dailykos.com — We're stuck with a GOP-led House, and not just any GOP, but the worst of the teabaggers. So any deal on the fiscal cliff would have to include at least some things unpalatable to the left. We shouldn't be under any illusions about that. We can argue that we shouldn't have to meet in the "middle," that Democrats won big this past election, and as such have the popular mandate (as well as popular support on the specifics) to drive a hard bargain. But even the most optimistic scenario requires some give. And given that President Barack Obama has already admitted to going past the middle and into GOP territory in his desperate gambit for a deal, so much for that theory. The victor doesn't get the spoils with our current president and opposition. But here's the thing—if you have to make concessions, at least make the other side own them. Here's what you do.
cognitivepolicyworks.com — Just for fun, imagine if all debt were wiped away when the Mayan Calendar ends this Friday… How would the world be different? What would become possible for you personally in your life? How would nations and corporations invest our newfound wealth differently if we all started from a clean slate? Problems like global warming and extreme poverty would instantly become financial drops in the bucket—easily tackled with fair contracts and forward-looking investments. The structural debts of entrenched subsidies, invested capital, tax havens, and trade agreements that keep them from being addressed would simply no longer exist. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? What you may not know is that debt arose recently on the human stage. Throughout more than 99% of our history we have not even had a concept for debt.
slate.com — It's important to understand, if you want to understand the budget debate, that Important People absolutely despise Social Security. Social Security is special and especially despised because lots of important people care a lot about The Economy. The Economy consists of adding up all the economically valuable stuff that happens. All the goods and services and labor that are bought and sold. And with most government spending, you can make some kind of case that the spending boosts The Economy. It boosts The Economy because we need infrastructure or educated workers or healthy ones. Even something like Medicare does something for The Economy because it subsidizes medical training and research. The Economy wants you to spend money on things that can be plausibly described as "investments" that drive future prosperity. And mailing a check to your grandma doesn't fit the bill.
thenation.com — 10. A Roof Over Every Student’s Head. 9. School Breakfast and Lunch for All Eligible Students. 8. Expanded Access to Quality Pre-kindergarten. 7. Elimination of Waiting Lists for Child Care Subsidies. 6. Affordable physical, mental and dental medical care. 5. Expanded learning time that delivers enriching after-school experiences. 4. Experienced, qualified teachers in appropriately sized classes. 3. Fully-resourced schools. 2. An enriching, holistic curriculum. 1. National policies that enable parents, families, and communities to provide children with what they need to thrive educationally.
aflcio.org — Last week, after Michigan became the latest state to pass "right to work" for less legislation, many began to dig into the history of such laws and discovered that one of the earliest pushes for "right to work" came from an extreme right-wing activist Vance Muse, who was staunchly anti-communist, anti-integration and anti-union. Muse was the leader of the Christian American Association, an organization that fought to pass "right to work" in more than a dozen states in the 1940s. Working with conservative business leaders and segregationist groups, the Christian American Association first pushed for so-called "anti-violence" laws that were designed to clamp down on picketing by unions. After they successfully passed that law in Texas and in other Southern states, they moved on to "right to work" in 1945, passing the first such law in Texas in 1947. In Florida and Arkansas, the Christian American Association used messaging that compared union growth to race-mixing and communism.
It’s time for President Obama to fire and quickly replace the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Edward DeMarco, with a Director who will uphold the Agency’s mission to “support housing finance and affordable housing, and support a stable and liquid mortgage market.” DeMarco, a holdover from the Bush administration, is interim head of the FHFA, which currently o more »
guardian.co.uk — This was a banner year for progressives. We brought racial profiling and the death penalty back into the national conversation. Marriage equality made great strides, with four states legalizing same-sex marriage or failing to make it unconstitutional. Despite attempts at voter suppression and an ailing voting infrastructure, a diverse electorate loudly rejected the anti-worker, anti-immigrant, anti-equality agenda offered by an increasingly radical right wing. But last week's sneak attack on organized labor in Michigan reminded us that the enemies of democracy are still very much empowered and in power. The same groups that funded voter suppression again flexed their financial muscle to cripple worker's rights at their core. If we become complacent now, we risk losing all we have gained this year and more.
huffingtonpost.com — That is what the headlines would say if anyone really believed that the anti-union laws passed last week in Michigan actually had anything to do with the rights of workers. When the legislature outlawed contracts requiring workers who benefit from union representation to pay for that representation, it explicitly exempted the police and firefighters' unions. If this law was actually about the "right to work," the Republican legislature and Governor Snyder were effectively denying the right to work to the state's police officers and firefighters. Of course this law has nothing to do with the right to work (RTW), as everyone involved knows; that is just the spin from the anti-labor coalition. This is why police unions and firefighters' unions were exempted. The Republicans were trying to buy off these workers with special favors, not singling them out for punishment.
talkingpointsmemo.com — Setting aside arguments about the policy substance underlying the fiscal cliff negotiations (and there’s obviously plenty to argue about), what puzzles me most is the idea that President Obama might shake hands on a deal that raises the debt limit enough to put off another big fight with House Republicans for about a year. It’s easy to see how Obama and John Boehner might reach that compromise. Conservatives want to have that fight with Obama as soon as possible, early next year. Obama wants the debt limit removed from the realm of legislative politics forever. The “compromise” between those two positions is somewhere between three months and four years. And one year allows Boehner to claim that the fiscal cliff deal satisfies the “Boehner rule,” pairing new borrowing authority with concomitant budget cuts. But strategically, it’s hard to identify any upside for Obama here.
robertreich.org — It seems as if every major interest has political clout – except children. They can’t vote. They don’t make major campaign donations. They can’t hire fleets of lobbyists. Yet they’re America’s future. Their parents and grandparents care, of course, as do many other private citizens. But we’re no match for the entrenched interests that dominate American politics. Whether it’s fighting for reasonable gun regulation, child health and safety overall, or good schools and family services – we can’t have a fair fight as long as special-interest money continues to poison our politics.