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Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat for Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren addresses supporters during her victory rally in Boston, Massachusetts, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ELEC
Senator Elizabeth Warren, bane of the right wing and advocate of the empowerment agenda
There are a lot of things not to like from a progressive perspective about the so-called Ryan-Murray compromise budget approved this past Wednesday by the Senate and on its way to President Obama's desk. Perhaps the biggest is the expiration of long-term unemployment insurance benefits. These cuts will provide a very inopportune lump of coal in the stockings of the least fortunate right at the time that they need these benefits the most. And with Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, the probability of these benefits being restored once they expire seems barely a stitch above zero.

Thankfully, as Greg Sargent writes, Democrats in the Senate and progressive institutions are refusing to concede the point. And whether they actually hope to embarrass Republicans into passing a new extension of benefits, or whether the only expectation is to use the issue to turn public opinion even further against a heartless Republican Party, the efforts involved look like they will be extensive.

Please read below the fold for more on the fight over unemployment benefits.

1) Liberal groups will launch a national TV ad campaign that hits Republicans for letting benefits expire for over one million Americans, to be launched the day after Christmas and run on national cable through at least December 28th, the day benefits are set to expire. The ads will also highlight GOP priorities by spotlighting GOP opposition to nixing loopholes enjoyed by the top one percent even as a lifeline expires for over one million far less fortunate Americans.

There may also be a second round of ads launched when Congress returns in early January. The ads — backed by a “significant” buy, a source says — will be run by Americans United for Change. Other groups involved in the broader campaign include the National Employment Law project, AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and UAW.

2) House Democrats are planning a big push in local media, with the goal of using local coverage to dramatize how constituents in Republican districts will be impacted by the expiration of benefits. This is hyper-granular stuff: I’m told Ways and Means Committee Dems are collecting county-by-county data on the number of people who will be kicked off benefits, and pushing local press outlets to reflect these numbers in their coverage.
The idea is to make it harder for individual lawmakers to escape the direct consequences, in their districts, of failing to renew benefits, bringing it home ...

3) Liberal groups are drawing up lists of House Republicans who are both vulnerable and reside in states where unemployment is high. The targeting of them will take various forms, such as conference calls — directed at local media in their states and districts — that feature people who are losing benefits.

Meanwhile, labor unions are planning events in states, and liberal groups are planning polls on unemployment benefits in both marginal districts and nationally. Results should be released next week.

Sargent notes that the ultimate objective of this campaign is to convince voters, despite the media's automatic inclination to blame "Congress" for any gridlock or federal  inaction, that the blame for failing to pass an extension of this popular program and hurting 1.3 million Americans in the process falls squarely on the Republican Party. And just as with the contrast between Democrats and Republicans on maintaining current levels of food assistance programs for the neediest, there is certainly room to gain political ground from the electorate by campaigning on conservative heartlessness toward the poor—especially when said conservatives insist on having poor kids sweep school floors to earn their lunches while their wealthier counterparts stand idly by.

Without question, maintaining food stamps and unemployment benefits is an unqualified good. But there is room for debate on whether focusing on the safety net nearly exclusively is harming the liberal project at large. At the New York Times, Thomas Edsall cribs substantially from a post by Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal to argue that doubling down on the "social safety net" strategy actually detracts from the progressive agenda at large:

In practice, Konczal writes, the political left has abandoned its quest for deep structural reform — full employment and worker empowerment — and instead has “doubled-down” on the safety net strategy. The result, in his view, is “a kind of pity-charity liberal capitalism.”

Konczal’s poignant description of the problem goes a long way toward explaining the current struggles of the left. The question is whether there is an effective worker empowerment strategy at a time of globalization, offshoring and robotization.

Insofar as Democrats concentrate the bulk of their efforts on means-tested transfer programs (on the extension of long-term unemployment benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, for example), they leave the most needy and vulnerable to the vagaries of public opinion.

Survey data find that during hard times people become less altruistic and more inclined to see the poor as undeserving. They turn to the right, not the left, in periods of economic stress.

Edsall makes the case that business interests are more than happy to have the social safety net in place because the welfare state allows them to pay wages that would otherwise be completely inadequate while expecting government to pick up the tab and ensure that these workers have enough resources to prevent the fabric of society from fraying completely. Meanwhile, the current political debate is occurring between Democratic elites who support "pity-charity liberalism" despite the lack of a broader empowerment agenda, and a Republican Party infected with such a case of Social Darwinism that it seems to want to see the poor starve, seemingly out of spite if nothing else.

Edsall concludes:

The call of Konczal and his colleagues on the progressive left for an empowerment agenda — for structural economic reform — faces roadblocks far higher than many people realize. The loss of a political movement (economic liberalism) and its political vehicle (a stable progressive coalition) has put the left into a position of retreat, struggling to protect besieged programs that are designed explicitly for the poor and that therefore lack strong public backing.

The shift of the Democratic Party from economic to “pity-charity” liberalism has put the entire liberal project in danger. It has increased its vulnerability to conservative challenge and left it without a base of politically mobilized supporters. Progressives are now dependent on the fragile possibility that inequality and socioeconomic immobility will push the social order to the breaking point and force the political system to respond.

Now, none of this is to argue that Democrats and progressive allies should not continue to fight tooth and nail for extensions of the social safety net. Obviously, common decency, economic justice, and the maintenance of the social fabric depend on the continuance of these programs. But especially now that Republicans have been using their control of the House of Representatives to chip away at the social safety net at every opportunity, playing defense is not enough. It is critical to go on offense and fight for a broader empowerment agenda and fundamental structural economic reform, rather than continue to simply defend the social safety net while austerity and economic inequality force ever-increasing numbers of people to rely on it.

Edsall is correct that the political power of the bottom half of the economic spectrum has been gutted and hollowed out; that we have lost a political movement and a political vehicle at the nationwide level. At the local level, however, there are signs of coalescence as minimum wage increases take hold across the country, and as fast food strikes spring up organically across the country. And in Senator Elizabeth Warren, we have one nationwide leader who is willing to not just defend the social safety net, but put fundamental economic reform at the top of her agenda.

The progressive movement is starting to see the energy and leadership necessary to stop simply playing defense, and start advocating for an empowerment agenda that can reverse the decades of squeezing and fracturing endured by the middle class. The question is whether we can sustain enough organizational strength to capitalize at both the local and the federal level and bring about the type of fundamental economic change we need.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We can do this, we must get creative... (40+ / 0-)

    ...like this project of  PCCC--

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    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:35:38 AM PST

    •  The article does not define - (0+ / 0-)

      "broader empowerment agenda and fundamental structural economic reform".

      •  Oops - structural reform was defined: (0+ / 0-)

        " ...political left has abandoned its quest for deep structural reform — full employment and worker empowerment...."
        IE, structural reform means jobs, and Unions.  
        Still trying to figure what "broader empowerment"  means.  Public financing of elections?  More equal representation?  Not complaining, just trying to comprehend.  

  •  This is how we win! (28+ / 0-)
    Ways and Means Committee Dems are collecting county-by-county data on the number of people who will be kicked off benefits, and pushing local press outlets to reflect these numbers in their coverage.
    The idea is to make it harder for individual lawmakers to escape the direct consequences, in their districts, of failing to renew benefits, bringing it home ...
    The same tactic can be used to embarrass the Republicans who have connived to deprive their constituents of Medicaid. Get the data right down to the District and push it hard.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:36:02 AM PST

  •  This is true, but... (27+ / 0-)
    Edsall is correct that the political power of the bottom half of the economic spectrum has been gutted and hollowed out; that we have lost a political movement and a political vehicle at the nationwide level.
      ...this is almost entirely a function of the Democratic Party's abandonment of its historical labor advocacy in favor of third-way watered-down Reaganism.

       When the President delivers a "historic" speech on inequality, and follows it up with a face-palming endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it's obvious that the Democratic Party's support of the middle class is an illusion at best.

       And then we wonder why frustrated working-class Americans turn to the teabaggers...

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:37:38 AM PST

    •  We have to expose / replace those Dems (17+ / 0-)


      Wall Street's Favorite Democrat

      An investigation by the New York Times revealed that H.R. 992 was written by big bank lobbyists: 70 of the 85 lines in H.R. 992 were written by lobbyists for CitiGroup. As it so happens, Jim Himes has received more money from CitiGroup than any other member of Congress. In fact, the only politicians who received more money from CitiGroup in the 2012 election cycle were Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. 7 of the top 10 interests funding Jim Himes' campaign committee and leadership PAC were financial services institutions.

      The Congressman who co-sponsored and aggressively campaigned for a bill written by big bank lobbyists is completely dependent on those same banks to get reelected. Jim Himes also sits on the House Financial Services committee, and is the fundraiser-in-chief for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).He's supposed to regulate the financial sector, and instead he's letting their lobbyists write our laws. It's flagrantly corrupt, and astonishingly legal.

      A Dude Got Tired Of A Congressman Taking Legal Bribes, So He Had No Choice. Time For A Prank.

      Adam Mordecai Adam Mordecai

      Let's be honest. There's a smidge of corruption in Washington. It's gotten so bad that congresscritters openly admit the system is broke, but they still take legal bribes instead of fixing it.

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:51:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get it (11+ / 0-)

          How does a stiff like Jim Himes identify as a Democrat to begin with?

          If you hate poor and middle-class Americans and believe you need to suck up to the banking industry, there's a well-funded Republican Party across the street ready and willing to back your quest for power.

          Why would you even THINK of identifying as a Democrat if that's your worldview?

          I used to be on the local Dem central committee. Every time there was an opening and we'd get applicants, we would ALWAYS ask "Why are you a Democrat"? You won't believe how many sputtering non-answers we'd get. It was a good way of screening out these leeches before they worked their way into the party apparatus.
         

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:04:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly, this is the Party we have now.... (7+ / 0-)

          ...and the one progressives are working to change.

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:35:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wall Street Democrats (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mettle fatigue, divineorder

          The Democratic party gets the same funding from Wall Street, the Greedy Bankers, and the wealthy in general as the Republicans.  I am glad there is a fight going on to get back unemployment benefits but democrats and republicans alike voted for a budget to end them.   More power to democratic progressives, but for myself I am done with democrats in general who just soften the blows of austerity and are just as interested in preserving the rotten system of capitalism.  I think we need to back socialists at least on the local level and kiss most big business democrats goodbye.

        •  why? to get elected. obviously. he doesn't IDENT- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Skyye

          FY "as a democrat" beyond holding a job that requires being elected.   if getting elected in his district requires running as a democrat, so be it.    there is SO nothing new about this that it drives me up the wall: being a registered democrat does not imply any radicality or virtue.  there is no such thing as a virtuous political party.   even the half of the DK goal that states "to elect more democrats..." gets the american working classes/struggling classes nowhere.  "...and to elect better democrats" obviously should be (case in point Bernie Sanders, and INDEPENDENT) "to elect better members to House & Senate regardless of party affiliation.

          at the same time, bewailing "this is the democrat party" is (to paraphrase Conan-Doyle) the capital error of generalizing without data.   political parties of every stripe have ALWAYS included individuals whose central allegiance is to get and hold elected office, and a mere 3 decades ago the standard cartoon of a corrupt politician was a fat balding white-haired Democrat carpetbagger, the same as for a century before that.  don't we all know of democrats who changed residence in order to get a good shot at getting elected? (that's a fair definition of carpetbagger).  the fact is that the Democratic party is made up of a spectrum of positions, a de facto coalition, as all parties are.  to bewail the whole party for the sins & crimes of some office holders is more self-pitying than it is constructive or productive, in applying a prejudice to an entire party and letting ourselves off the hook for more critical thought about PRECISELY WHAT WE NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY to change who represents us from where.

          the fact that a liberal position (liberal as in 'generous', implying minimal individual driving need) is moderately left of centrist is not the same as being world-changing.  the fact that a progressive position is moderately left of liberal doesn't make that position world-changing either.  if too few of the poor and struggling have no use for self-labeling as liberal it's probably because they have nearly nothing left to be generous with.  if too few of them have no use for self-labeling as progressives, it's probably because progess is not what it happening in their lives.   if we overlabel the democratic party as liberal and progressive and then wonder why the underclasses decline to be recruited unless one of "their own" is the candidate (Republicans are smart about that, face it), they're being a lot less politically naive and egotistical than voter-register visitors to their neighborhoods.

          there is nothing "liberal" about socioeonomic safety nets.  their original purpose was to placate the underclasses enough to avoid bloody revolution.  nations that have opted to be world-changing by retrofitting welfare-statism into their sociopolitcal infrastructure (and without needing to abandon capitalism - look at Denmark) instead of just decorating the christimas tree with occasional benevolent ornamentation gained the society-wide reward of adding the new ideas, talents, skills, attitudes and energies of the previously disenfranchised empowered to enter and work within the existing econopolitical genepool.  in other words, socioeconomic justice is not liberal/generous" toward the underclass by the rest of us, it is plain & simple an acqusition of new human resources that enrich us all.

          so long as a frankly egotistically christian notion of liberality, progressivism, kindness and fairness toward the poor and oppressed continues to be a supported warm-and-fuzzy rationale for a just society, we spare our egos coming to grips both with our OWN need for precisely those added human resources blind and the fact that we are decades late (since the 1970s in the U.S.) to hold the barricades against the incursions of the power elite.  some of us who battled our entire lives until broken by the war and ourselves pushed lower into the underclass do not welcome warm-&-fuzzy liberalism, nor how it has absorbed progressiveism into that moderately-left-of-center position, nor how it fails to recognize that a truly leftist president is not electable and decries that this president isn't leftist and is disappointing us.

          what gall it takes to be disappointed in a man whose entire family will live in the shadow of the gun the rest of their lives for their (yes) audacity.

          what gall it tkes to not recognize with humbleness the fact is that all persons for whom a decent job, a decent education, a decent place to live etc is a step up are persons who are doing the rest of US THE GREATEST GOOD by adding their innate resources into the mix and thereby strenghtening all the working classes whether we've truly meritted their gift or not.

          the Power Elite correctly don't consider themselves to benefit from that added human resource because mass underemployment keeps working people just scared enough about being replaced on the job and risking the loss of our homes and computers and cellphones and our families comforts and conveniences and luxuries that WE won't IDENTIFY AS RADICALS and WE don't AGITATE at the TRUE left where the real retofit drive comes from.   The Power Elite benefit when the vast majority of us are so nervous that we call ourselves liberals & progressives and take actions only that limitedly for fear of repercussions of living true Left.

          the Democrat party resembles religion in historically both showing some gift for being useful vehicles and neither for being good drivers.  don't mistake your party affiliation for your principles, or you'll leave yourselves and your country without much but vehicle out of control

      •  Were those direct Citibank independent (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mettle fatigue

        expenditures funded directly by Citibank with corporate cash, or contributions by Citibank employees, including through their PAC?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 12:43:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think this confuses cause and effect. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, kyril, mettle fatigue

      The Democrats shift away from labor politics was a consequence of the political triumph of Reaganism, not vice-versa.

      1980 happened. 1984 happened. The DLC/Third Way political direction of the Democratic Party was a reaction to the political environment - just as the growing support for Elizabeth Warren-style politics is a consequence of a changed political environment.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:13:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I agree (8+ / 0-)

          Reagan won in 1980 on charisma, the (treasonous) hostage deal, and not being Carter. Reaganomics was never popular outside the DC douche-pundit class.

          He won in 1984 because the Dems (after regaining significant ground in 1982) nominated an uninspiring party careerist with the messaging skills of a lawn ornament. And the Dems fielded an even worse candidate in 1988.

           Reaganomics has never been popular with the public as policy.  Unfortunately, the Dems of the time didn't interpret it that way, and that led to electoral disaster after electoral disaster, with things bottoming out in 2002, which should have destroyed the DLC forever.

          But they won't go away, and we continue to lose the white working class to a party that tells them their economic woes are due to minorities and immigrants. In the absence of a counternarrative coming from the Dem establishment, one can't say one blames them.

           

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:50:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reagan won on anti-liberal backlash. (4+ / 0-)

          Reaganomics may have been unpopular, but he never really ran on Reaganomics. He ran against things - against "soft on crime," against "soft on communism," against "strong bucks buying T-bones" - basically, he won, and then was reelected by a huge margin - by appealing to anti-liberal sentiment and attacking liberal causes. Just as Nixon did in 1972, and no one is going to attribute Nixon's success to personal charisma.

          You talk about Dukakis being a poor candidate, but he ran against George H.W. Bush, who was certainly no great shakes on the stump. At a certain point, you have to get over great man theories and account for the pattern.

          The shift to the right in the 70s and 80s was a real thing, as real as the shift to the left in the 1930s.

          And blaming 2002 on economic policy, as opposed to oh yeah 9/11 and the War on Terror, is just wishful thinking. Don't you remember Gephardt and Daschle trying the "rich people's tax cuts buy a Lexus, middle class tax cuts buy a muffler" stunt? It failed miserably. No one wanted to hear it.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:16:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The only caveat I have to buying (0+ / 0-)

            your argument? That there was an actual "shift to the right." People voted for Republicans in the 80s and up to the present based on social issues and rhetoric, not economics (other than the rich, of course.) Reagan regaled us with BS like welfare Cadillac queens, but it was not an economic argument really, but a thinly coded racist/classist attack on the so-called "undeserving poor." And did we defend against the attack? No, Dems ignored it, hoping it would go away or be seen as the BS it was.
            Reagan (and his era Republicans) courted and won the evangelical vote away from Carter, members of whom have provided the numbers for the Rs ever since. They aren't voting for economic policies, but instead for the repeal of Roe v. Wade and an establishment of a national religion.
            Dems have all the issues on their side, but can't persuade the populace to vote on issues instead of fear and personality. When we have charismatic candidates, we win. If not, then not. And that is really scary when you consider how often in history charismatic leaders are often actually quite crazy and destructive.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:44:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But Dems didn't "ignore it." They fought back. (0+ / 0-)

              They fought back hard - and they got their asses kicked.

              I'd have a lot more respect for these "Democrats are wimps who don't fight" arguments if the people making them would ever acknowledge the Democrats who stood up, fought the good fight against the odds, and lost - instead of insulting them or writing them out of history entirely.

              Walter Mondale fought against Reaganite race-baiting and poor-hating. Mike Dukakis fought back, hard, against the Willie Horton messaging. But you have nothing for insults for them, because they had the bad fortune to make their stands at a time when it was difficult, and lost.

              And it was only after more than a decade of such defeats that the DLC was born, as a conscious effort to respond to those losses.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:43:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  No, no, and no. The DLC direction was (7+ / 0-)

        a massive misreading of effective politics, and a trade-off of the people's interests for the campaigner's financial interests and secure future after leaving office.

        They decided not to fight back, so it wasn't that there was this inexorable political climate making them do bad things. They decided 'make money to win and fuck the people if we have to.'

        Reagan won 1980 because corporate media had pounded Carter relentlessly starting the first day of his term, through the mis-labeled 'malaise speech,' through over a year of 'America in Crisis' propaganda. '84 was the massively inept campaign/pr of Mondale.

        That Dem leadership decided 'oh, money gets votes better than representing voters gets votes, and lucky us, look at all that money we have now' was not compelled by objective circumstances.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:06:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it was such a misreading, why did Clinton win? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlexDrew, mettle fatigue

          Win not only the general election, but the primary, too?

          There really isn't an argument to be made here. The shift to the right during the 70s and 80s really happened. Democratic politicians really did move right to chase "Reagan Democrats." Liberal really was made into a dirty word.

          You sound like a conservative circa 2008, explaining that the public really is with you, and its just the mean old media elites tricking them.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:18:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  well said (0+ / 0-)

          It is this tendency of Democrats not to fight that we should always oppose

          Show me the diary that shows Bill Clinton won due to his right-ring positions

          by GideonAB on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 08:29:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  good post! well said! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, mettle fatigue
  •  I fell in love with Elizabeth Warren (16+ / 0-)

    at NN 12 in Providence. I'm 100 percent behind her.

    However, what progressives have to do is continue to push to change the narrative. Otherwise, we're going to have a revolution.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:38:37 AM PST

  •  ELIZABETH !!!!!! (6+ / 0-)

    just sayin'    ;-)

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:47:25 AM PST

  •  We are all labor (19+ / 0-)

      If the 99% ever unified themselves along those lines -- if the IT worker and the nurse practitioner ever understood that they have far more in common with the burger-flipper than they do with Donald Trump -- then we could effect some serious pro-labor change in this country.

     Imagine if a political party existed that could serve as an organizing vehicle for that change...

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:47:59 AM PST

  •  They should have fought harder in 2010. (17+ / 0-)

    Once they began to write-off the longterm unemployed, it just became easier each time. The Democratic Party, including President Obama, has done a terrible job of holding and maintaining a message that focuses on jobs.

    If the party wants to truly differentiate itself from the Republican Party when it comes to economic policy, then jobs has to be the issue. I do not think the public believes in supply-side economics any longer and is ready to vote for people who will stand up to those that want to maintain thee status quo.

    Whether the Democratic Party has the stomach for that fight, whether from the often distracted coalition groups, or the leadership at the state and federal levels, I have my doubts.40+ years the Republicans have been using the same playbook and the Dems still remain in a reactive rather than proactive stance.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:48:55 AM PST

  •  We'll need to turn up the heat to win (8+ / 0-)

    Giving up on card check in 2009 was one of the most unfortunate decisions in the years of the Democratic majority+Obama presidency. I have been heartened over the fight the President and the Dem Senate had over the shutdown and hope that we can have the same fire in protecting unemployment benefits.

    We can do this!

    27, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

    by okiedem on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:52:20 AM PST

    •  It wasn't "unfortunate" (4+ / 0-)

         It was by design.

         As long as there was no chance card check would pass, it was easy for anti-labor Democrats (what an expression, and yet it's appropriate) to give it lip service. It was only when the votes to pass it began to approach 60 that a few Democrats began to waver.

         The Democrats' success at the ballot box in 2008 put them into a position where they were actually expected to deliver on progressive goals. They fixed that problem in 2010, and have vowed never to be in that position again.

        Watch them all run away from Obamacare next year, even after the program begins to work successfully. I think 2014 is going to make 2010 look like a blue wave...

      "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

      by Buzzer on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:59:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We did concede the point (5+ / 0-)

    We had the votes to stop the budget plan that ended unemployment benefits and trashed the retirement pay of our veterans.

    We caved.

  •  Warren Vs traditional Progressives (6+ / 0-)

    Warren is an effective spokesperson for many traditional leftists ideas, exactly because it seems as if she is coming from a much different place.

    I am not inside her head but she seems to speak about cold calculated fact, not the bleeding heart junk that convinces no one who is already on board.

    What I take from her is

    "At this time it is economically valuable to extend unemployment benefits"

    Vs the standard

    "Omg think of the poor people"

    There are two lessons to take away from this.

    1) The "Omg think of the poor people" message is a failing message.

    2)One day Warren's opinions will run counter to what traditional soft leftists want. As she has a different perspective...and she will crush them.

    •  And She will be right! (0+ / 0-)

      I suspect the only break the poor can hope for short of free trade somehow managing to lift the whole world out of poverty is if the policy wonks who do cost/benefit analysis for the federal government can be persuaded to consider the question:  Given that as the Bible says, the poor you have always with you, what level of modest comfort for support for the poor would minimize the cost to taxpayers of that fact and what would be the details of the package of benefits to offer the poor to achieve the minimization of the cost of the fact that the poor you have always with you?  There is already some evidence that getting the single adult homeless with disabilities into supportive housing and the single moms with children into ordinary low-income housing is cheaper than trying to deal with substance abuse, mental illness, and physical disability in the homeless while leaving them homeless, and prison is much more expensive than housing the homeless.

  •  The best paper I have read on this subject is (7+ / 0-)

    from Jacob Hacker entitled "Presidtribution".

    The idea is that we need to focus on creating good paying jobs that don't require government redistribution.  As Hacker writes:

    The only way out is a new governing approach – one that I have infelicitously called "predistribution", but which can be more simply summed up as "making markets work again for the middle class". Third way jujitsu rested on two maxims: let markets be markets, and use redistribution to clean up afterward. For the left, this has proved fatal for three reasons.
    His three reasons are:
    1.  Letting markets be markets don't distribute goods in a way that benefits everyone.
    2. "Second, the third way took for granted that one could maintain the state's role in providing public goods while also glorifying markets – especially, at least until the crash, financial markets. Then, of course, governments of all stripes bailed out those markets when things went sour. Throughout, virtually no investment was made in fostering a positive conception of the state's role in making market work, which is actually more vital than ever in a complex global economy."
    3.  "Redistribution itself is never popular. Citizens want a job and opportunities for upward mobility more than a public cheque. Meanwhile, the super-wealthy loudly resent the increased tax bite they face – and have enormous political influence to back up their complaints. Taxation and redistribution are cornerstones of progressive governance, but they cannot do the work on their own."

    His answer is in three parts:
    1.  Get the macro-economy right. This means an end to austerity and pursuit of full employment.
    2.  "invest in the skills and opportunities of the young and ensure good health over the lifetime at a reasonable cost"
    3.  "predistribution requires discovering a new set of countervailing powers in the market. Encouraging worker empowerment must always be part of the progressive agenda, but labour unions may not always be the best strategy. We must ensure that all workers, not just the unionised, have certain basic protections – to a minimum wage, the right to know what their co-workers earn, the right to request flexible schedules, access to paid leave for family care, and yes, the ability to form or join unions or other worker groups."

    My problem with his answers is he still doesn't really address the cause (globalization) and I am not convinced that he really has an answer for making pre-distribtion work.

    But like his previous work on the "public option" - which we should have called the Medicare buy-in (that's another story) - predistribution makes a great deal of sense both politically and economically.

    http://www.theguardian.com/...

    •  Simpler version: Unions (7+ / 0-)

      The old "Making Work Pay" slogan (which actually didn't make employers pay; it redid the safety net to, in theory, provide more federal dollars to working people rather than 'welfare" recipients) is actually worth something here. The push to increase the minimum wage, and to force higher wages at companies whose shareholders and CEOs are profiting while taxpayers subsidize the basic living expenses of employees, is getting quite a bit of traction. That has a much more radical and empowerment edge than just trying to maintain funding for the safety net payments.

    •  Capitalism's 'eternal growth' lunacy (5+ / 0-)

      has to be addressed first. Really a sensible goal is to be able to have the humans well-fed, decently housed, have ills prevented and tended, and then space for 'entertainment.' The last includes passive entertainment but also being able to pursue artistic, scientific, social, and philosophical inquiries.

      'Eternal growth' reduces all of life to 'markets.' But once the 'sensible life' is achieved, there's really no purpose to markets beyond maintenance. Capitalism doesn't stop there though. The logical, in fact inexorable, outcome of 'eternal growth' is that all resources get used up and most humans are reduced to slave/serf conditions. There's no other outcome to 'eternal growth' possible in the end.

      So the first step, to my view, is countering the greed and fear motives which underlie our entire economic system.


      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:56:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  1) Big money has BIG POWER 2) There is a use for (0+ / 0-)

        market capitalism with some pushing from government to make the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy.  It will have to be paid for mostly with user fees on first fossil fuel later joined by user fees on electricity regardless of source and also partly with U S 10 year savings bonds partly to give small savers a chance to root for renewable energy and partly with fiat money from the federal reserve to avoid letting the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy to crowd out everything else.  It should take 25 years of user fees and borrowing going to making the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy followed by about a hundred years of user fees going for replacement parts and BUYING fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights and PAYING CASH FOR offsets for carbon capture half recycled in algal biodiesel and half stored in bio char.  Once all the remaining fossil fuel is bought as mineral rights and greenhouse gas concentrations are down to 320 ppm CO2eq, it will be necessary to switch to a maintenance instead of growth economy, but I can't figure out how.  Big MONEY will be horrible offended at having to give up eternal exponentially increasing GROWTH--the life strategy of cancer.

  •  but where are the citizens? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mettle fatigue

    Whether it's working for the protection of the safety net or working for structural reforms of our economic system, the question on my mind remains:

    Where are the citizens to make this happen?

    My wife and I are part of a group in Pasadena - Occupy Democracy - Pasadena that has repeatedly set the table for people to get involved locally on the issues and, if anything, our group is shrinking in size.  It's immensely frustrating to be looked at as "those people" for whom politics is "their thing".   If we are going to save the safety net and do the necessary structural economic reforms, we all have to be involved, don't we?

    We see this kind of thinking in our faith home - All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena.  A few people do all the work and the rest of the congregation gets their weekly affirmation that they are in the correct tribe.  They are more entertained by inspiring sermons and post-sermon talks by famous liberal thinkers than they are inspired to to actually get out there to walk the social justice talk.  If even a bastion of the progressive faith community like our church is unable to "set the table" effectively for action, what are we to do?

    So while we contemplate where to put our focus these days, for now we are exploring the writings of Parker Palmer, in particular, this book - "Healing the Heart of Democracy".

    If anybody has some ideas on how to inspire citizenship and civic engagement, please offer your thoughts.  We are really at a loss.

  •  Forget The Concept of "Unemployment" Insurance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mettle fatigue

    I propose the concept of "Employment Insurance".

    Here is the plan. When a person applies for benefits, he gets three months of benefits to give him time to look for a job on his own.

    At that point, the Unemployment Office requires him to DO something in order to receive any more benefits.

    The Unemployment Office, for that individual, then becomes the Employment Office. He gets further benefits ONLY if he works at least 20 hours a week. If he can't find at least a part time job, the Employment office, using money that would otherwise be given to him for free, instead uses that money to create a job for him, even if it means just cleaning streets, removing graffiti or doing volunteer work at non-profit organizations.

    We need to "rethink" the whole idea of having a "unemployment office". Let's change it to an "employment office".

    Where is the Democrat and common sense Republican who will together craft such a bill in Congress to do this and seek bipartisan support from all fellow members of Congress.

    How about it Sherrod Brown or Rob Portman ? How about it,  
    How about it Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk ? How about it Bob Casey and Pat Toomey ?

    "Love Is Why We're Here"

    by Paniolo Joe on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:23:39 AM PST

    •  That is kind of the way unemployment works now (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2BOrNot2B, maryabein, mettle fatigue

       You have to provide names of places you looked for a job. And they do check sometimes.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:08:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't like make-work (5+ / 0-)

      when there's a ton of real, serious work that needs to be done.

      We could reach full employment (minus people with disabilities that prevent them from working and students/homemakers/retirees with sufficient resources that they don't need to work) within a year or two with a new WPA.

      Build all those ambitious infrastructure projects we keep talking about - high-speed rail, water projects, bridges and road projects. Build subways and light rail throughout every urban area. Bring fiber to every home and business. Build ambitious new public housing developments - walkable, wheelchair-accessible communities of modern, energy-efficient homes with on-site services. Build new schools and playgrounds and parks and gardens in poor communities.

      Hire anyone who wants a job. Organize it like the military: everyone gets some basic job training and then learns the rest on the job from others with a bit more experience. Civil/mechanical/electrical engineer? You're a project manager. Have skills and certifications? You get to be a supervisor. Have some experience in construction or other skilled trades? You can start off as a laborer, and when you get the appropriate certifications we'll make you a supervisor. Administrative experience? You're in Admin. Programmer/web developer/web designer/graphic artist? You can work on the website. And so on. Have no skills even remotely applicable? You can start out as a trainee on sign-holding or water-serving or some sort of office gofer duty for 3 months and then we'll promote you to a laborer or clerk of some sort.

      Start the pay at $12/hour for trainees and $15/hour for basic laborers and clerks. Higher-skilled roles should pay competitively. As I said, hire anyone who wants a job. No need to prove unemployment or need of any sort. Walk in, show us your resume, we interview you and perform a basic verification of key skills and certifications, and then we create an appropriate position for you.

      It wouldn't be perfectly efficient, of course. You'd probably have more workers than absolutely necessary for the number of projects you could effectively design and manage, at least at first. But it would still be an infinitely better investment than TANF or food stamps for healthy workers/would-be workers or extended unemployment. It would create significant upward wage pressure in the private sector, stimulate the private economy through worker spending, and provide infrastructure that would stimulate even more development.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 12:02:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  note also that volunteerism by the disemployed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, cville townie

        has shown significant benefits to their communities, and also some signs of being moral[e] support to the disemployed who do volunteerism.   the obstruction is that volunteerism can be expensive in commute costs (even short commutes) and can eat up time that the disemployed may now need for finding affordable & more basic groceries for the family and cooking from scratch when that's less costly, figuring out how to live more simply and mend/repair clothing and home-equipment instead of replace what they have no $ to replace, etc.

        kinda like the great depression and ww2.  when we had recycling... only they called it conservation.

      •  Education/training (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, cville townie

        There is reason to sometimes prefer placing people in training or education rather than immediately into work. For example, returning spouses; high-skilled workers with out-of-date skills, let go from a company that just closed); teens who got an unsatisfactory education but show potential.

        While I am strongly in favor of infrastructure and public services programs, both on their own and as employers of resort (not necessarily last ...), sometimes it's just better to give someone some extra tools or knowledge before setting them going.

        •  Oh, definitely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cville townie

          I don't think infrastructure jobs programs should replace education programs by any means. I think they should replace extended unemployment and other aid to people who want to work and are able to work but can't find adequate jobs.

          I think it's an absolute shame that we're paying people to look for work that isn't there, or subsidizing their employment in jobs that don't pay a living wage, instead of paying them to do work that is there. I'd also be fine with paying them to train for work that is there, but that's not nearly a complete solution; there's not enough decently-paid work to go around because the private sector isn't creating enough demand.

          We have a ton of idle capacity because the people who have the money don't want to spend it (because it's not profitable because the other people who have money aren't spending it). The only entity that can break the cycle is the government, and I think it would be a hell of a lot better to actually get something out of our spending.

          Education has its place, but there are a lot of people for whom on-the-job training and experience is what's needed. Our idle capacity includes a lot of fresh college grads who are great entry-level material for all sorts of fields from management to engineering. We also have lots of high school grads and 2-year degree holders who want careers in the trades or in administrative and clerical work. The private job market is too competitive; it's shutting young people out because employers can fill entry-level positions with experienced workers (and in fact there are even too many of them to go around). The answer to that isn't education...heck, we have a glut of unemployed and underemployed science Ph.Ds, of all things, running the postdoc treadmill indefinitely. The answer is direct job creation and a lot of it.

          (Having mentioned the underemployed Ph.D situation, I'd also be in favour of multiplying the NIH and NSF grant budgets and NASA's budget by a factor of roughly 10. The NEA might also be a great place to dump a lot of money. And we could just start directly endowing thousands of new professorships at public universities.)

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 08:37:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great idea! There will likely be a few duds that (0+ / 0-)

        have to be pensioned off on Supplemental Security Income due to complete lack not only of skills but of aptitude.  I remember working at the local franchise of the Y with a man who was both president of the board of directors of the local franchise of the Y and a job coach working for the State Rehab agency.  He was using the Y as training and proving ground for a long parade of janitors and front desk clerks.  It would take him a few weeks to document what was wrong with the duds so they could be pensioned off on SSI and a few months to get those who could do a good job placed in jobs elsewhere.

    •  I have hated job interviews and been a total dud (0+ / 0-)

      at job interviews my entire life and given a chance would have opted for being assigned a job at a non-profit paid the minimum wage by the government over making a fool of myself and totally wasting employers time trying to muddle through any job interviews, right from the beginning.

  •  It is fantastic (3+ / 0-)

    That the discussion about the value to our society for maintaining a robust safety net and social programs has supplanted the Dick Durbin/Hillary Clinton/Debbie Stabenow/Barack Obama wailing about austerity and fear for the future.

    This will take a while, but we all can, at the local level, start acting upon Warren's call for more progressive spending on our public society.  I for one will be calling the office of Jerry Cannon to question him about his progressive bona-fides.  Even with troglodyte Benishek (R, MI-1) in the seat I won't vote for anybody who is not a progressive.  Our party needs to change.

  •  The gop doesn't have an answer for Warren. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mettle fatigue

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:43:27 AM PST

  •  I believe that the fundamental reason for the (5+ / 0-)

    slowness of progressive movement on legislation that helps people and reinvigorates the middle class in this country is that the Democratic party and its leadership has doggedly  held on to the misguided belief that this country never deviated from the kind of bipartisan dedication and love for moving the United States of America forward.

    The wealthy elite have no allegiance to this country - in fact they generally have more invested in communist countries like China and Vietnam where they can avoid laws and regulations that prohibit or manage the abuse of human labor, natural resources and stifle dissent. Then from their corporate offices in Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Houston, they bitch and whine about this country by complaining, if one distills all of their bullet points into simple terms, "Why can't y'all be more like our communist business partners by working for slave wages in polluted factories and going home to live in slums with no health care?"

    BECAUSE, YOU ASSHOLES, THIS IS AMERICA. THAT'S WHY.

    The achievement of "traditional" wealth is no longer possible for the average person in the United States because of the Democratic party's having capitulated on legislation that was unabashedly intended to enrich the 1% at the expense of everyone else: the 2000 Commodities and Futures Modernization Act signed by Bill Clinton is only one example; but it didn't start there. Under Reagan and David Stockman, when a congress full of willing Democrats chose to deregulate the savings and loans, the long slide began... and now, one of the Keating 5 in the person of John McCain is still out there screaming "unregulated free enterprise" at the top of his lungs... while all but a few Progressive Democrats keep their mouths tightly shut for fear of losing campaign funding. The Tax code that used to have everyone pay taxes as a percentage of earnings across demographics as well as corporate taxes has been gutted and Democrats are as equally culpable of this travesty as the republicans who continue too pour gasoline into the crematory that burns the middle class.

    All of this has happened in the so-called "spirit of bipartisanship", under the naîive illusion that republicans care about the United States of America. The republicans have treated this country for the last 35 years like they treat women: females exist for only two reasons - and the other is to cook food.

    It is high time that the entire Democratic Party wake up to the reality of NOW and start sounding, acting and legislating like their platform dictates... and stop being "kindler, gentler" conservatives.

  •  Dems & UI: a few questions (6+ / 0-)

    (1) Does this strategy differ that much from the Democrats' sequestration strategy? You know, the one that failed completely. Democrats assume that the local press will cover this and Republicans know shame. I'm not sure either is true.

    (2) Will Republicans demand a concession? Democrats love making concessions. They view compromise as a principle in itself.

    (3) Van Hollen said before that Democrats would demand that the savings from the farm bill go in part to the EUC extension. Well, that farm bill is going to make deep, deep cuts to SNAP. Are Democrats going to vote for deep cuts to SNAP in order to fund the EUC extension? That's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    (4) Harry Reid only intends to bring up a 3 month EUC extension. That sets another cliff, which will fall near the next debt ceiling mess. Why?

    (5) If Democrats thought that the EUC extension was important, then they would have demanded its inclusion in the budget deal. Apparently, Patty Murray didn't think it was important enough to fight for.

    (6) And, if Democrats thought that Republicans wouldn't vote for a budget with the EUC extension, why is it any different? Why not do these campaigns then to put pressure on the budget conference? Ads to demand Murray and Ryan include it in the budget deal? Why wait until after the suffering to work to end it rather than having worked to stop it from happening? Did Democrats want these people to lose their benefits so that they could use that loss for political gain?

    (7) Many Democrats voted for the budget deal while saying "Oh, I didn't really like it, but..." Their votes were not needed, though. Nancy Pelosi promised 100 votes. Over 160 Dems voted for it. Why? They had nothing to gain from it. Why did every Senate Democrat vote for it when, again, the budget needed only 50 for passage?

  •  "Without question, maintaining food stamps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mettle fatigue

    and unemployment benefits is an unqualified good. "

    I disagree. The impact that these programs have on the debt and the burden on taxpayers have to be taken into account.

    •  have you ever been unemployed and had to collect (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mettle fatigue, simskisun

      to survive? if not, then maybe you should give it a try. not that I wish that upon any one, ever. but seriously, where is your vision of what it "MAY" be like to go without?

      •  Maintaining food stamps and unemployment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mettle fatigue

        benefits is not an UNQUALIFIED good. There are costs to these programs and these costs can have a negative impact on the economy. Also the rights of taxpayers have to be taken into account. When setting policy regarding these programs, their costs and taxpayer rights have to be part of the equation.

        •  Actually, they do not. (0+ / 0-)

          Every single dollar given via food stamps and UI goes straight and almost immediately back into the economy. Perhaps you've heard of this thing called "the multiplier effect?"

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:50:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So you think now is a good time to cut them off? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mettle fatigue

      I'm from the Fucking Retard wing of the the Democratic Party.

      by Boogalord on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:43:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  costs are pre-paid by taxes (0+ / 0-)

      mostly directly and indirectly by working people who had paychecks.  costly yes, but it's not where the nation debt or deficit come from, if you look at the history of income tax dminution and what the bush admin borrowed to run its wars, which are always a damn sight harder to end than they are to start.

      employer participation in uneumployment nsurance after the fact sometimes disappears when the employer itself disappears in the process of off-shoring it's entire self.

      employers are not required yet --i believe-- to maintain insurance policies for employee retraining and job replacement when the employer decides to up-tech & lays workers off for no fault of the workers.  employers are not required to maintain insurance policies for employee support when the employer downsizes.

      the working person alone is expected to know the future and save for the drastic future even if at terrible constraint in the present (especially for sandwich-generation workers raising kids at the same time as taking care of their elders) in ways the workplace owners do not.  there is no significant penalty to owners of american businesses that move virtually all their operation overseas in order to take advantage of prison-labor-like foreign workforces (e.g., iPad factories in China) in order to maximize super=profits at the expense of the american workers who gave them their start.

  •  Economic liberalism was never a liability. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, mettle fatigue

    Conservatives and the Republican party were throwing out socialist and poor-hugger and benefit scrounge memes on the Democratic Party since the 30s. It didn't make a dent on Democratic fortunes until the 70s.

    What up-ended the Democratic Party wasn't its economic stance but (rightfully) deciding to extend its vision of America towards minorities and women. THAT is what caused the New Deal consensus to explode -- which is why when people say that it's about class, not race I just laugh in their face.

    You can debate the electoral viability of the DLC/Third Way all you want. Personally, I think that the Democratic Party was pretty much doomed from 1968 to 2000ish to suffer numerous policy defeats until cultural and demographic change gave them the upper hand as long as they fought against WASP male privilege. So the Democratic Party blindly scrounging for any kind of monetary or political advantage they could get to hold the line was understandable -- especially since it wasn't obvious at all until around 2008 that like the Soviet Union the underlying structure of the Nixonian/Reaganist alliance would be doomed to collapse.

    •  The worm has turned, however. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, mettle fatigue

      Democrats can actually govern as a majority party by unironically and unapologetically touting the Rainbow Coalition. Unfortunately, the DLC/Third Way has turned from an emergency rearguard operation to a boat anchor. Obama's greatest mistake(s) were listening that goatfelcher Geithner and the rest of the centrist trolls on deficit/debt hysteria and especially with the initial size of the stimulus. I can't blame Clinton too much since financial deregulation was going to happen whether or not he vetoed it, but I don't exactly see him agonizing over his decision.

      And as long as the DLC/Third Way dictate economic policy, we will be repeatedly doomed to relive Obama's mistakes.

      People say that we need Clinton because the 'least bad, but non-existentially threatening' guaranteed alternative is better than non-guaranteed better option. Well, assuming that Hillary Clinton is cut from the same economic cloth as her husband and Obama that 'whew, we dodged a conservative bullet' feeling isn't going to last too long. We'll maybe get two years of relief then economic centrism/conservatism will 'unexpectedly' bite us in the ass and completely derail the Presidency. If it gets bad enough we see Republicans being swept into all chambers anyway.

      •  BIG MONEY OWNS ALL POWER IN THIS NATION! (0+ / 0-)

        I do not LIKE that big money owns all power in this nation, but it does.  Reality must be faced.  Since we don't have enough time to pick a fight with big money over global warming, we will need to buy the cooperation of our too big to fail fossil fuel firms in a plan that will both save our farms from global warming so we can remain civilized and be even more profitable to our too big to fail fossil fuel firms than business as usual.  Thank **** for inspiring our engineers at Global Thermostat and Algae Systems to design for US Navy the closest thing to an engineering solution to global warming we can hope for--algal biodiesel.  The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect but a big improvement over what we had immediately before it.  I reckon we can live with it for a while.  There are only three conceivable outcomes for the poverty issue: 1) With foreign aid for infrastructure, we manage to raise the world standard of living enough to bring our workers to modest comfort along with the rest of the world's poor. 2) Policy wonks that do cost/benefit analysis for the federal government figure out what the least cost solution to the fact that the poor we have always with is and it turns out to be support for our poor at a level of modest comfort, 3) Both 1) and 2) fail and the rich manage to destroy the poor.

  •  At the same time Corp Amer stops Pay Raises (4+ / 0-)

    are at least lowers them, while pressing their thumb of hypocrisy down on the necks of their workers, doubtlessly implying they will soon be out the door, too. Yes, it is happening again this Christmas to many of us. Great gift, huh. Thank you, Corporate Republicans.

  •  In my humble opinion, the best hope for winning (3+ / 0-)

    public favor and votes for progressive fiscal policy is to stop using the false paradigm of the household budget analogy and currency user status to describe our collective Govt. Deficit spending is not our enemy, we can't run of our national fiat currency. Spending more money than we collect in taxes is not a burden. The market doesn't dictate interest rates to the US dollar issuer. Deficit spending is not inflationary when we have high unemployment. It is irresponsible to shrink the deficit with so many people out of work. Our country gains nothing from shrinking the amount of new money we add to our economy each year via the Govt deficit. Higher taxes are not necessary to "fund" programs. SS payments never need to be cut just because the most regressive tax in the nation, FICA, doesn't cover the complete amount of payments. And on and on.

    But if we pretend that the neo-liberals, third-wayers. and Cons are right, and that our nation is dependent on getting our own money from rich people in order to spend money on ourselves, well then things will continue as they have been, with us losing ground slowly over time.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

    by Auburn Parks on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:18:12 PM PST

    •  We do NOT need to balance the budget every year. (0+ / 0-)

      We do need to keep our eye on the relationship between interest and inflation on one hand and unemployment on the other hand.  When unemployment is greater than interest plus inflation--we should run deficits, if and when unemployment is less than inflation and interest--we should run surpluses.  When they are roughly equal we should try for a balanced budget.

  •  Remember when... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuck utzman, mettle fatigue

    We didn't have a Sen. Warren?

    We can win, you know.

  •  I like this: #EmpowermentAgenda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mettle fatigue

    It's way past time for @TheDemocrats to take up such a bold and progressive clarion call for more and better-off American citizens.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:15:43 PM PST

  •  have a look at the historical inc tax rate chart (0+ / 0-)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/...

    and consider the vast extent of services actually supplied by government federal, state, county, local that participate in revenue sharing (or used to) and it becomes evident that whether or not high taxes on the wealthiest is legit or not, that IS the way this nation & economy evolved and it IS how we built a machinery for spreading genuine democracy through the entire society and deriving society-wide advantages of talent & energy as a result.

    i keep running across older friends and relatives who long for Truman, who unquestionably did some good stuff.  among which, IMO, was approving some of the highest top tier tax rates.  of course, CONGRESS is who did the rates.

    which suggests that who we put in office in the house and senate may matter far more than who we put in the white house.

  •  my biggest complaint (0+ / 0-)

    against the left and one reason i know they are not all in on a left wing agenda is they are afraid to use the term liberal and that tells me there really is no left in wash and elsewhere.
    i am a liberal and if the left is ashamed of me they are not left in the true since of the word or movement.

  •  Emergency Unemployment Benefits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catilinus

    The issue of extending the Emergency Unemployment Benefits should not be a fight between the parties as this should be about "We the People" and help the American citizen to hang while looking for work. It's about the people !
    Shame on these parties. 1st the Patty Murphy (Demo) that sold the people for a budget deal with Paul Ryan (Rep) who could care less about the American Citizen who lost their jobs. Why - because he comes from family wealth and has no knowledge about what a citizen suffers in our country.

  •  I'm really getting tired of the blue washing. (0+ / 0-)

    Last I looked, the budget that threw us long-term unemployed passed because Democrats were not willing to stand behind their promise that any budget that did not restore SNAP and continue EUC was not getting passed. It was my Democratic Senator Patty Lieberman, oops, I mean Patty Murray that drafted this deal that threw us under the bus. I can't wait for January 2015, and a new Democratic House and Senate to throw us a bone. So that means we have to hope that the Republicans will throw us a bone in hopes that appeals to those mythical independent voters. Right, like that will happen. The Democrats had better be damn effective in hitting the Republicans on this, especially in showing them it's hurting some of their base too, because it won't be the Republicans I blame if I end up homeless because I can't pay rent, and have no family to move in with.

    Workers are idiots if the vote for Republicans, but the Democratic party seems to be working real hard to convince us we're fools to vote for them either. This is why America needs a working-class party. A party that puts workers first, and doesn't give a rat's ass about Wall Street. It wold be nice if the Democratic party would remember they used to be that party.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:50:18 PM PST

  •  Tax the rich like FDR (0+ / 0-)

    We need 30 Tax brackets from 4% for all income up to $50K, up thru 29 more brackets to a Top Marginal Rate of 60% for income over $60Million. With anything similar to this in place, the government would have plenty of revenue, to put millions of people to work, rebuilding the Infrastructure, to paying down the National Debt, to forming a government program that would put millions of high school drop outs and lower education people in a job of menial labor. I mean to say, short of joining the Military( and I believe they need a High School diploma to get in) we don't have have enough oportunities to drop outs. Getting back to Taxes, I laugh when the Republicans talk about the Millionaires & Billionaires being job creators. These people are rich, but the Corporations that they own are a CEO of, are the job creators. I believe we could give corporations a break, but not when they are sending jobs to China. Corporation tax code could be something like 10% for the first $1Million, 20% for the next $49Million, and 30% for all Corporate income over $50Million. But you see when that CEO takes home his $Millions, he should be taxed in the 30 brackets for his income, because he is Not a Job Creator anymore. He is just a Rich Millionaire. God Bless the Middle Class and All Those Fighting to get back in.  

  •  Abrogation of Magna Carta (0+ / 0-)

    Is it true Warren voted for the NDAA?

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