Who's really behind the internet sales tax? - OpenSecrets Blog -
It’s nothing more than fascists trying to protect their favored constituents by attacking their competition.
Between March 20 and March 31, according to the FEC’s most recent filings, he received at least $41,000 from PACs run by supporters of the Internet sales tax:
- $9,000 from Home Depot, March 31
- $5,000 from AutoZone, March 31
- $5,000 from the Retail Industry Leaders Association PAC, March 26
- $3,500 from the PAC of lobbying firm Patton Boggs (which represents Amazon and other clients that support the proposal), March 20
- $2,500 from Best Buy, March 26
- $2,500 from Lowes, March 20
- $2,500 from JC Penney, March 26
- $2,500 from Target, March 26
- $2,500 from Walmart, March 31
- $2,000 from Amazon, March 26
- $2,000 from Lowes, March 26
- $2,000 from Safeway, March 31
Now the sole remedy for the abuse of political power is to limit it; but when politics corrupt business, modern reformers invariably demand the enlargement of the political power. — Isabel Paterson (via laliberty)
Leading candidate for Commerce Secretary, billionaire Penny Prisker raised over $800 million for Obama.
Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms. —
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey On ObamaCare
Later, he clarified:
“Well, I think that was a bad choice of words on my part … that word [fascism] has an association with of course dictatorships in the 20th century like Germany and Spain, and Italy. What I know is that we no longer have free enterprise capitalism in health care, it’s not a system any longer where people are able to innovate, it’s not based on voluntary exchange. The government is directing it. So we need a new word for it. I don’t know what the right word is.”
The more appropriate term he’s looking for is probably corporatism or crony capitalism. But the thing is: he’s not wrong calling it fascism, particularly as differentiated from socialism. As I’ve previously noted: “Crony capitalism (aka ‘state capitalism’ or ‘corporatism’)… is the economic framework of fascism. Free market capitalism, on the other hand, is the economic framework of liberty.”
Tim Carney: How corporate tax credits got in the 'cliff' deal -
The “fiscal cliff” legislation passed this week included $76 billion in special-interest tax credits for the likes of General Electric, Hollywood and even Captain Morgan. But these subsidies weren’t the fruit of eleventh-hour lobbying conducted on the cliff’s edge — they were crafted back in August in a Senate committee, and they sat dormant until the White House reportedly insisted on them this week.
The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which passed through the Senate Finance Committee in August, was copied and pasted into the fiscal cliff legislation, yielding a victory for biotech companies, wind-turbine-makers, biodiesel producers, film studios — and their lobbyists. So, if you’re wondering how algae subsidies became part of a must-pass package to avert the dreaded fiscal cliff, credit the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s lobbying last summer.
Pentagon buying Chevy Volts to ‘green up’ military -
The Pentagon is buying Chevrolet Volts to help “green up” the military—while propping up sales of the bailed-out automaker’s most politicized car.
The Department of Defense began purchasing the struggling luxury electric car, which retails at $40,000, this summer as part of its goal to purchase 1,500 such green vehicles. The Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif. purchased its first two Volts in July, and 18 more vehicles will come shortly to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is based, according to military magazine Stars and Stripes.
The Obama administration championed the production of the Volt. Along with the president’s pledge this year to “buy one and drive it myself … five years from now when I’m not president anymore,” the government offers a $7,500 tax break to encourage sales.
Such perks, however, have failed to drive consumers to GM car lots. The vehicle has been forced to suspend production twice this year after the Volt failed to gain a foothold in the marketplace.
GM is now offering the vehicle for as low as $169 per month, a financing deal that is generally reserved for $15,000 cars—a price so low that GM is reportedly losing nearly $50,000 per vehicle. The struggling automaker will again suspend production later this month after only 2,500 Volts drove off the lots last month.
GM has spent $1.2 billion developing the electric car and is still working out kinks, such as the Volt’s tendency to electrocute firefighters and first responders to accidents. The Department of Defense has been involved in that process, helping to test the Volt’s battery safety and capabilities.
Obama has made the auto bailout a centerpiece on the campaign trail despite GM’s recent woes. The company’s stock has fallen about 40 percent since it emerged from bankruptcy. GM and its lending arm, Ally Bank, owe $42 billion on their $57 billion bailout. The government still has a stake in GM.
The Pentagon’s massive car-buying scheme is the latest example of government trying to help GM raise its sales volumes. The General Services Administration of Las Vegas fame purchased 100 Volts in 2011 for various agencies.
(Source: pigcharmer, via thinksquad)
Government Motors: As GM shares near record low, taxpayer loss on bailout rises to $35 billion -
To quote Lando Calrissian, this deal’s getting worse all the time.
General Motors (GM) shares fell to a fresh 2012 closing low of 19.57 on Monday. The stock hit 19 in mid-December, the lowest since the auto giant came public at $33 in November 2010 following its June 2009 bankruptcy.
Normally you might say, tough luck investors. But this is Government Motors. The Treasury still owns 26.5% of GM, or 500 million shares. Taxpayers are still out $26.4 billion in direct aid. Shares would have to hit $53 for the government to break even.
Those shares were worth about $9.8 billion as of Monday. That would leave taxpayers with a loss of $16.6 billion.
But that’s not the full tally. Obama let GM keep $45 billion in past losses to offset future profits. Those are usually wiped out or slashed, along with debts, in bankruptcy. But the administration essentially gifted $45 billion in write-offs (book value $18 billion) to GM. So when GM earned a $7.6 billion profit in 2011 (more on that below), it paid no taxes.
Include that $18 billion gift, and taxpayers’ true loss climbs to nearly $35 billion.