Showing posts from April, 2012



Where have we heard this before?

Businesses aren’t investing in the United States because of a lack of consumer demand, International Paper CEO John Faraci said Friday."I think this was all about consumer spending and demand. You know, the problem we have is there's inadequate demand to create jobs. We know how to respond when there is demand," he said on CNBC’s "The Kudlow Report." (source)It was a no-brainer back in August 2010 - it's a no-brainer now.

No end in sight? Maybe not.

James Surowiecki, writing in The New Yorker:Being unemployed is even more disastrous for individuals than you’d expect. Aside from the obvious harm—poverty, difficulty paying off debts—it seems to directly affect people’s health, particularly that of older workers. A study by the economists Till von Wachter and Daniel Sullivan found that among experienced male workers who lost their jobs during the 1981-82 recession mortality rates soared in the year after the layoffs. And the effects of unemployment linger. Many studies have shown that the lifetime earnings of workers who become unemployed during a recession are permanently reduced, and von Wachter and Sullivan found that mortality rates among laid-off workers were much higher than average even twenty years afterward.Unemployment doesn’t hurt just the unemployed, though. It’s bad for all of us. Jobless workers, having no income, aren’t paying taxes, which adds to the budget deficit. More important, when a substantial portion of the w…

When did this become acceptable?

(Milwaukee Police) Chief Flynn recounted pleading with a state senator to include a provision in Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law that would ban habitual criminal offenders from obtaining permits. The senator, he said, told him, “Here’s the phone number of the National Rifle Association lobbyist in Washington, D.C. If it’s O.K. with him, it will be O.K. with us.” The provision was not included, Chief Flynn said. (source)

One chance

As a New Yorker who watched from midtown as the towers fell; who had family in the vicinity of the attack; who was stunned into disbelief at the audaciousness of the attack, all I can say is... well done, President Obama. You earned my vote.

Bernie Buzz: An American Oligarchy?

From Senator Bernie Sanders' latest Bernie Buzz newsletter:At a time when the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing and the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, many Americans are wondering whether this country is moving toward an oligarchic form of government where a handful of very wealthy people control the economic and political life of the nation. At a time when the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million people, it was not surprising to learn from a recent study that between 2009 and 2010, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers. Additionally, it is extremely disturbing that because of the absurd Citizens United Supreme Court decision, many of these billionaires are now using their money to strengthen their political hold on the country. "This is not what democracy looks like. This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like," Bernie said.

A(nother) GOP Lie

"He had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate for his first two years," Romney said of Obama. Politicians running for national office should know better than that.Grade schoolers know better than that.Anyone who ever watched Schoolhouse Rock knows better than that.Remember this little fellow? Let's review - a bill has to go through the House, then the Senate, before the President can sign it.In the House, a bill needs a simple majority to pass.In the Senate, a bill has to meet two hurdles: the Senate has to agree to end debate, and then they can vote on the bill. That's where the filibuster and cloture motions come in.This op-ed piece in the New York Times describes the current state of the Senate perfectly:Before 1975, it took two-thirds of the Senate to end a filibuster, but it was the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" filibuster: if senators wanted to stop a vote, they had to bring in the cots and the coffee and read from Grandma’s recipe for chicken s…

Images of the Day, General Election Cycle Edition

For your consideration:1. from Steve Benen at The Rachel Maddow Blog: 2. circulated via the Internet: 3. from Democratic Underground:

An economic recovery that leaves workers further behind

Companies aren't creating jobs. They're not paying taxes, either. Why is the GOP on their side?Harold Myerson, writing in The Washington Post:Hiring has picked up in manufacturing, but manufacturing wages are falling nonetheless. The standard wage at Midwestern auto factories has declined from around $28 an hour to $15 an hour for workers hired during the past two years. New hires have their hourly wages contractually capped around $19, no matter how long they may work for the automakers. But the plunge in wages hasn't stopped at $15. At a new high-tech locomotive plant in Muncie, Ind., Caterpillar is hiring workers at $12 an hour. (Personal note: Caterpillar is the company that locked out workers over their refusal to take a 50% wage cut. Caterpillar later closed the plant and moved the work to Muncie.) That's $24,000 a year — let's say $30,000 with overtime, if there's overtime — to assemble some of the most sophisticated machinery that this country builds. T…

Right To Work... For Minimum Wage

"Right To Work" states lead the nation in minimum wage jobs.One argument for "right to work" laws is that they will create jobs. What kind of jobs are they?To answer the question, let's look at the statistics: this is the percent of workers paid hourly rates, at or below minimum wage. When you sort the table by "At Minimum Wage," 17 of the top 21 states are right-to-work states. When you sort by "Below Minimum Wage," 12 of the top 22 states are right-to-work states.StateTotal Percent% At Min. Wage% Below Min. WageClick a column heading to sort by that categorySource: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2011," Table 3 - by StateAlabama6.503.702.70Alaska1.900.501.40Arizona5.601.304.30Arkansas6.604.402.10California1.600.601.00Colorado4.000.703.30Connecticut2.900.502.40Delaware5.201.403.80District of Columbia4.301.103.20Florida6.301.904.40Georgia9.605.104.50Hawaii4.702.502.20Idaho5.003.201.80Illinois3.…

Economix: The Enduring Consequences of Unemployment

From The New York Times Economix blog:"People who lose jobs, even if they eventually find new ones, suffer lasting damage to their earnings potential, their health and the prospects of their children. And the longer it takes to find a new job, the deeper the damage appears to be."This is a must-read, must-forward article.