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Rainer Hachfeld | After the U.N. Summit / TruthDig.com

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Five myths about the Bush tax cuts

  • A gloomy economic and fiscal outlook has given rise to a number of stubborn myths about what extending the Bush tax cuts would -- or wouldn't -- do.
  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics

William G. Gale, Washington Post | DC

Photo Credit: AMagill

The tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, known as the Bush tax cuts, are set to expire Dec. 31, and the fight over what to do is increasingly heated. Should the tax cuts expire, as some Democrats have said? Should they be extended, as most Republicans maintain? Or does the answer lie somewhere in between, as the Obama administration, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, has argued in recent weeks?

The cuts lowered tax rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains; eventually eliminated the estate tax; further lowered burdens on married couples, parents and the working poor; and increased tax credits for education and retirement savings. Obama's proposal would extend most of these reductions, allowing only those for individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 to expire.

Complicating the debate is a gloomy economic and fiscal outlook, one that is decidedly different from the rosy scenario that prevailed at the beginning of the last decade. That outlook has given rise to a number of stubborn myths about what extending the Bush tax cuts would -- or wouldn't -- do.

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Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics, Eric Alterman, Center for American Progress

  • Economic inequality in America is growing to proportions we have never seen before, threatening not only our social structure but also our democracy as the U.S. Supreme Court equates the right to spend money on politics with freedom of speech
  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.


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Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.

Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...

David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Signe Wilkinson

Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor, Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

  • Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint – social constraints prevent the poor from working – will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
  • Special Report | American Labor in 2010
  • The jobs emergency

US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story..., Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Common Dreams
Private ‘fortunes’ of the few continue to grow alongside the misfortunes of many.  These fortunes come directly from production and investment strategies which involve layoffs, paying pittance to workers, tax dodging, abuse of tax payers’ money and so on.

How the Rich Conduct Class Warfare, Cenk Uygur, Huffington Post
This isn't about some ridiculous stereotypes or populist demagoguery. This is about stone cold facts.
Class Warfare from the Top Down

Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth', William AldenHuffington Post

  • Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.
  • Class Warfare from the Top Down
  • Third world America

Someone's raking it in, and it isn't you! Kansas City Star | KS

  • Unless, that is, you're a CEO big on layoffs. That doesn't play well, does it?
  • Widening pay disparities can undermine the economic system by causing many to question its basic fairness.
  • Corporate kings grab our tax subsidies but create no new jobs.

Reducing Student Poverty in the Classroom, Saba Bireda , Joy Moses, Center for American Progress
School-Based Antipoverty Strategies the Federal Government Can Learn From and Act On

Slideshow: Progressive Poverty Policies, Folayemi Agbede, Joy Moses, Center for American Progress
We’ve compiled a slideshow of examples of lesser-discussed progressive and Obama administration policies that have benefited low-income Americans over the rough economic terrain of the last two years.

Child Poverty by the Numbers, Center for American Progress
New Data Shows Largest Number of People in Poverty on Record

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish, Center for American Progress
Why Tackling Child Poverty During the Great Recession Makes Economic Sense

We Need to Do More to Combat Poverty, Center for American Progress
Census Numbers Highlight Need for Congress to Act

Stretching the Safety Net, Center for American Progress<http://www.americanprogress.org>
New Census Poverty Data Suggest the Need for Elevated Government Funding
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/09/stretching_safety_net.html

Section(s): 

US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...

Private ‘fortunes’ of the few continue to grow alongside the misfortunes of many.  These fortunes come directly from production and investment strategies which involve layoffs, paying pittance to workers, tax dodging, abuse of tax payers’ money and so on.

Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Common Dreams

In April this year, Fortune magazine published an insightful analytical piece Fortune 500: Profits bounce back.  (Recently) as I went back to the Fortune website to read the piece again, I found something very interesting: sitting right next to it was the story Poverty in the US Spikes. I took a screen-shot right away.  The picture is worth much more than a mere thousand words: I think its worth 391 billion dollars (2009 the Fortune 500 earnings) or the 14.9 million Americans without jobs. You choose.

Some excerpts from Profits Bounce Back:

Amazingly, as consumers struggle, U.S. corporations are staging a nearly unprecedented comeback that's largely escaping notice. The gargantuan, dispiriting job cuts that seem to dominate the news have also been the spur for an epic resurgence in profits. For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that's the second largest in the list's 56-year history, approaching the increase in the robust recovery of 2003.

More...http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/23-4

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Merit Pay Has No Effect on Teacher Quality

Let’s put Q Comp out of its misery once and for all. Let’s keep its mentoring, collaboration and curriculum development aspects and dump the merit pay and salary revisions. Then it might become a viable program.

John Fitzgerald, Minnesota 2020

It’s gratifying when other research backs up what we have been saying all along: Merit pay has no effect on teacher quality.

Education Week published a story Tuesday (Sep 21) headlined “Merit Pay Found to Have Little Effect on Achievement.” Here’s the first paragraph:

“The most rigorous study of performance-based teacher compensation ever conducted in the United States shows that a nationally watched bonus-pay system had no overall impact on student achievement — results released today that are certain to set off a firestorm of debate.”

While I don’t know about the “firestorm of debate,” it seems clear that what we have always said is true: Teaching is a profession, not a trade or a clock-punching job. Teachers get into the profession because they love to teach. They have bills just like the rest of us and they want a sound retirement like the rest of us, therefore they worry about money just like the rest of us.

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America's Decoupling from Reality

  • Trapped in the mud, millions of Americans are complaining about their loss of economic status, their sense of powerlessness, their nation’s decline. But instead of examining how the country stumbled into this morass, many still choose not to face reality.
  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
  • The United States of Fear

Robert Parry, Consortium News

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Joanne Theilen

As Election Day 2010 approaches – as the United States wallows in the swamps of war, recession and environmental degradation – the consequences of the nation’s three-decade-old decoupling from reality are becoming painfully obvious.

Yet, despite the danger, the nation can’t seem to move in a positive direction, as if the suctioning effect of endless spin, half-truths and lies holds the populace in place, a force that grows ever more powerful like quicksand sucking the country deeper into the muck – to waist deep, then neck deep.

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Building a Nation of Know-Nothings, Timothy Egan, New York Times | NY
It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

The United States of Fear, Bill Quigley, Common Dreams
You tell me what happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave since September 11, 2001.

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How Right-Wing Billionaires and Business Propaganda Got Us into the Economic Mess of the Century

Joshua Holland's new book shows how the corporate Right obscured how they've rigged the "free market" so they always come out on top.

Joshua Holland, AlterNet

AlterNet Editor's note: AlterNet is proud to present this excerpt from senior writer Joshua Holland's new book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America). Holland's research-rich but entertainingly written book slices and dices the latest talking points, explaining the issues with depth and nuance. The book tells an important story about the American economy that you won't read in the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. It's one that is vitally important to understand as we grapple with some new economic realities. It's a story about how the corporate Right has obscured the ways in which they've rigged the “free market” so they always come out on top. Ultimately, it goes a long way toward explaining how so few Americans noticed as a new Gilded Age emerged under a haze of lies, half-truths and distortions.

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The Great Recession that began in 2008 wiped out $13 trillion in Americans' household wealth —in home values and stocks and bonds—stoking the kind of anger we’ve seen from pissed off progressives and from the Tea Partiers who dominated the news in the summer of 2009.

But although a lot of people threw around some angry rhetoric—and even invoked the specter of armed revolution—the reality is that when the economy nosedived, we basically took it. We didn’t riot; we took the bailouts, tolerated our stagnant wages, and accepted that Washington wasn’t about to give struggling families any real relief.

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Section(s): 

The Angry Rich

  • Self-pity among the privileged has become acceptable, even fashionable.
  • Third world America

Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Signe Wilkinson

Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.

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Third world America, Luiza Ch. Savage, MacLeans

  • Collapsing bridges, street lights turned off, cuts to basic services: the decline of a superpower
  • Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
  • The United States of Fear
  • Empire of Illusion


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