«

»

Dec 12 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Budget Deal: A Dirge for the Unemployed

There will be time to review the budget deal which was just struck by congressional negotiators in more detail. To that end, the open windows on my computer show the latest labor statistics and economic trends. But the phrase that keeps coming to mind, especially when it comes to the unemployed, is more than 200 years old — 229 years, to be exact. And while its gender-specific phrasing may render it antiquated, the expression’s meaning is sadly relevant in today’s political world:

Man’s inhumanity to man.

I know, I know. That’s a pretty depressing thing to say. But let’s look at the facts: Federal workers will be expected to subsidize this deal with an increase in their out-of-pocket pension costs. There will be cuts to Medicare. Airline passengers will pay a new tax. Military retirees — military retirees — will see their benefits cut.

And the long-term unemployed, who have paid dearly for Wall Street’s excesses, will receive no extension of benefits. The sequester’s cuts were disastrous, but this deal is needlessly punitive. It’s mean-spirited toward people who are struggling through no fault of their own, people who have chosen a life of public service, and the middle class in general.

And presumably it will pass.

Robert Reich: Raw Deal

About the only good thing that can be said about the budget deal just patched together by House Republican budget chair Paul Ryan and Senate Democratic budget chair Patty Murray is that the right-wing Heritage Foundation and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity oppose it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for the country. In fact, it’s a bad deal, for at least three reasons:

First, it fails extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless who will lose them in a few weeks. These people and their families are still caught in the worst downturn since the Great Depression. [..]

The second reason this deal is bad is it contributes to the nation’s savage inequality. The deal doesn’t close a single tax loophole for wealthy, and it doesn’t restore food stamps to the poor. [..]

Third, the deal makes no fiscal sense. It’s topsy-turvy: The deal contains no short-term stimulus, and does nothing about the long-term deficit. [..]

On hearing of the deal yesterday, President Obama said, “that’s the way the American people expect Washington to work.” Sadly, he was not being ironic.

Chris Arnade: Pope Francis is a whistleblower for the poor. Thank you Time for recognising it

Snowden showed us the educated and wealthy aren’t entirely free. Francis reminds us the poor aren’t even given a chance

Edward Snowden was not chosen as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and for this many in the media are outraged.

Instead Time chose Pope Francis, a man who in the last year has been transforming the Catholic church by focusing on the searing inequalities brought about by poverty. In one of his many poignant quotes recently, he asks:

   How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?

Time magazine got it right. Maybe it really was the better business decision, a way to sell more magazines. If so, that says a lot. Pope Francis has made stories of injustice profitable.

That alone should make him the person of the year.

Dean Baker: Let’s Get This Straight: AIG Execs Got Bailout Bonuses, but Pensioners Get Cuts

No one has accused city workers in Chicago or Detroit of bringing down the economy, but they could face pension cuts

As we passed the fifth anniversary of the peak of the financial crisis this fall, the giant insurance company AIG was prominently featured in the retrospectives. AIG had issued hundreds of billions of dollars of credit default swaps (CDS) on subprime mortgage backed securities. When these mortgage-backed securities failed en masse, AIG didn’t have the money to back them up. [..]

Chicago has been in the news recently because its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, seems intent on cutting the pensions that its current and retired employees have earned. Emanuel insists that the city can’t afford these pensions and therefore workers and retirees will simply have to accept reduced benefits. [..]

There is one final noteworthy connection between AIG and the Chicago pension situation. Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was President Obama’s chief of staff at the time that no one could figure out how to avoid paying the AIG bonuses. Apparently Emanuel has learned more about voiding contractual obligations now that it is ordinary workers at other end of the commitment.

Charles M. Blow: The Appalling Stance of Rand Paul

I don’t put much past politicians. I stay prepared for the worst. But occasionally someone says something so insensitive that it catches me flat-footed.

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said Sunday on Fox News: “I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers.”

This statement strikes at the heart – were a heart to exist – of the divide between conservatives and liberals about whether the social safety net provides temporary help for those who hit hard times or functions as a kind of glue to keep them stuck there.

Jim Hightower: Geithner’s Magical Trip Through the Revolving Door

Timmy Geithner has landed.

The Secretary of the Treasury in President Obama’s first term resigned early this year, and we lost track of him for months. But in November, Geithner reappeared, having spun himself through Washington’s revolving door – whoosh, whoosh, whoosh – and flung himself all the way up to Wall Street, landing softly in the cushy quarters of Warburg Pincus, one of America’s top 10 private-equity empires. Yes, the guy who was responsible for rescuing and regulating Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail, multibillion-dollar, financial casinos is now president of one. [..]

Whether spinning from the inside out, or from the outside in, Geithner is proof the Washington-Wall Street revolving door serves bankers, not the public interests. We need to weld that door shut.

2 comments

  1. MO Blue

    I approve of wholeheartedly.

    The government had previously delayed the deadline for enrolling in coverage that starts Jan. 1, moving it back from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 after the Web site’s tumultuous launch made it difficult for many to shop. While that deadline will stay the same, shoppers will now have until Dec. 31 to pay their first month’s premium.

    The Obama administration is also extending coverage under the health-care law’s state high-risk pool, which currently covers over 84,000 people with preexisting conditions. That coverage was initially slated to end Dec. 31, but will now run through the end of January to give enrollees more time to transition into health-care law plans. link

    With the roll out debacle, some seriously ill people were going to be without the means to pay for their care if they were unable to replace their high-risk pool coverage. It is a shame that so many of them were put being so fearful and stressful situation but at least it is being addressed now.

     

  2. MO Blue

    Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) chief of staff, was part of a major Canadian case.

    On Nov. 14, Toronto Police revealed that 348 people around the world had been arrested in connection to a three-year long child exploitation investigation known as Project Spade. More than 100 of the arrests occurred in Canada. Another 76 took place in the United States.



    Loskarn is not the only shocking arrest related to Project Spade. Among those cuffed were six law enforcement officials, nine religious leaders, 40 school teachers, three foster parents, and nine doctors and nurses. The Toronto man at the center of the investigation, Brian Way, was charged in Canada with 24 offenses, including numerous child-pornography and proceeds-of-crime offenses, as well as instructing a criminal organization.

    According to the Toronto police, Project Spade also led to the rescue of 386 children. link

Comments have been disabled.