Tuesday Twitter roundup

And the fewer the poll workers, the slower the process. The slower the process, the longer the lines. The longer the lines, the more voters who walk away, to maybe try again later. Exactly what the GOP wants.

Better get it right this time...

Stuff and nonsense:

Many policymakers assume that federal funding of state and local infrastructure is crucial and irreplaceable, but that is not the case. The states can fund their own infrastructure through taxes and user charges. Highways, for example, are funded by gas taxes, vehicle fees, and electronic tolling, which are forms of user charges. More than half of the states have raised these charges since 2015. The federal gas tax helps to fund state highways, but it should be converted to 50 state gas taxes, and the revenues should be routed directly to state treasuries rather than through Washington.

Using NC as a test case, that revenue would be stashed in the "rainy day fund" and used as an excuse for another of their endless tax cuts. With "plans" like Cato's, we'll all be driving 4x4 pickup trucks before long, just to survive the potholes.

Glad to see this, but teachers across the board need bigger checks.

This is really a no-brainer. Taking millions *out* of the economy is not good for business, or anybody else.

Of course John gets some critical points wrong:

Or they advance programs that take money from the pockets of richer people in order to fill the pockets of poorer people, arguing that because poorer people aren’t likely to save anything, the economy will benefit from all the extra consumer spending. But unless the rightful possessors of the money were planning to bury it in the ground or hide it in their mattresses, this is a silly claim. Money saved in bank accounts or securities becomes capital invested in new tools, machinery, factories, job skills, or ideas. It is akin to seeds planted in the ground for future harvest rather than seeds tossed into the ocean or desperately eaten for sustenance.

That's the way it should happen, but not the way it does happen, and John knows this. Those corporate profit-takers use that money to make more money, buying back their own stocks to artificially inflate the value and then selling again to make a pile of money to purchase a new yacht or vacation home. Or they buy mortgage tranches to suck the life out of homeowners, or they play in the cryptocurrency market, but what they generally don't do is re-invest that money upgrading their industrial operations or starting up new ones. Unless they start up a new one in Mexico or Bangladesh, using slapdash construction and slave wages. And when that harvest comes in, the only ones eating are the one-percenters.

That's a shame, but it's also par for the course when it comes to emergency medical treatment. I had a kidney stone that woke me up in sheer agony at 2:30 in the morning, drove myself to the ER where they gave me something for the pain and did a CT scan. They pushed me out the door shortly after 5 am, and the bill for that 2 1/2 hours of treatment was over $4,000, of which my insurance paid half. I paid the rest in installments for the following 18 months. As long as we rely on the private sector to deliver these services, we will continue to pay insane amounts.

Hell, everybody knew it was absurd, even (especially?) Trump himself. Even many of the whackadoodle QAnon folks know, deep down, that it's all a bunch of bullshit. But the strutting around is such an ego-stroke they don't really care if their stated goal is legitimate or not.

On that unfathomable note, here's your Onion:

Free Britney! Sorry...I got carried away...



The whole theory of investment...

expressed in that tweet is just wrong from the get-go. It's one of the fallacies of modern Chicago-school economics: "throw money at the capital-owning class and they'll invest it in productive enterprises." But, as you point out, that's not what they do. Instead they pursue private profit by rent-taking, speculation, paper investments, and other means that have very little to do with overall economic health or activity. This is true for a simple reason: our economic system only encourages investment in things that are actually needed for a company to make a profit. No company or wealthy individual invests money simply to increase capacity or create jobs, they do it because there is a profit-driven demand for that investment. So the concentration of wealth is actually a disincentive to the very kinds of investment they claim it creates, since it reduces demand for goods and services by depriving many of the means of demanding them (i.e., sufficient amounts of money.) This is why, in a properly regulated capitalist system, the government must redistribute wealth to overcome this natural tendency of capitalism. Multiple social democracies with strong capitalist economies have proven this over the last 70-odd years. It's high time that we laid this laissez-faire economic idiocy to rest in the US and did what would really improve our economic system for everyone.

I got in an online debate

with John a few years ago about Capital Gains taxes, and he twisted all over the place when I compared a ditch-digger making $50,000 and paying taxes on it to an investor making $50,000 in interest and dividends, but not paying tax on it. Earnings is earnings, and if anybody in that scenario deserves a tax break it's the dude sweating his ass off.

And, of course...

the dude sweating his ass off is much more likely to do something economically useful with his earnings. One of my eternal pet peeves is the Republican framing of the wealthy as "job creators", as though they do this out of the goodness of their hearts or something. The real job creators (and sustainers) are those who spend what they earn.