Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’
The U.S. has been in a jobs emergency since at least 2008. The cause of the crisis…isn’t mysterious, and neither are the solutions. We could invest in infrastructure to create construction jobs. We could give tax breaks to employers who hire new workers. We could restore the payroll tax cut to workers so they have more money to spend. We could help state and local governments hire back some of the employees they laid off during the recession. Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic consulting firm, found that the American Jobs Act, which contained many of these policies, would have created 2 million jobs.
But in recent years, these policies have been either blocked or canceled by congressional Republicans. They fought Democrats to scuttle the American Jobs Act and allow the payroll tax break and long-term unemployment benefits to expire. Creating jobs, they argued, was neither feasible nor affordable.
That’s the proper context in which to view this week’s hysteria about Obamacare. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just released updated estimates for the health law. It found that the disastrous rollout last fall put Obamacare behind schedule — on track to insure 2 million fewer people than projected by the end of 2014. On the other hand, it also found that insurance premiums were about 15 percent lower than projected, and that the law would cost less than previously estimated. It found that the risk corridors designed to safeguard insurance companies from the effects of acquiring too many high-risk customers — which Republicans have been calling an “insurer bailout” — will actually yield $8 billion in net payments from insurers to the federal government.
The finding that made the news, however, concerned the Affordable Care Act’s long-term effect on labor supply. In past reports, the CBO has estimated that the law will, on net, lead some people to drop out of the labor market or cut back on their hours because their health insurance is no longer tied to their job. Imagine a 62-year-old who would like to shift to part-time work but can’t because he can’t afford — or, due to pre-existing conditions, wouldn’t even be sold — insurance on the individual market. Now, because Obamacare has made that insurance affordable and available, he can — and will. As a result, his work hours will be (voluntarily) reduced…
Whether this is good or bad depends on your views about human flourishing. Lower labor-force participation is bad for economic growth. On the other hand, the point of life is not for everyone to work every possible hour until they die. Workers should be able to choose to leave their jobs or cut their hours without worrying that their families won’t survive a medical emergency. In addition, as the Urban Institute’s Donald Marron tweeted, “employers will be competing harder for workers,” which will push wages to rise for everyone remaining in the workforce…
Policies don’t exist in vacuums. By untying the link between employment and health care, the Affordable Care Act reduces the incentive to work. But there are ways to increase incentives to work without making people dependent on their jobs for health insurance. We can help people without taking away their health care.
So here’s a simple proposal. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few decades because of the law’s spending cuts and new revenue. So instead of repeal, how about if Congress devotes that same amount of money to policies to increase employment now. Republicans could even dictate that all the money flow to targeted tax cuts.
Ezra Klein politely suggests the Republicans are hypocrites. He’s wasting politeness on the crudest, least responsible clot of scumsuckers ever seated beneath the moldy dome of Congress.
Republicans denied playing a part in Wall Street’s crash and burning. They tried as hard as possible to avoid any cooperation on essential economic remedies. Every year since the beginning of the worst economic failure since Herbert Hoover was president – their mantra has been “Jobs, jobs, jobs” – while blocking any reasonable attempt to assist jobs creation.
They stuck to dribble-down economics with a 100% record of failure and spent most of their casual time inside the Capitol waging war on women, reproductive rights, working as hard as possible to rescue their mates in the insurance cartels from bona fide national healthcare, committed to every possible delay in the expansion of civil rights. And, of course, hoping to start the occasional war.
Now, once again, they say they are worried about jobs for working class America. If I was a fire-and-brimstone Christian I wouldn’t stand outdoors next to a Republican for fear of being struck by lightning.
A new poll indicates as Congress returns to session, an overwhelming majority of Americans rated lawmakers’ job performance in the cellar.
A Rasmussen Reports poll indicated just 8 percent of likely voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Sixty-six percent rate its performance as poor.
While both numbers represent a marginal improvement from voters’ sentiments at the end of 2013 — the good/excellent rating was 6 percent and the poor rating was 75 percent — the numbers are still near historic lows.
They’ve been out of town a few weeks. We haven’t had a recent chance to see how backwards Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats can be.
Congress as an institution has long proved unpopular in opinion polls though voters tend to express more optimism when asked about their local congressman or senator, though Congress’ positive rating bottomed out at just 5 percent in December 2012.
Making matters worse, nearly seven in 10 Americans (69 percent) agreed with the statement no matter how bad things are, Congress can always find a way to make them worse…
Got that one right!
If Walmart or McDonald’s began describing the Obama Administration as an unconstitutional threat to the privacy of its customers, it would be front page/holy-cow news…But that’s what is happening in Silicon Valley right now, with America’s biggest tech companies.
The most interesting two words in Apple’s official statement today on the news that the NSA can put spyware on 100% of Apple’s products, including the iPhone, are these: “malicious hackers.”
The company said it was unaware of the NSA’s hacking program, called “DROPOUTJEEP,” and that it was working to end the breach. But note that Apple’s statement went out of its way to portray the U.S. government as a security threat:
We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.
Apple isn’t alone in its ire against the NSA. Most people think that the major tech companies — Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. — have been pussycats in terms of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. In fact there is a bunch of evidence that they hate it, and were unaware of its full extent. Here’s what was said by Microsoft, which has been the most aggressive in publicly expressing its anger about domestic spying, from our coverage earlier this month:
… government snooping potentially now constitutes an ‘advanced persistent threat,’ alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks…We all want to live in a world that is safe and secure, but we also want to live in a country that is protected by the Constitution…
“The anger in the tech business about the NSA’s spying is wide and deep.” And I doubt any change in Administration, who’s in the White House, who is in charge of either house of Congress, will make significant difference. The best Americans in any portion of our tech industry have learned the lesson that American dissidents learned long ago.
You can’t trust either flavor of establishment politicians any further than you can throw them uphill into a heavy wind. Yes, there are courageous individuals who dissent from status quo “Patriot Acts”. You’ll probably never need to take off your shoes to count them all.
Fewer U.S. Republicans believe in evolution now than five years ago, with a Pew Research poll finding an 11 percentage point drop…43 percent of Republican respondents said they believe humans have evolved over time, a drop from 54 percent in 2009, a Pew release said Monday.
Sixty-seven percent of Democratic respondents said they believe in evolution, a rise of 3 percent from 2009.
Not a surprise. Why would anyone – even a conservative – with a bit of science education and understanding stay in a political party dominated nowadays by religious nutballs and economic ostriches?
Party differences remained even when factors such as the racial and ethnic composition, and religious and educational background of the political groups were taken into account, the Pew researchers said.
“It’s an intriguing finding that is suggestive of greater polarization,” Cary Funk of the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project and Social & Demographic Trends project told NBC News.
Fits the standard one-liner among coneheads I know who work at a nearby national laboratory, e.g., 94% of scientists are atheists. The other 6% are Republicans.
Can you say “DUH” in unison?
A senior State Department official, responding to critics of plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican, said criticism is based on “a series or myths.”…The embassy will be moved to a larger U.S. compound in Rome that houses the embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. offices, Politico reported.
The move is to be completed by 2015, and is expected to save more than $1.4 million and increase security, the official…said during a conference call with reporters.
News of the move touched off a flurry of criticism in right-wing media, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joined in, saying in a Twitter post: “Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee created a petition this week asserting, “President Obama plans to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican…”
“I think there are a series of myths that are running around out there,” the State Department official said.
He said no country has an embassy in Vatican City, as critics of the move assert, and he said there is no truth to claims that the move will include “changing the residence of the Ambassador to the Holy See. I have seen that as well. The Ambassador’s residence is not part of this at all.”
“The third [myth] is that this represents a downsizing of our presence when this happens,” he said. “That is not true as well. Our diplomatic presence will remain one of the largest missions accredited to the Holy See, and that there is no reduction in our diplomatic staff in this process.”
He said all diplomatic embassies are located in Rome, not Vatican City.
American religious nutballs probably qualify for world leadership in paranoia and lies about being oppressed. Given the amount of energy they dedicate to shutting down civil liberties, civil rights and freedom for every minority they can think of – no doubt they hold the record for hypocrisy as well.
Back in August 2012, Rachel Maddow explained, “Apparently nobody ever explained to [Rush Limbaugh] how birth control works.” Over a year later, the radio host’s contraception confusion seems to be getting worse.
The most obvious example of this came when Limbaugh went after Sandra Fluke, arguing, “The women in her law school program are having so much sex, they are going broke buying birth control pills.” In the radio host’s mind, women apparently are supposed to take birth control pills with every sexual experience. (Note: that’s not how birth control works.)
Yesterday, Limbaugh made matters worse. You may have seen reports that some researchers believe a version of Plan B emergency contraception may be less effective for women over 165 pounds. As Samantha Wyatt noted, this led the radio host to an odd conclusion:
“Now we have learned that American women, 166 pounds and up, the Plan B pill doesn’t work. What will their option be? 166, 170 pound woman, pregnant, she wants to go ahead and get her morning-after pill, and then she’s told, ‘Sorry, you’re too big. You’re too heavy. It won’t work.’ What are her options? Well, she can either go on a diet, or she can get an abortion.”
This just doesn’t make any sense. To hear Limbaugh tell it, pregnant women seek emergency contraception, but that’s plainly wrong – the point of emergency contraception is to prevent pregnancy. It’s why it’s called “emergency contraception.”
Contraception really isn’t that complicated, and yet, Limbaugh continues to say things that suggest he doesn’t understand birth control at all. I’m sure if he asked nicely, Planned Parenthood could send him some brochures that would help him with the basics?
Americans who consciously dedicate their adult lives to superstition and ideology that refuses to confront advances in learning – much less embrace scientific change – are doomed to find themselves painted into corners like this.
If you don’t open your eyes, open your mind, it’s pretty much guaranteed you will harm yourself by running into reality-based immovable objects. The sad bit is that True Believers running along behind the stupidity-bus will likely experience even more injury – unprotected by a money cushion like the one surrounding Limbaugh.
South Dakota ranchers crushed by storms – ain’t any aid coming – courtesy of the right wingers they elected
The cattle lay in heaps of tangled hooves, collapsed against fences and submerged in creeks. Some had curled up behind hay bales, hiding from 70 mile-per-hour winds that scattered herds for miles, struck by hypothermia weeks before they were scheduled to go to market.
In one of the worst blizzards to hit western South Dakota, ferocious winds and snow as deep as five feet killed tens of thousands of livestock and damaged the area’s economy. More than a week later, many of the cows remain unburied…
Delayed by more inclement weather and ground too soggy for tractors, Gary Cammack, like many ranchers in this farming community just east of the Black Hills, hopes to begin the gruesome work of cleaning up the carcasses this week. But while state and county agencies have helped clear roadsides and have provided burial pits, the federal government shutdown has only complicated the crisis…
Ranchers looking for guidance on how to document their losses with the federal Farm Service Agency, whose workers have been furloughed, are, as some here say, “plumb out of luck.” And the stalling of a farm bill in Congress has left many families skeptical about whether disaster relief will ever come.
State officials estimate a death toll of as many as 20,000 cows. An official number may not be known for weeks as producers continue to search for livestock. But the loss has become about more than the economic devastation, which could linger for years and put some producers out of business. South Dakotans are fiercely self-reliant, but they now feel invisible as they ask federal officials to lend a hand.
The historic term is “hoist by your own petard”. You helped build the problem. Now you can whine about the absence of a solution. How many of these ranchers voted for Republicans, Tea Party Republicans?
From John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood)
10/13/13, 10:55 AM
NBC/WSJ poll, net favorability of key figures in shutdown mess:
Tea Party -26,
How to go, guys!
In an escalation of the stalemate gripping Washington, House Republicans voted today to shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses.
The resolution, which passed with heavy Tea Party support, calls for a partial shutdown of the brain, leaving the medulla and cerebellum, sometimes referred to as the “reptilian brain,” up and running.
The Tea Party caucus cheered the passage of the bill, which was sponsored by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who called the measure “long overdue.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) offered no timetable for restarting the prefrontal cortex, telling reporters, “It will most certainly remain shut down during any negotiations with the President. That’s the only leverage we have.”
Representative Bachmann agreed: “The President can go ahead and put a gun to our heads. There’s nothing there…”
While the G.O.P.’s decision to shut down the prefrontal cortex rattled Wall Street, the neuroscientist Davis Logsdon said it should be seen as little more than a symbolic vote, noting, “It’s actually been shut down since the 2008 election.”
Har. In fact, that’s a double-har!