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With congress out on vacation, nothing new has really happened lately. I am currently gathering information for a post on North Korea, but that won’t be ready until sometime this week (perhaps Tuesday).
I intended to go into a long post today, but I wisely forgot my notes at work. So, I will do my best to remember what I can. And the rest, I will make up as I go along.
So, I want to first start with something that was just passed. Or, not passed, for that matter. Yesterday, Congress had a vote for unemployment benefits. People who have been unemployed from the failing economy are often called 99ers. This is because their unemployment benefits run for 99 weeks. It didn’t pass. Republicans feared it would add too much burden to the debt. The extension was for only 3 months more.
During the last week of November, the first wave of 99ers are set to lose their benefits. Now, before I go any further, let me explain. My first thought with this a while back was, ‘Wow! 99 weeks of unemployment. That’s crazy to be on it that long, and why should they get it any longer than that.” But the fact of the matter is, this isn’t a handful of people. This is entire states that have been hit by the recession. Hard. Think Michigan, and the auto industry.
There are people who may not be college educated. Most are older. They know a trade, and they do it well. But because of cut backs, and often outsourcing, their livelihood has been ripped out from under them. They do not know anything else. And to find a job in a failing industry; Well, it’s difficult. Next to impossible.
So, until the economy turns around, these people are stuck. Please allow me to throw some figures at you:
Unemployment gives $310/week. That’s hardly livable.
The unemployment rate right now is 9%. Allow me to refer back to an older post of mine when I say, in a strong economy, the unemployment rate should be around 5%. This allows for competition.
Never in 75 years, when the unemployment rate was this high, have we cut unemployment benefits.
The cost for 1 year for unemployment benefits is around $65 billion. This is money that will keep shelter over the heads of Americans, food on the plates of families, and clothes on their backs.
Well, yesterday, the Now for the disheartening facts.
Just after Thanksgiving, 800,000 people will lose their unemployment benefits.
By the end of the year, over 2 million people will be without any benefits or a paycheck.
If you think things are bad now, they are only going to get worse. And the rational behind blocking the bill, because of the debt, is absolutely absurd. First off, Tea Party members are crying over earmarks, which only makes up 1/2 of 1% of the debt, and cut benefits to millions of Americans. But in the meantime, the Republican party will rally for the upper 2% to get their tax breaks. This will add 750 Billion dollars to the already burning debt. The small cost that it would take to provide the unemployed with additional benefits is a drop in the bucket compared.
The fact of the matter is, we have 2 un-fianaced wars. We have for over 10 years now. Trickle down theory is just that, a theory. It’s not proven. The fact of the matter is, it is the 98% of Americans that are the spenders. They spend near every last dollar they earn. That is what gets the economy rolling.
(Note: I hate the term “lower.” We are not the lower class. We are the ex-middle class that has been waged in war for the past 10 years, and near destroyed. However, when 90% of the wealth in America is controlled by the top 2%, then what else can you call us. That’s all we are to them. Peasants.)
That being said, the lower 98% are the ones that spawn the economy. There would be no tax hike under the new policy for us. But the upper 2% would see a tax increase of 3% on anything made above $250,000. Now, many think this is unreasonable. Under the trickle down theory, these millionaires will reinvest into their companies, spur new jobs, which will put more people working, which will help the economy. It all sounds good on paper, but that’s where it ends. In reality, the money sits in their bank accounts, and never gets any further. Instead of using the money to reinvest in America (so to speak), they are using the money to send jobs to China or Mexico.
However, if you raise the taxes on the top 2%, here’s what happens. They look for ways to get tax breaks. One way to do this, is to hide the money into your company. You buy new equipment, hire new employees, etc. All of this is a write off. That will lower their taxes down to a rate that they are paying now. In the process, middle class Americans have more spending money, have more jobs, have higher wages. That is what makes a strong economy. Take a look at past trends. How was the economy under Reagan? Bush, Sr? Clinton? Bush, Jr.?
The fact of the matter is, Trickle Down was instituted and theorized by an Actor. Somebody who made his living on deceiving the public to the truth. He did it to pad the wallets of the wealthy, and to do it at the cost of the “lower” 98%. They are basing their entire economic philosophy off of a man who had Alzheimer’s. I’m sorry, that isn’t somebody that I would trust with my personal finances.
Here is my suggestion for Democrats. Let the Bush tax breaks expire. All of them. Then rewrite the bill. When the vote comes up, let the Republicans expose themselves and show who they are really looking out for. Because they will not try to help the “lower” 98% by any means. They would rather allow all taxes go up, than to see only the “lower” 98% go down. If they truly cared for the average American, this wouldn’t be an issue, and they wouldn’t be willing to sabotage the bill to protect us.
Personally, I would rather see my taxes go up, and be put to good use (infrastructure, reducing the debt, community programs, etc) than to see this country raped anymore by the careless spending, with no means of financing.
No new post today. I have a lot to write about, just not ready quite yet to put it into words. Friday, though. Promise 🙂
Enjoy the day of rest! Tomorrow starts a whole new week! Then Tuesday, what are you going to do? That’s right! VOTE!
I was going to start my post off with stories that I had been collecting throughout the day. But I just heard a story that made me sick, and I decided to focus on a few things that have really upset me. I’ll post the rest later tonight as an update.
What right does the Tea Party have to treat AMERICAN CITIZENS, or anybody for that matter, like second class citizens. Time after time after time, they have oppressed any kind of opposition; whether it be a protestor, or simply a constituent wanting to ask a question.
The latest comes out of Virginia. A man, John Taylor, went to a public forum at the local coffee house with his wife and son for a cup of coffee and to see the Tea Party candidate Eric Cantor to ask him questions. The candidate could potentially be his new representative, and he has every right to ask him questions. He wasn’t heckling him or being aggressive. In fact, Eric Cantor hadn’t even arrived yet. He simply wanted to question him on what he would do.
John Taylor had RSPV’d to the PUBLIC EVENT IN A PUBLIC FORUM. When he arrived and was identified as a supporter for the Democrat candidate, he was assaulted, by several cops. The man was at no point resisting arrest. He was even said several times on camera, filmed by his son, “I’m not resisting.”
John Taylor is a bigger man. At one point, he even says to the arresting cops, “if you’re going to handcuff me, you’re going to need 2 pairs.” His arms couldn’t fit behind his back while cuffed. He was slammed to the ground several times, and eventually sat on by a heavyweight cop.
Here is the video video (NSFW for language): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1DEbnh7nsw&feature=player_embedded
This incident comes just two days after a woman was brutally attacked by a Rand Paul organizer by being stomped on the head (listen for the crunch when her head is stomped to the curb):
Wow, they really have a thing for taking the opposition down to the curb, don’t they? Freedom of Speech they cry! Oh, just as long as it’s not against us! And you want this representing you? What do you think they will do to you once they “represent you.” Do you think you really matter to these people? Or are you just another ant to crush and suppress.
And just two weeks ago, this happened when a REPORTER wanted to ask Joe Miller of Alaska about his past.
Freedom of Press, they also cry! Oh, again, as long as you’re not against me or asking me any questions. They have since revealed the reason Joe Miller didn’t want to answer any questions. He lied about his entire past! Reporters started digging as to why he didn’t want to answer questions, and found out the entire truth about him. Joe Miller has since admitted to lying about it all.
There’s a reason these people are trying to silence the opposition. That’s not who they are working for. And if they questions are too tough, or too revealing, they will suppress you by all means. Why are the cops going along with this? Their ONLY job is to uphold the law. Are they doing that? Or are they being used as goons for these whack jobs. Just picture if they get in and then have security detail to use however they want. Or God forbid, one of them makes it to the presidency, and has the military! You think that GW was the closest thing to a dictator? Think again.
Onward with my usual posting.
Many are thinking that this election cycle isn’t important. All crazies aside, there is another important aspect to this years race. The winner of local governors races are going to be Gerrymandering this year. For those who don’t know what Gerrymandering is, it is the redrawing of district lines for elections. I self admit, I do not know how often they Gerrymander, however, this is how it works. Let’s say Pittsburgh, PA is a largely Democratic area. And it is drawn to stay that way. All of a sudden, a Republican governor comes in, and decides they wanted to turn Pittsburgh republican. Suddenly, they redraw the district lines to consume the largely republican rural area. Now, there are more Republican voters than Democratic voters from the much larger city, and Pittsburgh is now Republican. And vis’a’vis for Democrats. It gives a great advantage to the person in control of Gerrymandering.
So the winner of this years election will redefine the election process. Some areas/states that were never Red may become Red, and Blue/Blue. That is why it’s important for Democrats to GET OUT AND VOTE. Unless you want the Republican’s to have an even bigger advantage, in addition to money (see previous post), this. It could turn out to be very ugly if we decide to sit this on out.
Moving on, President Obama is having a severe PR problem. They are allowing their opponents to define them, before they can define themselves. This is putting the Obama camp onto the defense. And that isn’t good. But here is the simple fact. While the Right is saying that the Stimulus package destroyed jobs (or didn’t add any depending who you talk to), was nothing but wasteful spending, and gave too much money to corporations and big government, here is the truth.
The Obama Stimulus plan created or saved 3.5 Million jobs for the state. It saved teachers, police, fire, ems, etc. jobs across the US. It also reinvested into American corporations, which otherwise may have went bankrupt. When a corporation that buys from other sellers, it doesn’t just affect that company. Case in point, GM. Had GM failed, they no longer would buy steel, leather, electronics, tires, and so on and so on. Most of those companies are right here. So when GM fails, so do many others that depend on their business.
The Stimulus plan also reinvested into the American car industry. GM is hiring 1500 jobs again at their Detroit plant. Ford, who did not take any money, is also making a profit again, and will be hiring 500 jobs at their plant. These were on the brink of bankruptcy. GM, which was bought out by the Government (joke is it’s now Government Motors). However, the investment is now paying off for the American people, as the stock is now making money. Had they of failed, again I refer back to my previous example, and every job would have been lost. Where would we be now?
The Stimulus plan also gave you, yes you, a tax break. $600/individual, $800/families. The reason you didn’t see the check is because it was taken out automatically through your paychecks. That was a bad move, because the credit isn’t seen. Had we all of gotten refund checks, everybody would know. Now it is on the back burner, and nobody knows. Another short coming of the Obama administration for his Public Relations department.
The Bush Stimulus plan for Wall Street, which many seem to forget and attribute to President Obama, gave $750B to companies like AIG irresponsibly and without any kind of oversight. It was given out with out needing to be paid back; that money is gone, bye-bye, never going to be seen again. And what did they use it for? They used it for bonuses, corporate trips to spas and resorts, and many still failed. This wasn’t the case with President Obama’s stimulus plan.
President Obama reinvested in America. You hear this a lot, but what does it mean? What it means is, it invested into corporations that held up entire communities (think GM and Detroit), police, teachers, jobs. He gave tax cuts and breaks, and refunds. And all of the money that was given to corporations was given with oversight, regulations AND it had to be paid back, with interest. And it was. Every dollar that was given out to corporations was paid back with interest. Let me say this one more time…EVERY DOLLAR THAT WAS GIVEN OUT TO CORPORATIONS WAS PAID BACK WITH INTEREST.
America made money! It made a profit off of the stimulus plan! And the Right wing controlled the message yet again. They have you thinking this plan was Bush’s. But it wasn’t. This was what we needed in the first place. Had it of been, we may not be in the mess we are in now. However, the economy is slowly on the upswing. It took us over 8 years to get where we were, and in the past 2, we took steps that put us in the right direction. We see this with the unemployment rate.
New unemployment claims dropped by 20,000 this past month. This is a great sign for the economy, however, since we are still recovering from the great recession, employers are still slow and uneasy to add new jobs. Understandable, but until this fear is put to rest and there is some sense of stability, we are going to continue to have an unemployment problem. Projections show that, next year, unemployment will remain around 9%.
To have a competitive society, and when times are good, the average rate is 5%. Id you’d like to see it be 0%, well my friend, you have socialistic tendencies (see, socialism isn’t ALL bad! :D). But in the times we are currently in, 9% isn’t terrible, that is, unless you are in that 9%. In which case, the recession is still going strong for you, and I can understand your anger. But you need to channel it towards who the true blame is, and not at what you see at face value.
Here is my prediction. I predict that the unemployment rate will continue to drop as the economy gets progressively better, and employers gain confidence. By the end of next year, I see it being around 7%. But this all depends on what happens Tuesday, AND YOU VOTING!
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on, privatization of government programs. It’s a terrible idea. It sounds good on paper, get government out of our lives. Name on program that worked better when it was privatized as opposed to government run (thank you Alex Bennett for this point). Medicare runs great. Social Security? Well, we’ll get into that in a moment, but in general it works. Do you remember what happened to Wall Street? What happened to all of those people’s 401k and pension plans? Do you really want them in complete control of your retirement fund (social security)? After all, you paid into it your entire life, you deserve it.
So why on earth would you want it privatized? All of the problems of Social Security stem from 2 facts. 1. it was dipped into by the Bush administration to fund 2 wars, wall street bail outs, etc. and 2. the cap. Right now, there is a $9,000 cap on social security. Remove the cap, and all of the problems of it would be solved. What would this mean for you, nothing. You pay into it all year. But for the multimillionaires out there, they only have to pay 3 months out of the year, and then it is done. They don’t have to pay another cent. Have them pay in all year, and the fund will become stable and safe.
So, again I say, what program has ever worked out well after being privatized? Can you think of any? I can’t.