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Not a left-wing fantasy.

Trade agreement

Now here’s one I could get behind!

Quiet nights

Diana Krall:

The campaign

To raise the Medicare retirement age is picking up steam. Jon Walker at FDL:

It got a major push in July when Obama privately offered it up as part of a “grand bargain” on the debt ceiling with Speaker John Boehner.  It probably got another push in Obama’s jobs speech last night when the president suggested he still wants to change Medicare in a way “some in his party” won’t like.

The campaign also got a behind-the-scenes boost this week. First, the Democratic members of the House Ways and Means committee included raising the Medicare retirement age in a memo to the Super Committee outlining possible deficit reduction options. But more importantly, the powerful American Hospital Association came out in favor of it.

From Politico:

The American Hospital Association has a strategy for heading off any more Medicare payment cuts: Tell Congress to get the money from Medicare beneficiaries instead.  The association is urging its nearly 5,000 members to lobby Congress to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, in addition to other money-saving alternatives, according to spokeswoman Marie Watteau.

It is no surprise the hospital industry wants to see the change. Raising the Medicare retirement age means old people will be forced to buy overpriced private insurance instead. Private insurance pays hospitals more than Medicare because they lack Medicare’s market power. It is one of the few ways to cut the government’s Medicare spending while increasing profits for the health care industry — at the expense of older Americans.

We are seeing a convergence of deficit hysteria, a Democratic president who wants to have a “Nixon goes to China moment” with Medicare and powerful corporate lobbyists in pursuit of bigger profits.

Medicare is in serious danger and so is your wallet. This move will not just hurt those near retirement but would mean higher premiums for everyone on Medicare and millions of with private insurance.

What the water gave me

Florence + the Machine:

Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I found this in a Washington Post article titled, “House vote on trade bill could spark action on pending free trade agreements.”

President Barack Obama supports the free trade deals, but both the White House and congressional Democrats say they must be linked to renewal of expired provisions of a program that provides training and financial aid to workers displaced by foreign competition.

Obama has put off formally submitting the free trade bills to Congress until he receives assurances he will get votes on the worker aid program. He is expected to address the issue during his jobs policy address to Congress on Thursday.

Like I said, I didn’t listen to the speech, so I don’t know if this was addressed. But really. Paying to retrain people whose jobs have been sent overseas while setting up trade laws so that more jobs can be sent overseas? I am confused.

from DDay again.

Ghost on the canvas

Paul Westerberg:

It was excessively generous of Paul Krugman to describe Barack Obama’s jobs plan as “bold,” given the fact that it’s long-overdue and just happens to coincide with the start of Obama’s re-election campaign

She smiled sweetly


I didn’t listen to Obama.

(Which makes my record pretty much perfect. Except for the odd 30 seconds here and there, I haven’t been entranced by the Golden Voice of Reason.)

But I do read David Dayen over at FDL. In this post he’s talking about the liberal bona fides of the jobs programs Obama listed.

School infrastructure repair and remodel sounds like a sure thing, 30 billion to 35,000 publics schools; that’s $85,000 per school. When you throw in community colleges at an unknown number, I worry that it might be too diluted, but still. Good.

The Job creation/ payroll tax thing? Sure sounds like a way for companies to cheat. We’ll see. Seems too little, and too easy to hire people and then whack them off the payroll – for profit! But I am much too dark these days.

But for sure, the work sharing program. I don’t know about other places, but I know that a lot of people in my old town used unemployment benefits to boost their income when the Company started into laying off for half-days, half-weeks, only to find out that each part-week they claimed counted as a full week of unemployment benefits, so that when they finally lost their jobs altogether, they had used up their benefit weeks without using up their benefit dollars.

I need somebody to clarify this, to promise that these job-sharers aren’t just getting fucked over under a different program.

And sincere thanks for your consistently great work, Mr. Dayen. I trust you, which is why I read you.

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