Puntnig 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.

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New York Times Editorial Board: Republican Budget Tantrum

By law, dating back to 1921, the president of the United States must submit an annual budget request to Congress. On Tuesday, President Obama submitted his eighth and final budget. And like all presidential budgets, it is a statement of values and priorities, a blueprint for turning ideas into policies, a map of where the president wants to lead the country.

This week, even before the president’s budget was released, the Republican chairmen of the budget committees announced they would not even hold hearings with the White House budget director to discuss the proposal.

Their decision is more than a break with tradition. It is a new low in Republican efforts to show disdain for Mr. Obama, which disrespects the presidency and, in the process, suffocates debate and impairs governing.

Jim Hightower: How Corporate Bamboozlers Intend to Widen Inequality in America

The basic problem facing the corporate and political powers that want you and me to swallow their Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is that they can’t make chicken salad out of chicken manure.

But that reality hasn’t stopped their PR campaign, pitching their “salad” as good and good for you! For example, a recent article touted a study blaring the happy news that TPP will increase real incomes in the U.S. by $133 billion a year. Even if that were true (and plenty of other studies show that it’s not), it’s a statistic meant to dazzle rather than enlighten, for it skates around the real bottom line for the American public: An increase in income for whom?

In the past 15 years or so, and especially since 2008, it’s been made perfectly clear to the workaday majority of people that the corporate mantra of “income growth” benefitting everyone is a deliberate lie. Practically all of the massive annual increases in U.S. income, which every worker helps produce, now gushes up to the richest 1 percent, with millionaires and billionaires (the richest 10 percent of 1-percenters) grabbing the bulk of it.

Robert Reich: What New Hampshire Tells Us

You will hear pundits analyze the New Hampshire primaries and conclude that the political “extremes” are now gaining in American politics – that the Democrats have moved to the left and the Republicans have moved to the right, and the “center” will not hold.

Baloney. The truth is that the putative “center” – where the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” of the 1990s found refuge, where George W. Bush and his corporate buddies and neoconservative advisers held sway, and where Barack Obama’s Treasury Department granted Wall Street banks huge bailouts but didn’t rescue desperate homeowners – did a job on the rest of America, and is now facing a reckoning.

The “extremes” are not gaining ground. The anti-establishment ground forces of the American people are gaining. Some are so fed up they’re following an authoritarian bigot. Others, more wisely, are signing up for a “political revolution” to take back America from the moneyed interests.

That’s the real choice ahead.

Richard Wolffw: The insurgent candidates won New Hampshire. Still, this is no 2008 rerun

For all the lazy comparisons being made to 2008, after New Hampshire it should be crystal clear that this is no replay of the last contested Democratic nomination campaign or even the Republican race.

Eight years ago, an upstart candidate running with grassroots spirit arrived in New Hampshire expecting the best. After a strong result in Iowa, the insurgent senator believed he was heading for a resounding victory.

Instead, Obama suffered a dismal defeat but delivered an inspirational speech that kept hope alive through a long slog to the nomination: Yes We Can.

On Tuesday night in New Hampshire, the trappings of the insurgent campaign – embraced by so many young supporters – looked familiar. The white and blue signs read and looked alike: A Future to Believe In, echoing the 2008 signs, Change We Can Believe In.

David M. Perry: Job discrimination in plain print

Go to your favorite job site and search for “25 pounds.” In almost every industry, you’ll find anti-disability clauses — with companies stipulating, for example, that employees be able to lift that weight — littering listings for jobs that require operating a computer, teaching a class, managing a division or running a major organization. As I reported for Al Jazeera America last week, human resources departments routinely stick these clauses into their job postings in ways that are shocking and generally violate the Americans With Disabilities Act. Given that unemployment is one of the most important issues for the disability community, this is a problem.

Why does it happen? And what can we do about it? Since publishing my original report, I’ve spoken to legal experts, federal officials, disability rights officials and, most important, disabled job seekers. They have clarified both the depths of the discrimination and the path forward. [..]

Applicants who do not identify as disabled may just skim past these clauses. I had not noticed them before. Disabled applicants, though, skip right down to these clauses when hunting for jobs. For years, perhaps their whole lives, they have dealt with the way society stigmatizes disability, and so they don’t even apply. In fact, various individuals familiar with disability and employment compared the situation to the well-known statistic that women won’t apply for jobs unless they are 100 percent qualified (whereas men apply if they are 60 percent qualified). In fact, it seems that many marginalized groups are generally less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all the qualifications, including disabled job applicants. It’s likely that many of these companies and universities would be happy to accommodate disabled employees but their hiring processes close that door.