08 Aug

Truth Out Today, August 8, 2011

Monday 8 August 2011William Rivers Pitt | The Wisconsin Solution
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “It was, simply, one of the worst weeks in recent memory. They passed the debt-limit ‘deal’ in Congress and sent it out for signature by Mr. Obama, and the pen he used might as well have been a tiny little white flag of surrender. The financial markets here and abroad reacted to the unqualified mayhem of the debt-limit fight by going south like a duck in winter, and newspapers all across the country carried dire stories of a looming double-dip recession.”
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Michael Winship | The New Era of Hostage Politics
Michael Winship, Truthout: “Like so many progressives, I tried, really tried to find a silver lining in the deal that finally was brokered, much as one occasionally hears news reports on the ‘upside’ of global warming. (Wider shipping lanes in the Arctic – hooray!) Programs for the poor seem to be protected, for now. Medicare cuts allegedly don’t affect beneficiary payments. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy still expire in 2013! (I’ll believe it when I see it.) All cold solace at best.”
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Stocks Slump in First US Trading Since Downgrade
Christine Hauser and David Jolly, The New York Times News Service: “Wall Street stocks plummeted on Monday as skittish investors, already concerned about the economy, struggled to work out the implications of last week’s unprecedented downgrade of the United States government’s credit rating. The declines, coming in the first opportunity for investors to sell since Standard & Poor’s cut its rating on the nation’s long-term debt late Friday, followed losses in global markets and set United States equities on track to extend losses that were beginning to recall the days of the 2008 financial crisis.”
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As Verizon Demands Huge Cuts to Worker Benefits, Its Profits Soar and Its CEO Gets $18 Million in Compensation
Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress: “Yesterday, 45,000 Verizon employees, represented by the Communications Workers of America, went on strike following the breakdown of negotiations between union representatives and management on Saturday. The workers are battling a long list of concessions that the company is demanding of them, ranging from asking employees to contribute more to their health care plans to halting pension accruals this year.”
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After the Arab Spring, an Israeli Summer
Pierre Klochendler, Inter Press Service: “Israel’s is a middle class revolution – Israelis in their 20s, 30s and 40s, students, workers, state employees, doctors, parents with baby strollers, divorcees and single mothers, army reservists, the LGBT community, even ultra-nationalist settlers who’d want to resolve the housing crisis by building more settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Though moved by a constant, intrinsic dissatisfaction, Israelis are flabbergasted by the magnitude of their own protest.”
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Dean Baker | The Economic Illiterates Step Up the Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Dean Baker, Truthout: “Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgrade of US debt should be seen as the joke it is. The rating agency, which gave investment grade ratings to hundreds of billions of dollars of subprime mortgage-backed securities, made an accounting error of $2 trillion in doing its assessment of the US financial situation. However, when this error was called to S&P’s attention, it still went ahead with the downgrade. Just like the war in Iraq, the policy was decided in advance of the evidence.”
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Jim Hightower | America’s Real Job Creators Are Broke
Jim Hightower, Other Words: “Today, we are a dangerously disunited society. Elite CEOs and big investors are grabbing all the gains, leaving the vast majority mired in recession and facing falling incomes. Since the recession technically ‘ended’ 18 months ago, corporate profits have zoomed, sopping up an unprecedented 88 percent of America’s economic growth. Meanwhile, only one percent of the growth that we all help produce has gone to wages and salaries, the primary sources of income for 90 percent of us. Yet, those same CEOs say they won’t invest in new jobs or raise wages until consumers start buying again.”
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Delta’s Greed Helps Shut Down the FAA
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future: “The FAA is the agency that regulates and overseas civil aviation. That is airports, airlines, pilots, employees, air traffic control, and other components of our aviation system. But the agency has been shut down. FAA inspectors and others are working without pay and paying for their own job-related travel. The shutdown is keeping the FAA from collecting federal taxes on airline tickets at a cost of $200 million in revenues each week even as the country struggles with deficits. Republicans said they don’t like deficits, but they clearly hate working people more – this shutdown adds $30 million a day, over $200 million a week to deficits.”
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“Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America”: Barbara Ehrenreich on the Job Crisis and Wealth Gap (Video)
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: “Standard & Poor’s announced Friday it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history. The move by S&P, one of three leading credit rating agencies, came just days after Congress approved a $2.1 trillion deficit-reduction plan. ‘In some ways, that is in another world from most Americans and their day-to-day struggles. What is it going to mean to you if you have no job now?’ says our guest, Barbara Ehrenreich, who has just published the 10th anniversary edition of her book ‘Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.'”
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Breaking the Cycle of Violence: An Interview With Documentarian Steve James
In the second installment of Truthout’s new “Truth and Documentary Filmmaking” series, Amanda Lin Costa speaks with Steve James, who spent 14 months on the streets of Chicago and ended up creating a documentary that addresses topics much broader than just the violent microcosm we are entrenched in while watching his film, “The Interrupters.”
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Robert Borosage | Shock Doctrine? Fight Back
Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future: “The elite rollout is clear. The gang of 12 produces a ‘deal,’ combining a hike in eligibility age for Medicare, a cut in Social Security by reducing the inflation adjustment, caps on Medicaid and increased revenues from LOWERING rates on the corporations and the rich, while limiting deductions that reach middle class families – on mortgages, employer based health care or retirement plans. They may well throw in the current scam – funding the infrastructure bank with proceeds from allowing multinationals who have secreted a trillion on profits offshore to bring the money back at a citrate – 5%.”
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Nature Bats Last: Notes on Revolution and Resistance, Revelation and Redemption
Robert Jensen, Energy Bulletin: “My title is ambitious and ambiguous: revolution and resistance (which tend to be associated with left politics), revelation and redemption (typically associated with right-wing religion), all framed by a warning about ecological collapse. My goal is to connect these concepts to support an argument for a radical political theology – let me add to the ambiguity here – that can help us claim our power at the moment when we are more powerless than ever, and identify the sources of hope when there is no hope.”
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S&P: They Set the Standard & We Get Poor
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Tuesday Is the Vote to Recall Six of Walker’s GOP State Senators in Wisconsin
Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Paul Krugman: Will Extremists Blocking Economic Recovery Be Marginalized?
Read the Article at The New York Times

Where Do the Progressives Go From Here?
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Toxic School Supplies Pose Threat to Children’s Health
Read the Article at The Environmental News Network

Texas Millionaires and Billionaires Helped Fuel Perry’s Political Rise
Read the Article at the Star-Telegram

Why Unions Matter: The Numbers
Read the Article at Mother Jones

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Why don’t corporations pay much higher taxes until they produce jobs in America?

After all, workers don’t get paid until after they complete their jobs every couple of weeks or so. That’s the way companies compensate employees.

So, why not wait to tax corporations at a lower rate until they prove that they are “job creators” in the United States – not overseas?

And every year, the businesses would have to prove that they haven’t moved jobs to lower-wage nations, otherwise their taxes will zoom up again.

What Ronald Reagan said about the Soviet Union – “Trust but verify” – should be applied to American business, because they have gotten rock-bottom tax breaks and loopholes – but they mostly use them to increase their profit by employing sweat-shop labor in other nations. As trickle-down economics has played itself out over the last few decades, it has shown that lower taxes for the rich and corporations lead to a very large net loss of jobs in the United States, not an increase.

So, a BuzzFlash at Truthout reader suggested a simple solution. Raise corporate taxes high up, and apply a descending adjustment downward if a business creates jobs in America or doesn’t fire employees and move jobs overseas.

Like workers, corporations should only be compensated when they get the job done, which is the job of creating work here in America, not in some far-away lands.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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