Remember When…

…credit card and car-loan interest payments were, like houses, tax-deductible?

From Wikianswers:

On Oct. 22, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Reagan called the 829-page, 33-pound bill “the most sweeping overhaul of the tax code in our nation’s history.”

The new code gradually phased out all deductions for interest paid on car loans, charge-account purchases, vacations and anything else that fell under what the law termed “consumer loans.”

This is a pretty obvious yardstick for assessing President Obama and his (and his party’s) efforts to rescue and ram through the overclass’s pet Chicago-school/supply-side theory of how to fix a Depression.

Message to Business Class: Time to Abdicate!

Forgive my suspension of core sociological truisms here.  We know that, in the words of Frederick Douglass, “power concedes nothing without a demand,” and that, as Dr. King wrote in Birmingham City Jail, “privileged groups rarely give up their privileges without strong resistance.” We also know that we continue to lack even weak resistance.

Nonethless, in the wake of yet more mega-bonuses for the overseers of corporate capitalist devastation, it’s a worthy word for any future social movement against this decrepit overclass:

Abdicate!


You money-grubbers have had your chance. You and your system are done, failed, dead, out of chances and answers. Now, yield yourselves and your schemes to make way for economic democracy and ecological reconstruction. If we need your help, we’ll let you know.

Another Fox for the Henhouse

From The New York Times, no comment required:

The president [today] announced the appointment of Nancy-Ann DeParle, who worked in the Clinton White House and has a wide background in health care issues, to be director of the White House Office for Health Reform.

Ms. DeParle has extensive experience in the business world that has prompted questions from some liberals and from some of the people who vet appointments for Mr. Obama. Ms DeParle is now or has been a director of huge health care companies including Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy benefit manager; Cerner, a supplier of health information technology; Boston Scientific, a medical device company; DaVita, which runs kidney dialysis centers; and Triad Hospitals.

A Decent Proposal: No More Olympics

Seems the “Bird’s Nest” stadium, built in Beijing for last summer’s Olympics, is now unused and will be knocked down and replaced with — of course — a new shopping mall.  Wikipedia cites sources saying China spent $423 million building this monstrosity, and that that staggering figure is a mere “one-tenth the cost that it would have cost to build the Bird’s Nest in the West.”

And what do the people of China and the world get in exchange for tolerating the construction of these $4 billion disposable boondoggles?  The usual Olympics agenda — another dose of extreme distraction, commercialism, and nationalism.

The world can hardly tolerate much more of those increasingly dangerous things, to say nothing of the colossal ecological wastefulness of things like building more Bird’s Nests and flying the world’s game-players and upscale spectators into thoroughly pointless, quickly forgotten quadrennial crypto-fascist schlockfests.

Let’s stop this madness, shall we?

What’s Leaving YOUR Wallet?

Click here to peruse the credit-card “change of terms” notice I got yesterday from Capital One.

“The rate will be determined by adding 26.15% to the Prime rate.”

This game is so over, folks…

Don’t hold your breath for help.  Hit the shred button instead.

“Helping Homeowners”: Behind the Bullshit

From the February 23, 2009 issue of Business Week:

1. Number of refinancings facilitated by Hope for Homeowners, the “program” created by Congress last July to “help” 1 million late payers: 25 (not a typo: twenty-five only)

2. Findings of a study of 21,219 recent mortgage modifications:

Percent leading to lower monthly payments = 35
Percent leading to unchanged monthly payments = 18
Percent leading to higher monthly payments = 47

BW: “The reason for this strange result: Lenders and loan servicers are tacking on missed payments, taxes, and big fees.”

“Strange” indeed…

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration proposes to re-loosen lending rules!