The title of this post isn’t a partisan statement. It actually seems to be a fact that there has been disproportionate spending particularly by more affluent democrats for about the last half year, that has given a boost to the economy.
Consumer spending really started to pick up especially for higher but also for lower income consumers in late November, after the stock market had made impressive gains, as it was beginning to close in on its old 2007 records, and just after Obama got re-elected. By Gallup’s measure, it has remained strong all through the first 4 months of this year, despite the payroll tax increase, and despite sequestration.
Hence the title of this post, and why it isn’t a partisan comment at all. Correlation is not causation and all that, but it does seem likely that democrats, especially affluent democrats, have played a disproportionate role in boosting the economy ever since Bill Clinton’s stemwinding speech on the first night of the democratic convention.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay.
The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs.
Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.
The push is part of a broader Republican agenda undertaken by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to expand the party’s political appeal to working families. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week, but the Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t likely to take it up.
“For some people, time is more valuable than the cash that would be accrued in overtime,” said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., the bill’s chief sponsor. “Why should public-sector employees be given a benefit and the private sector be left out?”
But the idea Republicans promote as “pro-worker” is vigorously opposed by worker advocacy groups, labor unions and most Democrats, who claim it’s really a backdoor way for businesses to skimp on overtime pay.
The White House on Monday issued a veto threat, saying the bill undermines the right to overtime pay and doesn’t offer enough protection for workers who may not want to receive compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.
Slightly more voters say they’ll vote Democratic in the 2014 congressional elections than Republicans, bucking a historical trend of the president’s party losing seats in his sixth year, a new poll Wednesday shows.
Forty-one percent of voters said they’ll vote Democratic while 37 percent said they’ll vote for Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac University survey.
Overall, 48 percent of voters want one party to control both the Senate and House, while 43 percent would like it split. Sixty-four percent of Democrats want complete control, while 30 percent of them want it split. Meanwhile, 50 percent of GOPers want complete control while 44 percent it split. Among independents, 53 percent want complete control and 35 percent want it split.
ALEIGH The state House passed a bill Wednesday requiring voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls in 2016, after an emotionally charged debate that underscored North Carolina’s political polarization.
House Republicans pushed through the measure saying that the public demanded more stringent ballot security at polling places, that voter fraud was more prevalent than is understood, and that in a modern, mobile society fewer election officials personally knew voters.
“Our system of government depends upon open and honest elections,” said Rep. David Lewis, a farm equipment dealer from Dunn and a Republican. “Having people prove who they say they are as a condition of voting makes sense and guarantees that each vote is weighted equally and cumulatively determines the outcome of elections.”
But the move was strongly opposed by Democrats who said a photo ID would create longer lines at the polls, make it harder for the elderly, African-Americans and some students to vote, and would unconstitutionally create different categories of voters.
“This bill would attempt to turn back the strong voting we’ve had in North Carolina,” said Rep. Garland Pierce, a Baptist minister from Laurinburg, noting that the Tar Heel state had the 12th-highest turnout in the country last November.
Republicans have become more concerned about climate change in the past couple of years, according to a new Gallup Poll.
Self-identified Republicans are less likely than Democrats to say global warming concerns them, but while Democrats’ global warming anxiety has remained relatively steady, Republicans’ worry is climbing. In 2011, just 30 percent of Republicans said they worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about climate change. This year, that number reached 40 percent.
High-profile cases like the “Climategate” scandal involving leaked emails between climate scientists may have contributed to Republican skepticism over the past few years, Gallup reported. Now that those news stories have faded, climate-change belief is recovering.
I hope this trend continues. But I am worried the Energy Industry leaders who fund these faux scandals are only regrouping.
Remember, SS doesn’t contribute a dime to the deficit. There is no reason to include this in the budget except to sneak in tax increases on the middle class via the Chained CPI. Let’s be clear: this is deficit reduction on the backs of middle class workers, the elderly, the disabled and Veterans.Oh, and by the way, cutting vital programs in exchange for increasing taxes on the middle class and getting some temporary chump change from millionaires as a cover is not a balanced approach.
And for those Democrats like me who backed the health care reform because of the Medicaid expansion, well we really are a bunch of suckers. I assumed the president would protect that legacy above all others. But if he’s looking to cut Medicaid now, I guess we can assume that the only part of that legacy he cares about is the one that benefits the private insurers.
Washington has Grand Bargain fever, again. Thanks to the sequestration, Republican government-shrinking mania and Barack Obama’s apparently sincere desire to get some sort of huge long-term debt deal done, the Grand Bargain is looking more possible than at any point since the heady days of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.
For some reason, the options for dealing with sequestration — a self-inflicted made-up austerity crisis — are being purposefully and pointlessly limited to a) spending cuts, either those in sequestration or different ones, or b) spending cuts and tax increases. “Let’s just not do this, everyone” is rarely presented as a viable option. Instead, the single best end result, according to lots of pundits, Democrats and even Republicans, is tthe Mythical Grand Bargain.
This is awful news, for most people. A “grand bargain” is not going to be good. But after Barack Obama had fancy dinners with some Republicans last week, everyone is again hopeful. The president is hopeful. John Boehner is hopeful. David Gergen is probably hopeful. They can all taste the Bargain. Ooh, it’ll be so great when we get that Bargain!
The Grand Bargain is revered, among the Sunday Show set, as a goal essentially for its own sake. Its Grandness is its point. The thought of the parties coming together, agreeing on a mutually unpleasant compromise involving great political “sacrifice” (symbolic sacrifice for the politicians, likely eventual actual sacrifice for the constituents), warms the cockles of the Beltway Establishmentarian’s heart. If liberals and conservatives can’t stand the deal, all the better, even if one or both sides have perfectly valid reasons for blanching. The Bargain must, by necessity, reduce the deficit by “reining in entitlements.” “Entitlements” means Social Security and Medicare, two very popular and successful programs designed to keep retired people alive. Social Security and Medicare “reforms” that make both programs less generous are among the least popular policy proposals in America today, but both parties — at least, the leaders of both parties — support them (rhetorically). Cutting these programs is probably the single highest priority of the tiny centrist elite, and it has been for years, excepting the usual run-ups to our various wars. Part of the elaborate theater of Performing Seriousness in Washington is claiming that “everyone agrees” that the cuts are urgent and necessary, while also bemoaning that no politicians are “brave” enough to support them.
The nation is evenly split between President Obama and congressional Republicans over whom it trusts to handle the issue of gun control, while most continue to support stricter gun-control measures of the kind backed by Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
On gun control, Obama is trusted by 42 percent of Americans, compared with 41 percent who trust Republicans. Demonstrating a continued divide, those in gun-owning households trust Republicans over Obama by more than two to one (56 percent to 26 percent), while those in non-gun-owning households are nearly a mirror image (58 percent trust Obama; 26 percent trust Republicans).
About six-in-ten (62%) of Americans regard the Republicans as out of touch with the American people while 46% have that opinion of the Democrats.
But Republicans are more critical of their party than Democrats are of theirs on most issues, according to a survey conducted in February.
For example, 36% of Republicans say the GOP is out of touch with the American people. Just 23% of Democrats say their party is out of touch. And while 30% of Republicans say their party is not open to change, just 10% of Democrats make the same criticism of their party.
A majority of independents think both parties are out of touch. About two-thirds (65%) of independents regard the Republicans as out of touch with the public; 51% say that of the Democrats.