Posts tagged ‘Barack Obama’

The Republican Madness On Financial Disaster

Obama ups campaign on fiscal cliff, irks Republicans (via AFP)

So much for the misty eyed, pre-election nostalgia over President Barack Obama's last-ever campaign. A few weeks on, the re-elected US leader is dusting off just retired retail politics skills, hoping to outflank Republicans over the "fiscal cliff" -- an impasse over tax hikes and spending cuts that…

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Senators hope to end Federal Reserve’s conflicts of interest

Senators hope to end Federal Reserve’s conflicts of interest (via Raw Story )

Three U.S. Senators proposed a bill on Tuesday that would prevent the nation’s most powerful banking executives from simultaneously running the very institutions intended to keep them playing by the rules, with one of the bill’s sponsors saying that JP Morgan’s recent billions in losses are indicative…

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WASHINGTON (AFP) Wed Nov 14 2012 16:38:04 GMT-0700 (US Mountain Standard Time) Jim Watson/AFP US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama told opposition Republicans they would have to accept tax increases for the rich if the country was to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. US President Barack Obama told opposition Republicans on Wednesday they would have to AFP (

Obama stands firm on taxes in fiscal cliff showdown (via AFP)

US President Barack Obama told opposition Republicans on Wednesday they would have to accept tax increases for the rich if the country was to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. Obama said he wanted to extend tax cuts set to expire at year-end for 98 percent of Americans to mitigate the impact of the…

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Maher says Republicans have same problem as the Beach Boys: ‘Their fans are dying’

Maher says Republicans have same problem as the Beach Boys: ‘Their fans are dying’ (via Raw Story )

Friday night on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher addressed the Republican Party’s staggering electoral losses in this week’s elections and mused that the party may be facing virtual extinction. Maher began the segment talking about Fox News’s alert early on election day that a…

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Inspite GOP Big Donors They Were Beat Down

Deluge of Republican money made little difference (via AFP)

Despite their funding deluge from wealthy donors, Republicans failed to overwhelm President Barack Obama and Democrats at the ballot box. So was throwing all that money at the 2012 election worth it? Obama was handily re-elected, Democrats added two more seats to their majority in the Senate, and they…

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FOCUS | With Deficit Hawks Circling Overhead

FOCUS | With Deficit Hawks Circling Overhead.

ith deficit hawks circling overhead, the responsibility for creating jobs has fallen by default to Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. Last week the Fed said it expected to keep interest rates near zero through mid 2015 in order to stimulate employment.

Two cheers.

The problem is, low interest rates alone won’t do it. The Fed has held interest rates near zero for several years without that much to show for it. A smaller portion of American adults is now working than at any time in the last thirty years.
So far, the biggest beneficiaries of near-zero interest rates haven’t been average Americans. They’ve been too weighed down with debt to borrow more, and their wages keep dropping. And because they won’t and can’t borrow more, businesses haven’t had more customers. So there’s been no reason for businesses to borrow to expand and hire more people, even at low interest rates.

The biggest winners from the Fed’s near-zero rates have been the big banks, which are now assured of two or more years of almost free money. The big banks haven’t used the money to refinance mortgages – why should they when they can squeeze more money out of homeowners by keeping them at higher rates? Instead, they’ve used the almost free money to make big bets on derivatives. If the bets continue to go well, the bankers will continue to make a bundle. If the bets sour, well, you know what happens then. Watch your wallets.

The truth is, low interest rates won’t boost the economy without an expansive fiscal policy that makes up for the timid spending of consumers and businesses. Until more Americans have more money in their pockets, government spending has to fill the gap.

On this score, the big news isn’t the Fed’s renewed determination to keep interest rates low. The big news is global lender’s desperation to park their savings in Treasury bills. The euro is way too risky, the yen is still a basket case, China is slowing down and no one knows what will happen to its currency, and you’d have to be crazy to park your savings in Russia.

It’s a match made in heaven – or should be. Because foreigners are so willing to buy T-bills, America can borrow money more cheaply than ever. We could use it to put Americans back to work rebuilding our crumbling highways and bridges and schools, cleaning up our national parks and city parks and playgrounds, and doing everything else that needs doing that we’ve neglected for too long.

This would put money in people’s pockets and encourage them to take advantage of the Fed’s low interest rates to borrow even more. And their spending, in turn, would induce businesses to expand and create more jobs. A virtuous cycle.

Yet for purely ideological reasons we’re heading in the opposite direction. The federal government is cutting back spending. It’s not even helping state and local governments – which continue to lay off teachers, fire fighters, social workers, and police officers.

Worst of all, we’re facing a so-called “fiscal cliff” next year when $109 billion in federal spending cuts automatically go into effect. The Congressional Budget Office warns this may push us into recession – which will cause more joblessness and make the federal budget deficit even larger relative to the size of the economy. That’s the austerity trap Europe has fallen into.

Mitt Romney has been criticizing the Obama administration for not doing more to avoid the cliff, but he seems to forget that congressional Republicans brought it on when they refused to raise the debt ceiling. They then created the cliff as a fall-back mechanism. Romney’s vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget committee, voted for it.

It’s a mindless gimmick that presumes our biggest problem is the deficit, when even the Fed understands our biggest problem right now is unemployment. Yet even the nation’s credit-rating agencies have bought into the mindlessness. Last week Moody’s said it would likely downgrade U.S. government bonds if Congress and the White House don’t come up with a credible plan to reduce the federal budget deficit. (Standard & Poor’s has already downgraded U.S. debt.)

Hello? Can we please stop obsessing about the federal budget deficit? Repeat after me: America’s #1 economic problem is unemployment. Our #1 goal should be to restore job growth. Period.

The Federal Reserve Board understands this. And at least it’s trying. But it can’t succeed on its own. Global lenders are giving us a way out. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.


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+24 # Barbara K 2012-09-16 09:38
Absolutely, Mr. Reich, I’ve been wondering why the Rs are sulking so about the deficit. It cannot be fixed until people are working and paying taxes. Can’t pay down the debt until more money is coming in. End the tax cuts, that would help to take care of the deficit. It is like a family sitting around the kitchen table trying to pay its bills when it just threw out half their income. Not possible. Of course the Rs are so irresponsible, after all most of the debt was incurred before Obama even got there. We have the Rs to thank for the deficit in the first place. They howl over it now to make it look like they are really worried about it. If they were really worried about it, they would stop so much military spending. Buying things we don’t need.

The alternatives are liars, cheats, thieves and greed. Loss of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, just to name a few.

House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story

House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story.

House Republicans have introduced legislation to prevent the Obama administration from allowing some states to waive certain provisions of the welfare reform law enacted in 1996.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in July that it was seeking to provide states with more flexibility to administer the Temporary Assistant for Needy Families (TANF) program. George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said the law contained “mind-numbing details about how to run a welfare-to-work program” and offered to waive some of those federal regulations.

The TANF program — which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities and personal care items — requires those receiving payments to be employed or looking for work. Nearly four million Americans currently receive TANF payments.

Republicans have falsely claimed that the Obama administration was seeking to roll back the work requirements in the law.

“The president’s waiver scheme will roll back bipartisan welfare reforms that helped end dependency, reduce poverty, and strengthen income security for countless families,” Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said in a statement. “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not stand by while the president runs roughshod over the law and promotes policies that will hurt families and taxpayers.”

The waivers, which have been requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada, would only allow states to test pilot programs designed to improve employment outcomes in the welfare program. Pilot programs that do not increase employment will be terminated.

“This resolution is nothing more than a political stunt,” Rep. George Miller (D-CA) said in a statement. “It is based on a widely circulated lie. Nearly every conceivable independent fact-checker has debunked the Republicans’ claims. This resolution wastes precious legislative time when we should be working together to provide solutions for the real problems confronting American families, not fabricated ones.”

Death is Near (Ca


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