Category Archives: Economy

Hartmann: Massive Strike Shuts Down UK – Winter of Discontent?

Ari Berman, The Nation Magazine, joins Thom Hartmann. Massive labor strikes rocked the U.K. today – as public workers took to the streets to protest ongoing austerity measures. Last year – the Conservative government passed a slew of austerity measures – laying off public workers – cutting back on pensions – and ending social welfare programs – claiming it was what needed to happen to get the British economy back on track. A year later – the British economy still hasn’t grown – and now the government is calling for more austerity. In response – over two million civil servants are protesting. Schools, hospitals, airports, courts, and government buildings are all being affected by the strike – which is the largest in over a generation in the U.K. since the “Winter of Discontent.” According to the Guardian – 19,000 out of 21,700 schools in England and Wales are closed or partially closed – and roughly 6,000 non-urgent operations have been cancelled …. Watch the Broadcast

GREEEEED is GOOOOODD ….. for CEOs

It’s like the Roaring ’20s if you’re a corporate CEO these days, reports the New York Times in a special report on skyrocketing CEO pay.

Here’s the numbers you need to know:

$10.8 MILLION…the median salary of a CEO in 2010 at 200 large companies

It will take the average worker ($39,000 per year) 277 years to earn $10.8 million.  

23 PERCENT…the increase in CEO salaries between 2009 and 2010

38 PERCENT…the increase in cash bonuses between 2009 and 2010

Heaven forbid CEOs should have to pay 3% more in income tax. Their world will crumble and they will no longer be able to create jobs. 

We can’t have that can we???  So, where have all the jobs gone since they were given their tax breaks in 2001? Where did our prosperity go???  Other than the  already very rich who already own most of the country’s wealth?

0.5 PERCENT…the increase in the average worker’s salary ($752 a week – $39,104 a year) during the same time period, which the New York Times dryly notes actually means a net decrease for workers once inflation is figured in.

Action Required

Heads up: Congress is debating a compromise to HR1 (the draconian House Continuing Resolution Budget bill) that would be devastating to Nevada.  Here’s a link to the original bill:  HR1  — Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. You can access my analysis of the appropriations chages by clicking here.  If you really want to verify my analysis or want to review the original bills, you can find links to all of the relevant approved appropriations legislation passed by the 111th Congress by clicking this link.

Even though Senator Reid brought the GOP’s HR1 up for a vote in the Senate on 3/9/11 (vote 36: failed 44-56) and then the Democratic counter-proposal up for a vote (vote 37: also failed 42-58) … GOP House Freshmen Reps (Teapublicans), specifically Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) claim that Senator Reid’s failure to consider HR1 is tantamount to a dereliction of duty.  Um … he not only considered it, he put it up for a vote. Ms. Hartzler, it FAILED passage in the Senate.

It’s not just freshman members of the house who don’t understand how government works.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor apparently doesn’t understand how laws are enacted per the constitutional process.  Yesterday, he announced that on Friday,the GOP will be voting on the “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act”  (HR 1255).  He went on to explain to reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!  Um … I do realize that Friday is April 1st or in other words April Fools Day, but there is no way on God’s green earth that a bill passed only by the House and not by the Senate, and in addition, not signed by the President, will every become the law of the land under our US Constitution.  Apparently Mr. Cantor decided to do a bit of dozing when they went through their opening day reading of the Constitution.  Good luck with that premise Mr. Cantor, we’re not the fools you make us out to be and you can’t just arbitrarily suspend the constitution to bully your bill into law.

The Republican leadership has said ‘NO’ to additional CRs, and now legislators have until April 8 to come up with a compromise budget for H.R.1 or else the government will stop operating.  The problem is, however, that the process for identifying and delineating compromises is NOT all that transparent and we the general public don’t have enough information about what is being demanded by the GOP

I’ve searched the web for an hour now and can’t find specifics, but supposedly, Rep. Boehner has agreed to look at a compromise in the area of  $33B in spending cuts versus the $61B in spending cuts included in HR1. The itemized cuts for Nevada below are purportedly part of the compromise and have been disseminated via mass-email by MoveOn.org:

  • $12 million would be cut from federal funds for clean and safe water in Nevada. [1]
  • 479 Nevada children would be immediately cut from Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood development services for at-risk children ages zero to five. [2]
  • $19 million would be cut from Pell Grants, affecting all 33,000 higher education students with those grants in Nevada. [1]
  • Job training and employment services would be effectively eliminated for 1,000 dislocated workers, 4,900 low-income adults, and 1,100 youths age 14 to 21. [1]
  • $1.6 million would be cut from law enforcement assistance, taking cops off the beat. [1]

It’s especially galling when the same budget includes special breaks for corporations like GE, subsidies for the oil companies and tax breaks for the very rich.  Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid need to hear from all of us about it right now, before they cut a deal in the next few days.

Just last night the news broke that Congress may be close to striking a deal on the budget. Now is the only time we can influence the outcome.

Can you call Sens. Ensign and Reid and ask them to oppose these cuts in the budget? You can pick one of the cuts in this list to highlight in your call.  Or better yet, take a look at one or more of the riders included in HR1 and tell them to make sure they strike those riders from the bill before any vote on a compromise bill.

Senator John Ensign Senator Harry Reid
Phone: 202-224-6244 Phone: 202-224-3542

Click here to report your call (what the Senator or his call answerer said and/or committed to do).

The cuts that the Republicans are proposing would disproportionately hit those who can least afford it in Nevada, and it’s up to us to stop them.

Thanks for all you do.

-Daniel, Amy, Milan, Tate, and the rest of the team

Resources:

  1. House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010
  2. Projected Reduction in Children Served in Head Start Based on H.R. 1—Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution,” Center for Law and Social Policy
  3. WP/Dana Milbank: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
  4. WP: House Republicans plan symbolic bill to pressure Senate on shutdown
  5. WP: House Whip McCarthy acknowledges meeting with Dems on fiscal issues
  6. Forbes: Boehner signals compromise in budget talks

Class War: Program Cuts v. Tax Breaks

As we continue to watch what few decent government programs we had left being strategically dwindled away while the elite continue to enjoy their life of luxury at our expense, Americans are starting to wake up to the reality of our dire situation.

The chart below compares the 10 safety-net programs slated for deep cuts (the “shared sacrifices”) on the left with the proposed tax breaks that should also be considered (on the right) to bring the budget into balance.  This is really “WHY” these cuts are necessary?

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that tax breaks are not on the table during any budget negotiations. In fact, Congress has the Congressional Budget Office prepare an official spending estimate for the cost of all programs or their expansions. Meanwhile, Congress enacts and continues tax breaks without any requirement that the cost of tax breaks be calculated and shared with members before a vote.

They keep looking at drastic cuts in and/or elimination of all the safety-net programs while increasing benefits for the rich, and they aren’t even looking at the cost of the war and/or ending those expenses.  In fact, they’re now looking at what it would take to create a “no-fly zone” over and around Libya.

The wars in Iraq/Afghanistan have added a massive burden to the backs of the American taxpayer.  Check out what just one American city has foregone to help finance the war effort in a chart at The Nation.

 

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