Monday, August 08, 2011

Official EU Documents: Institutions, Agencies, Other Bodies

See EUROPA - Official documents from EU institutions, agencies and other bodies

ABA Journal Hosts Blawg Review #314: LawLawpalooza 2011: The 2011 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada

The ABA Journal with Sarah Randag hosts LawLawpalooza 2011 as Blawg Review #314. The posting covers the 2011 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada and takes its name from the Lollapalooza music festival ("Lolla") in Chicago, where ABA Journal is located. As Sarah writes:
"Lolla ticketholders eagerly await the release of the lineup of 140+ bands so they can study it and plot out a schedule—knowing they might have to make a Sophie’s Choice between two great bands playing simultaneously—allowing them to max out their experience and know when they have to be at which of the festival's seven stages. Lawyers at annual, with some 1,400 legal programs, including business meetings for association entities, do the same and work their way around five or 10 venues for their own LawLawpalooza. We'll do our best to re-create their experience remotely by way of the blawgosphere."

Create More Jobs by Changing the Patent Laws Says Billionaire Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who just won the NBA basketball championship in the USA, tells us what many of us have known for a long time: If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws.

Hat tip to Stephan Kinsella at the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom in Mark Cuban: Patent law is killing jobs

Punitive Damages: A Completey Failed Tort Doctrine Without Sensible Foundation in Legal Theory or Deterrent Fact

At the Insurance Law Community at LexisNexis Communities, Barry Zalma writes about The Failure of Punitive Damages.

LawPundit has previously posted about the absurdity of punitive damages in law at:

US Supreme Court Vacates Absurd Punitive Damages Award in Oregon Tobacco Case : What American Law Should Learn from European Law

More on the US Supreme Court Punitive Damages Tobacco Case : The Origin of Punitive Damages and Related Issues

Punitive Damages Law : Award Against Exxon Valdez Slashed by US Supreme Court, Pointing to Possible Constitutional Limit to Exemplary Damages

Don't Go to Work and Make Millions by Staying at Home : The Caliphonia Supreme Court Shows the Way : Panic Disorder and Punitive Damages

LawPundit at New York Times Topics Organizations : Headlines Around the Web on December 1, 2009 : Punitive Damages and U.S. Supreme Court Standards

If Android Loses in the Patent War, What Happens?

Sara Yin at ponders the unthinkable: What If Android Lost the Patent War?

The "Wicked States" and the USA: Federal Government Finances as a Function of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) Show Deliberate Weakening of Federal Government: What Would the U.S. Debt Be Without the Bush Tax Cuts and the Wars?

It is quite clear from a simple analysis of the ca. (US $$) 14.2 Trillion Dollar federal government debt at the end of 2010 (now ca. 14.6 Trillion), that a good share of this deficit is due to the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars  (estimated at ca. (US $$) 4 Trillion dollars) and the cost of the Bush tax cuts, which over the last ten years have cost the federal government another (US $$) 4.53 Trillion Dollars, as we calculate below:

The White House (i.e. the U.S. Federal Government) has historical tables online from the Office of Management and Budget, including Table 15.1--Total Government Receipts in Absolute Amounts and as Percentages of GDP: 1948-2010, from which we here reproduce the "percentage of GDP" figures only. Note that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is product produced within a country's borders.

In TABLE TWO below one can see:
  1. the fiscal year in column 1
  2. the percentage of GDP of all government receipts (federal plus state & local)
  3. the percentage of GDP of receipts of the federal government alone
  4. the percentage of GDP of receipts of state and local governments.
What is clear from these figures is that the "Wicked States" (so correctly named in a historical federal debt context by University of Texas Law School Professor Calvin H. Johnson) have kept their own State and Local tax receipts virtually constant at ca. 10% of GDP for the last ten years, whereas federal receipts have dropped dramatically in the same period -- primarily through the wicked federal anti-tax policies of State representatives in Congress and especially because of the George W. Bush administration federal tax relief, tax cuts and tax rebates, which have deliberately cut federal government funds and helped lead to the present dramatic federal debt situation.

When Bill Clinton left office at the end of the year 2000, federal government receipts were 20.6% ($ 2025.2 billion = 2.0252 trillion) of GDP ($ 9821.0 billion = 9.821 trillion). By 2010, those federal government receipts had dropped to 14.9% of GDP.

As TABLE ONE shows, if 20.6% of GDP had been maintained over the last 10 years, the federal government debt would be 4.53 trillion dollars less than its current debt.

GDP and Federal Government Receipts by Fiscal Year in Billions of Dollars:

Fiscal  GDP           Actual       Percentage   Receipts            Lost
Year    in billions   Federal     of                if 20.6% of        Federal
          of  US $$    Receipts   GDP             GDP had been    Government
                           $$ billions                   maintained        Receipts in
                                                            $$ billions         $$ billions
2000    9821.0       2025.2     20.6%          2025.2              000.0
End of Clinton Administration, Begin of G. W. Bush Administration
2001  10225.3       1991.1     19.5%        2106.4                115.3            
2002  10543.9       1853.1     17.6%        2172.0                318.9 tax cuts    
2003  10979.8       1782.3     16.2%        2261.8                479.5
2004  11685.6       1880.1     16,1%        2407.2                527.1             
2005  12445.7       2153.6     17.3%        2563.8                410.2
2006  13224.9       2406.9     18.2%        2724.3                317.4               
2007  13891.8       2568.0     18.5%        2861.7                293.7
2008  14394.1       2524.0     17.5%        2965.2                441.2
2009  14097.5       2105.0     14.9%        2904.1                799.1 credit crisis
2010  14508.2       2162.7     14.9%        2988.7                826.0

Total Lost Federal Government Receipts via the Bush Tax Cuts etc.  is ca. $4528.4 billion, which is equal to 4.53 Trillion US dollars.

Accordingly, without the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (total cost ca. $ 4 trillion, and that may be a substantial underestimate) and the cost of the Bush tax cuts ($4.5 trillion), the federal debt would be $8.5 trillion less than it is currently, i.e. ca. $14.5 trillion (as of August 3, 2011, the official debt of the United States government was $14.6 trillion) minus ca. $8.5 trillion.

Where is that lost federal tax money today? It is e.g. to be found in the luxury goods industry which caters to the wealthy, a market which expects 8% growth worldwide this year, with the US remaining the world's top luxury goods market, according to Bain & Company. They can all thank Dubya.

When aberrants like the Tea Party surface and claim to have solutions for the financial problems of the nation without tax increases on the higher income groups, tell them to go get a good cup of coffee and sober up.

Recall, however, that the LawPundit is a political centrist, so that the Democratic Party and its policies do not go away unscathed here, as that large $6 trillion remainder is accountable for by decades of overspending on government programs in the past, for which the Democrats are known, though the Republicans are not without fault on this score either. In any case, at the end of the Clinton administration, which came at the end of 2000, the federal debt was ca. $5.6 trillion, as compared to $3.23 trillion at the end of 1990.

TABLE TWO Total Government Receipts as Percentages of GDP: 1948-2010,

Fiscal  Total    Fed    State
Year                        &        

1948    21,7    16,2    5,5
1949    20,3    14,5    5,8
1950    20,7    14,4    6,2
1951    22,0    16,1    5,9
1952    24,8    19,0    5,9
1953    24,7    18,7    6,0
1954    24,8    18,5    6,3
1955    22,9    16,5    6,4
1956    24,1    17,5    6,6
1957    24,6    17,7    6,8
1958    24,4    17,3    7,1
1959    23,3    16,2    7,1
1960    25,2    17,8    7,4
1961    25,6    17,8    7,8
1962    25,4    17,6    7,9
1963    25,8    17,8    8,0
1964    25,6    17,6    8,1
1965    25,1    17,0    8,1
1966    25,4    17,3    8,1
1967    26,5    18,4    8,1
1968    26,2    17,6    8,6
1969    28,5    19,7    8,8
1970    28,3    19,0    9,2
1971    26,7    17,3    9,4
1972    27,5    17,6    9,9
1973    27,4    17,6    9,8
1974    28,0    18,3    9,7
1975    27,5    17,9    9,6
1976    26,7    17,1    9,5
1977    27,6    18,0    9,6
1978    27,5    18,0    9,4
1979    27,3    18,5    8,8
1980    27,8    19,0    8,8
1981    28,2    19,6    8,6
1982    28,1    19,2    8,9
1983    26,6    17,5    9,1
1984    26,6    17,3    9,2
1985    27,0    17,7    9,3
1986    26,9    17,5    9,4
1987    28,1    18,4    9,7
1988    27,8    18,2    9,7
1989    28,0    18,4    9,7
1990    27,7    18,0    9,7
1991    27,7    17,8    9,9
1992    27,5    17,5    10,1
1993    27,6    17,5    10,1
1994    28,1    18,0    10,1
1995    28,5    18,4    10,1
1996    29,0    18,8    10,1
1997    29,3    19,2    10,0
1998    29,9    19,9    10,0
1999    29,8    19,8    10,0
2000    30,6    20,6    10,0
2001    29,5    19,5    10,0
2002    27,4    17,6    9,8
2003    26,0    16,2    9,8
2004    26,0    16,1    10,0
2005    27,5    17,3    10,2
2006    28,5    18,2    10,3
2007    28,8    18,5    10,3
2008    27,8    17,5    10,3
2009    25,0    14,9    10,0
2010    24,7    14,9    9,8                               

Was the Debt Ceiling Vote an Obama Vote? Is America in the Grips of Political Fringes? The Debt Ceiling Vote in the Senate Says "No"

As a political centrist, we observe the political development in America as an attempt by fringe groups to polarize the American public on important issues. But is that right? Was the debt ceiling vote an Obama vote? Is America in the grips of a Republican right wing fringe? The stats of the debt ceiling vote say no to both questions.

We compared the vote of U.S. Senators on raising the debt ceiling with how the individual States voted in the last presidential election (OQ - The Obama Quotient : Voting Rank by State in the 2008 Presidential Election : Youth Quotient Variable : Median Family Income Variable).

Blue States voted 45-13 for raising the debt ceiling and Red States voted 29-13 for raising the debt ceiling. The political fringes clearly lost and clearer heads in both political parties prevailed, keeping America out of financial default and enabling a move forward to a sensible future solution of US financial problems.

In the list below, YES or NO votes are followed by "D" = Democrat Senator, "R" = Republican Senator, "I" = Independent, the U.S. State in question, and that State's percentage vote in favor of Obama ("Blue States") or in favor of McCain ("Red States") in the last presidential election.

The vote in "Obama" "Blue States" for raising the debt ceiling was 45 YES to 13 NO VOTES:

YES (D), YES (D) - Hawaii - 72% for Obama
YES (D), NO (I) Vermont - 67% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Rhode Island 63% for Obama
YES (D), YES (R) - Massachusetts - 62% for Obama
YES (D), NO (D) - New York - 62% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - California - 61% for Obama
YES (D), YES (R) - Illinois - 61% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Delaware - 61% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Maryland - 61% for Obama
YES (D), YES (I) - Connecticut - 60% for Obama
YES (R), YES (R) - Maine - 58% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Washington - 58% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Michigan - 57% for Obama
NO (D), NO (D) - New Jersey - 57% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - New Mexico - 57% for Obama
YES (D), NO (R) - Wisconsin - 56% for Obama
YES (D), NO (R) - Nevada - 55% for Obama
YES (D), NO (R) - New Hampshire - 55% for Obama
YES (D), NO (D) - Oregon - 55% for Obama
YES (D), NO (R) - Pennsylvania - 55% for Obama
NO (D), NO (R) - Iowa - 54% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Minnesota - 54% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Colorado - 53% for Obama
YES (D), YES (D) - Virginia - 52% for Obama
YES (D), NO (R) - Florida - 51% for Obama
YES (D), YES (R) - Ohio - 51% for Obama
YES (R), NO (R) - Indiana - 50% for Obama
YES (D), YES (R) - North Carolina - 50% for Obama

The vote in "McCain" "Red States" for raising the debt ceiling was 29 YES to 13 NO VOTES:

NO (R), NO (R) - Oklahoma - 66% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Wyoming - 65% for McCain
NO (R), NO (R) - Utah - 63% for McCain
YES (D), YES (R) - Alaska - 62% for McCain
NO (R), NO (R) - Alabama - 61% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Idaho - 61% for McCain
YES (D), YES (R) - Arkansas - 59% for McCain
YES (D), NO (R) - Louisiana - 59% for McCain
YES (R), NO (R) - Kentucky - 58% for McCain
YES (R), NO (R) - Kansas - 57% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Mississippi - 57% for McCain
YES (R), NO (D) - Nebraska - 57% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Tennessee - 57% for McCain
YES (D), YES (D) - West Virginia - 56% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Texas - 55% for McCain
YES (R), YES (R) - Arizona - 54% for McCain
NO (D), NO (D) - South Carolina - 54% for McCain
YES (R), NO (R) - Georgia - 53% for McCain
YES (D), YES (R) - North Dakota - 53% for McCain
YES (D), YES (R) - South Dakota - 53% for McCain
YES (D), YES (D) - Montana - 50% for McCain
YES (D), YES (R) - Missouri - 50% for McCain

Far Right of the Madding Crowd: Republican Fringe Would Have Shocked Even President Nixon: Kurt Andersen Reports at the NY Times

Kurt Andersen at the New York Times in The Madman Theory writes about the Republican fringe as compared to the Presidential administration of Richard Nixon, a Republican conservative of the past:
"In popular imagination, Nixon remains nothing but a great goblin — scowling bomber of Southeast Asia, panderer to fear and racism, paranoid anti-Semite, dispatcher of burglars — but the truth is, he governed further to the left than any president who followed him. The overreaching Euro-socialist nanny state that today’s Republicans despise? That blossomed in the Nixon administration.... [read the article for examples]

My late mother, who voted for every Republican presidential candidate from Wendell Willkie through George H.W. Bush, became a Democrat in her 70s. “These black hats,” she said of the G.O.P. right, “have gotten as nutty as fruitcakes. Nothing they say shocks me anymore.” She voted five times for Nixon, whose Madman Theory was a tactical posturing to make the Communists think he was an unhinged, reckless fanatic itching to wreak havoc. But a national Republican Party dominated by actually unhinged, reckless fanatics itching to wreak havoc in America? I think that would’ve shocked her. I think it probably would’ve even shocked Nixon."
Is Andersen's piece a bit of an exaggeration? Is the Republican fringe as strong as they would like to think? Probably not. Take a look at the next posting at Law Pundit.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

For Lawyers Face to Face Socializing Can Not Be Fully Replaced by Online Social Networking

At Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O'Keefe in Social networking cannot replace socializing for lawyers expands upon Jonah Lehrer's piece in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) on why social networking cannot replace socializing.

O'Keefe writes inter alia:
"[W]hen it comes to doing larger business deals with people and building long term business relationships nothing can replace face to face....

[D]on't expect the Internet to be your savior when it comes to business development. Online social networking cannot replace socializing."
Read the whole thing here.

Kickstarter: Financing Innovation via Crowd-Funding: There are CONDITIONS to be met and a GREEN LIGHT to be obtained

Have a great idea for a project but no money to finance it? How about Kickstarter, a platform for online crowd-funding. It is not easy, but possible to raise money this way. Rob Walker not only has the story at the New York Times in The Trivialities and Transcendence of Kickstarter but also describes the CONDITIONS that must be met for submitting PROJECTS for funding:
"users must define a specific “project” ... Kickstarter isn’t for handouts.... Creators must offer “rewards” to their backers: written notes of thanks, custom T-shirts, handmade objects.... [P]roject makers must pick a target dollar amount and a deadline. If they fall short of the goal, they get nothing.... The company takes a cut — 5 percent — of the money raised on successful projects. (The transactions are processed through an service, which takes a slightly smaller cut.) The founders say it is profitable."
By the way, don't submit banal projects like "buy a prom dress" of "finance my art work", because they will surely be rejected, as all projects must FIRST get a green light from Kickstarter to get into the crowd-funding process:

Rob Walker writes as to what kinds of projects are preferably crowd-funded that:
"Wired recently assessed Kickstarter not as the champion of artistic underdogs but as “a lab for daring prototypes and ingenious products.”"

This posting was reposted due to a typo in the title. The original posting was deleted. Thank you for your understanding.

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