Apr 06 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Robert Naiman:#ChainedCPI? For Every Social Security Judas, a Primary Challenge

The moment of truth has arrived. According to press reports, President Obama has openly embraced cutting Social Security and veterans benefits by imposing the “chained CPI” cut on cost of living increases, which is like signing in blood the idea that the federal government’s priorities should be owned by the 1 percent rather than by the 99 percent. The war in Afghanistan will continue, the boondoggle F-35 “Bankrupter” fighter plane will continue, the $83 billion annual taxpayer subsidy to the “too big to fail” banks will continue, but the earned benefits of America’s working families, including disabled veterans and their survivors, will be cut if President Obama has his way. [..]

If there is no “grand bargain,” then under the sequester, the Pentagon budget will be cut and Social Security benefits will be protected. If there is a “grand bargain” – a “Grand Betrayal” – Social Security benefits will be cut and the Pentagon budget will be protected. Thus, to be only a little bit crude, the “grand bargain” is about cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon budget. Raising taxes on the 1 percent as part of a deal to cut Social Security and veterans’ benefits and protect the Pentagon budget for wars and useless military junk is a bad deal for the 99 percent.

(emphasis mine)

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Have Wall Street’s “Third Way” Democrats Ever Been Right About Anything?

Have the Wall Street Democrats of “Third Way” or their predecessors in the Clintonite “Democratic Leadership Council” ever been right about an important economic issue?

That’s not meant as a thoughtless insult or flippant one-liner.  We consider it a legitimate line of inquiry, especially at a time when their pronouncements are being used as ammunition for an aggressive campaign against Social Security, Medicare, and other vital government programs.

We can omit topics of limited economic importance from our investigation. The “centrist” Democrats often adopt the ‘liberal’ line on social issues like gun control or gay marriage — which, coincidentally or not, are also issues which have little or no financial impact on their corporate and high-net-worth individual sponsors.

But what’s the verdict on the core economic issues of our time?

RobertReich: The Big Stall

Bad news on the economy. It added only 88,000 jobs in March — the slowest pace of job growth in nine months.

While the jobless rate fell to 7.6 percent, much of the drop was due to the labor force shrinking by almost a half million people. If you’re not looking for work, you’re not counted as unemployed.

That means the percentage of working-age Americans either with a job or looking for one dropped to 63.3 percent — its lowest level since 1979.

The direction isn’t encouraging. The pace of job growth this year is slower than its pace last year.

What’s going on? The simple fact is companies won’t hire if consumers aren’t buying enough to justify the new hires. And consumers don’t have enough money, or credit, or confidence to buy enough.

David Sirota: A Victory Against the Language of Bigotry

As one of the world’s largest news outlets, The Associated Press’ linguistic mandates significantly shape the broader vernacular. So when the organization this week decided to stop using the term “illegal immigrant,” it was a big victory for objectivity and against the propagandistic language of bigotry. [..]

“Illegal,” of course, has been used as more than a mere label-it has for years been used as an outright epithet by xenophobes. They abhor the notion of America becoming more diverse-and specifically, more non-white-and so they have tried to convert “illegal” into a word that specifically dehumanizes Latinos. Thus, as any honest person can admit, when Republican politicians and media blowhards decry “illegals,” they are pretending to be for a race-blind enforcement of immigration laws, but they are really signaling their hatred of Latino culture.