From Behind Bars to Law School

new orleans

Bruce Reilly: I came to New Orleans knowing but a few criminal justice activists, legal professionals, and some friends of friends. It was good to have folks who knew I had spent twelve years locked in prison.

How Austerity Is Ushering in a Global Recession

world-economy-wide

Robert Reich: Chalk up a big part of Europe’s slowdown to the politics and economics of austerity. Europe – including Britain – have turned John Maynard Keynes on his head. They’ve been cutting public spending just when they should be spending more to counteract slowing private spending.

Why Obama Can’t Pivot to Jobs

obama-gop-brink-wide

Robert Reich: The nation and Oba,ma remain hostage to the ideology of right-wing Republicans who won’t let the government spend more money. Yet if the government can’t spend more – at least this year and next, until the pump is primed and the economy is growing again – we won’t see job growth. And without job growth, the economy will remain anemic.

Across-the-Board Spending Cut Proposals Go Mainstream

political tribes

Ivan Eland: Deep down, both Republican and Democratic politicians believe something needs to be done about the monstrous and dangerous deficit and debt, but they are scared to do anything because, unfortunately, the American people want their government handouts but are unwilling to pay for them.

Prisons or Higher Education, Which Do We Fund?

Incarceration timeline

Sharon Kyle: Either large segments of the American population suddenly decided to engage in criminal activity or there were changes in sentencing law and prison policy that dramatically increased America’s prison population. Whatever the reason, states are spending more on prisons and less on higher education.

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon

boehner-budget

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.

Time for the CSU’s Top Brass to Look in the Mirror

students

Lillian Taiz: We think the CSU’s top managers should get their priorities straight. We don’t have spare dollars for pet projects and unnecessary perks. They must demonstrate that they will spend every taxpayer dollar on providing students with a quality education.

The Big Lie

death panels

Robert Reich: Americans no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full capacity. Since the debt bubble burst, most Americans have had to reduce their spending; they need to repay their debts, can’t borrow as before, and must save for retirement.

Not Another Year-End List!

media in crisis

Michael Sigman: So, to test the theory that my sense of self needn’t include the political shenanigans of the moment, my New Year’s resolutions are: a) To cut, by at least half, the time I spend following political news, polls, etc; and b) To actually do something — like organizing, phone banking or writing more for websites and newsletters.

A Tsunami of Money

Berry Craig: It was a tsunami of money triggered by the Supreme Court ruling that corporations could spend unlimited sums to elect or oppose candidates for public office.

Was This a Great Country or What?

Frustration

Tom Degan: Democrats got exactly what they deserved on Election Day 2010. So many of them have spent the last two years running like frightened rats from the legacy of their party.

PG&E Execs On Lavish Junket as San Bruno Exploded

san bruno fire

Randy Shaw: As the nation asks hard questions about PG&E’s funding priorities in the wake of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, the controversial corporation has a new question to answer. Specifically, why did it spend the money to fly execs down for a golfing junket in San Luis Obispo when there was no shortage of Bay Area locations for off-site meetings?

So I Got Laid Off

fired

Steve Ybarra: The Big O is doing what he said he was going to do. Am I the only one that noticed that the last combat brigade in Iraq came home? We got health care, we got bank reform, and we got money to fix stuff. The only problem is that the Republicants want to keep it from being spent.

Budget Cowardice Compounds Problem

deficit hawks

Steve Hochstadt: When conservative Republicans controlled Washington under George Bush, they spent government money on their pet projects with little regard for the long-term budgetary consequences. Now Republicans at the national level have made the deficit one of their major points of attack against the Democrats in preparation for the November elections.

Bush Recession Comes Home to Roost

tax chart

Adam Eran: Tax cuts caused the current budget deficit, not crazy spending. Local government revenues fell 57% after Proposition 13. Even more egregious, the consume-atives™ (they do not conserve), now complain that State funding for local governments to fill that revenue hole meddles too much in local affairs.

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.

Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Governement Spending

“Men…think in herds; …go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses…one by one.” — Charles MackayRepublican Assemblyman Roger Niello‘s recent editorial “Performance Based Budgeting Deserves a Look,” is his bid to appear as a man who has recovered his senses. In it, he reminds us that California’s state budget process is imperfect. The [...]

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