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Tax Rate Reality: Under Obama, Filers Up To $284,000 Would Still Pay Less.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012

The Rich need a tax cutThe Bush Tax Cuts were only supposed to be temporary. Let’s get that out of the way up front.

I starting writing this op/ed weeks ago, but mothballed it because I didn’t have enough for a story at the time. But recent events… by which I mean the hysteria over “the looming Fiscal Cliff” (insert scary hand-gestures here)… have changed all that.

Perhaps you saw the stories last week on Rachel Maddow about Conservative taxpayers… clearly with no understanding of how marginal tax rates work… worried silly over possibly earning over $250K, or DailyKOS reporting some Woman business owner terrified of earning over $250K? The GOP has always depended upon the ignorance of their base to help them win elections, but as the recent election proved, fewer & fewer people are falling for their bull$#!+ as reality keeps proving them wrong over & over again, until soon the only Republicans left will be the ones that think Sarah Palin is a brilliant politician.

I’ve discussed the public’s stupidity when it comes to marginal tax rates before, pointing out that if the top tax rates goes up from 35% to 39.6%, the guy making $250,000 would pay exactly 5-Cents more in taxes than the guy earning $249,999 (an extra 4.6% on the extra dollar), but the GOP has done a masterful job of convincing a lot of wealthy stupid people that the Obama Administration is going to tax them to death (which certainly begs the question: How did people SO DUMB get to be so wealthy in the first place?)

This past week had everyone on the Sunday Politi-Talk Shows hyperventilating over the fiscal cliff… no, I take that back, THE LOOMING FISCAL CRISIS that will plunge the nation into an economic black hole that makes the Greek economy look stable by comparison… or at least that’s what they certainly make it sound like. And you’d be forgiven if you thought our Deficit might explode rather than shrink dramatically if Washington failed to reach an agreement before the end of the year, but in fact, that’s exactly what would happen: dramatic cuts in spending across the board while taxes simply return to Clinton Boom Years levels. Oh, the horror. As one blogger pointed out last week: “The Rich aren’t afraid a tax increase will crash the economy. They are TERRIFIED that it WON’T! I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put more brilliantly.

When the Bush Tax Cuts were passed in 2001, President Bush argued we could afford them because we were “running a surplus”, or in other words, people were being “overtaxed” (so how do we EVER pay off our Debt if the moment we take in more than we spend, Republicans use it as an excuse for cuts? But I digress.)

The economy… which was already in a nosedive as Bush & Cheney talked the economy into a Recession to undercut Gore’s biggest advantage… continued to tank after Bush’s inauguration even BEFORE 9/11 (a timeline I recorded in detail here), but after the attack, the continued decline in the economy was their excuse for keeping the cuts in place. “Tax cuts” when things are good; “Tax cuts” when things are bad. There is no situation where Republicans call for higher taxes (eventually hitting zero, and then they’d mail out “stimulus checks”). So then Democrats, the only adults in the room, must point out that you can’t have pie for dinner every day. At some point, we need to eat our vegetables. And the best place to start is with those people that got the biggest piece of the pie for the past twelve years.

President Obama’s compromise (currently) is to keep the “Bush Tax Cuts” for everyone making less than $250,000 (the lower 98% of Americans), but anyone making more than that will go back to paying the Clinton era tax rates: a top rate of 39.6% (up from 35% today), an increase of just 4.6%.

Now here is where things get a little tricky:

With “progressive taxation” (ie: “brackets”), people making over $250K will STILL get a tax cut on the first $250k of their income, paying LESS in taxes on that portion than they did under Clinton even after President Obama repeals the cut on the top tax rate.

So a thought occurred to me: How much must a person earn before the increase in their taxes negates their savings on the first $250,000?

I put out the call to my fellow Crooks & Liars staff members and thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Heather & “Kathy A” (much thanks), and a bit of work on my own, was able to calculate (approximately) what that amount might be. Using the 2000 & 2012 tax brackets (via “moneychimp.com“), along with the new rates proposed under Obama, I inserted the data into a simple spreadsheet, then comparing the diminishing savings as income grew, I believe I was able to deduce at what point the increase in taxes on income over $250,000 would negate their savings on income below $250,000:

Tax rates:
Clinton: income above $288,350 paid 39.6%.
Bush: income above $388,350 pay 35.0%.
Obama: Income above $250,000 pay 39.6%.

Under President Obama’s proposed changes, anyone making less than $250,000 would still pay the same $64,513 on the first $250K of income as set by the Bush Tax Rates. So all I had to figure out was at what point would someone pay an additional $13,484 more in taxes.

Without getting into the weeds of Deductions and filing Single vs Jointly, I found that a person earning up to $284,000 a year will STILL be paying LESS in taxes under Obama than they did during the Clinton Boom Years. (This does unfortunately create a tiny $4,300 window between $284,050 & $288,350 of people that will pay up to $197 more in taxes under Obama than they did under Clinton. Oh the humanity!)

While Republicans are wetting their knickers over “raising taxes on people making more than $250,000“, in actuality, even after the repeal, people earning up to $284K will STILL be benefiting from the Bush Tax Cut, continuing to pay less today than they did under Clinton.

I know an extra $34,000 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but when you have people who are petrified of making even one penny over $249,999.99, you can relax, I just bought you an extra $34,000 worth of breathing room. THEN you can go back to hyperventilating over having to pay the same tax rate as you did 12 years ago.
 



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Filed in Economy, Money, myth busting, Politics, Taxes November 26th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Happy Macy’s Day!

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday is starting earlier every year

Just a brief note this holiday.

Every Thanksgiving I play a little game, listening for the number of times I hear the phrase: “Macy’s Day Parade”.

It’s an odd homage to consumerism. Many of us said it when we are kids, and if you still haven’t caught it, you probably still do.

It’s the “Macy’s THANKSGIVING Day Parade”, or the “Macy’s Parade”, but not “Macy’s Day Parade”.

Today, about a half dozen major retailers have decided to cut their employees’ holiday short and open on Thanksgiving to extend the holiday shopping season just a few extra hours. Thanksgiving falls on the earliest possible day it can this year: the 22nd, meaning there are more days between now and Christmas than there could possibly be otherwise. Yet, it’s STILL not enough. Some major retailers like Wal*Mart, Target & Sears have seen fit to open right smack-dab in the middle of turkey dinner with the family on Thursday evening and stay open all night.

I’d argue that these few extra hours on an ALREADY lengthy shopping season only cannibalize sales they would otherwise have simply been made a few hours later. Do we REALLY need to open Thanksgiving night???

So do us all a favor this “Macy’s Day”: STAY HOME and enjoy turkey (or “Tofurkey” for some) dinner with the family rather than encouraging these greedy bastards that can’t wait an extra 12 freakin’ hours before they start to commercialize yet one more holiday on an already extended shopping season.
 

Oh, and BTW: What’s with Presidents “pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving” only to end up eating turkey anyway? Why was one bird deserving of a pardon and the other not? What did the unlucky turkey do wrong? I think someone is missing the point of a “pardon”.

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Filed in Money, Rants November 22nd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Why the Right is still hyping the Benghazi non-story

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 19, 2012

Benghazi HypocrisyOn August 9th, 1974, five men (working for the CIA) were caught after breaking into National Democratic Headquarters based in the Watergate Hotel/Office-complex in Washington D.C.. The scandal was traced all the way back to the White House (and likely Nixon himself), culminating in the conviction and incarceration of 43 people, including the highest ranking law official in the nation, Attorney General John Mitchel. The scandal remains to this day the benchmark by which all other political scandals are measured.

I’ve noticed that at least a half-dozen Republicans last week referred to “Watergate” when discussing “Benghazi” and the fact U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice went on several network TV news shows the following Sunday to declare that “our best information at this time” is that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was yet another spontaneous demonstration over a fake movie trailer on YouTube insulting Islam. Here is the exchange that has Republicans so outraged:
 

DAVID GREGORY: Can you say definitively that the attacks on our conciliate in Libya that killed Ambassador Stevens and others there – security personnel – that was spontaneous? Was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?”

AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: Well let us… let me tell you the best information we have at present. First of all, there is an FBI investigation which is ongoing, and we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.”

Doesn’t sound like someone making a “this is what we know for certain” claim, does it? I would also point out Ms. Rice is merely an AMBASSADOR, not an intelligence official. It’s not like she’s our National Security Adviser like another Ms. Rice I could mention that was directly responsible for the worst intelligence failure in American history that resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans, only to follow THAT up with the SECOND worst intelligence failure in American history as an encore just six months later… repeated claims of the existence of WMD’s in Iraq that allowed a hawkish president & vice president march this nation into an unprovoked and unnecessary war of choice against a relatively unarmed nation (Iraq), leading to the deaths of another 4,200 American troops. Despite this, Condi was nominated and confirmed as “Secretary of State” by a vote of 85 to 13.

Meanwhile, more than two months later, the Right is STILL hyping the “Benghazi” embassy attack as a “massive intelligence failure in which Americans died on September 11th [2012]“, w/o a hint of irony. On ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Rep. Peter King actually said: “[Ambassador] Rice should have known better” because she was privy to information that contradicted the story she was telling. Someone should ask him WHICH “Rice” he’s referring to: Susan or Condi. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate these people?

As another great site, “Little Green Footballs” pointed out last week, the very idea that Ambassador Rice’s claims… NOT under oath, expressed with multiple caveats, and based only on the information she was provided by the intelligence community somehow rises to the level of “Watergate” (while Condi gets a free-pass) is “ludicrous”.

What’s happening here (yet again) are the Right’s attempts to diminish “Watergate”, “9/11″ and the failures of Condi by hyping “Benghazi” to absurd levels. And their reason for doing couldn’t be more clear… to minimize three of the GOP’s most notorious scandals all in one fell swoop. Those three (arguably four counting Condi’s two) debacles hang like a permanent dark cloud over the Republican Party from which their only escape is to somehow suggest Democrats are now as bad as the GOP… or WORSE (“Nobody died in Watergate!” said Sen. John McCain taking a break from his campsite in the courtyard between Fox, NBC, CBS & ABC yesterday to demand Ambassador Rice “apologize” for… for… well hell-if-I-know) when it comes to “intelligence failures” and “political coverups”.

Fox “news” Sunday invited famed investigative reporter Bob Woodward to join their “Power Panel” clearly with the objective of trying to get him to compare “the Benghazi scandal” to Watergate. Unfortunately for them, Woodward wasn’t ready to play along, pointing out that “What did Susan Rice [a lowly ambassador] know and when did she know it” does not come close to the level of “what did THE PRESIDENT know and when did he know it” on the Watergate-scandal scale.

Thank your lucky stars the GOP didn’t retake the Senate two weeks ago because we all remember what happened the last time a popular successful Democratic president won reelection only to face a hostile Republican Congress. Can you say “endless partisan investigations and impeachment?” I knew you could.

If ever there was a demonstration of why this blog is subtitled “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it”, this is it.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history November 19th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just Because We Won Doesn’t Mean Millions Weren’t Disenfranchised. My “Voter Security Act.”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 12, 2012

5 steps of voter suppressionDemocrats won big Tuesday. Not only did President Obama rake in 126 more Electoral Votes than Mitt Romney, but nearly 3-Million more of the “Popular Vote”. Many Republicans, in licking their wounds following Tuesday’s shellacking, point to one stat to make them feel better: “President Obama dropped 6 Million in the popular vote from 2008 to 2012″, thereby “proving sinking approval levels.” No, there are a number of more likely explanations for Obama’s decreased draw of the popular vote, and chief among them is all the borderline-criminal attempts at voter suppression we saw across the country in just the past two years. I’m quick to remind people that “just because we won the election doesn’t mean millions of voters weren’t disenfranchised.” We just won big enough that it didn’t matter.

First off, the numbers: In 2008, just over 129-million people voted (69.4M + 59.9M). In 2012, only 120-million people voted (61.9M + 58.6M). That’s a reduction of just under 9-million fewer voters overall. But Democrats weren’t the only ones to see their numbers drop. A decline of 7.5-million Democratic votes means a decline of 1.3-million GOP votes as well. Considering that voter suppression laws targeted the Democrats’ demographics most (poor, the infirm, minorities and the young), it’s no surprise that in the end fewer of them voted.

And even after state after state was ordered to halt their voter obstruction efforts… “Voter ID”, “reduction in Early Voting days”, and “extra long ballots” designed to slow down voting to create long lines designed to turn voters away (most notably hourly workers, the disabled and the elderly)… they still continued to post billboards, run TV & Print ads and “accidentally” failed to update their websites to tell people about the fact that those laws would not be in effect on Election Day. It’s no coincidence that Florida, which passed “Voter ID” and cut Early Voting days from 14 to just 8 was the last to finish voting with it’s results not being certified until four days after the election… and this is AFTER Florida’s results would have NO impact on the outcome of the election. Just imagine if it had! I GUARANTEE we STILL would not know the result today. This is completely unacceptable!
 

Billboards in poor black neighborhoods designed to scare off legal voters
Threatening billboards in poor black neighborhoods
 

Long lines in Miami
Long lines in Miami 2012
 

Long lines in Virginia
Long lines in Virginia 2012
 

Long lines in Ohio
Long lines in Ohio 2012
 

Long lines in Colorado
Long lines in Colorado 2012
 

Long lines in Detroit, Michigan
Long lines in Detroit 2012
 

Long lines in Wisconsin
Long lines in Wisconsin 2012

 (Note there were long lines in some safely Blue states as well: New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc. But chalk that up mostly due to Hurricane Sandy.)

I personally believe that had it not of been for all the attempts at blatant voter suppression across the country, President Obama might have won an additional 2-3 million votes, bringing him closer to his 2008 Popular Vote totals. I like to tell people: “If the GOP’s ideas are so great, why do they feel the need to restrict voting? You only do that when you know your ideas are unpopular and can’t win any other way.”

The worst thing that we could do now is become complacent and think Voter Obstruction is not as big an issue as once thought. Not only could voter suppression tactics potentially swing an election in the future, but think about all the Republicans out there right now challenging the notion of whether or not President Obama actually won “a mandate” to pursue HIS policies over those of the GOP? (I’ll save the discussion over “how many votes equal a mandate” for another day.) Hey, “he only won by 3-million votes! That’s just 0.6% of the total vote!” Still think losing votes even when you win isn’t a big deal?

I think now is the perfect time to push for election reform. No longer facing reelection himself, with the next big election two full years away, there is no better time to push for it. Even President Obama in his victory speech Tuesday night pointed to the long lines on Election Day, saying, “Oh, by the way. We have to fix that!”, to which the crowd cheered.

So I propose “The Electronic Voting Security Act”. Due to our sheer size, electronic voting is here to stay. There’s just no way we can get rid of electronic voting and switch to pen & paper the way they do in Australia. But there is NO excuse for having Millions of people voting into “Black Boxes”… built by private corporations using “proprietary” software protected from scrutiny as “trade secrets”… that provide no confirmation whatsoever that your vote was tallied correctly. So here is my list of proposed features in “The Electronic Voting Security Act”:

  1. Every voting machine must produce a hard copy print out of your voting selections, which you may then review and drop into a sealed ballot box that can be called upon should a recount become necessary. This provides both the immediacy of the electronic result with the security of paper ballots. It would also make “electronic vote tampering” far less likely if people know the result can simply be verified in a hand recount. Should those results differ, there would be no question of election tampering and immediately trigger a criminal investigation. We would NEVER deposit our money into an ATM that doesn’t give us a receipt. Why on Earth should we entrust something even more valuable… our vote… to some “sealed black box”?
  2. “Open Source” election software ONLY – Private contractors may still bid to compete on who actually makes the machines, but the software that runs on those machines will be standardized “Open Source” code written by a non-partisan elections board (most likely the Treasury Dept) and released into the public-domain. This means ANYONE can then scrutinize the code for flaws, backdoors, or other vote-manipulation code, and bring forth a challenge if they believe it somehow favors one candidate/Party over another. No more proprietary “secret software” or suspicious last-minute patches or conflicts of interest casting doubt into the minds of voters as to whether or not their vote will be recorded correctly. “Touch screen voting machines” have long been the scourge of election-monitors everywhere, and Election Day video of a voting machine registering a vote for “Romney” when “Obama” was selected (but not “Obama” when the candidate below him was selected) didn’t help matters, and if I had my druthers, I’d ban them entirely. But I feel that once “printouts” are added to voting machines and voters can confirm their vote was recorded correctly, we should see a lot fewer of these calibration “accidents”.
  3. No more long lines. – A number should be calculated and agreed upon balancing the “number of machines per number of registered voters in each district.” I’m not entirely sure what that number should be… perhaps one machine and one Early Voting day for every 1,000 voters? Someone needs to come up with a standardized figure and require every county in every state to comply. If lines persist, more machines should be provided to the precinct free-of-charge until long lines are no longer a problem.
  4. Likewise, no one should have to travel more than 10-miles to get to a polling station. Voters should be allowed to ride public transportation for free to their polling place on election day the same way many are allowed to ride for free when called for Jury Duty in cities across the country. This would also be of great benefit to the elderly, many of whom no longer drive.
  5. And on that note, Make Election Day a national holiday. – preferably a paid holiday because poor voters can least afford to lose a day of work, but I know Republicans would totally balk at that idea. The simple fact of the matter is that making time to vote on a workday can be exceedingly difficult. If you vote early in the morning before work, there’s the chance you may be late to work that morning. If you vote in the evenings, you must make sure to get there before the polls close. Early voting helps, but then the burden of the cost of additional voting days falls upon the state. People should not be worried about squeezing “voting” into their schedule.
  6. Auto-registration upon receiving a Social Security #. – With all the ridiculous hype over the nonexistent threat of “non-citizens voting”, if would be much simpler if every person were automatically registered to vote upon receiving their Social Security number (which only citizens get). And to any Trolls or nitpickers that wish to point out how many people receive a SS# at birth and not eligible to vote for another 18 years… uh… we know their age when we give them the number, and will know if someone tries to use that number before they are eligible.
  7. Implementation of “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV). – If you aren’t familiar with “IRV”, here’s a great video primer:
     

    Basically, when you vote in a race with more than two candidates, you pick your preferred candidate first followed by your second choice (and so on) simultaneously should that candidate fail to make it into the Top 2. (Note: the video makes one mistake at the 2:00 mark. In a race with three candidates, you would only get two choices, not three.) With the advent of electronic voting, such a system is now easier than ever. And the benefits? No more Spoilers. No more elections being won by candidates with less than 50% of the vote. No more “two Party only” system. No more voting for “the lesser of two evils”. No more concern over “throwing your vote away”. With IRV, you can vote for Third Party candidates without fear of “helping the Party you hate win”. You could have voted for Nader in 2000 even if you lived in a swing state without worry over whether you cost Al Gore the election. And Rick Perry couldn’t have won reelection as governor of Texas in 2006 with just 39% of the vote because the GOP helped fund two “Independent” candidates to split the anti-Perry vote three ways. Sound nice? It’s no dream. It’s “Instant Runoff Voting”. And we need it. Now.

If Republicans continue to insist on ridiculous “Voter photo ID” requirements that amount to an illegal “poll tax” (if not simply a means of making it more difficult for the less-mobile to vote), I propose biometrics… thumb print, retinal scanners, etc… at every polling place. No need to “obtain” an ID; You ARE the ID! Simply record every voter’s biometrics at the next election and then compare that print to the one on record in successive elections. Republicans may balk at the cost of adding such scanners, but they had no problem passing off the cost of obtaining a useless “Voter ID” onto the voters. If they REALLY believe “voter identification” is a serious problem worthy of the expense, let them put their money where their mouth is.

As you might imagine, Floridians are getting pretty freakin’ tired (as is the rest of the country) of being a laughing stock every four years, repeatedly taking days to produce an accurate (?) count of that states’ votes. And this year, after taking nearly four days to finally figure out who won the state, Florida residents are understandably demanding an overhaul of that states’ voting procedures. The entire event was one big partisan mess, as Governor Rick Scott first pushed through (unconstitutional) Voter ID laws, followed by cutting Early Voting from 14 days to just eight. And we saw Republican governors across the nation attempted to duplicate this “creative chaos” in their own states for partisan advantage. NO ONE should be able to play partisan political games with something so integral to our democracy as “voting”.
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, Politics, voting November 12th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Brief Note: Obama Wins both Electoral AND Popular Votes

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whew! My greatest fear tonight wasn’t that Mitt Romney might win, but that President Obama would lose the Popular Vote yet win the Electoral Vote, winning in a way that would lead the Right to dog his Presidency as “illegitimate” for the next four years. I’m pleased to announce that won’t be the case, with the president winning both by healthy margins (at this writing): Nearly 100 more Electoral votes and 300,000 nearly 3,000,000 more popular votes.

Howard Finemann of the Huffington Post made the most salient observation that “Romney wanted this election to be a referendum on Obama, and IT WAS, with him and his policies winning” (despite some very wealthy donors throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads at him).

President Obama won enough swing states to have won reelection in numerous ways, winning Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa and Colorado. So any chance of a challenge on just one is rendered moot.

Another powerful observation came from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who pointed out that EVERY president, regardless of Party, that wins reelection following a deep recession, that President’s Party goes on to reap the benefits for another 20 years, as the recovery blossoms in their second term and they reap the rewards.

A great thought to carry with you this morning following a great night.

(NOTE: I will keep the “Reasons to NOT…” pages up for a few more days as a resource for people needing to explain to their Right-Wing friends why a Romney loss & Obama victory is a good thing.)
 

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Filed in Election, General, Politics November 7th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Victory Matrix: Your Handy Swing State Guide to 270

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NBC's Last Swing State Map before Election DayUsing NBC Political Director Chuck Todd’s latest map of “safe” states (left) for each candidate showing only seven swing states remaining… Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia… I stayed up late last night compiling this simple “Victory Matrix”, a brief table showing the swing states each candidate needs to reach the minimum 270 Electoral Votes necessary to win.

Assuming a starting point of 243 bankable EV’s for Obama and 206 EV’s for Romney, here are the fewest swing states each candidate needs to reach the 270 vote threshold:
 

Victory Matrix

 

As you can see, if President Obama wins Florida, it’s game over for Romney. The President can lose every other swing state and still break 270 with just Florida. So the Sunshine State is a “must win” for Romney.

Obama also has many more paths to victory. If he loses Florida, he still has EIGHT more paths to victory. In fact, he can lose both Florida AND Ohio and still has FOUR paths to victory. There is no absolute “must win” state for President Obama.

Governor Romney on the other hand has a much steeper hill to climb, with far fewer paths to victory with (as noted) Florida being a “must win” for him or it is all over. Mitt has just five paths to victory (sans an upset in a “safely blue” state not listed here), all of which require winning at least four swing states, with “Iowa” and NH being the states he least needs to still win. So if President Obama is the first to win four, likewise the race should technically be over.

Three of Romney’s five paths require winning Ohio, while four require winning Virgina. So if he loses one, he MUST win the other to stay alive. Based on the latest polls, Romney has a much better chance of winning Virgina than Ohio (though he trails in both), so while everyone else will be watching Ohio, I will be watching Virgina. Romney has but one path to victory if he loses Virgina, so if Obama wins that, I predict the race to be over rather early.

You can use this table like a scorecard. Let’s just hope the race isn’t close enough to steal, with no surprises, and we’re all in bed by a decent hour.
 

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Filed in Election, Politics, voting November 6th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Closing Arguments: Some thoughts on Romney

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 5, 2012

The GOP's idea of NegotiatingOver the past 18 months (since the first Republican debate in May of last year… yes, it has been that long), two things have always been clear: one, Mitt Romney would be the GOP nominee and two, Republicans hate him. This will be the first “post Citizens United” presidential race. And because of that, not only was this the first presidential campaign to cost over a Billion dollars, but BOTH candidates will have spent more than a Billion dollars EACH to win this race. Republicans had to spend like Ronald Reagan after finding Joe Stalin under his bed just to keep this race close, working overtime to convince Republicans to vote for a polished turd like Mitt Romney. Oh sure, they all now claim that they actually LIKE the former pro-choice, health-insurance mandating, French-speaking equivocator from “Taxachusetts”, and insist they are actually voting FOR him rather than just “against Obama”, but their sudden love for Romney rings about as hollow as the guy in Orwell’s “1984”, pitifully joyous over how great it is that they are having pudding for the eighteenth day in a row (sorry, I could find no clip). Romney is Double-plus-good. Over these last few weeks, I’ve made a few observations about the Romney campaign that I think deserve one last review before what is sure to be a VERY long election night.

Hurricane Sandy (IMHO) did almost as much damage to the Romney campaign as it did to the East Coast (no, I’m am NOT belittling the lives lost). While President Obama was (without even trying) showcasing the need & value of an effective government that comes to the rescue of its people in a crisis when no one else can, Governor Romney was a living example of just how inept and inadequate Corporate America is in an emergency. I wrote about this on “Crooks & Liars” at the time. If this race is a battle of ideologies… “Corporate America” vs “Big Government”… and you’re already on the record as advocating the privatization of FEMA, what better opportunity to PROVE your solutions are better than to put them in action during a natural disaster that (conveniently) strikes just days before the election? Think of it as a contest: “Which ideology can provide more relief, faster and more efficiently for less money?” Obama & FEMA vs Romney & Corporate America? The Governor could have responded to the disaster by trying to organize major corporations into donating: money, food & water, resources and heavy machinery, going out to devastated areas, rescue a few thousand people and provided electricity to a few million homes. Is that too much to ask? And all it would of cost them is a paltry $20-Billion dollars or so (assuming the race between Romney & FEMA were neck & neck) C’mon! Let’s see who’s REALLY better in an emergency!

But of course, Romney didn’t do that (assuming he even thought of it, which I can assure you he didn’t) because some problems are so big that only something the size of the Federal Government is big enough to take it on. Do you think that if such an option (a corporate rescue following a natural disaster) were even REMOTELY possible, Romney’s first instinct wouldn’t of been to hold a “donation drive”? That’s how my mother responds to a disaster, not an entire government. Hell, the Romney Campaign didn’t even consider DISTRIBUTING those donations themselves. They were going to dump the entire load off on the Red Cross. One can’t help but think that under a Romney Administration, Republicans might try to do something stupid like “privatize FEMA” when all is calm, only to suddenly realize how much we actually need FEMA come the first disaster? Republicans never consider the consequences of their policies. That’s how you end up in Iraq & Afghanistan with no exit strategy.

This past week, desperate to diffuse the bi-partisan praise of President Obama and his handling of Hurricane Sandy, most notably from Romney’s own keynote speaker Chris Christie, Romney himself has started telling crowds of how HE will do a better job of “working across the aisle”… unlike President Obama who couldn’t convince Republicans to work with him on ANYTHING. Yes, President Obama kept seeking Republican support for his programs, and they instead fought him tooth & nail. What a loser. If you want a guy that knows how to work with the opposing party, you need a president that vetoed 844 bills as governor passed by an “85% ‘Democrat’ Congress” in just four years (MA’s legislature is only in session 150 days a year, so that’s more than one veto a day), who has vowed on “Day One” to undo every piece of legislation they passed under the previous administration and push through every Tea Party wet dream for the next four years. And by all means, keep using the noun “Democrat” as an adjective/pejorative. Democrats just love that.

Republicans are still trying to convince you there’s “an enthusiasm gap” among voters. Yep, but it ain’t on our side.

Last Friday saw the release of the latest Jobs numbers from the Department of Labor. The very good report was a decidedly mixed message, showing 171,000 new jobs were added in October, but coupled with last month’s drop in the Unemployment Rate to 7.8%, about 100,000 of the long-term unemployed rejoined the job-hunt, pushing the UE Rate UP by 1/10th of a point. The President touted the number of jobs created, while the Romney campaign was once again able to claim “unemployment is higher now than when Obama took office”… a debatable claim since UE was indeed 7.8% in JANUARY… Bush’s last month in office with Obama taking over on the 20th. But UE was already 8.3% by February and continued to rise like a bat out of Hell to 10.0% by October. That’s how bad things were when President Obama took over, and unemployment has not been as high since. Pointing to how “low” the unemployment rate was the day Bush left office and then blaming Obama for everything afterwards is like pointing out what “great condition” a house is the moment it catches fire and then blaming the firemen for how it looks 4 hours later.

Another thought crossed my mind in recent weeks: Ever notice how Republicans always stop at “FDR” when saying “Obama is the worst” on something? “No president has won re-election with unemployment this high since FDR.” “The highest spending as a percentage of GDP since FDR.” Ever notice that? Why always since FDR? What happened when FDR was president? Oh yeah, the economy collapsed and the nation found itself fighting two wars simultaneously. NOTHING like President Obama had to face. Maybe President Obama’s Debt & Unemployment haven’t been seen since FDR because we haven’t seen this level of crisis since FDR? Republicans pointing out that we haven’t seen such numbers since FDR is an implicit admission that things have not been THIS BAD since FDR.

Nearly two months after the Embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, Fox “news” is still hyping a supposed “Intelligence failure” that led to American deaths on “September 11th”, accusing the president of demonstrating a lack of concern for those who had been killed, and even sitting and doing nothing while the attack was being carried out. The irony is palpable. But as we learned last week, the CIA responded to the attack within 25 minutes, while at the same time, Governor Romney was racing to the cameras to accuse the Obama Administration (and unwittingly, the embassy itself) of “sympathizing with the attackers” WHILE the attack was still underway.

Romney also took some heat last week for falsely claiming Chrysler might be shutting down “ALL” of its American factories and moving to China. Clearly desperate to make President Obama look worse for Detroit than his own suggestion of letting them go bankrupt, Romney seized on a report by a Conservative blogger that misinterpreted a Bloomberg News report of Chrysler opening additional factories in China to make cars for sale in China as suggesting the company was “shutting down factories in the U.S. and moving the jobs to China.” So not only did the blogger get the story wrong, but Romney embellished on it even further, falsely claiming Chrysler might be moving ALL production to China. When caught in the lie, rather than admit his mistake, Romney doubled-down, running carefully worded radio and TV ads saying Chrysler was going to “build cars in China”… which is true, but not at the cost of American jobs and not because business is bad for Chrysler. So unless you have a problem with selling cars to the Chinese, what is the point of the commercials?

(And, I might add, that total inability to admit you’re wrong… that’s how “shame on me” becomes “can’t get fooled again.”)

It deserves pointing out that just last June the Romney campaign defended “Offshoring” when Romney was criticized for “outsourcing” jobs to China while at Bain Capital. Romney adviser Andrea Saul quipped back that there is a difference between “outsourcing” and “offshoring… work done overseas to support U.S. exports“. So unless Mitt had a sudden epiphany that doing business overseas is a “bad” thing, he is once again flip-flopping on something he took a stand on not five months ago, for crass political gain.

With less than 48 hours to go as of this writing, Obama leads Romney in EVERY Ohio poll (sans… of course, Rasmussen that shows them merely tied)… a must-win state for Romney (actually there are one or two skin-of-his-teeth paths to victory for Romney w/o winning Ohio, but they both require winning five of eight swing states… not a single one in which he currently leads. Romney has NEVER led in Ohio. If Ohio goes Red Tuesday night, there will be a LOT of people (myself included) suspecting something hinky on election night.

There are FAR more paths to victory for Obama. While Romney has to virtually run the table and pick up almost every swing state just to reach 270, President Obama can lose Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virgina, Vermont AND North Carolina (seven of eight swing states), and STILL reach 272 Electoral Votes by simply winning Florida (along with all other states he currently leads in):
 

272 with JUST Florida

 

Likewise, he can swap Florida for Ohio and Virgina and still reach 274 EV’s:
 

274 without Florida

 

While everyone will be watching Ohio Tuesday night, I’ll be watching Virginia, which is a much closer race than Ohio and has a longer history of going red. If Romney loses Ohio… which looks very likely right now, he can’t win without Virgina. If he loses Virgina, he can’t with without Ohio.

So that’s Mitt. A former Republican governor with daddy issues (his father’s “brainwashed” remark that tanked his nomination “affected Mitt deeply” according the the PBS documentary: “The Choice 2012″) that can’t admit mistakes, believes tax cuts are the solution to every problem, is saber-rattling the threat of war in the Middle-East, and is now running as “a uniter, not a divider.” What could possibly go wrong?

And what in the heck is this? Keep calm?
 

Keep calm?
(click for full image)

Think maybe they’re a little worried over there at Romney headquarters?
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Jobs, Money, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Taxes, voting November 5th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View