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This is what “austerity measures” do.

August 18, 2011 5 comments

Nations choose to adopt policies that force their public into austerity.

The number of people unemployed in the UK rose by 38,000 to 2.49 million in the three months to June.

This took the jobless rate from 7.7% to 7.9%,the Office for National Statistics said.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance also rose, by 37,100 in July to 1.56 million, its biggest increase since May 2009.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14555264

Of course, throwing thousands of public sector workers out of a job and squeezing the ridiculously low welfare benefits of the poorest were always going to lead to more jobs, well maybe if you had swallowed some serious drugs during your economics lessons as a Bullingdon Clubber. After all a riot is acceptable if you can throw the cash back at the place you trashed.

The official figures also showed that between April and June:

  • The youth unemployment rate rose to 20.2%, up from 20% in the quarter to March
  • There were 949,000 16 to 24-year-olds without work, a rise of 15,000
  • The number of unemployed men increased by 18,000 to 1.45 million
  • The level of unemployed women rose by 21,000 to 1.05 million – the highest figure since May 1988
  • The number of employees working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 to 1.26 million – the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992
  • The unemployment rate remained the highest in the north-east of England, at 10%
  • The south-east of England still had the lowest rate of unemployment, with a rate of 5.8%
  • The unemployment rate in Scotland was unchanged at 7.7%, in Wales it jumped to 8.4%, and in Northern Ireland it crept up to 7.3%
  • Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, were 2.6% higher than a year ago
Just to add to the last point, inflation is nearing 5%.

Meanwhile, in the Countries that decided not to starve their poor, the economy is rebounding very nicely, thank you very much.

When the left sleeps the right wins

The Tea Party protested in support of cuts. There was no answer from the left in America. The largest protest group in the US, with the exception of Wisconsin is the Tea Party, campaigning for their own redundancy notices.

When the Tories attacked social security in the UK there was no protest, sure the middle class and rich protested against student fees (which actually benefit the poorest) but welfare, nowhere.

Austerity budgets lead to more austerity. The great plan for Europe was to ride the wave of a resurgent US and a growing China. Say goodbye to the idea of a resurgent US.

The only budget that would have actually started to cut into the US National Debt would have been that proposed by the Progressive Caucus. It still makes that passed by the right wing UK look “far left” (UK top rate taxes of 50% and a partial removal of the National Insurance (Social Security cap). It was however completely ignored in media debates. The left was represented by the “middle”, that of President Obama. The right was the Tea Party and the middle was somewhere in between the two. A position far more right wing than anything Bush could have proposed.

We can not and should not blame the President for this. The message from November was clear from those selling that message. Cuts are wanted. That is the message that was sent to the President. That is the message Washington heard. That is the message the IMF and the Credit Agencies are forcing down the throat of European Nations.

We scream only at our own side. There has been no effective answer to the right.

There are real alternatives to austerity. Germany reduced their working week. Everyone took a hit but few became unemployed. They are now booming. They have no need to cut their social programmes and they have absolutely no desire to cut their social programmes to bail out Nations who did not do what they did.

In our great Anglo-American Economy, the richest 1% have had their incomes grow massively while those at the bottom are being forced to pay. The top end market for house prices in London has never been higher. The bottom end has collapsed because ordinary people can not get mortgages. Who paid to bail out the banks to save the wealth of the top? Ordinary every day workers.

An Empire died 20 years ago because they gave a higher priority to military spending than spending on their own people. Another Empire is now coming to an end.

Just what has President Obama done for America?

April 6, 2011 5 comments

President Barack Obama laid out an agenda, including his goals for education and dealing with Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security — the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will increase our troop levels in Afghanistan, press our allies in NATO to do the same, and dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s economic development. Obama and Biden will demand the Afghan government do more, including cracking down on corruption and the illicit opium trade.

His education policy is in the works and is a source of controversy.

Still in the face of the worst economic disaster in more than 70 years, having inherited two wars, and despite an increasingly volatile political climate, President Obama is rising to the occasion to become one of the country’s most effective leaders.

He withdrew 100,000 troops from Iraq and ending the occupation is in progress:

- In June 2009, U.S. Forces occupied 357 bases. U.S. Forces currently occupy 121 bases, and are expected to reduce that number to 94 bases by the end of August.

link

In Iraq, Biden Reaffirms Deadline for Troops’ Exit

He added troops to Afghanistan, which is what he said he would do, but he has also announced the withdrawal will begin in summer of this year.

Obama Plans $42 Billion Cut in War Costs With Iraq, Afghan Troop Reduction

The Obama administration’s plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will cut the Pentagon’s war budget by $42 billion — a 26 percent decrease from this year’s level, according to government officials.

The proposed $117 billion for fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, would be the lowest expenditure for the wars since fiscal 2005.

<…>

The Pentagon today has roughly 97,000 troops in Afghanistan and 47,000 in Iraq. The 144,000 total is the lowest since July 2006, when the U.S. had about 148,100 deployed, according to military data compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of this year.

The war-spending number is the smallest since Congress approved $102.6 billion in fiscal 2005, said Amy Belasco, war cost analyst at CRS.

<…>

Last week, the DNC passed a resolution calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan

President Obama promised to close Guantanamo, and he is still trying to do so, but not everything goes according to plan: President Obama Correctly Rebukes Congressional Attempt To Hinder Transfer Of Guantánamo Detainees To U.S.

On the environment: 7 Big Green Moves by the Obama Administration

    7. Offshore oil and gas drilling bans. It was a bit of an obvious call to put a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in the midst of the horrific BP oil spill last year. Nonetheless, it was an important decision. Going further, later on in the year, the administration decided to cut regulatory shortcuts for deep-water drilling projects. It didn’t cut this fast-tracking for shallow-water drilling projects, unfortunately, but at least deep-water projects will receive more oversight. And, in December, the Obama administration extended some of the offshore oil and gas drilling bans that had been implemented in the summer for another 7 years.

    6. Fast-tracking of clean tech patent approvals. To help the country roll out promising clean technologies faster, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has had a policy in place for about a year now to significantly speed up clean tech patent approvals. The program is reportedly doing well and helping more clean technology get to market and has been extended for another year.

    5. EPA reversed largest Appalachian mountaintop removal permit in U.S. historyIn a big move to help protect the mountains of West Virginia and the communities living in or near them, the EPA recently vetoed the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. This was a huge, unprecedented step that hopefully signals a reversal of mountaintop removal coal mining policies in the U.S.

    4. Cape Wind, large offshore wind farm near Cape Cod, finally approved….

    3. Clean energy tax credits. Clean energy industries received a lot of support in 2009 when the Obama administration decided to give companies a “tax credit of 30% is for investment in new renewable energy manufacturing facilities and re-equipped or expanded facilities” as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This program has been highly successful at creating jobs and improving the economy and has now been extended for another year (2011).

    2. Over $10 billion invested in high-speed rail

    1. The EPA ruled CO2 a pollutant. Due to the fact that CO2 is a major cause of global warming, the EPA finally ruled that CO2 was a pollutant and needed to be regulated in late 2009. With Congress essentially unwilling to address climate change, this ruling is likely to become a very important way for the U.S. to cut its global warming emissions relatively soon. To get things rolling, Obama recently transferred the regulation of greenhouse gases from refineries and coal plants emitting over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases to the EPA. (Note: with plenty of support from the courts and science, climate zombies would have to find some really innovative, extreme ways to block the EPA from climate action now that this ruling is in place.)

President Obama has also established a record as the most pro-regulation President in last 40 years:

Other Achievements:

The package of major legislative accomplishments:

  • January 29, 2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-2
  • February 4, 2009: Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP), Pub.L. 111-3
  • February 17, 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Pub.L. 111-5
  • March 11, 2009: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub.L. 111-8
  • March 30, 2009: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-11
  • April 21, 2009: Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Pub.L. 111-13
  • May 20, 2009: Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-21
  • May 20, 2009: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-22
  • May 22, 2009: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-23
  • May 22, 2009: Credit CARD Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-24
  • June 22, 2009: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, as Division A of Pub.L. 111-31
  • June 24, 2009: Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 including the Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers), Pub.L. 111-32
  • October 28, 2009: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Pub.L. 111-84
  • November 6, 2009: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-92
  • December 16, 2009: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub.L. 111-117
  • February 12, 2010: Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, as Title I of Pub.L. 111-139
  • March 4, 2010: Travel Promotion Act of 2009, as Section 9 of Pub.L. 111-145
  • March 18, 2010: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, Pub.L. 111-147
  • March 23, 2010: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L. 111-148
  • March 30, 2010: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, Pub.L. 111-152
  • May 5, 2010: Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-163
  • July 1, 2010: Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-195
  • July 21, 2010: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub.L. 111-203
  • August 3, 2010: Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-220
  • August 10, 2010: SPEECH Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-223
  • September 27, 2010: Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-240
  • December 8, 2010: Claims Resolution Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-291, H.R. 4783
  • December 13, 2010: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-296, S. 3307
  • December 17, 2010: Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-312, H.R. 4853
  • December 22, 2010: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-321, H.R. 2965
  • January 2, 2011: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-347, H.R. 847
  • January 4, 2011: Shark Conservation Act, Pub.L. 111-348, H.R. 81
  • January 4, 2011: Food Safety and Modernization Act, Pub.L. 111-353, H.R. 2751

Rachel Madow

MADDOW: If the Senate ratifies the START Treaty tomorrow, it caps an astonishing period in American political history.

For the last two years, Democrats have held the White House as well as big majorities in both the House and the Senate. Their record of achievement in that time, even in the face of unified, at times totally random Republican opposition, Republican opposition even do things Republicans had proposed in the first place, unified Republican opposition even to their own ideas—their track record even in the face of that is historic.

Whether you agree or disagree with what Democrats have done in the first two years of President Obama‘s presidency, they have freaking done it. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women, expanding children‘s health insurance, new hate crimes legislation that they said could not be done, tobacco regulation, credit card reform, student loan reform, the stimulus – which in addition to helping pull this country back from the brink of a Great Depression was also the largest tax cut ever, the largest investment in clean energy ever, the single largest investment in education in our country ever.

There was also a little thing you may have heard of called health reform. Also, Wall Street reform, the improvements to the new G.I. bill, the most expansive food safety bill since the 1930s.

more

Presidency in progress.

With thanks to ProSense

Republicans and the US Debt Limit. The very real threat to the World Economy.

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The dangerous consequences of the Tea Party victory are soon going to be felt and it will hurt.

While Sarah Palin chased around America parroting the term “American exceptionalism”, her Tea Party representatives are set to destroy American standing in the World.

If they fail to increase the debt limit the Country and the World will be in for a new wave of hurt.

Read more…

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