As America shivered through a historic freeze, Obama warmed up the discussion of poverty, the Senate passed unemployment benefits and debate shifted from austerity to inequality.
While record lows chilled much of the country, there was a spark of hope on intelligence reform, Affordable Care sign-ups heated up and new allies called to let Snowden thaw out.
And in NJ, the GOP's most popular candidate may have to put his 2016 plans on ice as his national ambitions seem a bridge too far.
Politics has never been believably pretty, but in the Garden State, Did Hell Just Freeze Over? it's unbelievably petty.
Maybe the polar vortex caused hell to freeze over: we're witnessing events we had never expected, and a few conservatives stuck out in the cold.
Warm company, hot topics and cool beers will turn a winter night into a winner night at your local progressive social club.
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The Federal Reserve said that it arranged the choice of more economic easing following the release of August's poor jobs report. Those efforts have been formulated, and were publicized on Thurs. Article resource: Fed Economic Stimuls
Drive down borrowing expenses
The Federal Reserve has decided it is necessary to drive down borrowing expenses even more after a two-day meeting with the policy committee. The Federal Reserve explained that it will spend $40 each month on mortgage backed securities to do this. This will be a 3rd round of “quantitative reason.”
Short term interest rates will stay at historic lows for six months longer than they used to until the end of 2015. The Federal bank has publicized this change in policy.
In 2013 and 2014, the Federal Reserve lowered its growth outlook for 2012 from 2.4 percent to 2 percent. By 2014, the unemployment rate is anticipated to decrease from 8.1 percent to 6.7 percent too.
Stock market rallies following announcement Read more
Oftentimes I feel as though the views of the Republican Party are not properly characterized in campus discourse. Today I’d like to briefly summarize four oft-ignored perspectives on the Republican economic agenda, which isn’t as scary as it is usually portrayed in campus debate.
First and foremost, the Republican Party is not a party that only cares about rich people. Republicans want everyone to have a good-paying job that provides for his or her family. Many Republicans come from humble beginnings and humble backgrounds. Many were immigrants who came to this country with nothing but a dream. They know what it is to face hard times, and are not callous to the difficult circumstances in which many impoverished people find themselves.
In short, Republicans do not differ with Democrats at all in terms of empathy. Rather, they differ in their beliefs regarding the means by which to help the poorest among us. I think it’s safe to say Republicans have more faith in the power of free markets than the Democratic Party. Republicans would argue that free markets, unencumbered by unnecessary government regulation, allow for the greatest growth in prosperity for all. Read more
As the director of a nonprofit 501(c)(3), I have had to quickly learn how these kinds of organizations function. I had been an employee, volunteer, and member of nonprofits in the past, but taking a leadership position in one has been an entirely new experience. Now, I understand these organizations are sophisticated endeavors meant to do nothing less than fill in for government.
Where our representative government and its bureaucracy have utterly failed to meet the needs of communities in the US, nonprofits have stepped in. The modern nonprofit is a uniquely American creation, as other developed nations utilize the power and resources of government for education, arts, environment, health care, nutritional programs, etc.
In America, these kinds of “progressive” agendas can be defunded and neglected by local, state, and national branches of government. In response to unmet needs, grassroots groups form to gather resources, provide services, educate, and empower identified populations in their communities. In short, regular people are called and chosen by their neighbors to make what is missing and to scrape together resources. Read more
In May 2009, former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson wrote an important essay in The Atlantic on the origins and implications of the 2008 financial collapse, called "The Quiet Coup."
The financial gloom that swept over the US economy at the twilight of the George W. Bush administration was "shockingly reminiscent" of other Third World, emerging economy crises Johnson had witnessed during his days at the IMF.
In each case, he said, concerns that the financial sector could not pay off the debts it had accumulated caused capital markets to seize up, forcing firms like Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy as fear of insolvency became a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Weaknesses in the banking system "quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy," said Johnson, "causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people." Read more
It seems puzzling that Harvard University would grant tenure, let alone appoint someone to be the chairman of its economics department, who fundamentally doesn't believe in economics. But there it is, all spelled out in a much talked about new paper, "Defending the One Percent," by Harvard economics professor and former Mitt Romney advisor, N. Gregory Mankiw, in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
After summarily dispensing with the arguments offered by those on "the left" for greater income equality, specifically those of Joseph Stiglitz who condemns today's yawning wage gap as not only unjust and obscene but economically inefficient as well, Mankiw concludes his 25-page apologia for the bulging portfolios of today's plutocrats by asserting that taxing the wealthy to support socially useful purposes is just plain "wrong." Read more
The President got in bed with Republicans to help him pass gun control legislation, but it was no love-match, they screwed him over & the morning after has left us with no new laws.
He continues to court conservatives on immigration reform & budget deals, and he's willing to make big compromises that the morning after look more like mistakes.
Now to do extend a hand to the Christian Right to appeal to those who won't ever be appeased, his administration is opposing access for young women to the morning after pill.
Just because there's no pill to fix the bad political mistakes Obama has made doesn't mean he should deny Americans a legal course out of a bad situation.
Whether a pill or some political will, we could all use a way to make things right -- it's better than mourning after the morning after.
Join a night that you won't regret with conversation, comrades, discussion & drinks at your local progressive social club.
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Margaret Thatcher visits with Augusto Pinochet while he was under house arrest in London.
Margaret Thatcher is dead.
While we in the United States tend to lionize our departed Presidents, a la St. Ronnie of Santa Barbara, British politics is not nearly so genteel or forgiving. Her legacy will be debated much more critically in Britain than Reagans’s has been in the U.S.
Aging punk-rockers, Irish Republicans and trade unionists greeted the passing of Baroness Thatcher which much less solemnity. On Face book, a movement began to push “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” temporarily to iphone’s number one downloaded song.
Thatcherism embodied the ultimate unrestricted “free market” anarcho-capitalist principles. And Thatcherism did not see industrial unions as part of a “free market”. Her policies destroyed the union movement in Britain and essentially de-industrialized vast swathes of the country. Read more
The New York Times front page on 7 March 1930, the day following the march for Unemployment Insurance.
Does it boggle your mind to see working class people using their time to demonstrate for less government involvement, while living off of unemployment or social security checks? What exactly are these people thinking? How can people work so directly against their own best interests?
It's an insanity that Thomas Frank noted in his book "Whatﾒs the matter with Kansas?":
"the country we have inhabited for the last three decades seems more like a panorama of madness and delusion worthy of Hieronymous Bosch: of sturdy patriots reciting the Pledge while they resolutely strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of hardened blue-collar workers in mid-western burgs cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a "rust belt," will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover." Read more
Labor Day Demonstration against child labor - 1909
So if "class warfare" actually breaks out (we’re not talking about beheading rich folks .... yet!) with what "class" do you identify?
Are you "middle class, upper middle-class, lower class?" These are categories we love to use and always see in the corporate media.
These categories are based on how much you make and how much you consume. They assume you work. You have a job. If if are "lower" or "middle" class you cannot stay home and live on accumulated wealth or on income generated by others working for you. Yet rarely are such folks characterized as "workers".
The broad categories of class are better defined by your relationship to the process of the production of wealth.
You are either a worker, selling your labor because you have no other adequate source of income or you are an owner, a capitalist whose income is generated by others - i.e workers in your factory/corporation or your investments, or your accumulated wealth. Read more
Even the recent heinous acts of gun violence aren't budge the US Senate, which is too scared to tackle a restoration of the assault weapons ban.
Superstorm Sandy, the series of climate crises & the hottest seasons on record can't budge the climate change deniers in both Houses into any action on carbon reduction.
Despite an election that rejected him, nothing will budge Paul Ryan from a Tea Party budget plan that slashes popular, essential programs.
It's one thing to say Congress can't budget. But when it comes to Congress, nothing -- not common sense, popular sentiment or urgent necessity -- can budge it.
Congress: can't budget. Can't budge it.
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This year I will be 71 years old, assuming I make it and I have close family now into their eighties. I was born in the first year of WW II and my older relatives born in the 1930s during the Great Depression.
When I was a kid grandparents lived with their children and their grandchildren. One of the kids took in their mom and pop while the rest of the kids were expected to kick into the pot to provide for their support.
That’s the way it was before Social Security.
Folks were expected to work until they died which usually wasn’t long. The average life expectancy for a male in the 1920s was 49 years. If you lived longer there was no expected retirement age. You worked until you could no longer work or until you could no longer find work.
Then you were expected to live on your savings. Home ownership at the time was below 20% in the lower working class and the average wage adjusted for inflation in today’s purchasing power was around $13,000. So usually old folks didn’t have sufficient resources to live on.
So you went to your children if you had any. It was expected. Grandma usually got one of the children’s bedrooms. Read more