News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
Why Republican Efforts to Block Obama Won’t Work This Time by Michael Tomasky, thedailybeast.com | December 17, 2012So 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. read more »
Why You Can Kiss Public Education (and the Middle Class) Goodbye by Thomm Hartman, alternet.org | December 17, 2012Quick - 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. read more »
Why is Washington Obsessing About the Deficit and Not Jobs and Wages? by Robert B. Reich, robertreich.org | December 14, 2012It 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. read more »
Michigan: Workers, Women, What's Next? by Jenniver Granholm, Huffington Post | December 14, 2012Back 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. read more »
‘Which Side Are You On, Boys?’ by Richard Reeves, truthdig.com | December 14, 2012Is 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. read more »
Ready To Jump From The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ by Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post | December 14, 2012Are 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. read more »
Rick Snyder's Turn Toward Confrontation In Michigan by Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post | December 14, 2012Michigan 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. read more »
How the Bitter Losers of 2012 Rammed Through a Union-Destroying Bill in Michigan by Steven Rosenfeld, alternet.org | December 13, 2012The 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. read more »
The Fed Targets Unemployment: Why Are They Alone in that Pursuit? by Jared Bernstein, jaredbernsteinblog.com | December 13, 2012Why 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. read more »
Michigan’s New 'Corporate Servitude Law': It Takes Away Worker Rights by George Lakoff, commondreams.org | December 13, 2012Michigan has just passed a corporate servitude law. The law is intended to destroy unions, or at least make then ineffective. It says simply that workers do not have to pay union dues to take a job—even if they get benefits previously negotiated by a union. Most workers who don't have to pay dues won't pay, and that will defund the unions, killing them and taking away rights unions have fought hard for over generations. Without workers negotiating as a unified group, corporations will not have to grant those union-created rights. Corporations will have take-it-or-leave-it power over individual workers. In short, this is corporate servitude: you do what you are told and take what you are offered. read more »
Stiglitz Says U.S. Faces `Anemic Recovery,' Needs More Stimulus, bloomberg.com | August 6, 2010
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz said the U.S. economy faces an “anemic recovery” and the government will need to enact another round of “better designed” stimulus measures. read more »
Employment Situation Summary, bls.gov | August 6, 2010
Small Business Bill Appears to Be Stuck in Senate, mcclatchydc.com | August 5, 2010
Pelosi Calls on House to Return Next Week to Move $26 Billion State Aid Package, thehill.com | August 5, 2010
Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw lawmakers’ summer plans into chaos Wednesday, announcing the House will interrupt its six-week recess and return to Washington next week to act on Medicaid and education funding for states. read more »
State Aid Bill to Bring House Back, Politico | August 5, 2010
Aid Package Aimed at Saving State Jobs Passes Key Hurdle in Senate, The Washington Post | August 5, 2010
Two Republicans crossed party lines to advance the $26 billion package, handing President Obama a victory in his campaign to bolster the shaky economy. With many governors struggling to close gaping budget deficits, administration officials feared a fresh round of state layoffs or tax increases could knock the nation's wobbly recovery off-course.
Senate Breaks Republican Filibuster on State Aid, Teachers’ Jobs, blog.aflcio.org | August 5, 2010
The Senate today voted 61-38, to end a Republican filibuster of aid to state and local governments that would save or create nearly a million jobs for teachers, public employees, police officers, firefighters and others. read more »
Foreclosed On—By the U.S. , The Wall Street Journal | August 4, 2010
James Currell is struggling to prevent his Minnesota home from being foreclosed. But his lender isn't a bank. It is the U.S. government.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is facing the prospect of foreclosing on a number of properties in the coming months, from homes to commercial buildings, a result of a souring mortgage portfolio it took over when it helped bail out Bear Stearns in 2008.
More Workers Face Pay Cuts, Not Furloughs, The New York Times | August 4, 2010
The furloughs that popped up during the recession are being replaced by a highly unusual tactic: actual cuts in pay. Local and state governments, as well as some companies, are squeezing their employees to work the same amount for less money in cost-saving measures that are often described as a last-ditch effort to avoid layoffs.
Businesses Split Over Tax Credits , The Wall Street Journal | August 4, 2010
In a letter to Senate leaders Monday, 22 firms including Bank of America Corp., General Electric Co. and Hewlett-Packard threw their support behind a recent proposal from Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) that would end certain small tax breaks on overseas income, raising $11.5 billion over 10 years to pay for tax incentives the firms are eager to maintain, including the research tax credit.