Categorized | National, Politics

Obama: Income Gains Continue to Flow to Top 1%

 

 

Budget Debate a Battle for Middle Class Future, President Says

 

(VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

GALESBURG, ILLINOIS (Bloomberg/Yahoo News) –President Barack Obama is shifting his attention to the budget battles looming later this year by casting his differences with congressional Republicans as a struggle over the future of middle-income Americans.

“Our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that matter most to you, the people we represent,” Obama said at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, the first of two addresses he delivered yesterday.  

“And as Washington prepares to enter another budget debate, the stakes for our middle class and everybody who is fighting to get into the middle class could not be higher.”

When members of Congress return from their August recess, they and the president will confront a host of decisions affecting the economy, including determining federal spending levels and raising the government’s $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Republican lawmakers are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit while Obama argues for spending increases for infrastructure improvements, expanded educational opportunities and more support for research — a recurring drama in fiscal negotiations since 2011.

Obama will follow up his renewed effort with a speech today at a port facility in Jacksonville, Florida, making the case for improving the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and harbors.  In the coming weeks he will break out other pieces of his economic agenda, such as policies to improve education and make college more affordable. 

Washington’s Focus

Following months when the focus of Washington has been on the president’s second-term job appointees, his push for a new immigration law, attempts to block his signature health-care law and Republican-led investigations into his administration, Obama is seeking to use the power of his office to return attention to the economy.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said in Galesburg. “I am here to say this needs to stop.”

Even as the economy continues to expand and add jobs four years into the nation’s recovery from its worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans at the middle of economic ladder haven’t regained lost prosperity.

The economy grew at a 1.8 percent rate during the first three months of the year, more slowly than its 2.5 percent average pace during the last two decades. The unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent in June, remains above its 6 percent average over the past 20 years.

 

Household Income

While the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is up more than 18 percent this year and has nearly doubled since Obama took office in 2009, the median household income of $51,500 in May remains 5 percent lower than in June 2009, the official end of the recession, according to estimates by Sentier Research.

“Unfortunately, there is little real progress that has been made for the middle class,” Lance Roberts, chief strategist, said. 

Obama may be setting an argument that blame for inaction “can be laid squarely at the feet of the Republicans.”

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has signaled he’s ready for a confrontation with the White House and the Democratic-led Senate over the debt ceiling.

“We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending,” Boehner told reporters July 23 in Washington.

Obama has said he will refuse to accept anything short of a clean debt-limit increase.

 

Government Spending

In Galesburg and a later address in Warrensburg, Missouri, the president accused his critics of being short-sighted. He said the U.S. must maintain funding for education, training, infrastructure and research to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.

“If we don’t make investments in education and manufacturing and science and research and transportation and information networks, we will be waving the white flag while other countries forge ahead,” he said at the University of Central Missouri.

Obama spent a portion of his Galesburg speech on the brewing — and past — debt ceiling debate.

“We’ve seen a sizable group of Republican lawmakers suggest they wouldn’t vote to pay the very bills that Congress rang up, a fiasco that harmed a fragile recovery in 2011, and one we can’t afford to repeat,” he said.

 

Debt Debate

In the debt ceiling debate two years ago, lawmakers and the White House battled for months before Obama signed an increase into law on Aug. 2, 2011, the day the Treasury Department warned that U.S. borrowing authority would expire.

While Standard & Poor’s stripped the U.S. of its AAA top credit rating as a result, investors indicated they weren’t concerned about the government’s debt or ability to pay bills.  The yield on 10-year Treasury notes in Aug, 2011, when S&P announced the downgrade, was 2.56 percent. The yield fell as low as 1.39 percent in July, 2012.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told a congressional panel last week that another prolonged debate over the debt ceiling could hamper the recovery. He also said continued tight fiscal policy threatens to restrain growth. 

 

Republican Reaction

Republicans yesterday said Obama is offering more of the same prescriptions he has offered since he was first elected.  Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, released a statement before Obama arrived in Illinois saying the president got most of his economic package passed in his first term.

“We now know what the results have been,” Cornyn said. “Add it all up, and we’ve been experiencing the weakest economic recovery in the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression in the 1930’s.”

Boehner, in a House speech, said Obama’s address would accomplish nothing. “It’s a hollow shell,” he said. “It’s an Easter egg with no candy in it.”

He called on Obama to speed approval of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline, delay implementation of the health-care law that Congress passed in 2010 and “stop threatening to shut down the government unless we raise taxes.”

* * * * * * * * *

One Response to “Obama: Income Gains Continue to Flow to Top 1%”

  1. the great con says:

    Good write-up. Extremely helpful and seeking this particular info. Thank you along with all the best.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Pocket paradigms
    You meet alot of process people in Washington. They're like vehicles without a drive belt. They make a lot of noise; they just can't go anywhere. Getting things done is now a radical act. Then there are the virtual people. They only exist as images of themselves. Talking to one of them is like watching a bad cable show without a zapper. Some scient […]
  • Word
    It's what you learn after you know it all that counts -- Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver […]
  • William Burroughs getting in the Halloween spirit
    VIA CURTIS KISE […]
  • Down East Notes
    PUBLIC INFORMATION ANNOUNCEMENT Town of Freeport, MEOn Monday evening, October 27, 2014, the Maine State Police informed Freeport’s Police and Fire Departments that Ms. Kaci Hickox would be stopping in Freeport for one night on her way to her home in Fort Kent. Ms. Hickox is a healthcare worker who recently returned to the United States after caring for Ebol […]
  • The new Middle Ages
    Some readers may recall our occasional thesis that we are living in a new Middle Ages in which the masses are up against a relatively few paranoid lords in well moated castles aka Washington and NYC. We were please to find that Monty Python was on this case some time ago.VIDEO […]
  • Mid and late career teachers are underpaid
    Center for American Progress:Mid- and late-career teacher base salaries are painfully low in many states. In Colorado, teachers with a graduate degree and 10 years of experience make less than a trucker in the state. In Oklahoma, teachers with 15 years of experience and a master’s degree make less than sheet metal workers. And teachers in Georgia with 10 yea […]
  • What's happening
    What happens when you criticize Teach for America? Over 214,000 doctors won't participate in the new plans under the Affordable Care Act analysis of a new survey by Medical Group Management Association shows. It's about a quarter of the total number of 893,851 active professional physicians reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.The 29 states whe […]
  • FBI comes up with new assault on Constitution
    Guardian - The FBI is attempting to persuade an obscure regulatory body in Washington to change its rules of engagement in order to seize significant new powers to hack into and carry out surveillance of computers throughout the US and around the world.Civil liberties groups warn that the proposed rule change amounts to a power grab by the agency that would […]
  • How corporations staged a coup against America
    Vox - In September, a proposal to amend the US Constitution to allow tougher campaign finance and election spending restrictions went down to defeat in the Senate, on a party-line vote. Now, a new analysis by Common Cause rounded up the latest lobbying filings to find which interest groups disclosed lobbying against this amendment.There are no great surprise […]
  • US kept jailing people despite drop in crime
    OFF THE CHARTS […]
  • White House coverup of the day
    Washington Post - Bloomberg White House correspondent Margaret Talev noted how the White House stopped giving details on the fine wines served at state dinners, an opaque measure that she exposed in this story. In pursuing the piece, said Talev, she got the runaround from White House press officials, making her “so mad at them.” […]
  • Word: The space explosion could have been worse
    Karl Grossman - This event underlines again the folly of using nuclear power in space — something the United States and Russia are again actively planning. An explosion on launch is not unusual — indeed, one out of 100 rockets fail on launch. But, consider if radioactive materials were on board — as will be the situation for the proposed U.S. and Russian nuc […]
  • The real Clinton story: 1982
    Stories the media doesn't tell you about the Clintons and the state that made them  A DEA report uncovered by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard will cite an informant claiming that a key Arkansas figure and backer of Clinton "smuggles cocaine from Colombia, South America, inside race horses to Hot Springs." The London Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pric […]
  • Real economics: Wages
    Among all employees nationally, 56 percent are hourly workers, and 32 percent of these, or more than 21 million, earn less than $10.10 per hour, according to University of Virginia researchers in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service’s Demographics Research Group. The Labor Department reports that the 13 states that raised their minimum wage in 2014 ha […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    A real simple rule on privatization: Ask the following question: Is this something about which citizens should have a say? If the answer is yes, don't privatize. - Sam Smith […]