In President Obama’s press conference yesterday, he fired some warning shots across the bow of the Republican party and put them on notice that he’s going to make them suffer for their obstruction of the American Jobs Act. He also called out the brain dead media and I really hope that continues. Take it away Mr. President…
“[W]hat I’ve tried to do is say, here are the best ideas I’ve heard. Not just from partisans, but from independent economists. These are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. And that’s what the American people are looking for. And the response from Republicans has been: No. Although they haven’t given a good reason why they’re opposed to putting construction workers back on the job, or teachers back in the classroom.
“If you ask them, ‘Well, okay, if you’re not for that, what are you for?’ Trade has already been done; patent reform has been done. What else? The answer we’re getting right now is, well, we’re going to roll back all these Obama regulations. So their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs, or alternatively they’ve said we’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA. Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy that are — that is weakening with all these forces coming into play?
“I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.
“I’ll be interested in the answer. I think everybody here — I see some smirks in the audience because you know that it’s not going to be real robust.”
If Republicans think that message isn’t resonating with the American people, they are even more stupid than we all thought. I’m pretty sure that John Boehner had to run to the cloak room commode to change his Underoos after hearing the President spell it out so clearly. But the President went even further and warned them that he will beat the living shit out them with every part of the legislation and demand that Republicans tell us why they don’t want to create jobs. Go President Obama…
“[If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] chooses to vote against it, or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you we’re going to keep on going, and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill. And each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom, or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle-class folks, and giving tax cuts to small businesses. […]
“If … everybody on Capitol Hill is cynical and saying there’s no way that the overall jobs bill passes in its current form, we’re just going to keep on going at it. I want everybody to be clear. My intention is to insist that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it, each component part: putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, putting teachers back in the classroom, tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, tax breaks for our veterans. We will just keep on going at it….”
Mr. President, more please!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Shrinking Access To Post Secondary Education = Permanent Underclass
Guest Blogger: theangryliberal
What are we going to do since the cost of education is skyrocketing? Students these days graduate with enormous debt or they don’t get the opportunity to attend post secondary training.
Long ago when I started college it was an inexpensive 1200.00 a year that included books. I didn’t really have debt when I graduated from college. That isn’t the case for students today, and with the cost of tuition rising as much as 20% in one year at some state colleges, soon enough the middle and lower classes will be unable to afford post-secondary education. And the thing is, we’d become a thriving first world nation in part because we expanded access to education to almost everyone.
Let’s look at some numbers:
So my numbers are personal numbers, and at the time, it was not difficult to afford a college education, I could even hold down a part-time job, go to school and not really worry tons about tuition, it just wasn’t that expensive. Let’s look at the rising cost of post secondary education with information obtained from the US Census bureau. The data I am going to share with you is also an example of the tiny policy things Democrats do in Office juxtaposed with how Republicans treat government function. First and foremost, the data I found spans the years 1991 – 2001, the 2001 data wasn’t published until 2006. This information is published in table form, as excel worksheets, but without an explanation of that data, that could be distributed to the general public. As usual, Republicans take the function of government for granted, but as you will see during the Clinton era, government produced much demographic information from years of data collection and comprehensive analysis. I digress, but if you follow my links you will see evidence of my statement.
“Dallas, that starts now. That starts with your help. Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. He won’t even give it a vote.
“Well I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?
“Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas, look Kim Russell in the eye, and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to get a paycheck again. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.
“Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting home instead of fixing our bridges and our schools.
“Come tell the small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for millionaires than tax cuts for the middle-class.
“And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.
- This headline at Bloomberg says it all, Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession in Survey of Economists. John Herrmann, a senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets LLC said “The plan ‘prevents a contraction of the economy in the first quarter” of next year.” Another quote from that article said ‘“The important thing to consider is: What happens if we don’t do anything?’ said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. He said the program ‘very well could” forestall a recession in early 2012.'”
- Moody’s Analytics – Mark Zandi predicted that the act would boost economic growth by 2% and create 2 million jobs, “Something like this is much needed” for an economy grappling with 9.1 percent unemployment, Zandi says. “The economy is on the edge of recession.”
- The Economic Policy Institute assessment of the jobs bill said, “So, how did President Obama do by our criteria? Very well, as the package provides a substantial boost to the economy in addition to continuing the important efforts already underway (providing unemployment compensation and the payroll tax holiday).”
- Macroeconomic Advisors thinks the effect will be significant, “We estimate that the American Jobs Act (AJA), if enacted, would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.”
- Susan Wachter, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, figures that the Social Security tax cuts alone would add 1 percentage point to economic growth and create 1 million jobs next year.
- Michael Hanson, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a former Federal Reserve economist, predicts similar benefits. He thinks the additional jobs would lower the unemployment rate by nearly half a percentage point in 2012.
- Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Wisconsin said, “the measures Obama proposed Thursday night ‘might prevent the economy from dropping below stall speed — at which point it would be vulnerable to another recession.'”
What this comes down to is — Republicans have to choose between politics and helping the American people, who are clamoring for Washington to do something about creating jobs. The GOP is up against a wall and this is a test of whether or not the Republican party cares at all about American workers. I think I know the answer, but I’m still clinging to a shred of hope that they will do what is right for the country.
PASS THE BILL NOW!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Even though President Obama’s green-jobs initiative was responsible for the loan guarantees to the solar energy company Solyndra, which went belly up recently, it turns out that it was another leftover from the Bush Administration that was a time bomb. Check out this press release in 2007 by President Bush’s Energy Secretary.
“Loan guarantees aim to stimulate investment and commercialization of clean energy technologies to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy,” Bush’s energy secretary, Sam Bodman, announced in a press release on Oct. 4, 2007. The release said the Energy Department had received 143 pre-applications for the guarantees and narrowed the list down to 16 finalists — including Solyndra. Bodman said the action put “Americans one step closer to being able to use new and novel sources of energy on a mass scale to reduce emissions and allow for vigorous economic growth and increased energy security.”
But that isn’t the only thing, it seems that the Bush administration changed it’s regulations at the last minute to the benefit of ONLY Solyndra.
Bush’s Energy Department apparently adjusted its regulations to make sure that Solyndra would be eligible for the guarantees. It hadn’t originally contemplated including the photovoltaic-panel manufacturing that Solyndra did but changed the regulation before it was finalized. The only project that benefited was Solyndra’s.
Here are some facts about Solyndra that I’m sure aren’t being discussed at Fox News or any of the other right-wing publications jumping all over this in an attempt to say, “see, clean energy sucks”.
- Solyndra was a very small piece of the policy picture – Solyndra’s $535M loan is just 1.2% of the total $38.6B loan guarantees issued by DOE. (Source: DOE.)
- All energy is subsidized and loan guarantees are equal opportunity – Guess who the biggest loan guarantee went to? Some big wind or solar boondoggle? Guess again: an $8.3B loan guarantee for a nuclear plant down in Georgia. (Source: DOE.)
- Solyndra is not the ‘solar industry’ – Solyndra failed precisely because conventional silicon-based solar is doing so well–the solar industry has reduced the cost of solar by 70% in since 2009. Solyndra had a $2/Watt technology trying to compete against $1/Watt silicon PV.
I doubt that this was a ticking time-bomb left on purpose by the Republicans, but when you look at the history of this mess, Republicans share in the culpability and might want to just shut up about it.
Please, take action. Make a call or send a letter, talk to people. This is serious business, people need help right away. Show your support for American jobs.
There was so much going on this week and so much emotion with the fight to save Troy Davis from being killed, I know I missed a lot of great articles that I’m just getting caught up on. As always, please add your links in the comments and let’s talk about shit!
- I just came across this post minutes ago called EMO-lution, or Quiting Before You’re Ahead which features a comment from @vcthree on a post at Angry Black Lady Chronicles. It’s an absolute must read and share as is the original post that inspired it here at ABLC.
- In my research for the Cornel and Tavis post from earlier in the week, I stumbled upon Eric L. Wattree’s blog and spent a lot of time getting caught up on his writings. I highly recommend you go and read all of these posts that are generally on West and Smiley, you will see why:
1. ”Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: The Reign of Fools is Over”;
2. ”Does the West/Obama Controversy Constitute Blacks Airing Dirty Laundry?”;
3. ”Is the Attack on Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry’s Article Criticizing Prof. Cornel West Due to Male Academic Cronyism?”;
4. ”How Do Politicians Get People to Vote Against Their Own Interest?”;
5. ”Tavis/West: We Know We’re Hurting, Now Tell Us the Truth About Why”;
6. ”The Tavis/West Poverty Pimp Tour“;
7. ”Dr. Cornel West and Intellectual Rice Cake”;
8. Is the GOP Manipulating Black Intellectuals to destroy the First Black President?”
- This op-ed by Bill Keller, former Executive Editor of the New York Times on President Obama is very good, I don’t agree with all of it, but I still highly recommend it.
- One of my blogging heroes, Steve Benen, has a podcast that he does with Bill Simmon every Sunday from 4 – 6 pm live, with chat. But of course you can download and stream them anytime from the website. It’s a combination of brilliant Benen politics and nerdy Sci-Fi talk.
- One of my favorite reads this week was from one of the best bloggers around, Eclectablog and it annihilates the Professional Left’s trying to claim credit for President Obama’s fight for the American Jobs Act.
- James Carville spouted off a bunch of criticism of the Obama administration and offered his outsider opinions, which he is entitled to. But it also means Scott Bateman might also take your words and make a cool animation out of it which pokes holes in your crazy ideas. Here is Scott’s website.
- Joy Reid wrote a very good piece that highlights Glenn Greenwald’s 3rd party dreaming and his other not-so-liberal ideas.
- And just ICYMI, my transcription of the Bob and Chez podcast “Stop Whining” is an absolute must read for those interested in understanding what is really happening in the firebagger left.
- The one and only @Shoq took a break from Twitter and penned an awesome piece on the Professional Left ” pushing their latest vanity meme”. Read it!
- If you are wondering what you can do to help keep Troy Davis’s memory alive, go to the Innocence Project and donate something. And if you only read one more article about Troy Davis, make it this one from Emily Hauser who worked her ass off to try and save Troy who was put to death on her birthday, of all days.
- Deaniac83 at The People’s View wrote an incredible post that explores the nuances of President Obama’s political and governing strategy that I think is dead on. It also helps to expose why others may not be able to grasp it, nuance and double reverse psychology eludes some people.
And lastly, I’ll leave you with this quote from Elizabeth Warren, who I hope gets a lot of face time on cable news networks in the next couple of years and beyond.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I decided to go back in time with the help of Google and find out if he ever REALLY supported Barack Obama and exactly when it was that Dr. West and his sidekick, Tavis Smiley, began their assault on our first black president.
I typed into the search bar the words “Cornel West Supports Obama” and then proceeded to weed through hundreds of hits about Cornel’s criticism of President Obama, page after page after page of links to stories about “black mascots” and “oligarchs and plutocrats” and “fear of free black men”. There were articles by conservatives and liberals, all using Cornel West to justify their own hatred and dislike for our President.
I came across one transcript from an interview he did with Amy Goodman about 2 weeks after the election where Dr. West very cautiously applauds the election of President Obama, but you can already begin to see the formulation of his strategy to undermine him.
I looked at hundreds of results from my Google search and that one transcript was about the extent of the “support” I found for President Obama. I challenge any defenders of West to provide more, besides people saying he supported the president.
You country needs your help today. This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing, a Democratic or Republican thing — this is an American thing. We must break the “everything is politics” cycle that the media and the cynics in this country cling to and perpetuate. Our country is on the verge of losing the middle class, of widening the gap between the rich and the poor and separating those in gated communities from those communities crumbling to the ground. Call your congressperson or senator, write letters to your local papers, comment on blogs…make your voice heard and tell them that you support President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Do it because it is the right thing to do for your family and neighbors, leave the politics out of it and fight against those who attempt to make it about politics. Spread the word far and wide, help put America back to work.
H/T to Smartypants
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I am so sick of people lying about the effects of the stimulus plan, which by the way was a deal that was put together by most of the greatest minds in the country to prevent a depression. Republican politicians tried to have it both ways — talking out of both sides of their mouths. They went from rousing speeches about how President Obama is a socialist, to giant check presentation ceremonies in their districts — taking credit for putting all those teachers back to work and fixing that bridge or overpass in their town.
The common argument to bolster the myth is the very parochial one of saying, the unemployment rate is still high or there are still a lot of people out of work. No shit, but what would that unemployment rate have been without it? According to several measures, millions more would be without jobs. It worked for those people. It worked for all the people I saw working along the roads for the last two summers. It worked for all those teachers who didn’t have to apply at McDonalds for a drive-thru position. It worked for me when my taxes were lowered considerably and I was able to pay a few bills.
The Stimulus worked very well and arguing that it should have been bigger ignores the reality that Republicans are also in our government. We all wished it had been all stimulus and less tax cuts, but in order to pass a bill in our selfish country, that’s the way it works. It also ignores what we’ve learned recently, that we were in much worse shape than what the Bush administration told the new President on their way out. There seems to be a lot of ignoring going on in order for people to justify their need to perpetuate this myth. Omissions are lies, in my mind. When people conveniently ignore massive variables in an equation, like millions of jobs saved and the fact that there was NO DEPRESSION, they are just plain lying.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
If you haven’t seen President Obama’s jobs speech from last night, do it now, you won’t regret it. The hard work lies ahead for all of us to make sure his ideas get implemented and to push back against the baggers of tea and fire. Already, they are out trying to dampen enthusiasm and spin it to their own selfish ends. We all need to help get the word out, call your congressperson, senators…talk to your friends and family. Help explain how important it is that we come together as a country and put stupid Republican political games aside and finally put a stake in the supply-side idiocy that brought us to this point. Here is the speech…
President Obama was in Alpha, Illinois yesterday on the last leg of his mini bus tour and once again, he proves why he is the president and everyone else isn’t. Early on in the speech, he reminded people of exactly what he inherited on January 21, 2009.
Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months — or last two and a half years.
We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have — we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.
We just recently learned that during that period, we were much worse off than what the former Bush administration was telling us as they left office. Considering how bad our economy actually was and all the hurdles put in the path of Democrats who were trying to fix it, it is astounding to me that we have recovered as well as we have. It isn’t that long ago, really, but it certainly has been forgotten about by the “baggers” of Tea and Fire. They have agendas that have nothing to do with moving forward. The President, as always, is looking to the future and how we can create more jobs…
So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.
There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)
Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America — opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world — but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.
The President is out in the country, rallying people around liberal ideas and liberal policy. He is doing his part to advance these ideas and get support from the public. I wonder what the Professional Left has been up to for the last couple of days. Keep it up, Mr. President, the truth will set them free.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Economists are a strange bunch. When I got my first undergraduate degree in business, I was subjected to like 6 economics classes, give or take 1. Every one of my economics professors was a little bit odd. This is just anecdotal, I’m not impugning all economics professors, but others might want to share their observations. Damn near all of them were supply-siders, so that gives you some idea of where they were coming from politically.
I’ve always appreciated Paul Krugman’s opinion on economics, I am a Keynesian for sure. But the more I read his writings, the more I see that he doesn’t always comprehend things as they are, to put it politely.
Krugman recently linked back to a piece he did after President Obama’s first inaugural – there will be a second. When I clicked and read it, I noticed something right away that made me wonder whaaaaaa? He wrote this back on January 22 of 2009. I’m bolding the part that caught my eye.
Thus, in his speech Mr. Obama attributed the economic crisis in part to “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age” — but I have no idea what he meant. This is, first and foremost, a crisis brought on by a runaway financial industry. And if we failed to rein in that industry, it wasn’t because Americans “collectively” refused to make hard choices; the American public had no idea what was going on, and the people who did know what was going on mostly thought deregulation was a great idea.
Uh, well, Paul…President Obama wasn’t saying that Americans “collectively’ refused to make hard choices”…he was talking about politicians and leaders. Here is the entire paragraph from President Obama’s inaugural address.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many — and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
I don’t know how anyone listening or reading that could possibly think that the President was talking about “Americans” refusing to make hard choices. If he were, why would he end the sentence with “prepare the nation for a new age”? Is it the role of citizens to “prepare the nation for a new age” or politicians and leaders?
I read that paragraph to say that it isn’t just Wall Street’s fault (greed and irresponsibility), but the politicians who enabled it to happen; the ones like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush who deregulated Wall Street and made it possible for the greed and irresponsibility to overtake us. I also interpreted it to mean that politicians didn’t make the “hard choices” like raising taxes on the wealthy or more specifically, voting against the Bush tax cuts. I would also add the failure of politicians to actually pay for two wars or Medicaid Part D — those were a couple of hard choices that weren’t made as well.
I have no idea what motivates Paul Krugman, it smells an awful lot like sore-loser syndrome. Hillary was supposed to be president and that young upstart, Barack Obama, swooped in and stole it from her….you know?
I don’t see anywhere in that paragraph or in the entire speech where the president blames “Americans”. They are the victims of the greed on Wall Street and the lack of balls on politicians — no offense to women who don’t need balls to get shit done. So as you can see, Paul Krugman’s interpretation of that one sentence sent him off on a tangent. I guess he’s standing by it, though, because he linked back to it to remind us all.