Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OWS -- "Everybody Knows"

By John Ballard

Over the last twenty-four hours I have heard or read three stories in the media (CNN, ABC, CBS) reporting income disparities in America, usually tying the story with the Occupy stories also getting covered. 
Thanks to CBO for a timely, much needed report.  (About fifty pages, pdf.) 
It does make one wonder what took so long.

Several not-so-insignificant details continue to go missing in the reportage. 

  • Income is not the same as net worth. The top One Percent of "income recipients" in addition to that income also own a disproportionately large part of the wealth (net worth) of the country. 

  • Income taxes are levied on twelve months of reportable income (after credits and deductions) NOT NET WORTH.  Many people complaining the loudest behave as though someone was taking part of their net worth but that portion of their wealth is not affected by income taxes other than reducing additional worth.. 

  • Payroll taxes and income taxes are two different realities.  Every time I hear again that misleading, inane line that half the population pays no income tax I want to yell Damn right! They barely earned enough to pay living expenses but they already paid payroll taxes from the first dollar they earned and not one dime of that is "deductible."

  • The Social Security tax cap is the best kept secret in America.  I have met very few wage earners who realize that their bosses and executive types stop seeing Social Security deductions on their check stubs before the end of the year because they are earning over the cap. 


Readers will discover their own media examples.  This is one I particularly like since it reminded me of Leonard Cohen.

?The dukes and earls in America�s Great Tower of Bulls**t are starting to blink a little.  
by Ian Fraser    That great headline is lifted from a Taibbi quote, incidentally. 

There may be a good few Maoists, Trotskyists, Anarcho-Syndicalists and even the odd deluded benefit scrounger among them, but it is simply wrong to characterize the Occupy Wall Street protestors who are camping out in 1,500 cities worldwide as wanting to overthrow capitalism, in the same way the sans-culottes toppled France's Ancien R�me in 1789 or that the Tahrir Square protesters toppled Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak.

The movement is more nuanced than that. As I tried to explain in yesterday's blog, 'Democracy for sale', what the protesters really want is political and financial reform. They want to replace the corroded crony capitalism that has predominated in the West since the 1980s -- as well as the corrupt political and financial system, rigged in favour of the rich and powerful, that underpins it -- with a saner version of capitalism and a more inclusive democracy. The investment banker who blogs under the pseudonym The Epicurean Dealmaker summed it up well in a tweet on October 17.

"@EpicureanDeal I suspect most Americans sympathetic to #OWS want capitalism *back*, not Marxism. Right now we have socialism for corporations."

He was referring to the fact that, under the current distorted model of capitalism, some large corporations and most financial institutions are able to privatize their gains whilst socializing their losses. In the absence of any Schumpeterian "creative destruction" the whole system became corrupted.

I'm sure readers here are already in the choir, but if you need another sermon, go read the rest of what he has to say. This part inspired me. 
So what is it that the Occupy protesters are trying to to achieve again? Well, in case you need reminding, I suggest you listen to 'Everybody Knows' by Leonard Cohen.


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets Everybody wants a box of chocolates And a long stem rose Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby Everybody knows that you really do Everybody knows that youve been faithful Ah give or take a night or two Everybody knows youve been discreet But there were so many people you just had to meet Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows Thats how it goes Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows Thats how it goes Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black Joe's still pickin cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows


  1. "Payroll taxes and income taxes are two different realities."
    Indeed they are, and therein lies a two sided coin. You make the point that people whose income is too low to pay income tax still pay payroll tax and that is a fair point. The other sde of that coin is the payroll taxes do not support the day to day operation of the federal government; only income tax does that. Excise taxes on consumption defray costs of specific portions of public weal, such as the gasoline tax which pays for road construction and maintenance, but the general operation of government is covered by federal income tax which some people do, in fact, not pay. So people who pay payroll tax but not income taxes are contributing to a fund out of which they will later draw benefit, but they are not supporting the function of government. That may be a proper state of affairs, in that the progressive taxation is the fairest way to produce revenue, and I would not argue against that point, but it is still true that they are deriving the benefit of government without contributing to defraying the cost of that government.
    Somehow I added this under the Ghadaffi post instead of here. Sorry.
    No problem. Fixed JB

  2. "...payroll taxes do not support the day to day operation of the federal government...people who pay payroll tax but not income taxes are contributing to a fund out of which they will later draw benefit, but they are not supporting the function of government."
    All of which is true.
    An argument can be made that those who do not for whatever reason contribute to government costs do not "deserve" the benefits deriving from government largesse. Maybe so. But after a management career depending on the contributions of the working poor my view is skewed.
    My cafeteria could not have survived without the low-paid jobs performed with excellence by dedicated employees, many of whom had no better prospects (age, literacy, communication, transportation, IQ and/or other limitations over which they had little or no control). But their work was an essential part of an operation that not only supplied them with a modest means of survival but a revenue stream sufficient to support a profitable corporate infrastructure as well as thousands of meals for customers.
    Like most of the food business it wasn't rocket science. We did jobs that others either could not or didn't want to do. Cooking, washing dishes, cleaning up messes and taking out the garbage, not to mention the maintenance of public restrooms and tolerating the attitudes of customers expecting champagne service for beer money.
    I suggest that the working poor serve a very meaningful role in our society and those who argue their failure to contribute to the functions of government are being short-sighted. I could go on but I think I've made the point.
    I might also mention that you and I (thanks to the fertile imagination of Alan Greenspan, I believe) have contributed a surplus in payroll taxes for most of our working life which has in fact been used for the functions of government beyond what was required by the Social Security Administration, hence the infamous Social Security Trust Fund.