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Reposted from ProgressivePatriotPA by Tom Taaffe

I'm trying to do my part to assist in the day of action. Click "JOIN US" to your left to sign an online petition supporting raising the minimum wage, and enjoy these historical quotes from one of my biggest heroes and likely yours too, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, relating the wages of workers to economics, political fights, and human rights.

FDR's statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act (June 16, 1933)

In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.

FDR's Brother's Keeper Speech (March 23, 1938)

The purchasing power of the millions of Americans in this whole area is far too low. Most men and women who work for wages in this whole area get wages which are far too low. On the present scale of wages and therefore on the present scale of buying power, the South cannot and will not succeed in establishing successful new industries, as we ought to. Efficiency in operating industries goes hand in hand with good pay and the industries of the South cannot compete with industries in other parts of the Nation, unless the buying power of the South makes possible the highest kind of efficiency.

And, my friend, let us well remember that buying power means many other better things -- better schools, better health and hospitals, better highways. These things will not come to us in the South if we oppose progress -- if we believe in our hearts that the feudal system in still the best system.

And, when you come down to it, there is little difference between the feudal system and the Fascist system. If you believe in the one, you lean toward the other and I am opposed to Fascism as I am opposed to Communism.

FDR's speech before the 1936 Democratic National Convention: "A Rendezvous With Destiny" (June 27, 1936)

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age - other people's money - these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

FDR letter to the Labor Committee on the Wages and Hours Bill (April 30, 1938)

Today, you and I are pledged to take further steps to reduce the lag in the purchasing power of industrial workers and to strengthen and stabilize the markets for the farmers' products. The two go hand in hand. Each depends for its effectiveness upon the other. Both working simultaneously will open new outlets for productive capital. Our Nation so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. A serf-supporting and self-respecting democracy can plead no justification for the existence of child labor, no economic reason for chiseling workers' wages or stretching workers' hours.

Enlightened business is learning that competition ought not to cause bad social consequences which inevitably react upon the profits of business itself. All but the hopelessly reactionary will agree that to conserve our primary resources of man power, government must have some control over maximum hours, minimum wages, the evil of child labor and the exploitation of unorganized labor.

Nearly twenty years ago in his dissenting opinion in Hammer v. Dagenhart, Mr. Justice Holmes expressed his views as to the power of the Congress to prohibit the shipment in interstate or foreign commerce of the product of the labor of children in factories below what Congress then deemed to be civilized social standards. Surely the experience of the last twenty years has only served to reinforce the wisdom and the rightness of his views. And, surely if he was right about the power of the Congress over the work of children in factories, it is equally right that the Congress has the power over decent wages and hours in those same factories.

FDR Public Papers and Addresses, Vol. V (New York, Random House, 1936, pp. 624-25)

While President Franklin Roosevelt was in Bedford, Mass., campaigning for reelection, a young girl tried to pass him an envelope. But a policeman threw her back into the crowd. Roosevelt told an aide, "Get the note from the girl." Her note read,

I wish you could do something to help us girls....We have been working in a sewing factory,... and up to a few months ago we were getting our minimum pay of $11 a week... Today the 200 of us girls have been cut down to $4 and $5 and $6 a week.

To a reporter's question, the President replied, "Something has to be done about the elimination of child labor and long hours and starvation wages."

FDR campaign address at Brooklyn, New York (November 1, 1940)

Back in the 20's, in the years after the last World War, Americans worked and built many things, but few of our people then stopped to think why they were working and why they were building and whither they were tending.

Those were the days when prosperity was measured only by the stock ticker.

There were the factory workers forced to labor long hours at low wages in sweat-shop conditions. They could look forward to no security in their old age. They could look forward to no insurance during periods of unemployment.

There were the farmers of the Nation, overburdened with debt and with farm surpluses, their income vanishing, their farms threatened with foreclosure.

There were the natural resources of the land, being wasted-soil, forests, minerals and water power.

There were millions of workers, unable to organize to protect their livelihoods, unable to form trade unions.

There were the small businesses of the Nation, threatened by the monopolies of concentrated wealth.

The savings of the many were entrusted to supposedly great financiers, who were to lose those savings in fantastic adventures of giant holding companies and giant investment trusts.

The crash came as it had to come. And then for three years the American people waited and suffered. For three years the American Government did nothing to help.

In 1933, the American people began to bestir themselves. They had come to learn that inaction offered no escape from the problems of a troubled and changing world.

The American people determined then and there that what could not be done by individual effort could be done through joint effort; that what the industrial and financial leaders could not do, or would not do, a democratic Government could do and would do!

You all know the history of recovery, beginning in 1933, and progressing ever since

...

Most Republican leaders in our own country for the last seven years have bitterly fought and blocked that forward surge of average men and women in their pursuit of happiness. And let us not be deluded that overnight those leaders have suddenly become the real friends of these average men and women.

Do you believe that the bulk of the money to finance this vast Republican campaign is being provided by people who have the interests of the common man at heart? You know, very few of us are that gullible.

Oh, they may say at election time that they approve the social gains and social objectives of the last seven years. But I say that these men have not yet proven that they even understand what these social gains or social objectives have been.

The people throughout this country know how many and how difficult were the battles that we have fought and won in the last seven years.

Do you want to abandon the protection of people's savings from fraudulent manipulators, the curbing of giant holding companies that despoiled investors and consumers alike, by delivering them into the hands of those who have fought those reforms?

Do you want to abandon the responsibility for the well-being of those who live and work on the farms of the Nation to those who fought against the farm program every inch of the way?

Do you want to abandon collective bargaining, the outlawing of child labor, the minimum wage, the time-and-a-half for overtime, the elimination of sweat-shop conditions, by turning them over to the proven enemies of labor?

Do you want to hamstring the old-age pension system, or unemployment insurance, or aid for children, or maternity welfare, or vocational training for the physically handicapped, or financial aid to the blind by delivering them into the hands of those who have fought and misrepresented those reforms?

Do you want to abandon slum clearance to those Republican leaders who have fought against every appropriation for decent housing?

Do you want to turn over your Government to those who failed to have confidence in the future of America and who now preach fear for the future of America?

FDR speech at Madison Square Garden (October 31, 1936)

Of course we will continue to seek to improve working conditions for the workers of America—to reduce hours over-long, to increase wages that spell starvation, to end the labor of children, to wipe out sweatshops. Of course we will continue every effort to end monopoly in business, to support collective bargaining, to stop unfair competition, to abolish dishonorable trade practices. For all these we have only just begun to fight.

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Reposted from War on Error by War on Error

Back in September, 2009 I read and provided an Analysis of The House Bill called:  “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009”

You will find that analysis, and the attached comments which add a great deal of information here:

Detailed Analysis of Affordable Care Act Below:  To BeFunded by $2Billion of "Otherwise Not Used" Treasury Funds

Here's an excellant resource that lists improvements for women:

It’s in the law: Breaking Down What’s In It For You in the New Health Care Law

Washington Post link with interactive questionaire to see

What does the Supreme Court's health-care ruling mean for me?

However, going forward will require Congress to do two things:

Provide HHS with $2,000,000,000 out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated; and

Approval of Obama's appointees to run the programs.

You will find the details in the Analysis cited above.

Will the Congress of NO do so?

Based on SCOTUS ruling, it might be a good idea to brush up on what we can expect.

Most of America's uninsured are low-income people that, because they might own a car or home, don't qualify for Medicaid.  This is one of the primary reasons for the Health Care Bill:  To find a way to insure them, which might actually provide a road for these people to get health care that won't further impoverish them.

An analysis of what it will cost these individuals and families is provided below.

SCOTUS shot down the expanded Medicaid enrollment, even though most would/could have been funded by Federal funds which, in my interpretation, will require low income people to join their state's Health Exchange program.  If the analysis is correct, there will be a sliding scale premium requirement limited to a percent of income.

We know that states are cutting back on Medicaid because of deficit issues.

So, what will poor people pay for premiums?

And, will the Affordable Care Act solve this problem?

Health care related bankruptcy is on the rise, study says

And this

Health costs fuel rise in bankruptcy among elderly

Medicare is fairly comprehensive, but it doesn’t cover everything — and the basic coverage doesn’t cap out-of-pocket expense if you become seriously ill or need nursing care. In fact, healthcare expenses can wreck retirement security – a fact underscored by a recent study that found medical expenses are a major contributor to bankruptcy among older Americans.
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Reposted from War on Error by War on Error

NOTE:  This was written before the Public Option was taken off the table.  Much of analysis covers the Exchanges still in place as of June, 2012.

The comments are as important and add to the analysis.  Please add updated information you may have to the new diary.  Because of an html glitch, I am not able to copy/paste into new diary.  Again, the comments below add info, so the glitch is a good thing.

Learn about the ACA  here..  

An Analysis of The House Bill called:  “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009”

Is below.  I thought, if we are fighting for the Public Option, we could read it.  It's not that long.  It's a short read.  However, the Public Option is so dependent on another Section, I was bummed to learn I had to read that, too.

So the PART I of the diary is an overview of The Health Insurance Exchange (HIE), which will probably be what each State offers, in my opinion.  Will the HIE and non-HIE premiums cost the same if the Bill passes?

In PART II the Public Option has been copied and pasted and commented on.  It's a short read folks.  I hope you will take this chance, this weekend to learn in greater detail what we are fighting for and to raise important questions for our Congress.

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Reposted from Meteor Blades by Tom Taaffe
Long-term unemployed
Long-term unemployment benefits are being reduced faster than the number of long-term unemployed.
Say goodbye to the 99ers. The budget deal Congress made in February is taking its toll on the long-term unemployed. By the end of June, nearly half a million out-of-work Americans will have lost their unemployment insurance benefits. According to official reckoning, some 5.1 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. That number doesn't include those who have dropped out of the labor force in despair of ever finding a job.

Along with food stamps, compensation payments through the New Deal-established unemployment insurance program is the main safety net for the jobless and the most effective stimulus to the economy, generating $1.90 in economic growth for every $1 spent.

For the past 50 years, states have covered 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Because of the severity of Great Recession, Congress added layers of extended benefits for the jobless in states hardest hit by unemployment. In some states, that meant 99 weeks of benefits were available. As the unemployment rate has drifted slowly downward over the past 31 months, the eligibility threshold for those extended benefits has also fallen.

How many additional weeks are available in each state is determined by several factors. One of these is whether a state’s unemployment rate is higher than it was three years ago. Thus, in California, where the jobless rate is still nearly 11 percent, some 95,000 of the unemployed lost their benefits this month.

The budget deal has speeded up the cut-off process, making eligibility tougher:

“A growing number of long-term unemployed workers are being left behind,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.“The final 13 to 20 weeks of jobless insurance that workers in high-unemployment states have been relying on is now being stripped away as a casualty of the legislation Congress passed in February reauthorizing the federal unemployment programs. These cuts are coming faster than the economy is improving, which means more workers will have to survive without any jobless assistance and families will have less money to put back into the economy.”
That was mid-May. In June, another 70,000 workers will prematurely lose their benefits because of the deal. These cut-offs will continue month-by-month through September. By then, even in the worst-hit states, unemployed workers will be eligible for only 73 weeks of benefits and 40 weeks in the low-unemployment states. The cuts don't include unemployed Americans who have been out of work so long they have exhausted their benefits. Only about three-fourths of workers are eligible for any benefits because of the nature of their employment. But fewer than half are now receiving either state benefits or the federal extensions.
The expiration of benefits is one factor contributing to what many economists refer to as a “fiscal cliff,” or a drag on the economy at the end of this year when tax cuts and recession-related spending measures will all come to an end unless Congress acts. The Congressional Budget Office warned last week that the combination could contribute to another recession next year.
On top of reductions in federally extended benefits, several states have tightened eligibility requirements, reduced the amount of benefit checks and/or reduced the number of weeks from the old nationwide non-recession standard of 26 weeks to as few as 12 in Florida.

In fact, Florida is the worst case in the nation currently. Only 15 percent of Floridians received benefits in the fourth quarter of 2011. The national average of unemployed who received state benefits in 2011 was 27 percent. Half of new applicants for unemployment benefits in Florida are being rejected.

In the long run, the nation's entire unemployment safety net needs to be reformed from bow to stern. In the short run, a lot of out-of-work Americans are going to find themselves even worse off than they have been as the benefits that kept a roof over their heads and some hope in their hearts vanish.

Discuss
Reposted from joe shikspack by Tom Taaffe

Practically since the modern social safety net was created wealthy, powerful right-wingers and organizations have been trying to kill it.  In recent years, those right wing forces have had a lot of help from Democrats in making their twisted dreams a reality.  Organizations like the billionaire Koch family created and funded Cato Institute and hedge fund billionaire Peter Peterson's namesake foundation have led the fight against Social Security.

The extreme right wing's attacks and deceptive campaigns over the course of decades are now close to fruition with the help of neoliberal Democrats.

President Obama has come very close to helping right-wingers realize their long-desired goal; only the incredible intransigence of congressional Republicans has saved the social safety net thus far.  

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Reposted from http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern by Tom Taaffe

Based upon the results of a Senate cloture vote on the Buffett Rule (i.e.: “Paying a Fair Share Act,” and/or S.2230), late Monday, what passes for so-called, two-party governance in America these days is little more than a deeply-captured train wreck.

Has the self-evident, complete takeover of the U.S. by the one percent in this election year become so obvious that what we end up witnessing down in Washington D.C. is little more than really lame kabuki and wishful thinking about change that’s going nowhere fast?

That would appear to be the case.

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Reposted from David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) by Tom Taaffe

In 2003, Nick Dunbar exposed how Goldman Sachs was working to conceal the size of Greece's debt in order to help Greece qualify for inclusion in the European Union.

At the time, Greek and financial officials claimed Dunbar was "making something out of nothing."

However, today we have a much clearer picture of how – and why – Goldman Sachs indeed helped Greece deceive the world as to the size of the country's debt. And today, we understand the extent of the damage done as the European Union clamors for austerity, clamors to squeeze Greece's most vulnerable citizens for the mistakes of those with money and political power.

For a visual picture, I highly recommend viewing Dunbar's piece for the BBC this week (below) on how Goldman Sachs, with a blind eye from EU officials and at the behest of the Greek government, cooked Greece's books.

                                                               -§-

In order for Greece to be admitted into the E.U., the country had to show that it was working to reduce its debt – it had to show directionality. However, as Dunbar notes in his piece, for a debt-addicted country preparing to host the 2004 Olympic Games, it was nearly impossible for Greece to demonstrate that its debt ratio was declining each year, for the ratio was in truth steadily increasing.

Enter Goldman Sachs.

Greek officials, under pressure from E.U. officials to find a way to show it was reducing its debt, decided that it couldn't reduce spending or pay back its debt enough to satisfy the E.U. So the country turned to Goldman Sachs for some, ehm, accounting assistance. Goldman Sachs was all too willing to lend a helping hand by using an (incredibly) legal and completely secret method.

Here's how it worked: Greece made a deal with Goldman Sachs – hidden at the time from global markets – to have the financial institution secretly hide its debt. How did Goldman Sachs hide 2.8 billion Euros of Greece's debt, exactly? Just like you or I can exchange our currency at a bank, Goldman Sachs swapped foreign bonds into domestic debt. However, it did so by using a completely fictitious exchange rate to make Greece's debt appear smaller than it actually was.

And poof, 2.8 billion Euros worth of Greek debt vanished.

In reality, Goldman Sachs lent Greece the amount of the debt it was making disappear via the fictitious exchange rate – a deadly bet that has come back to hurt Greece and make Goldman Sachs very rich.

And this was all legal, albeit secret.

Of course, to the E.U. and the rest of the world, Greece was doing what it had been asked to do: reduce its debt trend. The reality, though, was that Greece was falling even farther into debt to, among other institutions, Goldman Sachs.

                                                               -§-

How could such a deal be allowed?

Simple: just as in the United States, where our government's financial institutions failed to protect (and even helped precipitate) the subprime fiasco, financial institutions in Europe helped to create an environment in which countries would look to investment banks such as Goldman Sachs to hide, or swap, their debts.

And investment banks, like Goldman Sachs, were all too eager to take advantage of countries, such as Greece, by using fictitious instruments that were being ignored and certainly allowed (if not promoted) by the E.U.

Which is why, as Dunbar notes, E.U. officials' anger with Greece is nothing but pure hypocrisy.

But hypocrisy is a concept. An idea. An ethereal truth.

What's real? Austerity. The reduction of social service jobs. The cutting of minimum wage. The struggling of families in Greece to put food on the table.

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Reposted from WePartyPatriots by Tom Taaffe

The two-headed demon trend of increasing corporate profits and declining wages has shown little sign of abatement, according to the latest numbers:

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Reposted from pfiore8 by Tom Taaffe

In 2010, 135 billion USD in compensation was paid out to those jolly bankers. That amount is expected to increase to 156 BILLION dollars for the hard work they performed in 2011. Perhaps that bonus number will change, since the mortgage settlement thing.

Wait. What was the amount of that mortgage settlement again? Let me google that one, because with all these numbers, I'm confused. So... oh yes there it is:

25 billion for what BBC characterizes as improper foreclosure practices. I kid you not.

Not to mention, that's not all 25bn in cash leaving the banks.

cross posted at writing in the rAw

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Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM PST

Kill the Bank Foreclosure Deal Now

by Tom Taaffe

Reposted from Tom Taaffe by Tom Taaffe

The most dangerous political agenda on the horizon today is the sweetheart deal that the banks are about to get in the foreclosure settlement package.  If this deal goes through it will have widespread economic, social and political consequences that will be felt by some for generations.  The rich will win big time and anyone who is vulnerable will be hurt.

Let your State AG, your elected officials and the Obama administration know you are furious about this deal and you will hold them accountable if it happens.

The clear winners are the banks, who cash out their criminal and legal liabilities for less than three cents on the dollar.  

The clear losers are those who lost their homes in a nation-wide mortgage fraud scandal. They will only get 1500-2000 dollar cash payments for permanent damage to their economic lives.

What did the bankers do that required this 'settlement'?

•    Defrauded tens of millions of homeowners
•    Stole millions of homes
•    Bankrupted millions of people through predatory fees, no-win loans, etc.
•    Unilaterally privatized national property records
•    Screwed up national property records until nobody knew who owned what
•    Systematic document forgery to defraud millions of people out of their homes
•    Caused the worst economic crisis & meltdown since the Great Depression
•    Industry-wide conspiracy to defraud investors, causing economic collapse
•    Destroyed towns and cities
•    Cost millions of people their jobs
•    Held the world economy hostage, until they were bailed out for their crimes

What price will they pay? About 25 billion dollars in 'soft money'.  So you understand how little money this is, consider this: homeowners owe the mortgage industry 700 billion dollars more than their houses are collectively worth.

So the banks are cashing out of this problem for less than three cents on the dollar.

What will those who saw their homes stolen by the bankers get? 1500-2000 dollars.

I think that says it all.  

But it doesn't. It gets worse.  

Read this diary, do your homework, start asking some very serious questions and tell your elected officials that this deal will hurt the economy, let criminals off the hook and provide no justice for those who were robbed.  If we let this deal through we will be screwed economically and the bankers will fuck us again.

Poll

Who is the biggest winner in the impending Bank Foreclosure Settlement?

81%31 votes
5%2 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
5%2 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern by Tom Taaffe

(Author’s Note: Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith has provided written authorization to the author to reproduce her blog’s posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.)

The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement
Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism
February 9th, 2012 4:25AM

As readers may know by now, 49 of 50 states have agreed to join the so-called mortgage settlement, with Oklahoma the lone refusenik. Although the fine points are still being hammered out, various news outlets (New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal) have details, with Dave Dayen’s overview at Firedoglake the best thus far.

The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that the SEC is about to launch some securities litigation against major banks. Since the statue of limitations has already run out on securities filings more than five years old, this means they’ll clip the banks for some of the very last (and dreckiest) deals they shoved out the door before the subprime market gave up the ghost.

The various news services are touting this pact at the biggest multi-state settlement since the tobacco deal in 1998. While narrowly accurate, this deal is bush league by comparison even though the underlying abuses in both cases have had devastating consequences.

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Reposted from Phil T Duck by Tom Taaffe

It's crazy, but it's true: I could not afford to go to work today.

I have a 45-minute commute to and from work, which costs me about ten dollars in gas each day. I'm down to six whole dollars, after paying what bills I could with my last paycheck. There are still unpaid bills, but there's nothing I can do about them right now. I'm mostly worried about how the hell I'm going to feed my daughter until my next check on Friday.

This is not a position I ever expected to find myself in. I have a full-time job at a distribution center for a well-known retailer. The company has weathered the Great Recession pretty well, all things considered: overall sales are off by only 1%, a variance which until recently would have been seen as a business hiccup. But I find that the recession itself has given the Powers That Be at my job an excuse to do whatever they damn well please to their full-time employees.

The infuriating details are below the squiggle.

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