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Sequester, Bob Woodward And Other Craziness

So, we are in the post-sequestered era. What happens now?

Bob Woodward

First of all, let’s deal with the craziness. The Obama administration has been accused of threatening legendary journalist Bob Woodward. I think that this falls into one of the common themes facing Barack Obama – he’s from Chicago. Because Barack Obama’s from Chicago he must be part of the Chicago, “rough-and-tumble” political machine. Yet, we’ve seen no evidence that Barack Obama plays politics this way (well, it may be an overstatement to say that we see no evidence). Personally, I doubt that the Obama administration has threatened any journalist, let alone Bob Woodward. it appears that the truth is that the superficial political website, Politico, is playing this up in order to drive hits to their website. It is probably also true that Bob Woodward is playing this up in order to drive book sales. The fact that he went on Fox News’ Hannity, where the discussion turned from this latest flap to Sean Hannity’s favorite topic, Bill Ayers, says everything that needs to be said.

What has been lost in the sequester flap is that the sequester has started. Across-the-board spending cuts are going into effect starting today. The spending cuts will have real consequences.

From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:

  • The roughly 3.8 million long-term unemployed workers receiving federally funded unemployment benefits will face nearly 11 percent cut in their weekly benefits, according to the Administration. This will translate into a cut of roughly $130 per month for jobless workers.
  • As we explain in a new paper, the WIC nutrition program for low-income pregnant women, infants, and young children will have to turn away an estimated 600,000 to 775,000 women and children, including very young children, by the end of this fiscal year.
  • We estimate that more than 100,000 low-income families will likely lose housing vouchers.

More later.

By |2013-03-02T12:31:08-04:00March 1st, 2013|Budget, Party Politics|4 Comments

Kick ’em when they are down

One of the core Republican beliefs is self reliance. This is key. If you are just motivated enough you can overcome anything. In fact, there is no data to support this fantasy. Conservatives continue, however, to push it. This is why you see conservatives flocking to Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg and Steve Forbes, just to name a few. Conservatives love the myth of the scrappy kid who, by virtue of nothing more than willpower, becomes a success story. Conservatives hate the idea that someone actually needed help to become successful. It makes their head spin. Almost everyone needs a break. Everyone needs that mentor who can open doors for them. So, this is why we see conservatives continuing to punish the poor for being poor (lazy). Poor in the eyes of conservatives equals lazy. This is why we see Republicans punishing the poor for being poor.

From TP:

Several states in the last few weeks — including MichiganMissouri, and Florida — have moved to cut or restrict unemployment benefits, even as long-term unemployment has failed to drop significantly for months. Joining the list is Utah, where the state senate president believes that denying benefits to jobless workers will force them to go back to work:

“It’s tax money, and people need to be weaned off of the government paying for everything,” Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said. Refusing to continue to extend unemployment benefits “is a motivation for people to get back to work.”

The state is also setting an example of self-sufficiency by not accepting the money, Waddoups said. “Someone has to start pulling back from the federal government somewhere,” he said.

As a result of the “Republican-dominated” legislature’s actions, 20,000 Utahans will lose their benefits. The unemployment rate in Utah is 7.7 percent, according to the latest data.

It’s bad enough that the Utah legislature saw fit to cut benefits even as the economy is still incredibly weak. But it did so based on the faulty premise that benefit cuts would lead people to work harder to find a job. Unemployment benefits, at roughly $290 per week, are hardly lucrative, and research by the San Francisco Federal Reserve has found that workers who qualify for UI benefits stay unemployed just 1.6 weeks longer than those who do not qualify for such benefits. (more…)

By |2011-04-12T10:12:05-04:00April 12th, 2011|Economy, Party Politics|9 Comments

The Errington Thompson Show 7-4-09

Oh, this is a very good show. (At the end of this post, if you can answer a simple question, you could win a $50 or $100 gift certificate to

SARAH PALIN STEPS DOWN – In a very rambling speech that beat up the press, Sarah Palin announced that she will not run for re-election and is stepping down as Alaska’s #1 point guard. Very Confusing.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! The economy shed another 467,000 jobs in June!  There are now 14.7 million unemployed workers in this country, up 7.2 million from the start of the recession.  The picture changes dramatically, though, when considering the broader measure of underemployment. If the ranks of the “marginally attached” (jobless workers who want a job but are not actively seeking work and so are not counted as officially unemployed) and “involuntary part-time workers” (those who want full-time jobs but can’t get the hours) are added to the mix, the figure rises to 25.9 million, which means nearly one in six U.S. workers (16.5%) is either un- or underemployed.

While all groups have experienced large increases in unemployment during this recession, some are feeling the effects of the downturn more than others.  In June, unemployment was 14.7% among black workers, 12.2% among Hispanic workers, and 8.7% among white workers (increases of 5.8, 6.0, and 4.3 percentage points, respectively, since the start of the recession).  Male unemployment increased to 10.6% in June, compared to 8.3% for women (increases of 5.6 and 3.5 percentage points).  For workers with a college degree, the unemployment rate is 4.7%, and unemployment among those with only a high school diploma, at 9.8%, is more than double that of college-educated workers.  Workers with less job experience are also particularly hard hit –  those age 16-24 face an unemployment rate of 17.8%; 25-54 year olds are seeing 8.5%; and those over 54 are at 7% (up 6.2, 4.5, and 3.9 percentage points, respectively, since the start of the recession).

HEALTH CARE NOW Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd outlined a revised health care plan Wednesday night that includes a public plan, costs less, and covers more Americans than previous versions. The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (more…)

By |2012-05-07T15:02:27-04:00July 12th, 2009|Economy, Healthcare, Music, Party Politics, Podcasts|Comments Off on The Errington Thompson Show 7-4-09
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