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August 12, 2012

With Romney's tax plan 2 + 2 = 3,245

Romney’s Tax Plan Defies the Rules of Math - NYTimes.com
IN May of 2000, when George W. Bush was running for president on a platform of extravagant tax cuts for all, his campaign did something that would be considered remarkable today: it submitted his tax plan to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, to see how much all those tax cuts would cost the Treasury. The bipartisan committee ran through the details provided by the campaign and predicted that the tax plan would cost about $1.3 trillion over nine years, an underestimate but a clear sign of its high price tag. With the budget in surplus at the time, Mr. Bush didn’t dispute that cost, and never tried to pretend that the cuts would be free. Within a decade, in fact, they would turn out to be the biggest factor in the huge deficit he created. Twelve years later, Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, claims his far deeper tax cuts would have a price tag of exactly zero dollars. He has no intention of submitting his tax plan to the committee or anywhere else that might conduct a serious analysis, since he seems intent on running a campaign far more opaque than any candidate has in years. He has made his economic plan the fundamental basis of his candidacy, and yet with the Republican convention just two weeks away, we know next to nothing of the plan’s details. The extreme cuts proposed by his new running mate, Paul Ryan, are far more hard-edged, making Mr. Romney’s mathematically impossible promises look vague and shopworn by comparison. . . .

August 10, 2012

NPR and This American Life need to fire Adam Davidson

This stinks. I've always enjoyed Davidson's Planet Money and appearances on Marketplace and This American Life. But it really does look like his reporting has been corrupted from minute one by being a paid shill for the banks he was reporting on. Oh well. I'm sure Fox will hire him. Has NPR's Adam Davidson Betrayed His Listeners? Serious Conflict of Interest Issues Exposed | Alternet
Adam Davidson is the co-creator and host of the popular economic news radio program Planet Money. On air, Davidson plays the role of an earnest, brainy reporter who’s doing his best to make sense of the complicated, jargon-filled world of finance to report business news in a way that NPR listeners can understand. However, behind the dweeby, faux-naive facade Adam Davidson presents to his listeners, is a shrewd propagandist with a long, consistent history of shilling for powerful and destructive interests—and failing to disclose his financial ties to the companies and industries he reports on. Over the years, Davidson has boosted for the Iraq War and whitewashed the occupation of Iraq, praised sweatshop labor and "experimenting on the poor," attacked the idea of regulating Wall Street, parroted libertarian propaganda about the government’s inability to directly create jobs, argued for "squeezing the middle class," and shamelessly fawned over Wall Street for allegedly blessing Americans with "just about anything that makes you happy." (Read Adam Davidson's full S.H.A.M.E. profile.) Adam Davidson gained national media recognition as an on-air personality in 2008, after co-producing an episode for This American Life called "The Giant Pool of Money" about the implosion of subprime lending. Although Davidson's segment was praised for making the murky world of finance easier to understand, his framing of the subprime housing debacle served another purpose: It let Wall Street off the hook for its role in rampant criminal mortgage fraud and predatory lending. Among the show's fans was Treasury Secretary and former New York Federal Reserve Bank chief Timothy Geithner: "Yeah, they did a good job." . . . To understand why Davidson's arrangement with Ally Bank is so odious, a little background is needed. Ally Bank is a subsidiary of Ally Financial, a giant financial services company formerly known as GMAC. There's a good reason why GMAC would have wanted to change its name to "Ally Financial" after the financial collapse: The bank is one of the biggest mortgage servicers in the country, and has been one of the very worst offenders in foreclosure fraud and in the very same subprime fraud that Davidson whitewashed as a "blameless" phenomenon. GMAC deserves far more blame—and jail time—than any of the subprime borrowers it fleeced and ruined. Since GMAC collapsed in late 2008, it has received more than $17 billion taxpayer bailout funds in a series of bailouts. As of August 1, 2012, 74% of Ally Financial was still owned by the U.S. Government. . . .