April 19, 2011
Watch out -- the war being waged on women, the middle class and the poor just took another dark turn. Those connecting the dots will recognize the progression from the calamitous shock to the economy perpetrated by Wall Street to the systematic looting of public assets and families' pocketbooks by conservative lawmakers in Washington and various states.
We must ask whether political calculation motivated Standard and Poor's (S&P) to announce its negative outlook for the U.S. yesterday. Right-wing legislators wasted no time jumping on the announcement as 'proof' that the U.S. must cut Social Security benefits, voucherize Medicare, block grant Medicaid, and target a host of other social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women -- not just family planning but also assisted housing, student loans, Head Start, nutrition, prenatal and infant care and hundreds of other important programs.
Women rely on these programs especially because the recovery, which is anemic to begin with, is leaving them behind. While women accounted for one-third of the jobs lost in the recession, men have picked up almost 90 percent of the job gains. The wage gap -- women on average are paid only 77 cents on the dollar paid to men -- makes it even harder for women to make ends meet. And women of color, subjected to race-based as well as gender-based wage discrimination, are at particular risk.
But conservative politicians and their corporate backers are oblivious to these realities. No surprise there -- this is the same crowd who converted the federal budget surplus to a massive deficit in the Bush/Cheney administration. They were the cheerleaders when the U.S. was led into unnecessary and catastrophically costly wars. They engineered the huge tax breaks on the wealthiest, and then deregulated Wall Street, which soon went out of control and drove the U.S. economy off a cliff, creating the worst unemployment crisis this country has seen in generations.
We hear repeatedly that the 'serious' approach to reining in the U.S. deficit and lowering this nation's debt is to slash spending. But that ignores the revenue side of the budget, conveniently drawing attention away from the need to require multimillionaires and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and to generate income-tax-producing jobs. This is not rocket science: Jobs mean income; income means income tax; income tax means revenue to pay down the deficit. Seriously, who doesn't get this?
But the forces at work here don't give a hoot about lowering the debt or creating jobs. They are too busy making the ridiculously rich even richer while decimating government programs that give women and other disadvantaged people a chance at a decent life.
NOW calls on our elected leadership to stand up for our nation's most admirable principles -- those of fairness, equality and opportunity. Women will support those who do.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Bennett w. 202-628-8669, ext. 123, c. 301-537-7429
barack's a menace to women. he's a menace to nature as well. it's the anniversary of the start of the gulf oil disaster. start of?
it's not over. it wasn't 'fixed.' we'll be feeling the effects for years and years to come. this is from tom eley (wsws):
The BP Gulf oil blowout was, in short, a consequence of capitalism—and in particular systematic deregulation and promotion of the “free market” as the sole arbiter of industrial practices.
Since the late 1970s, successive Democratic and Republican administrations have worked to remove virtually all legal limitations on the pursuit of corporate profit. Major corporations have been left to supervise their own safety, environmental, and ethics practices.
Deregulation has produced disaster after disaster in recent years. In April 2010, an explosion at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine killed 29, the deadliest US mine disaster in decades. The Mine Health and Safety Administration had failed to enforce safety regulations. There have been repeated recalls of poisoned and spoiled food from plants that went uninspected by the Food and Drug Administration. This year has seen a deterioration of conditions in the air travel industry, ostensibly overseen by the Federal Aviation Authority, including overworked air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job and planes literally falling apart in air.
Perhaps most significantly, the financial implosion of late 2008 caused by Wall Street’s rampant swindling and double-dealing was green-lighted by several federal regulatory authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rather than calling for new regulation of industry in response to these and other disasters, the Obama administration has done just the opposite. On January 18 of this year, Obama issued an executive order calling for a comprehensive review of all federal regulation. The aim was not to address the breakdowns and conflicts of interest that have created the catastrophes, but to establish a regulation “only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs” for “affected stakeholders in the private sector.”
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'