On Wednesday morning, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a hearing on what ought to be the top agenda item in Washington: jobs, jobs, jobs. One by one, the speakers issued a wake-up call that resonates with millions of Americans — America needs jobs, not cuts. Americans — from students graduating with mountains of debt, into the worst job market in decades, to aging baby boomers for whom retirement is suddenly further out of reach, and Patriotic Millionaires ready to do their part — demand jobs, not cuts.
OurFuture.org's Robert Borosage underscored the urgent need for action on jobs, and seize the agenda from the "supercommittee" before it takes America down the road to ruin.
Ezra Klein's "Wonkbook" is invaluable for anyone trying to follow the Washington policymaking process. Each day it offers its readers everything from the latest CBO analyses to the newest latest adorable animal videos. Since I'm both an obsessive reader of reports and a watcher of cute animal videos (I personally posted this clip of a baby kitten being hugged by its mother when it was having a nightmare), I'm glad it's around.
In the contentious and confused world of political debate, the data informs us and the videos humanize us. (Although I have to say the Corgi riding a playground swing in this morning's Wonkbook video doesn't look too thrilled with the experience.) But that doesn't mean we'll always react to the same information in the same way.
Take the bipartisan Congressional "supercommittee" tasked with cutting the Federal deficit. This morning's Wonkbook tells us that Republicans on the Committee aren't just resisting a deal. They're also working to undercut the defense spending part of the "triggers" - those automatic cuts that were to take effect if no compromise was reached.
Suddenly the Occupy movement is under siege everywhere. There's been a wave of simultaneous, seemingly coordinated clampdowns on peaceful demonstrators in cities all across the country. Why now?
It could be nothing more than one heck of a coast-to-coast coincidence, at least theoretically speaking. But there are indications that this might have been at least partially planned and coordinated at a national level.
Either way the timing's very interesting - and, for some people, very convenient. The nation's expecting a deficit package from the undemocratic Super Committee, anticipating another possible free trade deal, and waiting to see whether Wall Street will go unpunished for its foreclosure crime wave. All that makes this a very good time for dissident voices to suddenly disappear.
Unfortunately for them, it's not going to be that easy. more »
otherwords.org — Between 1979 and 2007, the after-tax household income of America's most affluent 1 percent ballooned by 275 percent, while the bottom 20 percent's income inched up just 18 percent. The top 1 percent now owns more than an entire third of the nation's wealth, which is more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent. From these sad facts you might correctly deduce that America's "Class War" is nearly over. The rich are now just mopping up. They recently tied up a few loose ends when Congress finally passed those long-stalled, job-killing "free trade" agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama. Now if they can just privatize Social Security and Medicare, the whole conflict will be over.
truth-out.org — The austerity gang seeking cuts to Social Security and Medicare have been vigorously promoting the myth that the elderly are an especially affluent and privileged group. Their argument is that because of their relative affluence, cuts to the programs upon which they depend is a simple matter of fairness. There were two reports released last week that call this view into question. The first was a report from the Census Bureau that used a new experimental poverty index. While these new measures showed a slightly higher overall poverty rate, the most striking difference between the new measure and the official measure was the rise in the poverty rate among the elderly.
Coming as it does on the heels of a Pew Research Foundation report on wealth gap between younger and older Americans — which is already being spun by the right as "proof" that we "spend too much" on grandma, at the kids' expense — the new supplemental poverty measure is a reminder that what we're spending is what's keeping grandma, and a whole lot of kids, out of poverty.
rollingstone.com — David Brooks, the [gratuitous insult deleted], wrote this this morning entitled "Mitt Romney, the Serious One." In it, he explained how Romney’s recent decision to unveil a plan for reforming the entitlement system "demonstrates his awareness of the issues that need to define the 2012 presidential election." So we had a giant financial crash in 2008 that necessitated a bailout costing a minimum of nearly $5 trillion and perhaps ultimately costing $10 trillion more, we have foreclosure crisis with more than million people a year losing their homes, and we have a burgeoning European debt disaster that threatens to devastate the global financial system — and the chief issue facing the country, according to Brooks and the Times, is reforming the entitlement system? Romney’s ideas are not as draconian as Paul Ryan's, but they do pave the way for Wall Street’s ultimate goal — full privatization of Social Security and Medicare.