Alan Simpson Doesn’t Know What His Grandchildren Are Talking About – As President Obama’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission releases its recommendations, we’ll continue to hear how the plan stands up for young people — people like Alan Simpson’s grandchildren: "Erskine and I are in this one for our grandchildren," said Simpson. I’m 26. Like my fellow Millennials, I could be Alan Simpson’s grandkid. And from that perspective, our national debt is not the greatest threat to my future, the future of my generation, or of the country more generally. For the last 9 months, the Roosevelt Campus Network has been holding forums asking Millennials what they want the world to look like in thirty years — when our generation is in its prime. The first results of this "Think 2040" initiative, were released on December 1st, in the Blueprint for the Millennial America. According to the Millennial Generation’s standpoint, as represented in the Blueprint for the Millennial America, the Bowles-Simpson report looks terribly out of touch. Yes, Millennials want to get our federal debt under control. But they also believe that we have to fix the economy comes first. In fact, they know without a growing economy, our federal deficit will grow dramatically larger.
Some Public Workers to Lose a Tax Benefit in Deal –More bad news for government workers. At a time when state and local governments across the country are imposing furloughs and layoffs, and President Obama has frozen pay for federal employees, it turns out that one of the few groups to face higher federal taxes next year may be public sector employees. The proposal to extend the Bush-era tax breaks unveiled by Mr. Obama this week would offer a tax cut for most Americans. The deal would end the Making Work Pay credit, which gave a tax reduction of up to $400 to workers with low and middle incomes. That credit will be replaced by a 2 percent decrease in the payroll tax for Social Security for people of all incomes. But more than six million federal, state and local government employees do not pay into Social Security at all. Instead, they pay into public pension systems. So if the agreed proposal becomes law, such employees will lose the $400 credit and would not reap any benefit from the payroll tax cut.
Analysis: GOP Senators Represent More Than Four Times As Many Unemployed People As Wealthy Households – Last week, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) admitted on the Senate floor that a proposal to extend tax cuts for families with incomes below $1 million would entail a tax increase for “just a small number of people, most of whom live on Wall Street and in New York.” This bout of honesty made it painstakingly clear that President Obama was correct yesterday when he called tax cuts for the wealthy the “holy grail” of conservative economic theory. In striking a tax deal with Obama, Republicans insisted that the price of extending middle-class tax cuts and unemployment benefits for middle-class families (along other initiatives to boost the economy) would be extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and slashing the estate tax. As Pat Garofalo and Michael Linden noted yesterday, the GOP’s priorities would cost $133 billion to benefit fewer than 5 million people, whereas the Democratic priorities cost $214 billion, but would help 156 million people.
A Grim Record: One In Seven Americans Is On Food Stamps – The number of people on food stamps keeps hitting new all-time highs; as of September, nearly 43 million people were using the program, according to figures out this week. Of course, because of population growth, absolute numbers only tell part of the story. The best way to look at the numbers over a long period of time is as a percentage of the population. And when you do that, you see that we’re also hitting new highs. The criteria for qualifying for food stamps haven’t changed much over time, according to Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the government agency that oversees the food-stamp program
What Aspect of Dealing with Bullies Did Obama Fail to Learn as a Child? – President Obama has adopted Republican tax policies he knows to be disastrous for the nation. Obama never learned, or forgot, one of the essential lessons of junior high school — how to deal with bullies. (This is proof positive that he is a native-born American — he never would have survived Kenyan bullies.) Here is the Washington Post’s summary of Obama’s explanation of why he had no choice but to capitulate to Republican efforts to reduce taxes for the wealthiest one percent. Obama summed up his view of why the Republican’s position on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans left him helpless to fulfill his promises to prevent the cuts: "I’m not here to play games with the American people or the health of our economy." No, you’re there to prevent any leader, foreign or domestic, from harming the American people and our economy. The way that leaders harm us is by "playing games" — which means that they act strategically to obtain their interests at our expense. The President of the U.S., therefore, has to be expert at recognizing and courageous and tenacious in countering these strategies.