Monthly Archives: November 2012

Humor: The Borowitz Report

“Please Stop Talking About the Fiscal Cliff”

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TOLEDO (The Borowitz Report)—An Ohio man’s fascination with the so-called “fiscal cliff”—and his steadfast refusal to talk about anything else—has alienated everyone close to him, former friends of the man say.

Harland Dorrinson, a forty-one-year-old carpet-tile salesman and self-described “fiscal-cliff nut” has turned himself into a pariah with his inexplicable interest in the most tedious conversation topic ever.

“We were all like, ‘Harland, every time you talk about this, people start to lose consciousness,’” says Carol Foyler, a former friend who has cut ties with Mr. Dorrinson over his fiscal-cliff obsession. “I don’t know what effect the fiscal cliff will have in January, but if you’re stuck in a conversation with Harland the effect is you want to drown yourself.”

For his part, Mr. Dorrinson says that his ex-friends who have shown no interest in the fiscal cliff “are a bunch of losers who don’t know what they’re missing.”

“I guess there are people out there who aren’t interested in whether capital-gains taxes and marginal rates will rise, or which Republicans have backed away from Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge,” he says. “But seriously, would you want to be friends with someone like that? Or, for that matter, married to one?”

If Mr. Dorrinson has a regret, it is that the fiscal-cliff issue will be resolved one way or the other by the end of the year: “I know I’m going to experience a profound feeling of loss when it’s gone. There hasn’t been anything this fascinating since the debt-ceiling debate.”

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Illustration by Tom Bachtell.

Mario Piperni Shellacs Mittens One More Time

Mitt Romney’s Post-Election Career Choices

November 26, 2012 By

One of the downsides of the election results is that I no longer have Mitt Romney to kick around. With the possible exception of Sarah Palin, no other politician inspired me with so many new and fun ways to mock him in graphic form as did flip-floppin’ Mitt. It was effortless. Mitt the cardboard cutout, Mitt the windsock, Mitt the bumbling fool as Mr. Bean, Mitt the liar as Pinocchio , Mitt the fraud artist, Mitt the rich, empty, soulless creep…there are over 150 Mitt illustrations on my Romney page. The man was pure gold.

And now…nothing. How will I ever fill the void? Who will the new Mitt Romney be and how soon before they emerge on the political scene? These are the questions that people like me ask. Sad, I know.

Well, I’m not alone. Richard Adams over at The Guardian is missing Mitt so much that he decided to take a look at a number of post-election careers Romney has available. I thought I’d try to match some of my illustrations to Adams’ picks.

1. Chief executive of PBS

Watch out, Paula Kerger, current president and chief executive of PBS. Mitt Romney just has to stride into the PBS boardroom, look everyone in the eye and say: “I love Big Bird.” Drops the mic. Game over. You may as well resign now, Kerger.

2. Game show host

Mitt Romney to host a new talent show, America’s Got Trees, in which the failed presidential candidate and a panel including Tyra Banks and Edward Knipling, administrator of the US Agricultural Research Service, sit in judgment of contestants’ trees. At the climax of each round Romney reveals which tree is “just the right height”.

3. Furniture magnate

Mitt Romney knows a great PR opportunity when he sees one – sometimes – so why not form a business partnership with Clint Eastwood to design and market a line of furniture aimed at the elderly and ironic hipsters. Motto: “Chairs you can talk to.”

4. Real-life Bond villain

If there’s anyone who could pull off the whole Bond villain thing, it’s Mitt Romney. He already has the wealth and inappropriate laugh. All he needs now is to buy mysterious Skull Island, start work on a Death Beam in a dormant volcano – and pretty soon the UN will be getting ransom demands for a trillion dollars and a recount of Ohio in which Romney wins no matter what the outcome.

5. Restaurant founder

A national chain of all-you-can-eat buffets named The 47%, drawing on Mitt Romney’s wide knowledge of American regional cuisine – such as deep-fried butter and cheesy grits – from the campaign trail. Advertising slogan: “Everybody wants free stuffing!”

6. Bitter old man

You lost the election – so why not fail to get over it by ceaselessly moaning about the guy who beat you, while going on the Sunday talk shows and making idle threats? Note: this post is currently occupied by John McCain.

7. Presidential candidate

Look: Rubio’s a kid who muffs a softball interview with GQ. Christie’s a lard bucket who sucks up to Obama. Romney 2016!

8. Executive headhunter

Another business opportunity staring Mitt Romney in the face: a female-only executive recruitment agency, Binders Full of Women.

9. Saviour of the Twinkie

A takeover of Twinkie manufacturer Hostess is just the job for a turnaround expert such as Mitt Romney. Critics might point out that an appetizing appearance masks a lack of substance and a core of toxic gunk. But enough about Paul Ryan.

10. Nothing

Finally: Mitt Romney could just hang around, doing nothing of note and living off his wealth, just as he did between early 2008 and sometime in 2011. (Seriously, what did Romney do between presidential campaigns? Go into cryogenic suspense? Hunt for Nicole Simpson’s real killer?)

If you have any ideas of your own for Romney’s post-election career, feel free to share. Mitt could use all the help he can get. Here’s my own thought on what Mitt can do with all the time he now has at his disposal.

Standup Comedian

The guy’s a natural. He’d make a killing on the comic circuit and the best part is that he would not need writers. Mitt would only have to be himself. How perfect is that!

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Naked Capitalism on “Shared Sacrifice”

I Can Has Shared Sacrifice?

By lambert strether of Corrente

The whole bloody mess — “shared sacrifice” (Obama; heh) / austerity / “Throw Grandma from the Fiscal Cliff” — is so appalling, and so dispiriting, that there’s only one way forward:

Do it for the lulz.

Because if there’s any form of infrastructure that America can still build, it’s the Internet meme. So, dear readers, do feel free to viralize this JPG of “shared sacrifice” on your social media of choice, including the mail that you send to hundreds of your family and friends, your elected representatives, your blogs, etc., or vote it up. (To be clear on the trope: The “sacrifice” is the hearts of the American people, ripped from their chests and “shared” by the priests of the political class, who lift them to the sky where the invisible austerity Gods live: the 1%. Then the priests throw the bodies down the steps of the pyramids which represent, I would think, the banks, the Fed, and any of the other large white buildings in Washington, DC.)

* * *

That’s really all I have to say, but since nobody else chewed Bernie Sanders’ ankles for drinking the “shared sacrifice” Kool-Aid and proving himself unworthy of the name “Socialist,” I will. It’s hard work, but somebody’s got to do it. Here’s an excerpt from a highly praised speech that Sanders recently made; I’ve added some helpful interpretive material in brackets:

Everyone [who is anyone] understands that over the long-term we have got to reduce the deficit [except not]- a deficit that was caused mainly by Wall Street greed, tax breaks for the rich, two wars, and a prescription drug program written by the drug and insurance companies [unlike ObamaCare. Not]. It is absolutely imperative, however, that as we go forward [in the midst of a never-ending recession] with deficit reduction we completely reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts [so mild cuts are OK?] in desperately-needed programs [but other program are fair game?] for working families, the elderly, the sick, our children and the poor [even if Obama’s self-conceived mandate is for “the middle class”*, i.e., not working families, not millions of elders, not at least 25% of our children, and most certainly not millions of the poor or the the 17.4% of the working population that is disemployed] while not asking the wealthiest among us to contribute one penny [so cuts are OK if taxes on the wealthiest are raised? Yes. Such a deal!].

Mr. President, please listen to the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe [not] that deficit reduction must be about shared sacrifice. The wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations in this country must pay their fair share [whatever that means]. At least 50 percent [why not 100 percent?] of any deficit reduction package must come from revenue raised [the United States, as the sovereign issuer of its own currnecy, is not revenue constrained and cannot be forced to default] by ending tax breaks for the wealthy and eliminating tax loopholes that benefit large, profitable corporations and Wall Street financial institutions. A sensible deficit reduction package must also include significant cuts [yeah, let’s start by scuttling a few aircraft carriers] to unnecessary and wasteful Pentagon spending [there’s some other kind?].

So, did you hear Bernie Sanders, Socialist firebrand, the second coming of Eugene V. Debs, calling for “Not one penny of cuts?” No, me neither.

In practice, in the world where sausage is made, the position crypto-Democrat Sanders has staked out is indistinguishable from Obama’s: The wealthy are to pay more in taxes and the rest of us will get even worse social insurance. But all the players know this deal is bogus; no matter that the wealthy are supposed to pay “a little more” (Obama) or some “pennies” (Saunders), their only real costs will be the accountants they hire to avoid or evade what isn’t even real money to them; but the costs will be very real to us, and will come out of our hides. The wealthy may suffer a twinge as they lose a little “self-actualization” at the tippy top of Maslow’s pyramid, but the rest of will suffer real pain at the base: Loss of health, loss of food, loss of resources. Luxuries at the margin are not a fair trade for necessities paid for by social insurance. The sacrifice may be shared, alright, but not equally, because it cannot be.**

Here is what the baseline should be: “Not one penny of cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other social insurance program, and any savings to be paid out as benefits.” Hear that from Bernie? Any Democrats? Didn’t think so.

We have already sacrificed, whether through the loss of our jobs, our health, our homes, our net worth, or from real wages being flattened for the last forty years, or from paying some well-fed smiling usury-stinking weasel their cut on the deal every time we turn around. The proper amount of additional sacrifice for us is, precisely and exactly, zero.

And while we’re at it, the age for Social Security eligibility should be lowered, to 60, so that some of us oldsters who are planning to work ’til we drop can get out of the work force, and maybe more young people can get jobs. And while we’re at it, Social Security benefits should be age neutral. None of this “I’ve got mine” stuff; that benefits get worse the younger you get is a sham and a travesty and a policy a political class with an smidgeon of human decency would never have put into place (even if the sainted Tip O’Neil and the sainted Ronald Reagan cut the first such deal, back in the day, and people of my age let him get away with it).

C’mon, Bernie. Socialist? As much a socialist as Obama’s a socialist. Or a Kenyan, for that matter. Go on. Prove me wrong!

NOTE * To be fair, Obama’s self-conceived mandate includes “families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class.” Never mind what “working hard” means — the Victorians, too, distinguished between the deserving and the undeserving poor, after all. But not all rational actors want to be “middle class,” since the passport to credentials involves massive debt. Others, “try” as they may, will not make it. Under the bus with them!

NOTE ** Everybody’s got to have skin in the game. So you can sell one of your kidneys, and I’ll sell one of my yachts!

the best of the internets

Michael Tomasky: The Wane of John McCain

… Rice did indeed hide some information from the public on Sept. 16—but it’s the kind of information that has always been concealed from public consumption, for the kinds of national-security-related reasons that the Washington establishment has always agreed upon. Historically, of course, if any person or persons have objected to this kind of filtering, they’ve typically been on the left. Think Daniel Ellsberg first and foremost. The right always defended this practice, on the grounds that making possibly sensitive information public too soon without the proper running of all the intelligence traps could only provide aid and comfort to the commies or the terrorists, as the case may be.

McCain certainly comes from this school. But this, you see, was different. Different from what, and different how, are both good questions. Different from those dozen or so attacks on American embassies while George W. Bush was president? It’s true…

View original post 149 more words

the best of the internets

As Democrats gather for turkey or tofurkey in Brooklyn and Berkeley and, yes, even in Birmingham, they should offer thanks for Mitt Romney. Not just for being a clumsy candidate in a year when a more agile one might have knocked off Barack Obama—but for the broader benefit he served the Democratic Party as a powerful clarifying force.

In an era of resentment toward unaccountable financial elites, they put forward the ultimate financial elite, a man who sliced and diced companiessheltered his income offshore, and, above all, was eye-poppingly incapable of discussing his wealth and the economic anxieties of those less fortunate in ways that might put voters at ease. The muddle that had clouded the political debate since Obama’s inauguration parted. On Election Day, when exit pollsters asked voters whom they thought the candidates favored, a plurality, 44 percent, thought Obama favored the middle class, while 53 percent…

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Andrew Sullivan on Changes

The View From Your Thanksgiving

via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan by Andrew Sullivan on 11/23/12

A reader writes:

My 81-year-old father, a retired Marine and lifelong straight-ticket Republican, has gone through an amazing shift over the last four years.  When McCain had named Palin as his running mate, my dad defended the choice because she “was a fighter and everyone underestimates her”.  Four years ago he quaked in his boots and railed against Obama, who “was going to take everybody’s guns away” and was responsible for the shortage in ammunition (part of the plot to take away guns was his plan to remove ammo from the store shelves).  Obama didn’t have the experience to end the wars.  Obama wouldn’t be able to deal with the economy.  Our country was going to hell in a handbasket with that man in charge.

This election?  Straight-ticket Democratic voter and big contributor to both Obama’s campaign and Claire McCaskill’s senatorial campaign against Todd Akin.  As we would drive by homes where Akin or Romney yard signs were displayed, he’d say, “There’s a lot of crazy people in this neighborhood”.  A month ago my mother called me, worried that my father had become too militantly Democratic and wished he would settle down just a little bit in his zeal. We can sit down as a family and intelligently discuss politics, and I can’t express how wonderful it is to share this with him for the first time in my life.

To what do we attribute this change?  I believe it started with having multiple children, grandchildren and in-laws who didn’t have health insurance due to self-employment and the difficulty with getting an individual policy.

My father worked 40 years in the government and always had wonderful insurance and a lot of security in terms of retirement, and I believe he wanted the same for all of his children and grandchildren.  He realized that the guns weren’t going away (he’s an avid skeet shooter), that the president was an intelligent man who approached the nation’s problems with calm, deliberate reasoning and an eye towards the greater good.  Dad paid attention to the obstructionism within Congress and was disgusted by these supposed “patriots” who were focused on preventing recovery.  Obama was bringing the soldiers back home, which was a huge deal to a man who saw far too much of the damage caused by war during his Vietnam stint.

It takes a lot to change a man’s position so enormously.  I’m more proud of my father than I have ever been and see him as a lesson to the Republican party.  If they are losing someone like him, how many more must there be?

Mario Piperni on Repug Prospects

Are Republicans in for Another Rude Awakening in 2016

November 23, 2012 By

One of our regulars, E.A. Blair, responds to this line from my Thanksgiving post.

“…you can rest assured that there will never be a President Bachmann, Perry, Santorum or Romney.”

E.A. writes:

Don’t make any bets on that. With the exception of Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, most Democratic politicians who retire or bow to defeat fade quietly into the background.

Not so for Republicans. With the exception of The Shrub, nearly every Republican who has run for office in the last fifty years had suffered ignominious defeat before being nominated.

Think Nixon – humiliated as VP, defeated in 1960, elected in 1968.

Think Reagan – defeated in 1976, elected in 1980.

Think Bush I – defeated in 1980, career resurrected by becoming a running mate.

Think Bob Dole – Running mate in 1976, nominee in 1996, the only politician to have been his party’s nominee for both President and Vice President without being elected to either office.

Think McCain – Soundly thumped by The Shrub in 2000, nominated in 2008.

Think Romney – Defeated in 2008 primaries, nominated in 2012.

Republicans have this sense of entitlement, that if they run for office enough times it eventually becomes “their turn.” I don’t think even the most blatant abuser of federal aid felt more entitlement than Romney felt in the past election. It was his turn, the White House was meant for him, it should have been his! It WAS his! My Precious! My Precious!.

Until the Republican primaries for the 2012 election began oh, so long ago, I’d have thought that I’d seen the last of Gingrich or Santorum, the one disgraced and both losers. As long as Fux News is around, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove all have a place to bark from. McCain’s bitterness is showing up like a bad aftertaste of spoiled cranberry sauce. Like Freddie and Jason, Republican politicians never stay down – they just keep coming back over and over and over ad nauseam.

I really don’t think that there’ll be a President Bachmann, Perry or Willard Mitt Romney either, but the Republicans do have a habit of re-animating their dead – they may be down, but they’re seldom out. Some of them may run again, but they’ll never win. On the other hand, there’s a whole new generation of Republicans who will be coming back again and again and again. Ryan will take over for Romney, and there’s Jindal, Rubio and don’t forget Jeb and George S. Bush who just filed intent to run for something-or-other in Texas. Romney has five sons who may feel it necessary to avenge their father’s defeat by taking it out on the American middle class.

In the meantime we must not let them get the Precious!

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E.A. makes a good point and I pretty much agree with all he wrote. I will add this though; unless Republicans seriously modify their agenda or, in lieu of that, someone like a Chris Christie or Jeb Bush successfully masks Republican’s true agenda, I don’t see the GOP winning a presidential election in the foreseeable future…or ever.

Different times are upon us and changing demographics do not favor TeaPartyism’s twisted view of America. A majority of women will simply not vote for a political party who deals with their health issues as if 51 percent of the population were little more than 19th century chattel. Nor will Hispanics and other minorities cast a majority vote for a party they rightly view as a white man’s country club.

Political Darwinism dictates that political parties either adapt and evolve in step with their changing environment or face extinction. If Republicans didn’t get the message this time around, then they’re in for another rude awakening in 2016 – regardless of who they decide to run against Hillary.

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Mario Piperni on Repug Legacy

Legacy? What Legacy?

November 21, 2012 By

John Liming has a thought or two on what leaving a legacy for future generations really means.
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I keep hearing all this talk from the Right Wing about how we have to be concerned about the legacy that we will leave our children and their children after them.

Republicans who dwell a little over on the extreme side complain that our entitlement programs (Social Security and all it’s allied programs) are going to leave a huge indebtedness for – “the children.”

So they think that cutting these programs and their benefits here and now in the time in which we are presently living is going to do something to protect the legacy for those who come after us – or some such cockamamie bull manure as that.

It all sounds so good when a Rightie says it but one gets a feeling in the pit of the stomach that no matter what the budget whackers are fantasizing, whatever it is they want to do to the budget is not going to accomplish the ideals they are blathering about because…

Historically all so-called conservative fiscal policies have done for America is create a bigger and more uncontrollable financial mess.

They seem to keep on trying the same old things just like someone who knows for sure that a square peg will never fit comfortably into the round hole but I think they are so convinced of their invincibility and their omnipotence and omniscience that they are driven to keep on trying.

I do not believe enough of them have the capacity to actually consider alternative courses of action so I think it will always be the same old thing with them.

My sons used to say to me, “I will not repeat the same mistakes of your generation dad, because these are new and different times now.”

After living on this earth for 74 years I have come to believe that my sons are right!

I think the coming generations will not repeat the same old mistakes my generation made – I think they will make their own mistakes which in the end will be nothing more than refinements on the mistakes that my generation made.

I think the coming generations will make the same old mistakes my generation made but I think they will make them in a more perfect way!

In other words, they will make the same errors but they will put a cleaner and more modern face on them.

I think human nature is inescapable.

Whenever you hear a Rightie screaming and ranting about the need to leave a better legacy to our children and grandchildren just look them in the face and ask the question, “What kind of legacy did our parents and their parents leave for us?”

And then comfort yourself with this thought: “Maybe all this austerity talk from the far right in this country is not about “legacy” at all.  Maybe it is all about re-designing the national spending habits so that more money will be freed up to find its way into the coffers of the upper wealthiest echelons of the country. Has anyone besides me ever considered that possibility?

I do not think our parents and grandparents were the least bit concerned about what kind of legacy they were leaving for us.

I think our parents and grandparents had it tough enough that the only things they were actually concerned about were how to make it through each day and how they could feed us, clothe us and keep a roof over our heads.

I think “Legacy” was the farthest thing from their minds.

When I graduated high school, our class motto was “the world is open, the future is ours.”

As I look back on that momentous graduation ceremony in the spring of 1956, I cannot help but ask myself, “The world was open and the future was ours – what in the Hell did we do with it?”

In my mind there is room to believe that each generation will eventually discover that it is responsible for its own destiny and that whatever we do or try to do will have very little effect on whatever confronts them because they always tend to find their own way to screw things up for themselves.

So enough of the Right Wing austerity talk already!

John publishes Blue Heart Chronicles.
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Mario Piperni Does Allen West

Allen West Finally Gives It Up

November 20, 2012 By

The guy who once said to Democratic leaders…

Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.

…is now history. After dragging out his election loss for two weeks, West finally came to grips with reality…sort of. This is what he wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.

I’m not sure what made me happier on election night – President Obama’s win or Allen West’s loss. It might very well have been the latter. If there was one Republican who embodied the complete tea-bagging, partisan, obstructionist, narrow-minded idiocy of the last two years, it was West.

And so, to the man who once said that he believed that 78 to 81 members of Democrats in Congress were members of the Communist Party, here is my own little farewell message to Mr. West.

Take your message of ignorance and hate, take your message of economic favoritism for the wealthy, take your message of enslaving the middle class somewhere else. You can take it to Fox, you can take it to talk radio, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, but get the hell out of Congress.

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BuzzFlash on How Bad It’s Gotten

Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.

1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.

2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.

In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.

3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.

The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.

Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.

4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.

After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.

U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.

That’s enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.

That’s enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN’s World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.

For the free-market advocates who say “they’ve earned it”: Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.

6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.

Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.

Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.

7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That’s much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).

Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.

Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.

9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.

21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It’s now less than $4,000.

That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you’re still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.

With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.

10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.

That’s about the same amount of money made by America’s richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding.

Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S.

The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the United States. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.

A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO.

It’s not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.