Bill Scher

Help The Poor, Help The Middle Class

Isaiah just hit upon something important when, in discussing the new anti-poverty program from Center for American Progress, he wrote: Conservatives succeeded in taking the nation’s eye off the ball on the issue of poverty by couching it as an issue of “us vs. them,” … But that offers progressives an opportunity to reframe the poverty debate as a “we’re-in-this-together” move toward a more equitable and prosperous society. How can we pull off such a frame? By making common cause between the impoverished and the middle-class. Where’s the common ground? Start with today’s column from New York Times’ David Leonhardt, “What’s Really Squeezing The Middle Class.” Leonhardt argues that we don’t know enough about volatility in the economy to say for sure that’s contributing to the squeezing.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Make Poverty A Priority

In little more than a decade after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” President Ronald Reagan led the nation in the equivalent of a helicopter evacuation from the epicenter of the fight.  Reagan and his band of conservatives also so poisoned the political discussion about poverty that even today many progressives dare not use a phrase that even smacks of “war on poverty” for fear of being tagged that epithet of epithets, an “out-of-touch, ’60s-style liberal.” So when President Bush presides over a Gilded Age of economic inequality exacerbated by his own policies, the political response is too often muted.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Equal Employment Agency Set Up To Drown

Celebrities spewing racist drivel get the headlines and the outrage, but largely out of the public eye the Bush administration has been doing something far more damaging to victims of discrimination than the utterance of a few vile slurs. In its classic Grover Norquist way, the Bush administration is shrinking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so, as Norquist would say, it can be drowned in a bathtub.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Make Poverty A Priority

In little more than a decade after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” President Ronald Reagan led the nation in the equivalent of a helicopter evacuation from the epicenter of the fight.  Reagan and his band of conservatives also so poisoned the political discussion about poverty that even today many progressives dare not use a phrase that even smacks of “war on poverty” for fear of being tagged that epithet of epithets, an “out-of-touch, ’60s-style liberal.” So when President Bush presides over a Gilded Age of economic inequality exacerbated by his own policies, the political response is too often muted.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

EEOC Set Up To Drown

Celebrities spewing racist drivel get the headlines and the outrage, but largely out of the public eye the Bush administration has been doing something far more damaging to victims of discrimination than the utterance of a few vile slurs. In its classic Grover Norquist way, the Bush administration is shrinking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so, as Norquist would say, it can be drowned in a bathtub. People who feel they have lost a job or a promotion, or have experienced some other problem at their job, because of their race, sex, age or religion are supposed to be able to go to the EEOC to get a fair and expeditious hearing.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Conservative Infant Death Syndrome

The rate at which infants are dying has begun to creep upward in several Southern states. This is an entirely predictable—and deadly—outcome of a systematic squeezing of federal and state health programs under conservative rule. The report in The New York Times Sunday  that outlined some of the effects of cuts in federal and state health programs on infant care, particularly in Mississippi under Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, certainly was no surprise to Julie Winokur, an independent filmmaker. She has spent the past few months investigating health care problems in Tennessee, where Democratic governor and former health care executive Phil Bredesen took a page from the conservative playbook and slashed a Medicaid program that had been hailed as one of the most inclusive in the country.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins W. Post Dizzy

Yesterday, I noted that Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Conservative Infant Death Syndrome

The rate at which infants are dying has begun to creep upward in several Southern states. This is an entirely predictable—and deadly—outcome of a systematic squeezing of federal and state health programs under conservative rule. The report in The New York Times Sunday  that outlined some of the effects of cuts in federal and state health programs on infant care, particularly in Mississippi under Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, certainly was no surprise to Julie Winokur, an independent filmmaker. She has spent the past few months investigating health care problems in Tennessee, where Democratic governor and former health care executive Phil Bredesen took a page from the conservative playbook and slashed a Medicaid program that had been hailed as one of the most inclusive in the country.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

New Take Back America 2007 Blog

With our annual Take Back America event less than two months away, we’ve just launched a brand new website, including our initial list of speakers and agenda. And it also features the OurFuture CyberCafe, which you can create an account for whether or not you’ve registered to attend TBA07. Among other things, joining the CyberCafe lets you participate in the new TBA07 blog community.

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Bill Scher

Conservatives Can’t Cap Caps

The maverick image of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has taken a beating, thanks to his support for escalating our military involvement in Iraq, his demonstrably false comments about the security of Baghdad, and a myriad of flip-flops. But he is clinging to one maverick remnant: his support for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. In a speech today, he renewed that support, calling global warming “a serious and urgent economic, environmental and national security challenge”. Coupled with last week’s move by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to propose such a cap on power plants, conservatives are finding it difficult to forge a united front to oppose emissions caps. As noted last week, this bipartisan support for caps doesn’t mean all the devils in the details have been ironed out and strong legislation is around the corner.

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Bill Scher

Conservatives Can’t Cap Support For Caps

The maverick image of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has taken a beating, thanks to his support for escalating our military involvement in Iraq, his demonstrably false comments about the security of Baghdad, and a myriad of flip-flops. But he is clinging to one maverick remnant: his support for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. In a speech today, he renewed that support, calling global warming “a serious and urgent economic, environmental and national security challenge”. Coupled with last week’s move by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to propose such a cap on power plants, conservatives are finding it difficult to forge a united front to oppose emissions caps. As noted last week, this bipartisan support for caps doesn’t mean all the devils in the details have been ironed out, and strong legislation is around the corner.

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Bill Scher

Minimum Wage Compromise Reached

Congressional leaders took a big step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge late Friday, reconciling House-Senate differences in their minimum wage bills. The two chambers split the difference on the size of business tax breaks, ending up at $4.8 billion. The ideal would have been zero, to reject conservative claims that any raise for low-income workers automatically requires more handouts for business — especially when business have already received hundreds of billions in tax breaks, while the minimum wage has lost value. But Senate leaders feared a continued conservative filibuster if there were no tax breaks. Yet after Friday’s compromise, Sen. Charles Grassely, R-Iowa, who has already tried to obstruct the wage bill, sputtered that the tax breaks still weren’t big enough.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Democrats Slow To Charge

None of the Sunday show hosts posed our Weekend Watchdog questions drilling down to the heart of the Prosecutor Purge matter—how names actually got on the purge list. But guests Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., worked in answers that kept the focus where it belongs. Asked on CBS’ Face The Nation (PDF file) if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should remain in his post, Leahy noted that wouldn’t necessarily stop the White House from undermining our justice system: I don’t think he can be effective. But who would he be replaced with? If it’s going to be another person who is going to be really run by the White House, and if the White House is continued to be allowed to interfere with the criminal justice system throughout this country—some of the effects, everybody, right down to the officer on the beat—then it does no good.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Democrats Slow To Charge

None of the Sunday show hosts posed our Weekend Watchdog questions drilling down to the heart of the Prosecutor Purge matter—how names actually got on the purge list. But guests Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., worked in answers that kept the focus where it belongs. Asked on CBS’ Face The Nation (PDF file) if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should remain in his post, Leahy noted that wouldn’t necessarily stop the White House from undermining our justice system: I don’t think he can be effective. But who would he be replaced with? If it’s going to be another person who is going to be really run by the White House, and if the White House is continued to be allowed to interfere with the criminal justice system throughout this country—some of the effects, everybody, right down to the officer on the beat—then it does no good.

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