Rick Perry has done something his opponents have been hoping he’d do for years: retire. But it’s not what the governor’s detractors had in mind.
Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary — and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay.
Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.
LTMC: Speaking as a person with no small interest in public finance, this is the sort of abuse of the public pension system that gives civic-minded municipal managers grey hairs. It is also, for that matter, something that many on America’s political Right often rave about. Pensions are not meant to be a supplemental revenue stream. Pensions are, in their purest form, intended to be a source of income to live off of when you’ve grown too old to work. Rick Perry is contributing to the same public spending problem that he has railed against on more than one occasion.
The core of right-wing ideology is “cheap labor.” Mitigating poverty makes labor more expense. Hence, the Right’s refusal to do reduce or eliminate poverty.
#1 : In June 2011, in front of a line of riot police.(Giorgos Moutafis/Anzenberger)
#2 : A can of tear gas lands near Loukanikos and protesters, February 2011.(Giorgos Moutafis/Anzenberger)
#3 : Loukanikos, photographed for TIME by Peter Hapak, November 15, 2011. (Peter Hapak/Time)
#4 : The protest dog joins demonstrators in gas masks in June, 2011.(Giorgos Moutafis/Anzenberger)
# 5 : Loukanikos — the word means sausage in Greek — has showed up for numerous demonstrations in Athens over the last few years. Here, he barks at riot police in December 2010. (Giorgos Moutafis/Anzenberger)
Activism, not just for humans any more.
Apple is keeping 2/3rds of its massive cash reserves off-shore because it doesn’t want to pay taxes on them here. That’s money that the company could invest here, but isn’t. So Cuban is spectacularly wrong.
And as for McDonalds, there is evidence that the McRib reappears in correlation to downward fluctuations in hog prices. Which suggests that McDonalds’ decisions are extremely price sensitive. Taxes are a price. McDonalds gets that. That’s why their CEO just recently called for tax cuts as a way to repair the economy.
I need to call you out on the first link Jeff. At no point in that article does the CEO or CFO of Apple claim that they are keeping cash reserves off-shore to avoid tax rates in America. Whether that is empirically true is up for debate. But at no point does Rosenman quote language in which Apple’s Executive Officers claim that their holdings ratios are a result of U.S. Tax rates. Here is the portion of Rosenman’s article where he quotes Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer:
Why are so much of Apple’s cash reserves offshore? Rosenman himself points out the answer:
This, of course, is to the benefit, and not the detriment, of Apple’s American shareholders. Growth in foreign holdings increases the value of Apple’s shares. The same thing was pointed out by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt when he was asked by Lesley Stahl for CBS News why 60% of GE’s revenue was earned overseas:
Apple is keeping cash reserves overseas because that’s where the growth potential (i.e. market share) is, not because tax rates are lower. Reducing America’s corporate tax rate would not encourage Apple to bring their cash reserves back to America because their decision to invest (or not invest) in Apple’s business enterprise has more to do with demand and less to do with their tax rate. And if Jeffrey Immelt’s account is to be believed, then it’s actually easier to do business in America than in Europe or Japan. But they aren’t investing that money in America because the growth potential is simply not there.
Now we can argue about whether this growth potential is a function of structural consequences inuring from our tax policy writ large. But the specific conclusion that Apple’s business decisions are a function of quibbles over tax rates is Rosenman’s own conclusion, not that of Apple’s executive leadership. And to the extent that his analysis may be valid, he contradicts himself by pointing out that Apple’s overseas investment is a function of growth potential in overseas markets, rather than flight from America’s corporate tax rates.
As far as Mcdonald’s CEO is concerned, a recent survey of small business owners suggest that taxes are the least of their concerns when it comes to their hiring decisions. NPR discovered the same thing when they contacted medium-sized firms about their economic concerns. The assertion of McDonald’s CEO that business taxes are what’s slowing the economy sown are contradicted by the broader business community he is a part of.
I thought Obama was a socialist!?!!?!?!
And we don’t have socialized medicine.
I sigh in solidarity.
When the Tea Party votes one of these well respected people into office, foreign affairs are going to be splendid. The world, the friggin WORLD, knows more about our politics than so many Americans. Even if you don’t read the entire article, the heading and opening paragraph basically sums it up. When the world starts comparing GW to Einstein based on the actions of this current GOP crop, you know our credibility is shit. I wish I could say this was a crock of lies but…
Hole please open up and swallow me now. ~ Kim
The Republicans’ Farcical Candidates
A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses
A Commentary by Marc Pitzke
The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.
Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed — well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns. For months now, they’ve been traipsing around the country with their traveling circus, from one debate to the next, one scandal to another, putting themselves forward for what’s still the most powerful job in the world.
As it turns out, there are no limits to how far they will stoop.
It’s true that on the road to the White House all sorts of things can happen, and usually do. No campaign can avoid its share of slip-ups, blunders and embarrassments. Yet this time around, it’s just not that funny anymore. In fact, it’s utterly horrifying.
It’s horrifying because these eight so-called, would-be candidates are eagerly ruining not only their own reputations and that of their party, the party of Lincoln lore. Worse: They’re ruining the reputation of the United States.
They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They’ve shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.
“When did the GOP lose touch with reality?” wonders Bush’s former speechwriter David Frum in New York Magazine. In the New York Times, Kenneth Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s former chief-of-staff, called this campaign season a “reality show,” while Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan confidante Peggy Noonan even spoke of a “freakshow.”
That may be the most appropriate description.
Tough times demand tough and smart minds. But all these dopes have to offer are ramblings that insult the intelligence of all Americans — no matter if they are Democrats, Republicans or neither of the above. Yet just like any freakshow, this one would be unthinkable without a stage (in this case, the media, strangling itself with all its misunderstood “political correctness” and “objectivity”) and an audience (the party base, which this year seems to have suffered a political lobotomy).
And so the farce continues. The more mind-boggling its incarnations, the happier the US media are to cheer first one clown and then the next, elevating and then eliminating “frontrunners” in reliable news cycles of about 45 days.
Take Herman Cain, “businessman.” He sat out the first wave of sexual harassment claims against him by offering a peculiar argument: Most ladies he had encountered in his life, he said, had not complained.
In the most recent twist, a woman accused Cain of having carried on a 13-year affair with her. That, too, he tried to casually wave off, but now, under pressure, he says he wants to “reassess” his campaign.
If Cain indeed drops out, the campaign would lose its biggest caricature: He has been the most factually challenged of all these jesters.
As CEO of the “Godfather’s” pizza chain, Cain killed jobs — but now poses as the job-creator-in-chief. Meanwhile, he seems to lack basic economic know-how, let alone a rudimentary grasp of politics or geography. Libya confounds him. He does not believe that China is a nuclear power. And all other, slightly more complicated questions get a stock answer: “Nine-nine-nine!” Remember? That’s Cain’s tax reduction plan that would actually raise taxes for 84 percent of Americans.
Has any of that disrupted Cain’s popularity in the media or with his fan base? Far from it. Since Oct. 1, he has collected more than $9 million in campaign donations. Enough to plow through another onslaught of denouements.
No Shortage of Chutzpah
Then there’s Newt Gingrich, the current favorite. He’s a political dinosaur, dishonored and discredited. Or so we thought. Yet just because he studied history and speaks in more complex sentences than his rivals, the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.
Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.
The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. Gingrich claims moral authority on issues such as the “sanctity of marriage,” yet he’s been divorced twice. He sprang the divorce on his first wife while she was sick with cancer. (His supporters’ excuse: It’s been 31 years, and she’s still alive.) He cheated on his second wife just as he was pressing ahead with Bill Clinton’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky affair, unaware of the irony. The woman he cheated with, by the way, was one of his House aides and 23 years his junior — and is now his perpetually smiling third wife.
Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing. Or that he consistently flirts with racism when he speaks of Barack Obama. Or that he enjoyed a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany’s just as his campaign was financially in the toilet and he ranted about the national debt. Chutzpah, indeed.
Yet the US media rewards him with a daily kowtow. And the Republicans reward him too, by having put him on top in the latest polls. Mr. Hypocrisy, the bearer of his party’s hope.
“I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking,” former President Clinton told the conservative online magazine NewsMax. “People are hungry for ideas that make some sense.” Sense? Apparently it’s not just the Republicans who have lost their minds here.
The Eternal Runner-Up
And what about the other candidates? Rick Perry’s blunders are legendary. His “oops” moment in suburban Detroit. His frequently slurred speech, as if he was drunk. His TV commercials putting words in Obama’s mouth that he didn’t say (such as, “Americans are ‘lazy’”). His preposterous claim that as governor of Texas he created 1 million jobs, when the total was really just about 100,000. But what’s one digit? Elsewhere, Perry would have long ago been disqualified. But not here in the US.
Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann has fallen off the wagon, although she’s still tolerated as if she’s a serious contender. Ron Paul’s fan club gets the more excited, the more puzzling his comments get. Jon Huntsman, the only one who occasionally makes some sort of sense, has been relegated to the poll doldrums ever since he showed sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.
Which leaves Mitt Romney, the eternal flip-flopper and runner-up, who by now is almost guaranteed to clinch the nomination, even though no one in his party seems to like or want him. He stiffly delivers his talking points, which may or may not contradict his previous positions. After all, he’s been practicing this since 2008, when he failed to snag the nomination from John McCain. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
As an investor, Romney once raked in millions and, like Cain, killed jobs along the way. So now he says he’s the economy’s savior. To prove that, he has presented an economic plan that the usually quite conservative business magazine Forbes has labeled “dangerous,” asking incredulously, “About Mitt Romney, the Republicans can’t be serious.” Apparently they’re not, but he is, running TV spots against Obama already, teeming with falsehoods.
Good for Ratings
What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. “A starting point for a chronicle of American decline,” was how David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, described the current Republican race.
The Tea Party would take issue with that assessment. They cheer the loudest for the worst, only to see them fail, as expected, one by one. Which goes to show that this “movement,” sponsored by Fox News, has never been interested in the actual business of governing or in the intelligence and intellect that requires. They are only interested in marketing themselves, for ratings and dollars.
So the US elections are a reality show after all, a pseudo-political counterpart to the Paris Hiltons, Kim Kardashians and all the “American Idol” and “X Factor” contestants littering today’s TV. The cruder, the dumber, the more bizarre and outlandish — the more lucrative. Especially for Fox News, whose viewers were recently determined by Fairleigh Dickinson University to be far less informed than people who don’t watch TV news at all.
Maybe that’s the solution: Just ignore it all, until election day. Good luck with that — this docudrama with its soap-opera twists is way too enthralling. The latest rumor du jour involves a certain candidate who long ago seemed to have disappeared from the radar. Now she may be back, or so it is said, to bring order into this chaos. Never mind that her name is synonymous with chaos: Sarah Palin.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Rick Perry’s “oops” moment took place in South Carolina. In fact, it happened in suburban Detroit.
Rick Perry isn’t ashamed to admit he’s a homophobe (For a related video, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/13685943601/rick-perry-shares-a-message-about-his-christian)
What a complete tool.
Watch the entire clip here, it is worth it.
I highly recommend watching this clip. It’s hilarious.
Fascinating development in San Francisco:
Occupy protesters as financiers? It’s strange but true: Some Occupy San Francisco members announced plans to create the People’s Reserve Credit Union. Are the occupiers ready to be bankers? “The goal of this project is to encourage San Francisco residents, businesses, as well as non-profit and city agencies, to keep their money out of the big banks and to redistribute that money locally,” Occupy San Francisco says in a statement on its Facebook page.
It’s not just an ideological manifestation either. These protesters would be job creators:
Founders initially want to start with 500 members and grow to 2,000 members, two branches and $7 million in capital assets by the end of next year. They say branch staffing will add 60 part-time jobs to the local economy, and the entire enterprise will create a total of 1,000 jobs in the city. Organizers also pledge to help residents by offering microloans of $5,000 or less and subsidized student loans at lower-than-average rates.
Nor is it just a pipe-dream:
On its Facebook page, Occupy San Francisco says it’s already attracting interest from potential investors. The name of the credit union was registered with the state just before Thanksgiving, and an initial charter meeting is scheduled for a week from today.
Long term, members are thinking big, with plans for on-site cafes and commercial kitchen space, plus a food co-op. So far, they’ve gained the support of two members of the city’s board of supervisors, Eric Mar and John Avalos, according to financial industry trade publication the Credit Union Times.
It seems, on the surface, that the OWS protesters aren’t really doing anything revolutionary. In fact, this is just Capitalism at work. But the difference between this idea and a typical business proposal is the democratic, crowd-sourced nature of its execution:
The nascent credit union’s Facebook page urges users, “Help us create your ideal socially conscious credit union.” What that vision looks like, and if this loosely organized movement can pull off a concrete, brick-and-mortar financial institution without losing their anti-establishment paradigm, remains to be seen.
It will be interesting to see where this goes. Another example of concrete solutions and positive results inuring from the OWS movement, in my view.