Saturday, February 7, 2009

Senate reaches compromise, on the backs of education / Media giving heavy exposure to Republican critics

Reports early Friday (2/06/09) evening indicated that a Senate compromise was made. The compromise was reached via the support of three Republicans.

The Republicans, who gave us eight years of the president (G.W. Bush) who claimed to be the education president, insisted on a thick host of cuts.
Prominent among the cuts was education spending. This will hurt financially needy districts profoundly. They can look forward to increases of student class sizes, such as 30 students in a kindergarten class.

The cuts will pit district against district and school against school (given the combination of cuts and the protection of pay for No Child Left Behind "NCLB"); this from Huffington Post:
In a key reduction from the bill that reached the Senate floor earlier in the week, $40 billion would be cut from a "fiscal stabilization fund" for state governments' education costs, though $14 billion to boost the maximum for college Pell Grants by $400 to $5,250 would be preserved, as would aid to local school districts for the No Child Left Behind law and special education.

The Democrats need to call attention to the destructive role that Republicans have played in this mess. When cities and states have to slash budgets, due to Republican-triggered cuts, the Democrats need to publicly highlight this. When the recovery is weak, because of modest federal infusions of cash, Democrats need to call attention to the Republican pressures for austere financial contributions to the recovery.

Democrats need to call attention to the guns/butter dichotomy. Every dollar for the military is money withheld from useful social spending or useful injection into the civilian economy.

The Democrats need to start a drumbeat of these talking points NOW. There are many vulnerable Republican senate incumbents, in seats in economically depressed areas, e.g., George Voinovich of Ohio. The Republicans need to go. Spector too. The Republican pair in Maine are lucky that their seats aren't up for reelection in 2010. They (Collins and Snowe of Maine) and the other so-called moderates have shown their true colors on this urgent stimulus package. Moderate Republicans are generally liberal on social issues and conservative on economic issues. That kind of posture is not helpful in this true national emergency.

President Obama has offered an olive branch to the Republicans. They have not responded in kind --not even the moderates. Instead, they have, as he has recently pointed out, pursued the same old thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

From Glenn Thrush and Patrick O'Connor at Politico, Friday afternoon (2/7/09):
In a statement sure to rile Republicans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Friday dismissed calls for bipartisanship as “process” arguments extraneous to passing a stimulus bill — and warned Senate Democrats against slashing proposed increases to education spending.
. . . .
“Washington seems consumed in the process argument of bipartisanship, when the rest of the country says they need this bill,” the California Democrat said, seeming to sweep aside the Obama administration initial desire to have broad GOP support for the plan.

“We must have a bill [quickly],” she said, in a clear message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has spent the past two days wrangling with moderates who want to cut proposed education funding for the states by as much as $50 billion.

“These cuts are very damaging — [the House bill] was put together very carefully. ... The funding goes directly to school districts, they are stimulative because they maintain jobs instead of cutting jobs.”

The Democrats need to hold press conferences, to call attention to the media bias for Republicans, a bias that has led to a (recent) public appetite for austerity.
See this study at, for factual demonstration of this partisan bias in booking of guests.
REPORT: GOP Lawmakers Outnumber Dem Lawmakers By Almost 2 To 1 In Cable News Stimulus Debate Again»

Last week, ThinkProgress released a report showing that, in the debate over the House economic recovery bill on the five cable news networks, Republican members of Congress outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by a ratio of 2 to 1. The analysis tallied interview segments about the stimulus on CNBC, Fox Business, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC during a three-day period, finding that the networks had hosted Republican lawmakers 51 times and Democratic lawmakers only 26 times.

The economic recovery package passed the House last week with zero Republican votes, shifting the focus to the Senate. Though the venue has changed, the debate on cable has not improved much.

In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews by members of Congress (from 6am on Monday 2/2 through 11pm on Thursday 2/5):

Some observations from our analysis:

* Last week, Fox News came the closest to balance with 8 Republicans and 6 Democrats. But the so-called “fair and balanced” network was not able to maintain such a ratio this week, hosting 24 Republicans and only 11 Democrats.

* The business news networks were particularly egregious this week. CNBC had more than twice as many conservatives, with 14 Republicans and 6 Democrats. Fox Business was even worse, hosting 20 Republicans for just 4 Democrats.

* In the previous study, the supposedly liberal MSNBC favored Republicans 15 to 9. This week, however, MSNBC became the only network to host more Democratic members of Congress than Republicans, with 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

Though the imbalance is already stark, the tilt of the coverage would have been even more lopsided if the analysis had been broken down into whether a lawmaker who appeared on TV was a supporter or a critic of the economic recovery plan. Some of the most frequent Democratic guests this week were outspoken critics of the proposed stimulus plans, such as Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Fortunately, the imbalance on the networks is not going unnoticed. A House Democratic leadership aide told Politico’s Michael Calderone yesterday that “what happened with cable last week is that Republican House members were the only show in town.” A “very senior” Democratic aide told The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that the leadership is “aware of the problem and are taking steps to fix it.” The aide noted that “there is also an onus on producers to remedy this issue.”

1 comment:

tapsearcher said...

The new stimulus package will not do much of anything to save our economy.

We need to get to the heart of the matter and nothing good will happened until we do. The first question to ask is this: Who said we had to compete like this with one another in a global economic arena? Has the Free Market killed the Free Enterprise systems?

Actually, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did get to the heart of the matter that he told Congress during the last stimulus package debate in Congress, that the best way to stimulate the economy is to buy "domestically produced goods". This points to the heart of the matter. Free Trade has robbed us of many values and in the end we now have tariffs put on work. The stimulus package also represent a reverse tariff.

Free Trade has devoured the value of workers and labor which represented a true tangible asset acting as a money standard. Paper money needs many manipulations to add value to it and the only money standard propping it up is the whole make up of our society. So when workers values are deflated the whole of society's value is radically devalued. The housing crisis was not based on bad loans but was all about the most massive dislocation of jobs in U.S. history. It is really about job losses, unemployment and underemployment.

It is nonsense to build an economy based on making money on money instead of making things because it leaves out a very important part - the value of workers and labor.

Free Trade has created a vast new working poor class and a hidden underclass grew in proportion to it. Hurricane Katrina exposed a vast underclass living in a silent depression which apparently represented our entire country. We ignored it and put it aside. Now it has come back to haunt us.

The vast working poor class is not able to keep up and are finding it difficult to afford even the cheaper imports from abroad. This inturn hits other economies hard because Free Trade was driven by the power of the U.S. consumers. They are no longer are able to support the process.

Yet, President Obama and the Republicans keep silent about the real situation and just keep playing a false monopoly game to nowhere.

Any extra money spent at retail, just like in the last stimulus package, will fan out to the places where the products are made and will not stay in this country to grow our economy. Only local value added economies work where value is added from raw product up through several levels to retail and then recycles back down again.

We need to make the things we use and grow the things we eat ourselves to add value in our geopolitical setting where the value of labor and workers needs to grow in value too.

Adam Smith held labor and workers as something sacred and the core of society. The Free Traders leave this part out when they use Adam Smith to defend their concepts.

Until we are able to buy "domestically produced goods" again, we need to create commerce as best we can at local levels. We should be thinking about mercantile business to business centers in all of our cities and couple it people to people commerce.

Also our tax codes are obsolete and need to stop the Payroll Tax that acts as a flat tax on the working poor. We suggest Taps instead of Taxes on all transactions at a very low rate and do away with all other taxes.
See ( and especially note this post - Rush Limbaugh could have saved the world. )