All Articles Tagged "Republicans"

Can The Inequality Gap Be A Color-Blind Issue? Politicans Act Like It Is

March 20th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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One of the latest political/social issues to grab a lot of attention is the inequality gap. But the discussions often dance around the notion of how race affects the gap. In 1967, in throes of the Civil Rights movement the median household income was 43 percent higher for white, non-Hispanic households than for black households. Things have changed, but for the worse! In 2011, median white household income was 72 percent higher than median black household income, according to a Census report from that year.

The gap is even more glaring when you look at the median household wealth instead of yearly income, reports MSN. The Pew Research Center found that in 1984, the white-to-black wealth ratio was 12-to-1. It narrowed by 1995 when the median white income was 5-to-1 to black income. But incredibly, by 2009 the ratio shot up to a whopping 19-to-1.

Despite this, politicians are avoiding discussing race and the inequality gap. A new 204-page analysis of the federal War on Poverty, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), barely mentions racial disparity. And remember Ryan recently said poverty is due in part to the fact that “inner cities” have a culture of “men not working,” a comment he ultimately called “inarticulate.”

While President Obama did note that “the painful legacy of discrimination means that African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity—higher unemployment, higher poverty rates” during a December 2013 address, it was just one line.

So why the deliberate avoidance of race? “I think it doesn’t make for good politics,” Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson says. “It’s messy and requires us to be deep and think about much bigger and more long-term solutions than Washington’s oftentimes willing to deal with.” But when taking about employment and home ownership it is hard to keep out the issue of race.

A recently study from Brandeis University found that the disparities in homeownership are a major driver of the racial wealth gap especially due to “redlining, discriminatory mortgage-lending practices and lack of access to credit.

And for those black families who finally owned homes, the Great Recession reversed the advancements, many losing their homes in foreclosure.

And when it comes to employment, black unemployment is still twice as high as white unemployment—a ratio that has been solid since the mid-1950s.

“The underlying narrative that many people share is that whatever inequities still exist, they’re due to the misbehavior or dysfunctional behavior of black folks themselves,” said William Darity Jr., the director of Duke University’s Consortium on Social Equity. “So there’s no reason to pay attention to racial disparities because one doesn’t believe they’re still significant, or there’s no need for public policy action by the government because it’s just a question of black folks changing their own behaviors.”

Even Obama often likes to stress personal responsibility when addressing the black community. His new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative emphasizes it in its effort to help young men of color.

Darity argues that self-perpetuating inequality will only be broken through wealth transfers.

“People’s behaviors are largely shaped by the resources they possess, and if their resources altered, than they might change their behaviors,” he said.

Huckabee: Dems Make Women Think They’re Helpless Without “Uncle Sugar” & His Birth Control Prescriptions

January 23rd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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via Facebook

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, got on the dais at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting and went on a rant about what he says are the insults being hurled at women from the Democratic party.

According to him, the Republican “war on women” doesn’t exist. “Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women,” he said.

“And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,” he continued. I never want to hear or read Mike Huckabee say “Uncle Sugar” ever again in all my life. Sadly, it’s still trending on Twitter.

One Twitter user's rendering of what Uncle Sugar looks like.

One Twitter user’s rendering of what Uncle Sugar looks like.

The comment was in reference to the Affordable Care Act (of course) and is a continuation of the conversation about Republican opposition to it. More specifically, GOP critics of the law say employers and other providers shouldn’t be required to cover contraception.

“Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication,” Huckabee said in his remarks. Kind of a weird take on women’s perspective on the health care issue, but he was clearly fired up.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in turn, told reporters today that he hadn’t heard the remarks but “whoever said it, it sounds offensive to me, and to women.”

MSNBC has footage of Huckabee’s speech, noting that he’s dead serious when he drops this disturbing turn of phrase on us. We, on the other hand, have included the Twitter rendering of Uncle Sugar at right.

Economic Researcher Debunks Right-Wing Claims That Welfare is Too Generous

August 22nd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Craig Harrington, an economic researcher, slammed the researchers behind “The Work Versus Welfare” report, which claims that welfare recipients make more than entry-level workers. “Unfortunately…Tanner [the study's lead author] nor his counterparts in the right-wing media seem to have any clue how anti-poverty programs function,” Media Matters reports.

As MN has reported before, the study insinuates that federal assistance is much too attractive. Welfare pays its recipients more than the minimum wage in more than 30 states. According to the report, government assistance pays more than a $15 per hour job — Hawaii dishes out $29.13 an hour to welfare-dependent Americans, it said.

Harrington is questioning the credibility of the study. Tanner’s research falsely assumes “that recipients take full advantage of every single benefit program that is potentially available to them,” he added.

“Right-wing media are promoting a flawed study that claims it is more lucrative for low-income Americans to accept government benefits than take low-paying jobs,” Harrington said. “[A] notion that reveals the conservative sphere’s ignorance on how anti-poverty programs work.”

While Republican rhetoric has worked to convince constituents that welfare checks are too appealing and therefore discourage job search, previous studies have debunked this argument. More than 90 percent of federal and state benefits have gone to the elderly, disabled, or working households, “not able-bodied working-age Americans who choose not to work.” Those who are not aged, handicapped, or employed only received nine percent of distributed benefits.

Among that nine percent, recipients are using government assistance for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits, which only supports individuals with significant work history, and Social Security benefits.

“If you’re making, in California, $44,000 a year and your boss offers you a raise to $50,000, you would probably say, ‘No thanks. Cause I don’t want to lose out on things like food stamp benefits…’” Charles Payne, a Fox Business News commentator said.

Well that’s funny, because a California family that earns $44,000 would “almost never qualify for food stamps,” Media Matters adds. Secondly, studies have shown that government safety nets aren’t keeping Americans poor, they’re actually keeping them out of poverty. “[T]he poverty rate in 2010 would have been twice as high without a social safety net,” Media Matters said. Welfare recipients are more, not less, likely to experience income mobility and escape poverty.

Tanner, the lead researcher, points to welfare as the culprit behind unemployment in poor households, but he neglects to take the poor economic climate into account. “Bad” positions are plaguing the job market. About 47 percent of workers didn’t have health insurance coverage in 2010 while 53 percent of employees had jobs that paid less than $37,000 a year.

Tanner believes that raising wages for workers would only increase unemployment. “This conclusion, of course, flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary and simply futhers conservative attacks against living wages,” Harrington said.

While Tanner’s flawed study is spreading like wildfire, this proves just how the malleable public is easily fed fallacious information — and believes it.

“We Are The 99 Percent!”: America Has The Worst Wealth Inequality Of All Developed Nations

August 18th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Over the past few decades, wealth inequality has become a bigger and bigger issue in this country. In the 1970s, the top one percent held only 10 percent of U.S. wealth. Now, their share has doubled to 20 percent! This leaves America with the highest disproportion of wealth distribution among all developed nations, The Huffington Post reports.

Economists Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez examined how much of the income pie the wealthiest have eaten over the past 50 years in 18 developed nations. Since 1960, America’s top earners’ share has increased the most because their taxes have been slashed by more than 40 percent. With central and local taxes combined, America’s wealthiest earners make nearly 10 percent more than wealthy Japanese, Swedes, and Danes.

Some blame Wall Street and Washington, who they say have been collaborating to enact laws that favor American banks, which in turn also favors the top one percent.

“[T]ypically, the bigger the tax cuts given to the one percent, the bigger the income inequality,” HuffPo said. Washington’s policies that slash taxes for the rich in order to stimulate economic growth, which should “trickle down” to the poor has not played out that way. HuffPo states, “contrary to what you will hear from conservatives, lower tax rates on the wealthy offer no obvious benefits to growth, or the poor.”

However, there’s more to the story besides taxes, the study finds. The economists also found that the United Kingdom has offered tax breaks for the wealthy just as much as the U.S., but data shows that their income inequality isn’t nearly as troubling as ours. Here, the same politicians who have fought for tax breaks for the wealthy have also supported less government intervention on the banking system. “The top 1 percent leveraged itself to the market, and haven’t looked back,” Matthew O’Brien of The Atlantic said.

“The poor and middle class, meanwhile, just get ever more discouraged about the political system and stop bothering to fight it, increasingly turning the whole process over to the wealthy and the politicians they own,” HuffPo adds. Americans did try Occupy Wall Street—but you know—that didn’t work out very well. Or at least it hasn’t so far. One could argue that recent labor protests are the early signs that the 99 percent are ready to rise up.

The study titled, “The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective,” puts U.S. income inequality as the worst versus 17 developed nations. In order from largest inequality to smallest, the other nations are: UK, Ireland, Norway, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Japan, Sweden, France, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

News Flash! The GOP Is Unpopular With Large Swaths Of The Voting Population

June 5th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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It’s no secret that as 2016’s presidential election approaches, Republicans need to lure African Americans, Hispanic voters, a growing minority, and other racial groups to the right to have any chance of winning. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are other alarming members of the populace that may foreshadow their failure in the next election.

Single mothers, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are on the rise, according to the The Washington Post. A half a century ago, unmarried single mothers only represented less than one percent of America. Currently, a report by the Pew Research Center says, mommies who have children out of wedlock constitute 11 percent of the United States.

The last presidential election with Obama emerging as victorious sent unnerving shockwaves through the GOP. There was a revelation that appealing solely to White and rural-dwelling voters was not sufficient. The changing demographics of the United States are posing a threat to Republicans in office across the country.

Back in 2008, Obama gained 74 percent of the single mom vote. Now with the steady increase of moms raising kids on their own, the number of women  expected to vote in favor of the Democrats for the next presidential race is climbing as well.

These never-married single moms are generally African American or Latina and under the age of 30. It is certainly no surprise that Blacks and Hispanics heavily supported Democrats as exit polls demonstrated last year; the real shocker lies in the fact that white single moms are beginning to lean towards the left as well.

Among white single mothers, 56 percent voted for Obama while a feeble 43 percent favored Romney. Single mothers of all races who had a household income of less than $50,000 supported Obama with 79 percent of their votes.

Not only are single moms gaining potency in the presidential race, but young voters are as well. Exit polls of 2004 demonstrated that Republicans (under Bush) won 45 percent of young voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. In 2012, Obama had 60 percent of the young population’s vote in that same age range, according to CNN.

Republican activists acknowledge that the reasons behind the GOP’s failure to attract more voters lie in seeming closed-minded, Republican voices having no filter, according to a report on Politico. A recent political and economic study by The College Republican National Committee that looked at polls for the groups we’ve discussed here shows that, on economic matters,“We’ve become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer you a hand to help you get there.”

Do you think the GOP stands a chance in winning 2016’s election with an evolving American demographic?

With Benghazi Frenzy, GOP Sets Its Sights On Hillary Clinton — In 2016

May 14th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The Republicans have been up in arms about Benghazi and a “cover up” that they keep insisting on in the wake of the terrible September 11, 2012 event that cost the lives of four Americans, including US. Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens. For some background and the latest on the situation, click here.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings last week and Republicans continue to harp on the changes to talking points that were used in discussions of the incident with the media and Congress. Squarely in their cross hairs is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not only is this situation being used to attempt to damage President Obama, it’s being preemptively used to hurt Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 presidential run. Note the use of the word “possible” because Hillary Clinton hasn’t said that she’s even running. So this is what we’re spending precious government time and resources on. Sigh.

Already, the National Republican National Committee has made a video and used the situation as part of its fundraising efforts. According to The Washington Post, the ”Clinton/Benghazi fundraising page made Friday the most trafficked day in the history of its Web site.”

 

Certainly, when a tragedy of this magnitude happens, it’s worthwhile to investigate, find deficiencies, and solve them, which it looks like Clinton tried to do. The article goes on to say that there are some legitimate questions being asked about what happened before and after the incident. But, as WaPo writes, “the moment Republicans get a little too ambitious in tying Clinton to the issue is the moment that Democrats can credibly say that this is a political operation — as President Obama argued in his press conference Monday.” Seeing the money roll in, and out of persistent fears of their diminishing power, the Republicans can (and probably will, if they haven’t already) go too far.

“The fact is that while Republicans may truly believe Clinton bears some responsibility for what happened on Sept. 11, 2012, and for the administration’s poor public response to it, they still have plenty to prove to the American people in that regard,” The Washington Post says. And before you can prove anything, you have to make people care. A poll from the Pew Research Center finds that only 44 percent are paying attention to the hearings and any of the other activity surrounding the Benghazi investigation. About 40 percent say they believe the Obama administration has been honest; the same amount think they’ve been dishonest.

Moreover, Public Policy Polling research finds that voters trust Hillary Clinton more than they do congressional Republicans. And she has a 52 percent approval rating. Congressional Republicans have a 36 percent approval rating. More than half, 57 percent, view Congressional Republicans unfavorably.

Getting to the truth is one thing, but using this situation for fundraising or political purposes is another. To use David Brock’s words (writing for USA Today), this is looking very much like a “witch hunt.” After the jump, the American Crossroads super PAC attack ad.

African Americans In The GOP, Both Behind The Scenes And Out Front

April 9th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

The Republican party and the African-American community aren’t known for being on the same side of most issues. But as the GOP has upped its efforts to increase its appeal in the black and Latina community,  MadameNoire to take a look of some of the party insiders.

President Obama To Give Back 5% Of Salary “In Solidarity” With Federal Employees Who’ve Been Hurt By Sequestration

April 3rd, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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President Obama wants to show you as opposed to just telling you that he’s a man of the people, and he’s doing that by returning five percent of his $400,000 salary as a sign of unity with federal employees who have had to take pay cuts, been unemployed or deal with unpaid leaves from their jobs as an effect of sequestration. As part of the sequestration, in March, budget cuts were enacted between the defense and non-defense categories of government, and by the end of the year, it’s said that thousands of jobs will be lost or failed to be created because of these cuts and could even affect Medicare. Even historical sites and parks have been shut down for visitation because of the sequestration.

According to TIME, the following was said in a statement about the president’s choice by a White House official:

“The salary for the President, as with Members of Congress, is set by law and cannot be changed. However, the President has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury.”

All in all, by the end of the year, that 5 percent (which will be distributed in payments each month), according to the Washington Post, will come out to about $20,000. Even Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is taking a voluntary pay cut, amounting to allegedly 14 furlough days (those unpaid job leaves we were discussing earlier). A democratic senator in Alaska is also following suit.

According to the Washington Post, this could be a move by the president to put public pressure on Republicans, and it could work:

“…what he is clearly hoping is that other Administration figures and other elected officials take his cue to forego some salary and, in so doing, keep the story in the news — ratcheting up the pressure on those (mostly Republicans) who are just fine with keeping the sequester in place.”

Whatever the motivation behind this voluntary pay cut, it’s a bold one that we here are impressed by. What are your thoughts?

 

 

SOTU Surprise: President Obama Calls for $9 Per Hour Minimum Wage And the Debate Begins

February 13th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

In a proposal that broadcasters said was a surprise, President Obama called for a raise in the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour, up from the current $7.25. He justified the proposal by calling out the disgrace that it truly is when a person works all week and still makes less than a living wage. Of course, many workers and worker’s advocates support the move.

“But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year,” he said (transcript courtesy of PolicyMic). Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.”

The proposal would increase the minimum wage in stages through 2015. The last time there was a raise in the minimum wage was 2007, says CNN. The outlet quotes Bureau of Labor stats that put the number of people earning the minimum wage at 5.8 million, or about 5.2 percent, not counting workers like maids, who get a fixed weekly wage.

No sooner had the words left his mouth did economists and others begin the debate about whether this is a good idea. On its face, of course we want hard-working people to be in a more stable financial position. But some say that there are other considerations that could end up making the higher wage a negative.

“[E]mployer groups say that raising the federal minimum wage would cost jobs, and hiking state rates doesn’t help reduce poverty,” writes CNN. “Studies have projected a loss of at least 467,500 positions were the hourly rate to go up to $9.80, according to the Employment Policies Institute, which advocates for employers. The most recent boost meant that 114,000 fewer teens had jobs.” A previous bill to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 by 2014 stalled. The article says that if the minimum wage kept up with the cost of living, it would actually be $10.56 per hour.

That sentiment is seconded by The Wall Street Journal, which says that Republicans and business groups will oppose the pay hike. There are some who say that raising the minimum wage will increase spending by those earning more money. Others say it will lead to job cuts as employers lay off workers they can no longer afford. Still others say that if you’re trying to alleviate poverty, this will have a very limited impact, and will benefit higher-income earners in a kind of trickle-up effect.

“The White House wants to force wealthier Americans to pay higher taxes by eliminating tax breaks, and it is now calling for wage increases for poorer Americans,” writes the Journal. “Many Republicans oppose raising taxes and oppose raising the minimum wage, but they could face a test in their new public campaign to appeal to middle-class and low-income Americans.” The President was quick to point out that a minimum wage increase was also supported by Mitt Romney.

The effort to raise the minimum wage comes at a time when there are some signs of economic recovery — stock market highs and employers hiring — and there is a need to offer support to lift people out of poverty. The Journal says that the poverty rate in this country is at 15.9 percent, or 48.5 million in 2011. Reuters quotes some business owners and experts who say that it’ll actually put teenagers, immigrants, and those lacking skill out of work.

Those arguments in opposition bring up the bigger problem of education and creating a skilled workforce that can earn a living in this modern marketplace. That’s where other issues like universal pre-school, beefing up jobs in the energy sector, and making college more affordable become critical pieces of the entire puzzle.

Oh, JK! Republicans Don’t Really Want Obama To Resign Over Lip-Syncing ‘Scandal’

January 24th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

**Update**

According to the International Business Times, the New Yorker’s article on Rand Paul asking for President Obama to resign was just a joke. Apparently Andy Borowitz’s article was satire and he regularly writes these types of opinion pieces on current events — without letting people know they’re not real.

Well, at least this is relief Republicans aren’t that crazy.

*******

I really wanted that headline to read: GTFOHWTBSYRAMF — the last letters meaning you racist a** mother f***ers but that’s not very ladylike so I’ll stop while I’m already behind on my swearing allotment for the day. But after you read this, you might want to yell out a few expletives too.

The New Yorker, in its Borowitz Report, has quoted the always-ridiculous Senator Rand Paul — a Republican from Kentucky, of course — who is now calling on President Obama to resign from office because Beyonce lip-synched the National Anthem during inauguration. According to him:

“By lip-synching the national anthem, Beyoncé has cast a dark cloud over the President’s second term. The only way President Obama can remove that cloud is by resigning from office at once.”

“We must remember that this happened on President Obama’s watch. If Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem, how do we know President Obama didn’t lip-sync his oath of office?” he said. “If that’s the case, he’s not legally President. But just to be on the safe side, he should resign anyway.”

Yes, that’s a very logical way to look at this situation because singing and talking are exactly the same thing and I’m sure President Obama wanted to save his vocals so he could whisper in Michelle’s ear later during their first Inaugural dance. How does he not realize how crazy he sounds? And how is his party not ashamed? They need to put out a gag order on him.

At this point, I should remind you that Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul, the originator of the “honest rape” theory that, speaking of cloud casting, overshadowed way too much of the abortion debate during the Presidential election this year. So yeah, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree at all.

Like Beyonce, the White House has chosen not to comment on what has become the most unnecessarily crafted scandal in a slow news week ever — because why would they — but Rand says the refusal to comment:

 “only serves the argument that this President has something to hide.”

I wish Republicans like Rand and his pappy would realize that they should actually be the ones who keep quiet on things that don’t actually matter. Isn’t there a deficit to be fixed right now?

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