Archive for February 8th, 2009

RNC chair: Only real jobs are those business creates

Raw Story- David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Sunday February 8, 2009

Most state governors, including many Republicans, are strongly behind a stimulus bill that will fund government projects to put large number of people back to work and get the economy moving again.

“It comes at a time when we need it,” Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, recently stated. “People need jobs. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs.”

However, newly-elected Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele believes that government-funded jobs don’t count as real employment because “a job is something that a business owner creates.”

“What this administration is talking about is ‘making work.’ … It’s not a job,” Steele explained during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week. “It ends at a certain point. … These road projects that we’re talking about have an endpoint. … There’s no guarantee that there’s going to be more work when you’re done that job.”

ABC host George Stephanopoulos objected, “We’ve seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector, just in the last year.”


This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Feb 8, 2009.

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Lawmaker To SEC Lawyer: “We Thought The Enemy Was Mr. Madoff. I Think It’s You”

More great political theater from the Madoff hearings.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, just reamed out the SEC’s top lawyer, Andy Vollmer, over Vollmer’s decision to decline to answer lawmakers’ questions about the SEC’s failure to catch Madoff.

Some highlights from Ackerman:

“Most of us speak English, and we’re having a hard time understanding you.””Your value to is useless. Your value to the American people is worthless. Your contribution to this proceeding is zero.”

“Our economy is in crisis, Mr. Vollmer. We thought the enemy was Mr. Madoff. I think it’s you.”

Here’s the video.

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Kerry: Republicans insisting on housing relief are ‘a year late’; they have ‘created’ the crisis.»

In recent weeks, conservatives have made housing their new battle cry, claiming that there isn’t enough addressing the housing crisis in the recovery bill. But as ThinkProgress has noted, they have been stalling housing relief for months. In an impassioned floor speech today, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) recounted how the GOP’s stubborness has “created” the current crisis:

KERRY: We put in a 15 billion provision in the Finance Committee. … It came to the floor of the Senate. And guess what? And the very people who are here on the floor now stripped it. The President and the administration opposed it. And for nine months, they sat there while 10,000 homes a day were being foreclosed, and they allowed us to slide into where we are today.

“They are about 10 months, a year, late on that effort, and they have created…a situation where it’s out of control,” he concluded. Watch it:

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Economists Agree Time Is of the Essence for Stimulus

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 8, 2009; Page A01

With Congress moving closer to adopting a $820 billion stimulus package and the Obama administration poised to unveil a new bank bailout plan, economists say that the federal government is taking its biggest role in the economy in a generation.

States that once aspired to blaze trails independent from Washington are turning to it for money, banks and businesses that once decried regulation now are seeking federal capital, grants or tax cuts and individuals are looking for tax relief.

“This is a seismic shift in the role of government in our society,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics. “Those who believe the government can be an effective, positive instrument for good will have another chance to try it,” said Sinai, a political independent.

While economists remain divided on the role of government generally, an overwhelming number from both parties are saying that a government stimulus package — even a flawed one — is urgently needed to help prevent a steeper slide in the economy.

Many economists say the precise size and shape of the package developing in Congress matter less than the timing, and that any delay is damaging.


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Ohio Congresswoman: Don’t Give Up Your Home Without A Fight

The banks foreclosing on families very often can’t locate the actual loan note that binds the homeowner to the bad loan. “Produce the note,” Kaptur recommends those facing foreclosure demand of the banks. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is the longest-serving Democratic congresswoman in U.S. history. Her district, stretching along the shore of Lake Erie from west of Cleveland to Toledo, faces an epidemic of home foreclosures and 11.5 percent unemployment. That heartland region, the Rust Belt, had its heart torn out by the North American Free Trade Agreement, with shuttered factories and struggling family farms. Kaptur led the fight in Congress against NAFTA. Now, she is recommending a radical foreclosure solution from the floor of Congress:

“So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don’t you leave.”

She criticizes the bailout’s failure to protect homeowners facing foreclosure. Her advice to “squat” cleverly exploits a legal technicality within the subprime-mortgage crisis. These mortgages were made, then bundled into securities and sold and resold repeatedly, by the very Wall Street banks that are now benefiting from TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program). The banks foreclosing on families very often can’t locate the actual loan note that binds the homeowner to the bad loan. “Produce the note,” Kaptur recommends those facing foreclosure demand of the banks.


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SNL lampoons Pelosi, Reid: ‘Stimulus will bum you out’

Raw Story- David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
Published: Sunday February 8, 2009

After a contentious week in Washington reworking the massive stimulus bill, Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid didn’t get along very well during a mock press conference on Saturday Night Live.

Reid, played by Fred Armisen, said the size of the stimulus bill now awaiting vote in the Senate “will just bum you out.” But Pelosi, played by Kristen Wiig, admitted “if we thought you’d be cool with a trillion, we’d take it in a hardbeat.”

Obama’s push for a new era of bipartisanship isn’t all its cracked up to be, Pelosi said during the Feb. 7 broadcast. “For 8 years they didn’t seem to care much about reaching across the aisle, but now it’s ‘Boo hoo, what about us.’ Give me a break….

“After they treated the Democrats like sewer rats for 8 years, we were worried that bipartisanship didn’t matter to them,” Pelosi said sarcastically.


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We Are All Socialists Now

By Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas | NEWSWEEK

In many ways our economy already resembles a European one. As boomers age and spending grows, we will become even more French.

The interview was nearly over. on the Fox News Channel last Wednesday evening, Sean Hannity was coming to the end of a segment with Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, the chair of the House Republican Conference and a vociferous foe of President Obama‘s nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill. How, Pence had asked rhetorically, was $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts going to put people back to work in Indiana? How would $20 million for “fish passage barriers” (a provision to pay for the removal of barriers in rivers and streams so that fish could migrate freely) help create jobs? Hannity could not have agreed more. “It is … the European Socialist Act of 2009,” the host said, signing off. “We’re counting on you to stop it. Thank you, congressman.”

There it was, just before the commercial: the S word, a favorite among conservatives since John McCain began using it during the presidential campaign. (Remember Joe the Plumber? Sadly, so do we.) But it seems strangely beside the point. The U.S. government has already—under a conservative Republican administration—effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries. That seems a stronger sign of socialism than $50 million for art. Whether we want to admit it or not—and many, especially Congressman Pence and Hannity, do not—the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.

We remain a center-right nation in many ways—particularly culturally, and our instinct, once the crisis passes, will be to try to revert to a more free-market style of capitalism—but it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly. People on the right and the left want government to invest in alternative energies in order to break our addiction to foreign oil. And it is unlikely that even the reddest of states will decline federal money for infrastructural improvements.


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