Insta-Millard: Unemployment benefits boost would cost $6 billion — hella bargain

December 31, 2013

Throw a device to keep people afloat in the economy, and life?

Throw a device to keep people afloat in the economy, and life?

Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the bill proposed to extend long-term unemployment compensation for another three months.  Bottom line, CBO says it will increase deficits by about $6.4 billion.

S. 1845, The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act

S. 1845 would extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program for three months—through March 31, 2014. The EUC program allows qualified states to provide up to 47 additional weeks of federally funded unemployment compensation to people who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

Heckuva bargain.  Let’s do it.  Call your Member of the House of Representatives, tell her or him to pass this law.

Payments to people who need money tend to put them to work, boost the economy, and make later aid unnecessary.  But who listens to economists or historians any more?

More:


Small business and Obama

July 24, 2012

Makes sense to me, so I’ll pass it along.

I get e-mail from the Obama campaign, from Stephanie Cutter:

Romney claims the President told entrepreneurs they didn’t build their own businesses — an attack the Washington Post called “ridiculous.” If you’ve seen the President’s actual remarks, you know that all the President said was that, together, Americans built the free enterprise system we all benefit from.

President Obama has consistently fought for small businesses and entrepreneurs — he knows the American middle class was built by hardworking people turning ideas into successful businesses. But if the Romney campaign wants a debate about who’ll step up to support small business, we’re ready.

Take a look at this video I recorded to respond to Romney’s distortion, and help make sure people know the truth about President Obama and small businesses:

It’s the Truth Team’s job to push back against smears like this.

President Obama’s record shows his commitment to helping small business owners. His tax plan will extend tax cuts for 97 percent of American small business owners — building on the 18 tax cuts he’s already signed that are helping small businesses grow and create jobs. Romney opposes the President’s plan, and supports a plan that would favor large corporations and give tax breaks to companies that ship American jobs overseas. Check out this blog post comparing the President’s record to Romney’s, then share it with others.

This isn’t the first time the Romney campaign has twisted the President’s words. It won’t be the last. But every time they do this, we need to call them out — and this time is no different.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from President Obama’s speech in Roanoke, Virginia, on July 13:

You may see President Obama’s entire speech on C-SPAN, here.


Two presidents, 26 years: The Reagan/Obama plan

April 15, 2012

MoveOn.org wonders whether Warren Buffett is a time traveler.  I wonder about that old adage about an idea whose time has come.

I still think we need to pay more attention to making good jobs, and making jobs we have, pay better.   More taxpayers in the middle class reduces everyone’s tax burden and balances budgets.


Immigration policy in an era of globalization: U.S. needs more immigration, not less

June 11, 2011

Anathema to many partisans of the immigration debates:   What if we look at the real value of immigration?  The U.S. needs more to encourage immigration than to discourage it.  God, and devil, in the details.

From the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank:

In advance of an immigration policy conference, Dallas Fed Senior Economist Pia Orrenius discusses how immigration policy can help the U.S. economy and how the global competition for high-skilled immigrants is increasing. The Dallas Fed and the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University are co-sponsoring “Immigration Policy in an Era of Globalization” at the Dallas Fed on May 19-20, 2011.

This piece had only 329 views when I posted it.  Shouldn’t carefully studied views of immigration get more circulation on the inter’tubes?

Do you recall seeing any coverage of the May 19-20 conference  in your local news outlets, or anywhere else?  The conference included high-faluting experts who discussed immigration policies for the U.S., Canada, the EU, Europe, Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.  One might think to find some value in the information there.

Can we get the immigration we need, legally?  Do present proposals in Congress offer to boost our economy, or hurt it?

More:


Rand Paul’s confession: Constipated for years, he can’t see the light

March 17, 2011

In what must be one of the most bizarre but informative exchanges we’ve ever heard from a Tea Partier, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reveals what bugs so many Tea Partiers.  His toilets don’t work, and haven’t for 20 years.

That’s not supposed to be a straight line for a gag.

You can’t get the information from just listening to him, however — you have to have some additional facts so you can read between the lines.

From this exchange at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, we learn:

  1. Rand Paul trivializes abortion and women’s rights.  He appears to think babies are similar to incandescent light bulbs; he’s pretty clueless about either pregnancies or light bulbs.  Could there be a more offensive way to introduce this topic, than to claim his right to buy an incandescent light bulb and waste energy is equal, somehow, to a woman’s right to choose whether to carry a baby?
  2. Rand Paul doesn’t know how to shop.  Rand Paul isn’t much of a plumber.  He apparently bought a defective toilet some years ago, one that either doesn’t work or just can’t deal with the amount of effluent he personally produces, and he blames government for his bowel issues and his plumbing issues.  Well-working, low-water-use toilets have been available for decades in Europe and Asia, and are now available in the U.S., but he can’t be bothered to shop for them.  If he could maintain his old, water-wasting toilet, he’d have no kick, of course.  But he can’t be bothered to shop for a plumber who knows plumbing, and he can’t figure out how to do it himself.
  3. Rand Paul is incompetent at economics and constitutional law, at the same time.  Rand Paul thinks government should regulate things for his satisfaction, keeping products available that are no longer economical to produce — and if government fails to force businesses to do his bidding, it’s government’s fault; but the fact that Paul lives in the 19th century in his mind and no one else wants what he wants, never occurs to him.
  4. Rand Paul wants government to subsidize his bad choices.

Oy.

Let’s go to the video:

Can somebody get Rand Paul a competent plumber?  Can somebody show him how to use Google or Bing or Yahoo! to shop for good toilets and good plumbers?   The nation needs Paul to return to sanity, decency, and sanitation.

[Update:  Paul could learn about efficient, U.S.-built toilets, here.]

Am I wrong to think Paul is making an attack on wise conservation in general?  Why?

Paul’s smug, self-satisfied invincibility of incompetence and learned helplessness is appalling.  (Take that, Protein Wisdom; it’s just you, Jeff G. — everybody else sees Ms. Morgan as composed against Paul’s overweening smugness.)

Can somebody explain this to me:  This moment of extreme embarrassment to Sen. Paul is posted by his office at his YouTube site.  What were they thinking?

Somebody give a medal to Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Morgan for not teeing off on the guy.  Letting him twist in the wind is good enough.

By the way, the bill Paul complains about?  The manufacturers agreed to the standards voluntarily, and have already agreed to comply — the bill adds no regulations they say they cannot meet; Hogan’s statement noted:

S.398 codifies agreements that were negotiated, signed, and promoted by a cross-section of stakeholders representing consumer advocacy groups, manufacturers, manufacturer trade associations, and energy efficiency advocacy organizations, all of whom support this bill. The negotiated consensus agreements would establish energy conservation standards for 14 products, several of which are in the midst of DOE’s ongoing standards and test procedure rulemakings.

Also constipated:

Resources, good information:


Charts conservatives hope you won’t see, that Tea Party members won’t read

January 30, 2011

Food for thought:

Increases in the national debt, by president since 1976

Increases in the national debt, by president since 1976 - I'm not sure the source; is it right?

Click the thumbnail for a larger version:

Increases in national debt to 2008

Increases in national debt to 2008

Gross national debt, by president:

Increases in gross national debt, by president

Increases in gross national debt, by president; z-facts via About.com

All this, and they want to lecture “liberals” on how government should be run?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Marion Young.


Dan Valentine: Economic recovery? Check the cigarette butts and panty hose

May 30, 2010

By Dan Valentine

Good news! “The economy is growing again!” So said President Obama, just the other day.

Of course, his opponents would have you believe otherwise. But there are certain solid economic indicators that prove him right.

Like, for instance, cigarette butts.

That’s the word from a little-known tobacco expert who calls himself West Virginia Slim. When the economy went bust, he took time off from his job to tour North America–by thumb–after he found a pink slip on the desk of his corner office overlooking Broad & Wall.

I ran into him outside of Hussong’s Cantina here in Ensenada, said to be the oldest bar in the west. He was smoking a Cuban cigar.

And he says he has definite proof that the U.S. economy is, in the words of the President, “picking up considerable speed”. He can tell by the half-smoked cigarette butts strewn across the land.

“After the bust,” he told me during an exclusive interview, ‘cigarette butts flicked on the side of the nation’s streets were short. People took more puffs and got the most out of each cigarette before tossing it.”

But ever since Obama took office, he has noticed that the cigarette butts are getting, slowly but surely, longer. “People are throwing ‘em away, half-smoked,” he says.

30-foot cigarette butt in London - National Geographic photo

30-foot cigarette butt in London, England. Is this an indicator that England is undergoing a huge recovery? National Geographic photo

And this, he assures me, is definite proof, regardless of what the naysayers say, that good times are upon us.

Slim isn’t the only economic wizard who says so. A woman by the name of Gertrude, who made jillions in the stock market before she lost jillions in the market, can prove without a doubt that the country is, in Obama’s words, “beginning to turn the corner.”

Gertrude, who now makes a living as a waitress–she was here to buy duty-free Tequila to take back over the border–uses the “Parsley Principle” to judge prosperity, or the lack of it.

“During the last few months of Bush’s presidency,” says Gertrude, “customers ate the funny little green garnishes that chefs like to place on the sides of dishes as tho’ they were going out of style. Fact is, we couldn’t keep enough parsley in stock during the last days of the Bush Administration.”

But now, in Obama’s second year, very few people, if any, eat the tiny, little parsley garnishes. And this, she says, is a sure-sign that, in Obama’s words: ‘the worst of the storm is over.’”

Another economist, who uses a somewhat different barometer, says times are getting “much” better.

Her name is Olive. She spends a good part of her day going through suit pockets. She works in a dry cleaning establishment in L.A. It’s her job to empty the pockets of the suits before they are dry cleaned.

Says this full-time pocket-picker: “When times are good, people leave all sorts of coins in their pockets. But during bad times, practically no money can be found at all.”

Since the stimulus package was passed, says Olive, “the pocket-picking has been mighty good.” So good that she could afford a 3-day cruise from San Diego to Ensenada on the “Fun Ship”!

Interior of Hussong's Cantina, Ensenada, Mexico

Economics seminar at Hussong's Cantina, Ensenada, Mexico

Another little-known economic expert, a cop from Chicago, told me that he can measure the economic atmosphere of the nation by pantyhose.

He told me this over several rounds of Margaritas. (Some people drive hundreds of miles to visit the birthplace of Abe Lincoln. He flew hundreds of miles, here to Ensenada, to visit the birthplace of the Margarita. But, anyway …

Said this Chicago cop, after years on the force, “When times are good, bank robbers tend to wear expensive, luxury pantyhose over their heads to cover up their mugs. They like the confident, silky-soft feel that expensive pantyhose give them during a hold-up.”

But when times are bad bank robbers tend to buy generic or no-brand pantyhose for a bank job.

“I remember one time,” he told me, “during the last days of the Bush years, we arrested this bank robber at the scene of the crime and he had several runs in the pair of pantyhose pulled over his face. I really felt embarrassed for the fella.”

But the cop added: “Right now, since Obama took over, you hardly ever see a bank robber with runs.”

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