Sen. Warren Introduces the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act (by Senator Elizabeth Warren)
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|—||Paul Krugman, Marco Rubio Has Learned Nothing - NYTimes.com|
Barack Obama 2013 Presidential Inauguration - Complete (by TheNewYorkTimes)
Weekly Address: Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts to Grow the Economy (by whitehouse)
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been obfuscating their plans for Medicare, Medicaid and what they will do to reform the health care system.
To the liberal Democratic faithful, Mr. McGovern remained a standard-bearer well into old age, writing and lecturing even as his name was routinely invoked by conservatives as synonymous with what they considered the failures of liberal politics.
“This isn’t about “lesser evils;” it’s about accomplishing the greatest amount of good we can, starting with minimizing the amount of unnecessary death in the world. The fact that we can’t save every life doesn’t mean we shouldn’t save some.”
Elizabeth Warren’s Journey into Politics : The New Yorker
‘Last summer, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor, held a series of houseparties around Massachusetts to test support for a possible run for the United States Senate. At one such event, held at the Andover home of veteran Democratic activist M. J. Powell, Warren was asked if she was engaging in class warfare. She replied, “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.” The writer terms Warren’s speech a “rousing defense of the welfare state.” Warren was unaware she was being filmed, and footage of the speech was posted to YouTube several days later. Warren declared her candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown. “The Warren-Brown contest has become the highest-profile, and most expensive, statewide race of the year.” Warren represents a genuine ideological challenge to Brown, and to her party as well. “Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.” Warren, sixty-three, has modest roots. She was married at nineteen and had her first child at twenty-two, becoming a school-teacher for special needs children before starting at Rutgers School of Law in Newark on her daughter Amelia’s second birthday. Warren has co-authored two books on bankruptcy which use “empirical research to demonstrate the precariousness of contemporary middle-class life.” In the mid-nineties, Congress decided to overhaul bankruptcy laws for the first time since 1978, and Warren was asked to be an adviser on a bankruptcy commission. This is where Warren’s real political education began. In 2008, Warren served on the panel overseeing the bank bailouts, known as TARP, where she directed “plainspoken questions” to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “The more enemies Warren made in the capital, the more popular she became elsewhere.” The Massachusetts campaign has so far been, by contemporary standards, high-minded. Warren says the 2012 election question is “What is the role of government?”
With Democrats too timid to utter the word “stimulus,” most Americans don’t realize how much they were been helped by the law.
“But the stimulus did far more than stimulate: it protected the most vulnerable from the recession’s heavy winds. Of the act’s $840 billion final cost, $1.5 billion went to rent subsidies and emergency housing that kept 1.2 million people under roofs. (That’s why the recession didn’t produce rampant homelessness.) It increased spending on food stamps, unemployment benefits and Medicaid, keeping at least seven million Americans from falling below the poverty line.
And as Mr. Grunwald shows, it made crucial investments in neglected economic sectors that are likely to pay off for decades. It jump-started the switch to electronic medical records, which will largely end the use of paper records by 2015. It poured more than $1 billion into comparative-effectiveness research on pharmaceuticals. It extended broadband Internet to thousands of rural communities. And it spent $90 billion on a huge variety of wind, solar and other clean energy projects that revived the industry. Republicans, of course, only want to talk about Solyndra, but most of the green investments have been quite successful, and renewable power output has doubled.
Americans don’t know most of this, and not just because Mitt Romney and his party denigrate the law as a boondoggle every five minutes. Democrats, so battered by the transformation of “stimulus” into a synonym for waste and fraud (of which there was little), have stopped using the word. Only four speakers at the Democratic convention even mentioned the recovery act, none using the word stimulus.”
Stiglitz says that “most Americans don’t realize that we are no longer the country of opportunity that we think of ourselves, that America today has less equality of opportunity than any of the other advanced industrial countries.” He points out how many like to say that our economy is doing well because GDP is growing, but that “if you’re going to be judging how well an economy is doing, clearly I think the key metric that one wants to focus on is what is happening to the living standards of most citizens.” He says that most Americans don’t realize how bad we’re doing, including the fact that “the median income of a full-time male worker today is the same as it was in 1968,” and “if you look at median household income it is the same today as it was a decade and a half ago.”
How did our society get to a place where government has taken a back seat and where people are wary of government control? Stiglitz thanks the conservatives who have successfully touted false ideology about markets over the past 40 years. While they like to blame the government for inequality, Stiglitz notes that not even Adam Smith thought markets were anything beyond efficient. “Nobody ever said that they were fair, that they would lead to a distribution of income that was socially acceptable.” Furthermore, he says, “many of the aspects of our inequality are a result of market failure. People who don’t have health insurance when they get sick wind up in extreme poverty and they can’t get health insurance because of a whole set of market failures.” He says it’s “striking that in spite of the fact that there is no intellectual basis for what you might call a ‘Smithian’ view that unfettered markets lead to efficiency,” conservatives have marched ahead with this idea.
So why was there so much economic growth after World War II? Stiglitz says one reason is “the legacy of the Roosevelts, the legacy that government made a difference.” In making the case for government he also points out that “government has played an important catalytic role in a whole variety of other areas. If you think about our modern economy, you think about Internet, you think about biotech, you think about telecommunications and all of these things rest on government-funded basic research.” He recalls a conversation with a Scandinavian finance minister who, when asked how his economy was so successful, answered “high taxes.” Stiglitz took away that “if you’re going to have a well-functioning economy… you have to pay for what you get. You need to have a well-functioning government that provides education, infrastructure, research, technology, all these things, and we have to pay for it.” Given that markets are not predictable nor interested in social problems, our government should stop bailing the financial institutions out and start investing in its people and the institutions that benefit them.