1938 in 2010
Paul Krugman writes for the New York Times: "Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections."
Why 100,000 Jobs a Month Won't Lower Unemployment Rate
the latest monthly jobs report wasn't terrible. But the big issue remains: Even if you set aside the temporary impact of downsizing at the Census Bureau, the economy isn't generating nearly enough new jobs to bring down the US unemployment rate. Here's the problem. August marked the eighth straight month of job gains in the the private sector – a welcome pattern that President Obama was quick to highlight. Yet those gains average less than 100,000 per month. That's not enough to improve the job market, economists say."
Unemployment Edges Up to 9.6 Percent as Weak Job Growth Continues
Dean Baker writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The unemployment rate edged up to 9.6 percent in August as the economy shed 54,000 jobs. The decline was entirely attributable to the loss of 114,000 temporary Census jobs. Excluding these jobs, the economy created 60,000 jobs. With job growth for the prior two months revised up by 123,000, excluding the Census jobs, the August pace is roughly even with June and July."
10 Ways to Solve the Jobs Problem
Fran Korten writes for YES! Magazine: "As the midterm political season heats up, one word on every politician's lips is 'jobs.' And for good reason. People are hurting - they can't pay their mortgages, send their kids to college, pay their dental bills. Young people are wondering if they have a place in the work world … So - imagine a no-holds-barred 'summit' that comes up with ideas to solve both our job and environmental problems. What might it come up with?"
How Ruthless Banks Gutted the Black Middle Class and Got Away With It
Devona Walker reports for AlterNet: "The American middle class has been hammered over the last several decades. The black middle class has suffered to an even greater degree. But the single most crippling blow has been the real estate and foreclosure crisis. It has stripped black families of more wealth than any single event in U.S. history. Due entirely to subprime loans, black borrowers are expected to lose between $71 billion and $92 billion."
The Great Jobs Depression Worsens, and the Choice Ahead Grows Starker
We're Being Conned on Social Security
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "Allow me to take a moment to fix that whole 'Social Security crisis' that has everyone in Washington gnashing their teeth. When you see how easily it's done, you may begin to realize that whenever our elites start chattering about 'tax-gaps,' they're almost certainly trying to rip you off - making a slick grab for something to which you are, ultimately, 'entitled.' But why stop there? Why play defense? After we fix the program, why don't we increase Social Security benefits?"
Social Security Under Attack
marks the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act, and despite its standing as arguably the most successful social program in the country's history, Social Security has come under assault from a variety of Republican lawmakers and candidates. In his 'Roadmap for America's Future,' Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, suggested privatizing the program, along the lines of the plan proposed by former President Bush in 2005. Florida's Republican Senate nominee Marco Rubio has said 'proposals that have to be talked about' include raising the retirement age and cutting benefits for younger workers. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said she simply wants to 'wean everybody off' Social Security, while Nevada's Republican senate nominee Sharron Angle has called for it to be 'phased out.' Those launching the assault on Social Security are attempting to use the nation's budget deficit as an excuse to justify their desire to cut it. In fact, Alan Simpson, the Republican co-chair of President Obama's deficit commission, likened the program to 'a milk cow with 310 million tits.' But the arguments conservatives put forth for radically remaking a program that millions of Americans depend on are incredibly thin, especially given Social Security's relatively sound fiscal condition, which ensures its availability for decades. Here is a rundown of the three conservative views for reforming Social Security and why they all fail to pass the laugh test."
The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication
George Lakoff comments for Truthout: "If you have not read Drew Westin's outstanding piece "What Created the Populist Explosion and How Democrats Can Avoid the Shrapnel in November" on The Huffington Post, AlterNet, and other venues, read it immediately. Westin states as eloquently and forcefully as anyone what he, I, and other progressives have been saying from the beginning of the Obama administration. I agree fully with everything he says. But ... Westin's piece is incomplete in crucial ways. His piece can be read as saying that this election is about kitchen table economics (right) and only kitchen table economics (wrong)."
Anti-intellectualism in America
Glenn Beck's George Washington Wopper
Photoillustration by Mario Piperni
Is BP Blackmailing the Feds?
I reported on concerns that the design of the fund might compromise its long-term viability and create a conflict of interest in cracking down on BP's misdeeds. The fund was designed in such a way that it basically hinges on keeping BP's Gulf-drilling subsidiary in production and turning a profit."
Gulf Oil Spill Puzzle: A Giant Piece Begins Long Rise to Surface
Patrik Jonsson reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The mystery of why the massive blowout preventer at the heart of the Deepwater Horizon accident failed and caused the enormous Gulf oil spill is a step closer to being solved.... The blowout preventer is expected to become a key piece of evidence in several federal probes, including criminal investigations, to find out the cause of the spill."
Why Al Franken Was Right about Net Neutrality
Leslie Harris writes for the Huffington Post: "Last week Senator Al Franken made an important speech, calling Internet neutrality 'the First Amendment issue of our time.' If I had heard that claim a few years ago, I would have thought it verged on political hyperbole. But after reading the comments filed by major ISPs in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding, I think Franken is right. For many members of Congress net neutrality isn't a polling point heading into the November elections, but few other issues hold significance for the future of speech and the democratic exchange of ideas in this country."