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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vitamin D Therapy, Financial Bailout, and Hand Surgery

We took the boy for a second opinion to the Union Memorial Hand clinic. They told us he was ugly too! No, seriously, I kid, that's what I am, a kidder! Anyway, we did take him today, and they told us what we feared, he needs surgery to correct his broken finger. He will go in on Tuesday to have a plate and a couple of screws put in to correct the break. He is devastated to say this least. This knocks him out of badminton for the entire year, and will dramatically delay his being able to qualify for the nationals in bowling. It's hard to convince a 16 year old that this isn't the worst thing that will ever happen.

I on the other hand am doing great! My surgery is all healed and I'm ready for rock climbing. The vitamin D is doing its thing, I think, and I'm due another dose tomorrow. I'm in limbo waiting to see if I am feeling any difference or not? I'm looking into what exactly it is that I should be feeling. The neuro didn't tell me that, just take this pill once a week. Vitamin D is the new magic bean, being used for a wide variety of illnesses. I sure hope I haven't put all my hopes on a one size fits all cure?

Who can explain this whole bail out thing to me? How can half of both side be against each one of the drafts? Are we, the average guy getting screwed or not? Somebody is lying to us, but I defy anyone to prove to me who it is! Do any of these plans have a snowballs chance in hell of working, or are we just being whipped into a frenzy, again, to pay for something without question, and without input? Let me know what you think, and let me know what path this should follow.


Anonymous said...

Next New Deal For Main Street

Wall Street has actually convinced a lot of us that what's good for the Dow Jones Average is good for us real people. But for eight years while bankers raked in billions, ordinary Americans have seen their real wages drop, jobs sent overseas, health insurance rates skyrocket, and now thousands are losing their homes.

We need our government to actively work for US in fixing this mess, so let's tell Congress it's time to start over and pass a New Deal for Main Street.

We need our government to actively work for US in fixing this financial mess. I urge you to start over and pass a New Deal for Main Street.

That means:

# Putting real regulations back on runaway financial corporations, and taking an ownership stake in exchange for any taxpayer support
# Providing mortgage relief so ordinary Americans stop losing their homes
# Putting millions to work by investing in new green jobs and infrastructure
# Investing in a health care plan to cover everyone

Anonymous said...

10 Ways to Bail Out Wall Street (and Main Street) Without Soaking Taxpayers in Debt
By Chuck Collins and Dedrick Muhammad, AlterNet
Posted on September 25, 2008, Printed on October 2, 2008

As Congress debates the particulars of the Bush-Paulson bailout, one key question has gone largely unexplored: Who will pay for this mess?

Lawmakers in Congress appear to have assumed that the federal government will simply borrow more money to foot the bill for the bailout. The national debt ceiling will rise to a whopping $11.3 trillion, up from $8 trillion a year ago.

But this rush to borrowing merely shifts the bailout burden onto the backs of future taxpayers. Congress needs to change course -- and develop a "pay as we go" plan that makes Wall Street pay.

The lion's share of bailout funding should come from the high-finance gamblers and the wealthy CEOs who have so profited from our casino economy.

Funding the Bailout: Basic Principles

* Wall Street and speculators should pay now for the mess they created.

* Instead of borrowing from the super-wealthy beneficiaries of the casino economy, we should tax them.

* Any bailout should stimulate the real economy with investments in Main Street, not just Wall Street.

Broadening the Bailout Dollars

The debate over the bailout has so far concentrated on the $700 billion purchase of "troubled assets" proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. A real "bailout" would also target the troubled households of working American families. A $200 billion "Main Street Stimulus Package" could bolster the real economy and those left vulnerable by the subprime mortgage meltdown. This package should include:

* A $130 billion annual investment in renewable energy to stimulate good jobs anchored in local economies and reduce our dependency on oil.

* A $50 billion outlay to help keep people in foreclosed homes through refinancing and creating new homeownership and housing opportunities. These funds could also help those locked out of the American Dream to purchase homes through nonspeculative mortgage programs.

* A $20 billion aid package to states to address the squeeze on state and local government services that declining tax revenues are now forcing.

A Responsible Plan to Pay for Recovery: $900 Billion in New Revenue

Below is our 10-point program to pay for this broader bailout. This plan would generate $900 billion a year until the costs of the bailout and stimulus program are paid for.

1. A Securities Transaction Tax: $100 Billion

A fair plan to pay for the bailout should include a modest financial transaction tax on the buying and selling of stock and other financial products. A penny on every $4 invested would generate $100 billion a year. Other European countries already tax stock transactions, and these transaction taxes effectively discourage speculation.

2. A Wealth Tax Surcharge on Households with $10 Million: $300 billion

Congress should institute a modest wealth tax surcharge on households with a net worth of more than $10 million. These households currently own and control more than 20 percent of the nation's private wealth. They have realized huge gains from the manipulation of capital markets and the asset bubbles that created the current crisis. A modest surcharge -- no more than 3 percent -- could generate more than $300 billion.

3. A Corporate Minimum Income Tax: $60 Billion

In August, the Government Accountability Office reported that two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no income taxes between 1998 and 2005. These corporations paid nothing toward our shared expenses of defense, environmental protection, public health and education. Ordinary taxpayers should not be left holding this bag. A minimum corporate income tax should contribute toward the bailout.

4. A "Disgorgement" Recovery From Profligate CEOs: $40 Billion

Until several weeks ago, top CEOs and managers were collecting massive salaries and fees while they told the rest of us that "everything is fine." These CEOs gorged themselves and have taken the money and run. The four biggest investment banks on Wall Street shelled out $30 billion in bonuses last year. One of them, Lehman Brothers, has just gone under. Another, Bear Stearns, was bailed out earlier this year. To help pay for recovery, the new Treasury authority should seek the payback of executive compensation inappropriately extracted in the years before the Wall Street meltdown.

5. An Income Tax Surcharge on Incomes Over $5 Million: $105 Billion

A portion of the bailout cost should be financed with an emergency income tax surcharge on incomes over $5 million. Wealthy investors have been the big winners in the unregulated bubble economy. They have watched their incomes skyrocket over the last 25 years. Meanwhile, President George W. Bush has cut their taxes for seven years. Instituting a 50 percent tax rate on income over $5 million and a 70 percent rate on income over $10 million would generate $105 billion a year until the bailout is paid for.

6. An End to Overseas Corporate Tax Havens: $100 Billion

Congress should close down corporate tax havens that allow corporations to game the system and cut their taxes, sometimes to zero. This step would generate $100 billion from profitable companies that have paid no taxes over the last decade.

7. The Elimination of Subsidies for Excessive CEO Pay: $20 Billion

As taxpayers, we subsidize excessive CEO pay, through a host of tax loopholes, to the tune of $20 billion a year. Congress should close these loopholes, including the accounting gimmicks that permit companies to report one set of earnings to shareholders and a different, lower number to Uncle Sam.

8. The Elimination of the Tax Preference for Capital Gains: $95 Billion

The mega-windfalls that Wall Street executives have pocketed over recent years will be generating additional income, in the form of dividends and capital games, for years to come. Under current tax law, dividend and capital gains income faces a mere 15 percent tax rate, while income from actual work can be taxed at rates up to 35 percent. Taxing wealth and work at the same rates would generate $95 billion a year in revenue.

9. A Progressive Inheritance Tax: $60 Billion

In the near future, the moguls of the past quarter-century will be passing off the scene and leaving behind dynastic-size fortunes. A portion of this wealth should be taxed. A progressive estate tax on estates over $2 million -- $4 million for a couple -- could generate $60 billion a year in the short term and much more in outlying decades.

10. The Elimination of the Mansion Subsidy: $20 Billion

Wealthy taxpayers can currently deduct their mansion mortgage interest off their taxes. The richest 2 percent of U.S. households do not need to be subsidized by American taxpayers. Capping the home mortgage interest deduction on that portion of mortgage payments that exceeds $200,000 per year would generate $20 billion a year.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he coordinates the Working Group on Extreme Inequality.

Dedrick Muhammad is a senior organizer and research associate at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of "40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream." Muhammad is also the "Racial Wealth Divide" coordinator at United for a Fair Economy and co-author of UFE's report "The State of the Dream: Enduring Disparities in Black and White."
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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awb said...

Wow, that sure is comprehensive, and I agree with the business parts for the most part. I have to say I hate the idea of losing my mansion due to a new tax, but whatta ya gonna do? I still don't see anything about what to do with the greedy average guy that bought more then he could afford? Sure the greedy banks and the greedy mortgage guys are to blame, but what about the guy that took out the loan? Are they going to pay off my meager little house, or let me upgrade and get some bailout money to help? No, and we shouldn't do it for the greedy Joes either.

Slammermike said...

You got that one right Jughead. There are so many people that thought they had a chance to make a killing and scoop some quick money in the housing market.They weren't buying homes they were buying investments, just like stocks. When the balloons on the loans hit the market had softened and they owed more than the house was worth. They took a gamble and lost. I don't think I should have to pay to bail them out.

Slammermike said...

Now more importantly I'm glad your procedure went well. Hopefully all goes well at Union this week

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the people who bought homes thinking they could trust those who decide whether or not you qualify for a certain size loan. They're supposedly the experts, and a lot of us need that supposedly professional advice in such matters. Kelly and Dan lost their house, and they weren't trying to get away with anything, nor were they buying a McMansion. Their house was no bigger than yours, ancient, and not in that great shape. So, probably a lot of people are in that same boat.

I don't know if you figured, but all the anons above are also me. In too much of a hurry to sign in!

awb said...

I'm thinking Kelly and Dan don't fall into the group I'm pissing about? I'm talking about the 25 year olds who are making 35G a year and actually believed they could afford a 500G house! We have a glut of that in Baltimore. Those are the people who have responsibility in all of this, along with the ones who gave them the money who deserve jail time!