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« Liberal Outrage: June 2015 | Main | Liberal Outrage: August 2015 »

Liberal Outrage

Yeah, that's sort of the problem

Hillary Clinton, on refusing to answer whether or not she supports the Keystone XL pipeline:

If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.

It's not just on this issue, which i admit is as much about the symbolism as the actual issue. But it's the same with TPP. And it's the same with most of her vague positions, which sometimes sound good but don't have any detail or commitment behind them. She really does seem to be running on the basis that we don't have any choice in electing her, so she doesn't have to take a stand on anything.

Of course, there is an alternative.

By fnord12 | July 28, 2015, 3:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

What the hell, people?

I've been gone an entire week and you haven't made Bernie Sanders president yet? What have you people been doing?

By fnord12 | July 17, 2015, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

14% Isn't High Enough

Ugh. Chuck Schumer.

I don't think there could ever be an argument that convinces me multinationals should get taxed at a lower rate than individuals earning less than $40,000/year, so Rob Portman should shut the fuck up.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have just proposed a plan that would give those corporations something they've always wanted: a so-called "territorial" tax system in the U.S.

A territorial tax system would only tax U.S.-based multinationals on their profits earned within the United States -- which sounds like it makes sense, except that it's incredibly easy for big corporations to use financial trickery to sell to a big market like the U.S. but say their profits were earned in another country. Another country that always happens to have a much lower tax rate than here. For instance, in 2010 U.S.-based multinationals claimed that so much of their profits were earned in Bermuda that these profits were 1578 percent the size of Bermuda's economy.

According to the current law, though, U.S.-based corporations are taxed on those profits at U.S. rates if they ever bring these profits back home. So they just leave them overseas -- right now they have about $2.1 trillion stashed in other countries.

The Schumer-Portman plan would impose a tax on corporate profits purportedly earned in other countries whether they came back to the U.S. or not. But it would do so at a far lower rate than the current standard corporate tax rate of 35 percent -- President Obama has proposed 14 percent, and while Schumer and Portman haven't come up with a specific number, Portman says 14 percent is much too high.

The obvious consequence if the Schumer-Portman scheme becomes law is that businesses based solely within the U.S. would be at a permanent disadvantage. Multinationals could earn profits in the U.S., get their armies of lawyers and accountants to make these profits appear to have been "earned" in the Cayman Islands, and get taxed at the overseas profit rate. Meanwhile, purely domestic companies would either have to pay the higher domestic rate, or turn into multinationals themselves.

There is a much simpler, fairer, more efficient way to run the tax system for international corporations, called "formulary apportionment." With formulary apportionment, it wouldn't matter how many subsidiaries and departments corporations had scattered all over the globe, and which "earned" their profits where. Instead, a formula (based on a combination of a corporation's sales, payroll and capital stock) would determine what proportion of the corporation "belonged" to each country. Then the corporation's overall profits would be allocated according to that proportion, and the corporation would pay that country's tax rate on that proportion.


By min | July 10, 2015, 9:12 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Government By the People Act

If we're forbidden by the Supreme Court from limiting money coming from the 0.01 percent, what about amplifying money from the bottom 99.99 percent?

That's the basis for the Government by the People Act, introduced last year by Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland's 3rd District. (If the name sounds familiar, that's probably because his father, Paul, was a five-term senator from Maryland.)

Sarbanes has quietly garnered 160 co-sponsors for the bill and support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has 19 co-sponsors.

The bill has three main parts:

  • Everyone gets $25 to donate to candidates

All voters receive $25 per year to give to political campaigns, provided in the form of a refundable tax credit equal to half of donations up to $50. (For instance, if you donate $30 to a candidate, you get $15 of that back; to get the full $25 you have to donate $50.)

  • 6 to 1 matching funds (at least) for small donors

Donations up to $150 to qualifying House and Senate candidates are matched 6 to 1 with public money. In other words, if your next door neighbor is running for Congress and you give her $50, she'll get another $300, making $350 total.

And donations are matched 9 to 1 for candidates who completely renounce big money and take only donations of $150 or less. So if your neighbor is willing to do that, your $50 donation would turn into $500 total for her. (Moreover, if you use your $25 tax credit, that $500 she received would only cost you $25 total.)

  • Help for candidates facing an onslaught of SuperPAC money, dark money, etc.

Candidates would be eligible for enhanced matching funds in the last 60 days before an election, with incentives so they would only access the funds if it's a particularly high-cost race.


By min | July 8, 2015, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

How Sanders would "get things done"

It may not seem like it, but i've been fighting my own inclination to turn this blog into an "All Sanders, All The Time" site. But i do want to make an exception for these two articles since they aren't focused on the horse race stuff. These show how Sanders fights for his policies in a practical way, and both are interesting because they show how he's navigated the difficult legislative environment.

Sometimes it's asked how Sanders would get laws through Congress if he were president. Considering the obstruction that President Obama has faced, and the fact that Hillary Clinton is just as hated by the Republicans, i don't think that she has a greater claim than Sanders on being able to get things done. And as Min pointed out, Sanders sees keeping an active base of supporters engaged beyond election day is a big part of his strategy.

Sanders has also shown more willingness to do things through executive orders. Obama has done some great things through executive action recently (EPA regulation of carbon, the Dreamer exemption, overtime pay) but he could have done those things six years ago. I would anticipate a lot of Day One action from Sanders.

But we also have the examples below showing how he's made practical compromises while still working towards a progressive agenda. The fact that he's been in Congress (House, then Senate) since 1990 means he knows the process and has a lot of relationships. That in itself is not a panacea in a polarized environment. But coupled with his plan to use engaged supporters to pressure Congress and support primary challenges when necessary, i see it as being a more practical argument than vague promises to end the partisan divide in Washington.

Here are the articles:

Bernie Sanders' community health clinics.

Veterans Affairs.

There's also the fact that it's not helpful to "get things done" if the things you are trying to get done are terrible. Some of the things Bill Clinton got done were: welfare "reform" (i.e. cutting it), NAFTA, the Three Strikes Rule, DOMA, DMCA, and financial deregulation. The Democrats were obviously in a different place in the 1990s, and Hillary isn't Bill. But we are in a different place now, and i think we need someone not associated with all of that. Not to mention the fact that Hillary has only come around on some of those issues recently, and some not at all.

Ok, i meant for this to be a positive Bernie post and it devolved into an anti-Clinton rant. Sorry. Bernie wouldn't like me for that; he's staying positive. But i almost never see a policy objection to Bernie (among people that would vote in the Dem primary, obviously). I either see "electability" or "how would he get things done". And i think rank and file Democrats that are concerning themselves with these types of issues are outsmarting themselves, or they're cowed by conventional wisdom from pundits which is often wrong. You should vote for who you believe in.

By fnord12 | July 6, 2015, 10:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link

Re-meme-ber John Kerry

I got tired of hearing about Bernie Sanders and George McGovern, so i made my first ever (and probably last) meme.

Bernie Sanders is not George McGovern

By fnord12 | July 5, 2015, 11:45 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Thomas Paine, socialist

I'm not one that thinks citing the Founding Fathers "proves" anything, but i thought it was interesting to see that Thomas Paine was an advocate for the redistribution of wealth. This is from an article on Bill Moyer's site about Bernie Sanders:

It was the American Revolution's patriot and pamphleteer, Thomas Paine -- a hero today to folks left and right, including tea partiers -- who launched the social-democratic tradition in the 1790s. In his pamphlets, Rights of Man and Agrarian Justice, Paine outlined plans for combating poverty that would become what we today call Social Security.

As Paine put it in the latter work, since God has provided the earth and the land upon it as a collective endowment for humanity, those who have come to possess the land as private property owe the dispossessed an annual rent for it. Specifically, Paine delineated a limited redistribution of income by way of a tax on landed wealth and property. The funds collected were to provide both grants for young people to get started in life and pensions for the elderly.

Let's call this my July 4th post. Happy Independence Day!

By fnord12 | July 4, 2015, 2:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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