prospect.org — President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are on track to cut a deal that Wall Street has been slavering over for a decade—a small dollop of revenue increases, mainly through loophole closings, coupled with massive spending cuts including in Social Security in Medicare, adding up to 4 to 5 trillion dollars of budget cuts over a decade. Obama is convinced that this sort of grand bargain is necessary because financial markets expect it. Yet the same financial markets are happy to lend the government money for 30 years at less than 3 percent interest. If Obama and the Republicans do make such a deal, growth will slow to a trickle. Ironically, the president, having humiliated the Republicans on Election Day, holds most of the cards.
alternet.org — Voting patterns told a story yesterday. And here is the story they told: working people want a president who works for them. What does it mean? For starters, it means that struggling people have seen right through the faux populism of the GOP, and they know that between the two parties, the Democrats are slightly more likely to stand up against the dangerous income inequality, wage depression and shredding of social safety nets the Republican Party has embraced. And it means that the Occupy Wall Street movement has enhanced awareness of a system that redistributes income toward the top -- the 99 percent know it, and so do the rich. The president should heed the message voters sent as negotiations for a so-called “Grand Bargain” (what white-collar criminologist Bill Black has more properly called a “Grand Betrayal”) heat up in the face of another phony crisis meant to give the fat cats a new shot at redistributing income upward.
otherwords.org — Social Security is more popular than sliced bread. And it should be. Our Social Security system is the foundation of our families' security: We work hard and pay into it with every paycheck so each of us can retire with dignity.Social Security is a basic part of what makes America run, like our national highway system. And with pensions vanishing, it's more important now than ever. Without Social Security, nearly half of elderly Americans would live below the official poverty level. Social Security doesn't add a single penny to the deficit and never has. And it ain't broke. The good news is that Americans can count on our Social Security system for decades to come. There's already a massive trust fund with a growing $2.7 trillion surplus in the safest investments in the world.
robertreich.org — By now, in these last remaining days before the election of 2012, we have learned enough about the beliefs of the Republican presidential candidate to see them as a worldview all its own – a kind of creed that explains Mitt Romney. Those who say he has no principles are selling him short. Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights. The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are.
When it comes to politics, it ain’t over ’til its’ over. And even then it may not be over. With the presidential election just days away, the contest remains close enough to ensure some jangled nerves and nail-biting among Republicans and Democrats. Still, the latest news and numbers should give President President Barack Obama a boost as he delivers his closing argument to voters.
Should Obama emerge the victor when the dust settles after Tuesday, his closing argument will become the winning message. And voters convinced to reward Obama with a second term on the strength of that message will — and should — expect him to live up to its vision and promise.
slate.com — The Democratic Party contains much larger ideological fissures than the Republican Party, and one of those fissures is that the Obama administration favors cuts in Social Security and Medicare spending that liberal Democrats don't like. Part of Obama's strategy for maintaining Democratic Party unity as he pursues his fiscal policy agenda has been to take advantage of the fact that these same liberal Democrats generally believe that taxes—especially on the wealthy—are too low. So part of the hypothetical "grand bargain" is that Obama gives Congressional Republicans spending cuts that they want in exchange for giving him revenue increases that he wants. But another part of the hypothetical grand bargain is that liberals give Obama spending cuts that he wants as part of a package deal that includes tax hikes that liberals want.
guardian.co.uk — It is remarkable that social security hasn't been a more prominent issue in the presidential race. After all, Governor Romney has proposed a plan that would imply cuts of more than 40% for middle-class workers just entering the labor force. Since social security is hugely popular across the political spectrum, it would seem that President Obama could gain an enormous advantage by clearly proclaiming his support for the program. But President Obama has consistently refused to rise to the defense of social security. In fact, in the first debate, he explicitly took the issue off the table, telling the American people that there is not much difference between his position on social security and Romney's.
inthesetimes.com — In 1818, the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, New York’s first anti-poverty organization, issued a report advocating the need to relieve “the community from the pecuniary exactions, the multiplied exactions, and threatening dangers” associated with paupers. These middle-class worthies were alarmed at the cost of heating the almshouse in winter, the appearance of women and children scavenging for coal and food scraps along city streets, and the able-bodied men left idle by a serious economic downturn. The report listed the causes of urban poverty: intemperance in drinking, idleness, “want of economy,” gambling, pawnbrokers and “imprudent and hasty marriages.” Nowhere in the 20-page document did the authors mention the twin burdens of urban laboring people: low wages and few jobs. The Society’s report brings to mind Mitt Romney’s comment about the 47 percent. Yet unlike Romney, many Americans are indeed worried about poverty.
otherwords.org — Elections are important. They represent the pinnacle of democracy. But what comes after this election might be even more important. Beginning with the lame-duck Congress that will return to Washington the week after the election, our leaders will start making the most fundamental and consequential decisions about budgets, taxes, and the role of government in our society that they have made in generations. Some call it the "fiscal cliff." Others call it "taxmageddon." Whatever the label, Congress and the president will decide many things: the future of the Bush tax cuts, whether to extend the payroll tax holiday for millions of Americans, and whether to avoid scheduled cuts in spending that would radically pare all sorts of domestic programs. Key things are at stake, such as protecting our water and air, and food assistance for hungry Americans. As these deliberations unfold, we must adhere to three priorities.
If you support strong and effective government, then the unfamiliar glow you felt after last Thursday's debate was the satisfaction of seeing your opinions forcefully defended by a national candidate. There hasn't been much of that going on lately. But a deceptive question was asked in the Vice Presidential debate, while other important ones still haven't been asked of any national candidate. more »