This chart says it all. The notion that our debt is simply a “spending problem” as claimed by Republicans is ridiculous.
Chrysler announced today that it is repaying $7.5 billion to the U.S. government years ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, GM has announced it will hire thousands of new workers in the U.S. after a successful IPO.
The bailout of the U.S. auto industry in 2009 by the Obama administration was very unpopular, but it will go down as one of the shrewdest decisions of President Obama. Letting GM and Chrysler go through a bankruptcy liquidation would have killed thousands of jobs and possibly turned the recession into a depression. Thousands of auto suppliers would have been insolvent immediately, thus creating even more job losses.
Most on the right, including presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, opposed bailing out the auto companies. Mitt Romney even penned an op-ed arguing that we should let Detroit go bankrupt. They look like fools now, and the Democrats just released a preview of how this issue will be highlighted in the 2012 campaign, particularly in the Midwest.
Big news!! What a shocker!!
Naturally, many people thought this was baked into the cake from the beginning. Donald Trump is a publicity whore. We all knew that. What we didn’t know was how stupid he could sound when he opened his mouth about topics other than real estate, reality TV or beauty pageants.
He completely embarrassed himself, probably doing great damage to his brand along the way. He also did some damage to the Republican Party, showing how gullible many GOP voters can be when it comes to topics like the birther issue. We saw how a carnival barker could shoot up in the polls just by running his mouth, and the rest of the field came across as very weak in the process.
Fortunately, Trump was humiliated by President Obama before he made his inevitable announcement that he wasn’t running. Even prospective GOP voters finally saw through his bullshit as his poll numbers plummeted after Obama released his long-form birth certificate and then had Osama bin Laden killed.
Good riddance . . .
Mike Huckabee didn’t surprise anyone with his announcement tonight that he wasn’t going to run for president. But he tortured the few people who cared about his announcement and the political reporters who had to watch by waiting until the end of his show to make the announcement. Maybe he’s taking cues from Donald Trump.
Before the announcement, Huckabee had washed-up rocker Ted Nugent plat “Cat Scratch Fever” in front of the lamest audience I’ve ever seen. It looked like they cleared out the nearest nursing home and dragged the poor folks in the listen to old Ted. It didn’t sound that bad, and Huckabee seemed to do fine on the base, but watching Nugent play in front of this audience was just pathetic.
Ecologically responsible businesses in the United States have seen a tremendous boost in recent years. Politics have certainly played a significant role in that development by providing businesses with opportunities and incentives to make choices that protect the environment. Continuing to support government policies that encourage businesses to make green choices could reduce the long-term costs associated with increased health care needs and cleaning up pollution.
Tax Incentives for Green Businesses
The IRS currently offers tax deductions for commercial buildings that meet specific guidelines. For example, commercial buildings designed to conserve energy could potentially earn their owners big savings with a $1.80 per square foot tax deduction. Businesses that don’t quite meet the specifications could earn a partial deduction of $0.60 per square foot. These deductions help offset the cost of installing new heating and cooling systems, which lower the long-term costs of operating the building.
Manufacturers can also earn tax credits for conserving energy. Companies that manufacturer dishwashers, clothes washers, and refrigerators that meet ENERGY STAR qualifications can receive tax credits. This encourages manufacturers to produce more energy-efficient appliances, which means that consumers have more options when purchasing appliances for their homes.
Environmental Regulations for Businesses
The U.S. government also uses regulations to encourage businesses to make choices that limit the amount of pollution companies produce. Environmental studies to determine a business’ ecological footprint and what changes need to occur can be costly and time consuming. The regulations set by the U.S. government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) help to keep these costs to a minimum.
The E.P.A. currently gives businesses the option to store, treat, or dispose of hazardous chemicals on their own. In many cases, however, companies can hire contractors to help them conform to E.P.A. standards. Since the specific E.P.A. rules depend on the type of waste produced by a company, it is often difficult for businesses to determine what methods are cost effective and safe. Hiring a contractor eliminates this concern. Manufacturers that need to dispose of oil, for instance, can use commercial disposal facilities.
Making Green Choices for the Future
The Obama Administration has promised to create new incentives that will help businesses make green choices. This could include additional tax incentives or subsidies that offset the costs of research and development. By encouraging companies to invest in green technology and pollution-reduction methods, the government has created a business environment that makes it profitable for companies to explore new options that will help prevent environmental destruction in the future.
Government incentives and regulations are two of the most effective ways to help companies make decisions that will benefit the environment rather than causing greater ecological harm. At times, the politics of ecologically responsible business in the U.S. can become a contentious issue that forces individuals to reconsider current paradigms so that they can make informed choices. Citizens can, however, encourage all politicians (and future politicians) to support ecologically responsible businesses by asking their representatives to take a stand in favor of environmental protection.
Enjoy the weekend:
Here’s an interesting take on the battle between both ends of the political spectrum from a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog. Bottom line? Liberals are stuck in the 60s, while conservatives are stuck in the 70s.
Both sides are often saddled with their dogmas, and then the news media repeats these differences over and over again in 2 minute clips intended to offer “analysis.” It hurts the discourse in this country, and it’s boring as hell . . .
Saturday Night Live kicks off the 2012 presidential campaign with a spoof of the GOP candidates, focusing on those that haven’t announced yet. Tina Fey returns as Sarah Palin and she knocks it out of the park is usual. Her best line: “First I want to acknowledge that this week we finally vanquished one of the world’s great villains, and I for one am thrilled to say good riddance to Katie Couric!”
Bill Hader was hilarious as a “scared and horny” Shepard Smith.
Erin Burnett is leaving CNBC and moving on to CNN. CNN has been a disaster for years, so maybe a talent like Burnett will start to turn things around.
Meanwhile, you have to question the “brain trust” at NBC. What were they thinking?
They’re nuts . . . Burnett would have been a star on the “Today” show or any other show they picked for her. It’s a big loss for NBC.
Many are mocking the GOP presidential debate scheduled for tonight. Sure, we won’t have many of the major candidates, but as Andrew Sullivan points out, we now have a second libertarian candidate in the race – former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. Last week he was interviewed on HuffPo, and here’s his take on the war on drugs:
As Greenwald points out, anything that shines a light on the stupidity of the drug war is a good thing. In many ways, the GOP debates will be a joke, particularly if the confederacy of dunces makes an appearance. But with Johnson and Ron Paul in the race, we have two credible voices who will challenge right wing orthodoxy. Remember four years ago when Ron Paul repeatedly called out Rudy Giuliani’s bullshit?
We need to have this debate on drugs. President Obama is way too distracted with other things to spend political capital in this area. Hopefully he will address it in his second term, and that will be easier the more we hear from people like Paul and Johnson.