GOP busy trying to save you from economic recovery, prosperity.
Stocks advanced modestly on Friday, leaving the S&P 500 with slight gains in a volatile week as strong economic data overshadowed growth concerns in China and Europe and let investors discount the impact of expected government spending cuts.
Stocks opened sharply lower for the session as Asian factories slowed and European output fell, but most of the losses evaporated after a report showed manufacturing activity expanded last month at its fastest clip in 20 months.
Consumer sentiment also rose in February as Americans turned more optimistic about the job market.
Asia and Europe are getting shaky, American demand is about to take an $85 billion hit, but all this bad news is not enough to offset the good news — American manufacturing on the rise in response to growing consumer confidence. That’s what Republicans are crowing about today; saving you from headlines like this. Because, you know, President Obama’s stewardship of the economy is such a nightmare of incompetence, right?
European-style austerity is what’s called for here — and never mind that this austerity is what’s responsible for the European and Asian decline. That’s the new GOP way; attack demand wherever it rears its ugly head!
AIG may sue because bailout wasn’t a cushy enough deal. Sen. Warren is displeased.
Fresh from paying back a $182 billion bailout, the American International Group has been running a nationwide advertising campaign with the tagline “Thank you America.”
Behind the scenes, the restored insurance company is weighing whether to tell the government agencies that rescued it during the financial crisis: thanks, but you cheated our shareholders.
The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”
Maurice R. Greenberg, A.I.G.’s former chief executive, who remains a major investor in the company, filed the lawsuit in 2011 on behalf of fellow shareholders. He has since urged A.I.G. to join the case, a move that could nudge the government into settlement talks.
So basically, the saved drowning victim is suing the lifeguard because the fabric on the lifepreserver gave him a rash. Boo freakin’ hoo, you whiny little dick. No one made you accept the deal.
Newly-minted Senator Elizabeth Warren released a statement:
Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks — tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis.
In other words, if AIG thinks they got too little, they’re delusional. They’re got too much and are still getting too much. Corporate welfare beggars can’t be choosers.
GOP pretends to protect ‘small businesses.’
President Obama won’t be the only one hitting the campaign trail to push his deficit plan to avert the fiscal cliff.
House Republicans are planning their own campaign-style events to argue against Obama’s insistence on higher tax rates for the wealthy, Speaker John Boehner’s office said Tuesday.
As they have repeatedly, Republicans are targeting their message to small businesses, arguing that an increase in the marginal income rate over $250,000 a year will hit small-business owners who file as individuals.
Lawmakers will hold events and visit small businesses “to emphasize the threat to jobs posed by Congressional Democrats’ small-business tax hike,” the Speaker’s office said. Party leaders will also present members with a communications plan this week, and aides said the effort would include a coalition representing small businesses.
When you think of small businesses, you aren’t thinking of the guys who make more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. I can practically guarantee that. The small business categorization applies to the number of employees. So these people that Republicans are protecting from paying their fair share aren’t the guy who own the hardware store, the woman who owns the corner bar, the Farmer in the Dell, etc. In fact, a whopping 3% of small business owners would pay more under the increase.
So who are these “small business people?” Well, when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, he’d have been one. Ditto for high-power, big money law firms and lobbying shops. Investment capitalists and hedge funds qualify as well. In other words, people who are fabulously well-to-do and wouldn’t at all be hurt by an increase in their tax rates.
Which is why Republicans aren’t naming these “small businesses” directly. These are exactly the people Americans want to raise taxes on. So they just say “small businesses” and let you imagine the lady who owns the shoe store. It’s not exactly a lie, but it’s so weaselly that it might as well be.
With Mitt Romney off to party like its an election year with David Koch in the Hamptons this weekend, we figured it was only appropriate to re-examine the big guns in the Million-Dollar Donor Club. Here’s the ultra-exclusive guest list to the stuffiest party you’ll never be invited to.
Remember when Barack Obama was supposed to be an elitist snob who probably knew what arugula was?
yeah, the right seems a lot less concerned about elitism these days.
Romney proves Thurston Howell III and Mr. Burns are real.
Filed under “why I read Steve Benen”:
Imagine if Thurston Howell III and C. Montgomery Burns were real people. Then imagine they were attending a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in the Hamptons. Then imagine they spoke to reporters about why, exactly, they want to see President Obama defeated.
It turns out, you don’t actually have to imagine any of this, because yesterday, it actually happened. The multi-millionaire Republican — dodging questions about his controversial shell corporation in Bermuda, hidden cash in the Caymans, and inexplicable Swiss bank account — thought it’d be a good idea to spend the day in the Hamptons, attending several posh fundraisers with the hyper-elite, including an event at David Koch’s home.
I couldn’t make up stuff like this if I tried.
I covered the same ground earlier today, he goes on to quote the passenger in the “Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits” who argued that only the rich have the smarts to see what’s really going on and, yeah, it’s still ridiculous and offensive. He also points to other excerpts and quotes that are as noxious. But comparing Romney and company to actual villain C. Montgomery Burns and kinda-sorta-villian Thurston Howell III is as awesome as it is accurate.
“I don’t generally get nauseous reading the news,” he writes. “There are exceptions.”
Recommended reading to counteract the nausea.
Mitt Romney, Obvious Elitist
The first three paragraphs of an L.A. Times piece about a Romney fundraiser could’ve been written by a Democratic ad copy writer — not because it’s so biased, but because the facts fit the Democratic narrative of Romney as the candidate of the 1% so well. It’s hard to counter the “out-of-touch, wealthy elitist” charge when you actually are an out-of-touch, wealthy elitist.
As protesters assembled on a beach in advance of Mitt Romney’s evening event at the home of conservative billionaire David Koch, the candidate slipped to East Hampton for his first of three fundraisers on this tony stretch of Long Island.
The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman’s property — the Creeks — checked off names under tight security.
They came with high hopes for the presumed Republican nominee, who is locked in a tight race with President Obama. And some were eager to give the candidate some advice about the next four months.
The only variation from Democratic messaging would be the conclusion of the final paragraph. You don’t buy the right to give “advice” with a minimum $25,000 ($75,000 for an evening fundraiser), you’re probably looking to buy the right to give marching orders.
But let’s continue to call it “advice” — with quotes — to avoid falling into the bad punditry trap of mindreading. So here’s the bulk of that “advice”: kindly remember that people who aren’t rich are morons and you shouldn’t listen to them.
A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.
“We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies—everybody who’s got the right to vote—they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income—one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
Writes Zandar at Balloon Juice, “On one level, she’s right. We’re just too dumb to get how we’ve been mauled economically by people in Range Rovers with East Hampton beach permits. If we truly understood that nearly 95% of the economic income growth over the last few years went to just the top 1% in this country, if we truly grasped what that meant, we’d be out there playing ‘Who Wants To Pitchfork A Millionaire?’
“Sadly, a great many of us are engaged in Stockholm Syndrome with these bozos.”
Apparently, what we’re all too dumb to understand is that this supply side BS about “trickle-down” and “job creators” is true, true, true, true. Sure, it’s not happening now, but it’s going to any minute now. Just you wait and see. The problem is that we’ve got this Barack HUSSEIN Obama commie in the White House and that’s stopping the wealth from trickling down from on high because — well, voodoo or something. Economics are far too complicated for us peasants to understand, of course.
Because, if the argument were actually factual, we’d be awash in trickled-down wealth this very minute. Mittens himself inadvertently spilled the beans about that.
The reception and dinner in Southampton and lunch at Perelman’s estate in East Hampton were private events and closed to reporters. During the reception in the afternoon, Romney was speaking outside when CNN and another reporter overheard his remarks to people gathered under a tent on a tennis court.
“By the way, you guys are doing fine,” Romney was heard saying at Sobel’s beachfront home. “If you’re here, by and large you’re doing just fine. And I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about those that are doing as well as you guys are, or how I’m doing, but I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor and those in the middle class that are finding it hard to make a bright future for themselves.”
Never mind that this is yet another flip-flop from Romney (he cares about the poor now!), consider the incoherent reasoning — if rich folks are “doing fine,” why isn’t everyone else? If that money’s not trickling down now, it’s never going to. This supply side stuff is snake oil; it never has worked, it isn’t working now, and it never will work.
What is working is a massive transfer of wealth from you to the already wealthy. There’s no “trickle down,” it’s all “gusher up.” Fix the economy? Ask that question at one of these Koch-hosted fundraisers and they’d probably give you a blank stare, answering, “Why? What’s wrong with it?” “Doing fine” is a tremendous understatement — they’re thriving.
If Mitt Romney wants Democrats to stop saying he’s the candidate of wealthy elites, it’d probably be a good idea to stop running as one (at a Koch brother estate in the Hamptons, no less). Because, until then, the Democratic campaign ads are going to keep writing themselves.
[image credit: DonkeyHotey via Flickr]
New figures show the median pay for the country’s top corporate executives increased at nearly double the rate of the average worker. According to the New York Times, the top 200 CEOs made an average $14.5 million, a 5 percent increase over 2010. Workers on the other hand saw a pay increase of just 2.8 percent. CEO pay has outgrown worker pay more than 127 times faster over the last three decades. The average Fortune 500 chief executive now makes 380 times more than the average worker.