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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,451

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NYT: Why a Symbolic Democratic Agenda Is Better Than None


But there is a very specific reason why nothing is getting done in Washington: Republican intransigence. And Democrats announced a plan this week to remind voters of that fact. They plan to push ahead with a package of at least 10 bills that would benefit the middle class and those hoping to join it, knowing full well that Republicans will either filibuster the bills in the Senate or kill them in the House.

In addition to the unemployment benefit extension they advanced today, the package includes bills to raise the minimum wage, eliminate the salary gap between men and women, cut the interest rate on college loans, and end tax loopholes that help businesses with overseas incomes. Other bills would protect Medicare from various Republican plans to cut it, spend money on infrastructure repair, and make child care more affordable.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington proposed an important expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will be a huge benefit to low-income childless families and two-earner families, following a proposal by Mr. Obama earlier this year. And in the House, Democrats officially introduced a discharge petition to force a vote on the Senate’s immigration bill, which has languished for months.

Discharge petitions almost always fail, and so do most ambitious Democratic agendas. It’s pretty clear that for the rest of this election year, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress will produce a depressingly long list of failed symbolic bills, designed only to highlight the stubbornness of the opposition.

I only wish the Democrats would reach further left in their proposals. Why not put protection of voting rights and greater expansion of the social safety net on the table, and force the Republicans to go on record as against these popular items?

Martin O'Malley: A More Just Minimum Wage


Last summer we marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of the Fair Labor Standards Act – a landmark law that protected children, limited the number of hours in a workweek, and established the nation’s first minimum wage. The genesis of that law is often traced back to the story of one little girl who managed to get a poignant letter in the hands of the campaigning president. The note read:

“I wish you could do something to help us girls. We have been working in a sewing factory, and up to a few months ago we were getting our minimum pay of $11 a week. Today the 200 of us girls have been cut down to $4 and $5 and $6 a week.”


In 1965, CEOs made 20.1 times the pay of the average worker. By 2012, CEOs made 273 times the pay of the average worker. Between 1979 and 2007, the richest 1 percent of American households saw their income rise by 281 percent, or more than $973,000. Meanwhile, the poorest Americans saw an increase in their income of only 16 percent, or $2,400. Today, there are mothers in America who work 40 hours a week and cannot afford to feed their children. There are fathers who work 40 hours a week and cannot afford to shelter their family from the cold. As long as this is the case, can we say we have done right for the least of our brothers and sisters? No person who works full-time and plays by the rules should be forced to raise their family in poverty.

The good news is, a strong majority of Americans now support raising the minimum wage nationally. But we needn’t wait for the federal government to act. That’s why I have proposed raising the minimum wage in Maryland to $10.10 per hour. According to the Economic Policy Institute, doing so would give 455,000 workers a raise, generate $456 million in new economic activity during the phase-in period, and generate or support approximately 1,600 new jobs in our state alone.

But this issue transcends politics and policy. Our faith teaches us that when prosperity is not shared by all, we all become poor; that when laborers are treated by the powerful as an expendable resource, instead of as co-equal humans with dignity, we have failed to live in accord with our beliefs. We can do better. We must. And I believe we will.


Martin O'Malley

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is serving his second term in office. Prior to serving as governor, O’Malley served as Mayor of the City of Baltimore. He received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University and his law degree from the University of Maryland. Martin and his wife, Katie, a District Court judge, have two daughters, Grace and Tara, and two sons, William and Jack.

Howard Dean doesn't think abortion is an issue.

There is no contraception mandate ...

Ted Talk (a single graphic)

Which Makes More Sense?

Would raising the minimum wage really help Wisconsin?

The last 10 days and the last 25 years

Wisconsin: Rally to ReMember with Ed Schultz in Madison Tomorrow (Friday 3/28)

from my email ...

Rally to ReMember with Ed Schultz
Madison, WI

Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Madison, WI 53713
United States

We are continuing to fight back against the attacks to our rights and our communities by fighting forward! Let's stand together as proud union members and supporters and reclaim the promise of a livable wages, safe workplaces and strong labor laws to help all Wisconsinites dream their dreams and achieve them.

The exciting rally will feature MSNBC TV personality Ed Schultz. Ed is a strong supporter of workers' rights and has used his popular TV and talk radio shows as megaphones to raise awareness about the attacks in Wisconsin and on working Americans.

Everyone is welcome you don't have to be a union member to attend!

Tickets are FREE with a suggested donation of $10 for the River Food Pantry and the AFT Local 243 scholarship fund for Madison Area Technical College students.

Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Madison, WI 53713
United States

Start: Friday Mar 28, 2014 6:00 PM
End: Friday Mar 28, 2014 11:00 PM


Free - $10.00

How to Get Tickets

Who: AFT Union Local 243
Phone: 608-246-6832 or 608-246-6066
Email: Rally2Remember@gmail.com
Web: http://aft243.org

Detroit Is Beta-Test of the GOP Plan To Sell The Federal Government to Corporations


Republicans have long sought to sell off government assets they claim are prohibitively expensive to private, for-profit enterprises they claim are better equipped to administer them because they will base operations on sound corporate business models. What Detroit is experiencing is the Bain Capital vulture capitalist tactic of taking over a company, leveraging it with debt, declaring bankruptcy, and selling off assets and firing union employees all while turning a profit. Michigan governor Rick Snyder followed Bain’s tactics in appointing his cohort to lead the city, disband the government, and create conditions allowing the emergency manager to declare the city bankrupt to sell off assets allegedly to satisfy creditors.


In Detroit’s case, the city was leveraged to the hilt with state-backed bond money to allow it to meet payroll for its employees, and by feigning resistance by creditors, unions, and pension boards to take pennies on the dollar for their assets to assist in restructuring the city’s finances, the bankruptcy gives the emergency manager power to liquidate city assets, including public employee pensions, to satisfy demands for payment. Willard Romney would be proud of emergency city manager Kevyn Orr’s adherence to the Bain tactics; especially because as city employees and residents suffer like hundreds-of-thousands of employees Bain companies ruined, corporations will buy government assets for a pittance.

Everything emergency city manager Orr has done is in line with Bain tactics including misrepresenting the city’s financial situation to create the necessity for cutting expenses, services, and finally declaring bankruptcy not unlike Bain Capital did to companies they took over. An attorney for Detroit, Krystal Crittendon, criticized a recent financial report filed by Orr and said the numbers do not accurately represent the city’s fiscal woes, and it follows typical Republican rhetoric regarding the federal debt. She said, “The whole foundation that brings him here is false. We do not have a $15 billion or a $20 billion debt problem. We have less than a $2 billion short-term debt problem that we could manage if we just went out and collected revenues that are owed to the city; stop giving tax abatement to people who can actually afford to pay taxes.” Republicans have resisted raising taxes, or even funding the IRS to collect taxes, from corporations and the wealthy while they complain social programs like Social Security and Medicare are driving the country into bankruptcy as a reason to cut spending and turn over operations like Medicare to privatization.

What Detroit suffered is a microcosm of the federal government leveraged with debt from Bush-Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich, bailouts to Wall Street and banks designated as “too big to fail,” a Medicare prescription plan, and two unnecessary wars that were all unfunded and put on the nation’s credit card. To make it nearly impossible for the federal government to meet its debt obligations, Republicans refused to bring in more revenue, and spent four years driving up debt with extensions on tax cuts for the rich, overfunding the already bloated defense budget, and nearly causing the government to default on its debts during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis. Along the way, Republicans have attempted cutting Medicare and Social Security spending they claim is driving the debt and deficit, as well as using the sequester to starve domestic programs into oblivion not unlike Detroit’s city manager withholding funding for education, city maintenance, and social programs as prohibitively expensive while giving tax breaks to the rich.
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