Tag Archives: Progressive

Debt proposals: The Courageous Progressive Caucus Budget | The Economist

I’m glad to see this proposal finally getting some attention….

This is the one that makes real sense and has the right priorities….

And this is from “The Economist” which is not exactly a left-wing publication…

Mr Miller’s column notes that “the  Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts.” Which is pretty interesting. Have you ever heard of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget plan? Neither had I. The caucus’s co-chairs, Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, released it on April 6th. The budget savings come from defence cuts, including immediately withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, which saves $1.6 trillion over the CBO baseline from 2012-2021. The tax hikes include restoring the estate tax, ending the Bush tax cuts, and adding new tax brackets for the extremely rich, running from 45% on income over a million a year to 49% on income over a billion a year.

Mr Ryan’s plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus’s plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people. Mr Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not.

I’m not really sure what “courage” is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards. For 30 years, certainly since Walter Mondale got creamed by Ronald Reagan, the most dangerous thing a politician can do has been to call for tax hikes. Politicians who call for higher taxes are punished, which is why they don’t do it. I’m curious to see what adjectives people would apply to the Progressive Congressional Caucus’s budget proposal. But it’s hard for me to imagine the media calling a proposal to raise taxes “courageous” and “honest”. And my sense is that the disparate treatment here is a structural bias rooted in class.

via Debt proposals: The courageous Progressive Caucus budget | The Economist.

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Filed under Congress, Politics, The Economy, Uncategorized

Losing Our Way

This is a long excerpt from Bob Herbert’s last Column for the New York Times.

He will be missed…

The New York Times is admittedly “re-tuning” it’s Opinion and Editorial pages.  I anxiously await the results.  With the departure of both Bob Herbert and Frank Rich, the Times has lost two great, honest and eloquent voices.

Both these men had the ability to analyze the complexity that is modern America and honestly represent it, in simple, yet sweeping terms to us all in the context of this Country’s past, present and future.

With the Corporate ownership on most of this country’s news media, I am increasingly concerned about the communications options available to Progressive voices.

The “liberal” media bias been disproved and, in fact, replaced by a loud, tactless, overbearing Conservative media that disregards facts and pushes propaganda beneficial to the small groups of very wealthy individuals and corporations that now run our country.

We have become a nation of sheep following the loudest herder…Even if the herder is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The bully pulpit of the New York Times Editorial page is about as close as one can get to speaking from the mountain top…

I only hope there are new Progressive voices waiting in the wings at the Times to step into the shoes of Frank Rich and Bob Herbert.  But they are mighty big shoes to fill…

From Bob Herbert’s last column in the New York Times:

Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.

As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.

Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.

via Losing Our Way – NYTimes.com.

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How Many Americans Have a Passport? The Percentages, State by State « Grey’s Blog

Fascinating data from another blog (Link at bottom)…

There is a great map on this site also as well as percentages for every state…

Why am I not surprised Mississippi is last?

This also seems to prove my theory that travel is the best education.  Note the states with the highest number of travelers are generally the more liberal/progressive States.  Alaska is the exception, but remember you now need a Passport to enter Canada from the US and Canada borders Alaska.


Percentage of State Population with Passport



ALASKA 65.01%


NEW YORK 62.47%





VERMONT 56.32%


MORE:   How Many Americans Have a Passport? The Percentages, State by State « Grey’s Blog.


Filed under Education, Travel