Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Guest Cartoon: The Highwayman: "Yer Tax Cuts Passed? Tax THIS!"

<"Yer Tax Cuts Passed? Tax THIS!": The Highwayman>
<click the image to get the full size/flavor!>

>A Few Passing Thoughts...<
“How can you vote for tax reform if it’s going to increase the taxes in your district?” Mr. King asked, suggesting lawmakers would have to say: “Great victory! We got the first tax reform through in 30 years. Your taxes are going up, but it’s O.K. because we got it through.”

People will think you’re nuts,” Mr. King said.
<New York Times: 11/08/17)>

"Republicans need not have proceeded in this fashion. They could have undertaken revenue-neutral corporate-tax reform and tax cuts only for those making, say, less than $75,000. That, however, would not have pleased their big donors. 

"Now the GOP will pay the political price for a bait-and-switch, just as it did on Trumpcare, which paid for tax cuts for the very rich by cutting Medicaid. 

Republicans seem incapable of avoiding these reverse Robin Hood schemes. Perhaps they really do care only about the rich."
(Jennifer Rubin, "Right Turn," Washington Post)

"The foundation of the Republican tax plan is a massive $1 trillion corporate tax cut that isn’t paid for at all. From the beginning, Republicans gave themselves space to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit in order to make the corporate tax cut even bigger.

"Yet the party of fiscal conservatism had no qualms about supporting it. They simply placed their faith in unsubstantiated projections of economic growth to fill that hole — and if it does not, they are already talking about cutting spending for Medicare and Social Security to make up the difference."

"The end result is sheer absurdity: a reform that actually complicates the tax code further, and that must contradict itself and partially self-destruct to attain some semblance of the fiscal discipline Republicans claim to value. It’s hard to imagine a more egregious waste of time and energy, or a worse outcome for taxpayers and the broader economy."
(Bloomberg View)

“The test of our progress is not 
whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
(President Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

I think they are going to spend millions of dollars
trying to put lipstick on this pig. But unfortunately
 there’s nothing they can do to change it from being a pig.”
(Ezra Levin, co-executive director, Indivisible)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Life's Little Injustices (Take X): "Hey, Where's Mike?"

Something seemed wrong lately at our friendly neighborhood Spartan grocery store. The rhythms of life seemed, somehow, a little bit off. I'd noticed it building, slowly but surely, over the last couple weeks. The standard employee banter had lost its usual edge, or even seemed a tad forced, at times. The eye contact became more hit and miss. But those weren't the only indications, as I quickly discovered.

Before long, odd little signs started popping up at the checkout lanes: "WE ARE SORRY, BUT WE CANNOT ACCEPT WIC OR BRIDGE CARDS (Reckoner's Note: for food stamp recipients) AT THIS TIME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE." Soon enough, we'd end up feasting our eyes on this little gem: "21 AND OVER IS THE LAW! YOU MUST SHOW ID WHEN PURCHASING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. NO EXCEPTIONS!!"

How odd, I told myself, since 21+ is the gold standard in most jurisdictions nationwide? Or is somebody trying to underscore something that we already know? What gives, exactly? 

I got my answer soon enough, on my nightly trip to score a two-liter or two of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi.

I found myself standing behind a gent with his own modest haul of beer -- a six-pack of something or other, if I recall correctly -- and assorted snack food items. Suddenly, he popped the question: "Hey, where's Mike?"

The cashier furrowed her brow. "What you do you want with him?"

"You know, Mike," the customer persisted. "The guy with the shirt and tie, carrying the big, oversized cell phone..."

"Yeah, yeah, I know," the cashier responded. "He was here 10 years. Well, he's not here anymore."

"Really?" The customer frowned. "Why not?"

The cashier sighed. "We got bought out a couple weeks ago, by the son of the current owner." She explained that his father wanted to get out, retire, enjoy some well-earned rest, that type of thing.

The customer jerked a thumb at the signs. "Oh, and that's why you can't take..."


A-ha, I thought. They're transferring the license owner to the new regime, which is why the food stamp cards are on hold for awhile.

"Okay, so what became of Mike?"

"Well, whenever a new owner comes in," the cashier explained, "they typically prefer to bring in their own people, new blood, whatever you call it. The only way that Mike was gonna stay here, they told him, was that he'd have to start over..."

"Wow!" The customer sucked in a breath or two. "You mean, he'd have to go back out on the floor?"

"Pretty much, that's what it would have meant." The cashier frowned. "He didn't wanna do that, so that's why he's gone."

The customer finished counting out his change. "Man, that sucks. I liked the guy."

"Well, that's what's happened," the cashier sighed, a little harder this time. "Anything's possible when a new owner comes in. Right now, there's a lot of changes going on..." She gestured toward the signs. "And we don't know yet what's gonna happen."

"Wow, that's too bad." The customer finished scooping up his change into his pocket, grabbed his six-pack and snacks, now safely tucked into their cheap plastic bags, and walked out.

Within a minute or two, I followed out the door. I thought about all these times that I'd seen Mike, who presented the upbeat facade of the local store manager better than most of his cohorts I'd seen. Then I thought of him coming home, and breaking the news to his family, a forty- or fiftysomething-plus man effectively hearing, "Sorry, kid. Time to start over." 

Most likely, I'd never see him again, unless he found a similar foothold with the competition...Aldi's, Martin's, Meijer's Walmart, take your pick, you name it, there's quite a few locations...another domino rolled over in the never-ending quest for corporate profit.

I couldn't shake those images out of my head for most of the week. --The Reckoner

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Punk Rock Art Corner: We Salute The Senate's Glorious Strong-Arming of Trump's Tax Scam

<"Now the GOP will pay 
the political price 
for a bait-and-switch, 
just as it did on Trumpcare, 
which paid for tax cuts 
for the very rich by cutting Medicaid. 
Republicans seem incapable 
of avoiding these 
reverse Robin Hood schemes.">

<Jennifer Rubin, 
"Right Turn," 
Washington Post>

<USA Today>
"Together, we will give 
the American people 
a big, beautiful Christmas present."
<President Trump>

 "Our focus is on 
helping the folks 
who work in the mailrooms 
and the machine shops 
of America; 
the plumbers, 
the carpenters, 
the cops, 
the teachers, 
the truck drivers, 
the pipefitters -- 
the people that like me best."
<President Trump>

"My donors 
are basically saying, 
'Get it done 
or don’t ever 
call me again.'"
<U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)>

“I think
 not having the estate tax 
recognizes the people 
that are investing
as opposed to those 
that are just spending 
every darn penny they have, 
whether it’s on booze 
or women or movies.">

<U.S. Senator 
Charles Grassley (R-IA), 
Des Moines Register>

<Political Algebra>

“I have a rough time 
wanting to spend 
billions and billions 
and trillions of trillions 
of dollars
 to help people 
who won’t help themselves. 
Won’t lift a finger, 
and expect the federal government 
to do everything.”

<U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)>

<XVI Poem>
Laws are created to be followed
by the poor.
Laws are made by the rich
to bring some order to exploitation.
The poor are the only law abiders in history.
When the poor make laws 
the rich will be no more.
<Roque Dalton>

<See You In 2018 ...
...The Reckoner>

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Guest Cartoon: The Highwayman: "Seen This Movie Before" (Just Say No To Trump's Tax Scam)

<"Seen This Movie Before": The Highwayman>
<click the image to get the full size/flavor!>

Is Trump's tax plan a scam? Let's put it this way: I''ll cite one of my favorite recent factoids from Vanity FairFor Republican magical thinking to work -- splendiforous results occur, and don't blow up the deficit -- the U.S. economy would have to grow at five percent, per year, over 10 years, "in line with emerging economic powerhouses China and India," Vanity Fair reports. "Guess what sports fans? That’s not happening, especially in an economy that has already supposedly been benefiting from absurdly low interest rates for close to a decade, and that is already at or near structural full employment."

I'd call that a fair statement. In contrast, the Federal Reserve's median forecast for growth is 1.8 percent -- which sounds a tad more realistic, given what we've seen lately -- while the Congressional Budget office foresees the dueling U.S. House/Senate versions add, at best, a tenth of a percentage point to growth, "bringing us to a whopping 1.9 percent," according to Catherine Rampell, of the Washington Post

We'll see soon enough what emerges from behind closed doors, which is why I've held off on commenting -- this is the bunch, remember, that cobbled together four increasingly poor health bills -- but, by and large, the public isn't buying this particular scheme...as our latest guest cartoon from my good friend, The Highwayman, makes abundantly clear. --The Reckoner

Links To Go (Hurry, Before The Trumpkins
Vacuum What's Left Of Your Cash Flow):

Atlantic: Why The GOP Tax Bill Is So Unpopular:

Politico.com: GOP Deficit Hawks Fear
Tax Plan Is Secret Budget-Buster:

Vanity Fair: It's A Ponzi Scheme: Wall Street
Fears Trump's Deranged Tax Plan
Could Kick Off Economic Euthanasia:

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lucky Day Forever

Full Closed Captioned Edition in English
"Prole 514 dreams about winning the Great Lottery. The lottery winner is transformed and allowed admission into the elite White society, where everyone is beautiful, young and happy and people spend their carefree lives solely on fun and partying. One day, 514's wish comes true... but was this what he really wanted?" Lucky Day Forever (2011) by Alek Wasilewski www.luckydayforever.com

---The Squawker

Are the Robots Taking Over?

I noticed in my old ho-dunk town, they remodeled McDonald's, and are putting computer ordering kiosks in. This is a bad sign, that in a small town in the middle of nowhere, they are already pushing the fast food workers out. I rarely shop at Wal-mart and was in one the other week and noticed they expanded the self-check outs, and there was only ONE cashier working. The majority were using the self-check outs. It used to be they were pushed off to the side and the majority were still using the cashiers. What are they going to expect people to do for work? With Republicans, since they don't care about anyone but the uber-rich, they certainly aren't talking about this growing issue of automation taking the jobs away. Why do they want machines to do everything, so we end up having no one to talk to...not even service people?---The Squawker.

Baby Boomer Disconnect: The Vacation Version

In my affluent town, it seems everywhere I go, the six-figure Baby Boomer set are always bragging about their endless travels. What does one say to this? "I got to go to Buffalo in 1992, that was my last air plane trip?" When Ingrid and Betty talk about their trips to Rome, Greece and India, it gets draining. Given the financial disconnect between these oldsters and their younger counterparts, one can see who really did vote for Trump and has no idea of how the rest of us struggle.

I got a bit irate at a few, and said, "Wow I'd go to Europe if I won the Lotto!" A self-help group, a past bible-study and now a community class, it's happened several times. I hear about the multiple far-flung  vacations and more. How do they all have thousands of dollars to take these trips? Are they trying to elicit jealousy? And it's not just one "once in a lifetime trip" they are talking about but multiple ones, with pictures to share. I don't relate to the people I live around. So many of them their lives are nothing but saving face and bragging about their experiences bucket list style.  Yes, I know not every Baby Boomer is rich, maybe they drive their poorer counterparts nuts, too. Honestly maybe it's better I stayed home, because they'd be the ones surrounding me on the plane, or around those cute cafes and expensive shops they wax on on about---The Squawker.