Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, where can I get more fingers to count up US Defense spending?

Are you REALLY aware of how much money our country spends on Soldiers, Guns, Tanks and Planes?  Really?

Then you know that our country spends,  per annum,  $2,230 per capita.  What do our allies spend on average per citizen?  Significantly less.  Only $667 per person.

Per capita we spend over 3x what our allies spend.  In grand total dollars,  it's well over 2x vs. all our key allies combined.  You knew that,  right?  And you're OK with it even though we rack up over $1 Trillion in additional debt annually?



Sources:
Defense spending
Population

Let's only spend twice as much per capita as our allies.  That's a reasonable goal,  don't you think?  Well,  OK then.  We should cut $280 BILLION annually out of our defense budget.

Senator Richard Burr needs many more fingers.  Hopefully,  Siri will find him a source.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, what does Tom want me to do today?

North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr works for the citizens of Oklahoma and Kentucky.   Senator Burr votes as Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) instructs,  and co-sponsors the bills that Tom Colburn (R-Oklahoma) wants passed.  Without Mitch and Tom,  our poor Senator wouldn't have clue what to do with his time.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, where's my Oscar?

Our dolt of a Republican Senator, Richard Burr, deserves an Oscar, without doubt ... For acting like he's getting any substantive work done for the people of North Carolina. Our Senator pretends like he's a real US Senator. But he does the work of an administrative assistant. Give the man an Oscar, then boot him out of office.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, what can I do today to waste time?

Well,  our Senator manages to find plenty of innocuous issues on which to waste time.  My gosh, we are in debt up to our eyeballs.  Oil prices are going through the roof.  Medical costs continue to climb unabated.  We're spending a fortune in defense.  And our Senator is wasting his forking time with menial FCC issues?  Oh,  but he did think the legislation prohibiting Congress from trading on insider information was a huge waste.  That was much less important than these critical FCC issues that Richard chases around like a dog trying to catch his own tail.

Our Senator is an administrative Secretary, focusing on the little stuff,  while the big boys take care of the big problems.

Siri,  when are you going to grab Senator Butt by the ears and slap the fool out of him?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, 46 M Americans are on food stamps. Why do people eat stamps?

Sad,  but true ... the 46 Million part.  We'll let Siri explain to our Senator what this sad fact means about the state of America.  Voters need to ask their Senator though why this number has grown two and a half fold since he went to Washington DC in the mid-90s.  Maybe Senator Burr can blame it on the Ag Department,  for not printing enough stamps to eat?

Articles worth a read, February 2012


02/24 Gas prices: Ugly

02/23 US Government Debt: Per Capita
02/23 GOP debate: A den of lies
02/23 Average Joe: Won't give to GOP

02/22 CDS Risks: Big, getting bigger
02/22 Liquidity: Jacking world financial mkts
02/22 Break from politics: Fascinating news

02/21 Fear: Keeping inflation in check
02/21 Federal pay: Out of control
02/21 If Europe falls apart: Depression

02/20 Austerity: Destroying Greece
02/20 Austerity: Crushing Spain
02/20 Austerity: Not working in Europe

02/16 Military budget: Out of control
02/16 Greece: Risks loom large
02/16 Rich people: Walking away from Mortgages

02/15 Volcker Rule: Why it is so important
02/15 Europe: Taking lessons from GOP
02/15 Disappointing: More Burr finger pointing

02/14 Mitt: Hates the auto industry
02/14 Tea Party: Line pockets with gvpt aide
02/14 GOP Base: Poor, White

02/13 National debt: Out of control
02/13 Medical costs: Out of control
02/13 World Debt: Out of control

02/10 US Job losses: Worst in history
02/10 Food stamp use: Out of control
02/10 Federal employee pay: Out of control

02/09 Banker pay: Out of control
02/09 Treasury securities: Eating up the mkt
02/09 Housing: Ugly

02/08 GOP to Newt: Time to leave
02/08 Catholics to GOP: STFU
02/08 Mitt: Paying lobbyists for 15% tax rate

02/07 Obama: A moderate
02/07 Joyful news: The End of Wall Street
02/07 House GOP: Fight, or hide?

02/06 America: Get your shit together
02/06 Rail traffic: Looking good
02/06 Corporations: Pay no taxes

02/03 Jobs: More of them
02/03 Political uncertainty: Hurts our economy
02/03 Mitt's economic advisor: Idiot

02/02 Mitch: Lies, lies and more damn lies
02/02 Mitt: Backed (owned) by Hedge Funds
02/02 Mitt: Backed (owned) by the Super-Rich

02/01 Unemployment: Falling
02/01 GOP: Doing big things ... Yeah, right, got it 
02/01 February: T-9 months, and counting down

JANUARY

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, how does ... Siri interrupts ...

"Senator Butt,  you know not of what you speak.  Unemployment is declining.  GDP is growing.  The stock market is soaring.  Senator Butt,  shut up.  You are embarrassing Siri."

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, if I use my green crayon on the budget, will the deficit disappear?



How would North Carolina's idiot Republican Senator Richard Burr make it through the day without Siri?

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, what is InTrade and why doesn't it like Republicans?

It seems that our US Senator isn't aware that contracts are traded daily which place probabilities of certain events happening in the future.  The probability of President Obama getting elected, per InTrade?  As of today, over 60%, and climbing.

It's not rocket science.

Employment up.
GDP up.
Stock market up.
President Obama's re-election chances ... UP.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Barry Ritholtz hits a nerve

Twitter is on fire this right now with comments about the Republican debate going on this evening. One comment in particular caught my attention and has me thinking. Barry Ritholtz is one of the best brains alive today on all things about our nation's financial markets, and economy. When Barry makes a comment like he has below, you have to sit up and take notice. I'll just let it speak for itself:

We are watching the final act in implosion of Republican Party. My question: What comes afterwards? What replaces THIS?

Sh*t @SenatorBurr Says - Siri, how many grannies should I kick down a stairwell today?


When he was last on the campaign trail,  our idiot Senator Richard Burr bitched,  and moaned,  and complained about President Obama's move to cut $500 Billion out of Medicare over 10 years.  Senator Burr made that a key issue in his campaign.  He cried that those cuts were far too steep.  Then, what does he do when he gets back in office?  He proposes kicking grannies down the stairwell,  out into the cold,  over a cliff,  in the teeth.  Senator Burr has proposed to eliminate Medicare as we know it,  cutting TRILLIONs.

I agree with the effort to make cuts to Medicare costs.  I just have one hell of a problem with hypocrites like Senator Burr.  Our Senator severely criticized $500 Billion in cuts because they came from a Democratic President,  then goes on to propose TRILLIONS of his own.  Richard Burr was against cuts to Medicare,  before he was for them.  Where have we heard that line of reasoning before?

Republican Senator Richard Burr is not trustworthy, plain and simple.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sh*t @SenatorBurr says - Siri, if America arms Syrian rebels, who'll give them feet?


North Carolina's Republican Senator Richard Burr has the brains to solve the planet's most pressing problems, with Siri's able assistance.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Holy moly, you're dumber than wood


I laughed out loud when I read this article.  Our idiot Senator is quoted:

"We're talking about extending benefits more than we're talking about creating the infrastructure needed for capital to be invested and for our economy to grow," said Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. 

Senator Richard Burr is a complete,  utter moron.  The man simply does not understand very basic economic principles.

Senator ... capital is NOT our nation's problem right now.  Our banks are flush with capital.  So much so that they have almost $1.6 Trillion on deposit with the FED,  earning 1/4% interest. Why?  Because they have ZERO good alternatives to invest this money.

Our citizens have over $7.8 TILLION (Flow of Funds report, B.100, page 106, Lines 11, 12, 13) of money sitting in checking, savings, CDs and money market funds,  earning next to nothing.  Why?  Because they have ZERO good alternatives to invest this money.  And,  more importantly,  they look at the morons in Washington DC,  lose confidence,  and remain scared to put this money to work.

Although our nation has over $15 Trillion in debt outstanding and we're paying next to nothing in the way interest on that debt,  bidders continue to knock on the door looking to buy.  Constantly,  the bidders outnumber the Treasury debt to be sold by a factor of 2 to 3.

We are a country awash in Capital.  It's growing on fucking trees.  Holy shit Senator, what about this simple concept do you NOT understand? We don't need any more capital sloshing around in our system.  We're tired of listening to idiot politicians talk about increasing capital,  rewarding those who generate more capital,  finding avenues to stimulate the growth of capital,  handing out 15% tax rates on capital like it's candy ... capital, capital, capital.  BULLSHIT.

We need demand.   You should be talking about demand, demand,  demand.  We need for you to get off your sorry ass and find ways to spur demand so that all this excess capital sloshing around our financial system gets put to use.  And Senator,  cutting budgets doesn't do a damn thing in the way of stimulating demand.

God damn it Senator.  Take a fucking economics course at a local Community College.  Stop acting like a moron.  You are embarrassing the people of North Carolina.  If you can't grasp easy economics,  then get your sorry ass back to North Carolina and mow some more grass.   At least that would get some capital moving.  And for once in your life,  you would actually accomplish something that helps our economy.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Timmy gets under the GOP collar

I'm not a fan of Timmy,  but I admire his recent attitude before Congress.  It appears I'm not the only one just fucking tired of listening to Republican Politicians bitch and complain,  without offering up any viable alternatives.  The GOP thinks rising taxes is a path to evil.  But they have ZERO alternatives to balancing the budget.  GOP Politicians talk incessantly about the need to cut costs,  but NEVER offer up what costs they'd cut.  The GOP battle cry of austerity as a path to growth in our economy is pure T bullshit.  It's about time that someone of the stature of Tim asks GOP Politicians to PUT UP,  or SHUT UP.

From the WSJ:
Maybe it’s because he knows it’s the last time he’ll have to testify before Congress about a budget proposal. Or maybe it was just because he knew he was near the end of three grueling days of testimony before House and Senate panels. But whatever it was, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seemed to enjoy the back-and-forth with Republicans more than he has in recent hearings. He enjoyed it so much, in fact, that it was driving Republicans crazy.

“You can smile and laugh about it all you want,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) bristled at Mr. Geithner during a House Budget Committee hearing. Mr. Chaffetz then intoned he was getting sick of the Treasury secretary’s “silly little smirk.”

To be sure, Mr. Geithner did have a smile on his face during parts of the hearing, particularly when he was interrupted by Republicans on the panel when they didn’t like his answers on deficit reduction. He even spent part of the hearing answering questions with his arms crossed.

At one point, he suggested that Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) had an “adolescent perspective” on how the economy worked.

Mr. Geithner had a habit that he exhibited during the multiple days of hearings of answering questions with questions. In other words, if a lawmaker asked him about tax increases Mr. Geithner would respond by asking what cuts on the middle class the lawmaker would support in place of a tax increase. This approach, of the questionee questioning the questioner eventually irked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and he told Mr. Geithner to knock it off.

Mr. Geithner is no stranger to congressional hostility, and he’s even been asked to resign during a hearing.

@SenatorBurr - Your new campaign button?

Richard Burr, a man of Ghana.

Maybe Ghana will get you over the hump and into office for a 3rd term, eh?

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Jeffrey Gundlach lays it on the line. The US is @(&*ed.


If you haven't already,  I'd spend the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to review the slides from Jeffrey Gundlach's recent presentation to the bond trading community.   These slides spell out the dire financial future of America.  Bottom line - we're fucked.

Do I believe in a dire future for America?  I'm leaning that direction with my capital,  especially with lawnmower salesmen like Richard Burr representing us in Washington DC.  Senator Burr is a moron.  He spends time in Ghana,  while major financial issues in America scream out for attention.

And you can bet that our US Senator doesn't have a clue who Jeffrey Gundlach is.  But it's the Jeffrey Gundlach's of the world who will trade our financial future into the sewer when they start a run at the US Dollar,  and trash our nation's Treasury markets ... while the Richard Burr's of the world are asleep at the switch.  You're significantly better off being in touch with what Jeffrey Gundlach is thinking and doing with his money,  than hoping that our lawnmower salesman of a Senator can do anything to solve our nation's problems.  Richard Burr is too busy touring Ghana.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Your news stream is calling

This is the news that Richard Burr's watching.  Our Senator cares more about what's happening in Ghana than what's happening in America.

@SenatorBurr - You're WORTHLESS Senator. You sit on your tail, doing nothing, while major financial risks loom large.


CDS - It's the monster hiding in the closet.  It's ready to spring out at any moment and eat our financial future .... whole.

In 2008,  there were hundreds of Trillions in CDS financial instruments outstanding.  To put this in perspective,  the world economy is only about $55 Trillion annually.   The US economy is about $15 Trillion.   Many multiples in value larger than our entire economy were outstanding in CDS financial instruments.   And there wasn't a single person on our planet who had a clue exactly how many of these time bombs were outstanding,  who held them,  who wrote them,  and what risks we faced if any of them were to trigger.

What happened?  Sub-prime real estate debt went bad.   There was only $2 Trillion in subprime real estate outstanding in the US,  but our regulators and our elected representatives were sitting on their lazy asses, doing nothing about this monster, while over $25 Trillion in bets through CDS were made on only $2 Trillion in sub-prime debt.   Yes,  it was lunacy.  And yes,  these bets wound up being the culprit that crashed the entire financial markets,  and took our economy right along with it.  They bankrupted AIG,  severely wounded our banks,  and started a death spiral that we're still trying to overcome.

Fast forward to 2012.  There are still many hundreds of Trillions in these CDS instruments outstanding.  And now the Greek debt issue,  teamed with CDS,  is looming large over our financial future.  CDS instruments are STILL causing massive problems in our financial markets.

Senator Burr,  what the fuck are you doing in Ghana,  while the CDS monster hovers in our financial closet,  ready to swallow up our financial future?  Get off your lazy ass and get this CDS issue addressed and solved.

North Carolina deserves better than our worthless Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Why are you allowing RICH people to walk away from their mortgages?

This article is REALLY pissing me off this morning.   Rich people are walking away from their mortgages and sticking the bank with the losses.   Are these people broke?  Nope.  Can they still afford to pay their mortgages?  Yep.   They walk away because they live in states where laws prohibit the banks from going after anything beyond the home being mortgaged.   Why does this really suck for the rest of America?   It sucks because these banks do business across America.  When they take huge losses in states like California,  their profits suffer.  So, they wind up charging every American more to re-coop the losses they suffer from wealthy people walking away in just a small number of states.

Senator Burr ... get off your lazy ass.  Get a federal law in place that prevents this crap from happening.   Oh,  I forgot,  you're too damn busy touring Ghana to give a shit about what's wrong in America.

North Carolina deserves better than our worthless Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Joy ride to Ghana

Really Senator,  what the hell are you doing in Ghana?  You bitch and moan and complain about the Senate taking up a bill on insider trading when they should be focused on the US economy and US jobs ... yet you're taking joy rides to Ghana?   WTF?

Really Senator,  Ghana?  Get your damn priorities straight Senator.

@SenatorBurr - My GOP is sooooo out of touch on Dodd-Frank and the Volcker Rule


Read this article.  It explains why Dodd-Frank,  and the Volcker rule aspect of it,  are so very critical to all Americans.  It protects the money we have on deposit at our banks.  Think about the $1.6 Billion in client money that is missing at MF Global.  Then allow these key lines from the article to sink in:

"And therein lay the dirty little secret of modern banking: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SEGREGATED ACCOUNT. It is simply a helpful way to think about money and banking; it does not exist in the real world."

"The profits of speculation goes to banks, driving bonuses and compensation; but the ultimate risk of loss lay with the FDIC, then the taxpayer, and finally,  the account holders. If the banks blow up, someone else besides the banker pays."

Honestly,  it astounds me that Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to put a halt to Dodd-Frank.  It astounds me that Republicans are doing everything in their power to water down the Volcker rule.  Face it,  Republicans are for the Bankers,  for the massive compensation that comes from excessive risk taking with other people's money,  and for the taxpayer being on the hook should that risk taking become massive losses.  But Republican Politicians won't be there when the risk taking gets so out of hand that account holders lose their money too.

I don't see Republican Politicians,  like our idiot Senator Richard Burr,  reaching into their pockets to make up the $1.6 Billion in losses at MF Global.  Do you?

We need Dodd-Frank.

We need the Volcker rule.

We need our banks out of the business of taking out-sized risks with our money.

We need the risk taking to be transferred into the hands of private capital.

We need for Republicans to wake hell up and start working for the people,  instead of for the bank CEOs.

We need for our pathetic Republican Senator,  Richard Burr,  to have his sorry tail kicked out of office for standing in the way of Dodd-Frank and the Volcker Rule.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Friday, February 10, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Put 'em to work mowing grass, then they can become US Senators

Having the unemployed doing some work for society while collecting government checks is really not a bad idea.  They should all be put to work in training for jobs in the US Senate.  Put 'em all to work mowing grass,  like our esteemed Republican Senator Richard Burr did before he went off to Congress.  Given the extent of our nation's problems,  we could use more landscapers in Washington DC.  Its worked out so darn well for us so far.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

@SenatorBurr - Woops, you screwed up yet again.

Our idiot Republican Senator Richard Burr was one of only 3 Senators to vote against the legislation that would apply insider trading laws to our elected representatives.  Why the no vote?  He says it was because he thought it ridiculous to be spending time on this menial piece of legislation.  

So, what is our Senator working on?  The economy?  Jobs?  Tax fairness?  Balancing the budget?   Nope.  He's busy worrying himself with religion and birth control issues.

Let's make sure we can pray,  and have lots of out-of-wedlock children.   Sure glad we have a Senator in Washington DC focused on the important stuff.

Not.

@SenatorBurr - Did you trade on insider information? It sure seems so.

I am still,  to this day, scratching my head over Senator Richard Burr's 2008 financial filings.  I detailed what happened in a post awhile back.   I swear I looked at the disclosure website,  multiple times.   It showed that our Senator made very timely sales of stocks like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers,  days within closed door meetings that Hank Paulson held with Senators and Congressmen.  I raised these sales as a red flag,  and even shot an email over to the Raleigh News and Observer about them.   Then,  a couple weeks later,  the disclosures just disappeared,  like they never existed.

Now we learn that our US Senator was one of only three voting against new laws prohibiting our elected representatives from trading on insider information.

There's more to this story.

@SenatorBurr - Tell us again how President Obama is a failure

GDP growing again - check
Stock market up - check
Unemployment claims down - check
Rail traffic up - check
US energy production hitting all-time highs - check
Housing bottoming out - check
US out of Iraq - check
US getting out of Afghanistan - check
US cutting bloated defense budget - check
Bankers getting prosecuted - check

Yeah,  I see it now.  I see that he is getting done what the majority of Americans want him to get done.

What we need to do now?   Kick your sorry ass out of office for standing in the way of progress.

@SenatorBurr - Incompetence pays in our society, eh?


I had to laugh at this article.  Incompetence really pays in our society.

Richard Burr voted in lockstep with George Bush.  Our economy crashed and burned under their leadership.  $15 Trillion in American wealth got wiped off the map from '07 to '12 as a result.   And our idiot Senator gets rewarded by maintaining his position in the US Senate.

And then the next note in the article goes on to highlight Erskine Bowles.  Richard beat Erskine in the 2002 race for the US Senate,  probably a result of that naive,  ridiculous commercial Erskine ran .... "Erskine,  Bowls".  Erskine runs up and down a bowling lane throwing strikes,  while Enron is raging,  unemployment is spiking,  and major corporations like Worldcom are going bankrupt left and right.  Erskine would have won the seat of our lame Senator if not for that out of touch commercial.  Most of NC would have been better off,  but not in the way you think.

Our state would have been better off had we allowed Erskine to do his damage in Washington DC and not North Carolina.  He went on to get rewarded with the Presidency of our state's college system.  What happens?  More incompetence.  Administrative expense growth ramps vastly beyond classroom expenditures.  The resulting mismanagement eventually causes deep, drastic cuts to university spending budgets.  Incompetence.

How does Erskine get rewarded for this incompetence?  He's appointed to a Board that oversees a report on how to balance the US Budget.  Yes,  incompetence gets ignored,  and rewarded.   It gets better though.  Then, Erskine goes on to be appointed to the Facebook Board of Directors and is rewarded million$ in stock.

Yes, incompetence pays in our society.   And that's why our nation is $15 Trillion in debt.

@SenatorBurr - George Johnson from Clayton doesn't like you very much

George is complaining pretty loudly in the N&O about his lousy Senator. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Maybe I'm wrong about Mitt?

What Mitt Romney does for a living is no different than what I do.  Using capital,  I make speculative investments.  Yet,  the US Government taxes me at a rate 40% higher than Mitt.  That has me extremely perturbed.  I am perturbed at a man who is so much more wealthy,  yet pays such a lower income tax rate.  It is simply not fair.

This one issue alone,  the unfairness of our nation's tax system, where rich are treated better than middle class,  has me in a position where I simply refuse to vote for Mitt Romney.  Modern day Republican politicians favor the super wealthy at the expense of middle class America.  At a time in our nation's history where we are so heavily in debt,  this favoritism of the wealthy must be reversed, massively.  And Republicans show no movement in making this happen. For that reason alone,  I will continue to turn my back on my own party,  and vote for anyone other than the Republican.

But,  I read this today, about Mitt.  Maybe I'm wrong?  Maybe this is the ONE AND ONLY exception I can make?

I'm thinking about it.  But it would be an significantly easier decision if Republicans wake the hell up and raise taxes on the super wealthy.   And not just a token raise,  but changes significant enough to make it certain that the wealthy are not treated better than the middle class.  My bet though,  it won't happen.   And I won't be voting Republican again, ever.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Think you pay 15% on your Long Term Capital Gains? Pffftttt, think again.


Mitt Romney's disclosure of his massive income and sub 15% federal income tax rate has opened eyes to the inequity in our income tax code.  How did Mitt pay so little in income taxes?  The 15% tax on LT Capital Gains helped.  That,  teamed with having most of his income classified as "carried interest" which gets the 15% LT Capital Gain tax treatment. But about that 15% rate,  it doesn't apply to you. It's not for minions. It's only reserved for the super-rich, like Mitt.  The LT Capital Gain rate you pay is likely 40% higher than what Mitt pays.  Don't believe me?  Read on.

Let's just cut to the chase.  If you have appreciable LT Cap Gains,  and your taxable income is between $150 and $464 K,  then it's highly likely that you are caught in Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) hell.  And that's where the lies about the 15% tax on LT Capital Gains begin.  If you're in AMT,  you're paying 21-22% on your LT Capital Gains.  Yes,  I know,  you'll read in IRS literature that the 15% rate applies in AMT.  And it's also likely that you'll find more than a few naive CPAs around who will advise the same.  But that's just not the case.

The culprit is the AMT exemption.  It acts as a credit that reduces the AMT tax owed.  But,  if you're married filing a joint return,  for example,  your $72,450 exemption starts phasing out once your income exceeds $150 K.  For every dollar of income,  you lose 25 cents of the exemption.  It's the increase in taxes by virtue of losing a portion of this exemption that causes the tax on your LT Cap Gains to rise above the 15% rate.  In other words,  by having those LT Cap Gains,  you're losing some of the exemption, and that causes your AMT tax to rise.  The math is more clearly explained here. And there's more information here about the exemption amounts and where the phase-outs start,  based on your filing status.

And if you still don't believe me,  then there's an easy way to test it.  Plug your return into TurboxTax.  Override and change the LT Cap Gains number and watch how it impacts the tax you owe.  If your income is between $150 and $464 K,  and you're in AMT,  then you're going to find that changing your LT Gains by $1,000 causes your tax bill to ramp by about $220.

The bottom line is this,  you can find yourself in a situation where both you and Mitt own stock in Apple.  You both bought and sold the stock at the same time,  recognizing the very same gains on each share sold.  Although your total taxable income is but a very small fraction of Mitt's,  your federal income tax on that Apple gain is 40% higher than what the super rich Mitt Romney had to pay.   Direct your thank you notes for this inequitable situation to your representatives in Congress.

There's a trade to be made here though.  It's likely that our tax rates will change appreciably in 2013.  Capital Gains tax will likely go up and investors left and right will rush the exit at YE 2012 to lock in the supposed 15% rate.  That forced selling should send the market lower.  And it will be an excellent time to buy.

But here's the important point.  Don't be a sucker and necessarily join the crowd in the selling spree.  Chances are good that the Cap Gains rates will only be raised to 20%.  And as this article indicates,  that would actually represent a tax cut for many,  especially if other changes wind up reducing the impact of AMT.   So,  pay close attention to your own personal tax situation,  and the change made not only to LT Cap Gains rates,  but also to how AMT is determined.

Why is this situation so unfair?  Well,  look at the statistics of who gets trapped in AMT.   Spend 5 minutes looking at this excel spreadsheet of data (latest release 2008) from the IRS.  Here are the stunning facts about how AMT winds up screwing the middle class,  to the benefit of the super-wealthy:



Bottom Line? The vast majority of AMT tax is paid by Americans with income between $200 - $500 K. And the vast majority of that arises from the 21-22% tax rates slapped on Capital Gains while in AMT. Meanwhile, the super-wealthy slide by,  paying little in AMT and only 15% on their LT Cap Gains.

Like I said, send your thank you notes to Congress. I'm only the message delivery boy. My message should be clear though ... You're getting screwed. And the Mitt Romney's of the world are laughing all the way to the bank.

Friday, February 3, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Senator Burr calls into a radio show to demonstrate his ignorance

Our dolt of a US Senator just can't get enough attention from the ultra right-wing nut jobs of our party.  To get in their head more,  Senator Burr is constantly calling into right-wing nut job radio.  And if that's not enough,  he follows it up by issuing press releases,  like the one below,  in an effort to let the world know about his idiocy.

Note - my comments are in red.
_________________________________________________________

The office of N.C. Senator Richard Burr sent out a press release consisting of a transcript of a Feb. 2 conversation he had Jerri Jameson on News Radio 570 WWNC.

You can listen to the interview online here:

http://www.wwnc.com/player/?station=WWNC-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=jerriJameson.xml&mid=21783765

FULL TRANSCRIPT

JAMESON: On the phone with me, I believe in Washington, is Senator Richard Burr. Senator, how are you this morning?

BURR: Jerri, doing great, and I am in Washington.

JAMESON: I thought you might be. There’s a lot going on, isn’t there?

BURR: Oh, another productive week. I think the United States Senate has had one vote, and we’re going to be embattled in legislation all week, and probably next week, which does no more than codify what existing law says.

JAMESON: Now let me guess, you’ve got to be talking about the STOCK Act.

BURR: I am.

JAMESON: You know, I’ve asked some listeners for questions, and then I am mixing them in with some I have on my own, but that actually is something that somebody said, “Is it really necessary to pass law to make lawmakers follow laws that are already on the books?

BURR: It’s ludicrous. That’s why Dr. Tom Coburn and I were the two brave souls that walked up and said we shouldn’t be doing this. We should be focused on jobs, the economy. We should be taking up real legislation. It’s like me saying to you, “Jerri, before you come to work this morning and you’re going to drive your car, I’m going to pass a law that says you have to have a driver’s license.”

JAMESON: Right.

BURR: I mean, it’s insane.

JAMESON: They just need to enforce laws that are already on the books.

BURR: The laws that are currently on the books apply to all members of Congress and all staff, not limited staff.  Wrong.  The current laws specifically allow congress to trade on insider information.  Tell us Senator,  why did you disclose suspicious trades in Bear Stearns in 2008,  only to later have those trades wiped off the disclosure?  Could it be that you have benefited greatly from insider trading?

JAMESON: Right, it prohibits government workers period from engaging in these financial transactions.

BURR: So we’re going to have political theater this week as to whether it applies to the executive branch, whether it doesn’t. The fact is SEC law applies to every person who trades in America.  WRONG. LIAR. Congress has exempted itself from these laws.  As they have exempted themselves to myriad laws that apply to the rest of America.

JAMESON: You know, you pointed out that you were one of two who voted against it. Of course now that’s being turned around that you two were the partisan ones. But I agree with you that it’s kind of
ludicrous that we have a law on the books that does apply, as you said, to everybody who trades, and they have to codify it even more. I want to get to unemployment, though, if we may. North Carolina’s unemployment in December went up in 93 of 100 counties. American Airlines, the third largest airline, announcing they are going to be laying off 13,000 employees in the next couple weeks. Simple question, not so simple answer. What needs to be done to get Americans back to work?

BURR: Very simply, Jerri, we need our policies to reflect the willingness of people with capital to invest in job creation. Right now businesses are frozen because they don’t know what tax rate is going to be applied to them in the future. They don’t know what regulatory architecture they’re going to have to live under. Therefore, they can’t figure out whether it’s worth investing based upon what the return might be. As long as we’ve got capital in that situation, then you will freeze private capital, and the only place, the only place, to create jobs will be in the public sector. What we don’t need are more public sector jobs. We actually need the reduction of the federal workforce. We need to replace those and increase them with new jobs, new employment, in the private sector.  BULLSHIT.  Our nation is flush with capital.  Banks have TRILLIONS on deposit at the Federal Reserve,  because they can not find lending opportunities.  Our problem is not capital availability.  Our problem is a lack of demand.  And Republican refusal to jump start demand through infrastructure build-out is one of many reasons we are stuck in economic hell.

JAMESON: Some are saying we need to obviously offer incentives for people of insource rather than outsource, with outsourcing of course being kind of the trend.

BURR: Well, but Jerri, I think what we need to ask is what’s the reason for outsourcing? The reason for outsourcing is that it’s cheaper to do business in other areas. Every economist in the world and every review of the United States system today says that if we would do comprehensive, corporate tax reform in the United States, get the corporate rate down to 25%, we wouldn’t have to have a debate about dividends or capital gains at a different rate. We would be so competitive in the rest of the world that we would actually see insourcing, not by U.S. companies but by foreign companies coming here, and we would stop the outsourcing of U.S. companies. Wrong again Senator.  What a crock of Republican Politician Crap.  Wall Street Journal headlines today ... Corporate Rate Lowest in Decades.  US Corporations paid an average tax rate of only 12.1% in 2011.  WTF?  We need to get to the bottom of this.  Why are our idiot Republican Politicians pounding the table to cut tax rates on Corporations paying so very little in the face of our nation's $1 Trillion in annual deficit spending?

JAMESON: That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

BURR: Well, I think it’s an easy fix. But let’s face it, this is an election year, and the President would rather use corporations as the boogeyman for the election than he would as the secret to turning our economy around and creating jobs.  The average federal tax rate is 20.6%.  The super-wealthy pay only 18.1%.  Corporations pay 12.1% ... and our idiot,  Senator Burr,  wants to help the super-rich and the corporations?  Yeah,  I see a dumb-assed boogeyman all right ... Richard Burr.

JAMESON: Well, speaking of the economy, obviously foreclosures, homeowners are struggling, the President this week expanding on his plan to allow homeowners, even those who owe more than their home is worth, to be able to refinance their homes, to take advantage of the low interest rates. His plan calls for it to be paid for with an assessment on big banks. I want to separate the plan and the funding of it, because I know Congress has not gone for bank assessments before. But do you think giving homeowners more access to refinancing at the lower rates would be good for the housing market?

BURR: Jerri, I call it loan modification, and we ought to have been doing loan modification on any mortgages that the federal government, that the American taxpayer, was obligated for. That’s all the Freddie & Fannie inventory, that’s all the FHA inventory. But I don’t think it’s appropriate for the federal government to go into the private marketplace and tell private risk-takers, “Okay, we’re going to charge you a fee and you’re going to modify these loans.” Smart financial institutions have already re-worked the loans that they think people have the capabilities of paying off. The ones they haven’t re-worked are the ones where the individual probably never should have gotten the loan to begin with or the property was over-valued from the start. It will, in their estimation over the life of the loan, never see revaluation. That’s what the President’s attacking. I think his own Administration has admitted out of the modifications that have already been made, almost 50% have gone back into foreclosure. So this is not a panacea. But I think what we need to try to do is re-structure the re-payments to where people have got 30 years versus 10 or 12 or 14. None of us know when prices will re-inflate, but we all can agree to this. The debt problem that we’re in in this country, as a country, as states, as localities, and as individuals, is going to take decades for us to work out from under.  Oh,  so American Taxpayers saved the big banks.  These big banks now get loans from the Federal Reserve at 1/4% interest and buy 2% Treasuries all day long to make big profits.  Bank executives continue to pay themselves tens of millions in bonuses.  Yet, American Taxpayers don't have the right to get paid back for saving these bankers asses and allowing them to continue screwing us by paying themselves so well at our expense?  What fucking planet do you live on Senator?

JAMESON: Well, you mention Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and I know there’s legislation under consideration that would stop the executives from getting their bonuses, the bonuses worth millions. The measure would take the unpaid bonus money and go to paying the outstanding debt still from the 2008 taxpayer bailout. Where do you stand on that?

BURR: Listen, I don’t think that any corporate executive ought to be rewarded for bad performance. [THEN WHY IN THE HELL WON'T YOU MOVE TO GIVE SHAREHOLDERS THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON EXECUTIVE PAY? WE OWN THE DAMN COMPANIES,  WE DESERVE THE RIGHT TO BINDING VOTES ON PAY.  YET,  REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS, LIKE YOU SENATOR, STAND IN THE WAY OF COMMON SENSE BEING APPLIED TO THIS ISSUE] In Freddie & Fannie’s case, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Those that run it now argue that if they don’t
offer bonuses they don’t get talented people. We’ve got a lot of talented people unemployed today that would love to be at Freddie & Fannie helping to turn it around, and a lot of them, if not all of them, come right out of the financial services industry. So to suggest that they can’t attract the talent with the salary that’s already on the job without the bonus is just ludicrous.   And it's more ludicrous that you don't apply this same train of thought to all the banks that American Taxpayers bailed out in 2008, and continue to support through the transfer of wealth from savers to bankers.

JAMESON: We’ve got just a couple more minutes, but there are two stories that are in the news today that I really do want to touch on. One is the Arab League resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar al-
Assad to leave power. Of course, the United States pushing for that, Russia opposing that. Where do you see this going? Is there concern of possible intervention by NATO and therefore the U.S.?

BURR: It may be talked about in international circles, but I don’t think there’s concern within Syria or the Bashar al-Assad government. They’ve got a firm handle on things. They are running Syria just like his dad did when they had a genocide of 30,000 people. Not 300 but 30,000 in one swoop. I think that until we apply the correct amount of international pressure, until we really get aggressive on sanctions, until we cut them off from the rest of the world, than we’re going to see the Bashar al-Assad government try to hang on through the use of their military.  Yeah,  that's all we need.  Let's throw another $1.5 Trillion down the drain with more Republican Wars.

JAMESON: Lastly on my end, and then whatever you want to speak about of course we’ll open to you, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying that U.S. and its NATO partners will be ending their combat role in Afghanistan next year, switching from combat to training and advising of the Afghan forces. So, a little earlier than originally planned or announced. Is this a good strategy to be setting that kind of deadline? I know there’s pros and cons to it, but or pulling it in sooner?

BURR: Jerri, yesterday I would have told you no, today I still tell you no. I’m not sure what lead to the Secretary’s announcement late in the afternoon. There was certainly no warning on Capitol Hill that I’m aware of. [Last I checked,  Congress isn't the Commander in Chief, so STFU] I think that all of the military plans have been developed based upon a date in 2014, and I was supportive of that. But I think to accelerate that by a year may fit in the Secretary’s need for the budget constraints of the Department of Defense. If we’ve got men and women that we’ve asked to go into a combat theater, I don’t want to run the war in that theater based upon what the budget says we can do. I want to do it based upon whether we intend to win and if so, what we need to do to win.

JAMESON: Alright, Senator Burr. Thank you so much. Anything else that you would like to touch on maybe for your constituents or listeners that we may not know is going on there in Washington?

BURR: Well, Jerri, there’s not a whole lot going on there right now. We have seen Presidential politics start in an earlier period than ever in the 18 years that I have been involved in service. I think it will continue to dominate the direction of the legislative debate up here. I believe that means very little gets done this year, and that’s sad based on the financial condition of the United States.

JAMESON: With that, Senator Burr, we thank you for your time. We look forward to speaking with you regularly.

Nice interview Senator Burr.  It confirmed the perception I've always had .... you're an idiot.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Lies, lies, and more lies

Anyone else out there just plain tired of listening to Republican politicians complain about Obama's deficit spending? The score card shows that $5.1 Trillion of deficit spending during the Obama administration actually comes from policies adopted during the Bush Administration.

Obama's deficit spending? ... try Bush's deficit spending:

Click on image for larger view

And Senator Burr,  you voted for this crap.  So please,  we are tired of your lies and finger pointing.   This deficit spending? ... It's your fucking fault Senator Burr.  So shut the hell up about it.

North Carolina deserves better than our lying Republican Senator Richard Burr.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

@SenatorBurr - Why are US Corporations paying so little in income taxes?

One of the most intellectually dishonest cases being made by Republican politicians, like our dolt of a US Senator Richard Bur,  is the need to cut the income taxes paid by US Corporations.

Huh?

Corporations bear a significantly less income tax burden today than in prior decades.

And as the chart below shows,  while Income Taxes paid by individuals are on the rise,  US Corporations are paying only about 2/3rds what they paid 5 to 7 years ago.   Yet,  corporate profits are hitting all-time highs.

Click on image for larger view

What the hell is going on here? Corporate profits are hitting high after high. The US Stock Market is closing in on record highs. Corporate executive pay is off the charts. Yet, our Corporations are paying significantly less taxes? And we need to give them income tax breaks in the face of $1 Trillion annual deficits?

This is a pure T crock of Republican Crap. Common sense says that US Corporations are paying significantly less income tax because they've moved all their profits to off-shore tax dodges.  We need to make our tax system fair.  What we need to do is shut down all the off-shore income tax breaks. But, cut taxes on corporations?

Richard Burr - take a hike.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.