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Robert Reich begins: "Wisconsin is in a showdown. Washington is headed for a government shutdown."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



The Coming Shutdowns

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

21 February 11

 

The Coming Shutdowns and Showdowns: What's really at stake.

isconsin is in a showdown. Washington is headed for a government shutdown.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won't budge. He insists on delivering a knockout blow to public unions in his state (except for those, like the police, who supported his election).

In DC, House Republicans won't budge on the $61 billion cut they pushed through last week, saying they'll okay a temporary resolution to keep things running in Washington beyond March 4 only if it includes many of their steep cuts - among which are several that the middle class and poor depend on.

Republicans say "we've" been spending too much, and they're determined to end the spending with a scorched-earth policies in the states (Republican governors in Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey are reading similar plans to decimate public unions) and shutdowns in Washington.

There's no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending.

Public budgets are in trouble because revenues plummeted over the last two years of the Great Recession.

They're also in trouble because of tax giveaways to the rich.

Before Wisconsin's budget went bust, Governor Walker signed $117 million in corporate tax breaks. Wisconsin's immediate budge shortfall is $137 million. That's his pretext for socking it to Wisconsin's public unions.

Nationally, you remember, Republicans demanded and received an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. They've made it clear they're intent on extending them for the next ten years, at a cost of $900 billion. They've also led the way on cutting the estate tax, and on protecting Wall Street private equity and hedge-fund managers whose earnings are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. And the last thing they'd tolerate is an increase in the top marginal tax rate on the super-rich.

Meanwhile, of course, more and more of the nation's income and wealth has been concentrating at the top. In the late 1970s, the top 1 percent got 9 percent of total income. Now it gets more than 20 percent.

So the problem isn't that "we've" been spending too much. It's that most Americans have been getting a steadily smaller share of the nation's total income.

At the same time, the super-rich have been contributing a steadily-declining share of their own incomes in taxes to support what the nation needs - both at the federal and at the state levels.

The coming showdowns and shutdowns must not mask what's going on. Democrats should make sure the public understands what's really at stake.

Yes, of course, wasteful and unnecessary spending should be cut. That means much of the defense budget, along with agricultural subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare.

But America is the richest nation in the world, and "we've" never been richer. There's no reason for us to turn on our teachers, our unionized workers, our poor and needy, and our elderly. The notion that "we" can no longer afford it is claptrap.


Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

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+36 # bnerin 2011-02-21 21:35
"Democrats should make sure the public understands what's really at stake." A nice idea, and this sentence implies that the Democrats can do this. And that is fallacy of this statement. At this stage of the game this is like asking a midget to be a giant. Surely Reich knows that the Democrats have succumbed to big money as have the Republicans - just examine Obama's donors in 2008.
 
 
+8 # Capn Canard 2011-02-22 11:25
THANK YOU, bnerin. Another thing that needs to shouted from the rooftops. The Democrats are complict in the collapse of America. Absolutely.
 
 
-4 # Philip Gurrieri 2011-02-22 12:38
Had there been REGULATIONS upon the GLOBAL-CORPORAT E whol-e ghost of the GOP huemanity would ABSOLUTELY NOT BE IN THIS MESS......! There would NOT be the AUTIZSM epidemic, there would NOT be the ALZHEIMER'S epidemic! These EPIDEMICS are made possible by the jackass Democrats believing that there can be DIALOUGUE with the GOP based upon HUEMANITY BEING HEALTHY in body & environments... .. What an ABSURDITY, follow their truly satanic deeds as they STRUGGLE to ignite the sparks to start the ELEPHANT STAMPEDES no matter how many children & Mom's become COLLATERAL DAMAGE!
 
 
+10 # Philip Gurrieri 2011-02-22 12:32
"Democrats have succumbed to big money as have the Republicans" This is a FALLACY, what the jackass Democrats are GUILTY of is: Believing that they can enter into dialogue with these anointed God's Of Purgatory for the COMMON GOOD of huemanity which is a mere COMMODITY to the in-waiting STAMPEDE ready ELEPHANTS that have been DRUGGED wiht the VENOMOUS TOXIC TEA od the God's Of Purgatory!
 
 
+66 # Activista 2011-02-21 22:47
it is COSTOFWAR stupid -article by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman:
"The entire economic crisis now gripping the United States can be directly traced to the military budget, which exceeds the sum of what's being spent by all other nations combined.... entire alleged shortfall in Wisconsin could be covered by bringing just 180 troops home from Afghanistan"
JUST 180 troops ... US is more sick than Soviet Union in 1980 ....
we are doomed ...
 
 
+74 # AKOldfart 2011-02-21 23:51
A short search on the internet, using what appear to be reliable sources, came up with the following figures as of a couple of days ago:
Our national debt = 14.16 trillion
Cost of Bush's wars = 1.1 quadrillion
Why is no-one stressing the real reason we are in trouble here? The progressives need to start buying some billboard space.
 
 
+55 # PhilO 2011-02-22 00:37
Check this link:
http://costofwar.com/en/

It shows the cost of the wars as $1.1T, not $1.1Q.

FWIW, I agree with you... the best way to close the deficit is to recognize that the US spends more than 50% of its budget on "defense", and this amount is more than the rest of the world COMBINED. Why are we slashing every part of the budget except DoD... and why is that part of the budget being allowed to EXPAND?!

Cut the crap!
Cut defense.
Cut tax cuts for the richest.
 
 
+9 # HonestJohn 2011-02-22 02:29
Um, I think it's 1.1 trillion, not 1.1 quadrillion
 
 
+12 # DRA 2011-02-22 07:15
Quoting AKOldfart:

Cost of Bush's wars = 1.1 quadrillion

I have to assume this is a joke. $1.1 quadrillion is $1.1 thousand trillion, more than every penny the government has spent on everything over the past 50 years. Putting this on a billboard would just make us look silly, and give Fox News more ammo against us. Otherwise, I like the billboard idea. George Soros, we need a donation now.
 
 
+11 # ER444 2011-02-22 12:35
Of course it is a trillion !!! BUT isn't that enough zeros for you?? The point is that the spending priorities are perverse, obscene, disgusting. The war machine takes priority over everything else. Welcome to merica
 
 
+7 # Robiodo 2011-02-22 13:58
Oh yes, definitely a trillion. Check out "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict" by Linda J. Bilmes & Joseph E. Stiglitz. The first trillion is a down payment financed by--you'll never guess--national debt. Rock on, Robert Reich, but don't pin your hopes on the Democrats.
 
 
+7 # AKOldfart 2011-02-22 13:57
Ooops. My bad. All those spinning numbers on the right side of the display had me dizzy. Still, a trillion is a trillion!
 
 
+1 # ER444 2011-02-22 10:56
AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!
 
 
+2 # dolly lanna 2011-02-22 11:22
Osama Bin Laden has won.
 
 
+11 # Capn Canard 2011-02-22 11:36
THANKS! ACTIVISTA, I have been saying since 2003 that these wars would fail and bury us. It is nice to hear that someone is publishing the truth. I feel certain that the MSM will not touch it with a 30 foot pole. Thanks for the story from Fitrakis and Wasserman. Excellent.
 
 
+21 # Pat Gray 2011-02-22 12:11
We are not doomed!! Yes, we are sicker than the USSR was before it's collapse and have a larger gap between the rich and the rest of us than they did in Tunisia and Eghpt---but those people rose up!! fought back! and the fight in our nation is startiing in Wisconsin now. Don't give up!! we are not doomed! We must fight for regime change here in the United States.
 
 
+8 # Robiodo 2011-02-22 13:51
Pat Gray, you got it right.
Time to stand and fight.
 
 
-2 # Philip Gurrieri 2011-02-22 12:42
CORRECTION> "Foreign Subsidies" pays for ALL their MILITARIES at the behest of the PENTAGON that represents GLOBAL petro-chemical cartels with USA TAX DOLLARS made possible by the GOP by setting the FEAR stage down-here in the depths of the God Satan's Hades & yes, the Lord of the GOP whose name Satan is NEVER EVER spoken in vain down-here "one UNION under God" on the GREENER ISDE OF PURGATORY...
 
 
+1 # Robiodo 2011-02-22 14:00
Activista, if you really think "we are doomed" please change your screen name.
 
 
+64 # MCD 2011-02-21 23:04
Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not "excessive spending"? The US war machine seems to be the definition of that term. Why do cuts to the Pentagon never even come up in these conversations?
 
 
+35 # noitall 2011-02-21 23:19
bnerin said it. Its not as though if we back the Dems and they have their way all will be peachy. Face it People, its OUR Government against the People. They've been bought and paid for and have their marching orders: You got your bribe money now do what you do that got us rich...we want to be richer. They forget the power of the people (if the people turn off Fox news and figure out what is really happening. Don't count on the free internet being there as it was for Egypt either. They'll fix that. You may have noticed, they don't usually make the same mistake twice. Knowing the American People, I'll have to agree with Activista...We Are Doomed!
 
 
+8 # Capn Canard 2011-02-22 11:20
ABSOLUTELY... the control of all is monetary, in this regard whoever holds wealth has more rights and access. The PEOPLE are usurped by wealth. Yeah, I am not hopeful considering the USA, it looks to be in collapse. Hanging on by the skin of it's teeth.
 
 
+12 # X Dane 2011-02-22 16:00
noitall and bnerin I disagree with you.

It is not about the republicans OR the democrats taking money from various sources.

THEY HAVE TO IN ORDER TO RUN FOR-AND BE ELECTED TO OFFICE. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY FOR THEM.........................
UNTIL WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH......AND DEMAND PUBLICLY FUNDED ELECTIONS.

People are opposing it. I sure don't understand why. For we are now paying through our noses.....liter ally, by breathing the bad air that Koch, oil companies and others ensure by opposing the EPA and clean air and water.

Asthma, lung cancer and many other pulmonary diseases are costing lives and billions in medical care.

So many things we want and NEED we will NOT GET because it is counter to what various corporation want, and............ .they have bought the representatives and senators, to ensure that they get it..........So get it through your heads. WE DON'T PAY.....SO WE DON'T COUNT.

I come from Scandinavia, very well run countries with proper health care and NOBODY goes broke if they get ill.

When I was 16, my mother, father and I all had TB. We were in a sanatorium for close to a year, for the medication we have today, was not yet discovered. It didn't cost a penny for we paid for health care through our taxes.
I will continue.
 
 
+10 # X Dane 2011-02-22 16:37
The infrastructure is great and families can afford to take vacations in Southern Europe, for ONE thing that can't be controlled is the weather, it is certainly unreliable.

Yes, their taxes are high, but recently the government announced that taxes could be cut..........bu t so would the services. THE PEOPLE'S ANSWER..... WAS A RESOUNDING LEAVE IT AS IT IS.

OK. I can already hear some say: Why don't you go back to where you came from?? To that I say, CAN IT. I am an American citizen, and as such I am allowed to speak my mind.

I love our country and our people yes there is a BUT. Shakespeare was wrong, it is not in the State of Denmark, that something is rotten. It is in our not so United States.

I don't even think you get mad at me for saying so, for from your comments here it is obvious, that many of you agree with me.
I am going Nowhere I have been a very good citizen. I started and built a successful business, giving work to many people.
 
 
+55 # X Dane 2011-02-21 23:46
What democrats MUST do is understand and SAY that we need to cut some; but do it in an intelligent manner.

And then we MUST say AGAIN and AGAIN, that so much of what we now HAVE TO PAY FOR,


IS ALL THE THINGS BUSH REFUSED TO PAY FOR; TWO WARS, SUPPORT FOR MEDICINES FOR SENIORS. AND A GIANT TAX CUT FOR THE TOP 2 PERCENT.

We have to drill that into the heads of all those who do not remember, and those who surely did not protest while Bush destroyed the economy.

The difference between democrats and republicans.is that republicans spend on WAR, and thus avoid taking care of our own people.
Democrat spend on improving conditions for OUR PEOPLE, for reserch and infrastructure.

We MUST invest in us now or we will not be able to compete.
 
 
+49 # DaveW. 2011-02-22 00:18
This is a nation that has lost all sense of priorities. One suite at the Stupor Bowl cost $277,000! We've military bases in over 135 countries the last time I counted.The right side of the Supreme Court has become the living embodiment of the "judicial activism" many conservatives bemoaned for decades. Government/Busi ness is actually one in the same entity.We send kids off to die allegedly to "spread Democracy" whilst we bankroll any Autocratic/Tota litarian bastard who will do our bidding. We ignore science at ours and our children"s peril, claim to be a "Christian nation" and have made Las Vegas (Sin City) one of America's favorite "family" getaways. We export more firearms than any country on Earth and spend more on the military than all other countries combined. Yet many want to gut programs for the poor, sick, old, unemployed, women and anybody else without a big, fat stock portfolio. We bomb around in over sized gas hogs affixed with American flags and support the troops stickers without having the slightest damn idea what the people of the Middle East are REALLY mad about. We play video games, listen to I-Pods and talk incessantly on cell phones about anything or nothing, often the latter. We're eating ourselves to death and many of us still believe the world owes us something even though they can't tell you why. We're Rome on Steroids, Fast Food and Caffeine. Freedom served.
 
 
+11 # Activista 2011-02-22 10:47
Yes Dave - we are so deep in this ... that there is no way out. We export arms - cause there is nothing else to export. And for this we need wars. Circle is closed and the end will not be pretty. And we are sending more troupes to Afghanistan and drones to Pakistan.
Did you hear anybody from "democratic" party to mention military cuts?
 
 
+6 # Linda 2011-02-23 08:19
Activista we are not doomed but we are to blame for what is happening to all of us now ! We have control but we are spoiled and won't give up the things we have that keep corporations in control. If we cut back our buying to only the things we need corporations would indeed take notice because we are the ones who make them rich .
Lastly its Democracy that is a stack right now not all those things the Republicans use as a smoke screen to divert our attention to the truth. Republicans especially the christian right want to see a Republican version of America not a Democracy. They want to be in control of everything we do using their rule book to judge that we do. Republicans stand for individual responsability only not social responsability. Your not a good citizen if your not a christian striving to make it big in the world of business therefore you deserve nothing. Democrats believe in individual responsiblity along with social reponsibility and that is the way any sane society should conduct their lives assuring everyone has what they need to survive in this economy where the cost of everything is going up and out of reach for the working poor.
Republican's who call themselves christians would leave out reading the part in their bible about being their brothers keeper, helping their neighbor and charity are nasty words but not selfishness and survival of the fittest
 
 
+12 # X Dane 2011-02-22 15:23
Dave W. I feel awful to have to agree with you; but I do.
It is terrible to realize what we have become
How can we turn this around?? With all the corporations drowning out our voices and Fox poisoning people's minds, to the point that they WILL NOT LISTEN to the truth.
An awful lot of our population is so hypnotized by the Fox crowd, they are no longer use critical thinking, or their brains if they ever had any.

I have good friends, who are intelligent people, but they listen faithfully to Fox.

When I came here 52 years ago I was told, don't discuss religion and politics. I think the time has come, when we should forget what we have been told and speak our mind, in an honest BUT UNCONFRONTATION AL WAY.

I am going to print out your comment Dave, and use it for it is the truth in a nutshell. Thank you very much for being so clear and concise
 
 
+5 # DaveW. 2011-02-22 16:54
X Dane, Thank you for the compliment. It's kind of like the old umpire analogy in a baseball game. "I'm just calling 'em like I see 'em." I wish I knew what to do next. I believe I can accurately identify many problems facing the country. Solving them is the tough part, especially since I'm not swimming in wealth nor particularly likely to do so in the near future. I talk to anyone who will listen and it has cost me at one of my oldest friendships. My family is supportive but somewhat fatigued at my insistence we all take notice of our nations trajectory. I write many letters to local paper and also write occasional columns for local Peace and Justice network publication. My in-laws and family, I strongly suspect, are ALL God loving/fearing Christians who watch Fox "religiously" and listen to Rush on a daily basis, at least from some of the tid-bits I've picked up talking to them. I try, for the sake of my wife, not to incite them. I'm honored you're printing out my comments. It truly makes me feel that in some way I helped someone else spread the sad truth about the moral decay of America. Look forward to talking to you again! P.S. I have a poetry blog, madlibpoet.com I'd be honored if you looked it over sometime and gave me some feedback. Thanks again!
 
 
+2 # X Dane 2011-02-22 20:17
Dave. We will "talk" I am going out for the evening, so I don't have time right now, when I come home, I will write again. Check in tomorrow. We have got to get something started. If the Egyptians can do it so can we. I think we have already started in Wisconsin. Over and out for now
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2011-02-23 03:14
Dave there are so many here who are angry and concerned for the future of our country. We need to harness that anger. ENOUGH.

I am impressed with Wisconsin and I sure hope they can stick to their guns. they are standing up for their rights. --and ours--They ought to recall that stupid Governor.

Caroline has a good point we should flood the White House with letters, but make them positive. Nobody will pay attention to insults. They will go straight in the circular.

We also need to mobilize the young people for they are smart in regard to the "new media" and they need to start fighting for THEIR FUTURE and the planet'S.
We must also HAMMER IN THE TRUTH THAT IT IS REPUBLICANS AND BUSH WHO DESTROYED THE ECONOMY. THEY CAUSED THE TROUBLE WE ARE IN NOW.
Our population has an awfully short memory. They have already forgotten that.
So we must remind them again and again and again, that it was Bush.

So many keep attacking Obama for the trouble we are in. HE DIDN'T CAUSE IT.
HE IS TRYING TO FIX IT. It is an awfully big mess, so it will take a while to turn things around,
 
 
+3 # DaveW. 2011-02-23 22:25
X Dane, Sorry to respond so late. Crazy day! I also an deeply impressed with Wisconsin and the solidarity shown by rank and file workers. Flooding the White House might serve notice to the President to act more forcefully. Mobilizing young people will be difficult until they sense "their" world is in danger. Many are too pre-occupied now with all the joys and pitfalls of being young aside from the "technological addictions" many of them, and some of us older folks as well, have.
CRS (can't remember shit) disease is rampant amongst Americans who can tell you all the contestants on "Dancing With the Stars" but know or understand precious little about the workings of their own government. Your faith in Obama is greater than mine. He has surrounded himself with financial industry insiders, continued imperialistic wars of aggression, o.k.'d oil drilling once again in deep waters, caved in to Republicans on the elimination of tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and imprisoned, in tortuous fashion, Bradley Manning, whose sole crime is telling the truth. You're correct that he didn't cause this mess. But he's taken many backwards steps in eradicating them. Working WITH the Republicans should have been deemed impossible long ago. Yet, he capitulated time and again, lately agreeing to lower nutritional subsidies to low income children and raising home heating prices for the elderly. Why?
 
 
+15 # Alturn 2011-02-22 00:49
What is being precipitated is the economic collapse of America. You cannot put the average citizens of the US in poverty and be a wealthy, stable nation. Even Henry Ford understood you need to pay decent wages. The corporatists in their greed are digging a deep grave.

". . . the whole world is becoming bankrupt — mentally and spiritually, said Maitreya’s associate. The world is going through a huge crisis and all the medicines have been tried and failed. Maitreya says that the tumour has got to burst open before the healing can begin, he said.
The world is in such a chaotic state that it could happen at any time. The politicians and the generals can do nothing to stop it — everything they have tried to avert disaster has failed."
- World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported in Share International
 
 
+25 # giraffe 2011-02-22 01:29
It is better to SHUTDOWN the Government than to give into the stupid demands the R's want. They won't make dent in the deficiet -- it's all rhetoric such as the "my people don't want their TAX dollars to go to abortions" -- TAX $$ do not go to abortions -- but they cut off Planned Parenthood on that stupid abuse of "Their so-called religious beliefs" -- "Keep the government out of my uterus" -- and that is what each woman in America should SHOUT like they did in Egypt.

That Wisconsin Governor is a filthy liar -- that state is not broke - it got broke AFTER that Gov gave ANOTHER tax break to the $$$. But again "union" have nothing whatsoever to do with the deficit.

The R's are lying and the people who BELIEVE them had better be among the rich because in a year or less those are the only ones who will be able to afford a loaf of bread.

Then there's the root of the problems. Scalia/Thomas sleeping with the Koch brothers (wined/dined by them) is IMPROPER for a judge who rules on something involves the Kock brothers and their buddies.

The W.H. had better start spilling the beans about the TRUTH -- because when "we go down," so will the aveage R's) -- Boner should resign. Scalia/Thomas should resign. With heads of state like this -- do you really think we can not turn into an Egypt. King Kock or King Scalia or King Boner?
 
 
+25 # giraffe 2011-02-22 01:37
continued:

R's say abortion is murder but I say killing hundred of Iraqi civilians IS NURDER --

So why do they fund an illegal war but not Planned Parenthood (even though PP do not perform abortions) AND no abortion is funded by US tax $$.

How stupid do the R's think we are?

I think Congress should swear in before speaking in session, to media or to their town halls, etc. And have the DA there for if they can't prove their words -- arrest each.

As for Rush, Hannity, Palin -- make them swear in too - because their rhetoric opinion influences the election results based on LIES.

Come on we have laws in this country -- LIKE don't yell FIRE etc.

I think you all get the idea== even it's not written in legal terms.

It's now or never. If the R's buy the 2012 elections --kiss your freedom/liberty /future "good bye"
 
 
+22 # Susan W 2011-02-22 01:41
I don't put a lot of hope in Ds at the national level. After all it was the chief D who capitulated on the tax cuts, escalated the war in Afghanistan, with the backing of the D-controlled Congress, voluntarily froze wages for Federal workers, voluntarily endorsed cutting heating assistance for the poor, keeps flapping his gums about doing something with Social Security, pushed through a bill to enrich health insurance companies...the list goes on.

How can we expect this party to help out the common people when this is their agenda? What's the difference between the two?

A third party formed around true liberal principles is the only hope for this sorry country. Without one we are doomed.
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2011-02-22 17:19
Susan, I am against the Afghan war, but I think Obama listened to the top generals, who thought they could improve conditions in that miserable country before we go home.

If Obama had started the withdrawal. there WOULD HAVE BEEN SUCH AN ANGRY SCREAM FROM THE RIGHT WING AND THE NEOCONS. He would have been called a traitor, and they might have started impeachment proceedings.
Unfortunately the democrats are very far from perfect, as I mentioned in another comment. They are all getting corporate money. OR THEY CAN'T RUN FOR OFFICE.
But make no mistake to introduce a third party at this dangerous time will ensure that e republicans will win in 2012 and we may never get in again.
I DO think that we should start to prepare for a third party.
 
 
+5 # Susan W 2011-02-22 20:25
A strong leader does not do the wrong thing just to avoid being called names--he does the right thing in spite of being called names. That is political courage and integrity. The right wing has done nothing but scream and holler and call names until O does their bidding, the tax cuts being the best example--then go about complaining about something else. He has already moved so far right it's horrendous and they still want more.

As far as threatening impeachment, at the time he did the escalation the Ds had control of the entire government so any proceedings would have been laughed out of town.

You are correct about the corporate money and the Ds are sucking at the same trough as the Rs, O included, which is why we need a third party. Russ Feingold has started a PAC which is on the right track and given enough support and enthusiasm it might just go somewhere. In the meantime, voting for the same old shit only makes it harder to dig the country out.
 
 
-14 # guytoe 2011-02-22 02:52
No MASSIVE reduction in government spending (including salary/benefits and ending bailouts) and the dollar will hyper-inflate and the number of dollars in teacher's (or everyone else's) check and checking account will lose grocery purchasing power. So keep on chanting and demanding them breaking green backs, until no creditor on the planet believes its noted promissory promise, and America's creditors take a big green dirty stinky DUMP. U.S. CREDITORS OF THE WORLD UNITE while our well heeled domestic LEFT keeps on marching for "its fair share" of nothing. Everyone else, dump your green backs for gold and silver (and a big smirk) AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
 
 
+16 # HommeVieux2 2011-02-22 07:41
As I lightly understand Roman History, during the last two hundred years or so of the Empire, from AD 300 on, the Emperor Hadrian's earlier (100-200 AD) policy of pulling in the border and living in peace while investing in the arts and sciences and infrastructure was abandoned, and virtually the entire economy was given over to maintaining the Roman Legions as they fought constantly to retain former boundaries. The same strata of society was in charge back then too.
 
 
+6 # Activista 2011-02-22 10:58
and it was military stupid that killed Soviet Union 30 years ago - and collapse of the "Evil Empire".
Now with Middle East revolution our USraeli empire is collapsing.
And Obama/Clinton vetoed (only nation) another Palestinian Rights to their half of Jerusalem resolution. So we added another 10% to 3 billion for bombs to Israel.
One is wondering whose foreign policy and interest is this country - we are paying for.
 
 
+15 # sinig88 2011-02-22 08:11
X-Dane has hit it right on the head. Our whole situation that our country is in now is because of GW Bush and his criminal acts during his 8 year term as our President. Actually it appears that he stole both elections, but that is beyond our reach now. However, it is possible if Obama has the Guts to do it, and appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate G.W.Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and others for the mess they got us into by invading Irag, a country that had nothing to do with 9/ll, and leave Saudi Arabia alone, when in actuality of the 19 individuals who bombed the WTC, Pentagon, etc, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, Mid/East cousins of the Bush Family.. Indict these people. Bring the to court. If the Repubs at the time could bring impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for a sexual affair, they can surely bring the criminal charges against these people who were responsible for the mess our country is in now. Go Wisconsin. Kick these Repubs out of office.....
 
 
+2 # mtnview 2011-02-23 11:27
You write that it is all the fault of Bush2. Disagree. This began under Reagan, continued under Clinton. Clinton dissolved Glass/Segal Act, and manipulted the deficit figures to make it look like he left a surplus, but its not true. Clinton began the practice of not counting the real poverty numbers or unemployed. We the people have been duped for 30 years. The oligarchy has had its day, now We the People need to stand up and support the real workers, or we will all lose. As one site said, the first persons who were sent to the camps in Hitler's Germany were the unionists, not the jews nor Romany.
The issue here is power, not economics. Who has the power? The middle class that is the spine of democracy or the self-exempting wealthy? Its now or not at all. On Wisconsin.....
 
 
+26 # wfalco 2011-02-22 08:19
The TIME HAS ARRIVED for the true trump card to be played. Republicans and their tea drinking backers have dominated the national discussion long enough.
It is obvious that the time has arrived to throw down the best cards-"It's the wars,stupid."
Call out Bush/War Inc. on what they have done to wreck our country financially and morally.
Although the morality issue is the biggest evil in my playbook, the apathetic masses just might latch on to the financial mess that the senseless wars have caused our country.
The costs must be widely publicized and explained.
As it seems Arabs/Middle Easterners are now prepared to determine their own fate-the time is ripe for us to allow their self-determinat ion.
A rallying cry must start now..WITHDRAW ALL TROOPS! END THE WARS! NOT ANOTHER PENNY SPENT ON NEEDLESS/ENDLES S WARS!
 
 
+9 # caroline 2011-02-22 08:36
I hope everyone is sending these important thoughts to the White House! It is great to talk among ourselves but it is the White House who needs to hear our voices! We will have to back up Obama to do these politically difficult things. The more and louder our voices the better.
 
 
+19 # Marco 2011-02-22 09:03
Where is the President? He has the most important megaphone in the world, the bully pulpit. He DID NOT use it to make the case that letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the top earners was part of the SHARED SACRIFICE that is needed in this country. He DID NOT use it to fight for a public option in the healthcare debate. And, he is NOT using it to point out that MUCH of the problems that the states are facing are due to the financial meltdown, and that Wall St. has paid NO price, but all the pain is being put on the backs of the poor and middle class. We NEED more FDR and less centrist BS!
 
 
-12 # Homer Peters 2011-02-22 09:27
I caught an interview of Donald Trump by CNN's Wookie Blitzer...very interesting!
I don't think this guy would need the big $$ donors and he's no pussy either.
He told Wookie, "Why do we invite the Chinese to a 5 star diner at the White House when they should have been sent to McDonalds."
 
 
+7 # X Dane 2011-02-23 02:16
Homer, we do because at the moment they OWN us. It is a not smart to kick your banker in the shins. He would not take kindly to that.

In regard to Donald Trump, I also saw several interviews with the Donald his ego is waaaaay bigger than the Grand Canyon. he frankly sounds an awful lot like the cowboy, W. He comes in swaggering and thinks he can tell off the rest of the world, just like W. It didn't work so well for W did it.

I think the world has had it with our hypocrazy and high minded ways for a while. We are so good at telling other countries what they should do.

What nerve, to think that we went into Iraq with GUNS and TANKS to TEACH them democracy, HA, we don't EVEN have democracy here. The big corporations run the place.
By the way, Donald Trump is only flirting. There is no way he will lower his living standard to be president.
The White House -I think - is not up to his standard. And the money is definitely not, but he LOVES the attention. I don't think he can live without it.
 
 
+10 # stonepig 2011-02-22 09:30
It's gazillions of dollars, the rich have most of it and we are a bunch of sorry Mundanes down here trying to find a way outof the mess.
SHUT IT DOWN
END THE WARS
STOP GIVING BILLIONS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
SHUT IT DOWN
SHUT IT DOWN
 
 
+21 # fredboy 2011-02-22 09:54
The Republican legacy: They went after the children and the poor while protecting the rich. And ignored the future.
 
 
0 # Lesabre 2011-02-25 19:51
They haven't ignored the future. They will be the Plantation owners and WE will cut the grass and do what ever they want us to do because, obviously, we are powerless to do anything except complain.
 
 
+10 # BishopAndrew 2011-02-22 10:08
The problem is the President is in bed with big business along with most of his party! It will be like it always is, the poor and middle class will bear the brunt and the rich will wallow.
 
 
0 # Lesabre 2011-02-25 19:53
Yep, the Dem's have abandonded the working class because we no longer have enough money to get them elected.
 
 
-9 # Tucker 2011-02-22 10:21
I guess this is what Obama meant by "change". No big surprise, I suppose, when you consider the fact that the primary benefactor to the Obama campaign machine was multi billionaire, hedge fund king, George Soros. This presidency has been bought and paid for. If one wonders why obama has capitulated to the demands of the mega-banks, speculators, hedge funds, "bail out" enthusiasts and austerity advocates one might look for answers in this dark corner of campaign finance. Of course, this tie was fairly well publicised, but "Democrats" in a whirlwind of dialectical manipulation and self-congratula tory delusion refused to be bothered by any troublesome details. Now the question is, when will the so-called democrats, who's hands became calloused from patting themselves on the
back in lieu of Obamas election, come back out of the woodwork to DEMAND
accountability from the bankers errand boy
they so naively and vigorously supported?
 
 
+5 # Activista 2011-02-22 11:04
George Soros has done for USA and World more than anybody else. He was the ONE - USA has to go through de-nacification.
- please read on Soros and attack on him - Beck etc.
 
 
+5 # mtnview 2011-02-23 11:33
Tucker, you certainly have the right to your opinion and your posting here, but wouldn't you be happier talking to the Huckster Glenn Beck?
Yes, many of us are incredibly disappointed in Obama, and will not vote for him again. However, Soros has done much good in the world, and this can not be said of Murdock, Rush, Beck. So is your only complaint the fact that he supports Progressive issues like education, environment, health, kids?
 
 
-1 # Tucker 2011-02-24 12:24
Wow, Mtnview! Is that who you think Soros is? You should stop paying attention to idiots like glen beck. The entire populist, tea party, etc... apparatus is simply being used to shape the debate between two "different" sides with basically the same policies. Do you not see that hedge funds and speculative gambling has replaced our physical economy? These types of financial con-games provided the false economic "muscle" that allowed the united states to delve further and further into "free-trade", globalization, east india company style policy, leaving little opportunity for average americans and ruining our standing in the world. Obamas policy has been to maintain a system where speculators like Soros can collect on the un payable "debt" supposedly owed them by the united states banks. You may support financial schemes like this, or you may not understand what it is that lord SOROS actually does for a living. Either way you should stop letting glen beck and the like shape your view of the "opposition". I'm a democrat. But a real one! An fdr democrat! I'm on your side but you seem to have been so manipulated by the manufactured debate that you can't see the forest for the trees! Do you want to see the united states live out the purpose for which it was intended, or act as a globalist, financial empire. Learn the difference, because you can't have it both ways.
 
 
0 # Tucker 2011-02-24 12:49
Mtnview...I read your comment above on the destruction of Glass Steagal under Clinton! It seems to me that if you understand this you must understand that the teardown of G/S simply allowed unbridled speculation to CREATE the artifical monetary surplus you refer to, while leaving the crumbling physical infrastructure economy of the United States in shambles! THIS IS PRECISELY HOW SOROS MAKES HIS MONEY!! Whether you think he's a good guy or not, Soros and the likes speculative activities have completely eroded the economy of the United States. You seem to not understand the point you yourself are trying to make. Please turn off the Fox News and quit taking your talking points from such artificially manufactured sources.... I, for one, have never watched an episode of Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly, or whoever. Of course I also can't bear to listen to NPR most of the time either. :)
 
 
+12 # jon 2011-02-22 10:49
Bumper Sticker the country with:

Support Our Troops - BRING THEM HOME!
 
 
+11 # Capn Canard 2011-02-22 11:12
Reich's comments are the stuff I've been expecting for the last 20 years, but only a few, like Robert Reich, has had the ballz to say it. The WEALTHY are not helping any of us! ZERO. Bill Gates and his ilk have been absent sleeping on their piles of money, spending it on African AIDS programs(Ostens ibly a good program but we've got some serious problem here at home and our government doesn't give sheet.). Reich tells it like it is. Personally I've watched Pro-Union people become supporters of two wars that CAN NOT BE WON... People, this is really simple sheet, the wars were not meant to be WON. The wars were meant to control the of oil resources, that's how "winning" is defined. Or WORSE, the concept of a War of Terror! How stupid is that? Since LBJ we've gone retarded. War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror. If the people buy those ideas, then telling them that tax cuts for billionaires will help them is EZ! These Stupid Americans would buy swampland in the Sahara! The dispartity of wealth in 1970 was about 25 to 1. Now it is about 500 to 1. We've literally went backward. It will take a Cairo like revolution to change this...
 
 
+8 # Prissy 2011-02-22 11:28
Imagine you are in a tough place financially. You borrowed the equity in your home and have spent some of it frivolously. The windfall is gone and you make some tough budgetary decisions and are feeling the crunch. Now your boss comes to you and says, "I'm gonna fire you unless you agree to a 25% pay cut which by the way will go to pay my boss' bonus, making me look like a genius". That's trickle down economics in a nutshell. So, which problem must you tackle to return to normalcy? The extortion you are forced to endure or your no longer frivolous spending habits?
 
 
+7 # norri 2011-02-22 11:58
The sad thing is most people still believe there is a difference between political parties.
the two parties argue over small potato issues but the field they're grown in is controlled by big money.
 
 
+9 # Hali Fieldman 2011-02-22 12:18
I agree with Robert Reich on many, many things, but have a slight disagreement with him here: part of the budget deficit nationally **was** caused by spending -- specifically, spending in Iraq. There was a period of time when the US spent $2 -$3 BILLION a WEEK fighting that war; surely that did a number on what was left of the Clinton surplus after the first of the tax giveaways. The idea that we consider the amount spent in a week in Iraq too much for many domestic programs makes me ill; even a .5% cut in the "defense" budget would yield somewhere around $4 billion. Indeed there has been spending! much more spent to kill other people than to help our own citizens live decent lives.

Hali Fieldman, Ph.D.
 
 
+5 # AML 2011-02-22 12:33
Small correction, Robert. The tax break for the rich actually goes on NEXT fiscal year budget (politifact.com ), but that doesn't make it any better.
Threatening state workers wasn't a classy move either, and Walker will walk, eventually.
 
 
+6 # DPM 2011-02-22 12:46
It isn't Democrat or Republican, as mentioned above, it is Republicrats! And, as stated, it is them against us. Force them to "heel" by popular demand.
 
 
-17 # I. B. Marshall 2011-02-22 12:46
I hope they shut down both Wisconsin and especially the Federal Government and send all employees home for 6 months. That would save us enough money that we would not need to borrow money to pay them. The Chinese are getting tired of Obama coming with his had out for more borrowed money. Shut it down.... If you do not know how to run it efficiently and within the revernue presently being generated then Shut it down... This is done everyday. The operations that have their spending out of control are shut down all the time.... the federal government makes them "SHUT DOWN" So why not shut it down.... it is a mess with no one at the Helm and now one has set a course... so it is time to stop when you don't know where you are going and are broke. SHUT IT DOWN UNTIL WE CAN FIND SOMEONE THAT KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING AND CAN PLOT A PROPER COURSE THAT WILL PROVIDE JOBS AND NOT OVER SPEND.... SHUT IT DOWN NOW...... HURRY !!!!!!!!! BEFORE IT IS TO LATE..... OBAMA IS ONLY SUPPORTING THE MULTI-BILLIONAI R'S LIKE GEORGE SOROS AND PETER LEWIS SO THEY CAN MAKE MORE MONEY AND WILL FUND HIS NEXT ELECTION...... SHUT IT DOWN...
 
 
0 # Lesabre 2011-02-25 20:05
It is the Republicans. Can't you see they want to weaken the government and keep it broke so that it isn't helping anyone but them....They want it Broke....You want proof? just look at what the Bush team did. In short, gave everyone a $300 check which deleted the surplus, cut taxes on the rich and big business, and started a bogus war that we are still paying for....That is their goal...Governme nt control of the war machine for big business and nothing for the working people.
 
 
+7 # Gary in Midwest 2011-02-22 16:00
We should all be disgusted. The war profiteers have it over the politicians. All they have to say is: "why you must support the troops" and they line their pockets with our money because to vote against the "troops" is political suicide and every politician knows it. Put a big star spangled flag around it and you get whatever you want. It's reached the point now where they don't even care to give us a good reason why we're at war. The spin works flawlessly. We're fighting for freedom! For democracy! All empty slogans. What we're really fighting for is their bottom line, plain and simple. And any old war will do, and the longer the better.
 
 
+1 # VSweet 2011-02-22 18:32
Thank you for sharing the truth. The rich forgot one thing...the poor and underpriveleged workers they employ as mininum wage earners, hire part-time workers to do full time work. If all American workers excluding the health care providers, fire fighters, police, etc. in unity support a National Sick Day and not report to work. This would make the rich feel the pinch in their pockets.
 
 
-5 # BruceMajors 2011-02-22 21:17
Public sector unions, like higher strata of the tax predator ruling class, do tend to monopolize the provision of services that are "essential" and/or lucrative. In the case of public sector unions, education and protection of person and property (in the case of the higher levels of the ruling class, money and credit, banking, healthcare, national defense).

They don't actually produce any of the services well, with constant failures (dropout rates, 9/11, etc. etc.). They don't show the flexibility or innovation of a market provider of a service or good. Their production usually creates enormous other social costs, e.g. state schooling's being the central engine of residential racial segregation (and hence racial segregation of economic opportunity) in America. (Indeed schooling in America appears to be a modern day slave trade where black kids are rounded up and sold to educrat unions for (mainly Democratic Party) campaign contributions.)

But the predators latch onto essential services in part so any threat to their monopoly or demands for more tax funding can be met with threats to stop providing the service temporarily, leaving the community vulnerable to crime, fire, (even more) illiterate children etc. The frequent use of this threat alone is a reason to abolish not just public sector unions but public sector jobs and institutions.
 
 
+8 # Peter Brazaitis 2011-02-22 22:34
We Democrats sat on our rears and gave away our democracy to the Republicans thirst for power in the name of "compromise" and because our leaders were equally guilty of taking the crumbs and handouts of the corporate elite. We embraced quislings like joe Lieberman and accepted a war that is killing our young people and sucking us dry financially. Democrats traded ethics and strength of character for expediency. For shame. You can never overcome bullies, greed, power thirsty demagogues with weakness and compromise. OK Democrats - what will you do now as you face poverty, usury, loss of your democracy, and future for your children? Will you compromose some more - Mr. Obama?
 
 
+3 # Anagnorisis 2011-02-23 02:58
Methinks the Empire dissolves. Et tu, Brute?
 
 
+4 # Gerry 2011-02-23 03:37
"Why are we slashing every part of the budget except DoD... and why is that part of the budget being allowed to EXPAND?!" well now let me think about that for ... 2 seconds. Oh I know -investment and employment in the American arms industry for Americans and by many Americans is a huge part of the American economy. There that wasn't too difficult was it? Suck it up guys -you just have to accept the fact that America is the most modern manifestation of what happens when the industrial military complex is the biggest player. It time to talk about the elephant in the living room.

Cheers Gerry
 
 
+1 # thomachuck 2011-02-23 14:49
Blind partisan political activity--coupl ed with the outrage from the right that an "unentitled" man was elected president--has increased our risk that this chaotic state will continue. The extreme right is in a huge power play now and unfortunately, the outcome truly IS a zero sum game. Winners are the big money interests (kowtowed to by both sides of the aisle). Losers are members of the middle class. And so it continues. People need to make objective decisions when they vote instead of following the loudest megaphone or signing off on who they believe will win. How many people unconsciously voted for union busting, tax giveaways to the rich, and the demise of Social Security and public education when they elected the extreme conservatives? Could they not have know where it was leading?
 
 
-2 # Duffy 2011-02-23 15:46
Not to worry! We have a President who will stand up for the middle class and the working man. Isn't he a man of character true to his word who will disregard the desires of Wall Street and protect the little guy? His "Can't we just all get along" attitude towards the Republicans is over. I know he’s seen the light and is now setting in the White House with his thinking cap on figuring out how he is going to block this attack by the extreme right Republicans on the workers of America. Any day now he is going to jump into the battle and lead. Just wait and see. I have faith.
 
 
+3 # banichiI 2011-02-24 13:55
That's delirious, Duffy. It's nice to have faith, but I will believe it when I see it. So far Obama's given away the store before it was even negotiated for, and he don't walk the walk. It's 'show me' time. He has now become part of the problem, when originally I voted for him because I thought he was leading the solution.
 
 
-1 # QDP 2011-02-26 03:17
RR, I agree with some of your statements, however it is not enough. SPENDING more than we earn is what got us here. Our government is out of control.

We are NOT taxing enough, and we spend too much on social programs we cannot afford. The clap about waste is BS, and nothing but rhetoric engages misleading discussion.
SPEND LESS AND TAX MORE.

across the board cuts, leaving bankrupt States to decide upon their particular cases is better than the draconian cuts we all really need to address?

Ever heard of PEAK OIL?

This C.o.I. increase in all commodities is WHY.
We have a pervasive Normalcy Bias which will NOT go away. Jacksonian payoffs are REQUIRED, unless we face turmoil unlike anything ever witnessed, worldwide. Not printing more money for bailouts. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
 

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