Archive for category Elections
Let’s “phase out” Medicare? Seriously? (emphasis added):
“I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything. And that argument I think is going to be a winning argument if we take it directly to people.”
Why do Tea-GOPers keep attacking Social Security and Medicare, the most popular and effective government programs that sustain the American middle class? How out of touch can you be?
The “new system” he’s referring to is the Tea-GOP’s idea of replacing Medicare coverage with cheap vouchers that don’t cover the cost of health care for seniors.
Bush answers my last question here: Jeb Bush: ‘Please Help Me’ Understand Sharknado
Hey, lately Tea-GOP presidential candidates have been desperate to get media attention, resorting to various lame attempts to out-clown Donald Trump (can’t be done, Trump is driving the clown bus). It’s sad.
The real reason conservatives want to do away with Medicare has always been political: It’s the very idea of the government providing a universal safety net that they hate, and they hate it even more when such programs are successful.
…Medicare is 50 years old this week. Conservatives have been warning that it will destroy American freedom for that entire time. Kind of a bizarre claim about a program that has been a lifesaver both financially and literally for many seniors and their loved ones.
While The Donald and the rest of the Tea-GOP are fond of freaking out over the supposed crisis caused by a massive influx of migrants to the USA from Mexico, the actual facts point to zero net migration from Mexico since 2010.
A combination of economic and demographic factors have changed the immigration trend, which is not likely to reverse again soon.
Barring truly massive shocks to the Mexican economy or political system, we are extremely unlikely to see another great wave of immigration for at least the next 20 year to 40 years. And that would only happen if Mexico reverses a half-century of declining fertility rates within the next few years.
Don’t expect to hear this from anybody in the Tea-GOP, even though it really might help them politically if the immigration issue went away.
I can haz nomination – trumpyourcat
Remember in the 2012 race for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination when Donald Trump briefly became the front runner even though he wasn’t a declared candidate? If you do, then you won’t be surprised that The Donald is again leading the pack in the latest USA Today poll.
Steven Rosenfeld on Alternet: “The open question is how much damage can Trump to do the GOP brand and the nominating process…”
Another question is when will one of the other 15 Tea-GOP contenders dare to criticize Trump or point out that he would make a ridiculously awful President? Are they afraid to take on such a luxurious, high-end top candidate for fear of being called a loser or a dummy? Do they think that by not attacking Trump they can inherit his racist supporters when Trump drops out?
What’s wrong with the American economy? If you ask presidential candidate John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush, it has nothing to do with the Great Recession of 2008 during the most recent Bush administration — which put 8.7 million of us out of work. Nothing to do with Tea-GOP economic sabotage during the long, slow recovery that replaced many middle-class jobs with low-wage and part-time employment.
Our friend “Jeb! 2016″ says all that’s needed to fix the economy is for more people to work longer hours. Apparently he is not aware that productivity and worker compensation have been decoupled for about 40 years now. Working harder gets us nowhere, and makes CEOs and the 1 Percent richer.
The relationship between American workers’ industriousness and their economic security has eroded so severely in recent decades that the two concepts aren’t even on speaking terms these days.
Workers were a staggering 25 percent more productive in 2012 than they were in 2000. But over the same period that bosses started getting a full quarter more work out of their employees, the median wage grew exactly zero percent. Even those with college degrees saw their pay stagnate over the past decade. Over the five-year stretch encompassing the Great Recession and the first few years of the slow recovery Bush is criticizing, workers gave their bosses an 8 percent jump in productivity – and got back an outright decline in earnings.
Tea-GOP prescriptions like “work harder for less pay” don’t deserve to win any votes. Americans who work for a living are not at fault. We’re the victims of a financialized, de-unionized, 1 Percent economy that’s reaching Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality.
Newsweek: Does Jeb Bush understand economics?
Bush’s full statement was: “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4% growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families.”
This word salad mixes together different economic terms as if they mean the same thing and reaches for statistics that are, quite simply, ridiculous. Perhaps Bush was just sloppy in his language, but whatever aide is prepping him on economics needs to do a better job–maybe by working longer hours.
…When it comes to productivity, American workers have been doing a great job. Productivity, which is the economic output per worker, has grown relentlessly since 1947 in almost a straight upward line. Implying that Americans aren’t being productive enough is about the same as saying McDonald’s doesn’t sell enough hamburgers. How much is enough to Bush? If record productivity–with a cumulative growth of almost 300% since 1947–doesn’t cut it, what does?
There is no context where “we have to be more productive” means anything other than “push yourselves past record levels, workers!” That is, unless Bush doesn’t know what the word means.
But with this full statement, he has also demonstrated that he has no idea of the real problem facing American workers. No doubt, he is blaming them for their stagnant wages–all that’s needed is more hours of work, and wages will improve significantly.
As history proves, that’s hokum. America went through nearly a century where the profits generated by growth in worker productivity was shared–the more they produced, the more money everyone made. What Bush and far too many Republicans refuse to acknowledge is that wages and productivity became uncoupled around 1973: Productivity goes up, corporate profits go up, the rich get wealthier, but the financial benefits don’t trickle down to workers.
…American history’s most productive workers are not responsible for the fact that they aren’t paid enough. Do Bush and his GOP cohorts really believe that the wealthy are sitting in their offices, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for workers to demand more money that will then be handed over gladly? Wages are growing at their lowest level since World War II. In fact, income inequality is worse today than it was in 1774, even when slavery is included in the numbers, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.
First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.
Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.
This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.
Today Hillary Clinton delivered her “official launch speech” at a campaign kick off rally in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
The 40-minute speech was loaded with dozens of campaign commitments for progressives and middle-class Americans. Some were meaningless, such as a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court on Citizens United. Other promises were more practical, such as a long-overdue federal law to guarantee paid sick leave. Hillary criticized Wall Street again and again, and even promised to re-engineer the financial sector so that it contributes more to the “real” economy of Main Street.
The bottom line: Hillary declared, “We… have to give America something worth voting for” in 2016.
But… she never mentioned the TPP or fast-track. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did not attend the rally because he is still waiting for Hillary to speak out on this issue.
Hillary has now appeared to side with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the TPP so-called “trade” deal:
At a rally in Iowa, Clinton said that if the president can’t come to terms with Pelosi, there should be no deal. “Here’s what I think should happen now,” Clinton said. “The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers, to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible and if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.”
So Hillary is sort of against the TPP, but also in favor of it if it can be made more worker-friendly?
As R.J. Eskow points out on HuffPo, the Tea-GOP is dedicated to tearing down Social Security and Medicare on behalf of the 1 Percent. Seemingly obvious ideas such as eliminating the cap on payroll taxes are viewed as a threat by some wealthy people, so they’re not on the policy agenda.
Few political advisors would suggest running on a platform of open hostility toward the elderly. Most families include an older person, after all, and everyone who lives long enough will become older themselves someday.
Seniors vote in greater numbers, too.
That may be why the GOP isn’t openly presenting itself as the “anti-elderly party.” But how else are we to interpret its deeds and actions? Its leading presidential candidates are pushing cuts to Social Security, while its congressional budgets would end Medicare as we know it.
Most older Americans would lose out under these proposals. But billionaires would make out very well indeed.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker became the latest Republican to jump on the anti-Social Security bandwagon this week, and he did so in a somewhat tactless way — by suggesting that benefits cuts should be applied to anybody born later than… Scott Walker.
“We’ll talk about reform,” Walker said, “but only for those — I was born on November 2, 1967 — for anybody older than me, we’re not touching social security.”
(“Reform,” in case you haven’t noticed, is a euphemism some people are fond of using when discussing Social Security or Medicare. It means “cuts.”)
…Then there’s Medicare. The Republican House has repeatedly approved budgets which would cut Medicare’s budget and replace it with a voucher system for purchasing private insurance. That would impose severe financial hardship on the average enrollee.
These attacks on Social Security and Medicare come at a time when Americans are facing a retirement crisis. A new report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), conducted at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders, found that “about half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings,” and that “many older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit (DB) plan or non-retirement savings, to draw on in retirement.”
Don’t look now, but there is a real socialist running for President. Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) formally kicks off his by-all-accounts-doomed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
But the thing is, Bernie has been talking to the media while Hillary Clinton hides. And he has some interesting things to say about the issues that Hillary is trying to avoid taking any positions on.
Peter Beinart writes: Don’t Underestimate Bernie Sanders. “The Vermont senator’s authentic outrage over how the super rich have distorted America’s economy and bought its government will find an eager audience.”
Sanders is better positioned to exploit this resentment against the one percent that many pundits understand. First, because he’s virtually the only Democrat challenging Hillary (especially given the Baltimore riots’ crippling impact on Martin O’Malley) Sanders will get more media attention than he would in a more crowded field. Second, although Hillary Clinton has shifted left, her ties to Wall Street—and her need to raise vast sums from it—will keep her from fully assuaging the party’s left. Three weeks into her presidential bid, for instance, she still hasn’t taken a clear position on either the Keystone Pipeline or fast-track authority for the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade deals, even though progressive activists loathe both. Third, there today exists a liberal media echo-chamber—from MSNBC to MoveOn to Daily Kos—that did not exist in the 1990s, and which amplifies whoever in the Democratic Party articulates the most ambitious, most uncompromising progressive agenda.
Bernie Sanders Would Tax The Income Of The Wealthiest Americans At 90 Percent
Bernie Sanders Takes It to Wall Street With Financial Transactions Tax
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Media Failing To Convey That Climate Change Is “The Great Planetary Crisis We Now Face”
Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has more support than Graham, Jindal, Fiorina and Kasich combined
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) held his first rally after launching his bid for the Democratic presidential candidacy on Wednesday evening. And during his speech, he made a call for “guaranteed vacation time for every worker in this country.”
That’s a first for someone vying for the American presidency, according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “I feel pretty comfortable saying that it is a first,” he said. “I’ve been pushing on this one for years and I’m pretty sure I would know if another candidate had pushed this idea.”
The United States does not in fact have any requirement that employers offer their workers vacation time or paid holidays.
Before the Iowa caucuses, the Tea-GOP might produce as many as 21 presidential candidates. There are five announced candidates now, including Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz, Randal (“Rand”) Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson. Mike Huckabee is set to announce tomorrow, and James (“Rick”) Perry is expected to enter the race on June 1. Nine more are formally exploring a candidacy, and there are at least five possible fringe candidates.
Governor Perry would be the first presidential candidate in U.S. history to run while under indictment. Carly Fiorina’s candidacy has a “boss from Hell” problem – see CarlyFiorina.org
Republican clown car gets a little more crowded as Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina enter the race
GOP clown car runs into ditch
CarlyFiorina.org is literally just 30,000 sad faces — one for every laid off HP employee
Cable TV news is going with non-stop speculation about Hillary Clinton’s $2.5 billion “Hillary for America” 2016 presidential campaign, which officially kicks off today. In 2008, Hillary’s advisers thought her candidacy was “inevitable,” and for the most part she ran as the Iron Lady. Now, I think they realize the last time she only came across as sympathetic when she got a little teary-eyed in New Hampshire (she didn’t actually shed a tear). Of course, if you watch that on video it was nearly content-free in terms of policy.
Hillary 2.0 will be introduced in small events, maybe even going back to that same Portsmouth, New Hampshire cafe from 2008. Her initial platform will be “first woman President,” without going into policy very much. Will that be enough?
Progressives see Hillary as the favorite candidate of Wall Street. Tea-GOPers think she is some far-left radical. So who is going to vote for her? Can anyone get excited about the prospect of a Clinton vs. Bush presidential election? Let’s discuss.
Voters are more desperate now, and in a far worse mood. If you invite their questions, you’d better have some answers.
“I’m running for president,” she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m.
“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
DSWright on FDL: Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist
Wall Street understands they are unpopular after bringing the US economy to its knees with their greed and criminality. They know Clinton has to criticize them in public even after taking their money in private.
This morning, Senator Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz launched the first 2016 Tea-GOP presidential campaign. Mostly known for orchestrating the last federal government shutdown, every one of his policy positions are opposed by a majority of Americans.
Senator Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. He has a Canadian birth certificate, which arguably means he is not a natural born U.S. citizen (a constitutional requirement for anyone to hold the office of President of the United States). Less than a year ago, Cruz still held Canadian dual citizenship.
Birther heads would explode, except that their level of brain activity probably isn’t high enough for that. BTW Cruz is a first-term senator with no prior experience as an elected official.
Ted Cruz Is So Proud Of His Role In America’s Near-Default, He’s Touting It On Campaign Site
BTW check out http://www.tedcruz.com/
Yes, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Run For President
There is still some lingering uncertainty about Cruz’s eligibility. That’s because the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on the meaning of “natural born citizen,” which the Constitution doesn’t define.