How Dumb Do Governor Rick Perry and the Lege Think We Are? Well, We Elected Them.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Oh, now it starts.

Faced with a state budget deficit somewhere between $15 billion and $27 billion, Governor Rick Perry says the most important thing for the Legislature to do now is ban "sanctuary cities."

Those are cities where the cops don't ask people about their immigration status, because if they do ask, nobody will call the cops the next time to report a crime. Nobody will tell the truth. And what are the cops going to do about it, anyway?

So it's like this: We ask, "Mr. Governor, what are you going to about the huge deficit that's going to screw up our kids' schools and toss our grandparents out in the street and mess up the whole state?"

And he says, "LOOK OVER THERE! A MEXICAN!"

two headed calf.jpg
Put down them economical books, ladies and gents, and feast your eyes on this here.
It's not just Perry. It's all of the Republicans now. Ask state Sen. Florence Shapiro what she's going to do to protect colleges and universities from the shortfall. She'll start talking about how we need "voter ID"

"LOOK! LOOK! A MEXICAN TRYING TO VOTE!"

And if that doesn't work, the Republicans will point toward San Francisco and say, "LOOK! LOOK! TWO GUYS KISSING!"

Or, "LOOK! LOOK! A SLUT GETTING AN ABORTION."

The stuff the Republicans are pulling on us now wouldn't have fooled anybody at a county fair 20 years ago. This used to be a smart country. When did we turn into such a nation of yokels?

In 20 years America has gone from being a balanced economy dominated by the middle class to being a banana republic with absurd mountains of wealth at the top and nothing but unemployment and penury at the other end of the scale.

There are two books out now that tell the story of what's really happened to this country in the last 20 years. One, by University of Texas at Austin professor James K. Galbraith, is called The Predator State, and the other, by Yale professor Jacob S. Hacker and University of California-Berkeley professor Paul Pierson, is called, Winner Take All Politics.

Both books show how the super-rich have used cheap political magic-show tricks -- misdirection and sleight of hand -- to keep ordinary working-stiff Americans from noticing how badly they're getting screwed.

The Hacker-Pierson book includes a fascinating chapter on how it got done. They describe a major tactical shift by big business in the 1970s. In response to the battering American business leaders felt they had been taking from Ralph Nader and the consumer movement, business descended on Washington en masse:

"In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982 nearly 2,500 did," the book reports. "The number of corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980."

The new business lobby at first pursued its own business interests fairly narrowly but soon discovered that Washington politicos, Democrats as well as Republicans, would sell anything and anybody down the river in exchange for cash.

Faced with success beyond its own wildest imaginings, the business lobby turned to the tax code and tipped it grossly in the favor of people at the tippy-top. They turned the Christmas tree upside down.

The results are staggering. From 1979 to 2005, 20 percent of all new after-tax income in the country -- take that as 20 percent of all personal in-hand spendable income growth -- spilled into the hands of the top 0.1 percent in income level. That's one in 1,000 households scarfing up 20 percent of national income growth.

The bottom 60 percent -- that would be most of the rest of us -- had to share 13.5 percent of new income.

In 2007, the top 20 hedge-fund managers on Wall Street had an average personal income of $892 million -- the better part of a billion dollars a year. Each.

But, no, don't look at that! Oh, no, don't waste your time looking in that direction. LOOK OVER THERE! IT'S TWO MEXICANS, VOTING AND KISSING! IF WE DON'T STOP THEM, THEY'LL GET AN ABORTION!

Next time somebody asks Perry what he's going to do about the deficit, he should just trot out a stuffed two-headed calf. "LOOKA THERE! THAT SUCKER'S GOT TWO DANGED HEADS ON 'IM."

At least that way he could let the Mexicans take a 10-minute break.

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Miro23
Miro23

What can we do? None of us have the time, the money or the will to revolt and stand up to the way government and politics and this whole system has become. It's all good to write this great article to try to rile people up but in the end....its all the same old same old. Nothing changes. The only thing that might change is if we ban together for one cause at a time. 1st: Tax Reform. 2nd: Lobbying reform 3: Campaign Contribution Reform. Start with those three things and then we MIGHT be able to get this country back into Middle America's hands.

ray
ray

Come to the EPA hearing tomorrow regarding Rick"s theory that greenhouse gases are good for you. You gave a chance to speak your mind. Crown Plaza Downtown10:00 am to 7 pmIt's bash the gasholes day!

Jay
Jay

Overwhelmingly, the most common green house gas in the atmosphere is water vapor. Down with WATER.

cp
cp

Where did religion of bacon go? Is this you?

Jay
Jay

No its me, Jay. Formerly posting as Wanna Know. Using my first name now, although there is another person posting as Jay too, so I'll probably add to my screen name at some point.

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Without it, the earth would enter a perpetual and massive ice age. The EPA "finding" that CO2 is a dangerous greenhouse gas is ludicrous.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Might I recommend one more book for your reading pleasure (although it will make your head explode): David Cay Johnston's "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With the Bill".

JimS
JimS

Yeah, I need to read that. Head exploded long ago, just trying to work with the pieces. I worked with Johnston at the Free Press many moons ago -- a hyper-active genius with a great ability to stir the pot.

Question
Question

"The results are staggering. From 1979 to 2005, 20 percent of all new after-tax income in the country -- take that as 20 percent of all personal in-hand spendable income growth -- spilled into the hands of the top 0.1 percent in income level. That's one in 1,000 households scarfing up 20 percent of national income growth.

The bottom 60 percent -- that would be most of the rest of us -- had to share 13.5 percent of new income."

This doesn't really tell us much without context. What were the percentages prior to this period?

JimS
JimS

Question:Hacker and Pierson, "Winner take All Politics," Simon & Schuster, 2010, page 16: all dollar amounts adjusted to 2007 dollars, in 1974 the top one tenth of a percent absorbed 2.7 percent of all earned income in the country. By 2007 their share had increased to 12.3 percent of all national income, a four-fold increase. The 15,000 families in that category in 2007 earned a combined total of more than a trillion dollars, with an average income of $7.1 million, versus an average income in 1974 (2007 dollars) of $1 million. Bteween 1979 and 2006, the bottom 20 percent in America experienced a 10 percent increase in income.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Given the number of immigration-related posts to this story, I'd say Goodhair's diversionary tactic is working quite well.

Maybe we are really that dumb...

NewsDog
NewsDog

Jim,Did you happen to see the comic strip Non Sequitor today? Maye great minds do think alike. I like the old picture better.

JimS
JimS

Getting good feedback on the new photo/logo. One reader suggested I do a reverse Mark Zuckerberg and start an anti-social network, which I am seriously considering. I may borrow a page from the Morning News and put myself behind a pay wall. But I'm going to have a really high pay wall, not some cheap ticket deal where anybody can afford it. I'm thinking of charging fifty bucks for people to even see my stuff, but after they pay the fifty, I'll kick them out anyway, and possibly threaten them with legal harrassment and figure out how to get their addresses and then go drive by their houses so they can see me out there at night with my heater. Can't call it Facebook, so what? Assholebook? I think the time is right. This is my moment, even though I admit it's not an original idea. I'm going to wait and see how the News does with it first.

Justin Bigelow
Justin Bigelow

Is this the real JimS? I thought the DO staff got a super neato star and green tinting for their comments?

JimS
JimS

Dear mm:The super-rich have deformed the tax codes at both state and federal levels to create a "market" -- really an array of government policies -- by which they win and America loses. Where do you think these deficits came from? You want to know how to fix them? Return to the tax structure that made this country great after WWII, get rid of the Bolivian scam we have now. And yes, the Democrats are every bit as venal and culpable in all this as the Republicans. The "Winner take All" book points out that Democratic officeholders have raked in more loot from Wall Street than Republicans. Somebody above said this is "Hate the rich" stuff. That's the line now -- any appeal for equity is "class warfare." That's bullshit. What we have now is warfare against America by a tiny class of glutton/pirates at the top. The News has a story today quoting Dallas Federal reserve boss Richard Fisher (http://www.dallasnews.com/shar... as saying his business buddies think the Obama administratiopn doesn't understand "what fires the entrepreneurial spirit." I always thought what fired the entrepreneurial spirit was making money by producing something useful, not making a mint by running a whorehouse/casino on Wall Street. Fisher's buddies need to shove their entreneurial spirit where the sun don't shine, and we need to get business back in the hands of honest businessmen and government back in the hands of people who care about making it work, including sending out the bills, which we call taxes.

Randy King
Randy King

"Return to the tax structure that made this country great after WWII" 90% top rate- would be great for India and other countries welcoming more of formerly US employers and capital.

"I always thought what fired the entrepreneurial spirit was making money by producing something useful," Wrong, more like making stuff people will buy.

"Fisher's buddies need to shove their entreneurial spirit where the sun don't shine,"Great, where do the jobs come from?

The past you want to return to never existed. As ever, interesting rant sadly lacking any concrete solution.

JimS
JimS

But, Randy, I believe it is the argument you are making. You want us to compete with Viet Nam by having the social structure of Viet Nam. Your argument is that if we don't agree to be Viet Nam, all of our patriotic business leaders will decamp to Viet Nam. I say our problem is our "patriotic" business leaders.

Randy King
Randy King

"Your argument is that if we don't agree to be Viet Nam, all of our patriotic business leaders will decamp to Viet Nam. I say our problem is our "patriotic" business leaders."

Oh my. D for even weaker strawman.

i said nothing about social structure. We probably want many of the same things and share the same disgust over our master classes. But I say you offer nothing about how we achieve what you want in a practical manner. And I'm pretty much over rhetoric without a plan.

JimS
JimS

Randy King--Always like that argument about how America can't afford to lose out to the Third World, so we should join it. I guess that's really the opposite of American exceptonalism.

Randy King
Randy King

Not sure why you're telling me about an argument I didn't make.

C- for pitiful strawman.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Did you see Inside Job Jim? I'm still mad after seeing that movie. An investment banker from Wall Street sat in front of my wife and I and after the movie we chatted. She said, yep.

mm
mm

Thanks, Jim. That's more of what I was looking for, and I agree 100%. Been saying that for years, that America doesn't make stuff anymore, and that can't be good. And the people getting super-rich don't do jacksh*t except rake in money.

We have some hard decisions ahead. Balancing the budget means reducing spending, or taking in more in taxes. And Mr. "HEY LOOK, THERE'S A MEXICAN" can't reduce spending very much more, and doesn't want to raise taxes for fear of hurting his national aspirations.

rubbercow
rubbercow

At some point we are going to have to raise taxes. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our educational system is a complete joke, our social services are among the worst in the world - oh, but we do have a tiny fraction of the population that is obscenely wealthy.

Something's got to give at some point (and I don't mean that in a menacing way, just sayin').

Jay
Jay

Certainly American businesses have taken advantage of an endless supply of easily exploited cheap labor from south of the Rio Grande. With out a doubt the presence of somewhere between 12-20 million workers willing to live in sub--standard housing, six to the bedroom, and work for minimum wage or less has severely driven down the wage scale businesses are willing to pay for legal US unskilled workers. Clearly Governor Big Hair sold out to big Business a long time ago, but so did every other republicrat in the country. Hell, Joe Biden carried the water for Citibank in the Senate for decades. Big businesses don't spend tens of millions for candidates and lobbyists to be benevolent or civic minded, they use their money purchase favorable legislation. The issues illegal immigrants, corrupt government, falling wages and standards of living are directly related, whether you're willing to see that or not.

scott
scott

Jay, I don't know many illegals that will work for minimum wage. That is always a number that is below the market minimum wage--a reflection of the influence upon the lege. The minimum wage worker lobby is pretty weak these days.

Jay
Jay

You're probably right about the federal minimum wage. The point remains that an influx of ten million +/- unskilled workers would tend to hold unskilled labor average wages down.

cp
cp

You can't tell me that there are millions of white people collecting welfare checks solely because they are unwilling to work for the same amount that the brown people getting paid.

mm
mm

While I agree with Schutze's columns 99% of the time, this one reads as "There's a huge deficit problem. How are we going to fix it? OH LOOK, RICH PEOPLE!"

Which is true, wealth disparity is a definite problem, but this doesn't go on to explain how it affects the deficit, much less how to fix it.

rubbercow
rubbercow

Not sure Jim was trying to lay out a detailed plan with this blog....

mm
mm

Wasn't really asking for a detailed plan, but, you know, sumthin. There's not one sentence about how the abundance of rich people makes the deficit worse, or how to fix it.

cleveridea
cleveridea

LOOK! The new Schutze banner is making me rhetorically shoot people.

Rodknee
Rodknee

Schutze is a dead ringer for Hunter S. Thompson in that banner. Ask him if he sees bats.

rubbercow
rubbercow

While I realize that there are numerous other challenges facing us I don't think it is correct to act as if illegal immigration is a non-issue.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Did Jim imply otherwise? Before he drifted into a rant about income inequality and lobbying, I'm pretty sure all he said was that immigration was being used to deflect attention from a gaping hole in the budget. And the issue with immigration stems mainly from the fact that it is illegal, not that it is happening. Look at Japan, China, Italy and others if you want to know what happens when a country does not allow immigration to replace growth from the existing population.

rubbercow
rubbercow

I guess I was commenting more on the way Jim appeared to be making fun of anyone concerned about MEXICANS (all caps his). I don't really understand what you are trying to say with your second paragraph. I am not advocating for a cessation of all immigration. I do, however, believe that illegal immigration is a pretty serious problem.

rubbercow
rubbercow

@Suburban - I hope you are joking. If not, you have chosen your screen name well.

Guest
Guest

What if we went back to the immigration laws that were in place around about 100 years ago, which would make it significantly easier for anyone who really wanted to come here to become a citizen. Then there'd be significantly less illegal immigration?

Problem solved.

John_McKee
John_McKee

It's always the Mexicans, never the companies that hire them. Of course the reason why is obvious, cheap plentiful labor is a major contributer to keeping Texas companies so profitable and our cost of living down. The important thing though is to keep them in a constant state of fear of being deported or worse, otherwise they might report their terrible working and living conditions and their unfair wages and that would be bad for business.

Likeicare
Likeicare

In answer to your lead question, they think we all stupid dumbasses. And have since George W. took the governor's seat. What continues to amaze me is the number of really intelligent people who fall for the bamboozle this group continues to pile on!

Guest
Guest

Where in the Constitution does it say that gay people can't get married or that the government can limit the number of immigrants from any particular country?

More big government, nanny-state liberalism from Rick Perry and Florence Shapiro.

Randy King
Randy King

Hmmm, might be my search-foo, but I can't seem to find the phrase "most important thing" quoted by perry or anyone else in the article cited. Looks more like one of several emergency measures a governor puts forth to give the lege something to do during the 60 days they can't otherwise pass legislation. You really think they ought to rush through a budget process in these times? Worked so well for the stimulus and Obamacare.

I get your "hate on the rich schtick" but Wall Street gave the Dems and The One a lot more grease than they did the Republicans. Remember Dodd and Barney? Pretty weak stuff.

The new civility, old scraggly white guy with a gun.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Yes, given current events, the gun thing might be giving your adversaries more ammunition than you'd want, Jim. Don't want some crazed bald person showing up at a political rally, imitating, just saying.

I miss the dog, that made the best impact on the previous picture.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Ok, say FloSha and Goodhair get their way, all them meskins are adiosed back to Mesko.What about their "economic impact"? That's a lot of tequila and tortillas that won't ger bought down at Fiesta, not to mention the loss of business at tote-the-note troca lots. Lots of empty apartments. And who's gonna mow the lawns out there in Plano? And wash the dishes?

And gawd knows those republcan women wouldn't all have the same bleached hair without those kissy boys at the salon.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Silly! You can't get tequila at the Fiesta.

Justin Bigelow
Justin Bigelow

Maybe not yet but as long as Dwaine Caraway doesn't find out about it there maybe a referendum coming your way in the near future.

Judge_Softy
Judge_Softy

kudos on the new and improved schutze header

cp
cp

I LIKED THE OTHER ONE BETTER! Especially the little dog! Every black-army-CIA-helicopter paranoid nutjob wearing an ugly robe and slippers armed with a shotgun screaming crazy rants, has a little dog.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Devils in the details. What is a sanctuary city? Is it a city that does not task the police with enforcing immigration laws? Those cities still inquire on status in jails and ICE does deport criminals who have violated laws.

Here's what happens in Austin:http://www.kvue.com/news/local...City leaders say resolutions, not ordinances, that were passed in the 1990s give the impression Austin is a sanctuary city, but it is not.

"We do not actively seek out people who might be guilty of illegal immigration," said Lee Leffingwell, Austin's Mayor. "But if someone commits a crime, they're taken to jail for that crime."

"Travis County leads the nation in ICE deportations," said Art Acevedo, Austin's Police Chief. "If that's a sanctuary city, then we're going to have to work on our definition."

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