The only thing you need to know today, especially if you’re on the eastern seaboard, is that Republicans voted to cut FEMA’s budget by 55% this year. When disaster strikes and all the anti-government rhetoric and policymaking comes home to roost, FEMA may not be able to help Americans rebuild their homes and communities.
The storm is brought to us by Mother Nature. The disaster custom made by Republicans.
My take on the final showdown — by which I mean the default crisis, not Harry Potter… >> If you want to receive my adVantage Points every weekday morning in your inbox, email email@example.com
“Decision Time” Says Obama - story
If only we got a trillion dollars every time Republicans tried to pass the buck on the default crisis — we’d be out of the hole in no time! Republicans have already won just by the fact that we’re having this debate; and they’ve already exacted more cuts to vital spending than tax increases on the table. Republicans — putting the id in ideology.
Seriously, the 1-in-4 House Republicans who say they won’t vote to increase the debt ceiling no matter what are in blatant violation of the Constitution. Not to mention that running for government office with the intention of destroying government is treasonous.
Is Harry Potter A Better Fighter Than Obama? - story
This weekend, Harry Potter will finally destroy
My thoughts on Obama calling GOP bluff on debt, crumbling of Democratic liberalism, Immelt and Chamber of Commerce whining about “certainty” and Cisco firing people to grow profits >> If you want to receive my adVantage Points every weekday morning in your inbox, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Debt Talks Display Crumbling Of Democratic Liberalism
Raising the debt ceiling has absolutely nothing to do with future spending. In fact, in a sputtering economy where the private sector is sitting on record profits and capital reserves but not creating jobs, government spending that creates jobs rebuilding infrastructure and educating the next generation is the solution, not the problem. That Democrats are helping kill government investment, instead of defending it, is a nod to the long-term victory of conservative ideology over liberalism.
Obama Should Call Republicans’ Bluff – story
If Republicans refuse to raise taxes even modestly on the couple hundred Americans who are faring damn well in this economy, Obama should call their bluff and use his Constitutional power to honor our nation’s debts anyway — and impeaching the Republican leadership for violating their oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
Jobs vs. Profits: Cisco Considering Layoffs To Boost Earnings - story
These are the CEOs who need more tax breaks! Conservatives heralding the allegedly-free market as the fabled savior of both millionaires and working stiffs should take note that big business, left to its own devices, will very often chose profits over people. But hey, I’m sure that with real unemployment at 20%, those Cisco employees will have no problem finding new jobs — maybe making parts for corporate jets?
Kudos to Nona Willis Aronowitz and the sharp folks at GOOD Magazine for shedding light on a study that half of Americans who get government aid swear they don’t. You read that right folks — the very same people who receive Medicare and even welfare benefits, for crying out loud, deny that they benefit from government aid and keep right on repeating those anti-government conservative talking points. As if we needed any more evidence that we have entered a Twilight Zone-esque universe of anti-logic.
Here’s the chart from the Cornell study:
Half of people getting federal student loans don’t think they’ve ever used a government social program. Forty percent of Medicare recipients have no idea their health insurance is funded by the state. And 25 percent of the people receiving that emblem of All That Is Bad About Big Government, welfare, don’t connect that paycheck to the “enemy.” Given the fact that one in six Americans use anti-poverty programs alone, there’s a hell of a lot of people who are deluded about how much the government helps them out.
Aronowitz rightly argues the point isn’t (just) that these folks are hypocrites (though they are) but the larger cultural and political implications of a mindset that government help is about them not us. Part of the conservative attack on public spending and entitlement programs is to race bait the debate and suggest that only poor black people get help from government, when in fact government is overwhelmingly controlled by and manipulated for the benefit of wealthy white CEOs and big business. But even old grandmas and new entrepreneurs benefit from government.
In fact, I’d challenge anyone to come up with an example of supposedly individual success in America that didn’t benefit in some way from collective, government infrastructure. Go ahead, try me.
I am a Democrat. But more importantly, I am an American. And as President of the United States of America, I have put the economic needs of our entire nation ahead of the political agenda of my party. At times of great urgency, that is what great leaders do.
Your government has spent money, like it or not. And now, the bills are due. Our fundamental solvency and credibility depends on keeping our promises and paying those debts.
The private sector is, in fact, recovering. Corporate profits and CEO bonuses have once again reached record highs. And big businesses are sitting on billions, by some accounts, trillions of unspent capital. They’re piling up profits and not creating jobs. No one is blaming them for that. But at a time of anemic economic growth and opportunity for the rest of us, government must be the spender of last resort. This is, in fact, why our Founding Fathers gave government the power to levy taxes and borrow money — recognizing the important role of government, especially in trying economic times.
So at a time when government spending is needed more than ever, the fact that we’re even talking about spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt ceiling is a massive victory for the Republican ideology. When the economy is good, they want to cut spending and cut taxes. When the economy is bad, they also want to cut spending and cut taxes. And so far, they’ve gotten their way.
To avoid the disastrous calamity that both sides of the aisle agree would result from our nation defaulting on its debts, I have compromised. Angering many in my own party, stirring the ire of many who voted for me, I have been willing to negotiate over $2 trillion in cuts to government programs that I and many working Americans know are vital. But I have done this because Republicans have left our nation with no other options — they are holding our economic future hostage in order to advance their long-held anti-government, pro-big business agenda.
Fine. I came to the table. I was willing to compromise, to work out a deal. But I should have known there’s no negotiating with ideological terrorists. In addition to the historic cuts Republicans want to extract in exchange for their vote on the debt ceiling, they are refusing any tax increases on the richest of the richest of the rich. To be clear — no one is blaming big business or the rich for their success. But we all know that for too long the rules of the game have been rigged to favor the few over the many — and even now, 88% of the gains from our sputtering economic recovery have gone not to wages and benefits for average working people but into the pockets of Wall Street. Just as businesses in the past were successful because of government highways and electric grids, big businesses today are successful largely because of the extraordinary measures you the taxpayer took to rescue the private sector. Now, at a time when ordinary taxpayers are still struggling, it is noble and honorable to ask CEOs and big business to pay more.
The great conservative hero Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his presidency not because he wanted to but because he knew he had to. Today, over three-quarters of Americans agree that we should raise taxes on the richest of the rich — and oppose the kinds of drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security that Republicans are proposing instead. But it appears Republicans are willing to blow up our entire economy and endanger our collective future rather than negotiate in good faith a set of incremental tax increases on millionaires and billionaires as part of a deal that mostly includes the sorts of spending cuts they favor.
They have left me with no choice. As Commander in Chief, I refuse to let our nation be threatened and terrorized — whether from abroad or from within. The Republicans have two options: Accept a deal that includes a set of fair tax increases on millionaires and billionaires, or willfully violate the Constitution and force the United States to default on its debt for the first time in history. The choice is theirs. Unfortunately, the consequences will be borne by all of us.
My thoughts on debt ceiling negotiations and Republican “ideological terrorism”; and a coda on June jobs report >> If you want to receive my adVantage Points every weekday morning in your inbox, email email@example.com
Republican “Ideological Terrorism” on Debt Talks - story
What once seemed like hyperbole is now an understatement: The Republicans are “ideological terrorists” willing to blow up our entire economy for the sake of petty ideology. The fact that we’re even talking about spending cuts at a time when we need government stimulus more than ever is a nod to their ideological victory to date. But that’s not enough. In addition to billions in cuts that will cripple the middle class, Republicans stubbornly refuse to consider any tax increases on the richest of the rich who are paying historically low taxes and still not creating jobs. Enough is enough. President Obama needs to call their bluff and let Republicans take the blame for default. The United States does not negotiate with ideological terrorists.
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