Monthly Archives: October 2013

Never again! Are you sure?

We all would like to believe that the recent political disaster will cure the Republicans  of trying political blackmail again. I’m not do sure since the ones who caused the problem did not accept that they had lost and did not back down.

Note that 5 of every 8 Republican Reps  voted against the final agreement with the Senate. They wanted to continue the shutdown and the default. Obviously there were some grown-ups in the Republican party who were wiling to break the insane Hastert rule and allow the Democrats a vote.

The Tea Pots are already saying that it would have worked if they hadn’t been betrayed by compromisers. People like Boehner, presumably. So who will do this service the next time? Boehner?

PS: Recovering on schedule from knee op and expect to be home Sunday.

Back again

I had my new knee installed last Thursday and am now in the Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute for a while. Doing well and better than last time. As before, the poorly paid workers of the medical profession are showing a lot of class.


Sing Sing Sing

That was almost the last post.  Always time for some ancient music. Louis Prima’s Sing Sing Sing, one of the great hits of the big Band  era in what may have been it’s most famous version: as performed at Carnegie Hall in 1938 by the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Here is the original 13 minute recording. Goodman on clarinet, Harry James on trumpet, Jess Stacey on piano, and, of course, Gene Krupa on drums. Many others.

Reminiscing, during WW II I lived in suburb of New Haven and Yale was taken over by the Army and Navy programs. Maj. Glen Miller was there a while leading an Army band and we used to go down to the New Haven Green at dusk for the parade of the band and the downing of the colors. It was a great treat to get a free Glen Miller performance. One of our favorite marches was the St. Louis Blues March.

I love this one

A high school football coach  in Utah suspended most of the team for skipping class, receiving poor grades, and allegedly cyber-bullying a fellow student. They were required to do various good works to get back on the team. Among them:

With the support of his coaches, the school administration and even the player’s parents, the team spent football practice Monday and Tuesday working on a different set of skills. Labrum said, “We did some service as far as digging weeds and cleaning. On Tuesday we went to the senior center and played some games with them and listened to their stories.

If they relapse they’ll be required to read the senior’s blogs.

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

We’re all sick of all the talk about the shut down, but I think it’s worthwhile to look at an analysis in the NY Times today, especially If you believed all that talk about the Tea Party being a grass roots revolution.

To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.

This is a good example of how big money has been warping the political dialogue in the US for the last 40 years.

More on “small” business

I found the following in a Congressional Research Service Report. It sounds just like other discussions of inequality.

For example, 30% of S corporation receipts are generated by the largest 0.3% of S  corporations, and 41% of partnership receipts are generated by the largest 0.2% of partnerships. Similarly, the largest 0.2% of S corporations hold 43% of S corporation assets, while the largest 1.1% of partnerships hold 78% of partnership assets.

The report discussed the idea of taxing large S Corps and partnerships as regular corporations. The original idea of the S-Corp tax exemption was to permit small businesses to avoid the corporate tax while getting other benefits of corporate status. It was a good idea.

Thank you for your service

That cliche, worth less than the breath that utters it, was chosen by David Finkel for the title of his book on the life and times of our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I should read it, because it evidently tells a tale we are not good at hearing, but I’m afraid I don’t have the stomach for it.

Fortunately, Andrew Bacevich has given a good summary, and added some thoughts of his own, in a review on Truthdig. I recommend it or just read the book

When small is large

Republicans devote a lot of attention to the protection of small businesses. This came up when the elimination of the Bush tax cuts on upper level incomes was being discussed. Mitch McConnell argued that the increase in tax rates for the top two categories would affect half of small business income in the US. Similar arguments are made when increases in the inheritance tax are discussed.

This is a little puzzling since other estimates indicated that only 2% of small business owners would be affected by those tax increases. The explanation is simple. The inequality problem in our economy holds here too. Two percent of small business owners get about half the small business income.

Businesses that avoid corporation taxes by passing through net income to its shareholders directly are considered to be small businesses. This includes partnerships and S Corporations, which need only be small in the sense that the number of partners and limited.  S Corporations can have no more than 100 shareholders, although there are inventive ideas to minimize that problem for very large families. Such companies are necessarily privately owned. They are not necessarily small in a sense most people would expect.

Here are two examples of such “small”  businesses. The Tribune Company is an S Corp. It is the second largest publisher of newspapers in the US and owns the Chicago and Los Angeles Tribunes.  The Bechtel Corporation is another S Corp. It is the largest engineering company in the US and has annual revenues of the order of $30 billion.

Everyone wants to help small businesses and so the Republicans love this kind of argument, carefully phrased. There is another advantage. Tea Party types do not have any love for big business but are devout defenders of small business. And we all naively thought small meant small.