It amazes how horrible a partisan House and Senate can be in this country, I mean what a bunch of drones, all ganging against one another when a bill to help working class people comes along. It certainly makes it hard to defend Republicans to the average person. Obviously we need a new party of free thinkers who can stand on their own two feet.
From The New York Times editorial Listening To Job Reports:
The most pressing data in the latest jobs report is this: The number of people who were unemployed for six months or more as of January was 1.38 million.I suggest you read that entire article, and have a look at the Mike Hall article about it at the AFL-CIO Blog for more information, such as:
The last time the numbers looked that bad — when the nation was mired in joblessness after the 2001 recession — Congress extended unemployment compensation for people who had exhausted their initial 13 weeks of benefits. This time around, unfortunately, Congress may fail to include those much needed benefits in the upcoming economic stimulus bill.
The White House is wrongly insisting that lawmakers stick with a bill it negotiated with House leaders before the new data was released. That version omits jobless benefits and centers instead on — what else? — tax cuts. In the Senate, which may vote this week on its own stimulus bill, Republicans are blocking a Democratic push for jobless benefits. Their objection: Extended unemployment benefits encourage idleness.
Enough. Lawmakers should trim the less effective stimulus measures under discussion: tax rebates for the rich in the Senate version and corporate tax breaks in both bills. They can make room for more effective jobless benefits in the legislation’s final version.
As the slowdown continues, Americans will be looking to the government for relief and, ultimately, reform of the economic and labor policies that have led to this point. Congress should start by extending unemployment benefits in the stimulus package.
The economic stimulus package is stalled in the U.S. Senate. Senate Republican leaders—backed by the Bush White House—threatened a filibuster against efforts by Senate Democrats to extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the millions of jobless workers who will run out of benefits in the next several months.Why on earth are we adding corporate welfare into this bill and not taking care of the people? While our country is enjoying the fruits of our labor, a recession, big oil has posted it's largest gains ever, according to the World Socialist website:
The bill, approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee, improves on the House-passed stimulus package by adding the UI extension and also providing tax rebates to more than 20 million low-income senior citizens and veterans.Along with the UI extension, the AFL-CIO has called for the stimulus bill to include a temporary increase in food-stamp benefits as one of the most efficient ways to pump money quickly into the economy. The Bush administration and Republican leaders strongly oppose both the UI and food-stamp measures. Says Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):"I can give you their own speech on unemployment compensation and food stamps. They don’t believe in them, O.K? So there was no way to agree when they don’t believe food stamps are important, when they believe that if you extend unemployment benefits, it only keeps people looking for a job, which is a little hard to comprehend."When the Senate returns to the stimulus bill next week, Republicans likely will engage in a filibuster that requires 60 votes to overcome, again blocking action on the Finance Committee bill with the UI extension. If so, Democrats are expected to offer UI and food-stamp amendments to the House bill.
Nice, more corporate welfare, and our displaced workers haven't a leg to stand on. What about the mortgage crisis, heres a bit of history from Michael Collins from his writings on The money Party (see links at bottom of post) at Scoop.co.nz:
Amid growing fears that the US economy is sliding into recession, accompanied by both mounting layoffs and an increased assault on the living standards of the working population, the big oil companies once again posted record profits.
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil conglomerate, announced Friday that it had broken its own previous record for the highest corporate profit ever, raking in a staggering $40.6 billion last year, up 3 percent over 2006.
The profit taken in by this single company amounted to more than the gross domestic product recorded in two thirds of the world’s nations, placing the company midway between Ecuador and Luxembourg, while its total sales—more than $404 billion—top the GDP of 120 countries. It is more than the entire amount spent by the US federal government on K-through-12 education.
...Then Greenspan showed his supposed genius with this advice to home buyers and owners:But, I guess all is ok, even though Congress deemed it illegal for US Tax money to be spent on building military bases in Iraq, Bush just signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, which provides the means for his office to completely ignore Congressional Law, with his John Hancock his Presidency gets to bypass according to ThinkProgress.org:"American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage. To the degree that households are driven by fears of payment shocks but are willing to manage their own interest rate risks, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage may be an expensive method of financing a home." Understanding household debt obligations, Federal Reserve Board, Feb. 23, 2004The message was clear. Get an ARM!
Here's the back story. Greenspan got first rate analysis in 2001 from Ned Gramlich, a widely respected economist and Federal Reserve Governor. Gramlich warned, "that a fast-growing new breed of lenders was luring many people into risky mortgages they could not afford." Greenspan dismissed this advice and other warnings that followed. Predatory loan offerings; not to worry. It's all good.
The New York Times reported this epitaph of the Greenspan housing boom from a 2006 Gramlich speech to the Federal Reserve:“Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers? The question answers itself - the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products.” New York Times, Dec, 18, 2007Why? Because that's what they do. It's their nature. The Money party just can't get enough and it will get it anywhere it can in any way it can.
So we're in a situation where a false housing boom was created by sticking the least qualified home buyers with very risky loans. The big banks and Wall Street got together and created securities and bonds based on "subprime" mortgages along with hedge funds and other schemes based on commercial real estate in order to profit from this madness.
One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.So glad that we can elect people to create laws, so they can be ignored, what a hand job. We cannot help our own citizens who are unemployed, but we can give out corporate welfare and build military bases to control oil which had the biggest gains ever. Oh and did I mention that Firestone, the sponsor of the halftime show isn't bothering to negotiate with the workers in the fields of Liberia. For 81 years the workers were under a company union, they ousted them and now have their own, according to James Perks at AFL-CIO Blog:
Workers at the plantation, located in Harbel—named for the tire maker’s founder Harvey Firestone, and his wife, Idabelle—earn a little more than $3 a day, and then only if they meet a burdensome quota. They are forced to carry heavy loads of rubber in metal pails on their backs and walk for miles to weighing stations. They live in shacks with no electricity, no running water or sanitary bathroom facilities. Their children have no access to a high school education.Recommended Reading by Michael Collins:
The coalition, which includes U.S. and Liberia-based human rights, labor and environmental groups, is calling on Bridgestone Firestone to stop exploiting workers and the environment and to negotiate a fair contract with the newly elected union leaders on the plantation.
The Money Party (1). The Essence of Our Political Troubles
The Money Party (2). Lousy Leaders and How to Get Rid of Them
The Money Party (3). Big Lies that You Must Believe
The Money Party (4). Money Party to Citizens - Drop Dead!
And a video courtesy of Bert at MySpace
Warning: Not for the squeamish