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Reich writes: "What does the Supreme Court's 'McCutcheon' decision this week have to do with today's jobs report, showing 192,000 new jobs for March?"

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)


The Jobs Report and the Supreme Court's 'McCutcheon' Debacle

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

05 April 14

 

hat does the Supreme Court’s “McCutcheon” decision this week have to do with today’s jobs report, showing 192,000 new jobs for March?

Connect the dots. More than five years after Wall Street’s near meltdown the number of full-time workers is still less than it was in December 2007, yet the working-age population of the U.S. has increased by 13 million since then.

This explains why so many people are still getting nowhere. Unemployment among those 18 to 29 is 11.4 percent, nearly double the national rate.

Most companies continue to shed workers, cut wages, and horde their cash because they don’t have enough customers to warrant expansion. Why? The vast middle class and poor don’t have enough purchasing power, as 95 percent of the economy’s gains go to the top 1 percent.

That’s why we need to (1) cut taxes on average people (say, exempting the first $15,000 of income from Social Security taxes and making up the shortfall by taking the cap off income subject to it), (2) raise the minimum wage, (3) create jobs by repairing roads, bridges, ports, and much of the rest of our crumbling infrastructure, (4) add teachers and teacher’s aides to now over-crowded classrooms, and (5) create “green” jobs and a new WPA for the long-term unemployed.

And pay for much of this by raising taxes on the top, closing tax loopholes for the rich, and ending corporate welfare.

But none of this can be done because some wealthy people and big corporations have a strangle-hold on our politics. “McCutcheon” makes that strangle-hold even tighter.

Connect the dots and you see how the big-money takeover of our democracy has lead to an economy that’s barely functioning for most Americans.

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+57 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-04-05 12:57
Obama could have been great. Instead, he is just another corporate lackey (just like Bill Clinton). Toss the liberals a few crumbs and keep servicing corporate greed. He did take $375 million from Wall Street in 2008 for his first campaign and no one went to jail (except a couple of whistleblowers) . Greed never sleeps and ignorance never wakes up. Boycott the corporations that are killing us. Vote the leeches out of office. Take back "our" government. Start by getting the neocons out of government. Then cast the CIA to the four winds. They are running/ruining our government. Impeach Clarence Thomas.
We might have a chance to save "our" asses if we get rid of the aforementioned asses
 
 
+63 # Barbara K 2014-04-05 13:17
Also, do not vote for anyone who is getting millions from the likes of the Kochs, the Roves, etc. Let them just waste their money, anyone they would be supporting will not be looking after OUR best interests, or the Country's best interest, for that matter. We have only our vote left and we must use it wisely. GET OUT AND VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION; our lives really do depend on it.

..
 
 
-39 # jsluka 2014-04-05 13:56
I am so depressed - I think despair is the word. I am so sorry to say this, but my friends Pablo and Barbara, Obumber has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that voting will achieve absolutely nothing except delay the inevitable revolution. If the vote is only between two branches of the same pro-corporate, pro-rich, pro-Oligarchs parties, it is meaningless - in fact, worse then meaningless because it is fundamentally corrupt. I call it treason. So which traitor party should I give a "mandate" to by my vote, since they will both screw the people? I won't just 'bite the bullet' and vote for the "we will screw the people less than the other party of people fu..ers."

The only thing that has any small hope is that NO ONE VOTES. If less than 35% of voters actually vote (which just endorses the corrupt system as it is), then even the corporate media will have to begin to wring their hands about the "crisis of democracy."

Pardon me for yelling, but;

DO NOT VOTE - IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THE CORRUPT TRAITOR POLITICIANS AND THEIR LACKEYS (e.g. the Supreme Court) WHO RULE US.

START THE PEACEFUL REVOLUTION - DO NOT VOTE!

Otherwise, good luck to you with "that voting thing."

Respect to you all.
 
 
+42 # ahollman 2014-04-05 14:34
To jsluka: For you to voluntarily disenfranchise yourself saves the oligarchy them time and money. Why convenience them?

Here's a better way to get what you want:

1) Prepare a schedule of for just how much you will sell your vote for each upcoming elective office or ballot initiative.

2) Locate your local oligarch at www.oligarchy.com by typing in your town or zip code. If there's more than one, you can be more selective by specifying gender and income bracket.

3) Contact your local oligarch and provide him/her your schedule of fees for voting as he or she wants. Negotiate as needed and collect the money.

4) Go to the polls.

5) When you vote, cheat. Having cheated you, it's what your oligarch deserves.

6) It's unlikely that your oligarch will find out, but even if he/she does, he/she won't complain. Attempted bribery will get him/her a trip to Club Fed. He/she can't prove it, but you can. And, since you didn't fulfill your end of the bargain, *you* were not bribed.

7) Declare all the money on your income taxes, but donate it to charity so you can take a tax deduction of the same amount. It goes to a good cause, you're legally in the clear, and the money is well spent.

8) Log on to www.screwtheoligarchy.com to get your 2 buttons reading, "My name is Robin Hood. I stole from the rich and gave to the poor."

9) Keep 1 button. Send the other to your oligarch.

10) Feel good.
 
 
+11 # Joe Bob 2014-04-05 16:21
Outstanding. I copied your comment and am emailing it to my list. Finally a real action step.
 
 
+6 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-04-05 19:45
If voting could change anything they would make it illegal---which is just what they are doing to black and brown people. That is a HUGE group of people who could rock the boat of the top 1%. Connect the dots and see how the two party system has destroyed our democracy and led to an economy that is functionins very well for the rich pschopaths that run our government and obey their major donors. We only get to vote for bag of trash (I could use another word but then this wouldn't make posting) or the other equally smelly bag of trash. We must vote but NEVER for a corporately funded candidate. We do not have a viabable third party only because we stick to the idea of choosing the better of the two evils. Evil is evil and we have plenty of that already. Vote for someone else to open up a chance for ethical candidates to step forward. We have to beat the money boys by not voting for anyone in office now. Give them the message that they have to listen to the voice of the people---and not those phoney corporations that the corrupt in the long black robes say are people.
 
 
+1 # Arden 2014-04-06 17:25
At least change your registration to unaffiliated. That scares them and makes it harder for gerrymandering the vote.
 
 
0 # Anarchist 23 2014-04-06 16:46
Barbara K: I must admire your boundless enthusiasm even as I feel somewhat downcast by your equally boundless naivete.I have voted in every election since I was eligible to vote...the candidates have only got progressively more right-wing and the results have been equally distressing. The idea that we are a democracy which can chart a course for 'We the People' is a myth. We need to more thoroughly understand the darkness we are up against; voting alone will change nothing.
 
 
+17 # carp 2014-04-05 13:40
Quoting PABLO DIABLO:
Obama could have been great. Instead, he is just another corporate lackey (just like Bill Clinton). Toss the liberals a few crumbs and keep servicing corporate greed. He did take $375 million from Wall Street in 2008 for his first campaign and no one went to jail (except a couple of whistleblowers) . Greed never sleeps and ignorance never wakes up. Boycott the corporations that are killing us. Vote the leeches out of office. Take back "our" government. Start by getting the neocons out of government. Then cast the CIA to the four winds. They are running/ruining our government. Impeach Clarence Thomas.
We might have a chance to save "our" asses if we get rid of the aforementioned asses

Lets throw the Neo Liberals out too, that would mean the Clintons and Obama.
 
 
-15 # Quickmatch 2014-04-05 17:02
Yeah! We'd have been much better off with McCain in the Oval Office office in 2009. No Obamacare and all the rest falling into place. Except if you are for Obamacare, in which case, we'd have been much better off with Romney as POTAS in 2013.
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2014-04-07 08:45
Quickmatch, I agree with you. People complaining about Presidents Obama and Clinton never give any other solutions other than voting "green". Which would be as good as voting for Nadar. And we all know how that worked out.
 
 
+28 # curmudgeon 2014-04-05 14:47
No, NO, NO, OH HELL NO to exempting SS taxes on 1st $15K -

Make 1st $25K income tax exempt..

Then the other suggestions are dead on...
 
 
+10 # MindDoc 2014-04-05 14:48
Excellent and succinct. Perhaps this could be a 'pledge' to counter the silly anti-American-p eople pledges of Norquist et al. (Assuming Reich would not run for or win elective office.) But the 5 tenets here offer a great blueprint for a return of the country to it's (actual) people, and the rebuilding of infrastructure, tax equity, etc. It is just so logical and sensible... that of course it is doomed. Money talks, now literally. That seems to have become (you can argue when and how) 'the system'.

I'd add that not only is the noose tightened on what's left of the 95% or so 'real people' people by this additional knot by SCOTUS. The flow of information is rationed and spun according to spec, while our once-shared economy has been vacuumed up while exporting jobs and hiding huge profits offshore. What is left of our erstwhile 'consumer economy' is anemic for the reasons Reich outlined: jobs, decrepit infrastructure and ludicrous avoidance of fair-share taxes by the uber-wealthy and the 'people' formerly known as corporations.

Even if we are shown some clear solutions, surely there will be loud defense of the 1% status quo and the[ir] media will continue to spin the narrative about how wonderful things are 'here' while the rest of the world seems in crisis. Here, part of our 'crisis' is that (like the old 'frog in heated water') we are fed constant fluff and disinformation, "sponsored by"... anything except We the People. What can we do? Reich offers the 'what'. Now how?
 
 
+14 # hwmcadoo 2014-04-05 15:02
With the great help of mostly the conservative Congress we are in a fatal whirlpool:

Decreasing jobs, less spendable money and less tax received. Less spending, more layoffs, less spendable money and less tax-well you get the idea.

It will end with us as a third world country with a huge poverty problem, a few super rich (the 1%), decaying infrastructure; little help for education, health care, food.

Ultimately even the filthy rich will suffer as the things they sell in the USA will decrease and the rest of the world may not be much better off.

This spiral will continue until some magic occurs or there is a complete revolution which will be bloody since the fascists have all the weapons, the FBI, the CIA now working in the USA, TSA, HSA and the military which now has a role inside the Country which by posse comitatus was illegal. All this is the new American Gestapo.

With the recent acceleration of our repression and the ant-American decisions being made openly the end cannot be far away.
 
 
+4 # overanddone 2014-04-05 15:06
one effect of the McCutcheon decision will be that it will be much more expensive to be a lobbyist. The "I'm at my limit" excuse when Pols come begging for cash, is no longer a out for giving more, & more & more.
 
 
+9 # ericlipps 2014-04-05 15:36
Quote:
That’s why we need to (1) cut taxes on average people (say, exempting the first $15,000 of income from Social Security taxes and making up the shortfall by taking the cap off income subject to it), (2) raise the minimum wage, (3) create jobs by repairing roads, bridges, ports, and much of the rest of our crumbling infrastructure, (4) add teachers and teacher’s aides to now over-crowded classrooms, and (5) create “green” jobs and a new WPA for the long-term unemployed.

And pay for much of this by raising taxes on the top, closing tax loopholes for the rich, and ending corporate welfare.
All we'd be likely to actually get is the exemption of the first $15,000 of income from Social Security taxes, without the lifting of the cap, and MAYBE a small increase in the minimum wage--and we'd only get the first of these because conservatives know that without a compensatory increase in other revenue this would break Social Security, which is something they've panted after for eighty years now. As for the rest of Prof. Reich's ideas, the tea potty would drag the U.S. government over the fiscal cliff before allowing even one of them to be enacted.
 
 
0 # Arden 2014-04-06 17:45
ericlipps, you quoted Reich's "create jobs by repairing roads, bridges, ports, and much of the rest of our crumbling infrastructure".

Our roads, bridges, mountainsides and pipelines are crumbling not only by normal natural causes, and tree-cutting, but by FRACKING, which needs to STOP asap. It is greatly accelerating normal earth movements; not to even mention its effect on WATER, essential for life.
 
 
-12 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-05 18:53
This is the new america. Either recognize it put on the armor and play the game or get out ... i'm tired of the tired whining and give up of the liberals in this blog .. your ancestors fought for what they got .. fuck your negativity .. it's a dirty game so is life .. grow the fuck up!!!!!!!!!!111
 
 
+15 # Pikewich 2014-04-06 00:41
"And pay for much of this by raising taxes on the top, closing tax loopholes for the rich, and ending corporate welfare."

How about paying for it by decimating the war budget? After all, all we accomplish by murdering scores of folks with drones is create more "terrorists".
 
 
+3 # Pikewich 2014-04-06 00:42
"And pay for much of this by raising taxes on the top, closing tax loopholes for the rich, and ending corporate welfare."

How about paying for it by decimating the war budget? After all, all we accomplish by murdering scores of folks with drones is create more "terrorists".
 
 
+3 # Ja-Roz 2014-04-06 09:59
Mr R. has defined the steps which need to be taken to resolve our obvious needs. Pity they are all overshadowed by the need as perceived by the elected officials (all of them) to get re-elected. Would there be a way of organizing the nameless 99% to contribute to an as yet non-existing communication to get an urgent countermovement going?
 
 
+3 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-04-06 10:44
While we wasted trillions on unnecessary wars, China has gone around the world buying up resources and farmland to insure their future. Wake up America.
 
 
+3 # bigkahuna671 2014-04-06 15:32
It's all depressing, just depressing. And to think, the United States was once a great country. How the mighty have fallen, all because of the greed of a handful of people.
 
 
0 # Arden 2014-04-06 17:32
If you are truly poor, they let you make as much as you want, or can, rather, because they have rigged it so that you can never make enough to go over the limit. What IS the limit, by the way?
 
 
0 # Balzac 2014-04-07 06:15
The best change comes from non-violence, action is required even for peaceful marches, can we peacefully expose the real power behind all this greed and control ? Are we blind as to whom is really buying our politicians and manufacturing laws to "legally" deconstruct our society ? I have ideas but they are tainted by propaganda and rumors.....who is behind this absolute manipulation ? Comments ? Answers ?The water in the pot has passed the tepid point and no one is jumping off of it....frog legs anyone ?
 
 
+2 # tclose 2014-04-07 09:16
A very succinct and accurate analysis of where we are at by Doc Reich. Discouraging. And he sure doesn't give us much optimism as to how to get out of this mess.

But we have to. We cannot just give up and let the powers of darkness take us over without a fight. And fight we must. Doc Reich gives us some good areas to focus on. Lets give it our best.

We need to put the pressure on Obama and the Democratic Senate to press hard on these points, for starters. No more caving to the Tea Partiers and corporate special interests, only actions that are for the good of the nation.
 

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