You are Here:
Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich

Author (Read 274361 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #80 on: Jan 18, 2014, 01:59:41 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.christianpost.com/news/republican-politicians-who-want-to-focus-on-poverty-have-a-big-problem-republican-voters-dont-care-112542/

Republican Politicians Who Want to Focus on Poverty Have a Big Problem: Republican Voters Don't Care

By Napp Nazworth
The Christian Post
January 13, 2014

Some conservative leaders and Republican politicians want the GOP to focus on an anti-poverty agenda. Republican voters, though, have shown little interest in the topic. One of their biggest challenges, therefore, will be to convince Republican voters that tackling poverty should be at the top of their political agenda.

A group of conservative thinkers have been urging Republican politicians to take the lead on fighting poverty. These thinkers, dubbed "new populists" by The Christian Post last summer (see The New Populists part 1 here, and The New Populists part 2 here) include Tim Carney, a Washington Examiner columnist and American Enterprise Institute fellow, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, conservative writer Ben Domenech, and AEI President Arthur Brooks.

Brooks, for instance, has argued that Republicans need to place the poverty issue out front. Rather than discuss how certain conservative policies or principles can help the poor as an addendum or side benefit, Republicans need to lead with the poverty issue by pointing out how the poor are harmed by certain government policies and how their reform proposals can help.

Brooks, for instance, has argued that Republicans need to place the poverty issue out front. Rather than discuss how certain conservative policies or principles can help the poor as an addendum or side benefit, Republicans need to lead with the poverty issue by pointing out how the poor are harmed by certain government policies and how their reform proposals can help.

These conservatives will face many challenges in convincing Republicans to make poverty a central issue. Among them will be convincing Republican voters that poverty is an important issue, Patrick Egan, a New York University political scientist, points out for The Monkey Cage, a political science blog hosted by The Washington Post.

Egan points to 2013 Pew Research Center data showing what Republicans, Democrats and independents say are their political priorities. For a range of issues, respondents were asked if the issue should be a "top priority" for the president and Congress.

Republicans' highest ranked issues were strengthening the nation's economy (89 percent), reducing the budget deficit (84 percent), defending against terrorism (80 percent), improving the job situation (77 percent), and securing Social Security (74 percent).

For Democrats, the top five issues were strengthening the nation's economy (89 percent), improving the job situation (84 percent), improving education (80 percent), reducing health care costs (79 percent), and securing Medicare (73 percent).

"Helping the poor and needy" was also near the top (eighth highest) for Democrats at 71 percent. Among Republicans, though, only 46 percent said "helping the poor and needy" should be a top priority, a 25 percentage point difference. (Fifty-three percent of independents said helping the poor and needy should be a top priority.)

Poverty is one of the issues "owned" by the Democrats, explains Egan, who recently wrote a book about issue ownership, Partisan Politics: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics. By somewhere around 30 to 50 percentage points, he notes, the public trusts Democrats more than Republicans on the poverty issue.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #81 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:00:36 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-where-is-the-democrats-outrage-about-unemployment/2014/01/13/6ebc87c6-7c93-11e3-93c1-0e888170b723_story.html

Where is the Democrats’ outrage about unemployment?

Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
January 13, 2014

Shame on Republicans for blocking the resumption of long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans. And shame on Democrats for letting them.

The GOP cannot be allowed to cast this as a bloodless policy debate about “incentives” that allegedly encourage sloth. Putting that spin on the issue is disingenuous, insulting and inaccurate: As Republicans well know, individuals receiving unemployment checks are legally required to look for work.

Republicans should also know that the jobless desperately want employment. For some, a new job might be just weeks or months away. But the benefits cutoff may make it impossible to keep house and home together in the meantime.

Last week, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez convened a group of the long-term unemployed to share their stories with members of his department’s staff. All were older than 50 and once held white-collar jobs; some used to earn six-figure salaries. The session was heartbreaking but also inspiring — and it made me wonder why Democrats aren’t screaming louder, in sheer outrage, about this GOP exercise in gratuitous inhumanity.

There was Carol Scott of Baltimore, who lost her job as a program administrator at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school in 2010. With a master’s degree in psychology, she keeps getting told she is overqualified for jobs paying less, which she would happily take. She has been scraping by with help from her mother and sister, in addition to unemployment benefits.

There was Kevin Meyer from New Jersey, who lost his job in corporate communications, accepted another job at a 40 percent pay cut and then lost that job, too. He said that in the past two years he has sent out hundreds of résumés, sat for about two dozen fruitless interviews and endured a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now, he said, he is “racing the clock to avoid foreclosure.”

There was Johnetta Thurston of Odenton, who lost her position as a human resources executive in May 2011 and continues to apply for job after job. After being turned down, she always calls to ask why; if it was because she lacked a particular skill or professional certification, she goes out and gets it. She managed to win a few short-term consulting contracts, but the last one ended in October.

There was George Meagan of Paramus, N.J., who in December 2012 was laid off by Citigroup after 33 years. “I thought it would be easy to find a job,” he said, “and it’s shocking to be sitting here a year later.” He was lucky enough to be given a severance package, but he said that money is now exhausted and he has started to cannibalize his retirement savings. Most of the others around the table said they had long since drained their 401(k) accounts.

And there was Steve Bolton, who lives in the Washington area.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #82 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:01:48 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/republicans-are-doing-all-they-can-to-hurt-the-poor-1.1653861

Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor

The reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified

Paul Krugman
The Irish Times
January 14, 2014


Republican senator Marco Rubio: “Republicans are in a deep sense enemies
of America’s poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of
Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.” (Photograph: Reuters)


Suddenly it’s okay, even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor.

This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of FDR and LBJ.

It’s much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin Hoodism; for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified.

It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that, right now, Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election.

Moreover, GOP harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they also care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics.

Let’s start with the recent Republican track record.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #83 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:02:30 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/13/the-fight-over-unemployment-benefits-underscores-the-right-s-extremism.html

The Fight Over Unemployment Benefits Underscores the Right’s Extremism

Under George W. Bush, the GOP never balked at extending unemployment benefits, but that was then. Their newfound intransigence on this issue proves afresh that the party has been hijacked by extremists.

Michael Tomasky
The Daily Beast
January 14, 2014

So this is showdown week in Congress for extension of unemployment benefits. Frankly, it looks bleak. No, it’s not that the public is against it. In fact far from it—58 percent support the extension in a new poll. But as I’ve written a kajillion times these last few years, it unfortunately doesn’t much matter what the people think. Republicans in Congress care only about the views of the more radical half of their party. And in that same poll, Republicans opposed the extension 54-42.

As long as that remains the case (and there’s no reason it’s likely to change), “UI,” as they call it on the Hill, seems a heavy lift. Republicans are insisting on cuts from elsewhere in the federal budget to pay for the benefits’ $6.4 billion cost. And Democrats are talking with them. But there’s no progress yet. In fact, it seems today that even the six Republicans who voted in the Senate last week to allow debate to proceed would not vote to extend the benefits just yet.

But let’s take a step back here, because introducing a little bit of historical context shows just how extreme the Republicans’ position is, and it shows us how, over time, what used to be crazy-radical becomes normal with the people.

When George W. Bush was president, noted Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on Jim Lehrer’s PBS show last week, unemployment benefits were extended five times, “no strings attached any of those times.” So as long as it was a Republican president under whom their constituents were out of work, they were happy to vote to extend the benefits. The last extension under Bush, in late 2008, passed 368-28 in the House of Representatives. Remember, this was with no “pay-fors,” in the argot. This vote took place a month before Election Day, which may have partly motivated 142 Republicans to vote for it with only the real hard-shellers going against it.

Now let’s move forward to 2010. We have a new president from a different party. The economy is struggling. The Republicans of course haven’t exactly been supportive of Barack Obama’s agenda, but on this one, they’re ready to agree. All but one. Jim Bunning, then a GOP senator from Kentucky, insisted that he wasn’t against extending such benefits, but he was against increasing the deficit by a few billion bucks.

But even then, the Senate GOP leadership wasn’t with Bunning. I remember that time well. Bunning had a few defenders among his colleagues, but basically, his position was seen as extreme by Democrats and even many or possibly most Republicans. Bunning finally got the message after a couple of weeks of antics—which included him whining that his noble filibuster against helping the nation’s jobless was preventing him from watching an important Kentucky Wildcats basketball game—and relented.

But what was considered extreme and nutty then is standard operating procedure today. A key development here was Rand Paul saying a couple of weeks ago that benefits beyond 26 weeks just make people lazy. That unleashed the right-wing id.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #84 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:03:13 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://truth-out.org/news/item/21213-gop-economic-sabotage-continues-with-filibuster-of-jobless-benefits

GOP Economic Sabotage Continues With Filibuster of Jobless Benefits

By Dave Johnson
Truthout
January 14, 2014

Republicans are engaged in yet more hostage-taking obstruction. (Whatever gave them the idea that hostage-taking can work?) They are engaged in a filibuster of the effort to extend unemployment insurance, using it as a hostage to try to get even more cuts to the things government does to make our lives better. Their “pay-for” demand is really a demand for Democrats to agree to even more economic sabotage.

Senate Republicans Monday continued to fight Democratic efforts to pass an extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits for people who have been out of work longer than 26 weeks. Traditionally our government has provided this assistance to unemployed workers at times of high unemployment. This is an “automatic stabilizer,” meaning that this assistance helps stop the downward spirals that occur when business hit recession. Unemployed workers aren’t forced to pull back from paying mortgages or rent, or buying food and other basic needs, which then causes even more unemployment.

Many feel this economic stabilization effect is the reason Republican oppose the extension. They suspect Republicans want the loss of this assistance to cause more layoffs, foreclosures and economic hardship. This way the economy looks worse as the 2014 elections approach, and voters will turn on what they perceive as the “party in charge” – namely the Democrats.

By requiring “pay-fors” – cuts somewhere else – in exchange for allowing this assistance to the unemployed, they are removing the economic boost that the program provides, causing damage to the economy. In other words: they are engaged in economic sabotage.

One such proposal from Republicans is to stop working people with disabilities from claiming both Social Security Disability Insurance and federal unemployment benefits. Cutting this really means preventing people with disabilities from taking the risk of going out and working to see if they can get off of disability. Michael Hiltzik writes about this at the Los Angeles Times in “An awful idea: Hammer the disabled to pay for unemployment benefits”:

    It uniquely burdens the disabled among all workers, and it sets a terrible precedent of raiding Social Security to pay for other social programs.

    … The idea that disabled persons are “double-dipping” by collecting wages or other compensation while also getting a disability check is enshrined in conservative attacks on disability. But it’s untrue. The Social Security disability program is designed as a bridge to full employment. Its benefits aren’t intended as a substitute for wages, but a supplement.

Michael Tomasky writes about the hostage-taking involved here in “The Fight Over Unemployment Benefits Underscores the Right’s Extremism” at The Daily Beast:

    Republicans are insisting on cuts from elsewhere in the federal budget to pay for the benefits’ $6.4 billion cost. And Democrats are talking with them. But there’s no progress yet. In fact, it seems today that even the six Republicans who voted in the Senate last week to allow debate to proceed would not vote to extend the benefits just yet.

    {. . .} if Democrats win, great. But it looks like they’ll only win by agreeing to the pay-for demand, which means that there’ll be new demands next time. There’s no end to how far right these people will go.

Richard Eskow (who really should have a column in the New York Times) writes about the economic sabotage of “pay for” in “No, Congress, You Shouldn’t “Pay For” Extending Unemployment Insurance”:

    The simple truth is, Democrats are still being outmaneuvered by Republicans on economic policy. They’re letting the GOP call the shots, rhetorically, even though Republicans lost two out of three seats of federal government (the Senate and White House). They even lost the total popular vote for the House of Representatives.

    … Here’s a better idea: Don’t try to pay for extended unemployment benefits. Don’t boast, as Reid did last week, that the extension is “entirely paid for.” Sure, Democrats will eventually need to make a deal – if they can – in order to extend unemployment insurance benefits. But why aren’t they first making the case against “paying for” those benefits on the Republicans’ terms?

    Why aren’t Democrats instead speaking up against the “pay for” logic that gives a free pass to the wealthy and corporations – especially when the total cost is a blip, a rounding error, on a $1 trillion 2014 federal budget?

    Economically, “pay for” is a Catch-22: It means every job-creating proposal must be offset with job-killing cuts elsewhere.

5 Reasons To Extend Unemployment Insurance

The AFL-CIO Now blog offers “5 Reasons Congress Must Extend Unemployment Insurance.” (Click through for details, charts and links.)

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #85 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:03:57 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/21228-americas-real-welfare-queens

America's Real Welfare Queens

By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
Truthout
January 14, 2014

Let's talk about America's real welfare queens.

Republicans are all upset about people getting government benefits, but our nation's real welfare queens are this country's billionaires and biggest corporations.

But first let's look at who the Republicans want us to think about when they use slurs like "welfare queen."

Back in November, the largest cuts in the history of the federal food stamps program, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, went into effect.

Thanks to the efforts of Republicans, $5 billion was slashed from the program, directly affecting the lives of 47 million Americans.

But those devastating cuts aren't enough.

Republicans are still convinced that America is filled with people that would rather live off of government assistance than get a job.

And they're still convinced that cutting food stamps will help solve the nation's spending and debt problems.

So, they're trying to cut even more from food stamps.

Right now, Congress is working on a compromise to the farm bill, which thanks to Republicans, will likely cut billions more from food stamps, and leave millions of additional Americans without access to the nutrition they need to survive.

But here's what Republicans aren't telling you.

In 2012, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 per year paid just $36 towards the food stamps program.

That's about ten cents a day.

Now compare that to the fact that an average American family making $50,000 a year pays a whopping $6,000 a year in subsidies to Republican-friendly corporations.

So, who's really causing our nation's economic woes? America's real welfare queens: the corporations.

As Bill Quigley points out over at Common Dreams, the Cato Institute estimates that federal subsidies to corporations cost Americans nearly $100 billion each year.

And on the state and local levels, state and local governments provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations, according to a study by Louise Story at The New York Times.

Some of America's largest corporations, like Shell, Ford and Chrysler, have received more than a billion dollars each from state and local governments.

And then there are indirect subsidies; Taxpayer money that indirectly benefits corporations.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #86 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:05:42 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/15/wonkbook-senate-republicans-filibuster-extended-unemployment-benefits/

Wonkbook: Senate Republicans filibuster extended unemployment benefits

By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas
The Washington Post
January 15, 2014

Wonkbook's Number of the Day: $6.4 billion. That's how much it would have cost the U.S. government to extend unemployment benefits by three months.

Wonkbook's Graph of the Day: The unemployment rate for working-age people, as it is and as it would be if their labor force participation rate were held constant.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Congress doesn't extend help to long-term unemployed; (2) two more months for federal high-risk pool; (3) the audacity of indifference; (4) lots of big judicial decisions; and (5) they see you when you're sleeping, they know when you're awake.

1. Top story: End of the line for extended unemployment benefits

Two versions of bills to extend unemployment insurance were just defeated in the Senate. "After days of negotiations, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, abruptly called a vote to end debate on two Democratic measures that would extend benefits for out-of-work Americans for at least three months, gambling that he could muster enough support from moderate Republicans to move on to final passage for at least one of the proposals. But both votes failed, and the possibility of a bipartisan deal collapsed during procedural arguments, with Democrats and Republicans accusing one another of negotiating in bad faith...The first vote failed, 52 to 48, on a measure proposed by the Democratic leadership that would have extended benefits for 11 months. The extension would have been largely financed by continuing a 2 percent cut to Medicare health providers for an additional year, through 2024. The second vote, on the original bill, which would have extended benefits for three months at a cost of $6.4 billion, failed 55 to 45." Ashley Parker in The New York Times.

Explainer: 7 reasons why Congress’s failure to extend unemployment insurance matters. Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

2.3 million children live with long-term unemployed parents. "Throughout 2013, an average of 2.3 million children — or about 3.3% of all kids in the U.S. — lived with a parent who had been seeking work for at least half a year, according to new figures from the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. That’s up from about 754,000 in 2007." Josh Mitchell in The Wall Street Journal.

Here's what support is left for the unemployed. "With last month’s expiration of emergency federal jobless benefits, only regular state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are available to qualifying workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. As a result, the maximum number of weeks of benefits fell to 26 in most states (seven states provide fewer weeks and two provide more)." Chad Stone for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' "Off the Charts" blog.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #87 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:06:50 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/15/north-carolina-unemployment-benefit-cuts-poverty

North Carolina's poorest hit by federal cuts: 'Unless someone helps, we're bust'

As Congress wrangles with whether to restore long-term unemployment benefits, North Carolina is already experiencing the hardship likely to unfold unless the program is restored

Paul Lewis in Hertford, North Carolina
theguardian.com
January 15, 2014


Theresa Whidbee-Walker first found the Food Bank of the Albemarle as a
customer and returns now to volunteer. Photograph: James Robinson


Eight hours may seem a long time to wait for a meal. But the line of cars that formed in a derelict parking lot in Hertford, North Carolina, early last Thursday morning, full of people waiting for a few cans of soup and some pasta from a local food bank, was nothing unusual. Almost every morning now, there is a line like that somewhere in North Carolina.

From a distance, the rows of cars look innocuous enough. But they are a symbol of the desperation that has gotten worse in North Carolina since July, when a swathe of cuts to unemployment benefits made it arguably the worst state in the US to be out of work.

The cars appeared in Hertford shortly before 8am, though the truck bringing the food was not scheduled to arrive until 4pm. Volunteers who hand out the food said it is not uncommon for cars to start lining up before dawn.

“I had a man the other day who said: ‘All I want is a bar of soap,’” said Laura Williams, a volunteer at the storage depot in nearby Elizabeth City. “Another man came in here and said: ‘Can you get me some toilet paper? I’ve been having to use coffee filters.’”

She added: “We get that a lot – people asking for toilet paper. But we can’t stock too much of that as we’ve got to concentrate on canned food.”

Washington has this month been dominated by a political fight over whether to restore a federal benefits program for the long-term unemployed, which was allowed to expire on 28 December, cutting off a lifeline to more than 1.4 million Americans. The White House and Democrats want to reinstate the benefits. Republicans are reluctant.

What North Carolina is currently experiencing is a foretaste of the economic story likely to unfold across the country unless the federal benefits are restored.

The people in line on Thursday constituted a cross-section of America’s poor. Of those who wound down their windows and agreed to talk, the eldest was 77, the youngest 19. They included pensioners, students, people working for minimum wage and some who had recently been laid off. They were there so early, and willing to wait so long, because they wanted to increase their chances of receiving perishable items rather than just canned goods. Get a spot near the front of the line, and you might get some fresh vegetables, bread, or even some frozen chicken.


Charles Christman has been volunteering at the Food Bank of the Albemarle in
Elizabeth City, North Carolina for the past three years. Photograph: James Robinson


By 4pm, there were more than 100 cars in the dilapidated parking lot – once a bustling shopping mall. At the very front were Floyd Liston, 59, and his friend, Bobby Bass, 65. Their story was not atypical.

Bass is retired after years working in a cotton mill. Liston, a diabetic, worked all his life but had to give up in 2011 after a routine blister on his foot deteriorated. Married with two daughters, Liston didn’t have health insurance and did not visit a doctor until it was too late. “The infection had eaten all the bone. They told me to go to the hospital and that night they took my leg off,” he said.

In February, in an attempt to address a $2bn debt that it owed the federal government, North Carolina passed a law that slashed both the number of weeks for which a job-seeker can receive state benefits and reduced the amount that it pays out in unemployment, from $535 a week to $350.

In doing so, North Carolina knowingly violated a contract with the federal government, resulting in the automatic cutting off of federal assistance for the long-term unemployed. The changes, which came into effect in July, therefore didn’t just cut the amount of support that people who lost their jobs received from their government by a third – it also meant that the maximum length of time they could such benefits plummeted from 99 weeks to just 19.

“What happened in North Carolina was one the harshest cuts in unemployment benefits we’ve ever seen in this country,” said Mike Evangelist, a policy director at the National Employment Law Project. "Nothing I know of compares to it."

The precise impact of the benefits reduction in North Carolina is difficult to discern, said Larry Katz, a Harvard professor. But he and other economists have recently been pointing to figures that hint at an alarming phenomena: people have been dropping out of an already bleak labor market, and in record numbers.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #88 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:07:54 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/01/15/3163871/long-term-unemployed-republican/

The Long-Term Unemployed Sound Off: ‘I Will Never Vote For A Republican Again’

By Bryce Covert
ThinkProgress
January 15, 2014

On Tuesday, a potential agreement to extend benefits for those who have been out of work for six months or more fell apart over squabbling about procedural disagreements in the Senate. That fight came two and a half weeks after those checks stopped going out to millions of Americans, and it doesn’t look like it will be resolved in the next two weeks. Congress let the program lapse at the end of the year, which offered support to the jobless after their state benefits ran out, drying up a lifeline for those who are struggling to find a new job.

The people who have been left without that support are incensed, and the anger reaches across party lines. In an email to ThinkProgress, Peter LeClair, an out of work investment manager from New York, said he has been a lifelong Republican. But he “will never vote for a Republican, as long as I live” after watching them say that relying on unemployment benefits makes people dependent. “I am incensed with this Rand Paul,” he said, who has said extending the benefits would “do a disservice” to those who were relying on them. “He says I am lazy… I am not lazy, how dare he. He doesn’t even know me.”

LeClair says he has sent out over 2,000 resumes and been “rejected on a daily basis.” The benefits, which he pointed out he paid into while he worked for more than 20 years, were the only thing keeping him “glued together financially.” He said he is “absolutely shocked and dismayed” with Republicans, reiterating, “I will never, so help me god, vote for a Republican again, period.”

Another person who is losing his benefits echoed LeClair’s outrage. “I read these politicians’ opinions of the unemployed and am furious at the implication as it correlates to my situation,” Dan Strollo wrote in an email. The 42-year-old father of two from Canton, Ohio will lose his benefits next week. But that’s not for a lack of trying to find a new job.

[Continued...]

----------------------------------------

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/president/

http://www.pollingreport.com/2016.htm


^^  It's real simple, folks. Either tell the austerity-promoting Austrian School to go Cheney itself, or get used to saying "President Hilldog."

The decision is yours. Choose wisely.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #89 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:08:36 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-16/to-fight-poverty-conservatives-will-have-to-spend.html

To Fight Poverty, Conservatives Will Have to Spend

By Ezra Klein
Bloomberg
January 16, 2014

There’s a simple way to tell whether the Republican Party’s newfound commitment to fighting poverty is more than rhetoric: Follow the money.

Follow the trail in the party’s recent budgets and what you find, hidden between appendix tables, are deep cuts to programs for the poor. That’s the inevitable consequence of Republican commitments to favored constituencies. The party promised its anti-tax wing no tax increases and lower tax rates. It promised older voters that Medicare and Social Security would not change for those over age 55. It promised defense hawks that sequestration cuts to military spending would be reversed. And it promised its Tea Party allies that it would cut trillions from government spending and balance the federal budget.

The only way to square all those promises is through draconian cuts to programs for the poor. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that programs for lower-income Americans would account for two-thirds of proposed Republican budget savings. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that as many as 37 million Americans would lose access to Medicaid, which was targeted for hundreds of billions in cuts.

That’s an agenda that would result in more poverty and deprivation -- not less. Yet all the Republicans now talking about poverty -- Senators Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and Rand Paul and Representative Paul Ryan -- either voted for or, in Ryan’s case, authored these cuts.

The notion that the main problem of the poor and jobless is their generous indulgence by the federal government is apparently too seductive to resist. Senate Republicans this week filibustered an extension of emergency benefits to the long-term unemployed. Some have argued that the existence of unemployment benefits is itself the problem.

“When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy,” Paul said.

This is a correlation/causation mistake of staggering size and consequence. In effect, Paul sees that people who take medicine are more likely to die and concludes that we need to take away their medicine. When there are three job seekers for every open position, it’s pretty clear that a lack of jobs, rather than lack of interest in getting jobs, is the core problem for the long-term unemployed.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #90 on: Jan 18, 2014, 02:11:25 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher): "Will the lifeboats be seated according to class? I hope they're not too crowded."

Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet): "Oh mother, shut up! Don't you understand? The water is freezing and there aren't enough boats. Not enough by half. Half the people on this ship are going to die."

Cal Hockley (Billy Zane): "Not the better half."

***

Thomas Andrews (Victor Garber): "Mr. Lightoller, why are the boats being launched half full?"

Charles Lightoller (Jonathan Phillips): "Not now, Mr. Andrews."

Thomas Andrews: "Look, 20 or so in a boat built for 65? And I saw one boat with only 12. 12!"

Charles Lightoller: "Well, we weren't sure of the weight, Mr. Andrews. These boats may buckle."

Thomas Andrews: "Rubbish! They were tested in Belfast with the weight of 70 men! Now, fill these boats, Mr. Lightoller, for God's sake, man!"

    

"Three years, I've thought of nothing except Titanic, but I never got it. I never let it in." -- Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) in Titanic


I'm afraid the above is all too symbolic of our current socioeconomic situation.

In the U.S. alone, literally tens of millions of Americans are "going under" financially through no fault of their own, yet you have smug, arrogant Republican reactionaries looking down upon all of them with the same condescending indifference as the character Cal Hockley did upon the soon-to-be hypothermia casualties in the above film.

Just as there was plenty of room in the half-empty lifeboats, there's plenty of money in the federal budget to finance both food stamps and unemployment benefits. The only reason it seems otherwise is that Democrats and Republicans routinely insist on wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on corporate welfare, imperialist wars of aggression and domestic police state measures.

And the sociopathic Cal Hockley's of the world are only too happy to use that fact as an excuse to justify imposing austerity measures on the poor and unemployed.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65lEyvrRH9Y

     http://economiccollapsenews.com/2014/01/14/peter-schif-extended-unemployment-benefits-extend-unemployment/

And the opportunistic Obama's and Hilldog's of the world are only too happy to thank them for doing so.  ::)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #91 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:15:18 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.alternet.org/economy/8-phony-gop-solutions-poverty-will-only-bring-more-economic-pain

8 Phony GOP Solutions for Poverty That Will Only Bring More Economic Pain

The GOP is trying to rebrand itself as "compassionate" toward the poor. So what are its big ideas?

By Dave Johnson
AlterNet
January 16, 2014

On the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty, Republicans are whipping out "compassionate conservatism" again, in an attempt to rebrand themselves as something other than the harsh, anti-poor, anti-women, anti-minority, anti-gay, anti-everything wingnuts they have been showing us they are. It's a strategy Republicans default to when they've taken things to such an extreme that the country is revolted. And here we are with Republicans pretending to have proposals geared toward fighting poverty instead of just boosting the fortunes of those who already have huge fortunes.

Republicans say that assistance to the poor makes people “dependent,” or as Paul Ryan put it in what has become known as the “Hammock Theory,” welfare is “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” These are the same people who say that helping the unemployed causes unemployment, and cutting taxes increases tax revenue, so you have to take this with more than a grain of salt. Let’s take a look at some of the various Republican proposals allegedly meant to help the poor and fight poverty.

Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently gave what was billed as a major speech on poverty, saying the poverty-fighting approach of Democrats is “stale and old and doesn’t really address the magnitude of the problem.” Here are a few of his proposals.

1. Don’t raise minimum wage: Rubio said we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage to $10 because no one wants a job that pays $10. “Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American dream.” It is not clear how not raising the minimum wage translates into people getting jobs that pay more than $10 an hour. The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, an amount so low that people working full-time can’t afford to pay rent in any state, never mind buy food. People making the minimum wage actually qualify for food stamps and other government assistance. A bill currently before Congress to lift the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty.

2. Give subsidies to employers instead: Instead of raising the minimum wage (higher wages mean less money going into the pockets of those at the top of the corporate ladder) Rubio proposes to replace the Earned Income Tax Credit with a direct wage subsidy. He would give government money to companies to “supplement wages.” He says this would “encourage and reward work.” This would mean the money companies are not paying out in higher wages would continue to go to the top few and government would make up the difference: a direct government subsidy of inequality.

3. Turn programs over to states: Rubio proposed turning federal anti-poverty programs over to the states in a single “flex-fund” block grant, in order to let the states decide what to do with the money. Note that  24 states are currently refusing the federal Medicaid expansion, leaving 5.4 million people without health coverage even though it comes at no cost to those states. So the record on turning things over to the states as a way to help the poor is not good.

4. Marriage: Rubio’s big proposal is marriage (but not gay marriage). He said, “the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage.” Rubio says that government subsidies to increase wages (instead of just raising the minimum wage) makes men more “marriageable.” He also said we need to “remove the marriage penalties in safety net programs.” This is typical Republican dog-whistle politics, used to evoke images of “welfare mothers” – single black mothers having lots of babies so they can get more welfare.

Along these same lines Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recently said the reason he ran for Congress was “because he was outraged that single women were having as many as 15 babies and getting welfare checks.” Perhaps his proposal to stop all the women who have 15 babies (if there are any) from getting welfare checks will fight poverty, perhaps not. It should be noted, however, that “welfare” largely ended in 1996. Even with this program the amount given for nutritional assistance for children is extremely low, while the “reform” of this assistance has left millions in desperate straits. A 1997 Rutgers study compared birth rates between women receiving welfare who were receiving these benefits and a control group of women on welfare who were not found identical birth rates.

5. Make them move: Rubio also proposed giving unemployed people “relocation vouchers” so they can move to places with low unemployment. Erika Eichelberger at Mother Jones talked to Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, who pointed out that this idea would just move the problem around. "States with low unemployment are often small states that are heavily agricultural," he says. "There is not a lot of dynamic turnover… There are already unemployed people there who want those jobs" that are open.

Other Republican Proposals

Republicans have thrown a few other anti-poverty proposals into the mix recently.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #92 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:16:44 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
To all you "conservatives" and right-leaning "libertarians" out there: you're not going to make this issue go away by ignoring it. So either start telling these Republican reactionaries in Washington to stop imposing austerity measures on millions of Americans who are already struggling due to the latest banker-engineered depression -- all while continuing to line the pockets of war profiteers and corporate welfare recipients (er, beg pardon again, "producers") -- or get used to the idea of the Democrats controlling the U.S. House a year from now, and of Hilldog in the White House three years from now.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21313-shame-on-congress-for-its-criminal-neglect-of-the-jobless

Shame on Congress for Its Criminal Neglect of the Jobless

By Isaiah J Poole, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed
Truthout
January 19, 2014

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IodMh1T-eVw (Jobless Explain Impact of Lost Benefits)


From left: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John
Thune (R-S.D.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) during a news conference
where the lawmakers spoke about an unemployment benefits bill on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 14 , 2014. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk /
The New York Times)


As Republican senators were preparing to head to their home states Thursday for a week-long recess, several of them told The Huffington Post's Michael McAuliff that they have no regrets about filibustering an extension of emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. After all, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said to McAuliff, "Republicans actually have principles."

Apparently one of those principles is that it is OK to leave Wessita McKinley, an unemployed Air Force veteran in a Washington, D.C., suburb, abandoned on the side of the economic road with nothing. Or that it is acceptable to let someone like Sharice Peterson, who has struggled to find a job – literally any job – for a year in Philadelphia, hit bottom, and then take the bottom out from under her.

Principles.

Since the program expired on December 28, about 1.5 million of the long-term unemployed – people who have been looking for work for more than 26 weeks without success – have lost weekly emergency benefits because of congressional inaction. Some of the people who lost their benefits appeared on Capitol Hill on Thursday to share their stories and to underscore the travesty of the Republican filibuster. They helped deliver petitions with 500,000 signatures collected by a coalition of progressive and labor groups calling for immediate congressional action to restore the benefits.

Congress' adjournment for the week without renewing these benefits was the left jab of a one-two punch against the jobless. The right hook was the passage in the House and the Senate of a spending bill for 2014 that does virtually nothing to accelerate job creation. The same Republicans who complained that people should be getting jobs instead of unemployment checks also boxed Congress into passing a budget that will essentially guarantee that the long-term unemployed will continue struggling to find work.

Conservative lawmakers either don't get the irony of their position, or, as our Dave Johnson suggests, they are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy for political gain. Either way, their actions are economically destructive and morally repugnant.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #93 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:17:24 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/21316-three-ways-north-carolina-is-screwing-over-its-less-fortunate

Three Ways North Carolina Is Screwing Over Its Less Fortunate

By Kevin Mathews, Care2 | News Analysis
Truthout
January 19, 2014

What's the matter with North Carolina? Just a couple of weeks into 2014, the state has already taken some drastic, anti-progressive steps designed to harm its least fortunate citizens. Here are three of the most alarming stories, as well as conservatives' bogus "justifications" for pulling these stunts:

1. No Need for Congressional Representation

Americans may not be wild about their members of Congress these days, but that doesn’t mean they’d prefer no one representing their interests. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what’s happening for the one million residents of North Carolina’s 12th District. When the seat went vacant at the start of the year, Governor Pat McCrory says he intends to wait until November to hold the election. Though the election legally could be completed by the summer, Gov. McCrory cites the cost and the fact that “not much goes on in Washington between July and the election anyway” for holding off.

Under the current timetable, that will leave the residents of the 12th District without congressional representation for nearly a full year. As for the claim that “not much goes on” in Congress during that span, last year Congress voted on dozens of issues, including the government shutdown.

It’s hard to discount the potential political motivations for the Republican governor to put off replacing a seat that is highly likely to be won by a Democrat. In fact, it’s one of just two North Carolina districts where the majority of citizens are non-white, which is why the NAACP is stepping in to demand a quicker fix to what they’re calling “taxation without representation.”

2. Cutting Unemployment Benefits

Alas, Governor McCrory is on a roll with his poor decisions. He says he supports North Carolina’s move to gut unemployment benefits because it helps to keep out the riffraff. “We had the ninth-most-generous unemployment compensation in the country,” McCrory said. “We were having a lot of people move here, frankly, from other areas to get unemployment… People were moving here because of our very generous benefits, and then, of course, we had more debt.”

What a bunch of smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that he’s actually eliminating the benefits of long-time North Carolinians, not hypothetical people moving to the state to swindle money. In reality, people who lost their jobs and then moved to North Carolina are not entitled to the state’s benefits; instead, they are eligible to collect from the state where they had been working.

3. Taxing the Poor Instead of the Rich

Just when you thought the poor couldn’t get any poorer, North Carolina will attempt to put that theory to the test by raising taxes on its least fortunate citizens. State Republicans decided to end a previous tax credit designed to relieve rampant poverty. Now, nearly one million of the state’s poorest families will be directly impacted by this decision and forced to stretch their budgets even tighter.

Why did taxes on the poorest need to be raised? The state had to make up somehow for the tax cut it awarded to its wealthiest citizens.

[Continued...]

---------------------------------

^^  Rational people call the above class warfare against the poor. Reactionaries call it "liberty."
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #94 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:17:58 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/unemployment-benefits_n_4627800.html

Sunday Shows On Unemployment Benefits

Sam Stein
The Huffington Post
January 19, 2014

WASHINGTON -- This past week, two bills to extend unemployment benefits failed to clear filibusters in the U.S. Senate.

Lawmakers are back in their districts this coming week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that he will push a three-month provision when the chamber returns. In the meantime, roughly 1.3 million Americans who had seen their benefits lapse in late December were left wondering if Congress would ever act.

Below are the highlights of how lawmakers this Sunday addressed the issue on the four main Sunday shows: "Fox News Sunday," ABC’s "This Week," NBC’s "Meet The Press," and CBS’ "Face The Nation."




Want more? Here is what was said on CNN’s "State of the Nation."




You’re not crazy, and our website is not malfunctioning. Nothing was said about unemployment insurance on the main Sunday shows this week. The Huffington Post watched them and checked again with the television tracking service tveyes.com, searching for terms like “unemployment,” “employment,” and “jobless” to find results.

The only mention at all was during Press Pass on "Meet The Press," when Peter Alexander noted in a question to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Mich.) that right now “we have battles over unemployment insurance that appear for the moment to be going nowhere.” Ellison didn’t address the debate specifically in his response.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #95 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:18:26 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pearl-korn/will-poverty-in-america-f_b_4629546.html

Will Poverty in America Finally Move to the Front Burner Again?

Pearl Korn
The Huffington Post
January 20, 2014

Co-written with Jonathan Stone

The "P" word has been buried for decades - yes, John Edwards brought it up in the 2008 elections, but who wants to remember him? - as we have preferred to skirt around acknowledging its very existence and the searing impact it has on our nation. Instead, more clinical, broad and less emotional terms like "inequality" and "income disparity" have been used in our political discourse to express concern about this ongoing silent crisis.

In Robert Reich's recent film Inequality For All, we learned in graphic terms that many of us are just a hair away from falling into the financial abyss, and that America's 400 richest families have more wealth than the entire bottom 50% of the population combined. Also, we learned that the United States ranks 64th in the world in income inequality, with the largest divide between rich and poor in the developed world, according to Professor Reich. Indeed, it can be argued that our nation is approaching third world status. Meanwhile, the 1% are making out like bandits, while countless Americans continue to lose ground with flat wages that can't keep up with inflation, a condition with which we have been suffering since the early 1970's. We are working harder and longer for less and less, with diminishing income and eroding benefits continuing to drag us further down.

There is hope, however, that this issue may finally move to the front burner again - as it must - with the recent passing of the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's introduction of his landmark "War on Poverty" legislation in his State of The Union speech in 1964, which led to the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Johnson's clarion call had been inspired in part by John F. Kennedy's great interest in fighting poverty, as well as the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and his March On Washington in August 1963, which featured his timeless and impassioned "I Have A Dream" speech. Dr. King spoke of two Americas and the great chasm between rich and poor that divided our country, as well as his dream for his young children to grow up in a nation where they would be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. He aspired for us to become one nation and one people, living in harmony, and for all Americans to have equal opportunity. Today we once again honor Dr. King and his legacy, and we should take this day to reflect and recommit to his dream and to completing his work.

As we move through the second decade of the 21st Century, we continue to fight the War on Poverty, and despite early successes from 1964 to 1973 - when the number of those in poverty fell from 19% to 10% of our population - today we are once again losing ground, with that number climbing back up to 15%. Certainly, the recent recession has contributed to those growing numbers, along with the drastic, right wing driven cuts to critical government safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, school lunch programs, unemployment insurance, Head Start, legal aid for the poor, childcare and more. And let us not forget that cruel and draconian Sequester, which must be ended. The right wing has also been relentless in trying to slash and privatize our decades-old, highly successful institution of Social Security, which has allowed people to retire with dignity since the 1930's. All of these programs have helped millions to lead healthier and more productive lives, and they represent what a truly democratic society does to assist its most vulnerable citizens in their times of need. On the other hand, these assaults on the poor and diminishing middle class being perpetrated by those radical Tea Party extremists in Congress only serve to diminish us as a nation.

The classic 1962 book The Other America: Poverty In the United States by Michael Harrington brought national attention to this issue and was another catalyst for the War on Poverty. We came to know places like Appalachia and Mississippi, and other unfamiliar corners of the country that were suffering from this cancer. As poverty spread, it brought with it urban blight and decay to communities, along with drugs, gangs, violence, unemployment and countless lost opportunities for generations of young people. Many of us still remember the riots in Watts in California and Newark, New Jersey in the 1960's. I personally remember the Newark riots in 1967, as on one of those hot summer nights I was in East Harlem, taking photographs on a street filled with the aroma of pot smoke while a large crowd enjoyed Willie Bobo and his band on a Jazzmobile. I admit that I wondered that night why that community - which would become known as "El Barrio" years later - wasn't also in flames. My photos would appear the next day on PBS, but the rest of the media was focused on Newark, and was not interested in a positive story of an inner-city community peacefully enjoying a summer night together.

Poverty originally affected mainly urban and rural areas, but today it affects the suburbs and even more upscale communities. The specifics of what poverty leads to must become the focal point of the national discourse on this issue, especially when safety net programs are being slashed or funding for programs denied by a radical, ideologically-blinded sector of Congress. Such irresponsible acts tear at the very fabric and structure of society.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #96 on: Jan 21, 2014, 04:19:05 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
And the GOP's idiotic campaign to provide authoritarian Democrats political fodder with which portray the former as the greater evil in the eyes of the bottom "47 percent," continues...

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/21/opinion/stoehr-unemployment-gop/?hpt=hp_bn7

GOP stance on jobless benefits a ruse

By John Stoehr
CNN
January 21, 2014

Editor's note: John Stoehr is managing editor of the Washington Spectator.[/i]

(CNN) -- The Republicans appear to think North Carolina has the answer to their latest conundrum: how to sidestep growing calls for extending unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million Americans who depend on them without looking like uncompassionate conservatives. A measure to renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation died in this Senate last week and it's unclear, given that Congress must now focus on a spending bill, when senators will revisit the bill.

Last year, North Carolina's jobless rate fell to a five-year low after Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled legislature slashed unemployment benefits. The reason for this, wrote Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former economist for the George W. Bush administration, is that unemployment is "intricately linked to the length of unemployment benefits."

"If the unemployed have a source of income," she wrote in Politico, "they are more likely to turn down lower-paying jobs -- even though they are losing job skills by remaining out of the labor force. The longer the unemployed are out of work, the more their skills atrophy. It is a vicious cycle leading to more long-term unemployment, a characteristic of this recession."

This formulation achieves two things. One, it provides an economic rationale for resisting benefit extension: Jobless insurance discourages people from taking available work. Two, it provides a moral rationale: Discontinuing jobless insurance is the right thing to do. As U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, noted in the Lexington Herald-Leader: "You could argue that conservatives who argue for shorter unemployment benefits actually have more concern for the worker than liberals who believe in no limits. Conservatives want to get every able-bodied person back into the work force."

While there's little doubt that Paul wants "every able-bodied person back in the work force," there is ample reason to believe he and others have it upside down and backward. Jobless insurance isn't a cause of unemployment. That's caused by an economy that, on its own, would take more than seven years, by one estimate, to return to pre-2008 levels. What's more, Paul's clumsy attempt to retake the moral high ground reflects another puzzle that no Republican or Democrat has thus far faced: How can we continue to promote the values of freedom, hard work and self-reliance when even a full-time job isn't enough to get by?

There's one aspect that Furchtgott-Roth omits, and it's a whopper. Indeed, as she noted, some overqualified people surely settled for low-wage, no-benefit jobs after Raleigh cut their jobless insurance. But the more important reason why North Carolina's unemployment rate went down is plain to see: People stopped looking for work. More precisely, they stopped being counted.

According to the Department of Labor's most recent jobs report, the U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected (74,000 compared to 200,000) but the unemployment rate fell. Why? Because of something called the "participation rate."

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #97 on: Jan 23, 2014, 05:21:55 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margie-omero/the-finger-pointing-caucu_b_4636865.html

The Finger-Pointing Caucus: Rich Congress, Poor Americans

Margie Omero
The Huffington Post
January 21, 2014

Predictably, recent celebrations of the anniversary of the War on Poverty, votes to extend unemployment insurance, discussions of a minimum wage hike, and deliberation over cuts to SNAP (food stamps) have all fallen along familiar partisan fault lines. But voters' worries about--and personal experiences with--poverty and income inequality are more bipartisan than not.

Congress To America: You're Poor? Your Fault

Listening to some Republican leaders, you hear what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error. Time after time, Republicans say poverty comes from peoples' bad decisions, rather than tough circumstances. Voters know better.

Reps. Gohmert and Bachmann, and Senator Marco Rubio have all come out recently to pin poverty on mothers' behavior. Gohmert dusted off the old "mom of 15 children" trope. Rubio selectively used data from female-headed household, and ignoring other research altogether. Bachmann uses the familiar code words about the "importance of the family and the work ethic." Rep. Steve Southerland--Republicans' lead anti-SNAP crusader, has blamed the program for "draining" people's ambitions to work (even though most SNAP recipients work). Rep. Fincher also justified SNAP cuts by claiming the Bible prefers people to starve (though he himself receives millions in farm subsidies).

Voters, thankfully, are more sympathetic. According to a recent report by the Center for American Progress (CAP), voters consistently believe the poor are facing a tough economy, rather than personal failings. And while there are some differences, white conservatives and libertarians are in agreement.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #98 on: Jan 23, 2014, 05:22:40 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
There's a "redistribution of wealth" going on, alright, but it's mostly from the lower and middle classes to the parasitic ruling class, not the other way around. And, contrary to Austrian School propaganda, imposing austerity measures on the poor and unemployed will only make the problem worse.

---------------------------------

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-global-plutocracy/5365647

The Global Plutocracy

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey
Global Research
January 21, 2014



On the eve of the annual spectacle of parasitic wealth and power that is the World Economic Forum in the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, the Oxfam charity has issued a report warning of the unprecedented growth of social inequality throughout the world.

Describing a planet in the malevolent grip of handful of plutocrats, the report states that the richest 85 people in the world control as much wealth as the bottom fifty percent of the world’s population—3.5 billion people! It notes that the richest one percent today controls 46 percent of the world’s wealth. Oxfam writes: “The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion… 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.”

The report includes a chart showing that since 2008, the United States has had the largest increase in social inequality of any developed country.



The impoverishment of the working class on the one side and further enrichment of the financial elite on the other have accelerated since the Wall Street crash of that year. While the wealth of the world’s billionaires has doubled, there are today over 1 billion people living on less than a dollar per day, and nearly half the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, subsist on less than $2.50 per day.

The same day Oxfam issued its study, the International Labor Organization reported that the number of unemployed people worldwide grew by 5 million in 2013, to 202 million. The ILO predicted that the ranks of the unemployed would continue to rise in 2014.

There is no parallel in human history to the immense concentration of wealth that exists today, nor to the extremes of parasitism and decadence that constitute the “new normal.” Contemporary capitalism—what the ruling class and its political and media flunkies call the “free enterprise system”—has created a world in which every policy decision is dictated by the need to protect and increase the wealth of an infinitesimal portion of the world’s population.

This global plutocracy—by definition, a society governed by the wealthy—generates a huge and ever-increasing portion of the ruling elite’s wealth not from the production of useful products and expansion of society’s productive capacities, but from the manipulation of money, speculation and outright swindling—essentially criminal activities that are destructive of the productive forces.

A few hundred people, backed by an army of bribed politicians, academic apologists, intelligence spooks, experts of all sorts and the repressive force of the military and police, hold civilization by the throat and threaten to destroy it to satisfy their insatiable greed.

This social—or, to be more precise, anti-social—element is virulently hostile to the people, contemptuous of democratic rights, and militaristic.

In its effort to expand its personal wealth, it relentlessly attacks the living standards of the working class—the vast majority of the population. All over the world, governments controlled by the plutocrats impose ever more painful austerity, cutting wages, slashing jobs, dismantling social programs, closing schools, gutting health care. State treasuries are emptied to provide bailouts to the banks and corporations and central banks pump trillions into the financial markets to drive up stock prices, corporate profits and CEO pay.

[Continued...]

---------------------------------

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

-- Warren Buffet, New York Times, November 26, 2006


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM (Wealth Inequality in America)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #99 on: Jan 23, 2014, 05:23:18 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/a-congress-of-the-million_b_4644509.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

A Congress of the Millionaires, By the Millionaires, and for the Millionaires

Richard (RJ) Eskow
The Huffington Post
January 22, 2014

When the president of the United States delivers his State of the Union message next week, he'll be speaking to the wealthiest Congress in history. What does it mean for a representative democracy when most of its representatives are insulated from the real-world economic experiences of its citizens?

A new report from Open Secrets shows that, for the first time, the average member of Congress is worth more than $1 million. It's hard to say how much more, because the House has adopted the Senate's less stringent financial reporting requirements, but most representatives are, as they used to say back home, "pretty well fixed." More than half of them are worth more than $1 million, according to Open Secrets.

Some members of Congress aren't wealthy, of course. But if the president sticks with his recent theme of inequality next week, he'll be doing it in front of an audience that has disproportionately benefited from the very phenomenon he'll be describing. Some reports say that the president may ask for an extension of unemployment benefits, too. If so, he'll be proposing it to a room full of people who are unlikely to ever feel unemployment's anguish and terror themselves.

To be sure, we have probably never been represented by an economic cross-section of the population. Ever since the first Continental Congress, our deliberative bodies have been made up of citizens who were wealthier than the average. But several things have changed since Paul Revere (himself a pretty prosperous industrialist) made his famous ride. For one thing, wealth inequality today is at record highs. The GINI co-efficient, which measures the maldistribution of wealth, has soared in the last 50 years. Inequality in the United States is among the highest among developed nations.

In fact, inequality is worse today than it was when the first Continental Congress convened -- and that was back in 1774.

The financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent Great Recession only made things worse. As economist Emmanuel Saez notes, in the years since 2008 "top 1 percent incomes grew by 31.4 percent while bottom 99 percent incomes grew only by 0.4 percent ... the top 1 percent captured 95 percent of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery."

Policy decisions made by our elected representatives contributed to this distorted outcome -- which for millions of Americans has been a "recovery" in name only, even as wealthy lawmakers and their peers have prospered. And as these developments widen the gulf between the wealthy and the rest of us, that means the average member of Congress will find it hard to empathize with the economic fear and uncertainty that plagues so many of their constituents.

The growing gap between rich and poor is not just a matter of quantity. The nature of their income differs, too. Like other wealthy individuals, the average representative is more likely to earn money from investments -- and investment income is increasingly divorced from the real-world economy of jobs, goods and growth. Most Americans earn the bulk of their income from what they make on the job. But the 0.1 percent -- those in the millionaire range and up -- make most of their money from investment income, according to the Tax Policy Center.

As economist Jared Bernstein says, "Think about these differences the next time you hear a politician explaining why we need to cut taxes on corporate income or capital gains.  Or ... why, as in the House budget, we have to slash the safety net in order to pay for such upper-end tax cuts."

An ever-greater percentage of corporate profit is coming from financial transactions, rather than from the goods and services which make up the 'real-world economy.' Banking profits, which comprised roughly 10 percent of nonfarm profits in 1947, had risen to approximately 50 percent of nonfarm profits by 2010.

Given this ongoing process of "financialization," it's no wonder that Open Secrets found that the most popular investment for members of Congress was General Electric. In its own way, General Electric represents much of what is gone wrong with the American economic system. With help from public officials, it evolved from an American manufacturing firm to a bailed-out financial institution with a long record of fraud and other forms of corporate misbehavior. (See this post for more.)

Lawmakers' favorite investments also included "too big to fail institutions" like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. Is it any wonder that these institutions haven't been broken up and Congress has failed to restore the protections of Glass-Steagall?

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #100 on: Jan 23, 2014, 05:23:46 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/the-fable-of-dependency-how-the-gop-kills-unemployment-benefits

The Fable Of Dependency: How The GOP Kills Unemployment Benefits

Seth D. Michaels
Talking Points Memo
January 23, 2014

Extended unemployment insurance (UI) lapsed at the end of 2013, despite an unemployment rate that seems to be going down more because of labor market dropouts than an actual increase in the number of jobs. The best option would have been to extend unemployment insurance as part of the budget deal that averted another shutdown; now, Congress is left to try and figure out a way to pass a stand-alone extension. It hasn’t gone well so far.

Senate Democrats’ attempts to pass an extension of UI benefits for the long-term unemployed crashed into a Republican filibuster. Across the building in the Republican-controlled House, there doesn’t even seem to be a cursory effort to extend UI.

Whether economic inequality affects economic growth is a matter of heated debate. But for the personal prospects of the long-term unemployed, there’s no question: economic inequality is having a clear, negative impact on their lives.

Republicans’ response to unemployment isn’t a policy proposal; it’s a fable, a comforting just-so story about helping people by taking away the benefits they rely on in a time of high unemployment and stagnant paychecks. And, not coincidentally, it’s a story that the very wealthiest voters have every reason to believe in and encourage.

Studies indicate that the wealthier you are, the more effectively the political system responds to your preferences — and rising economic inequality means that the priorities of elected officials get narrower and narrower. Nowhere is this clearer than in the fight over extending unemployment insurance.

The two excuses Republican politicians are offering for stalling on extending unemployment benefits perfectly illustrate the disconnect between the world as seen by the very wealthy and the world as it actually is for everyone else.

The first excuse is that UI extension needs to be “paid for.” Supposedly “moderate” Senate Republicans like Maine’s Susan Collins let Democrats’ UI bill come to the floor, but filibustered a final vote because they insist on having the extension balanced out by cuts to other programs. This is a debatable idea under almost any circumstances, but right now, with deficits falling fast and unemployment still high, it’s stupid and counter-productive.

It should come as no surprise that debt and deficits are a much higher priority for richer voters, and unemployment a much higher priority for middle-class and low-income voters. Blocking UI extension over deficits shows exactly which voters these Senate Republicans think count for more.

The second and more insidious excuse is an attack on the very concept of UI and of anti-poverty programs generally: the idea that all we’re doing with these programs is creating “dependency” and undermining the “incentives” to find work. “People, if you pay 'em for years and years, they won't look for a job,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL, pictured above) said. “This creates no job. It's just a check.”

Left out of Shelby’s analysis is the fact that the ongoing jobs crisis means there are more job-seekers than job openings. He also ignores the fact that the money you put in unemployed people’s pockets gets put right back into the economy as they spend it, creating demand and supporting jobs.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #101 on: Jan 23, 2014, 05:24:22 pm »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/will-the-gop-get-away-wit_b_4653833.html

Will the GOP Get Away With Its Economic Sabotage?

Dave Johnson
The Huffington Post
January 23, 2014

Republicans smell an election opportunity -- but only if they can keep the economy down, jobs down and wages down. Most recently to keep people and the economy miserable, they filibustered long-term unemployment assistance, and are working to cut back from the meager 26 weeks of assistance the states offer.

The New York Times explains in "States Cutting Weeks of Aid to the Jobless," "[L]ast July, North Carolina sharply cut its unemployment program, reducing the maximum number of weeks of benefits to 20 from 73 and reducing the maximum weekly benefit as well."

When North Carolina did this, a huge number of people just gave up looking for work and disappeared from the workforce. This made it look like the unemployment rate went down because only people who are actively looking are counted in the statistics. But what actually occurred was an increased need for food stamps and other aid. This, of course, doesn't save the government money because, instead of paying unemployment, they are paying for this assistance.

As Republicans explain it, their idea is that people getting unemployment assistance are too "comfortable." So the have to force these lazy, comfortable people into conditions that are so bad they will take any nasty, low-wage, humiliating, dangerous job. Of course, this means they will work for even less than the people who are already in such jobs. Meanwhile, the reality is that there is only one job for every three people looking for work.

Here is the thing: Obviously cutting this assistance drags down the surrounding economy as even more people can't pay their mortgage or rent or buy shoes, gas, clothes of even enough food. So local stores have to cut back, causing even more unemployment. Billions are taken out of the economy, things get worse... And now more "red" states are working on doing the same thing.

The Bet Is That the Public Will Blame Democrats

Republicans are betting that voters will blame the "party in power," which means the party of the president. Our corporate media is complicit in this strategy. If Americans found out that it is Republican filibusters in the Senate and obstruction in the House that keeps bills from even getting a vote that is holding back the economy, they would know who to blame. The media work to keep that a secret.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #102 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:37:54 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/54-republicans-say-weve-got-much-inequality.html

54% of Republicans Say We’ve Got Too Much Inequality

6 Conservative Reasons – Based Upon Conservative Values – For Making Sure Inequality Doesn’t Spiral Out of Control Even More

Washington's Blog
January 24, 2014

We’ve noted for years that it’s a myth that conservatives accept runaway inequality.

Conservatives are very concerned about the [url=http://stunning collapse]stunning collapse of upward mobility[/url].

A poll from Gallup shows that a majority of Republicans think we’ve got too much inequality:

Two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S. This includes three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.

And the conservative website Townhall.com ran a story last month entitled, “Inequality is a Conservative Issue“.

In fact, there are at least 6 solid conservative reasons – based upon conservative values – for reducing runaway inequality:

(1) It has now finally become widely accepted by economists that inequality drags down the economy. Conservatives like prosperity and economic growth, not things which pull down the economy;

(2) Inequality increases the nation’s debt.  Conservatives don’t like debt;

(3) Runaway inequality leads to social unrest and violence. Conservatives like stability and order;

(4) Much of the cause of our soaring inequality is bailouts for the big banks and socialism for the buddies of the high-and-mighty at the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and White House.  The government has consistently picked Wall Street over Main Street, and virtually all of the the big banks’ profits come from taxpayer bailouts. The Fed is still throwing many tens of billions a month at the big banks in “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”, which sucks the wealth away from the rest of the economy.  Conservatives don’t like bailouts or socialism; and

(5) One of the biggest causes of runaway inequality is that the big banks are manipulating every market, and committing massive crimes.  Fraud disproportionally benefits the big banks, makes boom-bust cycles more severe, and otherwise harms the economy … all of which increase inequality and warp the market. These actions artificially redistribute wealth from honest, hard-working people to a handful of crooks.  Conservatives hate redistribution … as well as crooks.  

(6) Religious leaders have slammed the criminality of the heads of the big banks; and the Bible teaches - and top economists agree – that their crimes must be punished, or else things will get worse.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #103 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:38:27 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/01/24/the-tea-party-and-the-hammock-theory-of-poverty/

The tea party and the Hammock Theory of Poverty

By Greg Sargent
The Washington Post
January 24, 2014


AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The increased focus on inequality has shifted the conversation away from deficit/austerity mania and towards a discussion of what government should be doing to boost the economy and protect people from economic harm. And it’s also prompted good new polling that goes deep into public views of the economy, the safety net, inequality, and what government should do about it.

On these topics, this week brought two new polls from Pew Research and CBS News.

I’ve asked both firms for a detailed breakdown of their data, and here’s a striking finding: The ideas and assumptions underlying the GOP economic and poverty agenda are far and away more reflective of the preoccupations of tea party Republicans. Meanwhile, non-tea party Republicans are much more in line with the rest of the public on these matters.

In short, the tea party economic worldview, if such a thing exists, is isolated from the rest of the public — yet it has an outsized role in shaping the party’s overall agenda.

Both the Pew and CBS polls find large majorities believe the income gap is growing, and both find that more Americans want government to do something about it. Both also find solid majority support for raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, and (in Pew’s case) taxing the rich to help the poor.

Both polls also find that only Republicans don’t think government should act to reduce inequality. This is reflected in the GOP economic agenda. As Jonathan Chait explains, this agenda continues to be premised on the ideas that there is, if anything, too much downward redistribution of wealth, that government interference in the market can only kill jobs, and that safety net programs lull people into dependency (Paul Ryan’s Hammock Theory of Poverty).

But here’s the thing. That basic set of assumptions — and the resulting positions on some of the individual policies being discussed – are held overwhelmingly by tea party Republicans; and not nearly as much by non-tea party Republicans. Key findings:

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #104 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:39:31 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.moneynews.com/Economy/Krugman-inequality-unemployment-income/2014/01/24/id/548876

Krugman: Income Inequality and Unemployment Are Linked

By Michael Kling
Moneynews
January 24, 2014

Unemployment and income inequality are closely linked and perhaps even the same issue, argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

People will criticize President Obama if he highlights inequality in his upcoming State of the Union address as expected. Critics on the right will predictably charge class warfare. Others will say jobs must be the top priority.

They're wrong, Krugman argues. Soaring inequality might have helped create the economic crisis and prolong the downturn. And high unemployment has been a major cause of increasing inequality by destroying bargaining power of workers — even those who have jobs.

"Beyond that, as a political matter, inequality and macroeconomic policy are already inseparably linked," Krugman asserts, saying Obama should focus on inequality out of political realism.

"Like it or not, the simple fact is that Americans 'get' inequality; macroeconomics, not so much."

Pundits think Americans don't care about income inequality. That's a myth, Krugman says, pointing to a new Pew Research Center/USA Today poll that reports most Americans support government action to reduce inequality.

"And this is true even though most Americans don't realize just how unequally wealth really is distributed."

[Continued...]

-----------------------------

Before anyone starts hyperventilating, no, I'm not a die-hard fan of Krugman. I generally agree with Dick Eastman's assessment of him in the following clip...
  
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojCqYcGMzps

But I always give credit where credit is due, and in this particular case what Krugman is saying has a much stronger ring of truth to it than what any of the blame-the-victim-firsters on the controlled-opposition Right have been saying.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #105 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:40:12 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20140124/COL10/301240008/Miss-Republicans-happily-join-punish-poor-crew

Miss. Republicans happily join 'punish the poor' crew

Bill Minor
ClarionLedger.com
January 25, 2014

It seems our legislative GOPers down here have joined the “punish the poor” Republican brigade in Congress but even added another wrinkle to punish low-income folks.

Having already visited several hurtful woes on the state’s teeming poor citizens, Mississippi House Republicans last week added the threat of drug testing for working poor who apply for welfare benefits under what is called TANF. Another instance of using extreme measures to cure a problem that doesn’t exist.

Brief history: TANF stands for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. It began in the 1990s when President Bill Clinton passed his Welfare Reform Act, which he said would “end welfare as we know it.” TANF converted welfare to a semi-job program with minimal benefits on a time-limited basis.

Led by Rep. Sam Mims of McComb, the Public Health chairman, House Repubs pushed through a bill on party lines requiring new TANF applicants to take a drug test if they don’t give satisfactory answers on their application. Who would decide if the answers were satisfactory? They would be hired hands contracted by the state, naturally at federal expense. That’s contract No. l.

Contract No. 2 would be hired drug testers.

Democrats proposed requiring competitive bids to get a state contract, certainly de rigueur with Republicans. But GOPers turned it down.

Neither Mims nor any of his supporters offered any proof that the measure was needed to stop a rash of drug abuse among applicants (usually single mothers) for TANF benefits. Only 10,000 are now on TANF rolls with benefits averaging a handsome $87 per month.

Mims, who is a salesman for a home health care outfit, merely argued that the drug testing idea was “good public policy,” which could make “better parents and community members.” Gov. Phil Bryant was quick to chime in with a similar statement.

House Democrats could have made the GOPers squirm if they had proposed an amendment requiring drug testing for legislators. Instead, Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, offered an amendment requiring drug tests for corporate or business executives who seek cash or subsidies from the state for an industrial venture.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #106 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:41:15 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/26/getting-the-elderly-back-to-work-baby-boomers-face-challenges-finding-jobs

Getting the elderly back to work: Baby Boomers face challenges finding jobs

As the population of older jobseekers grows, programs designed to help the elderly find work risk Congressional budget cuts

Jana Kasperkevic
theguardian.com
January 26, 2014


Programs like SCSEP assist elderly people looking for work by teaching them how to apply
for jobs online. Photograph: Roger Bamber/Alamy


Depression and feelings of despair are common among SCSEP participants who find themselves locked out of jobs they once easily found. Thus, a partial role of the program is to rebuild the participants' self-esteem. The emotional support offered through the program was crucial for Litton, who said “the staff was very friendly and patient, even though I was depressed at the time.”

One of the ways the program boosts workers' self-esteem is by teaching them to apply for jobs on a computer, a skill many never mastered and one that can open some previously-closed doors.

To help older workers overcome their fear of the internet, SSA designed a program where computer-literate participants help those less savvy. According to Sarmiento, the program has helped over 25,000 participants nationwide.

Litton, who said she had been out of an office environment for over six years, focused on re-learning Windows, and programs like Excel and PowerPoint. She was later offered SCSEP placement as a receptionist trainee at the local NCOA office.

“You can’t make money teaching elderly computer skills. They take too long,”  Sarmiento said. While there are many programs designed to teach young students about the internet, for older generations, as morbid as it sounds, “they think ‘Well, they are going to die anyway,’” Sarmiento said.


Unemployment line on October 28, 2008 in New York City. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

So far, SCSEP claims impressive numbers in placing older workers – although the program also contends with significant attrition.

Nationwide, from July 2012 to June 2013, more than 9,000 participants left SCSEP for other full-time and part-time jobs. The department of labor refers to this as “unsubsidized employment". NCOA, which served nearly 4,500 people through SCSEP that year, saw 644 participants leave for such jobs. About 74% of them still had a job six months after leaving the program. According to Hamre, SCSEP's operations director, almost 50% of participants leave the program each year.  

“We want people to leave us for a job,” he said, acknowledging that that is not always the case. Out of 1,124 participants who left the NCOA program for other reasons than unsubsidized employment: 258 (23%) left because they reached the 48-month limit and could no longer participate and another 29 participants left because they no longer met the income requirements.  

For SSA, the numbers are similar. The organization, which trained 7,453 people between July 2012 and June 2013, found that 737 left for an unsubsidized job, while 278 reached the 48-month limit. According to the organization’s data, over 28% of those who left the program for reasons other than employment were no longer able to participate for reasons such as having to take care of a family member, being sick, being institutionalized or, in some cases, dying.

Even with high turnover, SCSEP programs have had to turn some applicants away due to the cuts in federal funding. This past year NCOA has seen its SCSEP budget slashed by 5% due to Congressional sequestration. The year before that, the budget underwent a 25% cut. Same happened to SSA’s budget, said Sarmiento. While the appropriations for the program were increased in the years after the crisis, reaching $825.4m in 2010, the funding in the most recent years has been cut down to $450m for 2012 and to $425m post sequester.

“There are many people who want to get into the program, but there’s no money to let them in,” Hamre said. “Staff gets stretched thin. We didn’t have to lay off people, but positions don’t get filled.”

Due to the cuts in funding, fewer people are helped by programs like SCSEP, Hamre said. From July 2010 to June 2011, NCOA served 6,310 people. The next year, after the congressional cuts, the program worked with just 4,438. For SCSEP nationwide, only 77,331 participants were in the program compared to 106,071 elderly workers the year before.

The decrease in numbers of people helped is just the most obvious effects of cutting back the program's budget, Sarmiento said. Workers are also seeing their hours and pay reduced.

“What you don’t see is that the schedule is cut back for those who are in the program, from 20-15 hours, which translates to fewer hours of service" – and smaller weekly pay for the participants, Sarmiento said. Litton said she worked 15 hours a week instead of 20 hours, which is the maximum numbers of hours SCSEP participants are allowed to work per week.

“So long as right-wing Republicans control the House of Representatives, every program you care about will be in danger,” Sanders said in December at an event hosted by the AARP Foundation and SSA. According to Employment & Training Reporter, he pointed to congress’s inability to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed to make his point.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #107 on: Jan 26, 2014, 11:41:45 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/face-food-stamps-working-age-americans-22012766

The new face of food stamps: Working-age Americans

By HOPE YEN Associated Press
ABC News
January 26, 2014

In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.

Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training, a sign that the safety net has stretched further to cover America's former middle class, according to an analysis of government data for The Associated Press by economists at the University of Kentucky. Formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP, the program now covers 1 in 7 Americans.

The findings coincide with the latest economic data showing workers' wages and salaries growing at the lowest rate relative to corporate profits in U.S. history.

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night is expected to focus in part on reducing income inequality, such as by raising the federal minimum wage. Congress, meanwhile, is debating cuts to food stamps, with Republicans including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wanting a $4 billion-a-year reduction to an anti-poverty program that they say promotes dependency and abuse.

Economists say having a job may no longer be enough for self-sufficiency in today's economy.

"A low-wage job supplemented with food stamps is becoming more common for the working poor," said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. "Many of the U.S. jobs now being created are low- or minimum-wage — part-time or in areas such as retail or fast food — which means food stamp use will stay high for some time, even after unemployment improves."

The newer food stamp recipients include Maggie Barcellano, 25, of Austin, Texas. A high school graduate, she enrolled in college but didn't complete her nursing degree after she could no longer afford the tuition.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Re: Blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich
« Reply #108 on: Jan 28, 2014, 11:22:18 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.myjournalcourier.com/news/home_top-opinion-opinion_columns/709381/Do-the-poor-deserve-help

Do the poor deserve help?

Steve Hochstadt
myjournalcourier.com
January 28, 2014



It’s not just Republican politicians who are responsible for cutting off government help to poor Americans. It’s also Republican voters.

Everybody recognizes the existence of poverty: Two-thirds of Americans say that the “gap between rich and everyone else has grown” and the difference between Republicans and Democrats is minimal. But the most conservative Americans don’t want their and our public dollars used to help. About two-thirds of Tea Party Republicans favor cutting unemployment benefits, food stamps and federal housing programs.

There is a fundamental divide in America, more important than between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between Americans who want to use public assistance to help poor people live a minimally decent life, paid for by all of us through taxes and those who don’t. Those who don’t offer a bundle of justifications. Most Republicans believe that hard work alone is the guarantee of success; those who are poor need to work harder. Poverty is their own fault. Too many of the “poor” aren’t poor anyway; they fit the stereotype that Ronald Reagan popularized with invented stories, the “welfare queen.”

Another claim is that the richest nation on earth can’t afford it. Over three-quarters of Republicans believe that “the government today can’t afford to do much more to help the needy.” A popular conservative line is that government assistance is bad for the poor. Rand Paul said in December that extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks does “a disservice to these workers.” More than eight in 10 conservative Republicans think that public aid to the poor does more harm than good. By this argument, giving aid makes good Americans into Mitt Romney’s 47 percent, the moochers who vote for Democrats. Beliefs like these are concentrated in the loudest and angriest section of Republican voters. What is the responsibility of Republican politicians? They have been pounding these ideas into the heads of anyone who will listen for decades. But their contribution has also been passive and deniable: They let the extremists of popular culture say what they don’t want to say themselves.

[Continued...]


--------------------------------------

Ever notice how blame-the-victim-firsters either start hemming and hawing or become mysteriously silent whenever someone raises the question of whether the government can "afford" to continue wasting tens of billions every year on corporate welfare, tens of billions more on domestic police state measures, and hundreds of billions more on imperialist wars of aggression?

I've seen this inexcusable double standard rear its ugly head so many times that it's become almost impossible for me to see these reactionaries as being anything other than sadistic sociopaths who literally get off on the suffering of those less fortunate than them.

They make Ebenezer Scrooge look like a bleeding heart liberal:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMf8WHMeg1g

That's why I don't know whether to laugh or throw up when they wrap themselves in the flag of "liberty."
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Small Cuts To Food Stamps Add Up To Big Pains For Many Recipients
« Reply #109 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:28:16 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/30/268876193/small-cuts-to-food-stamps-add-up-to-big-pains-for-many-recipients

Small Cuts To Food Stamps Add Up To Big Pains For Many Recipients

by Richard Gonzales
The Huffington Post
January 30, 2014

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a massive five-year farm bill that costs nearly half a trillion dollars.

The bill includes some reductions to food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year. It's far less than what many Republicans had wanted. But the cuts are large enough to worry some Democrats and many food stamp recipients.

If it passes, the farm bill will reduce these SNAP benefits for 850,000 households across the country, more than a third of which are in California, costing them about $90 a month.

The cuts will come from closing a loophole used in 16 states and Washington, D.C. known as "heat and eat." Recipients get a token amount of federal heating help that they can turn into additional food stamp benefits.

Allison Pratt at the Alameda County Community Food Bank says the impact of this change to the program is real.

"This is really a layering on one cut after the other and we really are concerned about how families are going to cope with these cuts," she says.

The impact of the cuts are likely to be felt in places like the Downs Memorial United Methodist Church in North Oakland, Calif., where Wednesdays are reserved for anyone who needs a free lunch and a bag of produce.

About 250 hot lunches are served by smiling volunteers to poor, unemployed people on the margins, like Raymond Garza.

"I'm an ex-plumber, I'm actually disabled and I'm homeless," he says.

At 52, Garza is a fireplug of a man. He says when times were good, he earned $80,000 a year. But a few years back he suffered a stroke and life has never been the same.

Today he lives in a trailer. He comes to Downs Memorial because he's used up his $176 allotment in food stamps for January.

"And it's terrible. Everyday I wake up, I'm struggling to eat. I got my food stamps on the 10th. Today's the 29th. I got another 10 days before I can go buy some food again," says Garza.

The ex-plumber saw his benefits cut back in November by about $30 a month when the food stamp program was reduced nationwide by $11 billion. Now, he may face yet another cut.

[Continued...]

---------------------------------

Meanwhile, hundreds of billions in tax dollars -- far more than what is spent on food stamps -- continue to be wasted on (among other things) imperialist wars of aggression overseas.

But the "real" Tea Party opposes this sadistic inversion of spending priorities, right?

Guess again...

-- "The budget [by Senator Rand Paul] provides two years of war funding, at the President’s requested levels."

-- "The food stamp program and the child nutrition program" (cut)

-- "The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program" (eliminate)

-- "Affordable Housing Program" (eliminate)

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20120523011347/http://campaignforliberty.com/materials/RandBudget.pdf
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Letter on behalf of the 99 percent
« Reply #110 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:29:55 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/31/3905733/letter-on-behalf-of-the-99-percent.html

Letter on behalf of the 99 percent

By Leonard Pitts Jr.
The Miami Herald
January 31, 2014

Dear Tom Perkins:

I’m writing to apologize. I do this on behalf of the 99 percent of us who are not multimillionaires. You, of course, are, having made a pile as a venture capitalist and co-founder of the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

I admit, I’d have thought a guy like you had little to complain about. But that was before you wrote that tear-jerking Jan. 24 letter to The Wall Street Journal revealing the pain, the oppression, the abject sense of vulnerability and fear, that go with having a net worth equal to the GNP of some developing nations.

In your letter, you decried the “rising tide of hatred” you’ve experienced at the hands of progressives waging “war” against your people. Your examples were heart-rending. You mentioned popular anger over rising real-estate prices. And “outraged” public reaction to dedicated buses ferrying tech workers to their San Francisco-area jobs. And the people who have called your ex-wife, novelist Danielle Steel, a “snob.”

Oh, the humanity.

There are, you said, parallels to Nazi Germany and its treatment of another oppressed minority, the Jews. “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking,” you warned. “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

You’re right. How could we have missed it? Calling Danielle Steel a snob is exactly like that turning point on the road to Holocaust when anti-Jewish riots broke out across Germany, 7,500 Jewish homes and businesses were vandalized, 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps, 91 Jews were killed and the Nazis, blaming the Jews themselves for the carnage, fined them about $400 million in 1938 U.S. dollars.

You’ve been criticized for what you wrote, but we both know the only thing wrong with it is, you didn’t go far enough. You didn’t mention how one day the rich may be forced to stitch yellow dollar signs to their clothing or have their net worth tattooed on their forearms.

Being forced to pay taxes for the upkeep of schools your children wouldn’t be caught dead attending? That’s exactly like slavery.

Zoning laws that limit you to one measly helipad on your very own land? No difference between that and the Trail of Tears.

Where will it end? Will they make you fly commercial? Buy off the rack? Golf on a public course? Might as well hitch up the boxcars and pack you in.

I confess to having been blind to the suffering of the Affluent-American community. But you’ve opened my eyes. How awful it must be, forced to live in segregated neighborhoods like Brentwood and Star Island in constant fear of metaphorical beatings and rhetorical lynching if you dare get out of your place and whine about the travails of your life of vulgar excess.

Well, sir, thanks to great Affluent-American leaders like you, I have a dream that one day your children will not be judged by the content of their offshore accounts.

[Continued...]

---------------------------------

"To the 'real' Tea Party: Please -- pretty please with sugar on top -- come out in righteous defense of Tom Perkins!"

-- Hilldog's presidential campaign manager
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

The real hunger games
« Reply #111 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:32:05 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2014/02/01/news/doc52e7f7d37378c999653875.txt

BIENIEK: The real hunger games

By Allan Bieniek
The News-Herald
February 01, 2014

On North Line Road in Southgate, there was a billboard that said “1 in 5 kids faces hunger.” Does that mean 1 in 5 five kids go hungry Downriver?

That any child, anywhere in America, should go hungry is a disgrace. That anyone should go hungry at all is worse. In what’s supposed to be the richest country in the world, some people truly don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If they live in Lansing, Livonia or Lincoln Park, people should have enough to eat.

Because they don’t, SNAP — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — was created. This program gets people through the month, but, unfortunately, sometimes not even that.

One thinks feeding a hungry child is the ultimate no-brainer. Who would oppose such a thing? Congress — specifically, House Republicans and the tea party.

The statistics are incredible. More than 1 in 4 children live in households that get food stamps. Some 87 percent of people on food stamps have children, seniors or the disabled in their households. Almost a million veterans also get help. It’s hardly the Republican stereotype of lazy people eating popcorn and watching TV.

Two months ago, food stamps were cut as part of the sequester deal. For a family of four, the cuts reduced the maximum monthly amount from $668 to $632 or $432 over a year. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture says that amounts to 21 meals per month. Families have an average of $1.40 for each meal. That won’t buy a cup of coffee in many places.

So, in a staggering display of greed and insensitivity, the tea party and Republicans, or “Teapublicans,” not only want to cut $40 billion from the Food Stamp Program, but also retain tax breaks for millionaires’ jets and yachts and oil company subsidies. As the wealthy cry crocodile tears over possibly losing their tax breaks, single mothers cry real tears over the heartbreak of not being able to feed their children.

How do people become this cold and callous?

Maybe they forgot that America’s veterans, in addition to the insults of homelessness and unemployment, now face cuts to their own families’ food stamps. Military families were projected to spend about $100 million with the SNAP program last year. Regardless, the tea party/GOP still want to cut billions and reduce the amount veterans’ families receive.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

'Long-term unemployment' - one mom's story
« Reply #112 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:33:14 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.sunherald.com/2014/02/01/5304175/long-term-unemployment-one-moms.html

'Long-term unemployment' - one mom's story

By Martha Irvine
SunHerald.com
February 01, 2014

AURORA, Ill. -- Down the road from an emergency food pantry where a small crowd waits for the chance to gather free groceries, there is a church sign that reads: "If you need help, ask God. If you don't, thank God."

Debbie Jurcak, one of those in line, will tell you that it is indeed divine help -- or, anyway, faith-based organizations -- that she and her family have relied on in recent weeks. Late last month, the federal government ended her unemployment benefits, six months after she was laid off from an administrative job.

Having passed that six-month mark, she had joined the ranks of the "long-term unemployed," a growing group of more than 1.3 million Americans for whom Congress recently declined to extend benefits. It is a label that Jurcak, a former teacher with two master's degrees, never expected would apply to her.

"It's not something you want to go around talking about all the time. I think a lot of people don't share what the depth of their need is," the 43-year-old mother of three said, wiping tears from underneath her glasses as she waited for her turn at the West Suburban Community Pantry, outside Chicago.

"But ... there's no room for pride," she added, "because we all come to a point in our life -- whether it's financial reasons, or medical reasons, or mental health reasons, or whatever they are -- where you recognize your need for help."

Turns out, Jurcak is one of the lucky ones, or so she hopes. After months applying for jobs, she learned just days after her visit to the pantry that she got a customer service job, which she starts this week. It's only temporary for now and the pay is modest. But if she proves herself, there's a good chance she'll be hired permanently, she said.

Her husband Frank is working for a temp agency, driving a forklift or delivering documents for $12 an hour. He, too, is awaiting word on a full-time job, his in law enforcement.

Permanent employment would mean major changes for this family and for their children, who were on the verge of eviction after Jurcak's benefits expired last month.

But many other American parents are still struggling to find work.

A recent report from the Urban Institute found that, in an average month, there are still three times as many children living with parents who've been out of work more than six months as there were in 2007, before the recession hit. And Illinois is among the states with the highest percentage of children in that predicament -- with nearly 5 percent of them living with parents who are long-term unemployed, according to the report.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Cutting food stamps is shortsighted
« Reply #113 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:35:57 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.heraldonline.com/2014/02/02/5637231/cutting-food-stamps-is-shortsighted.html

Cutting food stamps is shortsighted

Rock Hill Herald
February 2, 2014

The bipartisan compromise on a federal farm bill is more evidence that Congress can get things done if it tries hard enough. We worry, however, that the $9 billion cut in the food stamp program over the next decade could be a serious blow to the poor and, in the end, be self-defeating.

The farm bill has been a poster child for congressional gridlock. Partisan bickering has delayed for two years the reauthorization of a $1 trillion farm bill that pays for dozens of agriculture subsidy programs, government-subsidized crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) commonly known as the food stamp program.

In 2012, the Senate passed a farm bill but the House version of the bill never came to the floor for a vote. The following year, the Senate again passed a farm bill but the House failed to pass a bill.

The 2013 measure failed, in large part, because House Republicans were pushing a bill that was too conservative for Democrats to support. The GOP measure called for more than $40 billion in cuts to SNAP over the next 10 years as well as tough work requirements and drug testing for food stamp recipients. The bill also would have eliminated free school lunches for more than 200,000 children.

This time around, however, negotiations led by leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees succeeded in hammering out an agreement that is likely to be palatable to both parties. The compromise measure passed in the House on Jan. 29 by a comfortable margin of 251 to 166, with many Democrats lending their support.

The bill still must pass in the Senate, but Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., one of the chief negotiators on the compromise deal, expressed confidence that senators would approve it. She touted the five-year agreement as a “bill that saves taxpayers billions, eliminates unnecessary subsidies, creates a more effective farm safety net, and helps farmers and businesses create jobs.”

The bill would reduce spending by about $23 billion over the next decade. It also would move away from direct subsidy payments to farmers toward a greater emphasis on insurance, which some advocates are calling “revolutionary.”

Cuts to nutritional programs in the bill are far less egregious than those originally sought by House Republicans. Nonetheless, we worry that cutting costs by denying food supplies to needy Americans is shortsighted.

Anti-hunger advocates estimate that the $9 billion cut would reduce benefits by about $90 a month for 850,000 households. Doctors lobbying Congress against the cuts say that health risks will surface down the road as a result of malnutrition, especially among young children.

The irony is that money saved by cutting food aid might have to be used in the future to cover higher Medicaid and Medicare costs. Researchers estimate that a cut of $2 billion a year in food stamps could trigger an increase of $15 billion in medical costs for diabetes alone over the next decade.

The proposed cuts in food aid don’t even make good economic sense. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, every $5 of federal SNAP benefits generates nearly twice that amount in economic activity. Food stamps, after all, are used to buy food.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Lawmakers bludgeon the food stamp program
« Reply #114 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:37:35 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/02/04/18750327.php

Lawmakers bludgeon the food stamp program

by Lynda Carson
East Bay News: Indybay
Feb 4th, 2014

Oakland - Final passage of the huge $956 billion farm bill received bipartisan support in the Senate earlier today, including the massive cuts to the food stamp program (a.k.a. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that will affect around 47 million people living in poverty all across the nation. Food stamp recipients will receive 90 dollars less per month when the cuts take effect, and in California alone some 700,000 people in poverty will see their benefits shrink.

President Barack Obama and the Democrat's major focus on inequality during the recent State of the Union address is short lived, and laughable. Especially when considering that within a week of the address the Democrats happily joined the Republicans in passing the huge farm bill that bludgeons the food stamp program, while at the same time locking in massive subsidies for wealthy corporate farmers in perpetuity.

Incredibly, in addition to the nearly $9 billion in new cuts to the food stamp program during the next decade, the huge farm bill additionally has language inserted into it that makes it unlawful to use advertisements to let the poor know that the food stamp program even exists.

This is extremely bad news for poor people in Oakland who are already trying to figure out where their next meal is coming from. Based on the latest census report, Oakland has the highest poverty rate for children in the Bay Area with more than 27 percent of them residing in households earning less than $23,000 annually. With nearly $20 billion in cuts to the food stamp program already in the pipeline, the additional $8.7 billion in cuts to the program during the next decade will make life very difficult for people living in poverty throughout the Bay Area.

In brief, the five year farm bill known as the Agriculture Act of 2014, that passed in the House and the Senate with bipartisan support has language in the bill that says, "No funds authorized to be appropriated under this Act shall be used by the Secretary of Agriculture for recruitment activities designed to persuade an individual to apply for supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits (food stamps)."

Imagine that... During an enlightened age when Viagra is being advertised from here to hell on prime time TV for all of those poor men who are having trouble getting an erection, the honorable members of Congress decided to pass new legislation that forbids the Department of Agriculture from using advertisements anymore to advise poor people that they may be eligible to join the food stamp program.

Senator Dick Durbin (D. Illinois) who believes that many poor people receiving benefits from the food stamp program may be involved in fraud said, "We think we have tightened it up so it will not affect the payments to those who are truly eligible and those who need the help, and yet it will make sure the taxpayers are treated fairly as well."

Debbie Stabenow (D. Michigan) a principal negotiator of the bill who is also the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman said, "This is a new kind of farm bill designed to meet new challenges of a changing world. We are also making major reforms, eliminating unnecessary, and unjustified programs to cut government spending and to increase the integrity of farm programs."

People in the East Bay are already speaking up in support of those living in poverty, and are in total disagreement with what many of the Democrats have to say.

Eleanor Walden, a former Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner said, "This is absolutely deplorable. When I was younger, very poor and was raising my family, the food stamp program was the only program available that made it possible to feed my family."

Lydia Gans a founding member of East Bay Food Not Bombs said, "We have to do something about this. We have already seen more and more people coming to our meals because of food insecurity. Many of the people we serve are homeless veterans, and clearly many of them are not receiving the services they need. The cuts to the food stamp program are only going to make matters worse for everyone living in poverty."

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Social Darwinism and Fox Republicans
« Reply #115 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:39:08 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Social-Darwinism-and-Fox-R-by-Larry-Butler-Conservatives_Democracy_Economic_Economy-140204-888.html

Social Darwinism and Fox Republicans

By Larry Butler
OpEdNews
February 4, 2014

Death by Poverty

Survival of the Fittest is a phrase often attributed in error to Charles Darwin.  But it was Herbert Spencer who actually connected these words in 1864 to describe the inevitable fate of the poor in an industrialized world.  Others called his theories Social Darwinism.  That's right, it is a real thing, or at least it once was in times gone by.  Fox Republicans are today trying to bring this long-discredited philosophy back from the dead.

Economists of the central tradition like Smith and Malthus had dealt primarily with aggregate wealth rather than the contrast between luxury and poverty in society.  They acknowledged that poverty would always be the norm, and would be limited only by access to resources needed to eat and reproduce.  But nobody unashamedly celebrated widespread poverty until Spencer.

An Englishman by birth, an economist by trade, and a racist by proclivity, Spencer took the findings of Charles Darwin and applied them to the world of human enterprise, yielding some cruel and bizarre arguments.  To wit: Assisting the poor interferes with the laws of nature; as does impeding the accumulation of affluence by the wealthy.  The poor require depredation to evolve; to keep it from them is morally wrong.  The fittest are genetically predisposed to excellence; therefore so are their spawn.   Private charity is of value only in that it allows the giver to express his generosity; no such justification exists for public charity.  Among the inferior poor, widespread death from starvation or exposure was the expected, even desired, consequence.

Such were the principles of Social Darwinism, and they infused the age of opulence in the late nineteenth century.  In Connecticut, William Graham Sumner served as Spencer's faithful disciple, and provided ample moral justification for the extreme wealth concentration that flourished as never before on the American continent.  Think Gatsby.  But these extremes were not permanent.

The Democratic Alternative

In opposition to the concentrated power of monarchy and church, our founding fathers created a social, political, and economic system based upon the notion of equality and democracy.  Such a democracy gives a voice to poor people, thus balancing the power of wealth with sheer numbers.  In a democracy Social Darwinism cannot long prevail, and indeed the early twentieth century witnessed increased constraints upon wealth and a renewed nurturing of the underclass.  By the middle of that century increasing union membership, growing mass consumption, economic mobility, and more rational public policies had mitigated the extreme concentration of wealth found sixty years before.  Social Darwinism was dead, at least for a while.

Fox Republican Social Darwinists

What has this to do with Fox Republicans, and who are these people?   Many Republicans are quite decent people who believe that their party has gone astray.   Many Conservatives honestly seek to return to the true virtues of a bygone era.  Even in the Tea Party are those who genuinely want to limit the scope and waste of the federal government.  Out of respect, I refrain from accusing any of these groups of harboring an affinity for Social Darwinism.  By contrast, however, there are those who soak up the propaganda of Fox News, and spread it around their sphere of influence.  These are the Fox Republicans, and they are promoting a resurgence of the beliefs of Herbert Spencer.

Examine Spencer's public-policy positions to discover some alarming parallels with today's Fox Republicans.   Spencer opposed any public aid to the needy.  He opposed public funding of the post office.  He opposed public education.  He opposed unions. He opposed a central government currency.  He even opposed systems of public sanitation.  Pretty cruel and inhumane, to be sure.

But even in the 21st century, Fox Republicans are unashamedly promoting many of the positions of Herbert Spencer.  Fox Republicans of the 113th congress rolled back badly needed public assistance in the form of food stamps and stopped extended unemployment benefits, while thwarting efforts to raise the minimum wage.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Watch Elizabeth Warren Slam the GOP for Blocking Unemployment Benefits
« Reply #116 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:40:08 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/02/video-elizabeth-warren-slams-gop-blocking-unemployment-benefits

Watch Elizabeth Warren Slam the GOP for Blocking Unemployment Benefits

By Erika Eichelberger
Mother Jones
February 4, 2014

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2NYK1YMN6I

On Monday evening, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) denounced GOP lawmakers for blocking an extension of federal unemployment insurance, which expired at the end of last year, and called on Congress to act immediately on behalf of the roughly 1.6 million Americans who depend on the benefits.

"Unemployment insurance is a critical lifeline for people who are trying their hardest and need a little help—a recognition that Wall Street and Washington caused the financial crisis, but Main Street is still paying the price," Warren said in a speech on the Senate floor.

She added that it's hypocritical for Republicans to push for an extension of a package of mostly corporate tax breaks called "tax extenders" without offsetting the cost, but are demanding that aid for the unemployed be paid for. "Republicans line up to protect billions in tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations with armies of lobbyists," the senator said, "but they can’t find a way to help struggling families trying get back on their feet."

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Big cuts to food-stamp program will hit Pa., N.J. hard
« Reply #117 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:41:42 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140205_Big_cuts_to_foodstamps_program_will_hit_Pa___N_J__hard.html

Big cuts to food-stamp program will hit Pa., N.J. hard

Alfred Lubrano
Philly.com
February 4, 2014


Steveanna Wynn, head of SHARE Food Program, which supplies food to Philadelphia
food pantries, said the SNAP cuts would be a blow to many.
SHARON GEKOSKI-
KIMMEL / File Photograph


Food stamps nationwide will be cut by more than $8 billion over the next 10 years, with a significant portion of the decrease borne by Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents - many of whom are disabled, elderly, or children.

A Senate vote of 68-32 on Tuesday afternoon sent the so-called Farm Bill to President Obama after three years of wrangling in both houses of Congress. Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which will have the effect of cutting $8.6 billion in food stamps from 850,000 U.S. households in the next decade.

Advocates for the poor decried passage of the measure, saying the cuts - which follow $5 billion in reductions to the food-stamp program on Nov. 1 - are too much for low-income people to bear.

In Pennsylvania, roughly 175,000 households will lose an average of $65 a month, resulting in a statewide benefits loss of $136.5 million a year for 10 years, according to calculations by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

In New Jersey, an estimated 157,000 households will have their benefits cut, said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. State officials said Tuesday that they had not calculated the monetary cost. The average monthly loss per person nationwide is estimated to be $90.

"This is just a one-two punch for a lot of folks," said Julie Zaebst, policy manager for the coalition.

Steveanna Wynn, head of SHARE Food Program, which supplies food to Philadelphia food pantries, agreed.

"The war on the poor continues," she said. "People get up each day and it's worse than the day before."

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

The politics of food stamps and ‘heat and eat’
« Reply #118 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:43:24 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2014/02/05/closing-loopholes-or-eroding-rights-the-politics-of-food-stamps-and-heat-and-eat/

Closing loopholes or eroding rights? The politics of food stamps and ‘heat and eat’

The Berkley Blog
February 5, 2014

By Miranda Everitt and Philip Rocco — Read enough political journalism and you will likely be persuaded of a simple truth: public policy exists to serve economic ends. We grant tax deductions to encourage home ownership; we extend unemployment insurance to support consumer spending during a crisis. But there is more to public policy than the search for efficient outcomes. Policies often confer social rights — powerful markers of status in society, entrenched in law and defended by courts.

As British sociologist T.H. Marshall put it in his 1950 lecture on “Citizenship and Social Class,” social rights give citizens the ability to “live the life of a civilized being according to the standards prevailing in society.” As Shep Melnick points out, individual rights to government benefits evolved slowly, through statutes and jurisprudence. Once established, it can be difficult to roll these rights back, but that doesn’t stop lawmakers from trying.

Elements of the Farm Bill

Every five years (more or less), Congress passes a massive Farm Bill that sets agriculture, trade, energy and nutrition policies for the nation. About 80 percent of the spending in the bill is on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known more commonly as food stamps. The bill that cleared the Senate yesterday and will be sent to President Obama’s desk contains $8.7 billion in cuts to SNAP over 10 years.

While most anti-poverty programs have spending caps (like housing assistance, child care and cash aid), SNAP is an entitlement program (like Medicare and Social Security). That means that anyone who is eligible for benefits  —  defined by a complicated mix of income, expenses, family size and a few other factors determined by states  —  can apply and receive them. SNAP spending grows and shrinks in response to need, not political priorities.

GOP reformers have perennially proposed making SNAP a block grant to states, capping benefit levels without regard to natural disaster or swings in the economy. When block-granting proved a nonstarter in the most recent Farm Bill, “closing loopholes” became the budget-cutter’s battle cry.

The $8.7 billion in “savings” comes through restricting “heat and eat” provisions now used by 15 states, including California. Under current eligibility rules, households with high housing and utility costs receive a larger SNAP benefit. The federal poverty level ($19,530 for a family of three!) does not take very different costs of living into account — and spending more on rent and heat means having less money left over for food.

Because heating and cooling bills fluctuate, tracking those costs precisely and continually adjusting benefits is the definition of administrative inefficiency. Instead, many states use a standard amount, which reflects the typical low-income household’s utility bill, to determine the household SNAP benefit.

To simplify things even further (for caseworkers, though not for you, dear reader!), states will use that standard allowance for any household receiving Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. In “heat and eat” states, many families who can’t produce a separate heating bill (like renters) receive as little as $1 via LIHEAP, which immediately qualifies them for the standard allowance, in turn boosting their SNAP benefits by up to $90 per month.

For states, this kind of coordination — entirely legal under current federal statutes — makes perfect sense. SNAP benefits are paid for entirely by the federal government, while states foot the bill for more than half of administration costs. It’s rational for them to want to decrease overhead while bringing in more federal benefits to stimulate local economies.

Meanwhile, LIHEAP, a block grant, never goes far enough. To get the most bang for their buck, states can offer a small LIHEAP benefit to families. Using just a little of the limited pot of LIHEAP funding helps states lower administrative costs and get more federal dollars for their residents. Though it seems complicated, all of this gives state administrators the flexibility they need to navigate a complex set of requirements.

… Or, you might call it a loophole.

The rhetorical uses of the  ’loophole’

The characterization began in Heritage Foundation briefs, and is now common in news outlets such as NPR’s Planet Money, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, USAToday and CBS News.


First U.S. surplus-food stamp, issued in 1939.
(Harris & Ewing, Inc. via Wikimedia Commons)


Why do reformers insist on calling program coordination a “loophole”? In short, because it helps them tarnish SNAP’s good reputation for efficiency and low error rates. By claiming that SNAP is filled with loopholes and illegitimate behavior, opponents are gradually chipping away at the idea that SNAP merits entitlement status.

The seeds of this rhetorical strategy were planted in the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, more commonly known as “welfare reform.” Welfare reform, which destroyed the program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, had two crucial effects on the discourse of poverty policy.

First, proponents of welfare reform, Republicans and Democrats alike, used the images of “welfare mothers” living on “handouts” to eliminate the entitlement status of AFDC. In doing so, they publicly advocated the idea that no benefit programs were rights.

Though this argument failed when Republicans tried to block grant SNAP in 1995, it has not gone away. Since 1996, opponents of government spending on poverty have used the welfare-reform playbook on SNAP, with perennial attempts to strip the program of its entitlement status by turning it into a block grant.

At a recent Heritage Foundation forum, Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) called SNAP “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.” In his 2012 budget proposal, Ryan combined the elimination of SNAP’s entitlement status with ending “heat and eat” by suggesting that state governments were abusing an unnecessary program.

Second, welfare reform further delegitimized the poor as seekers of social rights. Since the mid-1990s, state-level welfare-to-work programs have required that benefit-seekers modify their behaviors in order to qualify for payments and for job-training programs.

Anti-poverty programs now come with exorbitant policing of beneficiaries’ behaviors, including drug-testing, fingerprinting, and questions regarding sexual relations. Nothing else we consider a right comes with this posture of mistrust (except, increasingly, the franchise).

Blaming the poor

By practicing these organizational routines daily, caseworkers (and ultimately the public) have come to blame poverty on the poor and to characterize benefit-seeking as “looking for handouts” and exploiting loopholes in programs. Recently, opponents of SNAP have spoken about closing the “heat and eat loophole” in the same breath as other punitive measures such as banning felons from food stamps for life, and making enrollment contingent on a drug test.


The new farm bill targets the heat-and-eat “loophole” for elimination. (John2165
via Wikimedia Commons)


Targeting the heat-and-eat “loophole” for elimination, as this Farm Bill does, might serve the political goals of SNAP’s opponents, but it makes little sense as public policy. States using “heat and eat” recognize that hunger in America is no natural disaster or act of God – it’s the result of painful trade-offs made by 1 in 7 Americans: between food and shelter, food and medicine, or food and heat.

Eligibility standards for LIHEAP and for SNAP are quite similar —  ”heat and eat” was developed in response to families reporting making the choice to heat or eat. Poor children consume fewer calories in winter. Nearly half of food-pantry client households report having to choose between food and utility bills (and that’s after they’ve taken home extra food from charities). Not to mention nutrition experts’ (and beneficiaries!) finding that SNAP benefit levels are already insufficient – 90% of households spend every penny before the end of the month, and more than half spend it all by week two.

Three touchpoints

Though some poverty experts have criticized states’ usage of these provisions, it’s important to keep three facts in mind when analyzing the current Farm Bill.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

Congresswoman sleeps in a homeless shelter
« Reply #119 on: Feb 16, 2014, 10:44:32 am »
 

Geolibertarian

  • Global Moderator
  • Mega InfoWarrior
  • *****
  • 1102
    Posts
  • 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! www.911truth.org
http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2014/02/06/congresswoman-sleeps-in-a-homeless-shelter/

Congresswoman sleeps in a homeless shelter

Kevin Fagan
SFGate
February 6, 2014

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier is gearing up for what she hopes is the next big fight in Congress — balancing out the growing economic inequality that has ravaged the middle class for years — so she reckoned she’d do a bit of ground-level research first.

And since you can’t get much more ground level than a homeless shelter, that’s where she went last Friday — to spend the night.

The Maple Street Shelter in Redwood City was the destination. Speier had actually been there a week before to chat with the residents, and the fact that a well-off Hillsborough member of the Washington power structure was hanging out with the penniless was lost on nobody, least of all the member herself. That was the point, she said.

“I’m still kind of reeling from the experience. Every member of Congress should be required to do what I did,” Speier said this week. “It would help us  appreciate who we are talking about. We rattle off numbers, but it doesn’t speak about the people themselves.”

This wasn’t Speier’s first run at experiencing life on the other end of the scale. She spent a week last year eating only what she could buy on food stamps — “Not a lot of fresh produce on that budget,” she said — and when she was a state legislator she bunked down for a night in the state women’s prison in Chowchilla.

But now, with the most extreme split in generations between rich and poor in America, the issue of want and inequality is more urgent than it’s been in a long time. Democrats have one way of approaching it, Republicans another. Speier thinks both sides of the aisle would find her experience at the Redwood City shelter instructive.

“I met one man who spent three months in a park I used to play in growing up in South San Francisco, and then he spent one month in a bus shelter near my old elementary school,” Speier said. “He was sick. I met another man who was my age and had been in real estate for 30 years in the East Bay. He was a veteran — there were a lot of veterans there.

“One woman was working at Safeway, her spouse was working at OfficeMax, their son was working at jobs — and here they had to stay in the shelter to save up deposits to get an apartment.”

The point, she said, is that there were a lot of working poor with nowhere else to go. You don’t wind up in a homeless shelter because your life is humming along — plenty of homeless have mental, substance abuse or other troubles that threw them off line and need counseling to fix. But it seems an increasing number are landing in the street because, in this economy, they can’t make enough money at their jobs to pay for their own place to live.

“It was such a profound experience to realize that we have just allowed our safety net to fray to the extent that the people in poverty who are homeless are not all drunks on the street,” Speier said. The stereotype was never accurate, she said, and it’s less so now than ever.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

http://monetary.org
http://schalkenbach.org
 

 

Powered by EzPortal