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.
Shamus Cooke: Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission attacks Social Security and Medicare. The retirement age would be raised from 67 to 68 (for those born after 1959) and from 68 to 69 (for those born after 2006). But current retirees will be affected too. The social security cost of living adjustment will be unhinged from the inflation index, meaning, payments will decrease via inflation.
Tracy Emblem: Americans should be angered because they lost good-paying American jobs, and American taxpayers unwittingly through federal foreign aid helped pay for the development of roads, utilities, and manufacturing plants in foreign countries competing for U.S. workers’ jobs.
Shamus Cooke: The massive One Nation demonstration in Washington, D.C. proved that unions and other progressive groups can unite under a set of demands. But uniting for one demonstration is not enough.
Ron Wolff: So, will someone please explain to me how CEOs getting wealthy and average workers being cheated out of hard-earned wages is part of the American dream?
Robert Reich: John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”
“The Party of No doesn’t want the union vote, the working family vote,” AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said at the AFL-CIO-sponsored Battleground States Conference. “They want us all to stay at home out of frustration.”
Steve Hochstadt: Those who want government to go away, or at least get a lot smaller, seem to have two ideas about how to shrink government: Cut out the “waste” and let private companies take over many of its functions. Their assumption is that the private sector can do these jobs better and cheaper. Is that true?
James C. Cobb: Members of this abandoned Southern proletariat may still live far better than the average Bangladeshi can imagine, but their shattered self-esteem and dashed hopes are surely at some level a universal indication of what to expect when economic development is allowed to become an end in itself rather than the means to a developed society.