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1
Geopolitics / Trumpty-Dumpty Tax Reform: DOA
« Last post by RE on Today at 08:11:47 AM »
Another Epic Fail coming soon to a CONgress near you.  ::)

Plus they STILL have not even MENTIONED the upcoming Debt Ceiling issue.

RE

https://fortune.com/2017/03/28/tax-reform-trump-plan-dead/

Why President Trump’s Promise of Tax Reform May Be Dead on Arrival


Mar 27, 2017

If you thought health care was tough to conquer, achieving American tax reform is like slaying a savage beast in a dark labyrinth and then navigating the maze to safety. Donald Trump’s labyrinth is a promised revenue-raiser that probably won't happen, while the beast is towering, murderous budget deficits. Greek mythology hero Theseus was able to slay the Minotaur and emerge from his labyrinth a hero, guided by Ariadne's magical thread. But the idea that Trump will steer his agenda safely past his own twin perils is more fantasy than myth.

Following the failure of the Republican health care initiative last week, the Trump administration is spinning tax reform as a far lighter lift and the vehicle that will restore momentum for the president's pro-growth, business-boosting agenda. On March 26, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus predicted that "Democrats are going to come on board" to enact "one of the biggest middle class tax cuts in the history of this country."

The Trumpian optimism is misplaced. The House health care bill was a close call. But radically reshaping America's tax code so that families have more cash to save and spend, while companies clinch higher returns on each dollar of investment—though a great idea—is frankly looking dead on arrival.

The reason is threefold. First, passing tax reform is extremely difficult even in the best of times. "It's really hard to get reform done with one political party, as in this case," says Eric Toder of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. "You're not talking about cutting spending, but raising one person's and one company's taxes and cutting another's." In other words, for every winner there's a perceived loser.
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Second, previous overhauls have occurred when the outlook for debt and deficits were much more favorable. "When they did the George W. Bush tax cuts in 2001, we were looking at a future of big surpluses," says Toder. Today, the fiscal picture is far bleaker, clouded by trillion-dollar deficits that could hit as early as 2021.

Third, the only major blueprint that, given the most favorable assumptions, doesn't disastrously swell future deficits––the House Republican plan––relies on new taxes that are extremely controversial and probably won't be enacted. Chief among them is the complex, VAT-like Border Adjustment Tax, what is likely a dead-end tunnel in the maze of tax reform.

Given the problems with growing deficits and unpopular revenue-raisers, the Trump administration may be forced to gut the deepest, most growth-enhancing reforms. So let's examine how the two major plans will at best deliver a pale version of the tax-slashing revolution advertised by Trump.

The Trump Plan Doesn't Remotely Pay for Itself

As the leading candidate in mid-September, Trump unveiled a daring tax reform manifesto. To be fair, it’s still a campaign platform; his administration hasn't updated it as yet, and whatever it does propose will need to be a lot more fiscally prudent that the opening salvo.

Still, it's instructive to study the Trump campaign plan to understand how deep cuts would burden future budgets. The proposal would more than halve the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, and on the personal side, consolidate today's seven brackets to three, with a maximum rate of 33%, vs. today's 39.6%.

The reductions would cause a multitrillion loss of revenue over the next decade. The Tax Foundation, a free market-leaning think tank, estimated those losses as well as savings that modestly narrow the gap. The Tax Foundation reckons that the Trump plan would greatly increase employment and wages, generating a windfall in payroll taxes of $520 billion from 2017 to 2026. The plan also gives companies the option of either expensing capex immediately or foregoing all deductions for current and future interest payments on debt. On balance, the Tax Foundation forecasts that the Treasury would collect an additional $213 billion, because companies will post higher taxable earnings by nixing their interest deduction.

Still, the offsets would be relatively small. According to the Tax Foundation, the proposal would cost a net of $2.6 trillion over 10 years, and that's assuming that it substantially lifts economic growth. Nor does that forecast include the extra interest on the growing debt. By Fortune's reckoning, the plan would raise deficits by average of around $310 billion a year over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office is already projecting deficits of $684 billion in 2020. The Trump campaign plan would lift those shortfalls to around $1 trillion. By 2025, deficits would reach $1.6 trillion.

"It's very unlikely that Congress would support a big tax cut with those kind of deficit concerns," says Steve Entin of the Tax Foundation.

That $1.6 trillion deficit would amount to 26% of all spending. So the Trump plan is really a non-starter. If rejiggered to erase future deficits, the plan would need to eliminate all but 15% of the corporate and personal tax cuts. The budget Minotaur will prevail.

The House Republican Plan: Better for the Budget, But the New Taxes Probably Won't Happen

The House Republican plan, designed by Speaker Paul Ryan, is slightly less ambitious, and a lot cheaper, in its approach to lowering taxes. Its blueprint for individuals is similar to Trump's (three brackets at a max of 33%), but it advocates lowering corporate taxes to 20% rather than 15%. But the big difference is the size of the money-saving offsets. The Ryan proposal would eliminate all itemized deductions except for mortgage interest and charitable donations. That change alone broadens the tax base so dramatically that, along with a push from extra growth, it would raise income tax collections by an astounding $2.2 trillion over 10 years.

Whereas companies have the option of either expensing capex or foregoing the interest deduction under the Trump plan, the Ryan proposal eliminates the interest deduction on new loans. That's the price companies must pay for immediate expensing of their investments. That plank saves almost $1.2 trillion.

A third major base-broadener is the Border Adjustment Tax, a measure that would allow exporters to sell U.S.-made products abroad free of corporate taxes, while forcing importers to pay far-higher levies, based on total revenue instead of profits, on goods shipped to the U.S. Since the U.S. imports a lot more than it exports, the BAT would be a huge money-spinner, raising an estimated $940 billion over the next decade.

So although the cuts otherwise lower revenue by over $4.5 trillion, the offsets are almost as big. And thanks to these elastically expanding base, the House plan would add only a tiny $191 billion to the deficit through 2026.

But here's the problem. Two of the pay-fors, and maybe more, probably won't happen. Start with the forced elimination of the interest deduction. The real estate industry is mortally opposed, and Trump as a major developer, may be sympathetic to their pleas.

Nor has Trump backed the BAT. He's waffled on the levy, at times calling it too complicated, and at others praising its potential for raising extra cash. Six senators are reportedly opposed to the BAT, though their identities haven't been fully reported, and Republican Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, predicts that the BAT will not be included in the final tax reform bill.

So subtract the $940 billion in savings from the BAT and the $1.2 trillion from eliminating deductibility of interest on new loans, and future deficits balloon to around $230 billion a year. That's not as bad as under the Trump plan, but it will never win the support of the Congressional deficit hawks.

And the shortfalls could be even worse. "The elimination of itemized deductions means that instead of having 35 million people itemizing each year, about 20% of those would itemize," says Toder of the Tax Policy Center. He predicts that folks who would otherwise itemize and give money to charity for the extra tax break may donate a lot less, since it makes more sense to simply take the expanded standard deduction. It's probable that foundations, colleges, and other institutions depending on donations will fight the plan.

Once again, if just the BAT and interest savings were eliminated, the Ryan plan, to remain deficit-neutral, would need to junk about half of its tax cuts. The tunnels to nowhere in the tax labyrinth are those savings that won't happen.

To be sure, the Republicans could close the gap by raising taxes elsewhere. For example, they could remove the income caps on payroll taxes. But what's the point? That's an anti-growth, anti-job measure that negates what they're trying to accomplish, which is boost growth and jobs. The best bet is that we get token reform at best, and the best of the proposals die in the labyrinth.
2
Doom Psychology / Re: The Church of Youth in Asia
« Last post by RE on Today at 07:53:43 AM »
When has anybody ever been disappointed in having some hope?  I've been in some pretty hopeless situations in my life, but I was able to keep on hoping that my situation would improve.  Ultimately I did something meaningful about it, and here I'm referring to my naval war experience. 

I was the most miserable I have ever been in my life while I was on the aircraft carrier bombing Afghanistan.  Life at sea is nothing but work all of the time with very little sleep.  If I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep I was lucky.  The worst part about it was that much of it was just busy work.  If there was nothing to do then they had us doing "small valve maintenance," and there is no shortage of small valves in a nuclear aircraft carrier engine room.  This amounted to scrubbing valve stems with a wire brush.  At times I was sent into the bilge to clean that unholy mess us.  The bilge is where all of the oil drips and where sailors stuck on watch piss and spit their dip spit.  No sleep, a daily life of menial bullshit labor, 5 hour watches standing in 100 degrees of humidity, cleaning stations, GQ, other drills at all hours of everyday, hours of studying steam plant diagrams for basic nuke qualifications, a pervasive machismo, and all of this while contributing to the bombing campaign of innocent nomads (we knew we were bombing innocent people...collateral damage).  I was miserable.  During it all I never lost a sense of hope that my life would eventually be better than it was.  I knew that it would eventually pass, and I ultimately took measures to ensure it would pass sooner rather than later. 

My point is that my life was miserable, but I hung on to hope.  It's similar now, but the entire world is on that aircraft carrier.  Now the Earth has become the aircraft carrier.  Only the officers at the top of the boat are not completely miserable.  Most of us are down in the bowels of the boat servicing it to keep it on it's destructive path.  Did we volunteer for this duty?  Maybe.  Nobody really volunteers to be born into this mess...it just happens to us.  Yet it's always been a mess for some reason or another.  It's always been a mess because of the decisions and actions of man.  We are imperfect, and the more of us there are the more imperfect we become. 

Civilization tends to remove our biological intelligence by not requiring us to have it.  We are taught that biology is dirty and somehow immoral.  How else do you explain a pervasive  biophobia in society?  Everything is sanitized in the name of controlling and overcoming the natural world.  This is replaced with a virtual social world that is nice and clean and devoid of biology.  The last remaining hope is that we can download our essence into the ones and zeros where we will no longer have to be burdened by our biology.  This is a fantasy of distraction from our biology and from the biosphere that sustains us.  We must be distracted from the truth of what we have become in the name of BAU.  BAU keeps the higher caste of our society in the manner they are accustomed.  Then there is the psychology of previous investment and technotriumphalism. 

Logically there is not much to hope for with our current trajectory of decline as a global civilization.  But that is not to say that there is no hope.  There is plenty of hope.  One just needs the intestinal fortitude to hold onto hope, no matter how unlikely that hope may be.  In the end it's a choice.  Hold onto hope and fight for a better day or give up and become completely miserable.  We should allow for euthanasia as a civilization at the precipice of collapse.  When people lose hope they should be allowed to go.  We are running out of resources after all.

For me, I have hope because I have decided to have hope.  I have faith in my own intelligence and especially in my destiny and the destiny of my children.  Most of my faith is in the prosperity of bamboo, and in my believe that we all have a purpose to fulfill.  I think the problem is that most people never find their purpose.  They never follow their bliss.  They do not live a destiny but succumb to fate.  Not I!  I'm aware of the power of the mind and of intention.  I'm following my bliss and therefore allowing a destiny to unfold.  Further still, I have aligned my fate and my destiny so that there is nothing that can stand in my way except death itself.  Even if reality tries to hide all of this from me, and even when it seems hopeless...I continue to hope.  To do anything less is to have already committed suicide, and not the honorable Seppuku type of suicide either.

Excellent thoughts and worthy of a Blog!  Perhaps a little expansion and detail, but pretty good as it stands.

RE
3
Doom Psychology / Re: The Church of Youth in Asia
« Last post by luciddreams on Today at 07:13:55 AM »
When has anybody ever been disappointed in having some hope?  I've been in some pretty hopeless situations in my life, but I was able to keep on hoping that my situation would improve.  Ultimately I did something meaningful about it, and here I'm referring to my naval war experience. 

I was the most miserable I have ever been in my life while I was on the aircraft carrier bombing Afghanistan.  Life at sea is nothing but work all of the time with very little sleep.  If I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep I was lucky.  The worst part about it was that much of it was just busy work.  If there was nothing to do then they had us doing "small valve maintenance," and there is no shortage of small valves in a nuclear aircraft carrier engine room.  This amounted to scrubbing valve stems with a wire brush.  At times I was sent into the bilge to clean that unholy mess us.  The bilge is where all of the oil drips and where sailors stuck on watch piss and spit their dip spit.  No sleep, a daily life of menial bullshit labor, 5 hour watches standing in 100 degrees of humidity, cleaning stations, GQ, other drills at all hours of everyday, hours of studying steam plant diagrams for basic nuke qualifications, a pervasive machismo, and all of this while contributing to the bombing campaign of innocent nomads (we knew we were bombing innocent people...collateral damage).  I was miserable.  During it all I never lost a sense of hope that my life would eventually be better than it was.  I knew that it would eventually pass, and I ultimately took measures to ensure it would pass sooner rather than later. 

My point is that my life was miserable, but I hung on to hope.  It's similar now, but the entire world is on that aircraft carrier.  Now the Earth has become the aircraft carrier.  Only the officers at the top of the boat are not completely miserable.  Most of us are down in the bowels of the boat servicing it to keep it on it's destructive path.  Did we volunteer for this duty?  Maybe.  Nobody really volunteers to be born into this mess...it just happens to us.  Yet it's always been a mess for some reason or another.  It's always been a mess because of the decisions and actions of man.  We are imperfect, and the more of us there are the more imperfect we become. 

Civilization tends to remove our biological intelligence by not requiring us to have it.  We are taught that biology is dirty and somehow immoral.  How else do you explain a pervasive  biophobia in society?  Everything is sanitized in the name of controlling and overcoming the natural world.  This is replaced with a virtual social world that is nice and clean and devoid of biology.  The last remaining hope is that we can download our essence into the ones and zeros where we will no longer have to be burdened by our biology.  This is a fantasy of distraction from our biology and from the biosphere that sustains us.  We must be distracted from the truth of what we have become in the name of BAU.  BAU keeps the higher caste of our society in the manner they are accustomed.  Then there is the psychology of previous investment and technotriumphalism. 

Logically there is not much to hope for with our current trajectory of decline as a global civilization.  But that is not to say that there is no hope.  There is plenty of hope.  One just needs the intestinal fortitude to hold onto hope, no matter how unlikely that hope may be.  In the end it's a choice.  Hold onto hope and fight for a better day or give up and become completely miserable.  We should allow for euthanasia as a civilization at the precipice of collapse.  When people lose hope they should be allowed to go.  We are running out of resources after all.

For me, I have hope because I have decided to have hope.  I have faith in my own intelligence and especially in my destiny and the destiny of my children.  Most of my faith is in the prosperity of bamboo, and in my believe that we all have a purpose to fulfill.  I think the problem is that most people never find their purpose.  They never follow their bliss.  They do not live a destiny but succumb to fate.  Not I!  I'm aware of the power of the mind and of intention.  I'm following my bliss and therefore allowing a destiny to unfold.  Further still, I have aligned my fate and my destiny so that there is nothing that can stand in my way except death itself.  Even if reality tries to hide all of this from me, and even when it seems hopeless...I continue to hope.  To do anything less is to have already committed suicide, and not the honorable Seppuku type of suicide either. 
4
Knarfs Knewz / What makes America great?
« Last post by knarf on Today at 05:56:09 AM »
-----------------
 YES! Magazine‏ @yesmagazine

What makes #America great? Artists #resist #Trump with 100 days of posters http://ow.ly/RNV130acE77

------------------



5
Golden Oxen Newz / Re: Gold & Silver News
« Last post by azozeo on Today at 05:37:04 AM »
2017-03-26 - Brazil handing over the Amazon rainforest to mining companies and big agriculture:
http://robinwestenra.blogspot.com/2017/03/brazil-is-handing-over-amazon.html
7
2017-03-26 - Man gets delusional on bus, fires gun, kills 1 person, injures another, in Las Vegas (Nevada):
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12319519/police-arrest-delusional-man-on-strip-following-a-fatal-bus-shooting
http://www.cdcgamingreports.com/police-no-apparent-reason-for-shooting-on-vegas-strip-bus/

Note: People are randomly dropping dead, randomly losing consciousness, randomly having 'medical events' and also randomly hallucinating and going insane, so there'll be a lot more of this sort of thing. In fact, if you pay attention, gun-related incidents have been rising for the last several years. Anybody could be insane by tomorrow, including (but not limited to) those who have guns. Ergo, 'right to bear arms' now just means 'right to go batshit with a gun'. Our founding fathers didn't envision a planetary extinction event involving a brain-affecting neurotoxin, so now we're using guns to self-depopulate. The Earth would take care of killing us off all by itself, but the Earth isn't going to be complaining as we blow ourselves away some to help things along...
8


President Donald Trump will sign a sweeping executive order Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, which looks to curb the federal government's enforcement of climate regulations by putting American jobs above addressing climate change.

The order represents a clear difference between how Trump and former President Barack Obama view the role the United States plays in combating climate change, and dramatically alters the government's approach to rising sea levels and temperatures -- two impacts of climate change.

A White House official briefed on the plan said Monday the administration believes the government can both "serve the environment and increase energy independence at the same time" by urging the EPA for focus on what the administration believes is its core mission: Clean air and clean water.

More important than regulating climate change, the official said, is protecting American jobs.

"It is an issue that deserves attention," the official said of climate change. "But I think the President has been very clear that he is not going to pursue climate change policies that put the US economy at risk. It is very simple."

Tuesday's order will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plant initiative, rescind the moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands and urge federal agencies to "identify all regulations, all rules, all policies ... that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence," the official said.

Specifically, the order will rescind at least six Obama-era executive orders aimed at curbing climate change and regulating carbon emissions, including Obama's November 2013 executive order instructing the federal government to prepare for the impact of climate change and the September 2016 presidential memorandum that outlined the "growing threat to national security" that climate change poses.

"The previous administration devalued workers by their policies," the official said. "We are saying we can do both we can protect the environment and provide people with work."

The White House official went on to argue that the best way to protect the environment is to have a strong economy, noting that countries like India and China do less to protect the environment.

"To the extent that the economy is strong and growing and you have prosperity, that is the best way to protect the environment," the official said.

The executive order also represents the greatest fears climate change advocates had when Trump was elected in November 2016.

"These actions are an assault on American values and they endanger the health, safety and prosperity of every American," Tom Steyer, the president of NexGen Climate, said in a statement. "Trump is deliberately destroying programs that create jobs and safeguards that protect our air and water, all for the sake of allowing corporate polluters to profit at our expense."

Andrew Steer, CEO of the World Resources Institute, said that the executive order shows Trump is "failing a test of leadership to protect Americans' health, the environment and economy."

But as much as Democrats and climate advocates will decry it, Trump's executive order follows the President's past comments about climate change. Through Trump told The New York Times during the election that he has an "open mind" about confronting climate change, he also once called it a hoax.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted in November 2012.

"I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama/Clinton," Trump said in October 2016.

The changes, the official said, do not mean the Trump administration will not look to protect the environment any longer, the official said, but when pressed about the human impact on climate change and Trump's beliefs, the official was reluctant to say whether all government officials in the Trump White House believes humans cause climate change.

"I think there are plenty of rules on the books already we will continue to enforce that provide for clean air and clean water. And that is what we are going to do," the official said. "The President has been very clear that he wants the EPA to stick to that basic core mission that Congress set out for it."

The changes also reflect the view of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who routinely sued the organization he now leads during his time as the Attorney General of Oklahoma. In an interview with CNBC earlier this month, Pruitt argued incorrectly that carbon dioxide isn't the "primary contributor" to climate change, a comment that goes against most scientific research.

This executive order is also an attempt by the Trump administration to make good on its promise to bring more coal jobs back. The official said that Obama's regulations "were not helpful" to the coal industry and these reversals are the President honoring "a pledge he made to the coal industry."

"We are going to put our coal miners back to work," Trump said at a March 2017 event in Kentucky. "They have not been treated well, but they're going to be treated well now."

He added: "The miners are coming back."

http://www.wesh.com/article/in-executive-order-trump-to-dramatically-change-us-approach-to-climate-change/9194148
9
Knarfs Knewz / Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Publishes Corporate Responsibility Report
« Last post by knarf on Today at 05:23:59 AM »
About this Report

In its Corporate Responsibility Report, published in concert with its 2016 Annual Report, Verizon detailed the progress it has made over the past year toward reaching its corporate responsibility goals, and demonstrated how its technology can help people lead better lives, solve problems in new ways and create lasting value both for Verizon and for society.

Highlights from the 2016 Corporate Responsibility report include:

    Verizon Innovative Learning: The education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, Verizon Innovative Learning, reached more than 200,000 students in 2016. The initiative provides free technology, free internet access, and immersive, hands-on learning curricula to students and teachers, particularly in underserved communities across America. Through Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon develops and funds STEM education programs and administers them in partnership with leading nonprofits. Verizon also introduced its #weneedmore campaign to focus attention on the need for technology and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
     
    Diversity & inclusion and pay equity: Verizon is recognized as a corporate leader in diversity and inclusion. Also, the company believes that all individuals should be compensated equitably for similar work and should have an equal opportunity to contribute and advance in the workplace. In 2016, Verizon took a leadership role in advancing fair pay for everyone through a Commitment to Pay Equity.
     
    Reducing energy use & emissions: Verizon reduced its carbon intensity -- the carbon the business emits divided by the terabytes of data transported over its networks— by 54 percent in 2016. In doing so, Verizon exceeded its goal to reduce carbon intensity by 50 percent over a 2009 baseline by 2020, nearly four years ahead of target.
     
    Protecting consumer privacy: Verizon provides its customers with strong and meaningful privacy and security protections. Verizon was the first telecom company to issue a Transparency Report, outlining how it handles government requests for customer information. Its most recent report was published in January 2017.

For more information on Verizon’s responsibility programs and to send comments to the company, visit the corporate responsibility website.

http://reports.csrwire.com/report/Verizon-NYSEVZ-Publishes-Corporate-Responsibility-Report

The whole report is at..... http://www.verizon.com/about/sites/default/files/annual_reports/2016/downloads/VZ_CR16_CorpRespSupplement_v07a.pdf
10

Oh, by all means. Blow it all up, turn block grants back to the states, where republican governors can ladle the boodle to their friends. And the next generation? What could possibly go wrong?


I never said anything about turningn block grants back to the states.

So how would you fix it?

RE

The last thing I would do would be to turn public education funding into boodle for charter school entrepreneurs.
I do not pretend to have a "solution," because I am not sure of the problem. But I can spot a thief. And anyone who advocates for "privatization" is a thief who will pry the fillings from your mouth.

 I have been seeing the Trump administration as the "Mafia" of Governance. With Steve Bannon propagandizing the Donald all day with destroy all government, move in the corporations, give the underbelly of our society jobs that pay $10 bucks an hour, and create great wealth in our country.  :icon_scratch: If the unwashed resist too much , great, we will have boosted the police forces, and private prisons galore. Now we can make even more money by paying the prisoner's $2 an hour for making useless products that everyone needs.
I just am wondering if they can come up with anything that the congress and senate will pass. Pretty soon we will start seeing hits on stubborn legislators, and judges until they get the boys  ( and a few women )  who have been offered "an offer they can't refuse". I don't think the Donald and "crew" can just say your "FIRED" if they resist them. I do not see any evidence that they will change the agenda to "Make America Great Again", the slogan of despots.
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