Posts tagged ‘Welfare’

New Study Shows that Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs


New Study Shows that Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs

BY OLIVIA SANDBOTHE  |  DECEMBER 18, 2013

There’s no correlation between low taxes and job creation.

That’s the finding in a new report from the Center for Effective Government that refutes corporate CEOs, bankers and tea party members of Congress who engage in some serious magical thinking when it comes to taxes and job creation.

We’ve heard these voodoo economics before: cut taxes and jobs will appear.  Right now,corporate tax rates are at their lowest point in 40 years even as profits soar.  Meanwhile, our economy is still struggling. It’s about time we questioned why these policies have yet to result in the job growth that their proponents predicted. 

In the new study, The Center for Effective Government, a nonprofit group that studies the economic impact of public policy, analyzed the Fortune 500 companies that posted profits between 2008 and 2012. Then it compared the job numbers of the companies that paid the highest tax rates to those of the companies that paid the fewest taxes.  

Of the 30 companies that paid more than a third of their profits in taxes, all but eight added jobs between 2008 and 2010. As a group, these companies reported a net gain of more than 200,000 US jobs.

Compare that to the 30 corporations that paid the lowest rates.  Many of these firms are paying no federal income taxes at all.  Even as this group raked in $159 billion in profits, only half of them added any jobs.  In total, they cut more jobs than they added, for a net result of 51,000 jobs lost. 

These numbers tell a story that many of us already knew.  Corporations don’t seek out lower tax rates because they’re eager to start hiring.  They do it to boost profits, and they don’t intend to share those profits with the rest of us.

What it all means is that billions of dollars that could be spent on education and infrastructure that benefits everyone are instead being hoarded by corporate CEOs.  The Center for Effective Government estimates that we could raise $220 billion simply by closing tax loopholes that allow corporations to hide money overseas.  Raising the federal corporate tax rate by only a few percentage points would be even more effective.

Public opinion is starting to turn against trickle-down economics.  Even Pope Francis has come out against the idea. It’s time to use that momentum to push for a tax system that benefits everyone instead of one that chases after imaginary job growth at the expense of our public programs.

You can read the entire CEG report by clicking here.

Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options


Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options

report

march 10, 2011

read complete document  (pdf, 2478 kb)

CBO regularly issues a compendium of budget options to help inform federal lawmakers about the implications of possible policy choices. This volume—one of several reports that CBO produces regularly for the House and Senate Committees on the Budget—presents more than 100 options for altering federal spending and revenues. Nearly all of the options would reduce federal budget deficits. The report begins with an introductory chapter that describes the current budgetary picture and the uses and limitations of this volume. Chapters 2 and 3 present options that would reduce mandatory and discretionary spending, respectively. Chapter 4 contains options that would increase revenues from various kinds of taxes and fees.

Federal budget deficits will total $7 trillion over the next decade if current laws remain unchanged, CBO projects. If certain policies that are scheduled to expire under current law are extended instead, deficits may be much larger. Beyond the coming decade, the aging of the U.S. population and rising health care costs will put increasing pressure on the budget. If federal debt continues to expand faster than the economy—as it has since 2007—the growth of people’s income will slow, the share of federal spending devoted to paying interest on the debt will rise, and the risk of a fiscal crisis will increase.

This report presents 105 illustrative options that would reduce projected budget deficits. As in past reports, the options cover an array of policy areas—from defense to energy to entitlement programs to provisions of the tax code. The budgetary effects shown for most options span the 10 years from 2012 to 2021 (the period covered by CBO’s January 2011 baseline budget projections), although many options would have longer-term effects as well. The options are grouped into three major budget categories: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and revenues. In most cases, the table accompanying an option shows the option’s estimated budgetary effects in each of the next 10 years, as well as 5- and 10-year totals.

The options in this volume come from legislative proposals, various Administrations’ budget proposals, Congressional staff, other government entities, and private groups, among others. Because the spending options in this volume are intended to help lawmakers review individual programs, they do not include large-scale budget initiatives, such as eliminating entire departments or agencies. The options are intended to reflect a range of possibilities, not a ranking of priorities, and the report does not provide an exhaustive list of policy alternatives. The inclusion or exclusion of a particular policy change does not represent an endorsement or rejection by CBO. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, this report makes no recommendations.

Budget Decisions: The Current Context

Over the past 40 years, federal debt held by the public has averaged 35 percent of the country’s annual economic output (gross domestic product, or GDP). Because of massive deficits during the past few years, that ratio climbed to 62 percent by the end of last year, the highest level since shortly after World War II.

In CBO’s current-law baseline, the deficit is projected to equal 9.8 percent of GDP in 2011, shrink to 4.3 percent of GDP by 2013 (after certain tax provisions are scheduled to expire and the economy has recovered further from the recession), and then range between 2.9 percent and 3.4 percent of GDP through 2021—close to the average of 2.8 percent seen over the past 40 years. Those deficits would push total debt held by the public to 77 percent of GDP by 2021.

Moreover, CBO’s baseline projections are predicated on the assumption that many policies now in place are allowed to expire over the next decade, as scheduled under current law. Those expiring policies include the major reductions in individual income taxes originally enacted in 2001 and 2003 and recently extended through 2012, as well as the higher exemption amounts for the alternative minimum tax. If those policies and others were extended, budget deficits would be much larger than in that baseline.

Over the longer term, the continued aging of the population and growth in health care costs will almost certainly push up federal spending significantly relative to GDP under current law. Without changes in law, spending on Social Security and the government’s major mandatory health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and health insurance subsidies to be provided through insurance exchanges) will increase from roughly 10 percent of GDP today to about 16 percent over the next 25 years. If revenues stay close to their average share of GDP for the past 40 years, that rise in spending will lead to rapidly growing budget deficits and surging federal debt.

To prevent federal debt from becoming unsupportable, lawmakers will have to restrain the growth of spending substantially, raise revenues significantly above their historical share of GDP, or pursue some combination of those two approaches.

Options for Reducing Mandatory Spending

Mandatory spending includes spending for entitlement programs and certain other payments to people, businesses, nonprofit institutions, and state and local governments. For mandatory spending programs, funding levels are generally determined not by annual appropriations but by eligibility rules, benefit formulas, and other parameters set by Congress in authorizing legislation.

The largest programs in this category are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which together accounted for 74 percent of mandatory spending in 2010 and are projected to account for 81 percent by 2021, under current law.

The options in this section encompass a broad range of mandatory spending programs. Although the options are grouped by program, some of the options for different programs are conceptually similar. For instance, two options address the effects of applying different inflation factors to the benefit formulas for certain programs. Other options would alter the balance of spending between the government and program participants or between the federal government and the states.

Of the 32 options in the mandatory spending chapter:

  • Fifteen deal with spending for health care programs.
  • Seven would make changes to Social Security or other retirement programs.
  • Ten focus on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and programs that deal with education, energy, or agriculture.

Options for Reducing Discretionary Spending

Spending governed by the Congress’s annual appropriation acts—which is labeled discretionary spending—accounts for nearly 40 percent of federal outlays. In 2010, roughly half of discretionary spending went for defense. The other half paid for a wide range of federal activities, including law enforcement, homeland security, transportation, national parks, disaster relief, scientific research, and foreign aid. CBO’s baseline projections reflect the assumption that discretionary spending will grow at the rate of inflation and will thus decline to 28 percent of total spending by 2021.

Of the 38 options in the discretionary spending chapter:

  • Two options, one for defense spending and one for nondefense spending, present broad alternatives for freezing or reducing discretionary spending.
  • Twelve other options deal with defense spending.
  • The other 24 options cover a broad array of nondefense programs.

Most of the options show savings calculated relative to CBO’s baseline projections—that is, the 2011 appropriation annualized, adjusted for projected inflation in later years. The budgetary effects of several options that involve spending for defense procurement were estimated on a different basis—they were measured relative to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) 2011 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). CBO determined that it would be more informative to estimate the effects of procurement options relative to DoD’s published plan because CBO’s baseline for defense procurement is not based on detailed plans for weapon systems. Because the 2011 FYDP extends for only five years, however, CBO’s estimates for procurement options are presented with tables that show just five years of costs or savings. The text of each procurement option discusses the effect of the option on DoD’s long-term acquisition plans.

Options for Increasing Revenues

Federal revenues come from taxes on individual and corporate income, payroll taxes for social insurance programs (such as Social Security and unemployment compensation), excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, remittances from the Federal Reserve System, customs duties, and miscellaneous fees and fines. The two largest sources are individual income taxes and social insurance taxes, which together produce more than 80 percent of the government’s revenues.

The revenue chapter presents 35 options to increase revenues. The options are grouped in a number of broad categories according to the part of the tax system they would target:

  • Individual income tax rates
  • The individual income tax base
  • Individual income tax credits
  • The Social Security tax base
  • Corporate income tax rates
  • Taxation of income from businesses and other entities
  • Taxation of income from worldwide business activity
  • Consumption and excise taxes
  • Health care provisions
  • Other taxes and fees

Nearly all the estimates for the revenue options were prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). If combined, the options might interact with one another in ways that could alter their revenue effects as well as their impact on households and the economy. For simplicity in presentation, some of the changes in revenues shown in the tables represent the net effects of an option on both revenues and outlays combined.

Caveats About This Report

The estimates shown in this volume could differ from any later cost estimates by CBO or revenue estimates by JCT for legislative proposals that resemble these options. One reason is that the policy proposals on which those later estimates would be based might not precisely match the options presented here. Another reason is that the baseline budget projections against which such proposals would ultimately be measured might have been updated and thus would differ from the projections used for this report.

The estimated budgetary effects of options do not reflect the extent to which a policy change would affect interest payments on federal debt.

CBO’s analyses do not attempt to quantify the impact of options on state spending. Some options that would affect other levels of governments or the private sector might involve federal mandates. The discussions of the options in this volume do not address the costs of potential mandates.

Spain Plunders 90% Of Social Security Fund To Buy Its Own Debt



Spain Plunders 90% Of Social Security Fund To Buy Its Own Debt (via Market Shadows)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here. Submitted by Tyler Durden. With Spanish 10Y yields hovering at a 'relatively' healthy 5%, having been driven inexorably lower on the promise of ECB assistance at some time in the future, the market has become increasingly unsure of just who it is that…

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Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts – Culture – GOOD


Of the welfare state, the conservative philosopher and author Ayn Rand once wrote, “Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.” As it turns out, however, toward the end of her life, Rand ended up relying quite heavily on its help.

According to the new book An Oral History of Ayn Rand, faced with lung cancer after a life spent smoking, and without the wealth needed to combat that cancer, Rand adopted an assumed name to seek government funds for her treatment.

An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor).

As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”

This calls to mind another famous Rand quote: “A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.”

photo via Wikimedia Commons

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MagneticMan
Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmental Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare in all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:19:09 PM

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MagneticMan
Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmentla Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare is all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:17:49 PM

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sreekunjmandapam
Old age ailments and compulsion changes human’s lifelong perception. Ayan rand’s contribution is too great to be undermined by such petty compulsion of life

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 12:05:29 PM

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Guest
@Liberals Cann All Leave Then
WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOUR ORIGINAL THOUGHTS OVER THE WHINING ABOUT PEOPLE WHINING.  COULD YOU TURN OFF THE RHETORIC SO I COULD HEAR YOU?  HELLO? Aw crap, he just keeps *talking*

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 5:13:56 AM

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Liberals Cann All Leave Then
If, as many liberal commenters believe, that one cannot use a government road if they decry the taxes that paid for it, then all liberals who whine and cry about the United States policies, such as immigration, can follow their own advice and leave to another country. Goodbye. Either leave or stop being hypocrites, whining and crying about others when you yourself do the very same thing. Although, I profoundly believe that it is anathema to a liberal not to whine and cry.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 3:11:34 PM

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Mr. MRS
I can’t say I blame her for trying to get her money’s worth. OK, I’m being facetious. Whether she liked it or not, she still had to pay taxes by force of the law of the land.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 9:40:21 AM

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The Guest
@John Galt: Any proof about her legal name? I prefer a long form birth certificate which I can view with my own eyes and touch with my own fingers. Otherwise, I’ll continue to believe the rumor about her being born in Great Britain.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:28:25 AM

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Linda
@JohnHarrington:
So if you diagree with the politics / government of the country you live in, your only option is to flee the country, otherwise you are a hypocrite?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:20:44 AM

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Brandino
I would like to note, however, that this is a common argument made against libertarians.  Somehow, the argument goes, we are hypocrites for benefiting from government programs.  This is a pretty simplistic argument.  It is not at all inconsistent to decry government healthcare and simultaneously accept government healthcare benefits.  If the government totally socialized healthcare, and I got sick, then I would use government doctors because the only alternative is death.  I would rather use private insurance in a capitalist healthcare market, but the government’s monopoly would make that impossible.  Anyway, as a tax payer, I would be paying twice for healthcare if I sought private insurance and rejected the government handout.
This same line of argument applies to roads, socialized retirement programs (social security), police, firefighters, public schools, etc.  When you break it down, the situation proceeds thusly:
Step 1: We socialize X (where X can be education, healthcare, roads, etc.)Step 2: Since we can force people to pay for socialist X whether they want to or not, we drive all other producers of X out of business (sometimes leaving premium markets remaining at dramatically higher prices: think private schools)Step 3: Now, the only X that is reasonably available is socializedStep 4: Even staunch liberty-loving people are forced to buy X from the government (remember, if they are still paying taxes it is a sale, not a handout)Step 5: Self-righteous progressive statists sneer and giggle at the marvelous hypocrisy of those backwards libertarians
So, Rand’s acceptance of government healthcare benefits and social security is not surprising or against her credo.  In a perfect world, she would be able to get affordable insurance after the age of 65 in a free market.  Likewise, she would not have a chunk of her income confiscated every year for social security, and she would have had the right to invest her savings as she saw fit.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:01:49 PM

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John Galt
Her real name was Ann O’Connor and her pen name was Ayn Rand.  She wouldn’t have been allowed to file under Ayn Rand if she tried.  Her birth name was Alissa Rosenbaum, from the USSR, and was never legally Ayn Rand.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:59:45 PM

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JohnHarrington
“Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?”
Yes, you are.
If I believed, as did Ayn, that taxation was slavery, I would not participate in it at ALL.  I would flee across the border to whatever tax haven I could find where taxation was either nonexistent or at least minimized as much as possible.
Anyone who truly believes that taxation is slavery and who remains within a country that is taxing its citizens is not only a hypocrite, but, as a beneficiary of “slavery”, they are immoral.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:28:49 PM

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Mike in SF
Well we could start by attacking her “philosophy” as being nothing but bad retreads of other people’s ideas.
Then we could go on to the fact that her books are awful and unreadable as fiction. They’re just political polemics dressed up as novels, and she seems to love having her male characters rape women. What’s that about?
Then we can progress to this. It’s completely hypocritical to rail against the state with one side of your mouth and then take the state’s aid from the other. Utterly hypocritical. If you can’t see that, you’re silly (or Rep. Michelle Bachmann).
She was entitled to claim Medicare and social security, just like everyone else, but claiming this wasn’t hypocrisy is stupid. Clearly she didn’t want people to find out, since she used her married name and not her pen name.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:18:20 PM

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danp
Ragnard, the fact that Rand saw the need to use a fake name tell you all you need to know. She didn’t think it was consistent with her values.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:44:42 AM

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Guest
“Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?”
BS.  Health insurance companies’ profit margins run about 3%.  It’s one of the lowest of any industry in America.  The only way the government can lower costs significantly is by fixing prices, which can only have the effect of lowering the quantity and quality of the care provided.  That means waiting lists, death panels, and careless doctors who are pissed off that they went to school for 8 years to make a measley $50,000/year.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:42:59 AM

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RagnarD1776
I agree Ayn Rand was not a hypocrite.  The government owns and operates about 99.9% of the roads, highways, bridges and other such vehicle infrastructure.  Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?  Are you a hypocrite when you go on public television or public radio to advocate the abolishment of these government programs?  The answer is no you are trying to change a system within the system.  The government takes 30% of your money regulates your health care and health insurance as to raise the price of the good or service and then when you want back a little bit of the money it stole from you calls you a hypocrite.  I think those opposed to Ayn Rand don’t have anything philosophical to attack her with so they make stuff up and come up with the lamest arguments and rumors.  Try attacking a premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:21:52 AM

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Guest
STEVO: here’s a memo for you.
Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:51:00 AM

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Guest
this is like Hemingway blowing his brains.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:48:53 AM

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Guest
Actually, she wasn’t a hypocrite, and if you had a f’n clue you wouldn’t have to make such a fool out of yourself.  Rand thought that state-funded redistribution programs were essentially theft (she was right), and as such, a person has the full right to take advantage of those programs that they paid into, in the same way that a victim of a robbery has the right to have what was stolen returned to them.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:02:57 AM

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Eric
Remember she had to pay an onslaught of approximately 50% of her earned income to yearly taxes. So, of course she needed some assistance at the end of her life. Stop the welfare state and those of us that actually work get to keep more of their earned income.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 6:22:07 AM

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amelia815
I’m sure Rand had some great ideals about independence of a person, but in the end, one has to rely on one’s government to a degree, at least. I live in Canada and while we have a lot of socialized programs, like our health care, I seek not to abuse our system and use it when I have a cold. No doctor can do anything for a cold. I fight it out with teas and honey and lemon, and that’s that. Socialized systems can work when you have a reasonably educated populace that knows better than to abuse it.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:50:20 AM

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malefico
If she wasn’t a hypocrite then why did she apply under another name?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 2:43:11 AM

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Guest
If the U.S. is a socialized state, then what in Christ’s name is a well-functioning welfare state like Finland called? Ignorance is apparently not bliss, it’s jackassery to the highest degree.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:39:05 PM

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stevo
when you live in a socialized state like the us, you can’t afford healthcare because government has made the cost astronomical.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 2:10:58 PM

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Guest
Ayn Rand was in no way a hypocrite. See http://www.newclarion.com/2011/01/sanction-of-theft/ for more refutation than this garbage deserves.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 12:26:39 PM

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Guest
What a hypercritical woman.  She has ably illustrated the need for the welfare state, but just because of politics she could not acknowledge its positive effects.  Just like the current Con\Dem government – bringing the nation to it’s feet just to say that there values are better than other parties.  Shame on her and on them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:35:10 AM

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Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts – Culture – GOOD

Eva M. Clayton: A 2012 Farm Bill That Support Small Farmers and Nutritional Assistance Programs: Good for Our Nation’s Health and Economy


 

In Friday’s Los Angeles Times, there was an opinion editorial titled “America Needs a Farm Bill That Works” – this title is precisely why I think members of Congress need to be committed to pushing forward a bipartisan piece of legislation.

A 2012 Farm Bill will help provide infrastructure, investment and economic certainty for American agriculture — things that are both important and critical for an industry that impacts all Americans, whether they live in big cities or small rural communities. But in order for the bill to be effective in providing these things, it must support small farmers and nutritional programs that are key components to the viability and health of an Agriculture economy.
Small farmers are often made the loving poster child of our rural landscape. They are a struggling, declining and aging population. According to the Economic Research Services in United States Department of Agriculture, during the last census there were over 2.1 million farms in the U.S., of which 75% earned less than $50,000 annually and had about 5% production while the very large farms, representing just 2% of all farms, made over $1 million dollars and had 47% production.
This is a problem when you consider small farmers generally produce more fruits, vegetables, nuts and sustainable food products, all of which are essential for proper nutritional sustenance. As our country continues to focus on the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet, Congress should focus on ensuring competitive opportunities for small farmers that will enable them to continue to grow the healthy food that we need. Hopefully, obesity and other health issues can be addressed through healthy food choices. Local farmers are key to producing healthy foods and it will also increase their income.
Similar to the focus that is put on educating students in science and math to fill voids in those growing fields, Congress should support programs to recruit future farmers and ensure a growing and diverse industry in the future. The average U.S. farmer is 57 years old and just 5% of all farmers are 35 years or younger. Not to mention, just 4.6% of all U.S. farms are minority-owned and run. To say that there is room for improvement would be a gross understatement — we need to find creative ways attract new entrepreneurial and innovative farmers from all demographics. Congress and the present Administration recently addressed the lingering discrimination cases initiated by black farmers. However, constant vigilance is required to overcome the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) history of discrimination and to ensure equity for all farmers.
Additionally, upon examination of the payments to large farmers as compared to small farmers, the difference is vast. The commodity payments are tied to the production of specific commodities. These payments go primarily to large commercial producers. As a result, few of the smallest farms receive commodity payments.
In the 2008 farm bill, Congress did institute a number of new initiatives and expand other initiatives that encouraged local farmers to grow and sell food to various local vendors, including local school systems. For instance, in North Carolina, citizens are encouraged to buy locally and various grocery store chains, military bases and local schools are encouraged to purchase from local farmers. As a result, the local farm economy is benefiting and healthy foods are more accessible. We need to identify and expand smart and effective programs like this.
We also need to look for areas where we can improve. For example, the nutritional assistance programs under the farm bill are large and expensive and given the economic recovery, needed now more than ever. In September 2011, the USDA’s Economic Research Service reported that about one in every four Americans participates in at least one of the 15 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs of the USDA. These programs provide a nutritional safety net for millions of children and low-income adults. These programs also represent a significant federal investment, accounting for over two-thirds of USDA’s budget. A Moody’s study on the president’s stimulus impact noted that for every Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollar spent, it generated a $1.73 ripple effect in the economy.
The House Budget Committee, in an effort to reduce the federal budget deficit, proposed to cut SNAP significantly, possibly to its pre-2008 status — this is pennywise and pound foolish. This is not to suggest that there could not or should not be some reduction given to efficiency monitoring and other infrastructure upgrades. In addition to required financial resources, there needs to be greater use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at farmers’ and fish markets where healthy foods are sold. Nutrition education is essential and should be integrated into each of the 15 food assistance programs.
Food security is generally recognized as an important goal for our country. Supporting good nutrition for our needy citizens is the right and moral action for our government to take, but it is also the economically and healthy action to take where small farmers will make a significant impact.

Follow Eva M. Clayton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/evamclayton

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Eva M. Clayton: A 2012 Farm Bill That Support Small Farmers and Nutritional Assistance Programs: Good for Our Nation’s Health and Economy

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Withdrawl After Amended To Include Testing Lawmakers



First Posted: 01/27/2012 5:36 pm Updated: 01/27/2012 6:27 pm

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A Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly withdrew his bill to create a pilot program for drug testing welfare applicants Friday after one of his Democratic colleagues amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.

“There was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill,” said Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), sponsor of the original welfare drug testing bill.

The Supreme Court ruled drug testing for political candidates unconstitutional in 1997, striking down a Georgia law. McMillin said he withdrew his bill so he could reintroduce it on Monday with a lawmaker drug testing provision that would pass constitutional muster.

“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” he told HuffPost, stressing he carefully crafted his original bill so that it could survive a legal challenge. Last year a federal judge, citing the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure, struck down a Florida law that required blanket drug testing of everyone who applied for welfare.

McMillin’s bill would overcome constitutional problems, he said, by setting up a tiered screening scheme in which people can opt-out of random testing. Those who decline random tests would only be screened if they arouse “reasonable suspicion,” either by their demeanor, by being convicted of a crime, or by missing appointments required by the welfare office.

In the past year Republican lawmakers have pursued welfare drug testing in more than 30 states and in Congress, and some bills have even targeted people who claim unemployment insurance and food stamps, despite scanty evidence the poor and jobless are disproportionately on drugs. Democrats in several states have countered with bills to require drug testing elected officials. Indiana state Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) introduced just such an amendment on Friday.

“After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill,” Dvorak said. “If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. … If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”

Dvorak said McMillin was mistaken to think testing the legislature would be unconstitutional, since the stricken Georgia law targeted candidates and not people already holding office.

McMillan, for his part, said he’s coming back with a new bill on Monday, lawmaker testing included. He said he has no problem submitting to a test himself.

“I would think legislators that are here who are responsible for the people who voted them in, they should be more than happy to consent,” he said. “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

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He’s One of the Nation’s Highest-Paid CEOs—and You’ve Never Heard of Him


One of the nation’s highest-paid executives is sitting on a massive pile of stock options and enjoys a private jet wherever he goes. Gary Rivlin on John Hammergren, the 1 percenter you’ve never heard of.

James Reda thought he was beyond surprise when it came to executive pay.


But then Reda, a New York–based compensation consultant who sometimes puts together mega-pay packages on behalf of publicly traded behemoths, learned about John Hammergren, the CEO of the McKesson Corp., a giant medical-supply company in California. Hammergren is the $145 million man, top dog on the latest listing of the country’s highest-paid chief executives.

But so what if he made $145 million in a single year? The lion’s share of that money was the slew of stock options Hammergren cashed out after holding them for years. “That’s what you want,” Reda says. A new CEO gets a fat basket of stock options, and if the company does well, the CEO also prospers. “As long as the original stock-award amounts were reasonable, it makes no difference if it ends up providing a huge payoff,” Reda says.

Then I read him Hammergren’s annual total compensation payouts, taken from the company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: $46 million in 2011; $55 million in 2010; $37 million in 2009; another $41 million in 2008. Hammergren hadn’t founded the company. Wall Street analysts covering McKesson can tell you of the disappointments and miscues that have marked his tenure. But his haul in the 13 years he has been running McKesson? More than $500 million, according to data provided by Equilar, an executive-compensation data firm.


John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson Corp., George Nikitin / AP Photo

For a moment, Reda is silent. “$40 million, $50 million a year is excessive, no matter what the yardstick,” he says. The average pay package for a CEO running a top 100 company these days, Reda says, is around $12 million. That includes everything, from salary to stock awards to contributions to a retirement account. Yet last year McKesson contributed more than $13 million just to Hammergren’s pension, according to company documents. Among the other perks he enjoys: a chauffeur to drive his company car, free use of the corporate jet for personal travel, and an extra $17,000 a year to pay for a financial planner because handling all those hundreds of millions is no doubt complicated stuff.

“He doesn’t leave anything on the table, does he?” Reda asks.

***

John Hammergren isn’t necessarily the highest-paid CEO in America. Sure, he topped the list when GMI, a well-regarded research firm, published its 2011 annual CEO survey in December. But that’s because he cashed out $112 million in accumulated stock options in a single year, according to GMI. He ranked 14th on Forbes‘s 2011 executive-pay list and 22nd on its 2010 ranking. And of course there are CEOs like Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page. Page has a net worth north of $15 billion, and Ellison is worth more than $30 billion, but then each was a cofounder of the company he runs.

Teachers Decide To Work For Free After Budget Cuts Leave Pennsylvania School District Without Funds For Salaries


manader on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

A teacher at Chester Upland Schools
The Chester Upland School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania suffered a serious setback when Gov. Tom Corbett (R) slashed $900 million in education funds from the state budget. The cuts landed hardest on poorer districts, and Chester Upland, which predominantly serves African-American children and relies on state aid for nearly 70 percent of its funding, expects to fall short this school year by $19 million.

Faced with such a shortage of funds, the school district informed its staff that it will not be able to pay their salaries come Wednesday. So the teachers decided to work for free. As one teacher put it, students “need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job”:

At a union meeting at Chester High School on Tuesday night, the employees passed a resolution saying they would stay on “as long as we are individually able.”

Columbus Elementary School math and literacy teacher Sara Ferguson, who has taught in Chester Upland for 21 years, said after the meeting, “It’s alarming. It’s disturbing. But we are adults; we will make a way. The students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”

The school board and the unions separately begged Corbett to provide financial aid for the district, but Corbett turned each request down. Pennsylvania’s Education Secretary Ron Tomalis told the board that it “had failed to properly manage its finances and would not get any additional funds.” Chester Upland was forced to lay off “40 percent of its professional staff and about half of its unionized support staff before school began last fall.” That leaves 200 professionals and 65 support staff to manage a school with class sizes of over 40 students.

Chester Upland is not the only district desperately trying to stay afloat. Corbett’s cuts forced one school district to enforce wage freezes and cut extracurricular activities and another turned to actually using sheep instead of lawnmowers to cut grass at two of its schools. As ThinkProgress’s Travis Waldron pointed out, Corbett could relieve school districts if he let special interest groups like tobacco and the oil and gas industry go without their tax breaks. But he seems to prefer allowing teachers to go without pay.

The White Myth: That BLACK PEOPLE Love Living On Government Issued FOOD STAMPS


Loop21 Composite
Loop21 Composite
A deconstruction of the theory that blacks love eating on the government’s dime

Check, please!

This week, I think we’ve all devoured enough processed garbage from the current crop of GOP presidential candidates to last a lifetime.

What might amaze many critically thinking, fair-minded individuals is how often unchecked the myth of “black food stamp fraud” goes. That, somehow, truly impoverished African Americans are unashamedly proud to swipe an EBT card in a crowded supermarket, where they have no doubt felt the stinging eyes of some misinformed snob’s fraud accusation. That they could otherwise afford the food and all other living expenses with their “pocket change” paychecks.

Let’s stop and really consider what we hear incessant griping about. A family takes the initiative to seek and use the vital benefits that are available to them. We’re not talking about an Air Jordan stipend, or per diem to see a movie every weekend. We’re talking a monthly allowance to insure children (and adults) don’t go to bed, to school, or to work with growling stomachs.

Just let that marinate.

When candidates serve up red meat to their base of voters, who already cannibalize their own manufactured outrage, it’s no wonder comments like this can go over well:

An easily fooled voter might go away not only believing that African Americans make up the majority of food stamps recipients, but are also the root cause of the federal waste bankrupting the nation and decaying its moral fiber.

————-

Food Stamp Use By Race* (as of the 2010 FY)

Whites: 35% participation | 63.7% of US population

African Americans: 22% participation | 12.2% of US population

Hispanic: 10% participation | 16.3% of US population

Asian: 2% participation | 4.7% of US population

American Indian: 4% participation | 0.7% of US population

Unknown race: 19% participation | 0.2% of US population

*Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census

————-

It’s funny how “40 acres and a mule” got downgraded to food stamps, Section 8 housing and conservative white (and black) disdain. Where have we gone to in this country when feeding your family — even if with candy bars, sodas and oily potato chips – is an irresponsible and unpatriotic pursuit?

Truth is, we’ve been there since before the ending of Jim Crow. The working definition of white supremacy is the belief that the white race is superior to other races. But it’s not just a feeling of superiority. I’d like to add a sense of white immunity from the societal ills facing all creeds. Let me interject and state that I’m by no means inducting Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich into the Ku Klux Klan.

I do want to draw attention to the numbers. There are more white recipients of food stamp benefits – now aptly named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – than there are black recipients. However, relative to their size of the population, African Americans disproportionately receive the benefits. It is a boldfaced lie to claim any group, white or black, can cause budgetary disarray if even 1 percent of that group fraudulently collected those benefits.

Why entertain that notion, as you run for the highest office in the world’s most powerful nation? If asked, Santorum and Gingrich would quickly disavow and condemn the white supremacist ideology with seasoned gusto. Instead, they choose to burn a new flaming cross into the concrete sidewalks and patchy strips of grass lining urban projects where American citizens, not just blacks, will sit down to meals paid for with EBT cards.

Pray the day when scenes out of “Precious” or “Crooklyn” aren’t the conservative Republican’s reference point for black blight. More egregiously, nobody (white or black) is going to ask these two banners of American society, Gingrich and Santorum, to apologize for demonizing the economically disadvantaged.

I won’t hold my breath for either.

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