robertreich.org — We are in the most anemic recovery in modern history, yet our political leaders in Washington aren’t doing squat about it. In fact, apart from the Fed – which continues to hold interest rates down in the quixotic hope that banks will begin lending again to average people – the government is heading in exactly the wrong direction: raising taxes on the middle class, and cutting spending.
aflcio.org — The "chained" CPI is a Social Security benefit cut (not an innocuous "adjustment"), and the majority of voters understand this, with 55% opposing this policy proposal. A new poll, Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want? from the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), highlights working people's opposition to benefit cuts, including the "chained" CPI, which reduces the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). A large majority, 64%, thought the COLA should be increased to better protect seniors and other beneficiaries from inflation and rising prices of food, utilities and other necessities.
washingtonpost.com — The economy began the year with solid job creation, and the labor market was much stronger at the end of 2012 than previously thought, according to new data out Friday that indicated surprising momentum in the economy in the new year. Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said, which was right in line with analyst expectations. The brightest news, though, was that revised estimates showed much higher job creation at the end of last year than first reported. The nation added a whopping 247,000 jobs in November and 196,000 in December, a combined 127,000 jobs above earlier estimates.
prospect.org — According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 157,000 jobs in January, a solid number, though behind what we need to see a robust recovery. More important, as always, are the revisions. November’s job growth was revised to 247,000 (up from 161,000) and December’s was revised to 196,000 (up from 155,000). These are big revisions, and when analyzed as part of a trend, it’s clear that the government was been underestimating job growth for most of 2012, to the tune of 28,000 jobs a month.
washingtonpost.com — The jobs numbers have been crunched and re-crunched, and it turns out that the U.S. economy added an average of 181,000 jobs per month in 2012. That’s a faster rate than in previous years. But it’s also relatively sluggish, given the deep, deep hole the economy is still in. If the United States keeps adding 181,000 jobs per month, then it will take nine years and three months to get back to full employment, according to the Hamilton Project’s jobs calculator.
alternet.org — A new report reveals a fact that too many Americans are familiar with first-hand: nearly half of the nation's residents have no safety net to protect them from falling into poverty in the event of a layoff or other financial misfortune. The recently published Assets & Opportunities Scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows that "[n]early 44 percent of Americans don't have enough savings or other liquid assets to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income," as NPR summarized. At the same time, nearly a third of Americans live with no savings account at all.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., participates in a conference call on reviving a "Make It In America" manufacturing strategy with Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America's Future and Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. more »
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prospect.org — Monday, a bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled a comprehensive immigration-reform plan. Tuesday, Barack Obama gave a speech outlining a very similar plan, causing the four Republicans in that group to disavow their own plan as a socialist plot whose only plausible purpose is to bring a tsunami of radical Kenyan immigrants to our shores so they can marry our women and produce future presidents who will further weaken this great nation. OK, so that's not really what happened. But given recent experience, it wouldn't have been all that surprising if it had. Now that Barack Obama has joined the immigration debate with his own plan (like the bipartisan one, at this point it's not particularly detailed), it will take all the fortitude Republicans can muster to keep from doing a 180, just as they did on the individual health-insurance mandate and cap and trade, once those ideas were infected by contact with Obama.
alternet.org — On Tuesday, Barack Obama flew to Nevada, where one in five residents is foreign-born, to once again call for comprehensive immigration reform – a centrist approach to a nagging problem that's been demagogued by the conservative media as “amnesty” and blocked by nativists in Congress for almost a decade. Obama's speech offered some sharp elbows for Congress's nativist wing, and some hope for those in his very supportive audience. But Obama's optimism belied two potentially serious problems for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in this country: one political and one inherent in the nuts and bolts of policy.
salon.com — Conservatives have convinced themselves that Barack Obama intentionally blew up the possibility of an immigration reform bill in his first term, by forcing them to not support reform. (The theory doesn’t really make sense.) “I think he wants to destroy the Republican Party, particularly in the eyes of Hispanic American voters,” Bill O’Reilly told Marco Rubio. “So he’s going to make it as hard as possible to get anything done and demonize you guys.” The idea is that Barack Obama used his cunning and guile to trick the entire Republican Party into seeking and then relying on the white nativist vote for a generation. So Republicans are preparing the groundwork for the P.R. campaign to blame Obama for this deal’s collapse.