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Health Care & Environment
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
02.11 'People Shouldn't Be Going Bankrupt and Dying': Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.09 The potato solution: how the Guardian switched to biodegradable packaging [Non-recyclable products should be illegal]
News Media Matters
02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.15 Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan 'Astonishingly Strong' [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.14 Pentagon Fears Climate Crisis, w/ Billions in Damage to US Bases & Societal Upheaval [In maniacally twisted capitalist countries inconvenient truths are ignored or harshly ridiculed, and Trump's stupid Wall obsession dominates the news instead.]
02.13 'We Will Be That Lantern on the Shore': Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley Rally With TPS Holders Outside Trump White House [Empathy and fairness are scarce when your President is a psychopath]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.15 Who Is Really A Socialist? [Who is really a Republican, etc.?]
02.14 House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen [Congress does something good again!]
02.14 Millions Flowed From Venezuelan Oil Firm to Small Bulgarian Bank [Transactions like Manafort performed for Trump. Which Venezuelan political leader is likely behind this—Maduro or Trump-supported Guaidó?]
Obama Capitulates to Republicans
A Faustian deal with the devil.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
In the midst of a deepening Main Street depression, rich and super-rich Americans never had it so good, thanks to Obama and congressional Democrats governing like Republicans.
Despite campaign pledges and President Obama opposing extending tax cuts for households earning over $250,000, another promise made was broken. At the same time, while supporting them for working Americans, he said doing so permanently is unaffordable. Unsurprisingly, a December 6 White House press release issued a "Statement by the President on Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits," saying:
"As a result, we have arrived at a framework for a bipartisan agreement." Everyone will get a tax cut on income, capital gains, dividends, and the Bush enacted federal estate tax that lapsed at the start of 2010, including the super-rich (who deserve higher, not lower taxes), Obama caving to Republicans and deep-pocketed donors who'd likely give less if they paid more.
In Obama-speak, we need to make "tough choices...to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future" by:
Neither Obama or congressional allies explained it or that both parties accelerated it in recent years.
Super-rich Americans will be further enriched by greater estate tax deductions. The exemption will be raised to $5 million for an individual (up from $3.5 million in 2009) and $10 million per family in addition to cutting the tax rate to from 45 to 35%. It matches levels not seen since the Great Depression's onset, besides the current greatest ever wealth gap disparity, obscene and unjustified by any standard.
In the midst of a deepening Main Street depression, rich and super-rich Americans never had it so good, thanks to Obama and congressional Democrats governing like Republicans, signaling harder times ahead for working households.
In contrast, the administration and Congress initiated no jobs creation programs or serious long-term relief for millions of unemployed, including many who've lost homes through foreclosure. Instead, unemployment benefits are extended grudgingly for limited periods. In prior downturns, they were enacted routinely without expiration until recessions ended.
Handouts to the Rich, Pay Freezes for Federal Employees
On November 29, Obama froze pay for all civilian federal employees, a White House press release saying:
Except, of course, for Wall Street, other corporate favorites, imperial adventurism, war profiteers, tax cuts for the rich and super-rich, and other privileged beneficiaries on the government dole. Only the little people make sacrifices, collateral damage in Pentagon-speak. Others do very well, thank you very much, including $30 billion more for businesses that buy equipment in the next two years.
Neoliberal Austerity Coming
Other handouts will follow, generous ones if Obama's deficit cutting commission proposals are adopted. (An earlier article addressed them.) They include dramatically cutting income tax rates to 9, 15 and 24%, down from six brackets ranging from 10 - 35% for income over $373,650. Also slashing corporate rates from 35 - 26%, combined with eliminating some deductions easily manipulated around by clever tax lawyers. At the same time, the following pain was proposed:
Congress Looks After Its Own
In January 2009, Congress voted itself a $4,700 increase, raising their pay to $174,000. It abstained in 2010 and 2011, the law requiring both Houses reject it. Otherwise, it's automatic.
According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Obama's announced freeze doesn't apply to "legislative-branch employees," including Congress able to raise, freeze, or cut pay for all government workers at all levels.
In 2011, military personnel will get a 1.4% increase, the smallest one since 1973, OMB citing low inflation as justification. Yet considering wartime hardships, including long deployments, high risk, possible severe injuries and deaths, who more than combat forces deserve more consideration on pay and other benefits. Next year and perhaps thereafter, it will be grudgingly meager.
A Final Comment
Obama, congressional Democrats and Republicans back shared sacrifice. The rich and super-rich share. Others most in need sacrifice through growing poverty, lost jobs and homes, lower pay, and fewer benefits "to bolster the economy," according to New York Times writers David Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes in their December 7 article headlined, "Tax Deal Suggests New Path for Obama."
Honest observers call it business as usual, new policies like current ones plus painful proposed austerity. For Obama:
Few, in fact, have been created, showing labor force stagnation, full-time jobs being cut. In the last six months, 1.6 million have been lost. Those added are temporary or part time with low pay and few benefits. Moreover, the broader household survey shows large declines - 330,000 in October, another 173,000 in November, a pattern stubbornly persisting.
Shadowstats reports true unemployment, including discouraged workers and those wanting full-time jobs but can't find them at 22.6%, not the Labor Department's jerry-rigged 9.8%. In a word, the job market's sick, administration policies doing little to improve it.
Obama's "compromise" does provide a two-year expanded tax credits extension, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and American Opportunity Tax Credit as well as a 2% cut in payroll taxes in lieu of eliminating the Making Work Pay tax credit.
It also extends unemployment benefits another 13 months, gives some families a college tuition tax credit, and adjusts the alternative minimum tax temporarily (indexing it for inflation), exempting 21 million households from being hit.
The cost, of course, adds hugely to the deficit, up to $900 billion over the next two years, according to some estimates. Neither party scrimps on lavish handouts to corporate favorites, wailing only about crumbs to working households, even under Obama's so-called "compromise."
Economist Paul Krugman opposes extending George Bush's 2001 "fast one, (his) irresponsible tax cut," largely benefitting America's rich and super-rich. In his December 5 op-ed headlined "Let's Not Make a Deal," he urged "just say no." Obama and congressional allies didn't listen, capitulating instead to Republican "blackmailers."
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on December 8, 2010.