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The real crisis facing America; jobs

Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act

  • Creates over 2 million jobs within two years to address the real crisis facing America: the jobs crisis.  
  • Emergency jobs will meet critical needs to make American communities stronger.
  • Costs $227 billion ($113.5 billion for each of fiscal years 2012 and 2013).
  • Fully paid for through separate legislation that creates higher tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, eliminates subsidies for Big Oil, and loopholes for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.  

The Corps: 2.2 Million Jobs

1. School Improvement Corps – Creates 400,000 construction and 250,000 maintenance jobs to fix American schools.

2. Park Improvement Corps – 100,000 jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 25, to improve our nation’s parks.

3. Student Job Corps – 250,000 part-time, work study jobs for eligible college students.  

4. Neighborhood Heroes Corps – 300,000 teachers, 40,000 police officers, 12,000 firefighters. 

5. Health Corps – 40,000 health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and health care workers.  

6. Community Corps – 750,000 jobs to do needed work in our communities, including energy audits and conservation upgrades, urban land re-clamation and addressing blight, public property maintenance and beautification, housing rehabilitation, and new construction. 

7. Child Care Corps – 100,000 jobs in early childhood care and education.

http://schakowsky.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2975&Itemid=8

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Economy

 

The goals of the U.S. Socialist party

THE FREEDOM SOCIALIST PARTY IS a revolutionary, socialist feminist organization, dedicated to the replacement of capitalist rule by a genuine workers’ democracy that will guarantee full economic, social, political, and legal equality to women, people of color, gays, and all who are exploited, oppressed, and repelled by the profit system and its offshoot — imperialism.

FOR REVOLUTIONARY INTERNATIONALISM The working class is international and bound by global abuse. It must liberate itself through socialism. We support revolution on all fronts and seek to transform it into world socialism, which alone can defeat capitalism. We stress that global democratic struggles — for national liberation, for race and sex liberation — are inseparably bound up with workers’ struggles in every country, and can ultimately achieve victory only in conjunction with international socialist revolution.

FOR UNION DEMOCRACY The working class has the strategic power, numbers, need, and opportunity to effect a socialist transformation of society. But first the trade unions must be freed from the stranglehold of the class-collaborationist bureaucrats and from dependence on the twin political parties of big business. Internal union democracy, class struggle principles, independent political action in the form of an anti-capitalist Labor Party, and an end to internal racism, sexism, and heterosexism are on the order of the day.

FOR RACIAL/NATIONAL FREEDOM The struggles of oppressed minorities and immigrants against bigotry and intensified exploitation objectively challenge the basic core of the capitalist system. The resistance of people of color and immigrants, who suffer a dual oppression, spurs all other sectors of the working class to advanced political consciousness and militancy. We stand for immediate and unconditional economic, political, and social equality for Blacks, Chicanos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans, and endorse the demand for self-determination by oppressed and indigenous nations the world over. We advocate the collaboration of organizations of people of color with the revolutionary movement as the most realistic and historically validated alternative to the dead ends of separatism or reformist integration. The revolution depends upon massive involvement and leadership by people of color.

FOR WOMEN’S LIBERATION We organize for the total emancipation of women on every level of life. The multiple afflictions of women — as an oppressed sex, workers, people of color, lesbians — propel them into militancy within every social movement, thereby laying the basis for unifying all the mass movements. Women, particularly workingclass women of color, are playing an increasingly vanguard role, thanks to the rise of the autonomous women’s movement and women’s caucuses within unions and all political parties.

FOR LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER EQUALITY The revolt of sexual minorities against sexual repression and sex-role stereotyping is a key ingredient of the fight for women’s equality and is equally revolutionary. Revolutionary socialism is the logical road for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people who stand apart from the bourgeois nuclear family and who wish to end the long, bloody centuries of persecution and terror. Because of their special oppression, lesbians are a particularly militant component of all social movements.

FOR UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS Among the most hapless and vulnerable victims of capitalism are children, elders, the disabled, and prisoners — anyone who is not a profitable worker. We demand a world where all people have the inalienable right to security, care, love, and unhampered opportunity and growth.

FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SANITY The world’s natural riches must be used and safeguarded by the people, not by the corporations that exhaust resources for profit and destroy worker safety and health. Nuclear energy threatens to maim or annihilate future generations. Technology must be used wisely and humanely to preserve the earth and its creatures.

FOR A MASS WORKINGCLASS PARTY History has proven that only a thoroughly democratic and centralized vanguard party can lead the proletariat and its many allies to power. The FSP, a product of the living tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky, aspires to become a mass organization capable of providing direction for the coming revolution. Through independent growth, revolutionary regroupment, and other forms of fusion, we are confident of our eventual merger with the dynamic masses who will sweep every obstacle out of their path and ascend to the socialist future.

 
 

Don’t the American people want jobs?

Over the past few days, the Senate and House leadership has selected the Senators and House members who will be on the Debt Reduction Committee that was created as part of the debt ceiling deal that was reached earlier this month. Some progressives have reacted angrily to some of the Democratic picks – most notably to the selection of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).  While we share some concerns about the selections, a far more effective response would be for progressives to flood the Democratic members of the Committee with letters and phone calls urging them to prioritize job creation, increase revenue from the wealthy, and ensure there are no cuts to Social Security or Medicare beneficiaries.

The Debt Reduction Committee is charged with proposing by November 23, 2011 $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years through spending cuts and/or revenue increases.  If the Committee is able to agree to a proposal, it would then receive an up-or-down vote, with no filibusters or amendments, in both houses of Congress and must be either signed or vetoed by President Obama.  The Committee has twelve members, with six from each party. Any proposal that goes to Congress would have to be approved by at least a 7-5 majority, so at least one Democrat or one Republican member of the Committee must end up siding with the other party in order to avoid a deadlock.  If the Committee does not make a proposal, or Congress rejects the proposal, $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years starting in 2013 would automatically go into effect.  Those automatic cuts would include nearly $500 billion reduction in military spending, but no cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, or beneficiaries of Medicare.

Given Democrats’ propensity to compromise, progressives are understandably concerned that one of the six Democratic members will end up supporting a GOP deficit reduction proposal.  And much of that concern has been targeted at Sen. Baucus, with folks like the Young Turks and Markos claiming that the “fix is in” and that the “GOP has already won.”

While Senator Baucus has certainly been disappointing to progressives on health care reform, the estate tax, and other issues, the progressive attacks on Baucus, and on Senator Harry Reid for selecting him, appear to be overwrought, as Baucus’ performance on core progressive issues during the various deficit debates of the past year has been pretty strong.  For example, Baucus strongly supported keeping Social Security out of the debt ceiling negotiations, noting that the program “is not responsible for the deficits we face in the general fund today,” and has been “a major force in ending widespread poverty among the elderly.”  Baucus also lambasted the GOP’s vote to abolish Medicare, slammed the House GOP’s Cut, Cap, and Balance proposal as “radical,” and voted against the debt reduction proposal made by Simpson and Bowles Debt Commission.  In other words, Senator Baucus appears to be reachable on some key issues such as protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Rather than attacking individual Democratic committee members or throwing our hands up and saying the GOP has already won, we progressives should be working to make sure the Democrats on the Committee hear what we want loud and clear.  Winning Progressive recommends making the following three points:

1. Jobs Must be Priority Number 1 – With unemployment still at 9.1% and underemployment at 16.1%, the number one priority must be creating jobs.  And the way to achieve job growth is through a WPA-style jobs program, significant infrastructure investment, and a stimulus package focused on shoring up state and local government budgets and investments in developing a green energy economy.  Job creation will not only help the economy, it will also decrease the deficit by achieving economic recovery and, therefore, revenue increases.

2. Make the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share Again – With taxes on the wealthy and corporations at or near the lowest levels since the 1930s, increased revenue from the top 2% must be the part of any effort to reduce the deficit.

3. No Cuts to Medicare Beneficiaries or Social Security – Social Security is not causing or contributing to the deficit.  Skyrocketing health care costs post long term fiscal problems, but the solution is to rationalize health care spending, not abolishing the most cost effective form of health insurance, Medicare.  Benefits should not be cut for either program under the guise of deficit reduction.

To make your voices heard and help push the Debt Reduction Committee in a more positive direction, contact the Democratic members of the Committee today at the links below and urge them to prioritize job creation, increase revenue from the wealthy, and ensure there are no cuts to Social Security or Medicare beneficiaries.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Economy, Taxes

 

The goals of the current Republican presidential field

GOP Debates Word Cloud

https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/o2012-gop-debates-what-theyve-said?source=ImageHQB

I think the Republicans have made it pretty clear what their goals are. They don’t want to improve the economy. They don’t care about reducing taxes for the middle class. They don’t care about strengthening Medicare, Medicaid, or Social security. Their goals are to empower the corporations and the very wealthy to take over America. They want an America with a boom and bust economy. They want a country where seniors will have to pay 7,000 more a years in health-care premiums, so they can give massive tax breaks to the wealthy and multi-national corporations. These stupid people are taking over our country. They are limiting people’s right to vote; not allowing people to terminate their pregnancy even if the women could die giving birth to the child. Our country is being taken over by radical Republicans who are spreading their religious based ideologue across the country. Their single goals are to make the corporations bigger and more profitable; even if it means taxing the poor more, or taking benfits away from the middle class. There is a war against the middle class and poor right now we must fight! The income gap between the rich and poor has never been larger.

Corporations have a strangle on our political system. They have lobbied and succeeded in paying almost no taxes through adding their own loopholes to the tax system. They have deunionized their workers. They’re denying benefits to their workers. Profits are held to a higher importance than the American worker. We must bring back the days of Unions and FDR’s trust busting. We need to go back to the days when one income could pay the bills, buy a car, and send a child to a good college. Todays even with two incomes many families can’t afford these fundamentals. We must bring middle class incomes up, just as fast as the rich’s income is shooting up. We must fight for universal health-care. REPUBLICANS ARE THE PARTY OF THE CORPORATIONS MORE THAN EVER IN HISTORY, AND WE MUST STOP THEIR RADICAL AGENDA.

 

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A new New Deal

Infrastructure

The bridges, roads, schools, airports, ports, dams, waterways, energy system , and our aviation system all need to be upgraded. This is fact; if we don’t do this we will be economically un competitive.  We need schools that are safe, energy efficient, and structurally sound. We need airports that are safe, and energy efficient, and an aviation system that efficient for the air traffic controllers and the planes that navigate this system. Right now planes have to criss-cross the country from one satellite beacon to another. Doesn’t it make sense to have one system that allows the plane to travel one straight course? This is why we need to invest in infrastructure. We need bridges that won’t collapse. Every investment we make will create jobs. America is falling apart, and we can’t keep letting our infrastructure fail and crumble away.

Why invest now?

  • Low interest rates: Right now interest rates are at near zero rates, so any money we borrow will cost little to us to pay back.
  • Jobless recovery: Right now we need jobs! Infrastructure creates jobs because construction workers will be paid to improve the roads, rebuild schools, or rebuild an air traffic controller tower. Construction worker need jobs! Every person who can find a job will take it.
  • Low impact of deficit: infrastructure spending adds to the debt once in a lump sum type of payment. This spending won’t add to the deficit over the long-term.
  • Economically competitiveness: Many other developing country are spending more in intrastructure than we are. If we have bad roads, bridges, and aviation system who’s going to want to do business with us?

The People’s Budget: Porgressive Causcus’s FY2012 Budget

Putting America Back to Work and Restoring American Competitiveness

  • Education

In addressing the nation’s long-run fiscal challenges, investments in education enhance the long-term growth potential of the economy by investing in the skills of our present and future workforce. The nation’s human capital can be increased in many ways, including through formal and informal education, experience gained over time on a job, and training in the workplace. Front-end investment in Pre-K, K-12 and higher education is the most important contribution we can make to our economic growth in the long run. A more skilled workforce can produce more, and higher-skilled workers tend to earn higher wages.

  • Transportation

Rebuilding our highways and waterways will create jobs in the short term and is at the heart of our international competitiveness in the long term. Our budget dramatically increases transportation outlays through a surface transportation reauthorization bill as outlined in the president’s 2012 budget request.

  • Infrastructure

The new Infrastructure Bank will provide loans and grants to support individual projects and broader activities of significance to our nation’s economic competitiveness. For example, the IBank could support improvements in road and rail access to a West Coast port that benefits farmers in the Midwest, or a national effort to guarantee private loans made to help airlines purchase equipment in support of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). A cornerstone of the IBank’s approach will be a rigorous project comparison method that transparently measures which projects offer the biggest value to taxpayers and our economy. This marks a substantial departure from the practice of funding projects based on more narrow considerations.

  • Energy Independence

With only 3% of the known oil reserves in the world, the United States cannot become energy independent or measurably affect the world price of oil simply by drilling more within our borders. We need to set loose the clean energy industry that is ready to take hold if we make the public investments in transportation and storage. Our budget will unleash American ingenuity and talent to build a new clean energy economy in which the United States will regain its rightful place as a world leader, move energy independence and address our global warming challenges.

  • Housing

The middle of a historic recession and a “jobless recovery” is not the time to cut support for affordable housing. Investments in housing are one of the most potent job creation tools we have, because every dollar invested in housing creates two dollars and twelve cents in additional economic activity and induces as much as seven additional dollars in indirect economic activity. Providing housing not only reduces the rate of homelessness, which costs state, local and federal governments tens of thousands of dollars for every homeless family, but provides the vital backbone for creating long-term economic viability for every family in America: a place to call home.

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/files/The_CPC_FY2012_Budget.pdf

 

A letter from Bernie Sanders

Dear Leader McConnell:

Given that the single best deficit reduction strategy is economic growth, we urge you to ensure that your appointees to the new joint select committee (“JSC”) created by the debt limit bill are committed to a policy of job creation.

The recent spate of discouraging economic news underscores the need to make employment the top priority of our government. For families across the country, the biggest economic problem is high unemployment. As you know, the lack of jobs and anemic growth rate of the economy are not only enormous problems in their own right, causing great pain for millions of Americans, they are a major component of our deficit. Indeed, the loss of revenue resulting from the recession accounts for nearly $4 trillion of the projected deficits over the next 10 years.

At the same time, jobless workers put additional strain on our critical social safety net programs. As more anmore Americans rely on unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid, our deficits go up. Getting those individuals back to work not only allows them to be self-sufficient, it reduces federal government spending.

It is therefore appropriate and important that the JSC explicitly embrace job creation as a part of its mission. Targeted investments in economic growth and job creation can complement and even enhance long-term deficit reduction efforts and should be a priority that the JSC embraces. Indeed, failure to make such investments could have a serious negative impact on our fiscal situation.

Just as we can all acknowledge that reducing our deficits over the medium and long term is a national imperative, we would hope that all 100 Senators could agree that sacrificing job creation in the near term to pursue that imperative would be a grave mistake. Over the course of the last few months, the default debate sounded to many Americans as if it was taking place in a vacuum that did not include enough discussion of the recession and its aftermath. Let us be very clear: our fiscal challenge is directly linked to the jobs crisis and we cannot solve the former without tackling the latter.

We look forward to working with you and the Republican conference towards both objectives and hope the JSC can help advance policies that get America back to work.

Sincerely,

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Economy

 

Trade, Taxes, and Banking; How to fix our tax and banking system

By Dylan Ratigan

Taxes

We continue our special, three part series “Jobs Wanted.”  Yesterday we explained the trade component.  Today, taxes.

I want to get into how they can be used as leverage to influence spending and investments, and foster prosperity and jobs.

First, Washington needs to stop viewing the tax code as simply a way to raise money, and instead use taxes to create results.  The U.S. tax code should spur American investment and job creation, not prevent it like it currently does. It is simple economics — if you lower taxes on something, you see more of it.  The principle also works in reverse, and I have a great example of how taxes influence behavior — the cigarette tax.  Remember back in 2008, New York raised its cigarette tax by more than a dollar to $2.75.  The result – consumption fell and the state’s smoking rate dropped by 12%.  If the tax code can reduce smoking by 12%, by altering it we can also make investing in America grow by 12, 15, even 20%… who knows! That would add jobs by the millions!  We can reverse this flow of money by using the tax code to make investing in our own country more profitable than sending that cash and jobs overseas, or using it for financial speculation.

Of course, another issue with the tax code is corporate loopholes.  Every year you and I send a check to Washington to pay our taxes, while large corporations, like GE, don’t pay a dime!  Now, I’m not here to demonize big business — they’re simply taking advantage of tax loopholes set up by their friends in Congress.  And it’s all legal!  But we need to close the loopholes and shatter the practice of large corporations using money and power to gain favorable tax treatment.

Banking

This week we spoke about how fixing trade and the tax code would lead to jobs.  Today’s it’s all about banking.  The best way I can describe our banking sector right now is it’s like a leaf blower.

Follow me on this one — the system can either inject capital and spread it around through lending, which when done right creates jobs… Or it can suck all the money out.

Right now we’re stuck in that reverse position where banks are taking the money out of play.  We gave away the farm and got no changes in the way banks do business.

President Bush did whatever he needed to pass the problem on to Barack Obama…and President Obama doubled down on the Bush plan, leaving banking and Wall Street to go on as if nothing happened.  The President, Treasury Secretary Geithner and Fed Reserve Chairman Bernanke threw more of our cash at the big banks to keep them afloat by printing money they didn’t have.

But that’s like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it! Because current banking, and for that matter, trade law, makes it more profitable for banks to engage in financial speculation, loan the money right back to our own government, or take it overseas than it does to focus on domestic lending.

In order to reverse the blower, we need to debate laws that encourage banks to lend, as opposed to speculate and extract…so that money is spread around to job creators who actually produce ideas and hire workers.

http://www.dylanratigan.com/2011/08/10/americas-mad-as-hell-moment/

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Banks, Economy, Taxes