Walter Brasch: Good presidents do what is best for the country. Great presidents, however, do not only what is best for the people, but are also willing to speak to the courage of their beliefs, of their principles, even if it may be unpopular among many of their constituencies.
Shamus Cooke: Thanks to years of right-wing propaganda — and labor union inertia — millions of Americans are “union skeptics,” unsure as to the nature of the union animal.
Robert Reich: The deal the President struck with Republican leaders is an abomination. It’s larger than the bailout of Wall Street, GM, and Chrysler put together, larger than the stimulus package, larger than anything that’s come out of Washington in years. The president needs new advisors.
Carl Bloice: Reflect on the sudden, shocking awareness that that one third of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are prepared to let 2 million people – victims of an economic crisis not of their making – face the holidays with no income.
Marian Wang: Not extending federal unemployment insurance, it noted, would cause 2 million unemployed workers to be cut off from federal unemployment benefits by the end of the year.
Jerry Drucker: Social Security has proven to be the greatest and most successful national social program ever created in the history of the world. The question becomes, why should we Americans feel insecure about Social Security? The trust fund today is secure and will be paying out at the current rates for at least 21 years from now. Well then if it’s not broken
Carl Bloice: If Congress does not vote over the next week and a half to re-authorize federal unemployment benefits through next year, before they expire November 30, nearly 2 million women and men and their families will face a dismal holiday season.
Joseph Palermo: After a decade of stagnant or declining real wages, “bipartisan” schemes are proliferating to shift the burden of Washington policymakers’ own catastrophic mismanagement of the nation’s fiscal policies right onto the shoulders of working people.
David Love: Although the history still has yet to be written on the Obama presidency, it looks as if the second coming of F.D.R. ain’t gonna happen just yet. There are very good intentions in this administration, mixed with conflicting allegiances and amateurism.
David Love: That anyone can actually utter the words “the recession is over” at a time of mass unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness and general despair tells you all you need to know about America. The nation actually exists as two nations: the few that have, and the many who don’t.
Sherwood Ross: Get it straight: the best remedy for what ails America is to pay working people fairly. It is the toil and dollars of the American people that made America great.
Bob Letcher: Unemployment compensation was conceived as a temporary solution to a temporary problem, getting people through the down part of one cycle to the up part of the next cycle; not as a long-term solution to a long-term structural problem.
Colin Gordon: As the House and Senate hammer together the controversial health-care bill, a historian of the issue warns that the new law may be doomed by the American system of treating government benefits as bought and paid for.