The Good and the Not So Good State of the Union

Jobs

Carl Bloice: President Obama told the country. “Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations – they’re not standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They’re making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”

I about fell off my chair when I heard that. He was speaking the truth, telling us all something that we should wrap our collective brains around.

Obama Needs To Teach The Public How to Get Out Of The Mess We’re In, But He’s Not

obama-state-of-union

Robert Reich: The economic lesson President Obama ought to be teaching is that targeted tax cuts, mostly for small business, are good to the extent they give businesses a nudge toward creating more jobs. But businesses won’t begin to create lots of jobs until they have lots of customers. And that won’t happen until lots more Americans have work. The only way to get them work when businesses aren’t hiring is for government to prime the pump.

Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget?

Budget-Pie

Ivan Eland: President Obama’s rationale for not including these security expenditures in his discretionary spending freeze is that he is prosecuting two wars. Aside from the obvious solution of ending the two conflicts—which are part of the “war on terror” but have had the counterproductive effect of increasing retaliatory terrorism—and cutting back the defense budget, defense spending could be reduced even if the two war efforts are sustained.

McClintock Press Secretary Slams Eran, Eran Talks Back

Congressman Tom McClintock

Adam Eran: Bill George, the press secretary for Congressman Tom McClintock protests that in some previous editorials, I’ve maligned his boss with “utterly preposterous charges.” Unfortunately, I’ve done my homework, and Mr. George’s specific answers are either wrong, or misleading.

Why I’m Skipping Obama’s State of the Union

Obama One Year Later

Randy Shaw: Speechmaker Obama’s efforts to sell that economic plan to a Democratic base reeling from rising unemployment and stretched pocketbooks may even exceed his mighty oratory skills, and could leave President Obama’s base wondering what happened to the candidate they elected.

Obama’s Tiny Jobs Ideas for Main Street, A Big Spending Freeze for Wall Street

Obama's Fading Hope

Robert Reich: President Obama today offered a set of proposals for helping America’s troubled middle class. All are sensible and worthwhile. But none will bring jobs back. And Americans could be forgiven for wondering how the President plans to enact any of these ideas anyway, when he can no longer muster 60 votes in the Senate.

More Pain & Suffering – A Bad Way to Start the New Year

Unemployment

Carl Bloice: Just as rising unemployment and economic insecurity means less retail spending and fewer trips to the malls and showrooms, it also means a fall in available jobs. Rising joblessness means the already catastrophe situation in the housing market gets even worse.

Civil Rights Day for Some

UFW

Steve Ybarra: But now to the question of the day: Why is it that the Gay and Lesbian movement leaders have never taken their rainbow progressive flags and marched in large numbers with those who seek immigration reform or in today’s MLK marches all over the US? Why did they abandon us?

Obama Finally Gets Tough on Wall Street

Wall Street Bailout

Robert Reich: But suddenly the winds are blowing in a different direction over the Potomac. The 2010 midterms are getting closer, and the Dems are scared. Their polls are plummeting. The upsurge in mad-as-hell populism requires that Democrats become indignant on behalf of Americans, and indignation is meaningless without a target. They can’t target big government because Republicans do that one better, especially when they’re out of power. So what’s the alternative? Wall Street.

What Scott Brown’s Victory Really Means

Economic Grip

Robert Reich: Here’s what’s really going on. In Massachusetts, in New Jersey, all over the nation, voters are petrified of losing their jobs, their homes, and what’s left of their savings. Nothing counts more than the economy. Rightly or wrongly, presidents and the party in power are blamed when the economy is lousy.

Of Love and Haiti

Haiti

Robert Illes: The very best and the very simplest way of giving I have seen is the Red Cross cell phone text system: text Haiti to 90999. It’s a $10 donation, added to your phone bill. How painless is that? Verizon has already reported $3 million have been donated

Haiti’s Curse

Earthquake Devastation

Sharon Kyle: Televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed that Haitians made a pact with the devil and, as a result, have been cursed by God. Is Haiti cursed? If it is not, who or what is driving the policies that effectively keep Haiti oppressed?

Why Obama Must Take on Wall Street

Wall Street Bailout

Robert Reich: It has been more than a year since all hell broke loose on Wall Street and, remarkably, almost nothing has been done to prevent all hell from breaking loose again.

Does Welfare Work?

Domestic Worker

Ron Wolff: If social welfare programs work, then countries with more extensive programs should report a smaller percent of their population living in poverty. And that is exactly what we find.

Defiant Wall Street Welfare Kings Come to Washington

Lloyd Blankfein

Joseph Palermo: The Democrats ensconce themselves in huge amounts of Wall Street campaign money and in exchange they pursue the short-sighted prerogatives of a bunch of rich guys who have already been bailed out and have shown the world that they’re nothing but a gang of white-collar crooks.

Tea Baggers Repackaging America’s Right Wing

Marco Rubio and Jesse Helms

Randy Shaw: If anyone still doubts that politics is all about branding, the rise of the “teabagger” closes the case. Here we have a group of overwhelmingly white anti-tax crusaders with a long history of political backing for right-wing causes suddenly re-branded by the media as populist crusaders for the common good.

Bad Job Numbers and the Secret Second Stimulus

Jobs-Skyline

Robert Reich: Bottom line: Obama will be going into an election year with a higher total level of unemployment than before the Great Recession. He will have to argue that, were it not for his policies, things would be even worse. Counter-factuals like this do not sit well on bumper stickers.

I Really Cared About You — Last Week

Santa-Claus

Ron Wolff: Maybe caring about less fortunate people about 2% of the time (1 week out of 52) is better than nothing. Sometimes, feeling special for a few hours gives you hope that life will eventually get a little easier.

What’s Ahead for the Economy and Politics in 2010

Happy 2010 Really

Robert Reich: Issue Number One — the overriding concern that will determine more than anything how many seats the Dems lose next fall — is jobs. If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.

Far Worse Than a Big Zero

Santa-Banker

Joseph Palermo: We can call the 2000s the “Worse Than Zero” decade or the “Big Zero,” or anything we wish, but what characterized it most for me was the near total control of corporations, especially over our civic institutions. All of the terrible economic and governing ideas from the Reagan era crested and then crashed in the last eighteen months leaving something far less than “zero” in their wake.

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

2010 Great Recession

Robert Reich: As long as income and wealth keep concentrating at the top, and the great divide between America’s have-mores and have-lesses continues to widen, the Great Recession won’t end — at least not in the real economy.

Winograd to Harman: Why Did You Vote NO on Mortgage Relief?

It behooves everyone in Congress to demand that big banks, the overnight recipients of billion-dollar bail-outs, renegotiate loans in bankruptcy court. After all, we must remember these banks, the ones we bailed out, caused the financial meltdown with predatory sub-prime lending.

Obama, Democrats Must Confront Deficit Monster

Red-ink

In remarks to a health reform forum in March, Barack Obama acknowledged, ‘The greatest threat to America’s fiscal health … is the skyrocketing cost of health care.’ How he deals with this danger will arguably be as important for the historical reputation of his presidency as his foreign policy initiatives to safeguard national security.

A Few Words about Philanthropy

Giving

In 2005, more than one in every four adults reported doing some volunteer work. I don’t know exactly what definition was used. Chances are that coaching your kid’s soccer team counted.

Paul Volcker Body Slams World Bankers

volcker250

Why didn’t Obama deliver this speech when he spoke to bankers on Wall Street a few months ago? Better late than never, I suppose, and bankers are slightly more likely to pay attention to Volcker than to Obama as evidenced by the fact that several major US bank CEOs turned down the invitation to hear the president speak.

The President’s Job’s Initiative Doesn’t Measure Up

Jobs

No president in modern times walks a tightrope as exquisitely as this one. His balance is a thing of beauty. But when it comes to this economy right now — an economy fundamentally out of balance — we need a federal government that moves boldly and swiftly to counter-balance the huge recessionary forces still at large

Weekend Mysteries, Scandals, and Speculations

Donny Hathaway

The nation’s unemployment rate is at 10.2 percent, a 26-year high. These people will be waiting to hear Obama explain how adding to the $10 billion monthly price tag for Iraq and Afghanistan will help them find work. African American men, 17.1 percent of whom are unemployed, want a word from Obama on this,” wrote Columnist Colbert King in the Washington Post last week.

The Surge We Need At Home

Warhorse

America is a mess. Unemployment is over 10 percent, while the effective unemployment rate—which also includes the underemployed—is more like 19.2 percent.

Worrisome Thoughts on the Way to the Jobs Summit

Jobs-Flight-1a

But the reality that no one wants to talk about is a structural change in the economy that’s been going on for years but which the Great Recession has dramatically accelerated.

The Housing Crisis and Wall Street Shame

Housing Crisis

The $75 billion federal program designed to bribe banks to modify mortgages has been a bust. No one knows the exact number of mortgages that have been modified (that will be reported next month) but housing experts I’ve talked with say it’s a tiny fraction of the number of homeowners in trouble. Seems that the big banks can’t be bothered.

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