Feb 27, 2011

GOP budget cuts threaten entire U.S. economy

Tax increases on the wealthy would ease federal budget deficit woes, but raising taxes is not part of the GOP agenda, even if it means sinking the U.S. economy.

Cutting programs and shrinking the government are the words on Republican lips as America tries to contain the cantankerous U.S. deficit. But there is another way to balance the budget: increase revenue.

According to The Hill, the GOP is worried that some republican lawmakers “might endorse tax reforms that would increase the total amount the federal government collects in taxes.”

Taking in more money would certainly help reduce the gap between income and expenditures.

In 2010, American corporations showed profits of nearly $2 trillion, but their tax rate was only 11%.  An individual who earned $40,000 in the same year had a tax rate of 14.5%, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

In 2009, Exxon Mobil, BP, and Conoco Phillips posted a total of $731 billion in profits. Still, the U.S. government gave the oil industry about $4 billion in tax breaks.  

Government subsidies in the energy industry alone accounted for $697.1 billion in 2009, according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Pulitzer Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz believes that further redistribution of wealth to the rich by slashing programs that help the middle-class and the poor only exacerbates America’s financial problems, and threatens the future of the entire economic system.

The U.S. has a consumer-driven economy that needs spending by the middle-class in order to thrive.

Feb 25, 2011

Koch, Walker phone tapes may spark ethics violation investigation

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A recorded telephone conversation between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and blogger Ian Murphy suggest that Walker’s goal may be ‘troublemaking’ and union busting, not balancing the state budget.

Walker said, “I’m trying to keep out as many of the private unions as possible. I said this is about the budget, but this is about public-sector unions.”

The recorded conversation also raises questions of ethics violations. Walker admitted he was considering planting ‘troublemakers’ in the crowds of protesters, some of which are children, according to the transcript of the phone call, published in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Prank caller Ian Murphy claimed to be billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. “Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown,” according to the New York Times.

Koch Industries was one of Governor Scott Walker’s largest campaign contributors. The recorded phone call is raising questions of ethics violations, which may spark an investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

Feb 17, 2011

GOP attacks middle class with union busting move in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Protests: Union busting GOP attacks middle class

Crowds of protesters in Wisconsin are growing as the Republican takeover of America turns into a union-busting attack on the middle class.
Minnesota Governor Scott Walker has proposed pay cuts for teachers and local government workers of up to 9%. Additionally, Walker wants to strip unions of their collective bargaining power, which would effectively bust the unions.

“Unionized workers in Minnesota are opposing a measure that would strip most Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Walker says the cuts are necessary to balance the Minnesota budget, but opponents claim the move is a ruse aimed at breaking unions.

If the measure passes the Minnesota legislature in a vote planned for Thursday, businesses already hit by the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930’s will suffer from the decreased spending power of workers with smaller paychecks. 

The result could be more layoffs, particularly for small and mid-size businesses.
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Feb 16, 2011

Boehner wants to cut jobs to reduce deficit

Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner said that losing more jobs in the U.S. is just fine with him. “When asked about the risk of losing federal jobs as a result of the Fiscal Year 2011 funding bill currently being debated on the House floor, the Republican said, “so be it,” According to MSNBC.

Boehner’s statement goes against the republican pledge made before the 2010 elections that the number one priority of the GOP would be to create, not cut jobs.

The GOP budgets cuts would result in the combined loss of one million jobs. According to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, cutting the job s of federal employees would trickle down to the local economy, taking out more jobs in a domino effect.
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Feb 13, 2011

Revolution in Egypt marks new phase for Middle East freedom

 The eighteen days of demonstrations by the Egyptian people that resulted in the overthrow of the Mubarak regime marks history for Egypt and for the Middle East. As the largest country in the region, Egypt is becoming an example for the people of other Middle East nations, suffering from repression by aristocratic leaders.

“Young protesters in Yemen squared off against security forces on Sunday, and some marched on the presidential palace here, witnesses said, as a third day of demonstrations sought to emulate the revolution in Egypt,” according to the New York Times.

On the day Hosni Mubarak resigned as Egypt’s president, former Egyptian Parliament member Moustafa El Gindy told MSNBC News, “I will teach my children to dream.”

The generation of Egyptians born today will not look at their country the same way their fathers did. The dream of their parents and grandparents is now their future, and it is a future that others in the Middle East now appear to seek for their countries as well.

Feb 11, 2011

Egyptian revolution becomes massive Egyptian party in Cairo

Since the announcement early on Friday that President Mubarak was stepping down as the nation’s leader, Liberation Square has been the scene of an ongoing party.
Millions of Egyptians in Tahrir Square have been celebrating their successful eighteen day revolution to oust Hosni Mubarak. His thirty-year rule has been corrupt and oppressive, according to the Huffington Post.

The final decision to step down came after hopes were dashed yesterday when Mubarak was expected to announce his resignation, but instead made a confusing statement that simply transferred power to his recently handpicked Vice President, Omar Suleiman.

Mubarak left Cairo Thursday night, and the announcement of his resignation was made by Suleiman. MSNBC Reports that high-ranking military officials played a role in getting Mubarak to quit.

The Egyptian military is running the country during the transition period while arrangements for free elections are planned.

Egypt crowds cheer: Mubarak steps down

Vice President Omar Suleiman has announced that Hosni Mubarak will step down as president of Egypt. The statement follows eighteen days of protests and labor strikes by millions of Egyptian people. Power in Egypt has been passed on to the Egyptian military.

Last night, Mubarak said he intended to remain in office until the end of his term in September, but handed over some control of the government to his newly appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman. However, that did not satisfy the crowds that have been demanding the resignation of Mubarak.

Mubarak reportedly left the Presidential Place Thursday night, after demonstrators refused to leave the streets of Cairo with turnover of power to the Vice President.

Friday’s announcement of Mubarak’s resignation has brought jubilation to the people of Egypt, with millions celebrating in Liberation Square.

The demonstrations in Cairo were sparked by high unemployment and claims that the Mubarak government did not hold fair elections.  The revolution hopes to bring true democracy to Egypt, through free elections and better living conditions for the large number of poor, working-class Egyptians.