Archive: Economics

Last Great Debate

As the Last Great Presidential Debate echoes across America this evening, Obama yard signs outnumber Romney signs in our neighborhood 15-1.  But Halloween decorations outnumber Obama signs 20-1.  The mendacity of hope survives. (More)

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Obama: Nibbling the Nibbler

There they were again, this time in a Washington Post article by Dana Milbank.  Two little words — “patent reform” — that speak tomes about President Obama’s approach to job creation. The President surfaced the proposal in a speech two weeks ago and since then it has been imbedded in every White House press release on jobs. In the Milbank article, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka derides it as the kind of thing “he thinks others will immediately accept” and goes on to include it as one of “those little nibbly things around the edge that aren’t going to make a difference and aren’t going to solve the problem.”  Milbank agrees, calling Obama “The Great Nibbler.” 

 Mr. President, Milbank and Trumka are being far too kind, chipping around the perimeter of the problem themselves. Truth is, the words “patent reform” trivialize the suffering of the jobless and make you sound like, well, a nitwit.

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Cicadas in Our Midst: Palin-Perry-Bachmann-Paul/PLUS Kudos to Ron Bloom

With the Dow-Jones marginally positive for the second day in a row, I’m coming out of my bunker. The bad news of today isn’t financial, it’s that Ron Bloom is leaving the White House this afternoon after 2 ½ years of sacrificing his family in favor of his country.  The good news is that the Cicadas have returned to Washington to remind us how the likes of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Sarah Palin make a huge contribution to the health of our political ecosystem. (More)

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August 4, 2011

Obama: Out of patent purgatory

Obviously weary of detractors alleging he’s bereft of big ideas, President Obama responded to passage of debt control legislation by pledging to fight for Patent Reform so “we can cut the red tape that stops too many inventors and entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses.”  I called the White House and asked for a list of innovations now languishing in patent purgatory and discovered several with profound policy and political implications: (More)

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August 3, 2011

Kudos to Congress

Congress is taking a beating from the press over the debt ceiling debate, and I think it is undeserved.  We’re struggling through what may become our first radfical political realignment since FDR was elected 70 years ago, and most of our elected representatives have being doing what they were elected to do, namely representing the wishes of the constituencie they serve.  Bad manners?  Reprehensible language?  Refusal to compromise?  The last time we had such a national disagreement was in September 1862 when opponents in that debate met on a field near Sharpsburg and 25,000 of the debators were slain in a single day.   Thank goodness we have an arena where sharply differing values and visions can clash without those kinds of consequences.  What about the polls showing voters are fed up, disgusted and demoralized with the process?  Maybe we should embrace a return to a monarchy, where a tiny handful of the wise, the good and the rich make all our decisions for us.

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August 2, 2011

Boy, am I happy

We raised the debt ceiling and instead of dropping 500 points, the DJIA closed only 265 down.

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August 1, 2011

Snagging Barack Obama

July was the hottest month on record for Washington, DC, jointly caused, in my opinion, by global warming meeting up with rancid hot air bubbling up from the bowels of the United States Capitol  and the White House.  As a result, retro forces won out over progressive voices in the debt ceiling debate with a solution that cuts vital programs without raising taxes on the rich.  Now it’s up to us to turn up the heat on the new Congressional “Super Committee” being created to add additional cuts and/or revenue increases by the end of November.  We have to convince President Obama to join us.  If he doesn’t, we should take him on in the primaries next year. (More)

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May 3, 2011

John Sweeney on Rerum Novarum

AFL-CIO President Emeritus John J. Sweeney delivered a speech written by yours truly at Catholic University America on May 2, 2011 in celebration of Rerum Novarum, the revolutionary  encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII 120 years ago this week.  In it, he shares the story of his own development as a Catholic lay leader, tells how Rerum Novarum impacted his family and the lives of millions of immigrant workers, and challenges the Church to renew its unequivocal support for the freedom of workers to join and form unions.  (More)

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February 15, 2011

Tips for the Egyptian Junta

Yo, Generals!  If you want to head off the Moslem Brotherhood and at the same time ease the rolling tide of rebellion by industrial workers, police officers, ambulance drivers, reporters, academics and Allah knows who else, then here’s a gargantuan tip: issue a new “Emergency Order” establishing a decent minimum wage, providing healthcare for all, and guaranteeing the right of workers to join unions. (More)

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January 31, 2011

Labor’s Big Role in Cairo

When Egyptian protest leaders this morning called for a “million man march” tomorrow in Cairo and an “indefinite general strike,” they not only raised the bar in their challenge to the Mubarak government, they tied their movement back to its deepest roots, a struggle in which more than two million workers have staged an estimated 2,000 strikes since 2004, most of them in the country’s textile industry.  Their gains have been incremental, but their willingness to risk their jobs and their lives to defy authority paved the way for the “spontaneous” demonstrations that erupted on January 25th in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and in dozens of countries around the world. (More)

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