economix.blogs.nytimes.com — Most of us live in a world in which paid employment is the only avenue to economic self-sufficiency. Without it, families maintained by working-age adults are largely dependent on the kindness of strangers, otherwise known as extended unemployment insurance and food stamps. Yet, for more than four years, this nation has tolerated levels of unemployment that have essentially made it impossible for most of those seeking paid employment to find it, with a ratio of unemployed workers to job openings of more than three to one. The next time someone with a comfortable paycheck tells you that American workers no longer have a work ethic, please explain to them that right now, there’s not enough paid work to go around. Which is why we should fight for a real right to work.
thedailybeast.com — So the Republicans look like crap right now. The brand, as they say, is at a horrible low. Naturally I find this amusing and satisfying. But then I recall: Well, they looked pretty bad in December 2008, too. Remember? They were written off. But then they came roaring back and really showed some muscle and swept the next elections. So what’s to prevent them from doing the same this time? Three factors, actually. History may repeat itself, as the saying goes, but never so precisely that the exact same tricks will work a second time.
alternet.org — Quick - when you hear "public housing," what picture jumps into your mind? Or "public hospital"? All around us, our public institutions are disintegrating, and the most important public institution of all – our public education system – is the next to be ghettoized. Despite several progressive victories this Election Day, there was one significant defeat in Georgia, as voters approved of Constitutional Amendment 1 , which changes Georgia’s Constitution to give Republicans in that state the power to create charter schools as part of Georgia’s public education system. The result will be crucial taxpayer dollars being funneled away from free public schools and directed toward brand new, sometimes for-profit, privately-run charter schools. This is a major shot in the multigenerational war on public education part of our commons.
robertreich.org — It was the centerpiece of the President’s reelection campaign. Every time Republicans complained about trillion-dollar deficits, he and other Democrats would talk jobs. That’s what Americans care about — jobs with good wages. And that’s part of why Obama and the Democrats were victorious on Election Day. So why are we debating how to cut the deficit when we should be debating how best to use the cheap money we can borrow from the rest of the world to put more Americans to work? Because too many Democrats inside and outside the Beltway have ingested the deficit Kool-aid that the “serious people” on Wall Street have serving for two decades. And the President has been all too willing to legitimize their deficit obsession by freezing federal salaries, appointing a deficit commission, and, now that the election is over, going back to deficit-speak.
huffingtonpost.com — Back in March of 1984, the owner of the Baltimore Colts moved Baltimore's beloved football team to Indianapolis. He said he wouldn't do it, but, in the middle of the night, 12 Mayflower moving trucks were hired to tear out the region's heart and soul under cover of darkness. It was incredibly unpopular, extremely underhanded, and it devastated the people. It even brought Baltimore's mayor to tears. What's happening in Michigan this week is no less deceptive and devastating. The Republican legislature is ramming unpopular bills down the people's throats. That they're doing it in this murky, under-cover-of-darkness lame duck session is evidence enough of how unpopular it is. First it was the right to work law, and now it's bills restricting women's freedom to control their bodies and health care choices. First the workers, now the women -- we can only wonder whose rights they'll pile into their moving vans next.
truthdig.com — Is there a wave of nostalgia for the 1930s? I wouldn’t have thought so, at least not until the Republicans of Michigan passed the bucket of anti-union legislation last week. The procedure they used to pass "right-to-work" was pretty sneaky: no hearings, no public readings, voting by a lame-duck legislature and signature by a governor who had given the impression that such doings and law were not part of his agenda. I was surprised at what Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, and his boys did. I was even more surprised when I found myself humming "Which Side Are You On?"—Florence Reece’s labor anthem of 1931.
washingtonpost.com — Are you as sick of the “fiscal cliff” as I am? Actually, that’s a trick question. You couldn’t possibly be. Having to read and hear the constant blather about this self-inflicted “crisis” is an onerous burden, I’ll admit. But just imagine having to produce that blather. Imagine trying to come up with something original and interesting to say about a “showdown” that has all the drama and excitement of, well, a budget dispute. Here is one observation about the fiscal cliff that is based not on guesswork but on empirical fact: The politicians who brought us to this precipice are the same politicians we’re counting on to keep us from tumbling into the void. This suggests to me that if you’ve got a parachute, now might be a good time to strap it on.
washingtonpost.com — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has — or had — a quirky slogan to describe his governing philosophy: “relentless positive action.” His approach, as I heard him describe it at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, was to find practical solutions and avoid unnecessary partisan division. Relentless positive action, he kept repeating. The mantra sounded more Dale Carnegie than Karl Rove, but it was goofily charming. Not anymore. Now it seems more like a sad commentary on the hopelessly fractured state of our politics.
alternet.org — The lightning-quick adoption of union-busting ‘right-to-work’ legislation in Michigan this week by an outgoing, lame-duck Legislature was a political coup led by vengeful Republicans as payback for their corporate patrons, including the billionaire oil baron Koch brothers and their front group, Americans for Prosperity. There is no other way to interpret the events of the past few days other than to see it in the starkest of Hobbesian terms: while the state’s GOP still held legislative power, it enacted a bill to undermine the fundraising ability of organized labor—an obsession among right-wingers dating to the 1940s South, when states enacted similar laws to prevent organized labor from helping civil rights activists.
jaredbernsteinblog.com — Why is it that the one person/public institution that’s bringing real grown-up concern and action to the current economy and the plight of the people in it is an unelected body? How we really devolved to the point where so many of our elected officials are so enthralled to vested interests that their jobs are no longer to serve the vast majority of us who depend on a tight job market? Instead, to keep the bucks rolling in, they choose to serve Grover, the Kochs et al, lobbying for tax cuts, corporate breaks, less regulation, and so on, leaving it to a dwindling band of the truly concerned and Fed Reserve technocrats to worry about jobs, wages, middle class incomes and poverty. So, I’m glad Ben Bernanke is standing tall, doing his best to keep the focus on growth and jobs. But the fact that he’s virtually alone in that pursuit is what’s so disturbing.