The Death of Public Service

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Steve Hochstadt: Republican governors across the country argue that teachers and police and all the other employees of local and state governments make much too much money.

Voters Rejecting Obama’s Rightward Shift

President Barack Obama waves to the people gathered on the street outside the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Randy Shaw: As dysfunctional as the Republican presidential contest is likely to be, when presidential elections are framed around Republican issues like deficits rather than Democratic issues like jobs, the Republican candidate nearly always wins.

Beware of the Racial Demagoguery

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Carl Bloice: With public opinion across the political spectrum clearly opposed to slashing the healthcare and retirement programs, any negotiated settlement would be undemocratic.

The Fake Budget Debate

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Shamus Cooke: This two-party big lie is not an accident, but an expression of a deeper held belief: that the U.S. government must be directed to meet the needs of the super wealthy who own U.S. corporations.

Tax War!

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Tina Dupuy: Republicans claim to be the arbiters of fiscal discipline, but their record says otherwise. The Ryan Plan, which passed the House, was like a cat burglar writing the charter for the neighborhood watch.

Extortion Politics

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Robert Reich: Monday Standard & Poor’s (hardly a beacon of reliability after the Crash of 2008, to be sure) downgraded America’s credit outlook. Expect more downgrades if the game of chicken continues.

Why Obama’s Proposal Is Risky

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Robert Reich: The underlying problem isn’t the budget deficit. It’s that so much income and wealth are going to the top that most Americans don’t have the purchasing power to sustain a strong recovery.

A ‘Vision’ for the New Century. Or, a Nightmare

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Carl Bloice: If the whole, hardly-nail-biting business accomplished nothing else it momentarily diverted attention away from the big budget fight coming up, the one that will probably shape the country’s economic and social reality for decades to come.

Paul Ryan’s Plan: What’s Really at Stake

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Robert Reich: Obama must show America that the basic choice is between two fundamental views of this nation. Either we’re all in this together, or we’re a bunch of individuals who happen to live within these borders and are mainly on their own.

Double Dip Here We Come

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Republicans, for their part, worry that if they tell it like it is Americans will want government to do more rather than less. They’d rather not talk about jobs and wages, and put the focus instead on deficit reduction (or spread the lie that by reducing the deficit we’ll get more jobs and higher wages).

Issa’s Own Earmarks

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Lee Fang: Issa has said that an “earmark is tantamount to a bribe.” While Issa has handed out earmarks to his campaign donors in the past, in this case, he appears to be helping himself.

ATF Gun Ops May Have Led To 1,800 Deaths

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Andrea Nill: MSNBC reported that Mexican cartels are taking advantage of lax U.S. gun laws which the NRA has lobbied hard for. At that time, around 80 percent of the 90,000 weapons confiscated by Mexican authorities were purchased in the U.S.

Save Libraries? Tax Oil Producers? Stop Pay to Play?

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Wendy Block: Here is one conglomerated guide, the result of studying the few remaining newspapers, endorsements from the LA County Democratic Party, DPSFV, the League of Women Voters, the Courage Campaign and LA Progressive; plus analysis from several progressive Dem clubs and recommendations from electeds.

The Republican Shakedown

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Robert Reich: As long as Democrats refuse to talk about the almost unprecedented buildup of income, wealth, and power at the top – and the refusal of the super-rich to pay their fair share of the nation’s bills – Republicans will convince people it’s all about government and unions.

Is This What a Populist Movement Looks Like?

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Tina Dupuy: The Tea Party will tell you it’s not the government’s job to make life better for the middle class. Ok, fine. Then whose job is it? Oh, the unions. Which the Tea Party is also apparently against…because the Tea Party is anti-populist.

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon

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Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.

Report from an Unclear Front

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Bob Letcher: In the face of last year’s healthcare reform efforts, opponents screamed the inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”; now, it’s opponents of reducing collective bargaining rights for public employees who are screaming the still inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”.

Financial Journalism and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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Carl Bloice: Some critics have taken the author Stieg Larsson to task for spending time on the state of economic reporting, suggesting that dragging in the issues of the day distracts unnecessarily from the enjoyment of a good murder mystery. For me it was one of the book’s highlights.

When “Good” Dictators Go Bad

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Norman Solomon: And so, the secretary of state condemns awful Iran, invoking “our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it and the principles that ground it.” But don’t hold your breath for any such condemnation of, say, Saudi Arabia — surely an “awful” government that “routinely violates the rights of its people.”

Activist Judges Strike Again

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Stanley Kutler: Thomas sometimes seems more comfortable with the Articles of Confederation, the failed authorization for a national government that had preceded the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. If conservatives are said to look backward, then Thomas clearly owns the longest view.

Brewer Countersues Feds

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Andrea Nill: Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) announced that she is filing a countersuit against the federal government on behalf of the state of Arizona. The countersuit names several counts, including a “failure to protect Arizona from invasion.”

Obama Fights Fire with Gasoline

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Robert Reich: The President has to reframe the debate around the necessity of average families having enough to spend to get the economy moving again. He needs to remind America this is not 1995 but 2011 — and we’re still in a jobs crisis brought on by the bursting of a giant debt bubble and the implosion of total demand.

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