Daily Archives: October 30, 2012


Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law

The Nation Of Change has the devastating piece Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law.  The sub-heading is “Has integration really ever been attempted? ”

The article starts out describing efforts by George Romney, then head of HUD.

Romney ordered HUD officials to reject applications for water, sewer and highway projects from cities and states where local policies fostered segregated housing.

Romney would eventually resign from HUD because his efforts angered President Richard Nixon who tried every thing he could think of to block him.

The story ends with:

At a private fundraising event in Florida in April, Mitt Romney said he would consider closing down HUD if he wins the election.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them,” he said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”

What happened in between these two points will stun you.

I remember that as a Bolton, MA resident, a state mandate to locate affordable housing in every Massachusetts town was a very hot topic.  I’ll have to do some research to find out why this effort in Massachusetts was not mentioned in the article.  I cannot even remember who was governor at the time.


I have begun the above promised research with a Google search of “affordable housing act ma”.

This has led me to the WikiPedia article Massachusetts Comprehensive Permit Act: Chapter 40B. The article starts with the following:

The Comprehensive Permit Act is a Massachusetts law which allows developers of affordable housing to override certain aspects of municipal zoning bylaws and other requirements. It consists of Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 40B, Sections 20 through 23, along with associated regulations issued and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to address the shortage of affordable housing statewide by reducing barriers created by local municipal building permit approval processes, local zoning, and other restrictions. Its goal is to encourage the production of affordable housing in all communities throughout the Commonwealth.

This just barely scratches the surface of the issue.


Fix the Debt, Destroy the Recovery

The American Prospect article Fix the Debt, Destroy the Recovery by Robert Kuttner is another cry for economic sanity.

The Fix the Debt campaign, much like the Bowles-Simpson Commission and the propaganda of the Peterson Foundation generally, contends that the projected national debt is depressing business willingness to invest now. Presumably, businesses are worried about inflation and uncertainty. But the government can fund ten-year bonds at less than 2 percent interest and thirty-year bonds at less than 3 percent. So investors don’t seem worried about inflation. It’s not lack of confidence in deficit reduction that’s depressing business investment but lack of confidence in consumer purchasing power. [ssg note: no freaking customers]

If anything, the economy needs more public spending to get us out of a deep slump brought to you by the very people behind this campaign. Cutting the deficit prematurely will only depress purchasing power and deepen the slump. That’s the real lesson of Greece, Spain, Portugal, et al.
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According to a very helpful analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness, 13 of the corporations whose CEOs are behind this lobby paid zero taxes in recent years. Here is their chart drawn from an analysis of IRS data by Citizens for Tax Justice:

Corporation

Federal Income Taxes 2008-2011

Profit? 2008-2011?$ Billions

Tax Subsidies 2008-2011?$ Billions

Boeing

$0

$14.8

$6.0

Corning

$0

$2.9

$1.0

General Electric

$0

$19.6

$10.6

Honeywell International

*$0

*$4.9

$1.7

Verizon Communications

$0

$19.8

$7.7

TOTAL

$0

$62 billion

$27 billion

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This stuff would be comical if it weren’t so influential. And if President Obama is re-elected, the corporate CEOs add up to one more pressure group pushing him to agree to a budget-cutting deal that will be suicidal for the economy and for his legacy in a second term.

Deficit reduction in a deep slump is not a path to recovery but to a deeper slump.

The fact that corporate CEOs are behind this latest push should not give the campaign greater credibility, but rather should signal “buyer beware.”

Despite the bipartisan camouflage, this campaign was always deeply conservative—hostile to social outlay, activist government, and a decent income distribution. Shame on any Democrat who doesn’t see through it.

How is lowering the tax rate on corporations who pay zero taxes anyway going to do anything for the economy?


Higher Taxes Hurt Job Creators? That’s Malarkey.

The American Prospect is carrying the Robert Reich article Higher Taxes Hurt Job Creators? That’s Malarkey.  The following quote explains some of Reich’s reasoning:

The economy did just fine during the three decades after World War II, when the top tax rate never fell below 70 percent. Average yearly economic growth was higher in those years than it’s been since, when taxes on the rich have been far lower.

Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich and the economy did wonderfully well. George W. Bush cut them and the economy slowed.

The real job creators are America’s vast middle class, whose spending encourages businesses to expand and hire—and whose lack of spending has the opposite effect.

The argument for tax increases for the wealthy is strengthened if you can explain the mechanism by which such tax increases help the economy.

If we only argue that historically, during high taxes the economy has done fine, then people could dismiss this as just a coincidence.  If you can explain why it is true that the economy does well with higher taxes, then it is harder to dismiss the argument.

It might also be pointed out that most of the liquidity that the Fed is trying to pour into the economy to stimulate the economy is sucked right up by the wealthy who put it to use in non-productive financial chicanery.

If we taxed this money away and put it into the economy as a fiscal stimulus, then the economy would recover faster and the deficit would be eliminated.


Chrysler ITSELF has refuted Romney’s lie

I can only hope that Romney has overplayed his hand. If enough people doubt his veracity on this issue, maybe they will come to doubt other things he said.


I do have to wonder if Obama is really trying, though.

Obama failed to say in the debate or any time before or after the debate, that if we just follow Obama’s current policies 12 million jobs will be created. So Romney’s claim to this number is a foregone conclusion if he just follows Obama’s “failed” policies. If Obama gets a Congress that will work with him, then we can do much better.

I first found the link to this ad in The Los Angeles Times story Obama ad calls out Romney ‘lie’ on flight of Jeep jobs.

The article adds the following bit of information:

As to selling Chrysler “to the Italians,” industry expert David Kiley of AOL Autos gave the missing context: “Italian automaker Fiat was the only company that stepped up to make an offer for Chrysler, which badly needed another car company with which to partner. Fiat’s intervention has kept the company in one piece, saved Chrysler from dissolution, increased the quality ratings of the company’s products, raised its market share and profit, and resulted in a huge recovery of jobs in Michigan and Ohio.”