dailykos.com — The recovery from Hurricane Sandy is going to require time, money and effort. And, like so many of the heroic rescues that happened during the storm, much of the effort is going to come from union members, and especially from the unionized public workers that the Republican Party has worked so hard to hurt over the past couple of years. If someone you love was rescued from a flooded area, chances are it was a union member who rescued them. When your power goes back on, chances are a union member will have done the work. Mitt Romney will probably once again encourage you to embrace the line that we like workers, but just hate their unions. But the workers are the unions, and the collective power of unions helped individual workers rescue people or restore power or mobility by making sure they had the tools to get the job done and the pay and benefits such important work deserves.
inthesetimes.com — Presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been spending a lot of time in Ohio, promising the swing-state voters they’ll bring back middle-class manufacturing jobs by getting tough on China. Both candidates recognize that a healthy middle class brought us out of the Great Depression and fueled a half-century of economic growth. The federal government, with programs such as the G.I. Bill, was once a true champion for the American middle class. But as manufacturing plants have closed over the last three decades, millions of middle-class Americans have lost their well-paying jobs—along with their homes—and have fallen into poverty. Both Republicans and Democrats bear responsibility for this catastrophe through their support of tax and trade policies that encourage corporations to increase profits by outsourcing middle-class jobs to low-wage countries.
Mitt Romney told a lie Friday, scaring Ohio's Jeep workers with a claim that Jeep is shutting down US manufacturing and moving it to China. Now he is doubling down on this lie with a new ad. He is calculating that the lies will scare enough poorly-informed people to vote his way, never mind the truth. And we could see a president elected based on just lying.
A third of a century ago, all of us economists confidently predicted that America would remain and even become more of a middle-class society. The high income and wealth inequality of the 1870-1929 Gilded Age, we would have said, was a peculiar result of the first age of industrialization. Transformations in technology, public investments in education, a progressive tax system, a safety net, and the continued decline in discrimination on the basis of race and sex had made late-20th century America a much more equal place than early 20th century America, and would make early 21st century America even more equal — even more of a middle-class society — still. We were wrong. America today is at least as unequal as, and may be more unequal than, it was back at the start of the 20th century. Four major and a host of minor factors have driven rising inequality over the past third of a century. more »
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truthdig.com — Yes, we still make a lot of stuff in the United States of America, and one of the good things about this election is that it is likely to be decided in the nation’s industrial heartland—in the towns and cities of Ohio above all, but also in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. President Obama almost certainly needs these states to win re-election, and if he does, manufacturing is destined for a larger role in the American economic conversation. Many promises have been made this year to the people and the communities whose ability to thrive has long depended upon manufacturing. The campaign’s thrust should move them to the heart of our efforts to seek a path up from the financial catastrophe that engulfed the country in 2008.
globalpost.com — xperts peg “middle class” status at about $33,000 to $100,000 per year — although in populated areas, it's decidely challenging to subsist on less than $50,000. The middle class designation is largely “self-described” and the vast majority of Americans place themselves firmly within its ranks, regardless of income. Few would accept being called “lower class,” and only the very rich are willing to label themselves as such. This is what makes the mythical middle class so attractive a target for political candidates, especially in the 2012 presidential election campaign. As the long and bitter contest inches its way toward a culmination, there is perhaps no other term that has been so used or abused.
inthesetimes.com — Except for one quick swipe at teachers unions by Mitt Romney on Monday, neither of the major-party presidential candidates—nor their running mates—mentioned workers’ rights, collective bargaining or organized labor during any of the four presidential-campaign debates. Usually, anything happening in the swing-state-rich Midwest gets scrupulous attention from presidential candidates. Given the momentous labor battles that played out across Midwestern political stages over the last few years, as GOP lawmakers waged attacks on unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, the omissions were surprising. But then again, given unions’ declining size and presumed lack of clout among undecided voters in swing states, perhaps they weren't. When unions have popped up during the general election season, it was as enemies of progress. Romney’s reference to unionized teachers as an obstacle to reform during the foreign policy debate, of all places, was so quick you probably missed it. In fact, he would like to eviscerate them.
alternet.org — As predicted, one of the big clashes in the final presidential debate on Monday night concerned military spending. The dustup not only revealed a key difference between the candidates, it gave us the best line of the night, Obama's quip that we no longer rely on horses and bayonets. When it comes to federal spending, the choices we make reflect our national priorities. If you listened to Mitt Romney during the debate, it was pretty clear what his priorities would be if elected. He could not hide the fact that when it comes to spending, children, education, eldercare, trains, roads, technology, research – in short, the things that make life livable at home – will take a backseat to fighting foreign wars abroad and pumping up an already bloated military budget. But here’s what he really didn’t want you to know: Increased military spending could land a pink-slip on your desk.