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.
Lydia Howell: Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs while corporate “persons” get subsidies and tax cuts and are in effect made exempt from law supposedly governing such offenses as pollution and worker safety.
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.
Robert Reich: The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
Steve Hochstadt: The voters spoke in November: They picked Quinn and a tax increase over Brady and no new taxes. One reason is that Brady could not identify for voters where he would cut much spending. The opponents of taxes did not propose any reasonable alternative to raising taxes to solve Illinois’ debt crisis.
Joseph Palermo: Whatever President Obama accomplished during his first two years in office, with most of the heavy lifting thrown on Nancy Pelosi’s shoulders, his decision to normalize the sweeping changes in American governance of the George W. Bush period will likely neutralize any lasting positive effects for Democrats.
Robert Reich: In political terms, a strong stand enables the President to clearly demonstrate who’s side he’s on (the working and middle class that’s still bearing the brunt of this lousy economy) and who’s side the Republicans are on (the powerful and privileged who brought much of this on, and who are now doing just fine).
Norman Solomon: Deficit commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are pushing scenarios that would undermine Social Security, while all sorts of contorted rationales are in the air for continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
TEd Vaill: The Republicans should remember that the vote in the 2010 elections, especially in Middle America, was not a vote of support for them, as their approval rating is worse than the Democrats, but it is a sign of huge discontent: a house that is underwater, with no relief from their crushing mortgage debt in sight, a job that has vanished or is in danger of being shipped overseas, diminishing hope that they will be able to afford to send their kids to college, and a feeling that their government has turned a blind eye to their problems.
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.
Robert Reich: The President says a Republican proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone for two years is a “basis for conversation.” I hope this doesn’t mean another Obama cave-in.