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Monthly Archives: October 2011

As I listened to a clueless Rachel Maddow chastize Mitt Romney for having said that Wall Street is connected to Main Street (as if he meant that literally), I couldn’t help remember where Wall Street is actually connected. To Obama’s re-election. That’s right, most of the donations from Wall Street are going toward keeping Obama in the Oval Office. Can that be true? To quote campaign headquarters, “yes it can.”

The president even out-raised Mitt Romney at Bain Capital, a private equity firm in Boston the former Massachusetts governor co-founded. Romney pulled in $34,000 from 18 Bain employees while Obama took in $76,600 from three Bain employees, the Post found in its review of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama’s fundraising benefits from his raising money not only for himself but also for the Democratic National Committee, which then contributes to his re-election effort. From UPI:

Apart from the nearly $12 million he helped raise for the DNC, Obama has raised $3.9 million from the finance sector for his own campaign committee, compared with Romney’s $7.5 million and nearly $2 million by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. No other GOP candidate surpassed $400,000 from the finance sector, the Post said.

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Nice to finally see a black man dragging a white boy behind his truck. My condolences to Rick Perry.

Reflecting national trends, businessman Herman Cain has now jumped to the front of the Republican pack in Iowa.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Iowa caucus-goers shows that Cain is in front with 28% followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 21%. Congressman Ron Paul is a distant third at 10% followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 9%, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann at 8%, and Texas Governor Rick Perry at 7%. The sixth place finish for Perry is a sharp decline from early September when Perry was the frontrunner both nationally and in Iowa. (To see survey question wording, click here).

Former Senator Rick Santorum picks up 4% of the vote and former Governor Jon Huntsman is at 2%. Another 4% would prefer some other candidate and 8% are not sure.

Only one-third of the caucus-goers (32%) are certain of their vote and don’t expect to change their mind. Among these voters, 30% prefer Cain, 22% Romney, and 17% Paul.

Among those absolutely certain they will show up and participate in the caucus, Cain leads Romney 31% to 18%. Many have criticized the Cain campaign for not having a strong organization in Iowa which is seen as essential to turning out the vote. According to such conventional analysis, Cain might be at risk of raising expectations too high and then underperforming.

That’s German for “No, no, oh God, please, no!” But it’s also the catchy moniker of  GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s economic plan. You know, the one that’s so simple it fits in a nutshell no bigger than…um….Herman Cain’s brain. But for Republicans, who are famously suspicious of thick documents that require, you know, actually reading, it is sheer genius. It also demonstrates with utter clarity how draconian an economic policy that punishes the poor and liberates the stinking rich can be. A black man with really bad policies! Wait a minute, I thought that was what the Tea Party was against. The Daily Beast explains the multifaceted downsides of candidate Cain’s bite-sized platform:

The one-minute explanation: corporate taxes, now close to 40 percent, would be cut to 9 percent. Federal income taxes, now as high as 35 percent, would be cut to 9 percent. And consumers would pay a national sales tax of 9 percent for all products, on top of any state and local levies—bringing the total in New York City, for instance, to 17.875 percent. (It’s not clear whether services would be included.)

That’s good news if you’re a big company or upper-bracket taxpayer, but not so much if you’re a low-income working stiff. While Cain denies that his plan would be regressive, the working poor tend to spend most or all of their pay, which would be taxed every time they buy something. Michael Ettlinger, a vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress, says the plan would impose “the biggest shift from the wealthy to the middle class in the history of taxation, ever, anywhere.”

That’s not just the left-wing view. Bruce Bartlett, an adviser in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, says that 9-9-9 is unfair to working taxpayers. “It’s the most upside-down tax plan that’s been put forward to tax the poor and the middle class,” he says. “It’s rather insane it’s gotten as much attention as it has. It’s a waste of my time to attack it.” What’s more, Bartlett says of what Cain has made public, “there is not nearly enough information on which to do a serious analysis.” The Cain campaign wasn’t answering questions about it on Wednesday.

Daniel Shaviro, a New York University law professor who specializes in taxation, calls the plan “not viable.” For rich people—defined as those who work for themselves and don’t have to take a salary—it essentially becomes an 18 percent total tax on all money. But for poor people collecting a paycheck, Shaviro says, it amounts to a 27 percent tax. “It’s a disservice to public debate to have people think it’s so simple,” he says.