As my colleague Brad Plumer reported yesterday, Congress hasn’t adopted the administration’s infrastructure package, but they’re moving closer to it. And as we reach the end of the year, are Republicans really going to refuse to extend and expand the payroll tax and unemployment benefits?
The other question is whether, in the absence of clear Republican cooperation on the major elements of their jobs package, the administration will let their jobs program die with a whimper. They can still refuse to sign anything the supercommittee produces if it doesn’t include a job agenda of similar size, and thus effectively use the trigger as leverage for a jobs plan. But as of yet, they have shown little interest in doing so. They have given a speech, but unlike the Republicans on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, they have refused to use their procedural leverage. Continue Reading »
A huge turnout last night in Philadelphia to plan Occupy Philly’s sit-in in City Hall’s courtyard, and attendees decided it will begin at 9am this Thursday. I’m so thrilled that this is finally happening in the city that was the birthplace of our nation – and I’m pretty sure they’re going to need pizza:
“This is what democracy looks like.”
That was the thunderous chant of about 1,000 protesters who packed the Arch Street United Methodist Church Tuesday night as they voted to begin Occupy Philadelphia at City Hall at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Supporters young and old turned out for the meeting to plan the next steps for Philadelphia’s extension of New York City’s Occupy Wall Street protests. Some said they foresee the movement catching on across the nation.
“This is the first time in my adult life I feel there’s some hope,” said Carol Finkle, 69, of Philadelphia. “This will grow. Watch what’s gonna happen, in [young people’s] lifetime and in mine.”
Like some of New York’s protesters, many of Philadelphia’s plan to occupy City Hall 24/7 for its duration, pitching tents and camping there.
Here’s an interview with Justin Harrison, an Occupy Philly organizer who works at Verizon as a splicing technician, and is a unit secretary for Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 1300:
In New York, they’re occupying Wall Street. In DC, they plan to occupy the the infamously lobbyist-ridden K Street. Will Occupy Philly be Philadelphian in some particular way?
[…] I think that Philly vs. New York, Philly is overwhelmingly a working class town. There’s been a strong consciousness to reach out into the communities. North, south, east, west, it’s the same stuff: jobs, housing, food and education. We don’t have Wall Street to occupy, but Philadelphia has a special flavor of its own.
Is Occupy Wall Street a progressive response to the right-wing Tea Party? Or is it something completely different?
I think that Occupy Wall Street is filling a vacuum that could have and should have been filled by the left. For example, the AFL-CIO. A lot of us feel that they dropped the ball in Wisconsin this spring [when there were weeks of mass protests against Governor Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights]. People came out in the streets and occupied the capitol, but AFL-CIO put it into the Democratic Party and elections.
I’ve been saying look, we need to pay attention to this. They’re doing stuff that we could have been doing and should have been doing. And we should help out, and we can learn from it. Continue Reading »
What a joke. A one-time fee no matter how much revenue produced, or how much damage caused by each well? Chump change. A mere $120 million in a year? I suppose the Koch boys wrote this “compromise” for Governor Corbett:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a fee on natural-gas drilling of as much as $160,000 a well in an effort to find a middle ground between public support for assessing drillers in the booming Marcellus Shale basin and a campaign pledge not to impose taxes.
If passed by the state legislature, the recommendation would generate an estimated $120 million in the first year, most of which would be kept at the local level to help pay the cost to regulate drilling and to repair roads and bridges. Every other gas-drilling state already imposes a fee on wells or a tax on the value of gas that is extracted.
The governor’s proposal also includes new requirements that would keep wells farther from streams and water wells. Environmentalists are concerned that the process of extracting shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals underground at high pressure, could contaminate surface and drinking water.
“As the number of wells grows, so will the revenue,” said Mr. Corbett, a Republican, who linked the industry’s growth to the state’s economic future. “We are going to do this safely, and we’re going to do it right, because energy equals jobs.”
Under the governor’s plan, about one-quarter of the well fees would go to state agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection and the rest to local communities. Some state lawmakers suggested they may push for higher fees or for more of the money to go to the state.
Democrat Jay Costa, the state Senate minority leader, said the governor’s recommendations “fall woefully short” in terms of revenue and the amount that is going to the state. Some Republicans, who have a majority in both the Senate and House, are also pushing for more drilling revenue. GOP state Rep. Thomas Murt plans to introduce a bill Tuesday that includes a 4.9% tax on the gross value of the gas at the wellhead, rather than a fee. His bill would dedicate 29% of revenue to local governments, 27% to state environmental programs and 44% to state programs including drug rehabilitation.
Friedman is the corporate media’s foremost cheerleader for the brave new world of downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring and clusterfucking that has decimated the American workforce, and he thinks this is a good thing. More here.