Tag Archives: Unemployment

Tax Cuts Win Passage, Debt Increases Another $850 billion


I like tax cuts. I really do. It feels like in general, we can spend our money better than the government. That said, this latest “bipartisan” deal to extend the Bush tax rates and unemployment makes me wonder what was actually compromised? Both parties got what they wanted. Nobody took a hair cut… nobody. Well that’s not completely true. The deficit took one on the chin to the tune of $850 billion. Why couldn’t we pay for this $850 billion in some way? Even a plan that would have payed for it over 5, 10 or even 15 years would show that our government is serious about the debt. Instead, we have more of the same… spend and cut taxes with borrowed money.

Is anyone else concerned?

Glenn

Double Dip, Let ‘er Rip, Have a Shot on Me…


By some accounts, and in my book one account is pretty much enough, we’re settling into a double dip recession. In a previous show, my co-host Glenn argued against this notion, saying that to be in the second dip we needed to definitively come out of the first dip. Okay, well said. But I had seen tangible signs of economic progress – the GDP nudging up steadily, unemployment leveling off, the housing market rebounding, retail sales and manufacturing on the mend. Now it feels like we’re back in a Bugs Bunny Cartoon and we’re Wily E Coyote about to take the plunge off the cliff. Maybe it’s not all doom and gloom, but that’s almost beside the point.

While we hang in this dark and scary place, emnity oozes from the pursed lips of the powerful, perceptually positioned as outsiders forcefully taking over a paralyzed system. The rhetoric of revolt and confrontation stirs up anger and divisiveness, and whips the appropriately narrowly defined electorate into action, resulting in a record few number of really angry people at the polls, and the status quo in question.

Meanwhile back at the office, people are hurting — people who know no politics, political parties or even tea party revolts. People are losing jobs, still finding it hard to afford quality health care, state budgets are stripping education and transportation dollars, and the country is growing more polarized.

Through all of this, we’ve lost the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, as if somehow it’s no longer in vogue. Can you imagine Bob Dole today presiding over the Senate and authentically calling George Mitchell, his rival leader, his “good friend”? One of the things I find most striking about the current Congress is anecdotal — that my friends who still work there tell me that very few people on opposite sides of the aisle talk to each other anymore, and as such they don’t like each other. It’s so easy to wreak havoc when you don’t have to look someone in the eye or talk to them the next day. One of my best friends, who worked with me in the Senate for a Republican (when I worked for a Democrat) told me of an infamous trip to Russia spearheaded by a major Republican and Democratic Senator (among others), and how on that trip the two of them did shots together, ate dinner together and later upon their return, worked really well together. These two senators made things happen — not major issues, although they had their fair share — but when a little logjam came up in the Senate, they were able to talk to each other because they had a mutual respect for each other as people. The kind earned when you have a drink and talk about your family or your kids.

So maybe in this crazy election season, at a time of true crisis in our country, we need to resurrect a tradition of the old day of Congress.  If all else fails, lets shut these folks in a room, order a few bottles of liquor and let nature take its course. They’ll either be a bar-room brawl, or these folks will finally learn to work together.

The only thing I know for sure, is that if we keep staring at each other from across the void, hurling insults at one another, nothing is going to  happen, and nobody, and I mean nobody, wins.

— Jeff Kimball

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I Will Gladly Pay You in 2014 For A Hamburger Today


The choices we face today range from bad to horrific.  For those naysayers who believe there is no sovereign debt crisis looming, you are just not paying attention.

This week the House will vote on a federal spending bill that will add $26B to the deficit?

But wait Guest Blogger Jeff! – I heard about a jobs bill the House was voting on today to save 300,000 jobs?  And I heard that it was paid for?  Is that what you are talking about?

OK – flip on the Rachael Maddow show, go back to sleep, and just believe that there is a magical money tree growing in the capital atrium.

The bill being voted on is to plug budget gaps in State & Local spending that may lead to cuts in employment in the public sector.  The bill will not create a single job.  It will in fact save jobs, but it will also add to the deficit and let states off the hook in making the tough choices to balance their budgets.  Inevitably we will be voting on another bill like this every 6-9 months over the next 2-3 years just like we keep voting to extend unemployment benefits.  That will add hundreds of $billions to the deficit.

But wait again I say!!!  It’s paid for! – that’s what you conservative scumbags wanted in order to save our heroic teachers and firefighters from having to go on 99 weeks of unemployment benefits!!!!!

Well – not really.  Nearly half the money for the “offset” is coming from proposed cuts to the food stamp programs, which will go into effect in 2014.  Is there anyone who actually believes that in 2014 – about when the 2016 Presidential campaigns will begin, that Congress will actually make the decision on cutting food stamps to pay for these saved jobs?

Of course they wont!

So – does that mean we shouldn’t pass this bill – well – I’m torn.  It will hurt the economy not having these folks able to pump lots of pointless consumer spending into the system.  But by the same token – I know when someone is pulling the wool over my eyes.

Can we get some courage? Can we make a real cut to spending? – How about a pay roll back on government workers of 5%?  That would be a nice sacrifice for the taxpayers continuing to pay their salaries.  What a heroic act for public unions to volunteer pay cuts to keep their jobs!

Did I mention the $16B in Medicaid spending in this bill?  How’s that Healthcare Bill Deficit Reduction Thingy going?

I know where the remains of Jimmy Hoffa are!  They are buried under the capital atrium providing nutrient rich food for the money tree growing there.  And his spirit is fueling the new most powerful force in America.  The public sector workers unions!

What do you think?  Guest Blogger Jeff

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22 Statistics That the Middle Class in America Should See


Michael Snyder put together his “22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America” He sources each one here.

  1. 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  2. 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007
  3. 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  4. 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  5. A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  6. 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  7. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  8. Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  9. For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
  10. In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  11. As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  12. The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  13. Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  14. In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  15. The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
  16. In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
  17. More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
  18. For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
  19. This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
  20. Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
  21. Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
  22. The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

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Dumb and Dumber – Are Democrats Holding Unemployment Benefits Hostage?


Yes – Democrats are holding up benefits to the unemployed!  No they aren’t.  And neither are Republicans.  We are just witnessing the worst that Washington has to offer in a slow motion car wreck involving our financial future.

Democrats want to extend unemployment benefits as “emergency” funding and not pay for it under the “pay-as-you-go” rules reinstated by the democratic congress. These rules would require offsetting cuts in spending to fund new initiatives. (Even though congress approved offsets to fund extensions in Nov 2009)

Republicans won’t let the bill go forward unless its paid for, and have offered versions of a compromise that would pay for it with cuts, or by using stimulus money.

The Democrats rejected it.  Really!?

There is nearly $180B in funds still yet to be spent in the Stimulus bill.  If that money is already there, does it make sense to borrow more money from foreign sources to pay for the extension of unemployment?

In this contest of dumb and dumber, I just don’t know who wins.  The Democrats for waiting to get back their 60 seat super-majority in order to borrow several billion dollars more even though the money is already allocated, or the Republicans for not being able to figure out how to get a compromise deal cut, and letting themselves be positioned as obstructionist?

Both moves make congress as a whole look more inept than ever.

What do you think?

Guest Blogger Jeff

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Episode 87 – Dollars and Sense: Campaign Finance, Elections and Jobs


Jeff and Glenn break new ground in this episode, not sticking to what one would expect to be their usual positions as Jeff proposes abolishing campaign finance limits and Glenn justifies (but doesn’t necessarily defend) the Obama Administration’s messaging around jobs. They both agree that the best way to decrease the corrupting influence of money in politics is…to have no limits on money in politics, but more comprehensive transparency. Provocative? You Bet Ya, to paraphrase Sarah Palin. Early in the show, Glenn explores one of the themes, arguing that the two parties are, “two sides of the same coin.” Jeff counters that his hope in voting for President Obama was to have a more stark contrast with Republicans, especially around issues like the public option in health care, off shore drilling (before the BP disaster), too big to fail and the so-called financial reform and the exclusion of the re-instatement of Glass-Steagal in the bill. Near the end of the episode, Glenn proposes a fascinating new theory about why the Obama administration is failing in its efforts to talk about jobs, but why that may indeed be a very calculated view.

PoliTalk: Best Friends. Vast Political Experience. Refreshing political discussion without the fighting…and with a few laughs. Hosted by Glenn Gaudet and Jeff Kimball.

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