Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Computer Tried to Kill Me

I may have the headline backwards - I think maybe I am killing my computer.... no wait, it's more like my computer has lost some toes in a freak accident. Or something. Bottom line - it no worky so good, me not know why.

In fact the only reason this post has appeared is my deft application of sheer force of will - and my use of an ancient series of whistles and beep noises and crossing my eyes while blinking a morse code.

Hang in there oh faithful readers.

I may need to finish incorporating myself as an offshore company headquartered in Geneva in order to finish this inter-transactional kinetic squirmish so I can save the computer and America.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Republicans Working Hard to Make Our Economy Worse

The intended consequences of Republicans in Washington - and in state legislatures - who campaigned on "slashing spending" were obvious: it's the American worker's spending that's being gutted. Republicans are offering up an endless slate of proposals which will drive up unemployment and drive down wages. It's the result of half-witted policies - if you stop government programs, fire millions of federal and state workers, drive private sector wages down and have no plan in place to grow jobs in the private sector, then our economy is going to tank even faster:

If pressed, I suspect GOP leaders would say their radical experiment would only cause temporary pain throughout the economy. Sure, unemployment would go up and workers' wages would go down, but that would only continue during a transition period.

And how long would America suffer while this transition continued? Republicans haven't quite answered that one yet.

We really are in a through-the-looking-glass debate at this point. Republicans benefited greatly from a weak economy in 2010, riding a wave of public frustration to massive electoral gains. Voters, looking for a change from the status quo, expected the GOP to focus heavily on job creation and economic growth.

Just a few months later, Republicans have responded with a plan that would make unemployment worse, on purpose, while lowering Americans' wages, on purpose."

Here in Tennessee, workers and economic ideas are moving in march-step to tank earnings for workers and offer tax giveaways to already subsidized corporations at the expense of all else:

Tennessee already scores well in terms of its business taxes and regulatory climate, and we have a pro-business, anti-labor legal climate. The state is also happy to dole out cash for relocation assistance, tax incentives, infrastructure development, and workforce training.

But all of that comes at a cost. We have some of the highest sales and property taxes in the country. We have one of the highest unemployment insurance rates because of chronic unemployment. CEOs are likely surprised when they find out we also have one of the highest income taxes on interest and dividends in the country.

We have high numbers of uninsured and people on public health care, which drives up taxes and health care costs for everyone including employers. We have a high poverty rate, meaning less buying power which limits markets for a company's products. We have one of the least qualified workforces (just look at how much money we hand out for remedial training of a relocating company's workers). We have some of the worst education outcomes in the country, with low high school graduation rates and low numbers of college educated workers. We have virtually no environmental regulation, at least in terms of enforcement, which affects our natural environment and, ironically, threatens tourism which is one of our key economic assets.

So why would any company want to locate here? Hard to say unless they're just looking for government handouts to exploit our cheap, unskilled labor in a wild west regulatory environment that lets them ride roughshod over state and local government, regulators, the courts, their workers and their communities.

Thanks for electing all those conservative, tea-party, corporate-worshiping folks who think all our policy problems and economic failures are the result of Americans who want to earn anything more than a living wage as companies fatten their profits at record levels.

Thanks soooo much.