There Are Millionaires ASKING To Pay Higher Taxes

Susie Madrak explains, in Oh, Orrin? Why Won’t You Listen To Millionaires Who Want To Pay Higher Taxes? | Crooks and Liars,

So the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that includes several dozen people in the highest tax bracket, first tried unsuccessfully to convince elected officials to let the Bush tax cuts expire. No dice. …
Then, right before Obama was to announce his budget proposal, they took a different approach. Via Justin Elliott in Salon:

“For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000,” the group writes in a new letter to Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner. “We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned incomes of $1,000,000 per year or more.”
Last year, Obama signed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts after originally proposing that the two highest tax rates return to 36% and 39.6%, up from the Bush tax cut levels of 33% and 35%.
One of the signatories of the new letter, film and television producer Linda Gottlieb, explained her participation to me this morning: “For me to be sitting and hoarding my money is insane,” said Gottlieb, whose producer credits include “Dirty Dancing” and who now teaches at NYU’s Tisch school. “We all give to charity, but that’s not the same as creating a more equitable society.”

Anyway, go read the story of these millionaires trying to get Republicans to see them, and Republicans mocking them. And read how the millionaires explain that it is part of democracy to pay your taxes.

A Medicare Phase-Out By Any Other Name Still Stinks

The Republicans voted to phase out Medicare and use the money for even more tax cuts for the rich. The public found out and turned out. So now they are coming up with new ways to mask the same thing. They call them “triggers,” “across-the-board cuts” and “spending caps” but these are all really just about cutting Medicare and Social Security and education and giving more and more tax cuts to the rich. Please don’t be fooled. And please get active and let them know you do not like what they are up to.
The “Ryan Plan” To Phase Out Medicare
A Republican named Paul Ryan came up with a plan to phase out Medicare and use the money to give even more tax cuts to the rich. Hence the name “Ryan Plan.” The plan replaces Medicare with a “premium support” voucher that covers some of the cost of insurance, (as if an ill 80-year-old can get insurance at all. The trick was to start the phase-out in 10 years, hoping people won’t notice.
While this phase-out of Medicare cuts “government spending” it just shifts that cost to you and me, and actually dramatically increases the overall costs. The Center for Economic and Policy Research calculates that it adds $7 in individual costs (you and me) for every $1 it cuts in “government spending.” But the mask that it cuts “government spending” gives them cover for even more tax cuts at the top.
Town Hall Anger
Last week every Republican in the House (save for a few) voted to say, “Yes, let’s do this.” Then they went home and met with constituents at town hall meetings, and were surprised to learn that regular people are smarter than they thought they were. They thought they could just slip this past people, under the cover of deficit hysteria. Instead people shows up at town hall meetings demanding answers. And they were not happy about what the Republicans were doing.


So now, returning from exposure to the unwashed masses they are saturating the airwaves with corporate-funded propaganda, ads with soothing voices telling us how good for us the Republican plan to get rid of Medicare will be. And they are working on new plans to do the same thing, but to make it less obvious what they are up to. “Triggers. “Caps.” “Across-the-board cuts (that leave out military and cut taxes at the top.)” Etc.
The Polls
Poll after poll after poll after poll shows that the public understands where the deficits came from — tax cuts for the rich, huge increases in military spending and the costs of the recession — and wants their government to fix these causes of the deficit. But the people are not in control of the government, the powerful few who own the giant corporations are, so the government keeps coming back again and again with schemes to cut the things government does for We, the People and use the savings to cut taxes on the wealthy and the corporations.
Demand The Details
Do not accept any plan that does not detail specifically what they are doing to fix the problems. Any plan that does not clearly raise taxes on the rich, cut the military spending and provide jobs and a solid economic foundation for the future by investing in infrastructure and alternative energy is not addressing the problems. (The People’s Budget is a plan that does these things.)
These are the things that the public is demanding. This is why the powerful forces in control of the government keep coming up with shadowy detail-free schemes like “triggers” and “spending caps.” They are trying to mask tax cuts for the rich and cuts in the things We, the People do for each other like Medicare, Social Security and education.
Get Angry
We are bombarded with scheme after scheme to take away what is ours, so that a wealthy few can have even more. They have plan after plan. Here is comedian Lee Camp explaining that “Evil People Have Plans“:

Don’t just take it, foil their plans. React. Get angry.
And then:
Get Active
Get out there and get your voice heard. Call your member of Congress and both senators. Show up at town hall meetings and demonstrations and protests. Sign up to be on mailing lists of organizations like Campaign for America’s Future, MoveOn, Srengthen Social Security and Don’t Make Us Work Till We Die!, Credo Action, Coalition on Human Needs, US Uncut, On May 12, Campaign for Community Change, Working America and others who are working to fight back. Join Up.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Royal Wedding Of Austerity And Trade Deficits Is Killing Our Economy

Sometimes you can just see glimmers of something through the DC brain fog, other times it becomes so clear that you can’t ignore it. The current DC brain-fog motto is, “if it doesn’t work, do it more.” Today’s GDP-growth report shows that austerity isn’t working, so the geniuses in DC want to do it more. And they say, “government just gets in the way of business” so we send our businesses out on their own to compete with governments, and the resulting trade deficits eat our jobs.
Cutbacks Cut Growth
How long ago was it that DC was all about cutting taxes for the rich even more? And how many minutes after that was DC all about cutting budgets – “austerity” – because of the resulting budget deficits? So instead of the jobs that will fix the deficits the government gives us cutbacks — cutbacks in taxes on the rich, cutbacks in construction projects, cutbacks in teachers and police and other government functions, cutbacks in the things We, the People do for each other.
We watch as England, Greece, Ireland and other countries try cutbacks – austerity – to get out of slow growth and their growth gets slower as a result. The US tries it, too, and our growth gets slower, too.
The first quarter growth figures are out: 1.8% for the first three months of the year,

Total output grew at an annual pace of 1.8 percent from January through March, the Commerce Department said Thursday, after having expanded at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

But the DC fog machine blames the weather, not austerity.

Higher commodity prices and winter blizzards that shuttered businesses and delayed construction were among the main causes of the slowdown.

Our growth slows because of austerity. So they blame the weather and insist on more austerity. Because austerity “gets government out of the way” of the wealthy few and their accumulation of the rest.
Trade Deficit
As the economy recovered a bit and people started to buy a few more things , the things came from elsewhere, and the money and jobs just left the economy. Without government policies to deal with it, our trade deficit will continue to get even worse, costing us even more jobs and growth and draining even more money out of the country.
Germany runs a trade surplus, so German unemployment is at its lowest level in 19 years. Headline: German Unemployment Declines to 19-Year Low as Export Boom Drives Demand,

German companies are hiring as they increase production to meet booming export orders, fueling domestic demand. … German factory orders and industrial production rose more than economists predicted in February. … More than a third of Germany’s medium-sized companies plan to take on staff in the second quarter …

Germany also pays workers more than we do, gives them lots and lots of vacation time, health care, pensions, rights on the job — all the things that our leaders say hurt our businesses.
Our leadership is making every effort to return to the old economy that caused the crisis. This is because those who benefited from that economy are still in control of the system, still using their great wealth to get what they want, damn the consequences for the rest of us. (Hint, the first link is to a post titled, Nine Pictures Of The Extreme Income/Wealth Gap, and the second is a post titled, Corporate Propaganda Response To Town Hall Medicare Anger.)
Contractionary Policies Cause Contraction
Conservatives say so many silly things that are proven wrong by the simplest fact-checking — cutting taxes increases revenue, taxes take money out of the economy, tax cuts grow the economy — and the silly thing they say that is hitting us now: cutting back causes expansion.
Huh?
Here is what really happens in the real world. Following are a few charts showing the effect of the “stimulus” and what has happened since the stimulus ran out.
First, manufacturing. See the plunge through 2008? That’s the collapse. See the sharp change to an upward direction through 209? That’s the stimulus. See the leveling off since? That’s the end of the stimulus.
ISMFedApril2011
Now look at the following chart of job growth. See the downward slope, when we were losing more and more jobs every month? That’s the collapse. See the upward slope, when we were losing fewer jobs every month, up to where we were actually gaining a bit? That’s the stimulus. See the leveling off, standing still through 2010, going into 2011. That’s the end of the stimulus.
chart_jobs2
You can see in front of your face what works and what doesn’t. We should be doing what works, not what doesn’t. Why did I even have to write that sentence?
Solutions
As I wrote the other day, we have to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure if we want to continue to be competitive in the world, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
We need to retrofit our economy to be energy efficient, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
We need more teachers, more police, more firefighters, more judges, more scientists, more social workers, more park rangers, more noise abatement and met and safety and environmental and other kinds of inspectors and so many other things that We, the People do for each other — so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
So right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
But wait, there’s more:
National Manufacturing Strategy

The idea of a manufacturing strategy or industrial policy is hardly a radical concept. Alexander Hamilton constructed America’s first industrial policy in 1791. Setbacks during the War of 1812 due to a lack of domestic capacity to build naval vessels and military equipment cemented the determination of the federal government to grow manufacturing, a policy that continued until the end of World War II.

To solve the trade deficit and create millions of good-paying jobs (like in Germany) we need a national manufacturing strategy — a government-sanctioned plan to ensure that U.S. manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace. Click this link for a few examples of countries that have national manufacturing strategies.
Following is the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s plan:

Expand American Production, Hiring, and Capital Expenditures

  • Establish a manufacturing investment facility to leverage private capital for domestic manufacturing
  • Expand and make permanent clean energy manufacturing tax credits and industrial energy efficiency grants to allow America to lead on green job creation
  • Link federal loan guarantees for new energy infrastructure projects, including nuclear, wind, solar, other renewable energy sources, as well as the smart grid, with expanding domestic supply chains
  • Adopt immediate, up-front expensing rules for plant and equipment to spur capital expenditures
  • Enforce our trade-legal Buy America and other domestic procurement requirements to prevent leakage of tax dollars overseas
  • Invest in America’s Infrastructure

  • Create a National Infrastructure Bank to finance high-value, long-term infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, high-speed rail, and other needs
  • Enact a robust, multi-year surface transportation infrastructure program of at least $500 billion financed exclusively by fuel taxes
  • Enhance Our Workforce

  • Refocus on technical and vocational education, providing a seamless program that bridges high school and post-secondary education to produce the next generation of highly skilled manufacturing workers
  • Reward companies that are investing in effective skills and training programs for their workers
  • Make Trade Work for America

  • Keep America’s trade laws strong and strictly enforced to provide a level playing field for our workers and businesses
  • Penalize and deter mercantilist nations such as China that manipulate their exchange rates and implement non-tariff barriers to gain an unfair trade advantage
  • As the Administration works to double exports, expand the goal to include balancing our trade account so that gains in exports are not overwhelmed by increased imports
  • Rebuild America’s Innovation Base

  • Make permanent the research and development tax credit and enhance it to incentivize commercialization and production in America
  • Focus federal investments in new technology and workforce training on promoting regional clusters of innovation, learning and production
  • And finally,
    It Never Hurts To Quote The Boss
    Press release

    WASHINGTON’S FIXATION WITH AUSTERITY IS HURTING THE ECONOMY
    Campaign for America’s Future Urges Lawmakers to Put Job Creation First
    Washington, DC – Campaign for America’s Future’s co-director Robert Borosage commented on today’s economic indicators. Borosage said:
    “The first quarter growth figures — 1.8% for the first three months of the year — are an ominous reminder of the reality that Washington has forgotten.
    “This economy is in trouble. For most Americans, the recession has not ended. Growth is painfully slow. Unemployment remains high. Home values are dropping; gas prices are rising; wages are not keeping up.
    “Despite this — and despite the warnings of economists — Washington, driven by the new House Republican majority, has turned prematurely to austerity. Contractionary policies cause contraction. They will impede any recovery, and slow an economy that is barely moving.
    “Washington offers no answer because it is fixated on the wrong question. The question is how do we get the economy going and put people back to work — not simply how do we balance our books? Every deficit reduction plan — from the President’s to the House Republican’s to the Congressional Budget Office projections — assumes faster growth than we saw in the first quarter.
    “The most powerful deficit reduction measure is to put people to work, turning them into consumers and taxpayers. If growth and unemployment stay at this level, deficits will rise, not fall. The White House and the Congress should turn to measures to put people to work, to stave off debilitating layoffs of teachers and police at the state and local level, instead of ignoring the reality that Americans are struggling with every day.”

    Sobotka, from The Wire:

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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    Corporate Propaganda Response To Town Hall Medicare Anger

    The Republican plan for Medicare “cuts government spending” by shifting the cost of old-age health care directly to the middle class and poor. (I’ll explain below.) Here’s the thing: someone is going to get that $34 trillion. (I’ll explain below.) And that someone (the Supreme Court thinks corporations are “someone”) is fighting hard for it. They’ll say whatever it takes. It is up to you and me to get the word out about this. (I’ll explain below.)
    Say Whatever It Takes
    Here is an example of what I mean by “say whatever it takes.” Click through and listen to this commercial. Cheerful, uplifting music. Positive voice tones. Flat-out lies.

    - TRANSCRIPT -
    ANNOUNCER:
    Something unusual happened last week…in Washington, DC of all places.
    Elected officials actually did what they said they would.
    The House passed a budget that protects and preserves Medicare for years to come.
    And our Congressman, Allen West, voted to protect Medicare and keep it secure for future retirees.
    Our national debt is $14 trillion…America is literally spending money we don’t have and future generations won’t be able to afford.
    With 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching retirement age every day, important programs like Medicare are being crushed – and could collapse if we don’t act to strengthen and improve them.
    No changes for seniors on Medicare now or those who will soon go on it.
    Control costs by targeting waste, fraud and abuse – so current and future seniors receive the quality care they have earned.
    Call Allen West at (954) 202-6211. Thank him for voting to protect Medicare and tell him to continue keeping his promise to seniors.
    Paid for by the 60 Plus Association.

    What’s This About?
    Last week all of the Republicans in the House except a few voted to approve a plan to phase out Medicare and replace it with “premium support” – vouchers – for private insurance, that only cover part of the cost of the private insurance. (As if any company would insure a 75-year-old with health problems. And as if an 80-year-old with cognitive disabilities can pick and choose which insurance scam policy is best.)
    Yes, that’s right, it phases out Medicare and replaces it with private insurance, as in, “What do you mean you won’t cover that procedure, test, drug, operation? My doctor says I need it!” Right, that private insurance.
    Medicare Costs Shifted To Middle Class
    This plan shifts costs away from the government and on to We, the People. But it ends up adding trillions in total costs because private insurance costs so much more, and because of co-pays, and because of so many other reasons that are the cause of our country paying so much more per capita than other for health care. It actually makes the cost problem much worse. But it cuts “government spending” by shifting those costs to us individually.
    Economist Dean Baker writes that the Republican Medicare phase-out costs us more than $30 trillion (over 75 years) above what we would pay without this phase-out,

    [The Republican plan] to replace the current Medicare system with a system of vouchers or premium supports has been widely described as shifting costs from the government to beneficiaries. However, the size of this shift is actually small relative to the projected increase in costs that would result from having Medicare provided by private insurers instead of the government-run Medicare system.
    The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) projections imply that the Ryan plan would add more than $30 trillion to the cost of providing Medicare equivalent policies over the program’s 75-year planning period. This increase in costs – from waste associated with using a less efficient health care delivery system – has not received the attention that it deserves in the public debate.

    And economist Mark Thoma writes that the phase-out leaves many seniors without the means to get health care at all,

    The [Republican] plan would reduce Medicare payments far below what is currently available, and this would leave many without the means to obtain the care they need. But even if the vouchers were adequate, I would still not be in favor of a voucher system for health insurance.

    The public will have to shell out trillions of dollars more because of the phase-out shifts seniors to private insurance. It saves the government money by shifting the cost to you and me, but adds $34 trillion more in total costs this way. So high-end taxpayers and corporations will pay lower taxes, the rest of us make it up.
    Town Hall Anger
    People are starting to hear about what the Republicans did and have been turning out at local “town hall” meetings where members of Congress talk to constituents. And, not surprisingly, they are angry.
    Here is Republican Congressman Ryan being boo’ed by constituents:

    Who Gets That Money?
    They always say, when you are trying to figure out who is behind some scheme or scam, to “follow the money.” Sure, in this case wealthy and corporate interests are pushing for even more huge tax cuts by “cutting government spending” with this scheme to phase out Medicare. But wait, there’s more. The scheme goes beyond that because when you privatize government functions someone gets the money. That is the point of privatization — to shift public wealth to private profit. They always claim privatization cuts costs, but in reality it actually costs more with what was formerly something We, the People held in common now going to a few for their own gain. So this costs us more because government doesn’t pay CEOs huge salaries, and doesn’t give million-dollar bonuses to the rest of the executives. Government doesn’t pay out a profit. And government’s job is to work in the interest of the public. Not so with private companies. Not so at all.
    Privatizing means taking something away from us, so a few can benefit from it instead. And that is what is happening to Medicare under the Republican plan.
    Enter The Corporate Front Group
    In response to the town hall anger, a corporate front-group named 60 Plus is blanketing the radiowaves in Republican districts with these soothing ads thanking them for “preserving and protecting” Medicare. This is part of a campaign they named Seniors Thank Congress for Protecting Medicare.
    60 Plus is one of the groups that spent millions and millions of dollars running campaign ads for Republicans last year, telling people Democrats “cut $500 billion from Medicare.”
    Thanks to the wisdom of our elected officials and Supreme Court, we don’t get to find out just who is behind 60 Plus. Is it corporations? Billionaires? Foreign Governments? SourceWatch has some clues.
    Muddy The Waters
    This ad is part of a strategy to “muddy the waters,”

    The GOP official added that the party “can fight the Medicare issue to a tie” by “muddying the waters” and painting Democrats as choosing status-quo options that would have Medicare “die a slow death.”

    Go back and read the transcript of the 60 Plus ad again, see how closely it follows this strategy.
    Regular people have jobs, drive to work (and listen to the radio where these ads are playing), work hard, come home, maybe take care of kids… They are busy. They are not experts on the issues. If they tune into the news they are told that “both sides” are “squabbling” and maybe that there is a plan to “reform” Medicare. So as much as Republicans can “muddy the waters” and keep the reporting on a “both sides” and horse race focus, this plan can succeed.
    This organization is not put together by people who care if you and me get Medicare. This is put together as a front for the corporations that will get the money from privatizing Medicare, and the wealthy few who get the money from tax cuts. They count on regular people being busy and not well-informed.

    The GOP official added that the party “can fight the Medicare issue to a tie” by “muddying the waters” and painting Democrats as choosing status-quo options that would have Medicare “die a slow death.”

    It’s up to you and me to get the word out about this.
    We Can Fight This
    So, will we be able to get the word out, or will the corporate money allow this and other front groups to saturate the airwaves?
    I think we can fight this. We have the facts on our side, and the numbers, but not the money. They always have the advantage when it comes to money. So it is up to us to turn out the facts and the numbers.
    Will YOU help? Will YOU get involved?
    Will YOU tell people, talk to friends, neighbors and relatives? Will YOU show up at town hall meetings and demand answers? Will you call your member of Congress and your Senators? Will YOU join with “Don’t Make Us Work Till We Die?” for their actions tomorrow, and join up with US Uncut or On May 12?
    If you do, we can win.

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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    Nicole Sandler Arrested At Town Hall, Needs Legal Fee Help

    Update: Nicole is out and blogging, with Her video, at: About That Town Hall Meeting, Mr. West…

    It figures, my blog is the last place you’ll read about my arrest and subsequent incarceration after attending Allen West’s so-called Town Hall Meeting last night.
    Since I spent last night in jail and, thanks to the sickeningly awful people at the Broward County Jail was subjected to three hours in solitary confinement in a 7×10 room, and then maced. Nice, huh?
    Anyway, I’ll have more on how it all unfolded on the show tomorrow, and then in a lengthier written piece after I get some rest, food and a shower.
    But I do want to clear something up. The video that’s floating around portraying me as a heckler doesn’t show the Medicare question that Mr. West was asked, the way he answered it, and my FOLLOW-UP question.


    The other day I was on the Randi Rhodes show for an hour with guest host Nicole Sandler, talking about people showing up at Republican Town Hall meetings to try to pin them down about what they are doing to phase out Medicare.
    Well, Nicole went to her meeting and they arrested her for trespassing for trying to ask a question. So she needs some help with legal fees.
    Go here to help: Support Radio or Not | Nicole Sandler – Radio Or Not
    It starts at about 3:25 in this video, but watch this guy Allen, he is a serious wingnut!

    Update: This Dirty Hippies post: Radio Host Nicole Sandler Arrested at FL Townhall
    Also Crooks and Liars: Nicole Sandler Arrested At Allen West’s Town Hall,

    Funny. I don’t recall the 2009 town hall meetings as having the heavy police presence at every single one, or people being arrested for asking questions. And I certainly don’t view Nicole Sandler as someone who is threatening in the least, but evidently those policemen did.
    Nicole Sandler lives in Allen West’s district. She is entitled to receive answers to her questions even if he doesn’t like her politics. She is entitled to attend town hall meetings and ask those questions. She’s even entitled to record those meetings.
    Having her arrested for insisting on answers to her questions is just another indication of the totalitarian state people like Allen West, wingnut loony man, think of when they think of “liberty.”

    Go recommend this diary at Daily Kos so it gets in front of people: Nicole Sandler ARRESTED at Alan West Townhall Last Night!
    Here at Brad Blog: Radio Host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Bizarre Rep. Allen West Town Hall in FL Last Night [VIDEO].
    Political Carnival: Radio host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Rep. Allen West’s Town Hall Meeting; “I was maced!”

    I asked, “How is privatizing Medicare SAVING Medicare? How is making something less efficient, more expensive save it?” I wanted to ask “Give me the name of an insurance company that would cover a 75 -year-old” with several ailments?” Audience members yelled, “Get her out!”

    Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: Nicole Sandler Arrested for Exercising Her Free Speech Rights at Allen West Town Hall

    What About The People’s Budget?

    Dean Baker, writing about The People’s Budget: Deficit Fever: Loon Tune Time Among the Elite,

    Twenty five million people are unemployed, underemployed or out of the workforce altogether, but that’s not on anyone’s agenda. Millions of homeowners are underwater in their mortgage and facing the loss of their homes, that’s also not on anyone’s agenda. Tens of millions of baby boomers are at the edge of retirement and have just lost their life savings. This also is not on anyone’s agenda.
    Deficit cutting fever is the current craze in the nation’s capital. But even here there is little tie to reality. House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan put out a budget that proposes that in 2050 we will be spending less on defense, domestic discretionary and various non-medical entitlements together than we spend on defense today. And most of the punditry praise its seriousness. Meanwhile, the Progressive Caucus, the largest single bloc in Congress, proposes a way to get to a balanced budget by 2021, and it is virtually ignored.

    Does Government Know Who The Boss Is?

    In Washington state workers are allowed to organize and form unions so they can win good wages and benefits. In “right-to-work” states like South Carolina, though, the government sides with big companies against their workers. (They used to have even harsher anti-worker laws there but the North stopped rounding up the escapees…)
    Boeing workers in Washington go on strike, so Boeing sets up an assembly line in anti-union South Carolina and tells the Washington workers to take what they offer and like it. This is a standard move from companies these days, telling workers, “Take the cuts or we’ll close the plant and move your jobs somewhere where workers can’t do anything about it.”
    Illegal, But So What?
    You probably didn’t know this but retaliating against workers like that is against the law. It is even illegal to threaten workers in order to avoid a strike. It is illegal to fire or intimidate employees for organizing.
    But companies go ahead and do these things anyway, and other illegal things, because no one does anything about it. And it has been so long since anyone did anything about it – just like with banking fraud or age discrimination – that it is now standard operating procedure. No one even remembers that it is illegal. No one cares.
    Like age discrimination. Look at the faces of the employees behind President Obama when he visited Facebook and tell me if Facebook is the least bit worried about age discrimination enforcement.

    Or this picture of the President visiting Google:
    viers_mill_PS-0253
    Workers’ Rights A Thing Of The Past
    With labor-law enforcement — or even a sense that workers should have rights — seemingly a thing of the past, these anti-worker sentiments are spreading. Recently, for example Arizona and South Dakota passed anti-worker laws, forbidding the formation of a union after a majority workers sign cards asking for one. Wisconsin and other states have passed laws restricting the labor rights of public-employees and restricting the ability to collect union-membership dues.
    But THIS Time!
    But THIS time something unusual happened. The government has actually threatened to enforce the law! The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing and is suing Arizona and South Dakota for violating labor laws!
    Boardrooms across the land are rising up in indignation. How dare the government threaten giant corporations that they might enforce the law? Don’t they know who’s the boss? The Wall Street Journal explains, “Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. … As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have “strikes happening every three to four years.” and calls Boeing’s threats against unions a “reasonable business decision.”
    Conservative columnists and bloggers are earning their pay, writing indignant column after column about “union bosses,” some even praising Ayn Rand. Conservative astroturfers (also) and politicians are not far behind them.


    How dare We, the People (government) tell a business that it has to respect its workers and our laws!!!
    Who Is Boss?
    Do We, the People have the ability to enforce our laws? Do we have the power to tax corporations and the wealthy?
    Do we have the power to protect the protections of democracy?
    Democracy provides workers with safety protections and fair wages. We fought so hard to build and maintain this democratic society so that We, the People could share the benefits. We passed laws allowing union organizing, as a balance to the immense power of corporations and wealth. We passed laws prohibiting companies from telling workers, “Work for what we give you or don’t eat.”
    And for a time this built our prosperity. But we let the protections slip, and allowed companies to cross borders to escape the protections democracy offers — to non-democratic countries like China where workers have few rights, where pay is low, environmental protections practically non-existent. Companies locating manufacturing in places like have huge cost advantages over companies located in democracies that respect and protect the rights of citizens.
    The Threat Against Us
    Won’t companies just move out of the state/country if we try to enforce labor laws or tax them? Won’t China just stop selling to us if we apply a tariff to protect democracy, or try to enforce trade laws? Won’t the rich just pack up and move or stop working if we don’t just give them everything they want? Won’t they move even more factories out of the city/state/country if We, the People try to demand our rights?
    We Still Have The Power
    Here’s the thing. We, the People still have some power left in our hands. For one thing we still have a huge market. We still have the power to make demands on those who would like to sell into that market. And we can still choose to enforce tax laws, and wage laws, and tariffs, and labor laws, and trade laws to protect and strengthen what remains of our democracy.
    But we can only do this if we decide to stand up for ourselves and do something about what is happening. We have to put our foot down, and demand that our politicians listen to We, the People and do what we say. It is time to get organized, to talk to neighbors and relatives, to show up at town hall meetings and protests. We can demand that news media begin to cover more than just the corporate/conservative viewpoint. We can go out and register others to vote, and get them to the polls, and demand that votes be counted accurately. We can take back our democracy and put We, the People back in charge.
    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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    The Deficit IS Jobs But There Is A Deficit OF Jobs

    There is a deficit of jobs AND the deficit is jobs. The public is so much smarter than the geniuses in DC. Washington talks about the deficit but the public knows that the deficit is jobs.
    That huge deficit jump to over a trillion that happened in Bush’s last budget (2009) changed the national discussion from jobs and stimulus to worries over spending. But the deficit jump was caused by the financial crisis and recession and jobs and turning that around means addressing the recession and jobs.
    See for yourself. Go to the White House Taxpayer Receipt page. Look at Health Care at 24.3% of the budget and Job & Family Security at 21.9%. There is almost half the budget right there. Not all of that is from the recession but a lot of it is. (Military is 26.3% but if you add Veterans it is 30.4%.)
    Yes, Bush’s tax cuts and huge increases in military spending turned Clinton’s surpluses into big deficits. But no one seemed to care about that at the time. It’s the deficits in the trillions that are scaring people. The trillion-dollar-deficits is because there aren’t enough jobs. So we aren’t bringing in tax revenue and we’re paying out huge amounts for unemployment, healthcare assistance, food stamps, etc. Cuts only make all of that worse because cuts cut the economy and jobs. If you want to fix the huge deficits you have to create more jobs, and better-paying jobs.
    Meanwhile the geniuses in DC are talking about CUTTING the things that create jobs, which just makes the problems worse. And worse. And they don’t touch military spending. Their approach is not really even about cutting the deficit it is about preserving tax cuts for the wealthy and keeping the wasteful, corrupt military contracts flowing. The just use deficit fear as cover to steer people away from real solutions.
    The Real Solutions
    Look at this chart of jobs. The downward slope is when we were losing more and more jobs every month. The upward slope is when we were losing fewer jobs every, up to where we were actually gaining a bit. The sideways slope is the standing still we saw for 2010, going into 2011. See if you can guess when on this chart the stimulus started, and when it stopped?
    chart_jobs2
    The only solution to the huge jump in deficits is to restore the jobs. That starts to restore the tax base and stops the emergency spending on the unemployed. Just cutting them out of the economy doesn’t fix the problem, it shifts the problem.
    And the only way to restore the jobs is for the government to step in and DO SOMETHING. We have millions of unemployed and underemployed and those are people. That’s the third word in the phrase, “We, the People.”
    We have to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure if we want to continue to be competitive in the world, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
    We need to retrofit our economy to be energy efficient, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
    We need more teachers, more police, more firefighters, more judges, more scientists, more social workers, more park rangers, more noise abatement and met and safety and environmental and other kinds of inspectors and so many other things that We, the People do for each other — so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
    The People understand this, that’s why all the polls show that these are the things the people want done. And The People’s Budget starts to address these problems, helps put people back to work, and that is why it balances the budget by 2021.
    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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    m4s0n501

    Republicans Hearing Citizen Backlash At Town Halls – Actions You Can Take

    Note – see action updates below.
    Members of Congress are holding local town hall meetings now and into next week, and Republicans are hearing from constituents angry that they voted to privatize Medicare to pay for even more tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
    Think Progress has the story: More Republican Congressmen Face Town Hall Backlash Over Tax Breaks For Wealthy And Medicare Privatization,

    Earlier this week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) held town halls across his district to defend his budget’s plan to end Medicare and extend tax cuts for the wealthy. During a stop in Milton, WI Ryan’s constituents made their feelings apparent, booing down the … congressman when he defended tax breaks for the rich… Yesterday, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) received the same hostile reception from his constituents for voting to end Medicare.
    This town hall backlash is now spreading to other districts across the country. As Huffington Post reports, freshmen Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL) and Charlie Bass (R-NH) got an earful from their constituents for voting in favor of the Republican budget this month. During a Buffalo Grove, IL town hall, Dold caught a lot of flack for supporting corporate tax breaks and voting to end Medicare: …

    Please go read the rest. And click this link to find out if your member of Congress is holding a local town hall meeting this weekend or next week!
    And if you can get video or audio recordings of citizen reaction to the Republican votes please post them to YouTube and let me know!!
    Here is Ryan being boo’ed by constituents:

    Here is Barletta:

    Update — ACTIONS
    Click this link to find out if your member of Congress is holding a town hall meeting this weekend or next week, and attend! Ask questions and demand answers
    MoveOn has an action page where you can locate your representative’s local office, asking you to drop by. Note that this is different from attending a town hall meeting. Here is what MoveOn is saying on the page:

    Drop by and tell your Representative:

    Eliminating Medicare is unacceptable!

    Congressional Republicans just voted to eliminate Medicare for anyone under 55. It’s time the Republicans hear from us, loud and clear: voting to end Medicare is completely unacceptable and we will hold you accountable.
    No need to RSVP. Just follow the instructions below and drop by with other MoveOn members at 12 noon on Thursday, or any other time during business hours this week.

    Click through for the rest at the MoveOn page
    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    Congressional Town Halls

    The Republicans in the House just voted to privatize Medicare. They voted to cut taxes on the rich. And Social Security is threatened. Here is a list of upcoming Congressional Town Hall meetings. You should show up and let them know how you feel about getting rid of Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the rich:
    Elected Official Date City
    Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM – OR) 4/23/2011 Brookings
    Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM – OR) 4/23/2011 Coos Bay
    Rep. Tom Reed (REP – NY) 4/23/2011 Caton
    Rep. Tom Reed (REP – NY) 4/23/2011 St. Bonaventure
    Rep. Tom Reed (REP – NY) 4/23/2011 Wellsville
    Rep. Diane Black (REP – TN) 4/25/2011 Lebanon
    Sen. Orrin Hatch (REP – UT) 4/25/2011 Roosevelt
    Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM – IA) 4/25/2011 Davenport
    Rep. Tom Marino (REP – PA) 4/25/2011 Williamsport
    Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM – OR) 4/25/2011 Hood River
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/25/2011 Fair Oaks Ranch
    Rep. Mo Brooks (REP – AL) 4/25/2011 Florence
    Rep. Joe Wilson (REP – SC) 4/25/2011 Lexington
    Rep. Tom Cole (REP – OK) 4/26/2011 Norman
    Rep. Diane Black (REP – TN) 4/26/2011 Carthage
    Rep. Dan Boren (DEM – OK) 4/26/2011 Vinita
    Rep. Alan Nunnelee (REP – MS) 4/26/2011 Tupelo
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/26/2011 Clay Center
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/26/2011 Minneapolis
    Rep. Steve Pearce (REP – NM) 4/26/2011 Ruidoso
    Sen. Charles Grassley (REP – IA) 4/26/2011 State Center
    Rep. Rick Berg (REP – ND) 4/26/2011 Bismarck
    Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM – IA) 4/26/2011 Cedar Falls
    Sen. Orrin Hatch (REP – UT) 4/26/2011 Vernal
    Rep. Randy Hultgren (REP – IL) 4/26/2011 Sycamore
    Rep. Daniel Webster (REP – FL) 4/26/2011 Orlando
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/26/2011 San Antonio
    Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM – OR) 4/26/2011 The Dalles
    Rep. Kurt Schrader (DEM – OR) 4/26/2011 Milwaukie
    Rep. Lou Barletta (REP – PA) 4/26/2011 East Stroudsburg
    Rep. Dan Boren (DEM – OK) 4/26/2011 Pryor
    Rep. Tom Cole (REP – OK) 4/27/2011 Ada
    Rep. Xavier Becerra (DEM – CA) 4/27/2011 Los Angeles
    Rep. Mick Mulvaney (REP – SC) 4/27/2011 Rock Hill
    Rep. Rick Berg (REP – ND) 4/27/2011 Fargo
    Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (DEM – HI) 4/27/2011 Honolulu
    Sen. Jerry Moran (REP – KS) 4/27/2011 Horton
    Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM – IA) 4/27/2011 Dubuque
    Sen. Jerry Moran (REP – KS) 4/27/2011 Centralia
    Rep. David Wu (DEM – OR) 4/27/2011 Portland
    Sen. Jerry Moran (REP – KS) 4/27/2011 Alma
    Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM – IA) 4/27/2011 Fayette
    Rep. Charles Bass (REP – NH) 4/27/2011 Colebrook
    Rep. Steve Southerland (REP – FL) 4/27/2011 Eastpoint
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/27/2011 Castroville
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/27/2011 San Antonio
    Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (REP – NY) 4/27/2011 Cato
    Sen. Jerry Moran (REP – KS) 4/27/2011 Topeka
    Rep. Tom Cole (REP – OK) 4/28/2011 Duncan
    Rep. Tom Cole (REP – OK) 4/28/2011 Lawton
    Rep. Mick Mulvaney (REP – SC) 4/28/2011 Camden
    Rep. Diane Black (REP – TN) 4/28/2011 Cookeville
    Rep. Alan Nunnelee (REP – MS) 4/28/2011 Columbus
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/28/2011 Goodland
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/28/2011 Sharon Springs
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/28/2011 Colby
    Rep. Steve Pearce (REP – NM) 4/28/2011 Roswell
    Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (DEM – HI) 4/28/2011 Honolulu
    Rep. David Wu (DEM – OR) 4/28/2011 Newberg
    Rep. Joe Wilson (REP – SC) 4/28/2011 Hardeeville
    Rep. Randy Hultgren (REP – IL) 4/28/2011 Geneseo
    Rep. Steve Southerland (REP – FL) 4/28/2011 Blountstown
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/28/2011 San Antonio
    Rep. Frank Guinta (REP – NH) 4/28/2011 Exeter
    Rep. Russ Carnahan (DEM – MO) 4/28/2011 St. Louis
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/29/2011 Hondo
    Rep. Rick Berg (REP – ND) 4/29/2011 Grand Forks
    Rep. David Wu (DEM – OR) 4/29/2011 Hillsboro
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/29/2011 Cottonwood Falls
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/29/2011 Marion
    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP – KS) 4/29/2011 Emporia
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/30/2011 Uvdale
    Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP – TX) 4/30/2011 Del Rio
    Rep. David Wu (DEM – OR) 4/30/2011 Astoria
    Rep. David Wu (DEM – OR) 4/30/2011 Rainier
    Rep. Dan Lungren (REP – CA) 4/30/2011 Angels Camp