*** REPUBS ERRONEOUSLY CLAIM LETTING W.’s TAX CUTS ON THE TOP 2% EXPIRE ON SCHEDULE WILL UNFAIRLY HIT SMALL BUSINESSES:  The facts are that letting W.’s tax cuts expire will only affect the 3% of small businesses that are subject to the top two individual tax rates, according to Len Burman, former director of the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.  He also noted that much of the income from those affected businesses are not from mom-and-pop shops, but rather comes from private partnerships such as law and accounting firms and investment firms.

V.P. Joe Biden said this week that the Right’s claims are a “bunch of malarkey.” He said that only a few small businesses would be helped by an extension of the tax cuts, and that the loss of $700 billion in revenue by extending them would add to the deficit and is “just bad economic policy.”

*** CONSIDER THIS:  If tax cuts create so many jobs, how is it that the HUGE tax cuts that W. enacted — didn’t?  And, how is it that the tax hikes that Clinton enacted on the higher income level led to HUGE job growth?  So, when you hear the Right continue to beat the tax-cuts drum as the ONLY solution to our economic crisis, be sure to CONSIDER THIS.

*** ON THE CIA PAYROLL:  An aide to President Karzai, who is at the heart of a corruption investigation, Mohammed Zia Salehi is also being paid by the CIA.  It’s not clear what exactly he’s being paid for but it is one of those “deep contradictions” in the Afghanistan policy — wanting to root out corruption in Afghanistan, while also paying these allegedly corrupt officials. 

*** PROUD TO SEE:  More than forty religious — Muslim, Jewish, Christian — and civic groups have formed a coalition to support the Cordova House Islamic Center in Manhattan.  The group is called New York Neighbors for American Values, and asserts that the debate over the center “was creating fear and division and that they would fight for U.S. constitutional freedoms to be upheld.”

*** ALSO PROUD TO SEE:  Almost 20 congregations are planning to protest the plans of a church in Florida, the Dove World Church, to burn the Quran — by conducting interfaith readings from the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran.  The minister of the United Church of Gainesville, Larry Reimer,  stated, “Silence in the face of their statements can be misconstrued as agreement, and I think it’s important for all of us to speak up.”  Remember Niemoller’s words: “When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew … When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

*** AND FINALLY, THE ECONOMY:  Economic indicators are not improving.  Unemployment is stubborn at 9.5%, and could worsen;  jobless claims are inching up, not down; and new home sales were down 12.4%.  Maybe not a double-dip, but not really a recovery either.

Not good news for the Dems in November.  There’s much that could be done, but no political will to do it.  The Democrats have caved on passing any stimulus that could help the economy because the Right has demonized any government spending to pump money into the sputtering economy (other than tax cuts for the über wealthy).  So the one faint light of hope lies with the Federal Reserve.

The Fed could use its control of monetary policy to prod the economy into a growth phase, but because what the Fed does is done behind closed doors, we don’t know what or when or if they may take steps to get us out of this recession. 

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may offer a glimpse into their thinking and possible actions today at the Fed’s annual retreat.  Bernanke will say, “The Committee is prepared to provide additional monetary accommodation through unconventional measures if it proves necessary, especially if the outlook were to deteriorate significantly.” 

Dems should be hoping for a sign that the Fed might change course, as should the entire country.  But, at this point in the campaign cycle it appears that anything the Fed might do will come too late to change the trajectory of this mid-term election.  The next two years could be political hell.

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