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.

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.

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.

New York Times: “American Workers Are Overpaid”

Maze

If recent resistance by IBEW and UNITE HERE members are any indication, the Times’ BreakingNews folks and corporate America have a long way to go before convincing workers that it is they, rather than their high-paid, amply-bonused bosses, whose compensation should be downsized.

The Great Disconnect Between Stocks and Jobs

Unemployment

In the Great Recession of 2008-2009, companies are going a step further. They’re using this sharp downturn to cut payrolls even below where they were when times were good. Outsourcing abroad, setting up shop in China and elsewhere, contracting out, replacing people with software and automated machines – they’re doing whatever it takes to get payrolls down so earnings bounce up.

Obama, China, and Wishful Thinking About American Jobs

China-budget

The dirty little secret on both sides of the Pacific is that both America and China are capable of producing far more than their own consumers are capable of buying. In the U.S., the root of the problem is a growing share of total income going to the richest Americans, leaving the middle class with relatively less purchasing power unless they go deep into debt.

Think First About the Unemployed, Not the Politicians … and Act

unemployed

What’s happening to the lives of the legions out of work – particularly the young men and women – has to take second place to the fortune of the President and his party. The human crisis would be real regardless of who is in the Oval Office and is what should move the President and the Congress to do the right thing.

Wall Street and Goldman Sachs Party On

Goldman

It’s ironic that all we hear on FOX News and right-wing talk radio is how “socialistic” the Obama Administration is when in reality the way the administration has handled the Wall Street crisis is anything but “socialistic.”

Drinking Motivational KoolAid: How It All Works Financially

get-motivated

Even the soberest fiscal conservatives cannot avoid the power of this pitch and will jump out of his or her seat with wallet wide open! You may get in for $19, but more than half of you will spend many hundreds if indeed not thousands more.

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