Daily Archive: 04/21/2013

Apr 21 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the Paterson Silk Strike by JayRaye

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn with Pat Quinlan, Carlo Tresca,

Adolph Lessig, and Big Bill Haywood

Paterson, New Jersey 1913

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Arrives

On January 27, 1913 at the Doherty Silk Mill in Paterson, New Jersey, a workers committee requested a meeting with management. They wanted an end to the hated four-loom system which had doubled their work load with no increase in pay, and had caused the lay-offs of many of their fellow workers. When four members of that committee were fired, 800 silk workers, almost the entire work force, walked off the job spontaneously. They were without union organization to back them up. Being mostly foreign-born, non-English-speaking, unskilled workers, the AFL’s United Textile Workers did not want them.

But, in fact, there was another textile union in Paterson at that time: the IWW’s National Industrial Union of Textile Workers, Local 152 which local organizers, Ewald Koettgen and Adolph Lessig had established over several years of organizing. It was there, with this stalwart band of 100 Wobblies, that the strikers found a union willing to back up their strike. As it became clear that Doherty would not bargain with the strikers, Local 152 request help from IWW headquarters in Chicago.

On February 25, 1913, national IWW organizers, Pat Quinland, Carlos Tresca, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn arrived to speak at a mass meeting. All three were arrested that night at the meeting. Strikers followed them to the jail and held a rally outside the jail, singing and shouting for their release. Women shouted, “When the strike is won, Gurley Flynn will be the boss!”

By the time Big Bill Haywood arrived, later that week, the strike had spread to silk mills across Paterson. 300 mills were shut down, and 25,000 silk workers were on strike. Big Bill advised the strikers: “fold your arms or put your hands in your pocket and let the manufacturers do the worrying.”

Apr 21 2013

Violence v Terrorism: Is There a Difference?

In the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the failure of the Senate to pass a gun control bill that would tighten loop holes in the background check laws, the question of the difference between violence and terrorism has been raised . After the Aurora, CO shooting in a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 58, Andrew Cohen asked in an Atlantic article why there is a 1,000 to 1 spending gap on terrorism and gun violence:

My question now is simple: Why do we spend at least 1,000 times more money protecting ourselves from terrorism than we do protecting ourselves from gun violence? I’m not necessarily suggesting that we spend less on anti-terrorism programs. Like everyone else, I am grateful there have been no mass casualty terror events since 9/11. I’m just wondering, instead, what possible justification there could be for spending so relatively little to try to reduce the casualties of gun violence.

Surely the Second Amendment alone — and the United States Supreme Court’s recent rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago — cannot explain this contrast. Our government has asked us consistently since 9/11 to sacrifice individual liberties and freedom, constitutional rights to privacy for example, in the name of national security. And we have ceded these liberties. Yet that same government in that same time hasn’t asked anyone to sacrifice some Second Amendment rights to help protect innocent victims from gun violence.

If we can reduce the impact of terrorism to a trickle — good for us! — why aren’t we doing more to save some of those 31,000 people who die each year from gun violence? This is not a question for the advocates to spin. It’s not a question for the media to ponder. It’s a question for elected officials to answer. And it’s not apples and oranges, either. Those poor people in Aurora were plenty terrorized. And if they somehow some way don’t merit the same proactive government response that victims of traditional terrorism have received since 9/11, then at least they deserve an explanation why.

Yes, the people of Aurora were terrorized, so were the people of Tuscon, Newtown and Ft. Hood. Despite the greater loss of life none of these incidents were called an act of terror.

So what is the difference between an act of violence and an act of terrorism? Is there a difference?

Incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings, that appear to  be driven by unfettered hatred, shake us to our collective core. They make us think twice about entering public spaces: going out for a meal, taking public transportation, taking a dog for a walk. There is no doubt that the intended consequence of an act like the bombings at the Boston Marathon is to scare. But how should we characterize and define that fear? And what does this fear drive us to do? Does it drive us to suspend rule of law?

According to a Reuters poll taken two day after the bombings in Boston, “most Americans see the biggest threat to public safety coming from random acts of violence committed by other Americans, rather than foreign terrorism”.

Asked which events pose the biggest threat to the safety of average Americans, 56 percent of respondents said random acts of violence, such as mass shootings, committed by Americans; 32 percent said foreign terrorism committed by non-Americans; and 13 percent said politically or religiously motivated domestic terrorism committed by Americans.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they believed an incident like the Boston Marathon attack could happen in their area. A minority of respondents, 42 percent, said the Boston incident had left them more fearful for the safety of themselves and their families.

So what is the difference? Why are terrorist acts, which are far fewer in this country, treated so differently than every day random acts of violence that takes 31,000 lives every year in the US?  

Apr 21 2013

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

Broken Bad

The Senate strikes down the Manchin-Toomey amendment, but protects a gun owner’s right to complete anonymity.

Broken Bad – Legislated Evil

The Senate is unwilling to infringe upon Constitutional freedoms through the power of legislation, except when it wants to.  

Apr 21 2013

Asked and Answered

Will Social Security Be Unchained? Attacking the Serious People

Dean Baker

Al Jazeera English, April 15, 2013

President Obama’s efforts to appease Washington’s Serious People ran into serious obstacles last week. Responding to the cries of the Washington deficit hawks, President Obama proposed cutting Social Security by adopting a different measure of the rate of inflation for the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

This measure would gradually reduce the value of benefits through time. By age 75 retirees would see a benefit that is roughly 3 percent less than under current law. This is a much bigger hit to the income of the typical retiree than the tax increases at the end of last year were to the income of most of the wealthy people.

Why is a Democratic president trying to cut Social Security in response to a crisis created by a combination of Wall Street greed and Washington corruption and incompetence?

Chained CPI Helps Fund Corporate Tax Breaks and Trickle Down

By: masaccio, Firedog Lake

Friday April 19, 2013 10:49 am

Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary and former head of the Office of Management and Budget, testified before the Senate Budget Committee recently. His written testimony explains the priorities set by President Bipartisan, Barack Obama, who seems to think he was elected on the long-term Republican promise to balance the budget.

Lew tells us that Obama’s budget is based on his Grand Bargain offers to Speaker Boehner that couldn’t garner any Republican backing. Lew doesn’t explain why that should be a starting point for further capitulations. Lew mentions such balanced ideas as the Chained CPI. That’s the part where we slash at Social Security and raise taxes on the middle class by raising income tax brackets less than inflation. Lew explains the reason for this assault on the 99%: “The chained CPI is a more accurate measure of inflation in that it does a better job of reflecting the substitution of goods in response to relative price changes.” That is a lie.

The CPI is supposed to measure how much it costs to maintain your lifestyle. The Chained CPI measures the decline in your standard of living as you change your protein intake from an occasional piece of beef to Alpo. Lew thinks that’s not a problem because it’s all protein. And it’s not a problem for the administration’s rich clients, whose life-style is utterly unaffected by inflation. For the 99%, the Chained CPI assumes that you are just as happy with canned catfood as you were with fresh salmon.

Lew’s headline number is $580 billion in tax hikes. It dwarfs the impact of cutting Social Security, which is $130 billion. At the same time, we are increasing taxes by $100 billion by raising the brackets more slowly than actual inflation. So, we have an actual $680 billion in increased revenues. Let’s see what we do with those. You probably think it has something to do with helping the middle class, as Lew claims in the section labeled “Strengthening the Middle Class by Investing in the U.S. Economy”. That translates to More Trickle Down From President Bipartisan. He wants to increase funding for US agencies to promote trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the new NAFTAs, and will hurt even worse as we watch corporations erode our sovereignty. Then we recycle the money back to corporations that shift foreign production back to the US. We paid them to leave, through deductions available for moving out (which supposedly will be repealed), and now we pay them to return. But that’s not all the corporations won. Take a look at the budget, pp. 7-35, where you can see all the money going to corporations on its way to trickling into the pockets of the rich.

Let’s just skip the tax increases on the middle class and the destruction of their retirement benefits. Why do Lew and Obama think balance is a good thing? Did the people on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid cause the Great Crash? Did they reap billions of dollars in benefits from the Reagan/Bush/Obama tax rate cuts? Did they steal from pension plans or from stock and commodities brokerage accounts? Did they manipulate LIBOR for their personal benefit? Did they launder money for drug cartels and terrorists? Did they need Get Out Of Jail Free cards from the fake prosecutors at the Department of Justice? Did anyone in the entire country vote for this guy thinking “Oh good, at last someone will make the tough decision to cut my Social Security and give the money to the rich and their corporations?”

Apr 21 2013

Bill Moyers: The United States of Inequality

Income inequality is growing in the United States. Occupy Wall Street brought the income gap between the 99% and the 1% into the light and changed the conversation. Bill Moyers explores what happened in Silicon Valley where the homeless problem has grown 20% in the last two years and tent cities are common place among the million dollar mansions. Poverty shows no sign of abating despite the market thriving.

“A petty, narcissistic, pridefully ignorant politics has come to dominate and paralyze our government,” says Bill, “while millions of people keep falling through the gaping hole that has turned us into the United States of Inequality.”

Our growing income inequality causes 43% of the projected Social Security shortfall

by Gaius Publius, Americablog

Upward redistribution of income – what we’ve been calling the “looting of the economy” by the billionaire CEO class – is responsible for at least 43% of the projected Social Security shortfall for the next 75 years.

Let that sink in. This is yet another way that the looters want the victims to pay for their victimhood and hold the looters lossless. The CEO class has worked for three decades to create an economy where working people have a far less share of the economic growth than they used to have. One of the results of that inequity was an unexpected shortfall in the income collected by Social Security.

Think about it – everyone could see that the big demographic shift, the baby-boom generation, would show up on schedule. They could see that in the 1950s. But who knew 30 years ago (1983, if you’re not subtracting quickly), when the last Social Security adjustment occurred, that Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama would create a bipartisan consensus around handing all the fruits of productivity to the “rich and famous” set that you’re not a part of? That was not part of the calculation in those golden Reagan Days, and the Social Security Trust Fund has suffered ever since.

City Report Shows a Growing Number Are Near Poverty

by Sam Roberts

The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration.

That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of almost two percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended. [..]

Though more New Yorkers were working in 2011 than the year before, larger shares of children and working adults were classified as poor in 2011, and the proportions of Asians, noncitizens and Queens residents – overlapping groups – each rose by more than four percentage points since 2008.

Apr 21 2013

On This Day In History April 21

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here. (Click on image to enlarge.)

April 21 is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack the town of Danbury, Connecticut, and begin destroying everything in sight. Facing little, if any, opposition from Patriot forces, the British went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouse, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.

The British destruction continued for nearly a week before word of it reached Continental Army leaders, including General Benedict Arnold, who was stationed in nearby New Haven. Along with General David Wooster and General Gold Silliman, Arnold led a contingent of more than 500 American troops in a surprise attack on the British forces as they began withdrawing from Danbury.

Sybil Ludington (April 16, 1761- February 26, 1839), daughter of Col. Henry Ludington, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of enemy troops.

The Ride

Ludington’s ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. This is especially remarkable because modern day endurance horse riders using lightweight saddles can barely ride such distances in daylight over well marked courses (see endurance riding). She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with her father’s musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.

The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,

Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.

The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.

Apr 21 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Warning: If you’ve heard about Boston, don’t watch any of the talking heads.

Up with Steve Kornacki: No guest list but as per twitter the discussion will be how Boston has already become a political football and the Senators who voted against background checks.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Just a hint of what to expect, the site headline: Sunday on ‘This Week’: Trail of Terror. The guests are ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas; Chief National Correspondent Byron Pitts; ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams, ABC News consultant and former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, and ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett; Boston Mayor Thomas Menino;  House Homeland Security committee ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Senate Intelligence committee member Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.; Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass; ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz; and editor of The New Yorker David Remnick.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Again with the bombing with guests Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Mike McCaul (R-TX); a noun, a verb and 9/11, Rudy Giuliani and Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. Then interviews with Newtown residents on gun control.

The Chris Matthews Show: This Sunday’s guests are Bob Woodward, The Washington Post Associate Editor; Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst; Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor; and Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes Correspondent. If you guessed they’d be talking about Boston, you’d be correct.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Site headline: Terror in Boston: Special Edition of Meet the Press. Guests: Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA); chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Assistant Majority Leader, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); NBC’s Justice Correspondent Pete Williams and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

The panel guests  Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff;  The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg;  NBC’s Tom Brokaw; historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Same topic, similar suspects: Sen. William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA); the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), former Congressman & 9/11 Commission member Tim Roemer, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former FBI profiler Candice DeLong. And the icing on the cake: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) & Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Apr 21 2013

Formula One 2013: Sakhir

Bahrain F1 Event Goes Ahead Despite Human Rights Protests

By HARVEY MORRIS, The New York Times

April 18, 2013, 8:17 am

(T)he government’s strong-arm reaction to demonstrators demanding greater democracy and equal rights for the island state’s Shia population has failed to quash the protest movement.

Dozens of people were injured in March as protesters clashed with the riot police on the second anniversary of a Saudi-led military intervention to assist the Bahraini authorities confront the unrest.

As isolated clashes between the police and protestors were reported on Thursday, the main Shia opposition group said it was planning a major demonstration to coincide with preparations for the Grand Prix.

Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that called for the event to be canceled, warned there was a risk that the Bahraini authorities would use repressive measures to clamp down on the protests.

“Bahrain is already tightening the lid on protest as the Formula 1 race grows near,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the organization’s Middle East director. “The Formula 1 organizers apparently prefer to bury their heads in the sand, risking holding their race against repression it has provoked.”

Human rights groups say Bahrain’s Sunni rulers want to use the event to convey a semblance of normality in a country that is still wracked by regular clashes between the security forces and protesters.

The authorities have managed to confine the trouble mainly to Shia villages, out of sight of areas likely to be frequented by Grand Prix visitors.

“The public relations whirl around grand prix week always brings an attempt to suppress a few secrets that King Hamad’s regime would rather you did not see,” wrote Oliver Brown in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.

Bahrain prince admits ‘issues’ on Grand Prix eve



Police were out in force for qualifying, with armoured vehicles deployed around the capital’s Pearl Square, epicentre of month-long pro-democracy protests in early 2011 that were crushed with deadly force.

Hundreds of Shiite demonstrators who attempted to gather in the square on Saturday evening were forcibly dispersed, witnesses said.

Police fired tear gas and chased demonstrators into side streets. Some protesters retaliated with petrol bombs, the witnesses added.

Hundreds had taken to the streets in Shiite villages outside Manama overnight, prompting clashes with police, but away from the circuit, witnesses said.

Prince Salman denied that the event was being exploited to boost the image and economy of the tiny Gulf monarchy that has a Shiite Muslim majority but is ruled by a Sunni dynasty and has been rocked by continuing Arab Spring-inspired unrest.

“We’ve never used this race to say that everything’s fine,” Prince Salman said. “We recognise there are issues in the country but they are to be solved in a political process which is well underway.”

Hactivists Anonymous threaten to ‘wreck’ Bahrain Grand Prix

By James Boylan, Metro (UK)

Monday 15 Apr 2013 1:01 pm

‘Bernie Ecclestone and the “Royal Family” of Bahrain have learned nothing.

So we are coming forward this year to wreck your little party again Mr Ecclestone.

Anonymous will not stand by and allow you a race fuelled by the blood of our freedom-loving comrades in Bahrain.

We will remove you from the world wide web, whether you be grand prix or Bahrain government – we shall take it all down.

We will expose the personal data of any person who supports this race in any way. You have been warned.

Once the festivities for this race begin in Bahrain, all bets are off.

We call upon Bernie Ecclestone while there is still time – cancel your blood race now.’

I dunno, my problems seem to be mostly Java related but if I lose Timing and Scoring you’ll know why.  More Bahrain Outrage Here.

So I told you I’d get to more competition based topics today.  Let’s start with tires.  Pirelli is kind of pissed off at being dinked around by Bernie and says that unless they get a new contract soon they’re going to walk.  Since Bridgestone already told him to get bent and Michelin got dropped in 2006 because they weren’t safe, this doesn’t leave many manufacturers to replace them.

The compounds on offer this week are Hards and Mediums.  This was decided after seeing how badly the Softs degraded at Sepang.  If anything conditions are more difficult at Sakhir, it’s just as hot, the corners are flat putting on a lot of lateral Gs, and the surface highly abrasive because of the Welsh granite they mixed with the tar for the asphalt.  It’s about a 30 grit.  There is a negligible difference in speed between the 2, the Hard is about 5 laps more durable.  Of the Grid leaders only Massa is running the Hards out of the gate.

Speaking of Grid position, Webber and Gutierrez were handed penalties of 3 and 5 respectively for their collisions in Shanghai.  Hamilton was moved down 5 places from his 4th place qualifying time because he blew a rear tire in Practice 3 and they had to replace the suspension and the gear box it was attached to (fully reflected in the pretty tables below).  Qualifying laps are not as meaningful as they usually are because of the infinitesimal difference between the compounds.  What you will want to look out for is those starting on Mediums being forced to pit before they have established sufficient interval to avoid losing position.

Tires are not the only items under stress.  It is very, very hot which can cause engine and brake cooling problems.  Brad Spurgeon of The New York Times has a pretty good piece about setup issues.  It is also hot and stressful for the drivers who frequently have very little idea about their actual place and pace during the race as he notes in a companion article.  At Sakhir this is exacerbated by the track is very flat which makes the apexes of the corners extremely hard to see.

It’s dusty and windy and those pretty patterns in the overhead shots are basically glued sand with spray paint.

Lotus have given Grosjean a brand new chassis in the hope it will build his confidence, or at least stop his whining.

The drivers for McLaren are very unhappy with the car and Button admits Sakhir brings out it’s worst points.  Perez is feeling a lot of pressure to perform.  At Circuit de Catalunya in 3 weeks time the team will be replacing the front and rear wing and the suspension.

So basically the whole car except the tub.

Finally, as proof Bernie is not the only asshole in Formula One, just the biggest one, I leave you with this-

Why Sir Stirling Moss is wrong about women and motor racing

Patrick Barkham, The Guardian

Tuesday 16 April 2013 10.28 EDT

Women, opined Sir Stirling Moss, may have the strength to compete in Formula One, “but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel to wheel”.

To be fair, Sterling is 83 years old and probably more than a little senile.

Half hour of hype @ 7:30 am, racing @ 8.  Repeat @ noon and 11 pm.  IndyCar Long Beach @ 3 pm.

GP2 Results- Fabio Leimer, Racing Engineering; Stefano Coletti, Rapax; Alexander Rossi, Caterham.

Pretty tables below.

Apr 21 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

 Boston bombs: Officials wait to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

21 April 2013 Last updated at 02:38 GMT

A top US interrogation group is waiting to question the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arrested late on Friday when he was found seriously injured in a suburban backyard after a huge manhunt.

He is under armed guard in hospital. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said the suspect was stable, but not yet able to communicate.

The teenager’s brother, Tamerlan, died after a shoot-out with police.

Three people were killed and more than 170 others injured by Monday’s twin bombing, close the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Chinese earthquake kills more than 150

Worldwide, 20 per cent of children go unvaccinated

Flotilla raid fallout haunts Israel-Turkey talks

Egyptian police crack down on armed protesters

Paraguay election preview: Right-leaning Colorado Party likely to win

Apr 21 2013

Zombie Attack

So it’s time for the two Pete Peterson bought and paid for deficit clowns to make the rounds and peddle their discredited austerity theory’s about the non-existent “deficit crisis”.

Discredited?  Thoroughly!  As if the factual wrongness of Reinhart and Rogoff (equally bought and paid for by that very same Pete Peterson who has so far invested $500 Million in his vendetta against Social Security) and the earlier discrediting of Alesina and Ardagna, there is now empirical (that means proven reality as opposed to faith based fantasy for my sado-austerity perverted readers) evidence from none less than Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips via Bill McBride at Calculated Risk

The federal deficit continues to shrink. Through the first six months of the fiscal year, revenues have come in higher than expected, while spending has come in lower than expected. As a result we are lowering our deficit forecast for the current and next two fiscal years.

Earlier this year we lowered our FY2013 deficit forecast from $900bn (5.6% of GDP) to $850bn (5.3%). In light of recent trends, we are lowering it again to $775bn (4.8%). Spending in the fiscal year to date is lower than a year ago and the nominal growth rate is lower than it has been in decades. Revenues have also exceeded expectations, with a 12% gain fiscal year to date. What is more notable is that the strength in revenues preceded the payroll tax hike at the start of the year, and the spending decline does not seem to reflect sequestration, which has just started to take effect.

We expect the improvement to continue for the next few years. Although we had already expected additional cyclical improvement and residual fiscal policy tightening to reduce the deficit further in 2014 and 2015, we have reduced our estimates a bit further, to $600bn (3.5% of GDP) and $475bn (2.7%).

What kind of snake oil are these B-S artists peddling?

Simpson-Bowles Prod Congress Again to Anti-Deficit Fervor

By Richard Rubin, Bloomberg News

Apr 19, 2013 10:33 AM ET

The updated plan, released today in Washington, includes $740 billion in increased revenue over the next decade that Republicans have deemed unacceptable and a higher eligibility age for Medicare that President Barack Obama has rejected.

Their plan would reduce debt as a share of GDP below 70 percent by 2023, compared with 73 percent by that year in Obama’s budget released this month and 55 percent in House Republicans’ budget.

Over the past few days, a study by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff that warned of the dangers of government debt has been criticized for errors.

“What it doesn’t change is the common sense and my own personal experience in both the public and private sector that when any organization has too much debt, that that is an enormous risk factor,” Bowles said today.

See?  They know what they’re talking bullshit and they do it anyway.  To continue.

(T)he Medicare eligibility age of 65 would be gradually raised to 67.

Bowles and Simpson would cut $585 billion from health-care spending, including expanded means-testing of Medicare benefits. They would also cut $265 billion from other programs, such as agricultural subsidies and higher education.

Their plan adopts the chained consumer price index, a typically slower measure of inflation for benefits and tax brackets that Obama included in his budget.

And why?

Part of the plan is a rewrite of the U.S. tax code that would lower tax rates, remove breaks and impose lighter levies on multinational companies’ overseas income.

There you go.

The next potential point for action is the need for an increase in the debt limit, which will occur in the next several months.

Bowles said Congress has “one last good chance” to get a deal done between now and Aug. 1.

Instead of a so-called grand bargain, U.S. lawmakers have imposed about $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction through a series of deadline-driven agreements. That total doesn’t include the sequestration cuts.

“That’s not nothing,” Bowles said. “That’s a good step in the right direction. It doesn’t get us to the promised land.”