James Livingston: Why can’t the liberal Left answer the Right when budget deficits are the issue? Why are Democrats, Obama included, so eager to reduce spending on so-called entitlements?
Robert Reich: Even for Americans with jobs, wages are going nowhere. Basically, the only employers hiring are paying peanuts. McDonalds just announced it would start hiring big time.
Robert Reich: The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.
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.
Lydia Howell: Whether it’s debt-ridden college graduates working as baristas or small town youth with only fast-food and Wal-Mart as post-high school career options, high unemployment keeps a volunteer military ranks full.
Robert Reich: Obama won’t actively fight the budget battle if the current White House view of how he wins in 2012 continues to prevail.
Robert Reich: Problem is, when you pay ransom once, you’re almost begging to pay it again. And that’s exactly the pickle the Obama administration is finding itself in.
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.
Mark Dempsey: The U.S. currently spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military but less than 2% of its budget on humanitarian aid, even if clean water would do more to promote peace.
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.
Joseph Palmero: If you like the way things are in the United States today — with Gilded Age levels of inequality, weak labor unions, low-wage service jobs for most of the workforce, and a public sector that’s dying on the vine — then you can thank Ronald Reagan.