The Threat From Free Government Weather

Wonkette! reports that vile Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum has sold himself out, apparently for a mere few thousand dollars from some of the wheels at AccuWeather and associated family.

The Senator apparently has seen the light that one of the most important issues facing the country (so important that we’ve gotta have a law against it!) is the glut of free government weather over the Internet.

The most surprising part of the story to me is how economical the purchase of a well-known vile Republican can be. It seems that it only took a few key (and surprisingly small!) donations for the Senator to realize that free, tax-supported weather amounts to unfair competition against right, honest, private free-market weather.

He’s not eliminating the department, or anything; just making sure that we can’t get any information from it, at least, not for free.

Full Story at Wonkette!

The Abolition of the Estate Tax vs. Social Security

Joshua Marshall wrote an outstanding piece in his great talkingpointsmemo.com blog about the House’s recent vote to eliminate the Estate Tax, and what it reveals about the Republicans and their commitment to eviscerate Social Security:

The point is simple, the logic unassailable. Republicans say they care about Social Security but claim there won’t be enough money to make good on the money (your payroll taxes) borrowed from the Social Security Administration.

Today, however, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to abolish the inheritance tax, a tax that, by definition, only impacts people who inherit money from extremely wealthy forebearers. If passed by the senate this new legislation, which would come into effect in 2012, will cost the Treasury $745 billion dollars during its first ten years. Figure in associated interest on the added debt and the number comes closer to a trillion dollars.

That is about a trillion fewer dollars in the US Treasury over the course of the same decade in which the Social Security Trustees say the SSA will begin (2017) to start drawing on the Treasury notes in the Trust fund to cover scheduled benefits (2020, if you go by CBO estimates.)

There’s no hidden complexity here. It’s a zero-sum game. They say Social Security is in trouble because we don’t have enough dollars to make good on the Trust Fund (which today holds roughly $1.7 trillion in Treasury notes). And here they are voting to take a trillion more dollars off the table.

In other words, they could not care less about Social Security and everything they say on the subject is a joke.

If someone tells you that at least the Republicans have a plan and the Democrats don’t, laugh in their faces. The Republican agenda (the actual bills they are passing right now) is to keep weakening Social Security at every opportunity, just like they’re doing today. The most constructive thing anyone can do under present circumstances to protect Social Security, the only ‘plan’ that isn’t a joke, is to oppose the Republican agenda in Congress, to stand up and say “do no more harm.”

-Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com