Sin and Shame

 Posted by at 17:49  economy, Politics
Jul 312010
 

Have you ever wondered, as I have, why it is that corporate profits in the last eighteen months or so have been going through roof yet unemployment in the United States seems to have stagnated at around nine and a half percent? Where is all this “trickle down” that our Republicans keep talking about?

Your reading assignment for this weekend is Bob Herbert’s New York Times op-ed:

A Sin and a Shame

The treatment of workers by American corporations has been worse — far more treacherous — than most of the population realizes. There was no need for so many men and women to be forced out of their jobs in the downturn known as the great recession.

Many of those workers were cashiered for no reason other than outright greed by corporate managers. And that cruel, irresponsible, shortsighted policy has resulted in widespread human suffering and is doing great harm to the economy.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Andrew Sum, an economics professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “Not only did they throw all these people off the payrolls, they also cut back on the hours of the people who stayed on the job.”

As Professor Sum studied the data coming in from the recession, he realized that the carnage that occurred in the workplace was out of proportion to the economic hit that corporations were taking. While no one questions the severity of the downturn — the worst of the entire post-World War II period — the economic data show that workers to a great extent were shamefully exploited. …

There can be no robust recovery as long as corporations are intent on keeping idle workers sidelined and squeezing the pay of those on the job.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Germany and Japan, because of a combination of government and corporate policies, suffered far less worker dislocation in the recession than the U.S. Until we begin to value our workers, and understand the critical importance of employment to a thriving economy, we will continue to see our standards of living decline.

Click on the headline to read the entire column.

UPDATE: Also read “The crisis of middle-class America.”
 

Weekly Address 07-31-10

 Posted by at 08:59  Politics
Jul 312010
 

“Good News on Autos, Obstruction on Small Business”

From the White House weblog:

President Obama praises the successes of the auto industry restructuring as good news for our economy, and calls on Republican leaders in the Senate to “stop holding America’s small businesses hostage to politics” by blocking a vote to help them create jobs.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.

Continue reading »

Jul 302010
 

Please click to make them bigger or to view a slide show.

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britt072910.jpg   englehart072610.jpg   englehart072910.jpg

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judge072610.jpg   judge073010.jpg   keefe073010.jpg

matson072710.jpg   morin072610.jpg   sack072810.jpg

siers072710.jpg

As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.

Bonus video (may not be viewable outside of the United States):


 

The View 07-29-10

 Posted by at 20:23  Politics
Jul 292010
 

President Barack Obama made history again today. He became the first sitting United States President to appear on a daytime television talk show. He chose “The View.” One cannot help but admire his courage…

I’d have to say that the ladies of The View (and their audience) were completely charmed. Even Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
 

Campaign finance disclosure

 Posted by at 20:10  Politics
Jul 262010
 

Tomorrow the United States Senate will vote on the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would require corporations and special interests who finance political advertising to disclose their identities in those ads (undoing some of the damage done by the Roberts Court’s Citizens United ruling). The House of Representatives has already passed this bill. President Obama went to the Rose Garden today to urge the Senate to follow suit…

It now appears that the Republicans in the Senate will do the will of their corporate masters and block action on this bill. As the President said today “On issue after issue, we are trying to move America forward, and they keep on trying to take us back.”

Read the transcript of President Obama’s remarks following the break.

Continue reading »

Jul 262010
 

If this list does not convince you that the middle class in America is dead and gone, nothing will…

  • 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  • 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
  • 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  • 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  • A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  • 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
  • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  • The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  • Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  • In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  • The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
  • In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
  • More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
  • This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
  • Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
  • Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
  • The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

It really is fun watching the rich white Republicans go on the TV talk shows and argue against allowing the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans to expire or claim that reinstating the inheritance tax (which less than 1% of Americans will ever pay) will lead to the demise of the country. It’s hilarious watching them argue against everything that President Obama is trying to do dig us out of the whole that George W. Bush (enabled by these same Republicans) dug us into, especially when they have no ideas of their own other than going back to those same Bush policies.

Go back and read through that list again. That’s the Republican Plan.
 

Weekly Address 07-24-10

 Posted by at 09:29  economy, Politics
Jul 242010
 

“Moving Forward on the Economy vs. Moving Backward”

From the White House weblog:

Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans.

“The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage. But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction. We are moving forward. And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.”

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.

Continue reading »

Jul 232010
 

Clicking on them will make them bigger or allow you view a slide show.

bagley071810.jpg   bagley072210.jpg   beeler072110.jpg

bennett072210.jpg   branch072210.jpg   cohen071910.jpg

darcy072110.jpg   darkow072110.jpg   englehart072110.jpg

horsey072310.jpg   judge071910.jpg   lowe072110.jpg

margulies072310.jpg   matson071810.jpg   morin072110.jpg

plante072110.jpg   plante072210.jpg   rogers071810.jpg

rogers072310.jpg   siers072110.jpg

As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.
 

The Huckabee Show

 Posted by at 14:50  Politics, Republicans
Jul 222010
 

I have to admit that this bothers me just a little…

huckabee_monday_leader_KDFW.jpg

KDFW is our local FOX affiliate, the same station that brings us “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.” It is public broadcast television. It does not require a cable or satellite subscription.

KDFW, beginning next Monday, will be airing “The Huckabee Show” from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

It just seems to me that political talk shows, particularly extreme right wing political talk shows, should be restricted to the cable network — you know, FOX News. That’s what it’s there for, right? I mean, what’s next… Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? All in all, though, I believe I am taking this rather well. Can you imagine how the Republicans would be screaming if KXAS, our local NBC affiliate, starting airing Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow?