The GOP War on Public Sector Employees: DNC2012


Doug Stern’s remarks at 2012 Democratic National Convention:

I am an Ohio firefighter and an unlikely choice to be addressing you tonight, because for the vast majority of my voting life I have been a Republican. So why am I here?

Well, something happened recently. The Republican Party left people like me. As a member of the middle class, they left me; and they certainly left me as a public employee. Somewhere along the way, being a public employee—someone who works for my community—made me a scapegoat for the GOP. Thank goodness we have leaders like President Obama and Vice President Biden who still believe that public service is an honorable calling.  When I go to work, when there is an emergency, I want someone on my crew who has my back, someone who helps me get the job done, someone who is willing to go through hell with me. I expect the same out of my elected leaders.

(by DNCConvention2012 | via: sarahlee310)

Any city, county, local, state, federal public sector employees, government employees, or public servants who support the GOP and/or Romney in November need to remember one thing: the Republican Party hates you — including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. You, personally, are the new public enemy. You are the symbol of bloat and socialism. You are their favorite example of waste and sloth. They hate you.

A vote for any Republican, and especially for Romney, is an admission you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. All we can do is wish you a speedy recovery.

Scanton, PA to reduce city workers’ pay to minimum wage (including firefighters and police)

Think Progress: “Ignoring a federal judge’s injunction, Scranton, Pennsylvania moved ahead with its plan to reduce the pay of city workers to the federal minimum wage starting Friday. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty claims the city is broke and that the minimum wage payments are all it can possibly pay. [...] Many of those workers are police officers, firefighters, and other public safety workers, industries that have been slammed by contractions in state and local budgets since the Great Recession. Congressional Republicans repeatedly blocked efforts to extend aid to the states that would have helped shore up their budgets and keep these workers on payroll. In the case of Scranton, such aid may have helped the city actually pay its workers a living wage instead of a federal minimum that hasn’t been raised since 2006 and has less buying power than it had in 1968.”

Of course it’s city / state / federal workers who are killing the economy — not Wall Street and greedy corporations and over-compensated CEOs. And HEAVEN FORBID revenues get raised with slightly higher taxes. The Republican Party has completely mind f*cked this country into believing government services should be free or we’ll do without. And, oh, by the way, the wealthy need more tax cuts.

So good luck with that, Scranton — if you call 911 for help, you’ll be getting a minimum wage worker (who USED to make a living wage) responding to your terrible emergency. The new minimum wage workers might ask themselves: why should I? That emergency wasn’t terrible enough to pay a little more in taxes last week, was it? As far as I’m concerned, if I’m making minimum wage I might as well be doing something with a lot less stress — like washing the counters at McDonalds or stocking all the Chinese products over at Walmart.

Maybe they hope everyone will blame the President.

Obstructionism: The GOP wants you to suffer while they’re not in the White House

“Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush. And, if we had those extra jobs, the unemployment rate would be much lower than it is — something like 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent. It sure looks as if cutting government when the economy is deeply depressed hurts rather than helps the American people.” — Paul Krugman (via azspot)

Bob Cesca: Former Romney adviser Rob Gray told Fox News Channel“I am buying that they’re rooting against the economy somewhat, because they think that the short term pain of the next four months is much better than having an additional four years under Obama. If we have to suffer between now and November to get a president, they’re all for it.”

Related: Mitt Romney wants to ‘trickle down’ all over you and tell you it’s raining

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 6.13.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

“Governor Romney is a tremendous improvement. I think we could have been even more of an improvement, but that’s, you know, that’s, that, that, that, that issue was passed. Uh, Governor Romney is an important and dramatic improvement, and that’s why we’re behind him.” Rick Santorum’s fiery, pulse-pounding, and inspirational endorsement of Mitt Romney


via: ablogtorememeber

Fox “News” disappears Romney’s attack on Teacher, Firefighter, and Police Hiring – Fox & Friends is shielding Mitt Romney from scrutiny after the GOP presidential candidate suggested that we don’t need “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers,” selectively editing an interview with Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod to excise out his criticism of what Romney said. In doing so, Fox avoided a discussion of the merits of Romney’s comments: that we should not address or rectify the severe and unusual loss of public sector jobs or a conversation about how public sector job losses are hurting the overall economy. – MMFA

It’s absurd that Romney doesn’t know the federal government DOES, in fact, pay for teachers, firefighters and cops — “That’s a very strange accusation,” Romney said on “Fox & Friends.” “Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that is completely absurd.” In fact, the federal government spends huge amounts of money to support all those professions. [...] In all, the federal government pays for nearly 11 percent of the country’s public school costs. Uncle Sam also funds thousands of police jobs ever since the Community Oriented Policing Services program was created in 1994. [...] The feds have doled out less for firefighters, but the money is still substantial. – HuffPo

  • NOTE TO ROMNEY: the federal government does fund teachers, firefighters and police – Romney’s comment demonstrates a disturbing lack of understanding of both federal funding and his own published plans. While it is true that teachers, firefighters, and police are hired at the local level, a significant portion of their funding, recruiting, and training comes from the federal government. Here are just some of the ways the federal government funds: continue reading  — Think Progress
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) was happy to back up Romney’s position: “It is not the responsibility of the federal government … to send money down to state government so that state governments don’t have to make tough decisions about balancing their budgets. We all admire police officers, firefighters and teachers. The decision about how many of those folks to have rests in the hands of state and local governments.” […]  A McConnell spokesman did not immediately answer a question about whether the minority leader thought it was time to stop federal spending under Title 1, IDEA, COPS and the SAFER program. – HuffPo
  • Flip-flop alert! Romney doesn’t want to argue against hiring cops. Now what? — You can see Romney trying various gambits to escape the logic of his position. First he says the federal government “doesn’t” pay for the cost of hiring those workers. That’s generally true, though in a massive economic crisis, state and local governments see their revenues collapse and their costs rise. Since they have to balance their budget and the federal government doesn’t, giving them temporary aid makes sense so that state and local government cutbacks don’t worsen the economic crisis. Romney wants to essentially push the question out of bounds — borrowing money to hire back cops and teachers may sound nice, but the government can’t do it, so fuggedaboutit. But, of course, the federal government obviously can borrow money to help strapped state and local governments. – Jonathan Chait


via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president

Romney Mocks Stimulus For Saving Jobs When Mitt Romney mocks the Obama Administration for using stimulus funds to “protect government,” who he’s really attacking is police, firefighters, and teachers. The overwhelming majority of stimulus funds distributed to the states were used to prevent layoffs of public employees. Over 3 million public employees were in danger of losing their jobs following the onset of the recession, but the stimulus afforded states the funds they needed to avoid handing out massive amounts of pink slips. Pink slips that would have gone to police, firefighters, and teachers. As far as Romney is concerned, if you are a public employee then you are a leech, and he thinks you should be out of a job. Ensuring that you lose your job as an employee of the state is now a centerpiece of his campaign. As far as he’s concerned, the money used to employ you would be put to better use by passing another tax cut for himself. That’s not conjecture or hyperbole. That is his platform. – JM Ashby

  • Romney bashes stimulus, then fundraises in the home of a stimulus recipient – Romney will spend Tuesday night at a $10,000-a-head fundraiser at the house of Orrin H Ingram II, Chairman of the Ingram Barge Company — which received $130,000 in federal stimulus money. Ingram Barge Company is a private company, not a government entity. – Think Progress

Romney confirms he’ll deny insurance to millions with pre-existing conditions if Obamacare is struck down — Mitt Romney confirmed on Tuesday that he would allow insurers to deny coverage to millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare later this month. ROMNEY: So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition. And let’s say they lose their jobs or they change jobs or they move and go to a different place, I don’t want them to be denied insurance because they have some pre-existing conditions. So we’re going to have to make sure that the law that we replace Obamacare with ensures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who have been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve. – Think Progress

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

“Everybody knows that government creates jobs.”Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), citing infrastructure programs and the hiring of private contractors.

President Obama: Debt, deficits were ‘baked into the cake’ with Bush’s tax cuts and the wars – “I love it when these guys talk about debt and deficits,” Obama told supporters in Baltimore. “I inherited a trillion dollar deficit. We signed two trillion dollars in spending cuts into law,” Obama said. “Spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years.” Obama said that the country’s budget deficits and big debt were the result of the George W. Bush’s two tax cuts, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “They baked all this stuff into the cake with those tax cuts… and the war,” Obama said. “It’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini and all that stuff, then just as you’re sitting down they leave and accuse you of running up the tab,” Obama said  – POLITICO

  • George W. Bush’s Tab – When you check reality, rather than the alternate universe constantly created by Fox News and an amnesiac press, you find that Bush had a chance to pay off all our national debt before we hit the financial crisis – giving the US enormous flexibility in intervening to ameliorate the recession. Instead, we had to find money for a stimulus in a cupboard stripped bare – its contents largely given away, by an act of choice. I’m tired of being told we cannot blame Bush for our current predicament. We can and should blame him for most of it – and remind people that Romney’s policies: more tax cuts, more defense spending are identical. With one difference: Bush pledged never “to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” — Andrew Sullivan
  • The Fiscal Legacy of George W. Bush  — Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 – enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000. Tax cuts and slower-than-expected growth reduced revenues by $6.1 trillion and spending was $5.6 trillion higher, a turnaround of $11.7 trillion. Of this total, the C.B.O. attributes 72 percent to legislated tax cuts and spending increases, 27 percent to economic and technical factors. Of the latter, 56 percent occurred from 2009 to 2011. — Bruce Bartlett

Claims that President Obama’s policies have hurt businesses are greatly exaggerated — “Let’s start with the idea that the Obama administration sees businesses as piggybanks. Since 1950, corporate tax receipts have averaged 2.7 percent of GDP. In the Obama years, they’ve averaged 1.16 percent of GDP… Going forward, the Obama administration’s budget envisions corporate tax receipts rebounding to about 2.4 percent of GDP — again, beneath their historical average… After taxes, corporate profits amounted to 6.9 percent of GDP in 2010 — their highest level since 1966… That’s a mighty odd outcome for an administration that supposedly sees the existence of private businesses as an unpleasant side effect of the government’s need for tax revenues, don’t you think?” — Ezra Klein

How Obama’s ‘Doing Fine’ Gaffe May Help Him — Americans may hate the idea of government in the abstract, but they like it in the specific. The Republican strategy is always to keep its discussion of government programs general — with a handful of exceptions, like foreign aid and programs that help the poor — while Democrats try to make it as specific as possible. Firing police officers, firefighters, and teachers is way less popular than firing government bureaucrats. Obama has taken great care to turn the question into one of those specific job categories, and Romney has inadvertently helped him. Also, and perhaps more important, the entire controversy has fixed the attention of the news media on the very point that Obama was trying to make: There are many fewer government employees now than there were when Obama took office. Romney is trying to attack Obama for changing his mind on the merits of this fact, but in so doing he is helping to drive home the very existence of this fact. [...] What’s more, this debate fulfills a second goal of Obama’s: to place himself in opposition to the economic status quo. The broader purpose of his Friday press conference was to remind America that he has an economic plan that Republicans won’t enact. Romney’s general strategy is to force Obama to own everything that has happened to the economy, even those things that have happened over his opposition. Now Romney is endorsing the status quo, and Obama is against it. That is surely the opposite of what Romney wants. — Jonathan Chait

Morning Bunker Report: Monday 6.11.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

John McCain will be stuck in 2008 forever, his concession speech on an endless mental loop, with Princess Braindead by his side — [In 2005] as the Plame case unfolded, many Republicans now calling for administration heads accused Democrats of playing politics and conducting an unwarranted witch hunt. They urged at the time that Bush administration officials be given the benefit of doubt. “I do believe that every American has the right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in 2005, when suspicions were focused on top Bush adviser Karl Rove. “Karl Rove has stated that he did not do anything wrong and break any law. I take him at his word.” [...] Now that a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, the GOP complainers are unwilling to hold off on predeterminations. The administration is “intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama’s image as a tough guy for the elections,” McCain recently said. “That is unconscionable.” — HuffPo

Republicans vote to block transparency on political ads (you don’t need to know who wants to buy government) — The Republican opponents “of a new rule to post political ad information online have opened up another front in a long-running fight, inserting language into an appropriations bill that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from implementing the transparency measure,” ProPublica reports. — Political Wire

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for the elimination of public sector unions — Wallace… asked whether Daniels would like to see public-sector unions disappear entirely. ‘I think government works better without them, I really do,’ Daniels replied.” In 2005, Daniels signed an executive order that “eliminated collective bargaining rights for government workers.” As a result, workers in the state “receive lowers salaries and must pay higher health care costs.”  — HuffPo | NoteAnd there’s the common theme to every GOP argument about employment: lower salaries and less benefits for workers (ALL workers).  Lay people off so they’ll accept less just to be employed again. The job ‘creators’ take in more profit, bank more bonuses, continue killing the middle class.


image: WWJD

“This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard” – The ad features Donnie Box, who lost his job of 32 years at Kansas City’s GST Steel after Romney’s firm took it over. “Romney and Bain Capital shut this place down,” Box says in the commercial, standing outside a shuttered factory where he used to work. “They shut down entire livelihoods. They promised us healthcare package, they promised us [they'd] maintain our retirement program, and those were the first two things to disappear. This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard. Just making money and leaving.” — Maddow Blog


Dear Mr. Romney, please explain why America will be better off when more teachers, cops, and firefighters are unemployed — As a rule, gaffes tend to capture the political world’s attention, but in this case, we have something more significant than a soundbite — we have a policy position. Indeed, the Republican nominee for president seriously believes we can “help the American people” by laying off, not just public-sector workers in general, but specifically cops, firefighters, and teachers — and his background as a one-term governor makes clear he means it. This is so far from the mainstream that even Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wouldn’t endorse Romney’s line… the Republican governor said, “I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers and teachers. That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.”  [...] The differences between Obama and Romney on this have the potential to drive the presidential campaign: does it help or hurt America when hundreds of thousands of school teachers and first responders lose their jobs? For the first time in generations, the two major-party presidential candidates answer that question differently. — Steve Benen

Tea party activists say they’ll abstain from voting on Election Day — “I have heard from various folks in the tea party that they would rather stay home,” said Ana Puig, the state director of FreedomWorks, a conservative activist training group. “I’m hearing that from people all over the country and on Facebook.” The Romney rejection stems from the deeply held belief by many conservatives that the former Massachusetts governor is really a moderate wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing.  [...] “The same things were said about [2008 GOP nominee] John McCain,” Burkholder said. “When McCain won the nomination, we were for Romney because he was more conservative than McCain. You can see how far the conservative movement has come now that Romney isn’t conservative enough.” — PennLive.com

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Obama to focus on Michigan recovery — Instead of just focusing on the turnaround of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which rebounded since the $85 billion federal auto bailout, the Obama campaign intends to shine a weeklong spotlight on other manufacturers, restaurants, tourist spots and firms that benefitted from the auto recovery… Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, will kick off the Michigan Road to Recovery Tour on Monday with a press call. — Political Wire

Wake up and smell the coffee: What’s wrong with a third of union members and a third of government employees? A strong majority of union members support President Barack Obama, but about one-third back Mitt Romney, a new survey on Monday reveals. Indeed, 57 percent of union workers would vote for Obama, while 35 percent support Romney, according to a Gallup Poll. [...] Meanwhile, government workers — whether union members or not, continue to support Obama over Romney: the former 59 percent to 34 percent; the latter 48 percent to 44 percent. — POLITICO | Note: what exactly do you not understand about what Romney / the GOP would like to do with you if you belong to a union or have a job in the public sector? HINT: they don’t consider YOU a member of ‘the American people’ who deserve ‘help.’ 

What to expect from a Romney presidency, by his own actions in Massachusetts, in his own words today: less police, firefighters, and teachers — less employment, economic recovery, education, security, and services:

David Axelrod: Mitt Romney ‘Living On A Different Planet’ — “We’re not going to win, and our kids aren’t going to win, unless we invest in education,” Axelrod told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” [...] “So I would suggest he’s living on a different planet if he thinks that’s a prescription for a stronger economy.” “What was most interesting is how he reacted to the spirit of the thing, because his statement was, ‘We don’t need any more teachers, we don’t need any more firefighters or police,'” Axelrod said. [...] “I think the American people are smarter than that,” he said. “They understand the president called the press conference to say that because of the storm clouds that are rolling in from Europe and elsewhere, we need to undergird our economy.” — HuffPo

Van Jones slams Mike Huckabee: The average teacher doesn’t make $100,000 — “Look, first of all, maybe I [was] raised wrong, I never heard of this threat to American called ‘public employee,’” Jones said. “In my neighborhood, we called them teachers, we called them firefighters, we called them cops, we called them nurses. And we were told to look up at them and respect them. And to now be a punching bag, people like my father and my mother, who were public school teachers who did not make $100,000 and whatever you just said and nothing near it, for them to become a punching bag is wrong.” “Furthermore, I think we to need to take a big step back here. When you have the amount of pain in this country, the Republican Party has not only been missing in action, they won’t pass their own bills to help Americans right now. They won’t pass their own ideas to help small businesses right now. Why? Because their gain will come when America has more pain.” Jones added: “It’s like Obama is a lifeguard, trying to help people from drowning, and these guys are sitting back hoping more people will drown. That’s wrong, that’s morally wrong.” In Chicago, the average salary for a teacher is currently $50,577, including all benefits. — Raw Story | Note: what kind of an out of touch idiot (or bald-faced liar) would claim the average salary for a teacher is $100,000 a year? 

Krugman: Obama ‘screwed up’ the ‘private sector is fine’ line — The Nobel prized-winning economist explained how the president was technically correct in comparing the private sector numbers to its anemic public sector counterpart, but further added how Obama was clumsy with his words. “By this point in Obama’s presidency, if we had normal sector job growth, we’d have 800,000 more people: firefighters, schoolteachers, police officers. Instead, we’ve got 600,000 fewer,” Krugman said. “So right there, it’s like 1.4 million jobs that we should have had in the public sector. That’s what he was trying to get at and of course, he screwed up the line.” — Raw Story

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 6.9.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

“She absolutely should not be president: no way, no how. I’ve watched her on the public stage over the past four years. There has been zero effort — zero — to improve any of her obvious deficiencies.”Steve Schmidt, remarking on Sarah Palin and the “disastrous political misjudgment” in selecting her as McCain’s running mate, in the NY Times.

Mitt Romney commenting on Obama and firemen, policemen, and teachers: “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”   Romney in Iowa – watch: 


Romney economics: fire more government workers — The last three years are the worst on record for public sector job loss, and the 700,000 government jobs that no longer exist remain a large drag on the American economy. [...Here's] yet another indication that Romney is more interested in continuing the GOP’s ideological battle against government instead of curing the ills that are plaguing the American economy. — Think Progress

  • Recall, just last month (on the anniversary of the Osama bin Laden operation), Romney needed to wrap himself in 9/11 iconography to compete with President Obama, so he and “Noun-Verb-9/11″ Giuliani took pizzas to some FDNY government parasites for a photo-op and as a means to criticize the President over the firefighters’ salaries! What does Romney stand for? IT DEPENDS ON THE HOUR OF THE DAY.

Just another day in America: a Republican throwing more free money at capitalists — The $1.65 billion tax deal the Corbett administration is negotiating with Shell Oil Co. to locate an ethane processing plant in western Pennsylvania is shaping up to be the biggest such state investment Pennsylvania history… Under the deal, taxpayers would foot the bill for hazardous materials clean up at the western Pennsylvania site, a cost that could easily soar into the tens of millions… on top of the $1.65 billion in tax credits over 25 years starting in 2017, and other sweeteners that come with a tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zone, the state would be picking up the bill to clean up the waste from a zinc smelter site. — Philly.com

This is how America works: lay-off workers and over-compensate CEOs — Verizon Communications announced last week that it would reduce its nationwide workforce by 1 percent, and if enough workers don’t accept the buyouts, it will resort to involuntary layoffs. Verizon paid chief executive Lowell C. McAdam more than $22.5 million in 2011, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of executive compensation. The company has paid its top five executives more than $350 million in the last five years. [...] In 2011, the company’s shareholders saw an 18.8 percent increase in the value of their returns. Workers, however, have not shared in those gains. Verizon eliminated 26,000 jobs over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009 — including 16,000 jobs in 2009 alone — and laid off roughly 13,000 more in 2010. At the same time, Verizon has demanded sizable concessions from workers… — Think Progress

Fox “News” makes you stupid — Fox News host Neil Cavuto rehashed old myths on his show today to argue against a proposed Democratic bill that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 an hour and require annual increases for inflation. To make his point, Cavuto claimed the higher wage would negatively impact current unemployment levels [...]The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that raising the minimum wage has no “discernible impact” on employment, and in fact, concluded that wage increases are more likely to result in more jobs rather than less. — Media Matters

Mitt Romney will now be getting loads of money from billionaire Foster Friess and his Super PAC, Restore Our Future — the primary backer of the pro-Rick Santorum Super PAC, says he is fully behind Mitt Romney’s efforts to defeat President Barack Obama…. [...] Friess said he met with Romney at a fundraiser in Phoenix recently. “When you look a guy in the eye you can tell a little of what he’s like and he’s a special guy. He’s got a great family he loves America.” — Buzzfeed

Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney — [S]aying your first pick is Ron Paul, but Mitt Romney will do, proves that you stand for absolutely nothing. — JM Ashby

  • Paul told CNN it would be an honor to be [Romney's] running mate.
  • Ha ha haa!

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Obama clarifies ‘private sector is doing fine’ remark, responding to the ‘political games’ that started over it — “The economy needs to be strengthened,” Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. “That is why I had a press conference. I believe there are a lot of Americans who are hurting right now. That is what I have been saying for the last year, two years, three years.” Dismissing “political games” around the issue, Obama said Americans should instead focus on choosing a candidate who can articulate a clear solution to the problem. “The key is, for folks, what I am interested in hearing from Romney, is what steps are they willing to take right now that will make an actual difference? And, so far, all we have heard are additional tax cuts to the folks who are doing fine.” — TPM

image: jojo-wants-a-tardis

Obama says the “private sector is doing fine” and the GOP circus pulls into town — As gaffes go, this strikes me as extremely weak tea. The choice of words probably could have been slightly better, but really, to treat this as some kind of breakthrough moment in the campaign is pretty silly. Indeed, what Obama said, in context, is largely correct — compared to the public sector, the private sector really is doing fine. This isn’t complicated. Corporate profits have soared, the stock market is up, and private sector job growth has fueled the recovery entirely on its own. In fact, private sector job growth last year was the second best year we’ve seen since the late 1990s, and 2012 is on track to be even stronger. The public sector, meanwhile, continues to be a drag on the economy, laying off workers and cutting budgets. Comparing the two sectors, there’s nothing shocking about saying one is “fine” and the other isn’t. If the media pushback is that the current growth rates aren’t yet good enough, that’s certainly fair — but I think everyone realizes Obama has said the same thing several thousand times.Steve Benen 

JUST HOW FINE IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOING? Corporate / private-sector profits after taxes are at record highs – Andrew Sullivan || Note: this private-sector success isn’t doing much for the nation’s economy, the treasury, or for job creation — but there are several CEOs who have huge bank accounts now. 

Obama campaign’s full response to Romney’s “fire more government workers” remarks —  “After years on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney finally revealed his jobs plan today. It is a plan of job elimination, not creation. While the President has put a jobs plan on the table that addresses areas of employment where we need to spur hiring the most right now – keeping police officers on the street and teachers in the classroom, Mitt Romney promised to eliminate even more public sector jobs. Mitt Romney has also said we should ‘send home’ 145,000 federal workers – those workers are mostly military personnel, VA hospital personnel who care for the wounded and Homeland Security workers. Not only has Mitt Romney opposed the President’s plan to create one million jobs, he is actually calling for further job loss in the sector that needs the most urgent boost. While job creation in Massachusetts lagged during Romney’s tenure as Governor despite his promises, calling for job elimination when we’re still digging out from the economic crisis is nothing short of stunning.”Buzzfeed

Romney Economics: Fewer teachers, fewer firefighters, fewer police officers — Watch:

Chris Matthews goes nuts on ‘idiot Republican argument’ – As the conversation turned to the economy in general, fellow panelist and former Deputy Press Secretary to George W. Bush, Tony Fratto, began to argue that people want the private sector and not the government to, “take the lead.” “It hasn’t. It has failed, and it keeps failing,” Matthews interrupted. As he and Fratto talked over each other, Matthews claimed that the private sector was purposefully withholding its money to keep the economy stagnant and to hurt the president’s reelection campaign. [...]  “Okay, here’s the idiot Republican argument,” Matthews said. “If you’d just give them a bigger tax cut than Bush gave them.” [...] “I feel like I’m teaching first grade here,” Matthews said. “What do you think Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does for a living representing American business? He gets Republicans elected. Business and the Republican party are the same thing.” — Raw Story

NEW DATA: 6.6 Million Young Adults Insured Thanks To Obamacare – According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, 6.6 million young adults have signed up for coverage through their parents’ health insurance plans. Under the ACA provision, young people can now stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. About half of the 19-to-25 year-olds interviewed for the study reported opting in to their parents’ plans between November 2010 and November 2011. — Think Progress

Romney economics: fire people for the simple crime of working in government

NOTE TO ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS: Mitt Romney hates you.

Jed Lewison points out the alarmingly stupid lie that Mitt Romney told his audience in Craig, Colorado last week:

That stimulus he put in place, it didn’t help private sector jobs, it helped preserve government jobs, and the one place we should have cut back was on government jobs. We have a 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let’s send them home and put you back to work!

Mitt Romney’s 145,000 claim isn’t accurate, but even if it were, it’s amazing that Romney believes firing tens of thousands of Americans would be good for the economy. The way Romney puts it, firing public sector workers would create jobs in the private sector, but that’s nonsense. The economy isn’t zero-sum game: You don’t need to fire someone to create a job. In fact, every time someone loses their job, no matter whether they are in the private or public sector, the economy as a whole takes a hit.

But Romney’s crazy economic theory is not even grounded in reality—under Obama, public sector employment has dropped, while private sector employment has grown. Obama signed the stimulus in February of 2009. Since then, public sector employment has dropped by 608,000.Private sector employment, meanwhile, has increased by 760,000. Even if you just look at federal employment (which is but a small fraction of the overall public sector workforce), only 26,000 jobs have been added, a slower pace of growth than in the private sector.

Just as Paul Krugman recently said, Obama’s actually “been the one who’s been doing what Republicans say is the right answer:”

Just over three years into Reagan’s first term, government jobs grew by 3.1 percent; at the same time during Obama’s tenure, they’ve been cut by 2.7 percent. Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been shed in recent years. Government jobs also grew under President George W. Bush, which helped keep unemployment down during most of his two terms. “After there was a recession under Ronald Reagan, government employment went way up. It went up after the recessions under the first George Bush and the second George Bush.”

FACT: The only time government employment has gone DOWN during a recession has been under Obama.

Romney is using the old “Republican Strategy” on the GOP’s working class, trailer park dwelling base voters — all of whom have been conditioned to believe that if others have something they don’t (like a job with a living wage), it’s because those ‘others’ have taken something away from them personally. How else are you going to justify to people who will never be rich, who are living paycheck to paycheck, that the wealthiest need more money and they will need to get by on less?

It would seem Romney has some kind of personal vendetta for public sector workers. Mitt’s worth about $250 million and has said federal workers make more than him. Despite all of this, how many working and middle class conservatives will vote for him anyway? (ALL of them.)

Mitt Romney coddles government parasites: the uncomfortable glitch in Republican ideology

Jonathan Chait makes a great point about the uncomfortable glitch in Republican ideology, which has been enthusiastically embraced by Mitt Romney, regarding ‘certain’ government workers:

Police officers and firefighters are a tricky occupational category for Republicans. Culturally, they are allies — working class, mostly male, and beloved symbols of American values. Economically, though, they are government workers, which has always put their interests in tension with those of the GOP, and especially so in recent years, as Republicans have increasingly held up government workers as a kind of parasitic class.

Last night Mitt Romney was strolling across one side of this tricky line and slipped to the other. Appearing at a fund-raiser, he recounted his trip the day before to a Manhattan fire station. 

[...] ROMNEY:  “I spoke with a fireman yesterday, and he has a one-bedroom apartment, and his wife is pregnant, and he can’t afford a second bedroom,” he said, referring to a visit to New York City. “I asked the firefighters I was meeting with, about 15 or them, how many had had to take another job to make ends meet, and almost every one of them had.”

Well, maybe we should pay them more! Oh, wait — Romney’s position is that these fine public servants are luxuriating in excessive pay, a fact that, unlike swelling income inequality, constitutes a major source of unfairness in American life. (“We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve,” he said last week.) Obama’s position is that the federal government ought to provide aid to state governments to rehire some of the laid-off teachers, cops, and firefighters. Republicans oppose this. Continue reading…

Also noteworthy, many police and firefighters belong to unions, which are One of the Greatest Evils of This World according to proper conservative thought. How on earth could Fortune 500 CEOs earn 380 times more than the average worker with strong labor unions?

What I find fascinating is how there could be any government workers, at any level of government, in any job category, who would consider — even for a moment — today’s GOP as their ally on any subject that could personally affect them or their livelihoods.

At this point, it should be a no-brainer which political party is actually fighting for government workers and which party just likes to pretend they’re really, really macho with public demonstrations of homage to the manliest men of civil service, while plotting to defund their ranks (or their pay and benefits) behind closed doors.

Photos below: (pic 1) Giuliani and Romney carry pizza two feet to NY firefighters on May 1 for photo-op. (pic 2) Pizza boxes dumped on aide after photo-op.

Did you know Rush Limbaugh has a package scanning device in his house?

In fact, I’ll bet Rush has his own private TSA-style security unit at the front door for any and all visitors — bins for shoes and laptops, hand wanding, the whole nine yards.

Device Sent To Rush Limbaugh ‘A Business Opportunity’ PALM BEACH, Fla. March 1, 2012 – The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called to Limbaugh’s Palm Beach home to assist the Palm Beach Police Department after the well-known radio host received a package from Pennsylvania earlier in the day. [...] A multitude of emergency vehicles rushed to the 1400 block of N. Ocean Blvd. before 6 p.m., where the conservative Limbaugh lives and does his popular radio show… Limbaugh, who was home at the time, has a scanning device in his house, and a package that was screened appeared to show wires inside, so he called police.

Let’s connect the dots: a 1) dittohead sends 2) a “business opportunity” in a box, containing 3) wires and is 4) especially for Rush Limbaugh. It’s got to be some kind of penis enlargement apparatus.

Did you notice it’s reported “a multitude of emergency vehicles” rushed over to Limbaugh Estates when he called the police? Great! That means a multitude of tax-paid public employees who are probably unionized (or “freeloaders” and “leftist, socialist, neo-communists” as Rush likes to call them,) are the first people he called for help.

It’s not that Limbaugh would fire all public employees, he just thinks that when they rush to his house in multitudes, over boxes filled with godknowswhat, they should be earning much less pay and fewer benefits so that he and his wealthy friends can bank more state and local tax cuts.

image: sodahead

Sunday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Obama Urges Congress to Reward Technology Companies That Keep Jobs in U.S. – President Barack Obama urged Congress to enact tax proposals that reward technology companies and other businesses that help create jobs in the U.S. rather than overseas. [...] Obama said U.S. businesses created 3.7 million new jobs over the past 23 months, adding, “Companies like Boeing are realizing that even when we can’t make things cheaper than China, we can make things better. That’s how we’re going to compete globally.” “No company should get a tax break for outsourcing jobs,” Obama said. He urged helping “manufacturers who set up shop here at home,” particularly technology companies. “And Congress should send me that kind of tax reform right away.”

2) American jobs coming back to America — Good News of the Day: Caterpillar Strikes Deal to Build Georgia Plant – Caterpillar Inc. said it chose a site near Athens, Ga., for a new $200 million factory that will employ about 1,400 people and make construction equipment currently produced in Sagami, Japan.

3) As a matter of fact, Rick Santorum IS holier than thou (and thou and thou…) – White House candidate Rick Santorum on Saturday questioned President Barack Obama’s Christian values and attacked GOP rival Mitt Romney’s Olympics leadership as he courted tea party activists and evangelical voters in Ohio, “ground zero” in the 2012 nomination fight. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator known for his social conservative policies, said that Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.” [Note: Santorum is 'courting' the bottom of the gene pool for political points (birthers, teabaggers, racists) and has the nerve to question a fellow Christian's values and beliefs? Maybe Santorum simply doesn't like that the President is a Protestant...]

Judge not, lest ye be judged by Santorum: 

~ Santorum stands by statement that Obama’s theology not based on the Bible - Speaking to reporters after addressing a luncheon of the Ohio Christian Alliance, Santorum said that the “new low” in the campaign is represented not by his remarks about Obama’s beliefs, but by the Obama administration’s handling of the recent controversy over whether the national health care law’s mandated coverage of contraception applies to religious-affiliated institutions.

~ Santorum says Obama looks down on disabled, encouraging more abortions – Rick Santorum accused President Obama of requiring free prenatal testing in the health care plan he signed in 2010 because it would detect if children were disabled, encourage more abortions and save money.

4) “What’s wrong with state employees?” – Sen. Dennis Jones - Florida Governor Rick Scott’s plan to privatize all correctional facilities in 18 counties died in the Florida Senate yesterday. Despite having a 16 seat majority, a number of Republican senators joined the Democrats to vote it down. Idealistically all of those in opposition would be asking the same question asked by Senator Dennis Jones, but I’m sure at least some of them simply decided they did not want to follow Rick Scott off a cliff.

5) Worst of the Worst: Rob Walton, Walmart - Want to see who’s using their wealth to exploit the 99%? This series of 1-minute videos reveals the methods of the worst of the 1%. In 2007, according to the labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans.The Waltons are now collectively worth about $93 billion, according to Forbes. Watch how they take advantage of the 99%:

6) Melissa Harris-Perry: When union workers do well, ALL workers do better – I don’t know that the native son of Michigan can look past his own privileged upbringing to see that what he advocates is bringing all Americans down.

image: phroyd

7) Class Warfare: Which Side Are You on? – The good news is that there is growing awareness among the 99 percent that they’ve been ripped off; that they’re engaged in a decades-long class war and their side is losing. As a result working Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the 1 percent. And there’s some evidence that the 99 percent are waking up to the problem of big money in politics, the problems caused by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The bad news is that this may not be enough to save our Democracy. Over the last 30 years, the United States has been looted. The rich and powerful, the 1 percent, have taken a disproportionate share of the economic gains that we’ve all worked for. As a consequence America is teetering on the brink of Plutocracy. To remedy this inequity and restore Democracy, fundamental changes must be made. [...] Barack Obama is not a perfect candidate but at least he is willing to talk about class warfare and to propose common sense steps towards economic justice. That’s a big difference from Mitt Romney who doesn’t think we have a class problem or issues with economic fairness and says of people who suggest this “[Its] about envy. It’s about class warfare.”

image: phroyd

8) The state of Obama’s swing states - President Obama’s national approval numbers have risen steadily with the brightening economy, but he may be vulnerable in the swing states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election. Obama will likely need to win about half of the electoral votes supplied by Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire if he is to secure a second term.

9) Research on Deadly Bird Flu to Be Published in Full - The full details of recent experiments that made a deadly flu virus more contagious will be published, probably within a few months, despite recommendations by the United States that some information be kept secret for fear that terrorists could use it to start epidemics. The announcement, made on Friday by the World Health Organization, follows two months of heated debate about the flu research. The recommendation to publish the work in full came from a meeting of 22 experts in flu and public health from various countries who met on Thursday and Friday in Geneva at the organization’s headquarters to discuss “urgent issues” raised by the research. [See all posts on H5N1 influenza.]

Another Republican ‘jobs’ plan: using free inmate labor to replace public sector workers

One more gift to working- and middle-class America from Wisconsin’s own Scott Walker:

While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Maybe we can all get thrown in prison so everyone will have a job! And this: