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Posts Tagged ‘Economic Crisis’

McConnell Bumbles When Asked For GOP Alternative To Obama’s Budget: We’re ‘Getting Down In The Weeds’

Think Progress- By Amanda Terkel at 12:00 pm

Since President Obama unveiled his budget last month, Republicans have been relentlessly attacking his comprehensive proposals. Last week, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that Obama “should be focusing on the ‘economic crisis,’ as opposed to holding four-hour meetings on health care.” Today on ABC’s This Week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) kept up the drumbeat, saying, “It taxes too much, it spends too much, it borrows too much.”

However, host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed McConnell for a comprehensive Republican alternative budget. Each time, McConnell simply attacked Obama’s plan. He said that he and his colleagues would be offering amendments to “reframe” what the Democrats have proposed, but don’t plan on offering a comprehensive plan:

McCONNELL: [W]e are going to offer a number of amendments to the Democratic proposal. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: But shouldn’t you have a comprehensive approach that lays out the trade-offs? If you just have rifle-shot amendments, you don’t have to make all the trade-offs that you have to make in an overall budget.

McCONNELL: Well, we’re just sort of getting down in the weeds here about procedure. Through the amendment process, we would absolutely reformulate the Democratic plan. Whether you have a comprehensive approach or whether you offer an amendment is something a parliamentarian can debate.

Watch it:

As the New York Times has pointed out, by not offering a full counterproposal, Republicans have made a decision “that will spare them from outlining potentially painful decisions required to bring federal books more in line with their call to hold down spending, cut taxes and reduce the deficit.” What they are instead offering is “a steady stream of complaints.”

In many ways, their strategy is a repeat of what they did during the economic recovery debate. Republicans largely opposed Obama’s plan for political reasons, picking out small provisions as excuses to oppose the entire bill. The Progress Report has more here on why, despite McConnell’s complaints, it is possible walk and chew gum at the same time.

Transcript HERE

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Vanden Huevel rips Rove: ‘It’s laughable for you to talk about fiscal responsibility.’

Think Progress- By Satyam Khanna at 2:17 pm

Today on ABC’s This Week, Karl Rove slammed the cost of President Obama’s new budget. The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel quickly fired back at Rove’s newly-discovered sense of fiscal responsibility, observing that Rove and President Bush “helped plunge this nation into trillion dollars of debt”:

VANDEN HEUEVEL: But, Mr. Rove –

ROVE: Call me Karl.

VANDEN HEUVEL: It’s laughable for you to talk about fiscal responsibility from someone who helped plunge this nation into trillion dollars of debt, through tax cuts for the very rich and a war we never should have fought. And also starving the beast. Starving government has been a Republican role in terms of government. And, therefore, when George asks why government hasn’t functioned, people have not seen the role of government improving the conditions of their lives for decades.

Watch it:

Pollster Stan Greenberg also chided Rove. “It’s a remarkable lecture considering the performance,” he said.

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After nearly three decades of Reaganomics in which the wealthiest two percent of Americans have grown exponentially wealthier while middle class wages have remained stagnant, a growing faction of super rich Americans is seriously pissed off — and their Wingnut Revolution is upon us.

Sure, the interests and influence of the wealthiest two percent make them more responsible than most for the free market policies that created this current economic crisis. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about those responsible for this recession, it’s that the concept of accountability is about as foreign as their live-in au pairs. Instead, they’re blaming this on Barney Frank and a legion of “losers” (read that: working class minorities) even though Ben Bernanke himself has debunked this myth.

But accountability (a “reckoning” as President Obama called it) is underway in the form of the president’s housing proposal, his healthcare plan and, naturally, the recovery act. At the end of the day, ninety-five percent of Americans will benefit from what amounts to the largest tax cut in American history, along with increased access to affordable healthcare and millions of new jobs.

Though, alas, the super rich will have to pay slightly more in taxes.

Yeah, that’s a shame.

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U.S. Intel Chief’s Shocking Warning: Wall Street’s Disaster Has Spawned Our Greatest Terrorist Threat

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Posted February 17, 2009.

The Director of National Intelligence argued that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists.

We have a remarkable ability to create our own monsters. A few decades of meddling in the Middle East with our Israeli doppelgnger and we get Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, the Iraqi resistance movement and a resurgent Taliban. Now we trash the world economy and destroy the ecosystem and sit back to watch our handiwork. Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington’s new director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he said, a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures, inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines, unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears, social upheaval.

The United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that some 50 million workers will lose their jobs worldwide this year. The collapse has already seen 3.6 million lost jobs in the United States. The International Monetary Fund’s prediction for global economic growth in 2009 is 0.5 percent–the worst since World War II. There are 2.3 million properties in the United States that received a default notice or were repossessed last year. And this number is set to rise in 2009, especially as vacant commercial real estate begins to be foreclosed. About 20,000 major global banks collapsed, were sold or were nationalized in 2008. There are an estimated 62,000 U.S. companies expected to shut down this year. Unemployment, when you add people no longer looking for jobs and part-time workers who cannot find full-time employment, is close to 14 percent.

And we have few tools left to dig our way out. The manufacturing sector in the United States has been destroyed by globalization. Consumers, thanks to credit card companies and easy lines of credit, are $14 trillion in debt. The government has pledged trillions toward the crisis, most of it borrowed or printed in the form of new money. It is borrowing trillions more to fund our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And no one states the obvious: We will never be able to pay these loans back. We are supposed to somehow spend our way out of the crisis and maintain our imperial project on credit. Let our kids worry about it. There is no coherent and realistic plan, one built around our severe limitations, to stanch the bleeding or ameliorate the mounting deprivations we will suffer as citizens. Contrast this with the national security state’s strategies to crush potential civil unrest and you get a glimpse of the future. It doesn’t look good.

MORE HERE

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As Obama Readies To Sign The Stimulus Package, Several States Are Already Experiencing Economic Distress

As President Barack Obama is poised to sign momentus economic recovery legislation tomorrow in Colorado, there are several US states that are already boiling over in economic distress.

Most notably are Kansas, which is suspending their income tax refunds and may miss payroll on state workers, and California which just cannot pass their budget deal due to short falls remaining.

We remain cautiously optimistic watching historic events unfold tomorrow as President Obama still has a wide margin of support.  We hope Obama can steer America through these trying times and we must not let defeatist voices halt our progress towards a bright future.

These are the times that try our Nation but this is also the time that gives us the chance to reinvent, find ourselves,  and to follow our better Angels.

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Foreclosures Remain 18 Percent Above Last Year



HARDEST HIT:

CALIFORNIA
ARIZONA
NEVADA
FLORIDA

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Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down

By ROBERT F. WORTH

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Sofia, a 34-year-old Frenchwoman, moved here a year ago to take a job in advertising, so confident about Dubai’s fast-growing economy that she bought an apartment for almost $300,000 with a 15-year mortgage.

Now, like many of the foreign workers who make up 90 percent of the population here, she has been laid off and faces the prospect of being forced to leave this Persian Gulf city — or worse.

“I’m really scared of what could happen, because I bought property here,” said Sofia, who asked that her last name be withheld because she is still hunting for a new job. “If I can’t pay it off, I was told I could end up in debtors’ prison.”

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month. That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town.

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