Write a story sparked by “a convoy of urgency.”

You want a fucking spark from a convoy of urgency? I’ll give you a convoy of urgency.

Actually, though, what the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate (The Highjacked Commission, Paul Kruegman: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/opinion/12krugman.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss).

Not enough? You want some more spark?

The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation’s pretax income in 2007 — up from less than 9 percent in 1976. During the boom years of 2002 to 2007, that top 1 percent’s pretax income increased an extraordinary 10 percent every year. But the boom proved an exclusive affair: in that same period, the median income for non-elderly American households went down and the poverty rate rose (Who Will Stand Up To The Superrich?, Frank Rich: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/opinion/14rich.html?src=me&ref=general).

An addition to the convoy still needed?

With litigation costs rising, many plaintiffs and their lawyers do not have the money to hire expensive experts or pay for years of trial preparation. To fill this need, specialized litigation lenders are stepping in to bankroll lawsuits — often providing millions of dollars at very high interest rates because conventional banks typically do not offer such loans.

Lawyers for the ground zero workers, for instance, borrowed $35 million over the years, with the lenders earning about $11 million. (The workers were offered a tentative $712.5 million settlement by the city in June.)

This kind of specialized lending can allow plaintiffs without a lot of capital to pursue complex malpractice claims or take on corporate defendants with deeper pockets. But does it pose potential concerns? How should this financial field be regulated, if at all? (Investing in Someone Else’s Lawsuit, Room for Debate: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/11/15/investing-in-someone-elses-lawsuit?hp).

Still not feeling the urgency you say?

Last year was a terrific year for those at the very top. Professors Hacker and Pierson note in their book that investors and executives at the nation’s 38 largest companies earned a stunning total of $140 billion — a record. The investment firm Goldman Sachs realized profits of $13.4 billion and paid its employees an average of nearly $500,000 per person in total compensation.

Something has gone seriously haywire in the distribution of the fruits of the American economy (Fast Track to Inequality, Bob Herbert: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/opinion/02herbert.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage).

Loopholes and tax breaks to make 1% richer and everyone else poorer is something I don’t agree with. And what of letting AIG, Goldman Sachs, and others keep that much of American taxpayer’s money? We seem doomed to repeat history because no one is actually doing things to prevent similar kinds of manipulation by allowing those with money or power (or both) to have their way without being regulated. Capitalism as a philosophy only works when there is a checks-and-balances system—like the very basis of our government. If one side gets too powerful, well then where’s the democracy in that?

Advertisements