David Dayen explains the problem with President Obama's nomination of Antonio Weiss as the Treasury Department's #3 official. Long story short: "Weiss’ history symbolizes what has gone wrong with American-style capitalism, with its focus on financial engineering rather than creating good products people might want." Sounds almost conservative, the idea we should be making products, instead of concocting ever-more-convoluted ways to redistribute worker-earned wealth upward to CEOs.
Republicans still want a Congressional Budgeting Office head who will count the alleged revenue-enhancing effects of tax cuts in its budget evaluations. Still not convinced "dynamic scoring" is, as Bush the Better might have said, "voodoo economics"? Federal revenues didn't recover for four years after Bush Mobb tax cuts, but have grown dramatically after just two years of tax hikes on income over $400,000, while Kansas is a quarter-billion dollars in the hole right now after four years of indiscriminate tax-cutting, and Wisconsin is staring at a two-year, $1.8 billion shortfall after Scott Walker's tax-cuts-for-his-pals.
The incomparable David Sirota cleverly notes all the "income redistribution" going on in red states -- both the aforementioned Kansas and New Jersey are robbing state pension plans to fix budget shortfalls caused by tax-cuts-for-the-rich and corporate tax breaks. (And, for balance, so did Illinois, under a Democratic Governor and Democrat-dominated legislature.) This quotation from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is absolutely priceless: "It’s kind of, uh, well, where are you going to go for the funds?" Oh, gosh, I don't know, maybe to all the rich folks to whom you gave tax cuts in the first place?
Good news, everyone: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has, as part of a settlement, barred two Virginia corporations from suing soldiers for debt in Virginia courts even if the soldiers live thousands of miles away. The settlement didn't include USA Living (formerly USA Discounters, about whom we read a few months ago), and didn't force the two corporations involved to admit wrongdoing, but it does represent progress for soldiers trapped unwittingly in a cycle of debt. Those who say it's their fault for not reading the fine print are welcome to try to convince me that trying to trap people in a cycle of debt is something a sane and moral culture should merely tolerate.
Finally, as we remain in the holiday spirit, we learn that Ayn Rand helped the FBI investigate Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life for supposed Communist leanings. The irony? Frank Capra was a fairly conservative fellow -- he didn't believe in Big Gummint help, and thought combatting atheism should be a top American priority. In other words, he's almost made to be worshiped by modern-day right-wingers -- though he (like Ms. Rand, I suspect) probably wouldn't recognize modern-day right-wingers as conservatives.