Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wednesday's Bait and Switch

Found at the bottom of the front page:

"Will Biden’s first 100 days be his most successful 100 days?" by Jim Puzzanghera Globe Staff, April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Biden reaches the 100-day mark of his administration on Thursday with much to boast about and even more to worry about.

Since taking office, he has presided over a mass vaccination campaign of 230 million doses and counting that has begun to wrestle the deadly pandemic to heel. The $1.9 trillion rescue plan he shepherded through Congress is popular with the public and has begun to boost the weak economy, and in the space of a few months, Biden has issued a slew of executive orders that have undone many of his predecessor’s policies — all while projecting a steady presence after four years of political turbulence.

That's the pre$$ narrative as they drop to their knees and almost compare him to Jesus.

It all makes for good bragging rights for Biden’s first address Wednesday night to Congress, where he will likely use the speech to tout those accomplishments, as well as push for a sweeping legislative initiative calling for about $1.8 trillion in spending for education and child care, but that new proposal, like his recent $2 trillion infrastructure bill, faces much steeper odds in Congress — and suggests that the next 100 days for Biden may be far more difficult than the first. Republican leaders are ramping up their opposition to his agenda and highlighting his biggest failing so far: an inability to handle a large increase in migrant children and teens at the US-Mexico border, and Democrats’ razor-thin majority in Congress may clip the wings of the progressive vision he offers on Wednesday. 

Reminds me of Lieberman who was a key gatekeeper back in the day, and yes, elections were rigged even back then when one looks at the incredible way the alleged results played out.

”We see his vision. He’s laying it out for us,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “What we’re not seeing is how it’s going to get funded and whether he can sell the American people on it.”

The end of a president’s first 100 days has formed a traditional, although somewhat arbitrary, demarcation point since Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to the period after a flurry of activity at the start of his administration to address the Great Depression.

Biden appears well aware of the benchmark and determined to secure his place in history. He met with a group of historians at the White House last month and has referenced learning from past presidencies in deciding what initiatives to push. He also decorated the Oval Office with a large portrait of Roosevelt, who transformed the country through sweeping social welfare programs.

My response to that was it's NOT 2009, assholes, so wake the f**k up after senior executives from more than 150 companies are voiced support for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass coronavirus relief, signed by leaders across industries, including David Solomon, chairman and chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs; Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and CEO of Blackstone; Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google; and John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T and nearly 200 businesses pressed Congress for paid and more expansive family leave, a sign of the shifting political momentum over US labor policy after the overlapping crises of the coronavirus pandemic exposed workers’ vulnerabilities as a letter sent Tuesday, executives for such brands as Patagonia, Etsy, Levi Strauss, and Danone urged congressional leaders to extend comprehensive paid family and medical leave to all working people because they ’'just believe it’s the right thing to do.’'

That's why the opposition is minimal at be$t, even in the $enate and despite the warning signs for broader Democratic agenda that will require eliminating the filibuster. That news sent the Dow Jones industrial average soaring nearly 600 points by about noon Monday as direct payments to Americans and extend jobless benefits are on the way -- because a high unemployment rate is racist and that is why Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is going to keep interest rates ultralow as he predicts shortages in everything from nurses to chips and containers, which will underscored the US economy’s ongoing weakness as Macy’s, the department store company that also owns Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury, said Tuesday that its net sales in 2020 tumbled 29 percent to $17.3 billion, highlighting the toll that the pandemic has taken on mall chains and apparel stores.

The problem is “a meteor hit the Earth and knocked it off its axis and people keep trying to apply the old rules of gravity, but they don’t apply” even with “all the money sloshing around out there.” (The craft was spotted over Vermont before crashing into a New Hampshire fire chief's home and killing him -- all while stopping time for nine minutes, eleven seconds)

What's going to happen is there will be MORE POVERTY as the endless printing of money makes it worthle$$, and that's the plan: crash the economy after CVD and cajole and corral everyone into the life RAFT that is sailing toward the "Build Back Better" agenda while fencing in areas like some sort of dystopian Hunger Games that stinks to high heaven with kangaroo courts for the protectors; neverthele$$, an outstanding question for Democrats is which parts of the package need to be funded, amid debate over whether infrastructure ultimately pays for itself — especially given current borrowing costs, which remain historically low, and efforts to make the expanded child tax credit in the pandemic-aid bill permanent — something with a price tag estimated at more than $1 trillion over a decade — could be harder to sell if pitched as entirely debt-financed, and my response is WHY when it it isn't the slightest concern when it comes to wars of aggression and bailouts of Wall Street banks?

That, however, is the state of the Globe today where White is Black and the fare is the same thing over and over again and I get it. The Globe is now a defender of women, well, of certain women and not others so much but be that as it may there is no sense dancing around the fact that the Globe is a hardcore femini$t jew$paper as they cleaning up Capitol Hill after the first details of Biden's $3 Trillion "Build Back Better" infrastructure plan were leaked.

After that they are going to tackle the Orwellianly-named “Affordable Care Act” in their next pha$e, eleven years after President Barack Obama signed his signature domestic achievement that was about trying to create the ground rules so that health insurance was real, provided real financial security, and was affordable — but we’re at this point and it is not even after a cost-saving change in Medicare launched in the final days of the Trump administration cut payments to hospitals for some surgical procedures while potentially raising costs and confusion for patients -- so Biden is going to expand ‘Obamacare’ by $ub$idi$ing premiums and cutting health insurance costs(?).

He's sending Harris out to sell the dope as she avoids the border like the plague.

Biden has done that well over his first 100 days, highlighted by his work on the pandemic, Brinkley said. 

“He’s brought a sense of confidence, calm, and control across the country,” Brinkley said.

And competence, don't forget that.

What the hell is he talking about with police shootings everyday and rage in the streets as Garland opens investigation after investigation of police forces?

Btw, now that BLM and Antifa have accomplished their missions, their communi$t friends are turning on them -- as predicted by "conspiracy theorists" -- and that is "just the beginning." The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced an internal review to assess the threat of violent extremism from within the agency, part of a broader administration focus on domestic threats following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, and the shootings in New York,  Tennessee, and Hollywood(!), where a Rhode Island man was shot and killed by police on Sunset Boulevard on Saturday. The Los Angeles Police Department said Richard Solitro, 34, pulled his car in front of officers who had their lights and sirens on, then reversed into them. Solitro, who was wearing body armor, got out of the car with his right hand hidden behind him, the LAPD said. As he moved toward the officers, he started counting down from three and began to move his arm in front of his body, police said. That’s when police opened fire, striking and killing him. Police said they did not find a weapon and Solitro’s family told a television station in Los Angeles that he dealt with mental health issues, delusions about conspiracies involving Bill Gates and the Illuminati, “a troubled man who needed help” and was chasing butterflies.

Despite the problems at the border, Biden has avoided a major blunder, such as the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion under John F. Kennedy, that plagued some past presidents in their early days. Biden also has been aggressive in using executive orders, issuing 40 as of Friday, significantly more than his three predecessors as of the same date.


They use that as the analogy?

Must be the daily drumbeat of stories about Russia and the new Cold War.

As for the border, that has more or less disappeared from the daily coverage save for the odd political note or editorial.

Nineteen of those orders reversed previous actions, most put in place by Donald Trump, said Terri Bimes, a political scientist at the University of California Berkeley.

“He’s willing to use executive power. He doesn’t flaunt it maybe like Trump did,” said Bimes, but with a 50-50 Senate and a slim majority in the House, legislation is hard to come by. Democrats need Republican support for many of Biden’s priorities. They were able to pass the rescue bill using the budget reconciliation process, which prohibits a Senate filibuster, but there are limits to that procedure, and using it requires nearly all Democrats to be on board.


Dictatorship is fine as long as it is the dictator they want!

Progressives so far generally have been pleased with Biden, who ran a more centrist campaign than other Democrats in the primaries. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, said during a virtual town hall on Friday that Biden “has definitely exceeded expectations” of progressives. “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a much more conservative administration,” she said, but approval like that from the left makes it tougher for Biden to get Republican support.

Looks like a switch and bait to me.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday called Biden’s first 100 days a “bait and switch” after campaigning on a pledge to restore bipartisanship, and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has indicated Biden shouldn’t expect much Republican help with his infrastructure bill, a key part of his Build Back Better initiative, criticizing the legislation for not easing environmental regulations. “Without serious permitting reform, it won’t be build back better; it’ll be build back never,” McConnell said last week.

McCarthy is walking a tightrope.

The popularity of the COVID aid bill will be hard to replicate if future legislation leans more leftward, said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist. “A particular policy might be popular, but if the overall direction is going away from a voter politically, that’s going to get on their radar screen,” he said. “The American people have very short memories. While they’ve received stimulus checks today, in six months they’ll say, ‘What has the government done for me to improve my life right now?’”

The lack of Republican support in Congress raises the stakes for Wednesday night’s address. Biden and White House officials have said they view bipartisanship as getting support from Republicans outside Washington even if they can’t get it from them in Congress.

Biden’s job approval, ranging from the low to high 50s in recent polls, is much higher than Trump’s after 100 days but lower than other recent presidents, and there still is a sharp partisan split. A Gallup poll released Friday had Biden’s overall approval rating at 57 percent, but just 11 percent of Republicans approved of his performance compared with 94 percent of Democrats.

Trump was focused on his base and didn’t mind operating with low approval ratings, Brinkley said, but Biden has billed himself as a different president and needs to retain some Republican support in the polls to avoid appearing partisan.

“We’ve seen Biden the grief counselor, the hand-holder, the mourner, and the visionary of what makes America great,” Brinkley said. “We now need to see Biden as salesman for his big programs.”

Excuse me as I lean over and vomit.


"President Biden intends to raise capital gains taxes for those earning more than $1 million a year his top economic adviser confirmed Monday, arguing that the move would affect only a tiny share of American households. Biden is set on Wednesday to unveil his “American Families Plan,” featuring major new social-spending measures that would be funded in part by higher taxes on the wealthy. Goldman Sachs, drawing on Federal Reserve data, estimates that the wealthiest households now hold $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion in unrealized capital gains on equities. That’s roughly 3 percent of US stock market capitalization. Goldman analysts are penciling in congressional passage of a capital gains rate of “around 28 percent” for the wealthy, anticipating Biden’s proposal will be substantially altered. Republicans are likely to oppose the tax increases en masse, but the White House is also risking a struggle with Democratic lawmakers. Some of those from New York, New Jersey, and other high-tax states in particular were already mobilizing to demand relief for their constituencies even before Biden’s official announcements. With the 50-50 Senate and a narrow margin in the House, months-long negotiations loom. Biden is also likely to propose increases on the number of Americans subjected to the estate tax. Without the GOP, Biden will need to craft a deal with his own party’s lawmakers. A bigger constituency Biden will need to woo is a group of House lawmakers largely representing districts in New York, New Jersey, and California, who demand an expansion of a tax deduction that Trump limited in 2017. More than 20 Democrats have said they won’t vote for Biden’s plan unless the $10,000 cap on state and local tax, or SALT, deductions is addressed....."

You have to $ALT the pork and if Goldman has signed off on it, it is as good as done, and the plan must curb structural racism and criminals will be prosecuted (who are is the mobsters and NOI bodyguard?).

Then they can audit the returns:

"Biden seeks $80 billion to beef up IRS audits of high-earners" by Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport New York Times, April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Biden, in an effort to pay for his ambitious economic agenda, is expected to propose giving the Internal Revenue Service an extra $80 billion and more authority over the next 10 years to help crack down on tax evasion by high-earners and large corporations, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The additional money and enforcement power will accompany new disclosure requirements for people who own businesses that are not organized as corporations and for other wealthy people who could be hiding income from the government.

The Biden administration will portray those efforts — coupled with new taxes it is proposing on corporations and the rich — as a way to level the tax playing field between typical American workers and very high-earners who employ sophisticated efforts to minimize or avoid taxation.

It all $ounds good until your job disappears.

The administration estimates that giving the IRS an additional $80 billion over a decade could raise at least $780 billion in new tax revenue, for a net gain of at least $700 billion. Biden plans to use money raised to help pay for the cost of his “American Families Plan,” which he will detail before addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

That plan, which follows his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion and will include universal prekindergarten, a federal paid leave program, efforts to make child care more affordable, free community college for all, and tax credits meant to fight poverty.

The administration also aims to pay for the plan by raising the top marginal income tax rate for wealthy Americans to 39.6 percent from 37 percent and raising capital gains tax rates for those who earn more than $1 million a year, which would combine to raise hundreds of billions of dollars. Biden will also seek to raise the tax rate on income that people earning more than $1 million per year receive through stock dividends, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

The administration is expected to portray the $780 billion it expects to collect through enhanced enforcement as conservative. That figure includes only money directly raised by enhanced tax audits and additional reporting requirements, and not any additional revenue from people or companies choosing to pay more taxes after previously avoiding them.

Many economists and tax experts welcomed the proposal, which they said would help reverse years of declining enforcement actions against companies and the rich at the agency.

“The plan is good news for honest filers and businesses, the budget, and the rule of law,” said Chye-Ching Huang, executive director of the Tax Law Center at NYU Law. “Stopping tax cheats from having an unfair advantage helps honest businesses to compete and thrive.”

Previous administrations have long talked about trying to close the so-called tax gap — the amount of money that taxpayers owe but that is not collected each year. This month, the head of the IRS, Charles Rettig, told a Senate committee that the agency lacked the resources to catch tax cheats, costing the government as much as $1 trillion a year.

The erosion of resources at the IRS was detailed in a Congressional Budget Office report last year that examined the agency’s work from 2010 to 2018. During that time frame, the IRS’s annual budget declined by 20 percent and its staff declined by 22 percent. Funding for enforcement activities fell by nearly a third.

With less money and staff, the IRS was forced to become more lax at enforcing tax laws.

Biden aims to change that. His economic team includes a University of Pennsylvania economist, Natasha Sarin, whose research with Harvard University economist Lawrence H. Summers suggests that the United States could raise as much as $1.1 trillion over a decade via increased tax enforcement.

Summers praised Biden’s expected plan in an e-mail late Monday.

Biden’s efforts would incorporate some of Sarin’s and Summers’s suggestions, including investing heavily in information technology improvements to help the agency better target its audits of high-earners and companies. They would also provide a dedicated funding stream to the agency, to enable officials to steadily ramp up their enforcement practices without fear of budget cuts, and to signal to potential tax evaders that the agency’s efforts will not be soon diminished. Biden would also add new requirements for people who own so-called pass-through corporations or hold their wealth in opaque structures, reminiscent of a program established under President Obama that helps the agency better track possible tax evasion by Americans with overseas holdings.

Fred T. Goldberg Jr., an IRS commissioner under President George H.W. Bush, called Biden’s plan “transformative” for combining those efforts. “Information reporting, coupled with restoring enforcement efforts, is key to improve in compliance,” Goldberg said in an e-mail. “Audits alone will never do the trick.”

Some conservative tax activists oppose any additional spending at the agency. Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in an interview that additional enforcement dollars risk increasing the number of politically motivated audits while burdening small business owners, with no guarantee of a large increase in revenues. “Nothing says these guys are going to raise money,” he said. “The IRS has been highly politicized for a long time. They’ve done nothing to fix it.”

Obama used the IRS to audit his political enemies, like Nixon, but those Lerner letters were destroyed and lost to history.

Tax experts tend to agree that boosting the enforcement capacity of the IRS will more than pay for itself, but it is not clear how much is really needed at a time when many of the agency’s functions can be automated and more tax returns are filed electronically. 

The CBO estimated last year that an additional $40 billion of funding over 10 years would increase government revenues by $103 billion. Administration officials are confident the actual amount is much higher.....


"The chairman of the Senate banking panel asked Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday for information about whether Credit Suisse continued to help rich Americans defraud the IRS even after it signed a settlement agreement with the Justice Department vowing to stop the practice. At issue is a retired professor named Dan Horsky, whom Credit Suisse helped to evade tax payments on $200 million in assets. A whistle-blower made federal prosecutors aware of Horsky’s account in the summer of 2014, and it clearly violated the terms of the settlement agreement that Credit Suisse had agreed to just weeks earlier, but the Justice Department under the Obama and Trump administrations never punished Credit Suisse for violating the deal, even though the whistle-blower’s information led Horsky to plead guilty to tax evasion in 2016. Should prosecutors decide that Credit Suisse violated its agreement with the Justice Department, the bank could be exposed to legal liability and more fines......"

They will dismiss the case and the drinks will flow.

"Technology companies helped lift stocks modestly higher on Wall Street Monday, nudging the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes to all-time highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, with only slightly more than half the companies in the index notching gains. Banks and companies that rely on consumer spending were among the winners, outweighing a pullback in household goods makers and health care stocks. A rally in technology companies helped push the Nasdaq to its first record high since Feb. 12. The index fell more than 10% from that peak by March 8, what is known on Wall Street as a "correction." With Monday's gain, the Nasdaq has recouped all its losses from that March slide. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed slightly lower, while small company stocks outpaced the broader market, a sign investors are feeling confident about the economy. The market's modest gains came as investors geared up for the busiest week for earnings so far this season. Of the 500 members of the S&P 500 index, 181 will report this week. Ten of the 30 members of the Dow will also release their results....."

Yup, another day, another record (ga$p).

Then there is the man who will not be king even though he did nothing wrong, but he will receive a pension that does not require that the plans pay back the taxpayer-funded grants and “sets the stage for future bailouts,” along with a nice apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or on the West Coast (but not Georgia or Arizona).

We will just have to eat him then.

I will be back to finish and update this post later.