Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Invisible Social Security Cuts: Now You See Them, Now You Don't (2 comments)
Congress has cut 14 out of the last 16 SSA budget requests. There's only one rational explanation for that: a hostility toward government itself, combined with the determination to place more public resources in corporate hands through "privatization." It's a simple game. Slash funding for well-run government programs, then use the resulting chaos as "evidence" that "government isn't the solution, it's the problem."
Monday, April 7, 2014 Is Charles Koch "Un-American"? Let Thomas Jefferson Decide (5 comments)
What Koch calls "character assassination," others would describe as a simple recounting of the facts. Koch and his brother David are known for injecting massive amounts of their (partially inherited) wealth into the political process, academia, and propaganda in order to promote their right-wing (and self-serving) point of view.
Friday, April 4, 2014 McCutcheon, the Majority, and the Challenge of Our Time
One compelling way to look at the Supreme Court's McCutcheon ruling is by contrasting its immediate and long-term effects with the American people's aspirations for their government. They are at cross purposes. Even before this ruling, 64 percent of those polled believed that our country's economic rules unfairly favor the rich. This ruling will rig the game even further.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 Bill Clinton and Steny Hoyer: The "Wall Street Democrats" Fight Back (2 comments)
There's a struggle underway over the future of the Democratic Party. The populist movement has scored some significant recent wins, including the electoral victories of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Its ideas resonate with the public. But the remarks from Clinton and Hoyer demonstrate that the party's Wall Street wing is still riding tall in the saddle despite its discredited ideas.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 The Cost of Empire, in Ukraine and at Home
Long-term unemployment remains at crisis levels. Wage stagnation is strangling the middle class, and debate over minimum-wage legislation is also being sidelined for this imperial posturing. We urgently need a national debate about economic policy. Instead we're treated to endless empty tirades from the likes of Lindsay Graham and John McCain in the Senate, and from Sarah Palin and her ilk in the media circus.
Sunday, March 23, 2014 Bernie Madoff Sounds a Lot Like These Angry Billionaires (1 comments)
Some of the most powerful and wealthy people in America are feeling persecuted. The Langone/Perkins crowd is powerful, angry, afraid and unrepentant. That doesn't bode well -- for them or anyone else. Many of these angry billionaires have earned their wealth through intelligence and hard work. They've also been lucky, and have been aided by the society whose citizens they now castigate in the harshest terms.
Friday, February 28, 2014 Has the Left Surrendered? The Overdue Conversation We Need (84 comments)
For too long, the American left has identified so deeply with their rulers that they deny themselves the permission to work toward, or even to dream about, a better future for themselves. It needs to unleash its own imagination and courage. It must broaden its vision of what is possible so that it can break the bonds of impossibility.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 The President Says the "Era of Austerity" Is Over -- Is It? (1 comments)
Obama declared inequality "the defining moral challenge of our time." Early reports about the White House budget show no signs of such broad moral sweep or scope. The language is bold. But, the proposals don't match up. It's one thing to proclaim the "end of the era of austerity." It's another to explain precisely what that era was, why it came into being, and what we've learned from its tragic failures.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 Reagan Remembered: The Failed Legacy of Our First Corporate Politician (1 comments)
Reagan, who would mock "special interests" in his first inaugural speech, then became a spokesperson for one of the most powerful of them -- doctors. He deployed scare tactics, hard-right imagery and merciless Red-baiting in a failed attempt to defeat Medicare. That program, along with Social Security, is one of the most successful and popular government programs in American history.
Thursday, January 30, 2014 On Wall Street, Sounds of Silence From the President (1 comments)
The president didn't mention the enormous fines and settlements banks have paid in the past year as the result of the fraudulent behavior. Leaving aside the issue of whether those payments were sufficient, one would think the president might have touted them -- if only as a modest first step. But they weren't mentioned. Even JPMorgan Chase's record payouts for fraud -- $20 billion in a single year -- went unremarked.
Sunday, January 26, 2014 Crime Doesn't Pay? JPMorgan Chase Begs to Differ (7 comments)
Stock prices are based on expectation. As Dimon made it clear he could negotiate cheaper settlements with the government than expected -- that is, settlements that were less fair toward the banks victims -- the stock market rewarded him for his ability to manipulate the political and regulatory system on behalf of his own fraudulent bank.
Friday, January 24, 2014 They're Fast-Tracking the Future, TPP Style -- But We Can Stop Them
The "TPP," or Trans-Pacific Partnership, is our nation's newest proposed trade deal. It was negotiated without democratic input, and they're trying to ram it through Congress the same way. Like NAFTA before it, the TPP would kill jobs. It would also cause lasting harm to democracy, here in the United States and around the world.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 How Wall Street Won the War (And What Happens Next) (1 comments)
The Republican Party is still a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, the kind of place where a GOP Banking Committee chair feels free to say that "Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks." Too many Democrats are also eager to play along, too. That's how "bipartisan" deregulation gets passed -- and how bankers escape indictment.
Saturday, January 18, 2014 For the GOP, an Abyss Instead of Ideas (13 comments)
The Republican Party may not have an ideology anymore, but it still has an agenda: the continued enrichment of the corporations and billionaires that finance it, at the expense of everyone else. Democrats would be wise to stop celebrating the deals they strike with these folks, at least until they explain the absurd things they were forced to do to get those deals.
Friday, January 10, 2014 Chris Christie Is the True Face of the Republican Party (3 comments)
The GOP's culture is shockingly insensitive to the human consequences of its actions. George W. Bush "joked" about not finding weapons of mass destruction after hundreds of thousands of people died under false pretenses in Iraq. Christie joked that he was no longer in the "traffic study" business. "I am not a bully" -- Pure Nixon. Grandiosity, paired with a refusal to accept responsibility -- Pure Cheney.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 The War on Poverty is Our Moral Challenge Now (1 comments)
The War on Poverty isn't an isolated struggle. Even as we've made progress against poverty, we've fallen back on other fronts. Employment, especially long-term unemployment, is at record highs for the modern era. Higher education is increasingly expensive. We are living in an increasingly inequitable economy. Each of these developments makes it more difficult to fight our war against poverty.
Monday, January 6, 2014 The Generations Should Fight Their Retirement Battles Together
The generational war is a hoax. In this global economy the fight for retirement security should unite us, not divide us, across barriers of age and race. The generations share a common agenda: for job creation, stronger Social Security, and economic equality; and against job-killing and wage-suppressing trade deals, usurious debt, and runaway banks.
Saturday, January 4, 2014 "Jobs or Inequality"? That's No Choice at All (6 comments)
Inequality is the result of economic forces such as increased financial speculation, financialization of economic profits, deregulation, trade policy, tax breaks, and other government policies which favor the wealthy and corporate interests. These forces have also led to today's high levels of unemployment and poverty.
Monday, December 30, 2013 Social Security: The Social Contract's Comeback Year? (3 comments)
Why is Social Security such a target? A number of government programs embody our social contract. Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, food assistance -- each reflects the vision of a society which recognizes that its shared interests are reflected in the safety and well-being of each of its members. But perhaps no program in this country reflects the social contract more clearly than Social Security.
Thursday, December 26, 2013 What America Would Look Like If Libertarians Got Their Way (51 comments)
You've heard it from Sen. Rand Paul and other conservatives this winter: unemployment benefits increase unemployment. It's an enormously destructive idea, though absurd on its face. It's like the argument that hospitals create sick people; after all, there are so many of them there. We usually consider such thinking "primitive" in modern societies.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 2014 Will Be The Year of "Economic Populism." Then What? (8 comments)
There will come a time when the American people demand, not just discussion and research, but solutions. What happens in today's debates could determine whether or not voters are able to vote for policies which represent their interests, in 2014 and the election years which follow.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Third Way's Anti-Populist, Anti-Warren and Deceptive "Dead End"
The predations of Wall Street banking firms -- many of whom provide funding for Third Way and sit on its board -- crashed the economy in 2008, throwing millions of people out of work and leaving millions more underemployed. Jobless people don't contribute to Social Security, and underemployed people contribute less than they normally would.
Monday, December 2, 2013 "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally" In the Minimum Wage Fight (1 comments)
The minimum wage struggle is occurring at the intersection of powerful forces. It's taking place at a time of growing economic inequality, the erosion of working people's rights, and the globalization of an economic oligarchy whose scope of power is unprecedented in modern times.
Thursday, November 28, 2013 A Walmart Thanksgiving, by Charles Dickens
"A pretty high energy day" for employees. That's how a Walmart executive described Thanksgiving after the corporation announced that this year's "Black Friday" would begin on Thursday evening, leaving many of its workers unable to spend the holiday with family or friends.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10 Things We Learned (or Re-Learned) In Chase's Latest Fraud Deal (1 comments)
If you steal something and don't have to give it back when you're caught, you'll keep right on stealing. It's called "deterrence" in professional circles. Speaking of deterrence: Until a senior bank executive goes to prison, as more than 800 did after the much smaller savings and loan scandal, things aren't likely to change very much -- at JPMorgan Chase or any other big bank.
Monday, November 18, 2013 For Democrats, a Tax-the-Rich Road to Victory (4 comments)
The conclusion is inescapable: if Democrats make this budget battle a fight over who has the smartest spending cuts, they're fighting on the Republicans' turf. That will weaken them as they enter the 2014 campaigns. But if they make this a fight over taxes and jobs, that's a fight they can win.
Friday, November 15, 2013 The Hearing: Reality, Delusion, and the Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve was created by the American people. It should serve their interests, not those of the bankers it regulates. Yellen, a mainstream economist, isn't likely to transform it into the central bank our nation needs. Janet Yellen will be a good Chair for today's Federal Reserve. But the Federal Reserve needs to change.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Something's Happening Here: The Minimum-Wage Wave (1 comments)
Fast food corporations are increasing their profits by refusing to pay their workers a living wage. And taxpayers are subsidizing their profits, along with the misery of their workers, to the tune of billions of dollars a year nationwide. Voters understand this. Where is the political party organizing around this issue? If none can be found, isn't it time to support the workers' movement which is organizing around it?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 The Shamelessness of Bankers (1 comments)
How can legal safeguards be maintained when the money these institutions spend taints the political process from beginning to end? How can bank executives learn "respect for law, regulation and the public trust" when they are subject to the flattery of journalists, rather than the scrutiny of journalists?
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Beware: Huge Media Companies Are Selling Corporate Ideology as the "New American Center" (8 comments)
The Esquire/NBC News poll shows that 42% of respondents said they agreed with the statement that "financial reform should only be used to curb abuses, and shouldn't interfere with banks' and investors' ability to make profits." Esquire's editors say that journalists and advisers "better be substantive" and "leave their hobbyhorses at home." This study fails on both counts. If a "bleeding heart" won't tell you, who will?
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Debunking the Spin: Voters Want Change, Not "Centrism" (1 comments)
The Republican Party is, not to put too fine a point on it, going insane. That's an opportunity for Democrats. Will their party run with an uninspiring and unpopular "centrist" agenda, and pray that their opponents will always be as incompetent as Cuccinelli? Or will they build an agenda for the future, based on the world -- and the electorate?
Friday, November 1, 2013 Confirm Mel Watt Now
The Senate's role in presidential nominations is usually described as "advise and consent," not "obstruct and prevent." Republicans are afraid that Rep. Watt might "take more aggressive steps to help the housing market, such as reducing principal on mortgages." That would cut into Wall Street's profits. As the old saying goes: Follow the money.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 A Four-Point "Scorecard" for the Budget Talks
The House-Senate budget negotiations, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, are an opportunity for our leaders to finally have a meaningful discussion about healing our damaged economy. That's the discussion Washington should have been having all along, but which it hasn't had yet.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 7 Reasons to Take 7 Seconds to Save Social Security and Medicare
The president's latest budget does include cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: the chained CPI benefit cuts; $57 billion in increased out-of-pocket contributions from Medicare enrollees; $306 billion in reduced Medicare provider reimbursements; and $19 billion in Medicaid cuts. No wonder Republicans see entitlement cuts as the "smarter spending cuts" to help forge common ground with Democratic negotiating partners.
Saturday, October 26, 2013 If the ACA Rollout Seems Rough, Wait Until the Right "Reforms" Medicare (1 comments)
Be careful, Republicans! Every critique you offer against the ACA rollout is a damning indictment of your own vision for privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Whether you want to call the customer service line at your private health insurer, or are eager to slam the healthcare.gov website, our advice to you is the same: Don't go there.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Why JPMorgan Chase Doesn't Deserve Your Sympathy
This deal was not hammered out in a back room in some dusty courthouse, as the suspects sweated under the glare of naked light bulbs. It came about because Jamie Dimon called Attorney General Eric Holder four hours before the Justice Department was going to announce new civil charges against his bank -- we wonder how he got wind of that, exactly?
Monday, October 21, 2013 The Road From Here: What About Medicare and Social Security? (9 comments)
The posturing has begun. The position taken by Durbin, and apparently by the President as well, is that Republicans must agree to tax increases in return for entitlement cuts. Republicans say they're willing to give up the harmful cuts known as sequestration -- and only those cuts -- in return for Social Security and Medicare benefit reductions.
Friday, October 18, 2013 Winning The Peace: The Post-Shutdown Challenge (1 comments)
Congratulations are in order. The President vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, and he was as good as his word. He stood up to the closet ideologues of the artificial "center," the ones who unwisely argued that being the "adult in the room" meant surrendering to the tantrums of children.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 As Republicans Fight a Civil War, An Economy Hangs in the Balance (1 comments)
If Republicans remain deadlocked, or if the Tea Partiers prevail, we could be facing a full-scale depression. But that realization could leave us in the odd position of rooting for the corporate interests. It's true that they're a safer and more predictable adversary, because they're rational and won't let the economy collapse. But their greed is profound and their resources all but limitless.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Republicans Discover Government, Promptly Convene "Imperial Congress" (3 comments)
Democrats have already made too many concessions. They're right to stand up to the Imperial Congress. But that won't be enough. It's time for the people to take their government back from the extremists, before their empire collapses and takes us all down with it.
Thursday, October 3, 2013 The GOP's Shutdown Tab: One Billion Dollars and Counting
Fox News' editors and television personalities have taking to describing the shutdown as a "slimdown." Their amusement won't be shared by the mothers of hungry children in Arkansas, where 85,000 meals for lower-income kids will not be served as a result of the GOP's actions.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 Republicans Win Standoff, Shoot Hostages Anyway (2 comments)
A party that has been cynical and greedy for a long time has now become something even more disturbing: It has become irrational. This is no longer a hostage negotiation. It has become something far more unpredictable, and much more frightening. Republicans have come full circle from when Ronald Reagan proclaimed "it's morning in America." It's midnight in John Boehner's America and the shutdown has officially begun.
Thursday, September 26, 2013 Thanks For Asking, Fix the Debt! (1 comments)
One of the most insidious effects of Fix the Debt and its many sister groups has been to shift the national conversation from our real crises -- massive unemployment, poverty (especially child poverty), and the wage stagnation which is killing our middle class.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 Your Household Lost Seven Thousand Dollars Last Year. Where Did It Go? (3 comments)
It's shameful when a nation whose wealthiest individuals saw their income increase by one-third in a single year allows 15 percent of its people to live in poverty. It's shameful when a nation with record corporate profits allows those corporations to pay a tax rate that's near its 60-year low while more than one in five of its children live in poverty.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Memo to Washington: The Occupy Movement Is Very Much Alive (8 comments)
The Occupy movement isn't dead. It lives on in the political will of the American people. They want a president and a party that will represent the 99 percent, not the 1 percent who write campaign checks and give them cushy post-government jobs. Summers' failure was their latest memo to our leaders in Washington, and here's what it said: If you won't fight for us, we'll find somebody who will.
Thursday, September 12, 2013 11 Questions You Should Ask Libertarians to See if They're Hypocrites (20 comments)
They call themselves "realists" but rely on fanciful theories that have never predicted real-world behavior. They claim that selfishness makes things better for everybody, when history shows exactly the opposite is true. They claim that a mythical "free market" is better at everything than the government is, yet when they really need government protection, they're the first to clamor for it.
Monday, September 9, 2013 The Larry Summers Confirmation Hearing Would Be a Political Nightmare (1 comments)
There's a knotty procedural problem. Summers' appointment has to pass the 22-member Senate Banking Committee before moving on to the full Senate. Democrats have a two-member majority on that committee, but three Democratic Senators have already said they will not vote for Summers. The three -- Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Sherrod Brown -- are highly respected by the Democratic base.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Contemplating War (1 comments)
The debate we're about to have will affect the lives of many people, and will determine whether fellow human beings live or die. A decision this grave can't be made in haste, or out of anger. It must be considered and discussed carefully and thoroughly. There are moments in history when we're called upon to act as if the future is watching us -- because it is.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 Cynicism is Corporate America's Greatest Weapon. Disarm It. (1 comments)
our national security system's definition of "terrorism" has become so broad that it apparently now includes lawful and peaceful protests by citizens exercising their constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly. That seems like a sign of totalitarian behavior. But it's also a sign of fear. A mobilized public can change the world at any moment. Those who oppose your cause know that.
Monday, August 19, 2013 Don't Get Complacent About Social Security -- They Still Want to Cut It
If you expect to depend on Social Security, now would be a good time to get worried -- and get active. If you're a Democrat who cares about the political fate of your party, complacency about Social Security would be an even bigger mistake. The president's misguided notions about a Social Security deal may well have cost Democrats the House in 2010.
Friday, August 16, 2013 The "Bankization" of America (2 comments)
The financialization of the U.S. economy is the result of very deliberate governmental choices. Unless different choices are made going forward, we will continue to become a "Bankistan" whose wealth and economic fate is increasingly hijacked by Wall Street.
Monday, August 12, 2013 8 Signs the Rich Have WAY Too Much Money (2 comments)
Wall Street greed and criminality caused the crisis of 2008, but government efforts since then have concentrated on rescuing banks, and on boosting stock market performance and other forms of profitability for corporations. And it shows: Corporate earnings have risen by more than 20 percent each year on average since then, while disposable income has only risen by a meager 1.4 percent on average.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Which Jeff Bezos Is Buying the Washington Post?
Jeff Bezos isn't likely to become the Post's Perry White. He'll probably stick to being the publisher. He could become an important one. The best kind of publisher any editor could want is the kind who backs his team when the pressure's on -- from the government, from powerful business interests, from anyone who doesn't want the truth to be told.
Monday, August 5, 2013 Fighting the GOP's Hateful Agenda -- Without Hate (3 comments)
Republicans turned the filibuster and other procedural rules from rarely-invoked options into routinely deployed paralyzing maneuvers. Republicans under Mitch McConnell have transformed the Senate from a collegial body into an armed camp, and effectively changed it from a body which employs majority rule into one in which a minority can block any piece of legislation.
Thursday, August 1, 2013 The New Economic Math = Jobs
Republicans are still ignoring reality. They're trying to extend and even double down on the sequester's destructive spending cuts, despite the economic evidence -- and despite our crumbling infrastructure. It's time to invest in jobs, as well as roads, highways, bridges, and schools.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Bankers: The Real House Thieves of New Jersey
The "Real House Thieves of New Jersey," and of the nation -- America's big banks -- continue to enjoy the fruits of government assistance. That aid's moved from direct bailouts to indirect subsidies like the implicit market advantage that comes with being "too big to fail"; immunity from prosecution; low tax rates as corporations and as individuals; and a string of cushy settlement deals.
Saturday, July 27, 2013 A Surprise Ending for Larry Summers and the Fed? (1 comments)
The President is very forgiving of Summers' flaws, which include his apparently shocking attitudes toward women, his spectacular failure to foresee the financial crisis, his pivotal role in deregulation, the many millions he's made from the same Wall Street bankers he'd have to regulate, and his long record as a bully to subordinates, peers, and colleagues.
Thursday, July 25, 2013 Tom Friedman: A New Ayn Rand for A Dark Digital Future (4 comments)
Thomas Friedman is the perfect mirror for the undeserved self-infatuation which has infected our corporate, media, and political class. He's the chief fabulist of the detached elite, the unfettered Id of the global aristocracy, the Horatio Alger of self-deluded, self-serving, self-promoting techno-hucksterism.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 A Federal Bailout For Detroit's Pensions? (4 comments)
If Detroit fails it will hurt our nation as a whole. It will send a message to minority and urban youth that their futures are as hopeless as they seem and the country doesn't care. It will add to a national atmosphere of hopelessness and decay. And we will have missed an opportunity to turn the tide for America's cities.
Friday, July 19, 2013 McDonald's Accidentally Served Up a Minimum Wage "McManifesto" (1 comments)
McDonald's should join the wage movement it so ably served this week, because economic misery is hurting its bottom line in the US and worldwide. And while its new and successful "dollar menu" shows that it's willing to profit from hard times, that's only a short-term fix in a declining economy. Pay your workers what they deserve, McDonald's. Every dollar makes a difference.