a deal that containes $3 or $4 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases if it came through a major reform of the tax code and was large enough. Host Chris Wallace asked if Ryan would be open such hypothetical deal if he were sitting on the joint super committee created by the deal to raise the debt ceiling. Ryan responded, “yes”:

WALLACE: If you were on that committee, and you get a deal — let’s say $3 or $4 dollars in spending cuts and entitlement cuts for every $1 in revenue increases, and the revenue increases came from tax reform [...] — would you be open minded to including some of that revenue as part of a debt deal?

RYAN: It all depends on the spending side of the ledger. … If we’re convincingly restructuring these entitlement programs and getting that spending line down to meet that revenue line, then can you have higher revenue growth through more economic growth and tax reform? Yes, the answer is yes.

Watch it:

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A STAGGERING FALSE EQUIVALENCY

I’ve been reading p m carpenter’s commentary for a couple of weeks now and I really enjoy his/her writing style and choice of political topics. About that balanced budget amendment that certain factions in Congress are touting…

p m carpenter 

Kudos to the NY Times’ Frank Bruni for having won, through a preposterousness that staggers, this week’s Asinine Equivalence Award:

We all have our religions…. And if yours isn’t a balanced-budget amendment and a [lean] government … it might well be a big fat binge of Keynesian stimulus spending. Liberals think magically, too, becoming so attached to a certain approach that they wind up advocating it less as option than as panacea.

So in Bruni’s Big Book of Journalistic Balance, the balanced budget amendment currently being touted by a frightfully mutant breed of economus ignoramus, such as Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Joe Walsh — an amendment described in running commentaries by a former Reagan/H.W. Bush official as “idiotic,” “dimwitted,” “insane,” “stupid,” “shameful,” “dopey,” “dumb,” “absurd,” “irresponsible,” “contemptible,” “silly,” “juvenile,” “ignorant” and “immature” — not only can but should be lumped with 80 years of empirical Keynesianism: just more “magical thinking.”

I submit that there is greater empirical evidence to support the plucky insurgents of the Flat Earth Society than there is to mitigate the wholesale imbecility of straitjacketing government in the crippling absence of aggregate demand; yet Bruni breazily asserts the latter as commensurate with an economic school of historically and impressively verifiable efficacy.

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45,000 Verizon workers strike

Since there are so few Unions in the United States these days, this becomes headline news.  Bravo to the Verizon Communications workers!

Raw Story

Unions representing 45,000 Verizon Communications workers called for a strike as negotiations failed for a new labor contract that expired at midnight on Saturday.

Verizon and the unions — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – had been in talks since late June.

The workers who went on strike on Sunday are technicians and customer support employees in Verizon’s wireline business, which provides Internet and land phone lines to homes and businesses in the U.S. Northeast.

Verizon is looking to keep costs in check at its wireline business, which has been declining for a decade as customers have disconnected their home phones in favor of cellphone and Internet services.

The two sides were unable to agree on issues related to healthcare contributions, pension plans and work rules, according to Verizon and the CWA.

Verizon said it had trained tens of thousands of employees, from retirees to management, to fill the role of the workers who are now on strike.

“We are confident that we have the talent and resources in place to meet the needs and demands of our customers,” Marc C. Reed, Verizon’s executive vice-president of human resources, said in a statement.

The CWA says the contributions to healthcare that Verizon wants the union members to make were unacceptable, and that increases in deductibles would make the proposed healthcare plan unaffordable.

The unions had warned of a strike and began to mobilize support among their members in early July. Verizon did not budge from the set of changes it asked for, which the unions were demanding the company take off the table.

With only hours left under their contract late on Saturday night, both unions issued statements accusing Verizon of not “getting serious” in negotiations. The CWA, which represents 35,000 workers under contract, said all the major concessions Verizon was asking for were yet to be agreed upon.

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RIOT ROCKS LONDON

This is interesting, first the “Arab Summer”, now the “London Riots”.  The situation has been contained for now, but  one has to wonder, what Western country is next?

The Huffington Post

After riots shook Tottenham last night, questions are being asked about the police behaviour and the root cause of the violence.

The riots began after residents staged a protest outside the police station on Tottenham High Road to protest at the shooting of Mark Duggan, who was killed by police on Thursday.

As community leaders condemned the outburst, which saw 26 police officers injured, three police cars and a double-decker bus burnt out and over 40 arrests, a youth leader who was at the scene said there were questions to answer about why the violence was not contained.

Symeon Brown, co-founder of grassroots youth movement Haringey Young People Empowered said tension between young people and the police had existed for generations.

Brown said the peaceful protest soon escalated: “The murder of Mark Duggan led to a peaceful protest, it escalated into violence and where the police should have contained the area they didn’t contain it. They created a line to contain the station but they didn’t contain the riots.”

But rank-and-file police officers have defended themselves. Paul McKeever, chair of Police Federation predicted last year that in times of economic uncertainty that there would be more disturbances, and was criticised by the Home Secretary Theresa May for his comments at the time. This morning he told HuffPost UK:

“Our thoughts are with the officers that have been injured. It seems as though we’re in a position in the police service today where we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

“We’re criticised this morning for being too light-touch initially with the demonstration that was taking place in Tottenham, and yet I’m sure if we’d been less sensitive at the beginning, we’d have been criticised for that if things had gone wrong similarly.”

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