Rasmussen Push-Polling: HowTo (re: Network Neutrality)

It turns out that one of the things I enjoy doing is pointing out how the powerful screw over the ignorant.  Strange thing to enjoy, I know, but said perverse pleasure is certainly extant, so here’s another round.

Many of you reading have probably heard the phrase “Net Neutrality”  (or the more technically accurate version, “Network Neutrality”).    Most of you probably don’t know what it means.  This isn’t a judgement on you, but more likely your sources of information (i.e. The Media (italicized to portray ominous overtones)).   In fact, given that there has been a directed misinformation campaign about the concept, and its implementation, this general state of confusion in the electorate is understandable.*

So…the public is confused…the topic is technical…and the government is getting involved.   What does the gameplan* call for?  Tell the public what they think and make it sound plausible.

Which brings us to the poll….

Just 21% Want FCC to Regulate Internet, Most Fear Regulation Would Promote Political Agenda

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet world. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly oppose FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats are more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet most are most opposed to FCC regulations.

By a 52% to 27% margin, voters believe that more free market competition is better than more regulation for protecting Internet users. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly share this view, but a plurality of Democrats (46%) think more regulation is the better approach.

Seems pretty straightforward, eh?  Republicans, being good and loving freedom, oppose “Net Neutrality” and prefer free markets to oppressive government regulation.   Unaffiliated voters agee and only those  Democrats want the Government to control everything so they can keep being elected even with their totally unpopular opinions.

The funny thing about this poll?  The questions themselves have absolutely nothing to do with Network Neutrality.  They aren’t even close

.

1* How closely have you followed stories about Internet neutrality issues?

 [This one is fine, and probably used to fine tune future push-polling, or test for general susceptability.    Note how the results from this question appear as a last-line afterthought in the Rasmussen story.  Note also how this issue is *very* susceptible to push polling…most don’t know, or care….much about the topic.]

2* Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?

 [This question has nothing to do with Network Neutrality at all and is *very misleading*.   The only way the recent rules for Net Neutrality resemble TV or radio regulation is the part of TV and radio regulations that say you can’t broadcast signals on competitor’s frequencies in order to degrade their service to end consumers.   And even that’s a stretch.

The unstated implicaition here is for *content* filtering (i.e. no nipple slips, no more Rush or Glenn).  Net Neutrality explicitly forbids content filtering (that’s the whole point of it).   Hence this question is horrible for anything other than pushing an opinion on a confused populace.] 

3* What is the best way to protect those who use the Internet—more government regulation or more free market competition?

[This question sets up a false dichotomy.   What if the best way to protect the Net is more of both?   Less of both?  And there’s a very important second part of the question omitted…protect those who use the Internet..from what?   Being ripped off?   Criminals?  Hacking?  Paying more for wireless than every other 1st world country?  Having their service degraded because a content provider didn’t pay off their ISP?   

And because the telecom market (and broadband in particular) has some curious quirks, what happens when the best way to protect those who use the Interent is more free market competition spurred by government regulation?   I know, that makes some heads asplode, but it is precisely what other countries have done to keep the market working (the entrenched telecoms oppose “unbundling” which would lead to more free market competition, as a rule).

Note also that this question, in addition to being a flase dichotomy, is also completely unrelated to Net Neutrality.  One’s answer mainly hinges on private sector/public sector bias and little else]

4* If the Federal Communications Commission is given the authority to regulate the Internet, will they use that power in an unbiased manner or will they use it to promote a political agenda?

[This is probably the worst of the lot, so I’ll just let it stink up the place on its own.   I will point out that Network Neutrality, by defintion, requires the network to treat content in an unbiased manner.  If you agree that ISP’s shouldn’t be messing around with the content you request in your browser/phone/ipad/etc, you support Net Neutrality.   There is no way in hell you could have ever figured that out from these questions.  In fact, you’d probably be left with the exact opposite impression….pushed by the poll.]

And to make the long story short, let me go ahead and post this summarizing comment on the original thread that lead me to the link….

TofuTheAlmighty    
Rasmussen fields polls that ask leading and tendentious questions that dovetail with conservative orthodoxy whose results are then picked up by media outlets to drive a narrative that conservative positions are popular?

I’m stunned.

Me too.  

I’ll update this after I find the results of this horrid poll being cited as popular support against Net Neutrality.   Shouldn’t take long now…

* Sowing this confusion, and turning scientific and technical problems into political opinions, is now a time-honored tradition by entrenched industries facing the music for the wide-ranging negative effects of their business practices.  There is even a well-known blueprint on how to do so….

 According to Brownell and Warner, the common strategies include dismissing as “junk science” peer-reviewed studies showing a link between their products and disease; paying scientists to produce pro-industry studies; sowing doubt in the public’s mind about the harm caused by their products; intensive marketing to children and adolescents; frequently rolling out supposedly “safer” products and vowing to regulate their own industries; denying the addictive nature of their products; and lobbying with massive resources to thwart regulatory action.

UPDATE: Derpa, derpa, derpa, derp.

That is what Free Press is after with its “net neutrality” regulation. It is laying the groundwork for government control of the Internet. Once that it is established, it will be able to shout down websites with which it doesn’t agree, if not shut them out altogether.

UPDATE 2: D-derp, d-derp, d-derp.

Rasmussen’s Dec. 23 national telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 54 percent oppose such regulation, and another 25 percent are not sure, while only 21 percent favor it.

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet world.

UPDATE 3: Derp-a-lurpa-ding-dong.  News Corp FTW.  I love how they take the spin inherent in the poll and spin it even faster….so much so that it takes on a life of its own.
Rasmussen’s latest poll reinforces what everyone — Congress, the courts and the general public — understands about the internet, but Democrat bureaucrats do not: the Internet should be free and open. In response to the FCC’s (Democratic) party-line vote in favor of regulating the delivery of the internet (the Republican commissioners voted against), Rasmussen did a national telephone survey to determine how citizens feel about federal bureaucrats inserting themelves into the web.
I love how Abby Wisse Schachter is a complete and total liar.  No wait….I remember…I love *pointing out* how Abby Wisse Schachter is a complete and total liar. 

Grab Bag of Political Link Dumpings

Just a few things to get off the desktop here…organized by order of randomness…

How “For Profit” Colleges cost us all a lot of money.   I hate it when good things (higher education) get exploited for money in the wrong way.   Continuing professional education should be a means to an end (expanding skillsets leading to making more money/job satisfaction) not used as that end in and of itself.

The Reality of the last Congress.

The Big Lie that killed it.

Glenn’s attempt at the Big Lie on Net Neutrality….only partially successful.   I’ll probably do more on this after more details and analysis come out.  I am a big proponent of net neutrality.  The real kind, not the bastardized concept bouncing around the RWEC.

Fox News gives in, tells the truth, and now 9/11 Responders get federal help.   Note: Shep Smith had a previous rant about this subject that followed my guidelines in How to Make Government Look Really Bad (and Win) to the letter.   Now if we could only get Fox to stop lying about climate change we’d be that much closer to having a functioning democracy again.

 —

EU is getting sick of Israeli shennangans.  I think pretty much everyone is.   When they have the gall to blame any third party for the breakdown of peace negotiations when they pull this settlement bait and switch is somewhat galling.    Still, giving the recent string of Obama victories, maybe this SNL skit (re:Hillary) might turn out right (personally I think low expectations of a real deal increases their chances dramatically in this clusterfark).  

There will simply not be enough lawns to get off of.   I take a certain bit of guilty pleasure in reading that article.  I’ve long held that Boomers are one of the most spoiled, entitled and ultimately disastrous generations to have cursed this nation.  And now they get to start reaping their harvest.   And by “they” I meant “we”.

The grim results arrive before next month’s milestone, when the oldest baby boomers will turn 65. America’s baby boomer generation of 79 million people adds up to a little more than a quarter of the U.S. population, the center reports.

Over the next 19 years, about 10,000 people will turn 65 each day, the survey reports, resulting in a grayer America by 2030. By that year, 18% of the nation’s population will be over the age of 65, compared with 13% now.

 I just hope they come up with a good Alzheimer’s drug before the Tea Party really takes off .   I think there’s a roughly 50% chance the nation as we know it survives the Boomers.   Seriously.   By 2030 the U.S. will be 25% Young, Poor, and Hispanic and 18% Old, Rich and Racist.  If that doesn’t tear it apart, nothing will.

Love Under the Threat of Terrror

A short story…

Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat. I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn’t care. His touch was so experienced, so sure.

When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply.

Read on for the thrilling climax.

Grateful Dead are grateful, dead (and great, IMHO)

I was  glad to see this one make it through, and it gives me a bit of a contact high to see Sen. Coburn annoyed.

A new report slams $11.5 billion worth of what it calls wasteful government spending in 2010, including more than a half million dollars to digitize Grateful Dead itemes.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s Wastebook 2010 highlights, cites $615,000 in federal funds to digitize photographs, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead. The money went to the University of California at Santa Cruz, the band’s chosen spot for an archive that is supposed to be free to the public.

“Congress continues to find new and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars,” said the Oklahoma Republican.

Hmmm, let’s see if this is a waste…on the one side we have, for free, legally, to download on the internet…roughly 3,700 hundred shows and other recordings from a cultural icon.  Might I recommend…this (click, press play.  Yes, this is legal.  They were/are pretty chill guys.).   Now they get to add in, on the net, all “digitizedphotographs, T-shirts and concert tickets”, and tons and tons of other stuff, all for free, all online (it’s already there IRL).  And all this at a cost of roughly…$0.002/per citizen.

Truly, Senator Coburn, we’ll have that $1,200,000,000,000 budget hole patched in no time, what with that $650,000 you pointed out.   I mean,  that’s like 0. 0000005416% of last year’s deficit.  At this rate, you’ll have last year’s shortfall made up in…roughly 5,000 years (if you point out this much “pork” each and every day).

Gerry’s dead man, let him go (and float forever over the ether web).

Why not just focus on being a disingenuous douchebag about the 9/11 responders bill?

How the Obama-GOP Debt Deal (aka “Tax Cuts”) Actually Will Work in the Real World

Let me preface this with a couple of things.   One) I have become extremely annoyed that somehow the notion that “tax cuts” balance out “spending” has taken root in our political psyche.   There’s this weird idea out there, and it’s a popular one, that cutting revenue (and thus reducing the balance sheet) is somehow totally different than increasing spending (and thus reducing the balance sheet).  Two) That was really the only thing I wanted to preface this with.

It is absurd to think tax cuts and spending aren’t the same thing, and have the same effect, but it is the prevailing view of a large segment of the U.S. voting populace.   The paper-thin philosophical rationalization for this concept is that “it’s the people’s money” and therefore cutting taxes is seen as a good thing, giving the people their money, regardless if it is accompanied by spending cuts.  Long-term debt rarely enteres the conversation.  Recently we saw what happend when long-term debt was made a focus…it was very quickly forgotten once the money was on the table.

Cutting taxes is politically easy.  Cutting spending much harder.    Increasing taxes is politically hard.  Increasing spending has a slight political cost, but the bribe usually shuts people up (for example: how many Tea Partiers are complaining about the Bush’s unfunded Med D expansion?  I’ve yet to see a prominent one).

So the end result of thirty years of thinking that “tax cuts” are the same as “spending cuts” is a roughly $13,000,000,000,000 debt that costs about $400,000,000,000/yr to maintain (note, that’s our “minimum interest payments”).

It’s funny, but when we talk about tax cuts, we talk about how individuals earn their money and should keep it.   We don’t want to punish the successful, after all.

However, when we talk about debt, we talk about it how much of it is apportioned to each and every American citizen (currently it’s at about $45,000/person).

It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the U.S. is currently in recession* and is spending waaay beyond her means. 

Hence, any additional tax cuts are all deficit spending.   When you don’t have enough money to pay the bills, bringing in less money doesn’t usually help you catch up**.

I found one Congressman who made this point, while standing against the deal…

“I strongly support extending tax cuts for middle-class families and ensuring no increased tax rates for 98 percent of Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “I do not favor incurring another trillion dollars in debt needed to provide another tax cut to the 2 percent of taxpayers who earn over $250,000 a year.

See, he hits the nail on the head.  In order to finance the tax cuts for everyone, everyone has to take on more debt.  That debt is shared equally.  Those tax cuts aren’t.

So how does the Obama/GOP Debt Expansion Deal look now?   How does it affect Americans of differing incomes?

Glad you asked, because that’s my big finish….

[based on this graph, and expanded with my own data analysis skillz…]

Graph on How Debt Deal Screw Half of Income Earners

As you can see, you have to make at least the median income to break even on this deal. By definition, half of workers don't meet that criteria.

It becomes fairly obvious, after you factor in the shared burden of our national debt incurred by this deal, that this was a pretty crappy compromise for most working people.   The “payroll tax holiday” is a only for a year, the tax cut on capital gains , upper incomes, and estates is for (at least) two.   

It gets really bad when your realize that in order for each top earners to keep their huge cuts, an average of 70 low income people are going to have to take a hit when it comes time to pay it back.

That hit is going to come in the next couple years, when it becomes obvious that the additional debt this deal adds to the last 10 years of this foolishness are going to require “belt tightening” by *everyone*.  And by *everyone* we mean people who work for a living and will have to continue working for a living until they reach, at least, the mandated retiredment age (which is now going to be at least two years later, ’cause you know, Rush has to get his cuts or we’ll be back the kind of economy we had under Clinton).

Ultimately I think this is a pretty shoddy deal.  There isn’t much in it that the Republicans didn’t want (Seriously, di you think they’d be the first Congress in the modern era to deny extension of unemployment when it’s at record highs?  Seriously, Obama?), and the idea of horse-trading Democratic spending for Republican tax cuts is a horrid deal for the workers themselves.

It has become largely apparent that Obama is a pragmatic centrist with leftist…shall we say…aspirations.    

This bodes well for his chances in 2012.

*It feels like one because of the unemployment rate, however, we aren’t technically in a recession anymore.  We’ve had like 8 consecutive quarters of growth.  2010 saw record corporate profits.   It’s just that they money is at the top, and staying there.  Ultimately this type of unbalanced society *will* topple, which is why I advocate against letting it get worse than it already is.  Human history illustrates this point again, and again, and telling ourselves we are inherently different and immune to such trivialities is a blind spot a mile wide.

**I’m  aware of Keynsian economic thinking (simple version: spend during a recession, tax during a boom), and generally agree with it….but we never get to that second part, as only one side thinks you *ever* have to recoup the losses, and they can’t seem to hold on to power for very long, nor make this exact same point in a coherent way.

Gamers Get Game Theory (Steam Holiday Game Sale vs Social/Neuro/Buzzword-Economics)

Just ran into this post over on Reddit (good place, A++, will visit again).

The first (current) post is this nugget of economic theory gold…

ddLinkz 263 points 7 hours ago[-]

REMEMBER: Do NOT buy games if they are NOT a daily deal! Purchase games on the last day of the sale (January 2nd) if they haven’t been a daily deal! Usually, games that are on sale now become daily deals, so hold onto your money!

Some quick background reading here and some longer reading (especially) here. The second link is the one I was going for in the title.  You can boil all that stuff down, and indeed, a good deal of real world economic behavior, to getting what you think are good tips from your friends.

Reddit, being kinda game-like in and of itself and filled with people who have years, if not decades, of experience in unraveling a combination of cryptic and fragmented data in order to achieve a simple goal, aced Steam’s marketing team in this test.   Usually these skills are used for problems along the line of saving a princess/taking over the world/killing the bad guys, however, in this case getting the best price possible…that’s not zero, is the goal. (The zero thing is important here, as the option to go “rogue” is much higher for pc gamers.  Remember all pc gamers have access to free games, if they want to work hard enough, especially folks who hang on places that support wikileaks, ifyouknowwhatimsaying ).

Anyway, just a curious example of how economic theory and the real world collide; it’s usually just friend sharing tips.    It’s just going to happen faster now (and you’ll have more people trying to play that role on the sly).

 

Obama Plans to Dye Moon Red in Honor of Socialism

It’s going to happen tonight.

Many will try and use “science” to try and convince you this is not actually a sign of an over-riding socialist conspiracy to destry this country.  They are wrong (because I said so, that’s why!).

Look up into the sky tonight for proof.

North Americans should have the best seats in the house for the event, which reaches its climax at 2:41 a.m. ET Tuesday when Earth’s shadow covers every bit of the moon’s disk. For more than an hour, the moon should glow sunset-red, thanks to the light refracted by the edge of Earth’s atmosphere [and the socialist conspiracy theory, the lamestream media always “forgets” that part].

Behold, the glory of the Revolution!

The Government Disintegrates as the Union Dissolves

I don’t think this is going to end well.

The final indignity was authored by one of those very men, Francis Pickens, the state’s newly installed governor. Pickens, a portly, bewigged owner of more than 400 slaves, and an ardent secessionist (“I would be willing to appeal to the god of battles, if need be, to cover the state with ruin, conflagration and blood, rather than submit,” is a recent quote), is nominally a friend of the president. He wrote Buchanan a letter, saying, “I am authentically informed that the forts in Charleston harbor are now being thoroughly prepared to turn, with effect, their guns upon the interior and the city.”

I just don’t see how this latest issue can be resolved without bloodshed.   I’m afraid Pickens quote is going to turn out to be quite prescient.

This ongoing NYT series is a lot of fun.

UPDATE: This ongoing bullshit is not.

On December 20, 1960, South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession was signed by 169 men and the state became the first to formally leave the United States. Abraham Lincoln famously responded that the secession would not stand, and four months later the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

To commemorate the secession, a small ceremony was held on Monday at the spot where the declaration was signed, and a new historical marker was dedicated.

“It’s undeniable that these men sought to preserve the institution of slavery,” Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, who is white, said of those who signed the document.

“You’re a Liar,” an unidentified bystander shouted at Riley.

Riley continued: “Slavery is mentioned in the Declaration of Immediate Causes for secession 31 times. There can be no celebration in the recording of this moment.”

Nothing like a sesquicentennial to bring out the best in people.

Jim DeMint: Working around Christmas is “sacriliegous”, hence I’ll slow things down more

It’s really hard to be the biggest douche in Congress, there is just too much competition.  Hence, it’s a revolving honor.

Today’s winner?

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats’ push to force through [pass by majority vote] an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas “sacrilegious,” and warned he’d draw the process out to wage his objections.

“You can’t jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas,” he told POLITICO. “What’s going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year – they kept everybody here until (Christmas Eve) to force something down everybody’s throat. I think Americans are sick of this.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46422.html#ixzz18Dd7j8Un

How is the majority party of both houses of Congress passing legislation and sending it to the President for signature “forcing a big, black cock down America’s throat”?    Sorry, but I’m just sick of this line of bullshit.

How is passing legislation with majority support a huge freaking problem, but the minority party blocking all legislation is somehow indicative of the will of the of people?  

How is it that it doesn’t matter at all what the legislation is, you’re still goint to be an ass about it?  This treaty is approved by every living President and former Secretary of State.  It’s how we know the Russians are living up to their side of the end of the Cold War.  No one is against it, except for asshole politicians holding up good legislation so they can pay back their campagin contributors.

And now you’re going to use your religion as an excuse for why you can’t work?   Oh, and did you note the tactic for implementing the strategy?  Wasting taxpayer time and money.

DeMint has demanded a full reading of the treaty, a process that could push the chance for a vote closer to Christmas unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulls the measure from the floor.

DeMint’s comments echo those of Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) who said yesterday that Reid’s voting schedule is impossible to accomplish “without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians.”

It’s taken a while, but I really do think I actually hate Republicans now.  I know, I know, hate is a waste of time and energy, it’s true.  And perhaps that’s not the right word, but there is a level of rank hypocrisy here that just goes well over my line.  Way over.   I certainly have no respect for them, or anyone who supports them.   Sure,  I can understand the billionaires and multi-millionaires who support their policies (and people who hate gays, muslims and minorities), as that’s who they are solely designed to benefit, but anyone else who supports them is essentially shooting themselves in the face.   And the rest of us, too.

Is the ignorance willful?  Is it just a sign that they believe the obvious lies?   Do people support them because they, like the Republicans, hate science? [for reals]  Do people actually believe that tax cuts don’t affect the budget in the exact same way as spending? [yes, they do, note how this was written during the original Bush tax-cut debate…and how the end result of those cuts was the same as the 1920’s tax cuts and the 1980’s ones…bubble, then  bust].

When the Republicans voted to protect rapists, I thought that was kinda bad.   When they filibustered feeding kids and healthcare for 9/11 responders, I thougt it was worse.  When they held the country hostage to extend their tax breaks (while, literally at the same time, moaning about the deficit), I realized they aren’t worthy of anything resembling respect.  They aren’t, now that I think about it, even worth the effort to hate.  

Sadly, my countrymen awarded this behavior by gving them more power. [one wonders if they’ll see how quickly they were betrayed]

All of which is why we have a Senator saying he works too hard (saying “No” all the time) and it’s now an affront to his religion to do his job.    I fully expect him to get promoted for this, modern day Christianity is all about persecution (of others) and protection (of the wealthy, who are wealthy because God loves them more, natch).

After all, the President has spent the last week telling everyone how the Republicans were right all along.  Convinced that the hostage takers have the right plan.

Sad, that.

UPDATE: DeMint is an even *bigger* hypocrite than previously noted

Frustrated with Sen. Jim DeMint’s support for a move to require an oral reading of the START nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia – a move that could take as long as 12-15 hours in these waning lame duck days — an Obama administration official notes that DeMint only attended five of the 12 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on START, nor was he present for the final vote to order the treaty reported on the 16th.

DeMint attended the May 18 and 19, June 15 and 24, and July 14 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, plus the Committee markup session on Sept. 16.  

Tweeted Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., just now: “# of hours to read START on Sen. floor = 12-15, # of comm. hearings DeMint missed on START = 7. No wonder he needs to have it read to him.”

How To Make Government Look *Really* Bad (and Win)

Step 1 :  Filibuster majority party on popular legislation.  Make sure to point out how the “majority” is weak because they still can’t seem to get anything done.

Step 2 : Rant and Rave about how “Government” is a bunch of selfish jerks because they hate good things.  Become popular broadcasting populist messages.

Step 3 : Neglect to mention how your employer is doing the work of previously mentioned minority party.  Make sure never to mention you are a political operative when bashing politicians.

Step 4 : Profit, babyFunnel those profits back into the party.

Step 5 : And win! 

More of this later, the baseness, and effectiveness of this strategy is astounding.   Hopefully tomorrow I’ll tackle the issue this same insane re-enforcement cycle has introduced to our culture regarding the nature of taxation. Or maybe the next day.

This is how people with “honor” filibuster

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been on the Senate floor since 10:30 a.m., speaking out against the tax deal reached by President Obama. He shows no sign of letting up any time soon.

Sanders has been an outspoken critic of the deal since the White House announced it on Monday.

The speech is a throw-back to an old-school filibuster. Senate rules now allow a senator to simply invoke a filibuster, thus requiring sixty votes to end debate on a piece of legislation. Sanders’ speech hearkens back to the days of a senator dominating the floor for hours on end in order to block a vote. The record for the longest filibuster goes to Strom Thurmond who lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes.

His Twitter stream is following his speech. He’s hit the number two trending topic worldwide. Two hashtags have started in his honor: #Filibernie and #Berniebuster.

[full story]

The dishonorable ones refuse to even *debate* help for 9/11 victims (failed 57-42), letting people who die for this country do so honestly (failed 57-40), and tax cuts that don’t go to billionaires (failed 53-36).

You notice how all those votes in the Senate were majorities and defeated?  

And every single one of them got more votes than the big Bush tax cuts.  Every single one.

But regardless of how big a douchebags the GOP are, I still am going to give props to somneone doing this the honorable way.

Good on ya, Bernie.  Keep it up.

How Many People Will Rush Hire With His Extra $1,462,500 Tax Break Next Year?

I’ve been told repeatedly by the media that raising taxes by 3.9% on 2% of the population would destroy this country’s recovery.   Now, I know for a fact that this extra 3.9% given to the top 2% didn’t do a whole lot to stimulate job growth when it was given.  I actually know where a lot of that money went.  Here’s a story on the aftermath…

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — One of Bernard Madoff’s first clients, along with 19 family members, settled potential lawsuits by agreeing to forfeit $625 million in profits from the con man’s investment fraud.

The Shapiro funds, held in accounts at JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, are traceable to money invested by victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the largest in U.S. history, according to prosecutors.

Madoff, 72, pleaded guilty in March 2009 and is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina. At the time of Madoff’s arrest, his firm’s account statements reflected 4,900 accounts with $65 billion in nonexistent investments. Investors lost about $20 billion in principal.

[full story]

So why am I bringing up Madoff and Obama’s extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy?   We already know that tax cuts for the richest are a poor economic stimulator…

CBO studied various options that could offer some economic pop over the next two years. Extending the Bush tax cuts ranked last. Topping the list were increased aid to the unemployed, reduced employers’ and workers’ payroll taxes and the full or partial expensing of investment costs.

…but the real question, for me at least, was why.  See, it’s one thing to simply accept a political axiom, it’s quite another to look at recent example of a similar situation, their results and then apply that to the same situation.  In 2001 and 2003 Bush made huge tax cuts for the wealthy.  At the time, most investment vehicles were largely full.  With the situation where there is a lot of idle money, and normal investment vehicles are full (i.e. at a point where adding money only lowers returns), the investment class gets more creative, or dishonest.

The creative aspect we saw in the “sub-prime” market, where the creativity ultimately collapsed taking a whole lot more with it.  The dishonest side was largely encapsulated by Bernie Madoff.   It is exactly that kind of scenario (windfall coming to someone to doesn’t need it) that leads to hucksters gaining ground.  There was a large pool of un-used money around, a no-questions asked kind of way to make it grow, and there ya go, recipe for a disaster.

So that’s why giving more money to people who have plenty doesn’t work to help stimulate an economy.  Any investment, at this point, is going to be shady or international.   The only group that is going to, for sure, invest the money in the American economy is the government.   Individuals will find a better rate of return in shady deals or international investment.

Which brings us back to the title.  Rush Limbaugh makes about $37,500,000 a year.  This 3.9% tax break increases his take-home income by about $1,462,500/yr.

What I’m curious to find out, and will take a nice look back on later, is how many American jobs this specific tax cut will create.    Or how many people Rush has announced on air he is planning to hire with this money.

 I know Rush spends a lot of his fun money down south where sex laws are more lax and the papparazzi less common, and I’m sure a lot of this money will find its way South as well, but surely *some* of it will go to help the economic recovery here, right?  Surely a few grand will go to employ someone hoping to fight their way into the middle class.

Perhaps a bit will, how do you say, trickle down.   Perhaps someone who serves his food will note a bigger tip.   Perhaps.  We’ll see.