|As expected, President Obama made economic opportunity a centerpiece of his State of the Union message on Tuesday. He even took a small step forward by announcing a $10.10 minimum wage for employees of federal contractors.
This is a move in the right direction, albeit a small one. For years, the budget deficit—not the well-being of working Americans—has dominated political discussion.
But bolder solutions are called for. While U.S. policies allowed transnational corporations, Wall Street banks, and the wealthiest Americans to recover from the collapse of 2008, for many in the 99 percent, this remains a time of sustained unemployment, low-wage jobs, and economic insecurity.
After years of pressure by well-endowed think tanks and lobbyists, President Obama as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have bought into the idea that our country is broke. This is not the case. GDP per capita, has doubled over the last 40 years, while wages have stagnated. It’s not that our nation’s wealth has gone away—it’s just being tied up by the top 1 percent. And their power over politicians is keeping it that way.
In fact it is just this concentration of wealth that makes the economic growth we see in GDP charts so ineffective at improving the quality of our lives. If we were to measure the real wealth of our society—our health and well being, the health of the natural world, our level of education, etc.—we would see that inequality itself is reducing our nation’s well being, and the power of big corporations is allowing the degradation of our communities and environment.
In the State of the Union address, President Obama called for opportunity for all Americans:
1. House the homeless […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—NSA Surveillance: How It Puts You in Danger:
|Polls are all over the place on Americans' views on the NSA program, depending on the precise wording of the question, but for the sake of argument, I'll grab the recent CNN poll that claims roughly half of the population thinks it's okay for the feds to conduct surveillance and collect data without a warrant. Based on this, I assume most of us have friends, family members or co-workers who've uttered the words: I have nothing to hide, so why should I care about NSA surveillance?
Here's a primer on why they should care.
It puts you at risk for identify theft ... and IT'S ILLEGAL
From all reports we've heard about the secretive NSA program, it's a vast vacuum operation that collects data, stores it and shares that information with other agencies, all without a warrant. Anything that's done with electronic transmission is trackable in practical terms—meaning online credit card purchases and bill paying, ATM transactions, paying for groceries with a debit/credit card. PINS, passwords, Social Security numbers, driver's license identifier information, bank account numbers, all are available ... all in the hands of federal agencies and their employees. […]
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin keeps us up to date with the Chris Christie's political saga, including the latest polling and Ron Fournier's "Why I Was Wrong About Chris Christie." Next up, "Where Obamacare Is Succeeding... and Where It's Falling Short." Extended discussion of the latest Obamacare horror story that turned out to be B.S.: "Bette in Spokane." Senate Gop has to rework its ACA "replacement," because gigantic tax. DNI James Clapper "should have been more careful," says the Pres. But why bother? What can Congress really do about it?