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Deep thought

The Democratic party has become like a wall of slot machines at the casino, with people frantically moving from one machine/politician to the next, hoping this time they’ll hit the jackpot and finally get some policies that actually help us.

But we’re just about out of quarters. And anyway, the house always wins.

Strangled

Bob Borosage:

House Speaker John Boehner and his Tea Party comrades regularly assail “job-killing regulations that are strangling employers all over the country.” Lurid, graphic, and no doubt focus group and message dial tested, these very words – job-killing regulations strangling employers – are on the palm cards for every conservative politician or Fox News anchor.

But, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would say, “How can anyone believe that?” Here’s a chart of what’s happened to corporations and to workers since the recession officially ended. Profits are up; CEO salaries are soaring. It isn’t employers who are being strangled; it is their workers.

Go read the rest.

Plan B

Reid and McConnell put together a backup plan.

What is emerging as the most likely outcome is a plan based on Messrs. McConnell and Reid’s work, a Democratic official familiar with negotiations said. It would include roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction, but would not come with tax increases or Medicare savings, the official said. It could include an extension of unemployment insurance, the official said, which costs $40 billion and would be offset by spending cuts.

Mr. Obama suggested in Thursday’s meeting that leaders end tax breaks for ethanol producers, oil and gas companies and corporate jet owners, and offset those tax increases with an extension of the payroll tax credit for employees, a Democratic official familiar with the meeting said, but Republicans said they would not support it.

Mr. Obama said he still prefers a larger plan, but the only way to get even to a $2 trillion deal is to include tax increases, which Republicans flatly oppose, or Medicare cuts, which Democrats oppose without concessions from Republicans on taxes. Mr. Obama will hold a news conference Friday morning.

In other words, if Boehner can browbeat the House Republicans in to budging on tax increases, the Dems are going to cut Medicare. Oh, yay!

Irony

They had a post on the Washington Post website last week about long-term unemployment and asked people how they coped. They asked you to include your phone number for a possible story.

So I got this call last night and the reporter (or intern, not really sure) asks me a lot of questions, then asks if I’d be interested in writing a weekly dispatch about being unemployed for the Post.

“I assume this is unpaid?”

He allowed that it was.

“Then I’m not interested. Don’t you think that’s ironic? I mean, I’m an unemployed writer and you’re asking me to write, for free, about being unemployed?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes, I hear you. But we can’t really afford to pay for that.”

“That’s not true, I know that your parent company is doing quite well. Kaplan’s still making a lot of money. And as a writer, I’m not interested in being part of a content farm where writers churn out content for your company for free. No, I’m not interested.”

“I understand. Really. Good luck.”

Heh. Turns out I was wrong, and his paper and their parent company are losing quite a bit of money. I think he’s the one who’s going to need it.

Which way you blowing, Nancy?

Women are an important constituency in the Democratic party (they were twice as likely to vote for Obama in the last election as any other group). Add to that the fact that one of the most common fears among single women is becoming a bag lady. Gee, Medicare and Social Security cuts sound like a real formula for electoral success, huh?

This week, multimillionaire House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi seemingly alerted women to the dangers of the changes to Social Security and Medicare in the various debt ceiling proposals – but also claims that a change to the chained CPI isn’t a cut. That sounds like she sees the train coming down the track and knows she has to sell it to her caucus:

“We know firsthand the impact of changes in Medicare,” said Pelosi, flanked by 14 other Democratic women. “We know it because we are women and caregivers and we know it because of the people we represent. We know it because of the special interest we have taken in this bedrock of security for women and families in our country.”

Several lawmakers pointed out that women tend to live longer than men, and are usually the primary caregivers in families – making their dependency on key social programs that much more urgent.

Several of Pelosi’s colleagues were adamant that changing how Social Security benefits are calculated would essentially be cutting benefits – a stance that the House’s top Democrat didn’t embrace on Tuesday.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) [Ed. note: net worth $130K] stressed that using the chained Consumer Price Index to calculate benefits would push more seniors into poverty. And Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) [Ed. note: assets up to $5M, with debt totaling $5M] added that reducing these cost-of-living adjustments would “acutely harm” Latina women.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) [Ed. note: net worth $50M] said “even Grover Norquist” – the influential leader of the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform – considers using the chained CPI to determine benefits a tax hike.

“Let’s remember that the average income on Social Security is $19,000 a year,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). [Ed. note: collects a pension of almost $23K annum from State of Illinois, net worth up to $390,999] “And these are the people who ought to be paying to cut the deficit here?”

NOTE: I’m continuing my little experiment of illustrating just how large a class divide exists between us and our elected representatives. As has been reported elsewhere, members of Congress seem to have amazing luck with the stock market – frequently beating the Street by significant margins. So let’s keep in mind that their interests may not always align with ours.

If pigs had wings

They could fly.

Happy belated Bastille Day

“Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!”

(I totally stole this from Dday….)

Road to nowhere

Talking Heads:

Are you a felon?

You might be. Watch this:

Reach out and touch someone

I wrote about the Camden Rescue Mission when, due to increased need, they were very short on gifts to give neighborhood kids at their annual Christmas party. (Camden is one of America’s poorest cities.)

Now they’re doing this. If you can, donate here. You’d be amazed at how much better you feel about the rest of the world when you accomplish one small thing.

For the past 10 years the Camden Rescue Mission with your help has successfully given book bags and school supplies to needy children in the City of Camden. Corporate Businesses, Churches, individual’s donors and even the Philadelphia Eagles have helped us raise not only book bags but school supplies, new clothing, uniforms, under garments, socks, and
sneakers.

Our focus is on making the first few days of school a great experience.
The children that receive the book bags and supplies are children with
single parents, grandparents raising children or a large family.

Your help is need in helping us reach our goal of 800 children. You could
help with a donation of a book-bag filled with school supplies for children 1st grade thru college, or you could send a donation for us to purchase book
bags and school supplies. We will distribute the Book-bags and supplies on
Tuesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:00 noon, at the Camden Rescue Mission,
1634 Broadway, Camden, 08104.

Thank you for helping us to continue to help our children start another
school year with the right tools to succeed.

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