Safer Foods, Saner Prison Sentencing, No Death Penalty Vie for Voter Attention

aclu forum

Dick Price: At the American Civil Liberties Union’s Pasadena/Foothills Chapter forum this past Tuesday, September 11th, advocates made their case for three particularly contentious initiatives on California’s November ballot:

Oil vs. ‘Morning in America’

gas prices

Brent Budowsky: Let’s challenge the speculative fever and vulture frenzy that threatens the Morning in America that is coming. The president should initiate a drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if necessary twice, to burn the fear of God into the soul of speculators.

Manufacturing Illusions:

factory

Robert Reich: Suddenly, manufacturing is back – at least on the election trail. But don’t be fooled. The real issue isn’t how to get manufacturing back. It’s how to get good jobs and good wages back. They aren’t at all the same thing.

The Jobs Report: Don’t Break Out the Champagne

occupy bonus

Robert Reich: When people ask me what Congress is likely to do I always say the same thing: The odds are in favor of nothing.

Trigger Deficit Cuts When Unemployment Drops to 5 Percent

supercommittee

Robert Reich: So the best of all worlds is to have a big jobs plan now, and also commit to automatic cuts triggered when unemployment falls to 5 percent.

The Bailed-Out Bankers’ Boys

Money

Brent Budowsky: Rick Perry’s impersonation of Ron Paul is caused by Perry’s panic while his campaign collapses, while terrified Republicans try to entice the freshman governor and unqualified Chris Christie to enter the race.

The Carnage on Wall Street

media-watchdog-wide

Robert Reich: Our representatives in the nation’s capital continue to obsess about future budget deficits and games of chicken over raising the debt ceiling — neither of which has anything at all to do with the stalled recovery and the carnage on the Street.

How to Get Washington’s Attention

wall-street-follies-wide

Robert Reich: The leaders of the Street and big business may now have to wake up to a reality they’ve tried to avoid — that the central economic problem of our time isn’t the long-term budget deficit but the immediate deficit in aggregate demand.

American Drug Users Fund Deadly Cartels

drug-protests

Andrea Nill: Over the past couple of weeks, thousands of Mexicans have taken to the streets to protest the bloody drug war that has ravaged Latin America and left 35,000 people dead since 2006 in Mexico alone.

As the Global Economy Trembles, Our Nation’s Capital Fiddles

economy-wide

Robert Reich: In the past I’ve often wondered whether they’re knaves or fools. Now I’m sure. Republicans wouldn’t mind a double-dip recession between now and Election Day 2012.

The U.S. Economy in 2011

Jobs in the New Year

Robert Reich: The two American economies — the Big Money economy and the Average Working Family economy — will continue to diverge. Corporate profits will continue to rise, as will the stock market. But typical wages will go nowhere, joblessness will remain high, the ranks of the long-term unemployed will continue to rise, the housing recovery will remain stalled, and consumer confidence will sag.

The American Jobs Emergency Requires Action

economy

Robert Reich: Not only do we need extended unemployment benefits. We need a new WPA, modeled after the WPA of the Great Depression, to put jobless Americans to work. We need a national infrastructure bank to rebuild our crumbling highways and water and sewer systems, thereby putting additional people back to work.

America’s Two Economies: Why One Is Recovering and the Other Isn’t

Robert Reich: Inhabitants of the Big Money economy are celebrating Republican wins last week. They figure financial regulations will be rolled back, environmental regulations will be canned, the Bush tax cut will be extended to the top 1 percent, and it will be harder for workers to form unions.

The Stock Market Rally Versus the World’s Economic Fundamentals

happy labor day

Robert Reich: The real economy is jobs and paychecks, what people buy and what they sell. And the real economy — even viewed from a worldwide perspective — is as precarious as ever, perhaps more so.

The Vanishing American Consumer and the Coming Trade War

g-20 summit

Robert Reich: We’re unlikely to see a repeat of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariffs that worsened and lengthened the Great Depression. But you can forget trade-opening agreements. In Toronto last week, the G-20 leaders dropped their 2009 pledge to finish the Doha round this year. In the U.S., agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia are languishing.

Why Main Street Isn’t Getting Any Better

jobs

Robert Reich: Americans have no choice but to pare back their debt. That’s bad news because consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. It helps explain why we so few jobs are being created, and why we can’t escape the gravitational pull of the Great Recession without far more government spending.

Slouching Toward Health Care Reform

Dead-in-the-water

Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).

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.

On Town Halls and Health Care Reform: Wasn’t Hitler the One With the Gun?

gun-violence

As the GOP and their allies have concluded that all is fair in their attempts to either destroy health care reform (of any kind) and/or gain political leverage against a popular President, I am feeling the need to don a bullet-proof vest.

The Great Credit Card Battle To Come

credit-card-sharks

The next front in the banking wars will be over credit cards. Some of the nation’s biggest bankers — including representatives of Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and other recipients of billions of taxpayer dollars — are meeting today with the President to ask him back off his move to reform credit-card lending practices. What’s happening [...]

Stimulus Plan: The Need and the Size

sinkingeconomy

The core problem we face is not access to capital. The Treasury has already flooded Wall Street and the banking system with money, committing nearly $350 billion; the Federal Reserve Board has exchanged Treasury bills for some $2.2 trillion of troubled assets; other agencies, such as the FDIC, have guaranteed trillions more. But there has [...]

The Logic of Keynes in Today’s World

jobs

by Robert Reich – Not long ago I was talking to someone who once had been a deficit hawk but the current recession had turned into a full-blooded Keynesian. He wanted a stimulus package in the range of $500 to $700 billion. “Consumers are dead in the water,” he said, fervently, “so government has to [...]

Now Greenspan Tells Us!

Whoops! My bad. Sorry. In effect, this is what former Fed chair Alan Greenspan is telling members of the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform today by admitting he was wrong about unfettered free markets regulating themselves.

We’ve Invested in Wall Street, Now It’s Time to Invest in the Rest of America

The global economy has been put into the economic equivalent of a full nelson by a financial system threatening to collapse under the weight of a complicated pyramid scheme. The Bush administration sounded dire warnings and cobbled together a vaguely flushed-out rescue plan promising the injection of up to $700 billion of taxpayers’ dollars into [...]

Senate Plot-Plop, Fizz-Fizz

$700,000,000,000… oh what a relief, it is! With apologies to Alka-Seltzer, one chamber crawled out of the sandbox and reached an unpopular but bipartisan decision to save global credit markets last night as banks held a Russian Roulette pistol with six chambers full to our heads and yelled, “Stop me before I shoot.” Crisis over? [...]

Creating a Quality Economy, Part 2

Line Chart with Rats

By Mark Pash, with Brad Parker – Capitalism does significantly raise the standard of living but not for all and not enough for many. Therefore, it is up to government to take a more active role in the economy in order to overcome these flaws with as little hindrance as possible. In other words, one [...]

Creating a Quality Economy, Part 1

Batman Cartoon

by Mark Pash, with Brad Parker — The economic philosophy of the Progressive Democratic Party is designed to advance human commerce for the betterment of all, while protecting the business environment from itself and the government. Commerce is not perfect and is vulnerable to both human nature and the major flaws of capitalism.

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