Tag: Robert Reich

Week Ahead: The “We Can’t Afford It” Bullshit | The Smirking Chimp

Congress is back this week, so you can expect more of the “we can’t afford it” bullsh*t from every Republican member of Congress and two Democratic senators (Manchin and Sinema) — aimed against Biden’s and the Democrats’ social investment bill. Behind the scenes, big corporations and Wall Street are paying huge bucks to feed this hokum to the public. And the mainstream media is doing their bidding. So it should be no surprise that Americans are utterly confused and many are misinformed about what’s at stake in this important legislation, which will come to a head in the next few weeks.

Source: Week Ahead: The “We Can’t Afford It” Bullshit | The Smirking Chimp

Why the Hell Are Democrats Keeping Your Drug Prices High? | The Smirking Chimp

something else you can do: If you happen to be a constituent of one of these four Democrats, don’t vote for them when they’re up for reelection. Make sure they’re primaried, and then vote in the Democratic primaries for true public servants — who care more about advancing the public good than protecting private profits.

Source: Why the Hell Are Democrats Keeping Your Drug Prices High? | The Smirking Chimp

How Trump Might Save the Democrats | The Smirking Chimp

All indications are that Trump is going to cast the midterm elections as a referendum on himself rather than on Biden. That’s hardly surprising, given Trump’s sociopathic ego. He cast his entire presidency as a referendum on himself.

Source: How Trump Might Save the Democrats | The Smirking Chimp

The Three Biggest and Least-Accountable Power Centers in America | The Smirking Chimp

The common thread is the growing influence of these three power centers over our lives, even as they’re becoming less accountable to us. As such, they present a fundamental challenge to democracy.

Source: The Three Biggest and Least-Accountable Power Centers in America | The Smirking Chimp

Today’s Jobs Report Reveals a Striking Thing: A Large Portion of the American Workforce Is Now Effectively on Strike. | The Smirking Chimp

But the number of job openings is at a record high, and many employers report having a hard time filling positions. Why? Some workers have retired early or found other ways to make ends meet. Others simply don’t want to return to backbreaking, low-wage shit jobs. Note that the share of people who were working or looking for work last month (the labor force participation rate) dipped to 61.6 percent, down slightly from the prior month. Participation for people in their prime working years, defined as 25 to 54 years old, also ticked down. In other words, many American workers are now engaged in the equivalent of a general strike.

As a result, employers are raising wages and offering other inducements to lure applicants. Average earnings rose 19 cents an hour in September and are up more than $1 an hour over the last year, after a series of strong monthly gains. Average hourly earnings have jumped by 4.6 percent over the last year. Corporate America wants to frame all this as a “labor shortage.” But that’s not what’s really going on. In reality, there’s a living wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a health care shortage – and American workers are demanding an end to all these shortages. Or they won’t return to work.

Source: Today’s Jobs Report Reveals a Striking Thing: A Large Portion of the American Workforce Is Now Effectively on Strike. | The Smirking Chimp

The Media’s Rotten Reporting on Biden’s Social and Climate Bill | The Smirking Chimp

The ambitious social and climate legislation now working its way through Congress will be enacted in some form. But its agonizing journey to date reveals the rotten job done by the media that’s supposed to inform Americans about our democracy. Last week, the New York Times described the delay in House Democrats’ approval of the infrastructure bill as caused by a “liberal revolt.” On Saturday it reported that Biden had “thrown in” with his party’s “left” rather than its “center,” thereby “leaving his agenda in doubt.”

Source: The Media’s Rotten Reporting on Biden’s Social and Climate Bill | The Smirking Chimp

This Week’s Worst Influential American | The Smirking Chimp

Call me old-fashioned, but I think people in public life need to be accountable for whatever damage they’re doing to public life. So from time to time I’m going to call out the person I consider to be the worst influential person in American public life.

Source: This Week’s Worst Influential American | The Smirking Chimp

The Week Ahead: Everything Hangs in the Balance | The Smirking Chimp

In many ways, Biden’s plan will improve the lives of the bottom 90 percent of Americans – people who don’t have much wealth and own almost no shares of stock. This is something the corporate backers of Republicans and conservative Democrats don’t seem to care about, but they should. What do you think?

Source: The Week Ahead: Everything Hangs in the Balance | The Smirking Chimp

Who Pays for the Manchin? | The Smirking Chimp

So why are you blowing it up, Joe? Is it because you own stock valued at between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems, a coal brokerage firm you founded in 1988? Last year you made half a million dollars in Enersystems dividends (roughly three times the $174,000 salary you made last year as a senator). Is it because you collect more campaign money from coal, oil, and gas companies than any other senator? (In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Greenpeace investigative unit that Manchin participated in weekly meetings with company operatives.) Say it ain’t so, Joe — but how do you spell “corruption?”

Source: Who Pays for the Manchin? | The Smirking Chimp

The Week of Two High-Stakes Games of Chicken | The Smirking Chimp

This week, two high-stakes games of chicken. The first is between Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans over raising the debt ceiling and extending funding the government beyond Thursday.

Source: The Week of Two High-Stakes Games of Chicken | The Smirking Chimp

Why corporate social responsibility is BS | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen listens to Josh Bolten, president and CEO of Business Roundtable, in Washington.

Philip Morris announced it would UNSMOKE the world and is better than any public enforcement or Quit campaign.

In recent years, “corporate social responsibility” has been viewed by some as the answer to the multiple failings of capitalism. Chief executives have responded to all sorts of problems – worsening climate change, widening inequality, soaring healthcare costs and so on – by promising their corporations will lead the way to solutions because they’re committed to being “socially responsible”.

Source: Why corporate social responsibility is BS | Robert Reich | The Guardian

House Democrats are scared to tax billionaires – that’s a costly mistake | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Democrats seemed cowed by their donors’ gaze.

Political cowardice means those funding Joe Biden’s ambitious social policy plan want to leave the mega-rich unscathed

Source: House Democrats are scared to tax billionaires – that’s a costly mistake | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Republicans once called government the problem – now they want to run your life | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Ronald Reagan once said: ‘Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.’ Today’s Republicans are practicing the opposite.

Ronald Reagan would not recognise a party that wants to intrude the power of the state everywhere, making a mockery of values it once espoused

Source: Republicans once called government the problem – now they want to run your life | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Trump’s coup attempt has not stopped – and Democrats must wake up | Robert Reich | The Guardian

A rar right rally attendee holds a Donald Trump flag in Portland, Oregon in August.

The former president’s attempted coup is not stopping. He still refuses to concede and continues to rile up supporters with his bogus claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Tens of millions of Americans believe him. FILE PHOTO: Trump family attends ground breaking of new hotel in WashingtonFILE PHOTO: (L-R) Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the ground breaking of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington July 23, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron//File Photo Trump reportedly nears DC hotel rights sale as ally says ‘I think he’s gonna run’ Read more Last Sunday, at a Republican event in Franklin, North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, repeating Trump’s big lie, called the rioters who stormed the Capitol on 6 January “political hostages”. Cawthorn also advised the crowd to begin stockpiling ammunition for what he said was likely to be American-versus-American “bloodshed” over unfavorable election results.

Source: Trump’s coup attempt has not stopped – and Democrats must wake up | Robert Reich | The Guardian

As Our Children Head Back to School, Partisan Politics Threatens their Learning and their Safety | The Smirking Chimp

These lawmakers – and many of the people they represent – equate “freedom” with being allowed to go without a mask and to own a gun, while also being ignorant of the shameful aspects of America. To them, personal freedom means taking no responsibility. Yet this definition of freedom is precisely the opposite lesson our children and grandchildren need. To be truly free is to learn to be responsible for knowing the truth even if it’s sometimes painful, and responsible for the health and safety of others even if it’s sometimes inconvenient. The duty to help our children become responsible adults falls mainly on us as parents and grandparents. But our children also need schools that teach and practice the same lessons. America’s children shouldn’t be held hostage to a partisan political brawl. It’s time we focused solely on their learning and their safety.

Source: As Our Children Head Back to School, Partisan Politics Threatens their Learning and their Safety | The Smirking Chimp

On Covid and climate we can achieve change – but we’re running out of time | Robert Reich | The Guardian

A large plume from the River Fire fills the air with smoke in Colfax, California.

Our collective tendency is to wait until big problems become catastrophic before dealing with them. Most of the time we’d rather not pay attention. We have all we can do to make a living, bring up our kids decently, save a bit for retirement, hopefully have a bit of fun along the way. We assume others will take care of the biggest threats. Or we tell ourselves there’s nothing more we can do. We may try to live modestly, recycle and conserve energy, use masks and get fully vaccinated. We might even write a few emails to politicians advocating for cleaner air and for stronger public health measures. Beyond this, it can feel hopeless. Hell, I was in a president’s cabinet. I personally know dozens of members of Congress. I have a big megaphone. But when it comes to this simultaneous pandemic and environmental crisis, I sometimes despair too.

Source: On Covid and climate we can achieve change – but we’re running out of time | Robert Reich | The Guardian

The Shame of the Sacklers | The Smirking Chimp

In America, shame and honor have become confused partly because institutions that bestow honors often have the ulterior motive of extracting as much money as possible from rich honorees while knowing as little as possible about how these donors obtained their wealth. In return for the donation, honorees are imbued with moral approval. Richard Sackler and other family members involved in this tragedy deserve to be shamed. Institutions that took their blood money should remove the Sackler name from their centers, professorships, buildings, and pediments. If they won’t be held accountable in a court of law, they must be held accountable at least in the public sphere.

Source: The Shame of the Sacklers | The Smirking Chimp

The Solutions to the Climate Crisis No One is Talking About | The Smirking Chimp

In light of the latest IPCC report on climate change, it’s crucial we remember these four steps to avoiding a climate catastrophe. First, create green jobs. Investing in renewable energy could create millions of family sustaining, union jobs and build the infrastructure we need for marginalized communities to access clean water and air. Second, stop dirty energy. A massive investment in renewable energy jobs isn’t enough to combat the climate crisis. If we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must tackle the problem at its source: Stop digging up and burning more oil, gas, and coal.

Source: The Solutions to the Climate Crisis No One is Talking About | The Smirking Chimp

The Delta Variant and the Trumper Blame Game | The Smirking Chimp

The blame game must stop. Let’s be clear. The best way to contain deaths and hospitalizations from Covid is to get more Americans vaccinated. Period.

Source: The Delta Variant and the Trumper Blame Game | The Smirking Chimp

Guns, Desperate Migrants, and Dangerous Drugs | The Smirking Chimp

When the biggest illegal gun runners are their manufacturers and they don’t smuggle them over or through fences

Even as Republican members of Congress accuse Joe Biden of failing to secure the nation’s southern border, Mexico is facing a growing problem of securing its northern border. Guns from America are pouring into Mexico, arming violent drug gangs. Mexico has tried just about everything to stop the flow of firearms from the north – passing strict gun control laws, imposing stiff penalties on traffickers, and pleading with U.S. authorities to stop the trafficking – but nothing has worked. So now it’s doing what any litigious American would do: it’s suing.

Source: Guns, Desperate Migrants, and Dangerous Drugs | The Smirking Chimp

Covid is facing a resurgence in the US, and so is Trumpian politics | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Trump continues to stage rallies for his avid followers as he did last weekend in Phoenix, where he declared, “Our nation is up against the most sinister forces … This nation does not belong to them, this nation belongs to you.” Wrong. America belongs to all of us. And we all have a responsibility to protect its public health and its democratic institutions. The real sinister force is the Trump Republicans’ cynical exploitation of lies and anti-scientific rubbish to divide and divert us. Months ago, it seemed as if this darkness was behind us. It is not.

Source: Covid is facing a resurgence in the US, and so is Trumpian politics | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Why Aren’t Biden and the Democrats Going All Out for Democracy? | The Smirking Chimp

You’d think President Biden and the Democratic Party leadership would do everything in their power to stop Republicans from undermining democracy. So far this year, the GOP has passed roughly 30 laws in states across the country that will make voting harder, especially in Black and Latino communities. With Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, Republicans are stoking white people’s fears that a growing non-white population will usurp their dominance.

Source: Why Aren’t Biden and the Democrats Going All Out for Democracy? | The Smirking Chimp

Why isn’t Joe Biden doing all he can to protect American democracy? | Robert Reich | The Guardian

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-BIDEN-CRIMES-ACT<br>TOPSHOT - US President Joe Biden gives thumbs-up after signing H.R. 1652, the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021, which redirects monetary penalties to increase funding for victim compensation funds, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 22, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

You’d think Biden and the Democratic party leadership would do everything in their power to stop Republicans from undermining democracy. Why are Frito-Lays workers working ‘suicide shifts’ on the job? Indigo Olivier Read more So far this year, the Republican party has passed roughly 30 laws in states across the country that will make voting harder, especially in Black and Latino communities. With Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, Republicans are stoking white people’s fears that a growing non-white population is usurping their dominance.

Source: Why isn’t Joe Biden doing all he can to protect American democracy? | Robert Reich | The Guardian

Worker Power | The Smirking Chimp

Reversing 40 years of shareholder capitalism won’t be easy. But remember this: you, the working people of America, outnumber the corporate executives and big investors by a wide margin. Together, you can change the rules, and build a world where workers have real power.

Source: Worker Power | The Smirking Chimp

The Anti-Family Party | The Smirking Chimp

Last Thursday, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under 6, and $250 per child from 6 through 17). It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years. They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty had reached post-war records. Even non-poor families were in trouble, burdened with deepening debt and missed payments. Most were living paycheck to paycheck – so if they lost a job, they and their kids could be plunged into poverty. It’s estimated that the new monthly child allowance will cut child poverty by more than half. But every single Republican in both the House and Senate voted against the measure.

Source: The Anti-Family Party | The Smirking Chimp

The Inflation Bogeyman | The Smirking Chimp

You’re hearing a lot about inflation these days. Don’t buy it. Every time the economy gets a bit of wind in its sails and workers get a little wage increase, conservatives scream about inflation and price increases.

Source: The Inflation Bogeyman | The Smirking Chimp

Report Card: Six Months Into Biden’s Presidency | The Smirking Chimp

Biden’s failure to make the right to vote his highest priority – to visibly fight for it, make it his own personal cause, and go on the road to take that cause to the American people – is not only bad policy for the nation. It’s also bad politics. It may cost Democrats dearly in next year’s midterm elections, and beyond.

Source: Report Card: Six Months Into Biden’s Presidency | The Smirking Chimp

Real Patriotism on this July 4th | The Smirking Chimp

Finally, real patriotism means using your position of power in the media to inform and educate the public rather than weaponize lies and promote extremism to get more clicks. I’m talking to you, Mark Zuckerberg, and you, Rupert Murdoch. On this 4th of July, let’s commit to real patriotism. It’s not easy, but it’s the necessary hard work we must undertake to make this country better for everyone.

Source: Real Patriotism on this July 4th | The Smirking Chimp

Why So Much Wealth at the Top Threatens the US Economy | The Smirking Chimp

Why Debt is the official business of the economy

Seventy percent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. But wealthy people, who now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s, spend only a small percentage of their incomes. Lower-income people, who were in trouble even before the pandemic, spend whatever they have – which has become very little. In a very practical sense, the U.S. economy depends on the spending of most Americans who don’t have much to spend. That spells trouble ahead.

Source: Why So Much Wealth at the Top Threatens the US Economy | The Smirking Chimp

Our Biggest Enemy Isn’t China. It’s Right Here at Home. | The Smirking Chimp

The greatest danger we face today is not coming from China. It is our drift toward proto-fascism. We must be careful not to demonize China so much that we encourage a new paranoia that further distorts our priorities, encourages nativism and xenophobia, and leads to larger military outlays rather than public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic research on which America’s future prosperity and security critically depend. The central question for America—an ever more diverse America, whose economy and culture are rapidly fusing with the economies and cultures of the rest of the globe—is whether it is possible to rediscover our identity and our mutual responsibility without creating another enemy.

Source: Our Biggest Enemy Isn’t China. It’s Right Here at Home. | The Smirking Chimp

Burrito Economics | The Smirking Chimp

Everyone ought to celebrate when those at the bottom get higher wages. The typical American worker hasn’t had a real raise in four decades. Income inequality is out of control. Wealth inequality is into the stratosphere (where Jeff Bezos is heading, apparently). If wages at the bottom rise because employers need to pay more to get the workers they need, that’s not a problem. It’s a victory. Instead of complaining about a so-called “labor shortage,” Republicans ought to be complaining about the shortage of jobs paying a living wage. But don’t hold your breath,

Source: Burrito Economics | The Smirking Chimp

The Wealth Supremacists | The Smirking Chimp

ProPublica’s bombshell report on America’s super-wealthy paying little or nothing in taxes reveals not only their humongous wealth but also how they’ve parlayed that wealth into political power to shrink their taxes to almost nothing. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in America, reportedly paid no federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011. Elon Musk, the second richest, paid no taxes in 2018. Warren Buffett, often ranking number 3, paid a tax rate of 0.1 percent between 2014 and 2018. The real scandal is it’s legal.

Source: The Wealth Supremacists | The Smirking Chimp

When America’s richest men pay $0 in income tax, this is wealth supremacy | Robert Reich | The Guardian

FILES-US-SPACE-BLUEORIGIN-BEZOS
(FILES) In this file photo the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos (R) gestures as he addresses the Amazon’s annual Smbhav event in New Delhi on January 15, 2020. - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced on June 7, 2021 he will fly into space next month on the first human flight launched by his Blue Origin rocket firm. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother,” Bezos said on his Instagram account. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP) (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The super-rich have bought armies of lobbyists to keep their taxes minuscule and to create tax loopholes large enough to drive their Lamborghinis through

Source: When America’s richest men pay $0 in income tax, this is wealth supremacy | Robert Reich | The Guardian

The Beginning of the End of Democracy as We Know it? | The Smirking Chimp

So without Manchin, is the For the People Act dead? Probably, unless Biden can convince one Republican senator to join him in supporting it. Would Mitt Romney or Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins be willing to do so and buck the voter-suppressing, Trump-dominated GOP? Or will history record that Republican senators were more united in their opposition to democracy than Democratic senators are in their support for it? The optimist in me says Romney will do it because he’s an institutionalist who’s appalled the authoritarianism that Trump has unleashed in the GOP. The cynical realist in me says no way.

Source: The Beginning of the End of Democracy as We Know it? | The Smirking Chimp

Why the PRO Act is Critical | The Smirking Chimp

Something I’ve just learned about Amazon – one of America’s most profitable and fastest-growing corporations, headed by the richest man in the world: According to the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Amazon warehouse workers sustained nearly double the rate of serious injury incidents last year as did workers in non-Amazon warehouses.

Source: Why the PRO Act is Critical | The Smirking Chimp

The Greatest Danger to American Democracy | The Smirking Chimp

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party. Only 25 percent of voters self-identify as Republican, the GOP’s worst showing against Democrats since 2012 and sharply down since last November. But those who remain in the Party are far angrier, more ideological, more truth-denying, and more racist than Republicans who preceded them. And so are the lawmakers who represent them. Today’s Republican Party increasingly is defined not by its shared beliefs but by its shared delusions. Last Friday, 54 U.S. senators voted in favor of proceeding to debate a House-passed bill to establish a commission to investigate the causes and events of the January 6th insurrection. This was 6 votes short of the number of votes needed for “cloture,” or stopping debate – meaning any further consideration of the bill would have been filibustered by Republicans indefinitely. So there will be no investigation.

Source: The Greatest Danger to American Democracy | The Smirking Chimp