June 10, 2010
Unbossed and unbought
As I watched beautiful people on cable scream and holler over "ladies night" I couldn't help but wonder what in hell were they thinking. Gail Collins got it right--it was the "Rise of the Richies" not the response to the gutsy moves of Shirley Chisolm, Gloria Steinem, and Betty Friedan: the women who paved the way for women's rights. Tuesday night some extraordinarily wealthy pols spent a personal fortune to win elections but that was not the news. No way--it was ladies night.
Collins writes that we have been guessing how this election would be on TARP, health care, tar balls on the beach, voter anger. Nope--rich self-funders spent tens of millions on campaigns without telling us a damned thing about the gap between the rich and the rest of us; or campaign reform; or unemployment. Who has time? It was ladies night at the Club. The richies were busy, busy. Sorry Shirley, Betty, Gloria...it will happen someday.
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"In the boom years of the late 1990s the fastest year of employment growth was 2.6 per cent in 1998. If in the event we have that extremely strong level of growth from here on out, we would still not get to pre-recession unemployment rates until January, 2015." Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute quoted in Bob Hebert's 6/7/10 column in the New York Times. Aren't we presently having no jobs growth? There is no plan or realistic scenario to address the serious unemployment we now experience.
Robert Reich had an article in 6/6/10 in Truthout.org calling for a jobs program to hire unemployed youth to clean up the Gulf, billing BP. Frankly, that's a no-brainer as a response to that disaster.
How about a real stimulous program that is a CCC type jobs program to reforest the denuded mountains of the west. Millions of acres in 11 states have been lost to a bettle infestation. Besides saving the mountains from erosion, forests sequester large amounts of CO2 and are a vital component in mitigating climate change. The most effective stimulous would be provided, giving purchasing power directly to the people, the struggle against climate change would be addressed and consciousness on the issue can be raised, additionally the jobs corp or CCC workers should be put on Medicaid or similar "public option" exposing the waste of the insurance industry skim on healthcare costs. The economic and envirnmental situation we find our nation are unresolvable until we adopt programs along these lines. The elected Democratic majorities appear not willing to move in this direction without pressure from below. The conditions for a mass movement could not be more developed.
-dd | Hudson, Wi | June 10, 2010
Yes, it is interesting what a dollar buys these days. Even more interesting is what several million dollars gets ya. When one looks over the choice of candidates, not much.
Elected office is about money and power and not much else. Votes have become mere tokens that make voters think they are actually empowered to give some direction to their lives and future.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton | June 10, 2010
Yes, 'dd from Hudson', there are plenty of good, humane ways we COULD easily increase employment tomorrow/next week/next month, but unfortunately I don't see the majority in this country oriented towards those solutions. They're captured by the siren song of right-wingers with their simplistic answers - - reduce taxes, remove protective* trade barriers and send jobs overseas (remember clothing or shoes that were 'Made in USA'?), remove government regulation, remove government social-welfare programs, institute lotteries/casinos so people can 'make money', consume-consume-consume - - you know, a general return to the 1890's & 1920's policies that made the country SO fair & just.
(* interesting how - - at least according to the prevailing Neo-cons - - 'protection' in the economic sense has a negative connotation, yet militarily we can't get ENOUGH of it.... even though we're spending more than the rest of the world combined)
-Big Em | Milwaukee, WI | June 10, 2010