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louis c

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Home country: USA
Current location: Boston
Member since: Fri May 14, 2004, 05:52 PM
Number of posts: 8,652

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President Obama's Speech on Sequestration That He Needs to Give

Good Evening, my fellow Americans. As you know, we are facing some drastic budget cuts in the next few days that could hamper our fragile economic recovery, or even stop it all together. If these cuts take place, it could even cause us to enter a second recession in 5 years.

First, let me give you a little background on how we got here. We, as a nation, faced the prospect of not raising our debt ceiling in August of 2011. That result, according to nearly every independent economist, could have caused an economic calamity.

As a result of the deal I made with House Republicans, a bi-partisan group of Senators and Congressmen would try to come up with a compromise deal, or Grand Bargain. If they failed, these very drastic cuts would loom on the horizon. Cuts in defense spending, cuts to education, cuts that would reach the very heart of our safety net and weaken our security. A meat ax approach that we all agreed no one wanted. That would give us 18 months to reach an agreement. As it turned out, the bi-partisan Congressional Committee could not reach an accord, the 18 months have passed without an agreement, and we have now reached the horizon and another economic crisis fast approaches.

I have tried my best to reach a balanced agreement of closing loopholes for the very wealthy among us and I am open to agreeing on common sense budget reductions. Everything is on the table.

However, the Republicans want to rewrite history and try to play a "blame game". Speaker Boehner says the the sequester that we face was solely my idea. In fact, Speaker Boehner declared that the actual agreement gave him, and I quote "98% of what he wanted" http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-20086598/boehner-i-got-98-percent-of-what-i-wanted/.

However, If the Republicans want to disavow this sequester deal, than I suggest we just repeal it. I will recommend to the Senate to take up that repeal immediately, and if it passes the Senate and the Republican House, I will sign that repeal.

We can avoid sequestration, and with it the dire consequences it will bring, and reopen negotiations with a balanced approach to deficit reduction without threatening our recovery. All it takes is common sense and a will to reach a common goal.

Thank you for listening. Good Evening and God Bless the United States of America.

Question--Who are the 5 (R) Senators that put Hagel through the filibuster?

The report out of Washington is that there will be an attempt at filibustering Chuck Hagel's nomination.

Assuming all the Dems stay in line, I can count McCain to vote against the filibuster (but against the nomination on the floor vote). What other Republicans have made a public statement that he or she will vote to break the filibuster?

We Need Higher Wages for Middle Class, Not Just Higher Taxes on the Rich

Redistribution of wealth, what an ugly phrase. It has all the connotations of Socialism and Communism.

In fact, what we need is income fairness. The same fairness we had in 1970's, when America's Middle Class was thriving.

How do we achieve it? The same way we achieved it in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, with a strong union based private employment sector.

The trade imbalance, the outsourcing, the race to the bottom and the reduction in the average wage of American workers can all be traced to the devastation of America's Labor Unions.

When NAFTA and GAT first appeared, the Democrats (or more specifically, Bil Clinton) compromised with the Republicans (Free Trade was a Republican idea). The US Chamber of Commerce were staunch supporters. So were Banks, Multi-Nationals and almost every other organized group in America. Who was opposed? Speaker Dick Gephardt and Independent Ross Perot. But the only united group who warned of the devastation of these trade agreements and the decline of the American economy was organized labor. Now, we, as a group, are being punished for being correct, and the American middle class is suffering.

When we hear of the many individuals and families on food stamps or relying on Medicaid for their health-care, most Americans conjure up in their minds free-loaders and "takers". In fact, a vast majority of people on public assistance work for a living. The problem is that $10 an hour (or less) cannot subsist a family, even at a full-time job. Fewer and fewer businesses provide health care or benefits. Individuals at the work-place have no voice, as labor unions make up less and less of the work-force.

The same voices in the media who would not work a day without a contract, preach a chorus that would deny that same opportunity to the rest of us. I represent waiters and waitresses, bar-tenders, cooks, dishwashers, clerks, money counters and laborers. The average salary is about $15 to $20 an hour with health care paid about 60% by the employer and a 401K contribution. None of these individuals would possibly have those wages and benefits without the ability to collectively bargain for a contract. Can you imagine a help-wanted sign for a waitress or a dish-washer and the applicant going in and trying to establish a contract for his or her services? The only way that can happen is to bargain collectively, to pool our resources to hire an attorney, to elect an advocate from among the work-force, to have an international union with its institutional and political strength to back us up.

Wal-Mart and other "Big Box" stores purposely keep wages low in order to qualify its employees for public assistance. Instead of employees earning a living wage and benefits, they work at a company that makes billions of dollars in profits. Instead of these hard-working individuals paying taxes and being self-sufficient, they work hard and still become a drain on the Treasury. That's not their fault, or even Wal-Mart's, that's ours, because we, as a society, allow it. We're moving backward into the pre-union days of the 1920's. Those same politicians who want to destroy unions, and with it the ability of workers to speak and provide for themselves, also want to cut that life-line that keeps the working poor from living in poverty.

Think how much our deficit would shrink if the huge cooperations paid a living wage to its workers. Think about all our workers making enough money to pay taxes and provide for themselves with full-time jobs that paid a respectable and living wage.

There is, and always has been, only one way for this fairness to be universal in the American economy and that's to encourage workers to belong to a union.
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