Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is insane


Four - count 'em, FOUR! - Tea Party-GOP state senators have been able, via filibuster, to deny 34,000 unemployed residents of Missouri $105 million in extended unemployment benefits, after the federally-funded extension passed the GOP-led state House 123-14 two months ago and had the support of Republican Senate leaders and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.  More HERE.  Words fail...

Via Dan O at Beautiful Horizons.

Update: And, unfortunately, the context for that bit of political pathology is THIS news from Economix @ NYTs:  "Average length of unemployment rises again..."

"There is no US federal debt crisis"

"Dangerous subversives!" or just...uh...Republicans?
Harvard professor of political economy emeritus, former aide to Pres. Johnson and consultant to the US Treasury Francis Bator states it flat out in the Financial Times: "There is no federal debt crisis (as distinct from a governance crisis and a tax-phobia crisis.)" Well worth checking out  (HERE) for some realistic perspective in contrast to the hysterics, half-truths and anti-government demagogy that are routinely injected into the  politics of deficits, taxes, spending and debt.  Key excerpts below:

In 2010, CEO Pay Went Up 27% While Worker Pay Went Up 2%

I've got nothing to say.  More at "Think Progress."

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Nobel-Prize winner and former chief economist for the World Bank, Joe Stiglitz takes on the dramatic  increase in disparities of income and wealth in the US @ Vanity Fair:
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened... In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent (of income) and 33 percent (of wealth.) One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided.
Graph - Lane Kenworthy
While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow...

The good news - Jobs numbers were up in March

Ezra Klein takes a second look...