Left In Lowell

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September 20, 2012

Sun Spins on Safety? Say It Ain’t So!

by at 7:45 pm.

It’s sad that instead of just focusing on the matters at hand, the Mayor and others in this city have to sit there and un-spin the Lowell Sun on top of it all. It’s not like the problems we face in the city aren’t already serious enough, right?

I suggest you go read this post by Mayor Murphy at his assistant Jen Myer’s blog in full.

Most of the post is specific refutations on specific public safety issues that the Sun has been hammering the Mayor on, but I enjoyed this part a lot too:

On the tired issue of subcommittee assignments and perceived “snubbing” of Elliott for chair of the public safety, finance and auditor/clerk oversight subcommittees, I can only say that the purpose of these is to discuss substantive issues, and that my appointments are meant to reflect a preference for workhorses over showhorses in those roles. On public safety, the Police Superintendent himself will tell you that two issues raised by Elliott last year (proposals later overturned by the state legislature and state court respectively) were a distraction from the more pressing problems we face. Elliott’s shortcomings on finance and public safety issues are crystallized in his motion a couple years ago to cut all departmental budgets–including police, fire, health and inspectional services—by 2.5%, thereby endangering federal grant funding because of reductions below the required staffing levels, and putting our community at greater risk, financially and otherwise. During the issues last fall with the clerk’s office, Councilor Elliott was absent from all four ad hoc Clerk Oversight meetings, and this February was absent from our first Special meeting on Clerk Oversight. Accordingly, these assignments were placed in more capable hands.

In short, subcommittees are not to support one councilor’s psychic need for media attention, but to do work, discuss difficult matters, hear residents’ concerns and suggestions, plan for long-term substantive changes that can impact people’s lives. I have been disappointed that these have not been widely used for policy discussions.

First Senate Debate Thread

by at 6:05 pm.

I could NOT believe Brown WENT THERE right off the bat. Whoa.

S&P: No, Trickle Down Doesn’t Increase Revenues

by at 7:41 am.

Poor Gov. Chris Christie. Coming off an awful Republican convention in which he was a keynote, Standard and Poor’s “lowered its credit outlook for New Jersey from stable to negative.” Why so? (Bold mine.)

While Standard & Poor’s did not change the state’s AA- rating — one of the worst among the states — it warned the more drastic step of a lower rating loomed if Christie’s nearly 8 percent growth in revenue failed to materialize.

[…]

“We revised the outlook to reflect our view of the risk of revenue assumptions we view as optimistic, continued reliance on one-time measures to offset revenue shortfalls, and longer-term growing expenditure pressures,” John Sugden, a credit analyst for Standard & Poor’s, said.

[…]

Christie has spent much of the year boasting of a “Jersey Comeback” — an assertion that has fizzled in recent months as state revenue has fallen short of expectations, unemployment has risen and foreclosures remain a drag on the real estate market.

What’s Christie’s risky revenue assumption? That cutting taxes will increase the state’s revenues! The Governor’s response to S&P? Double down!

Unswayed by the latest batch of economic news, Christie repeated his call for an income tax cut at an appearance in Bergen County and said it was a “joke” that Democrats had not yet delivered the cut.

I hate having to state the obvious, but…trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Cutting taxes does not increase revenues. It decreases revenues. If I get a pay cut at work, I don’t take in more money than I did before the cut.

Why is basic math so hard for conservatives to understand? Look, we can disagree, and do, about what government should be involved in and how much it should spend. But can we, please, just agree on basic freaking addition and subtraction? George H.W. Bush called Reagan’s supply-side plans “voodoo economics” over thirty years ago - he was right then, and he’s still right. Tax cuts have slashed revenues in states who have implemented them, and destroyed our national budgets. Conservatives complain about deficits but make them worse…the Bush tax cuts account for a very large percent of our deficit right now, along with his war bill, and the severe downturn he left behind him.

If I was a more cynical sort, I’d say that most trickle-down adherents actually know that what they peddle is a crock of snake oil, but they inflict the country with this policy anyway so that when the deficit inevitably balloons, they can slash the budget in places that will hurt the worst off in our country - that they really, underneath it all, mean “trickle-UP” - cutting taxes for the wealthy so their buddies can get even more gawd-awfully rich and the gap between them and the rest of us gets wider.

And a number of conservatives do know this, and do do this, aka the Norquist “drown it in a bathtub” admission. But I believe the real core of the Republican party, especially its voters, are merely obsessed with “supply-side economics” in a religious way, clinging to trickle-down dogma. You know, like when you see an interview with Tom Cruise, and the host tries to talk about the science of mental health, and Tom Cruise bounces up and down on the couch in denial that mental disease even exists, because his crazy ass religion tells him so. You can try to get him to stop bouncing and listen to the empirical evidence, but dogma prevents him from hearing you.

Well, that’s most trickle-down adherents for you. They keep bouncing, because if they stop and actually think logically, never mind view and digest the evidence against it, it would throw their entire worldview upside down, and that is a very uncomfortable place to be.

(Article via dkos.)

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