I have decided that it’s time to replace my car. It’s a clunker, to say the least. With more than a decade on the road and well over the 100,000 miles on the odometer, the old girl is just starting to fail. My car has become so unreliable, in fact, that I thought it might be a good idea to figure out how I would get to work if one morning my car just decided not to start.
Every wonder how you would get to work if you didn’t have a car? The short answer is that you probably wouldn’t. And if you could, it would take you a long, long time to get there.
After months of closed-door meetings and apparent deadlock, the Super Committee is finally working toward achieving their goal of $1.5 trillion in cuts - by proposing $4 trillion in cuts.
According to the Washington Post yesterday, Committee leaders suggested picking up where Obama and Boehner left off in June, discussing a plan that included provisions to raise taxes, raise the Medicare eligibility age and using a less generous measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits.
Both parties have proposals, and they look like this:
Democrats outlined a package in the range of $3 trillion, including about $575 billion from health-related programs like Medicare and Medicaid and $400 billion more in cuts from appropriations. An additional $250 billion would come out of other federal benefits such as farm subsidies or the retirement system for federal workers. Though it is still a contentious issue inside the party, the leadership has also signaled it might include adjustments in the Consumer Price Index, impacting Social Security payments, as well as annual adjustments in the tax code. But all this would be contingent on also getting the added $1.3 trillion in tax revenues.
The Republican plan shares much of the same ground but allows for only $640 billion in revenues, and when this is broken down, very little comes directly from the sort of tax increases Democrats have been demanding.
This post written by me was orginally posted on Policymic and No Labels and DailyPolitique.
Occupy Wall Street has taken off. The movement is quickly spreading across the world, with new Occupy movement surfacing seemingly daily. The movement is not without its critics, who point to the vast number of messages coming out of the protests as a sign the movement does not have a singular voice.
While there may be many messages out there from the participants, it is not hard to find some central themes from the movement. Not just Wall Street needs to be listening. Congress can and should learn a lot from the Occupy movement, using the protests as a motivation to end our partisan gridlock and do what is best for the country.
Neither Congress nor Wall Street is innocent when it comes to causes of the current crisis, and because of this, neither has been good at finding solutions. The OWS movement has come clear asks, listed on their website as a series of complaints against the industry.
This is a cross post from www.dailypolitique.com.
Yesterday, President Obama announced that he used an executive order to revamp the rules for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The hope is to make it easier for struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of historic low interest rates. The new rules include allowing homeowners who owe more than 125% of the value of their home to refinance their homes as long as they are current on their mortgage. The process is also supposed to be streamlined and eliminating some of the fees. White House officials estimate these new changes will help 1 million homeowners (14 million are underwater) get some relief.
Forgive me if I sound skeptical. The last time the administration announced a refinance plan, they estimated 5 million people would be helped. So far, less than one millionhave been through the program. Once again there is a lack of standing up to the banks. The only loans that qualify for the program are those held by Fannie and Freddie. The reason why the initial version of this plan and other plans to confront the crisis have failed, is because they lack any real pressure on the banks.
In our country, right now, 24 million people can’t find a full-time job, 50 million people in this country who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick, 47 million people need government help feed themselves, and 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home. Clearly, our economy needs some serious help.
One would think that our elected representatives would be clamoring over ways to aid their constituents facing foreclosure or those long-term unemployed who just can’t seem to catch a break, many of whom are occupying a city center in angry protest--if not out human decency, at least for political points. But instead, our junior Senator is currently focused on giving billions of tax breaks to corporations. That’s right – tax breaks to corporations!
I swear, I’m not making this up. Here’s a quote from the opening paragraph from Senator Hagan’s press release on her proposed legislation: