In today's On the News segment: It looks like President Obama is still open to negotiations with Republican economic terrorists; same-sex marriage has the support of three more Democratic Senators; the economy gained less than half of the employment economists predicted for the month; and more.
Jim Javinsky here – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. It looks like President Obama is still open to negotiations with Republican economic terrorists. Details of the president's budget, set to be released April 10th, show that he will offer significant spending cuts to so-called "entitlement programs"- like Social Security and Medicare – in hopes of attaining a "grand" budget bargain with Congressional Republicans. The plan replaces the sequester with other spending cuts, and increases revenues by $580 billion. In a move that is sure to infuriate progressives and many Democrats, the president will propose lowering cost-of-living increases to Social Security benefits. This is insane. Instead of asking the wealthiest in our country to pay the same percentage of their income towards our social safety net, the President thinks that the elderly, disabled, and veterans should bear the burden of Republican austerity. Our nation has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and economic terrorists shouldn't be the exception. We must stand together to preserve our social programs. Tell Congress and the President that we won't stand for balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. Sign the petition at no-cuts.com.
In screwed news... This morning, the Labor Department released its March unemployment numbers, and they show that the U.S. unemployment rate ticked down from 7.7% to 7.6 %. Despite the fact that this is the lowest rate of unemployment in four years, it's not all good news. The economy only gained a meager 88,000 jobs – the lowest amount in nine months, and less than half of what economists predicted. While the private sector added jobs in March, the public sector lost a substantial amount of workers, including 12,000 Post Office employees. Private corporations and companies seem unable – or unwilling – to add jobs, even though they are making record profits. It's time for the federal government to step in and become the employer of last resort. It's clear that our policy of giving corporations the lowest effective tax rate in decades, and cutting the federal budget through Republican austerity. is simply not working. Let's call for stimulus spending that invests in our national infrastructure. We should repair and update our roads, our schools, our telecommunications and our energy infrastructure. Every hour an able-bodied worker is out of a job is lost productivity. Enough with the waste – if the corporations won't put Americans to work, the federal government must.
In the best of the rest of the news... a federal judge in New York has reversed a controversial ruling by the Food and Drug Administration, ordering that agency to make the the so-called "morning-after pill" available to all girls of reproductive age – even those younger than 17. Judge Edward Korman – a Reagan appointee – called a 2011 Obama Administration ruling "unnecessary political interference," and ordered the FDA to reverse the restrictions on Plan B. Korman criticized the Administration's limitations on the morning-after pill, saying that Plan B is "among the safest drugs sold over the counter." This is a great victory for women's rights in our nation. The decision will likely be appealed to the Second Circuit Court, which is one of the most liberal in our nation. Hopefully they uphold the right for young women to have access to safe, legal medication. Good work Judge Korman.
The wave of support for same-sex marriage continues as three more Democratic Senators - Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have all publicly announced their support in the last few days. Senator Nelson said, "Simply put, if the Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't." Senator Dollelly posted to his Facebook page: "I oppose amending either Indiana's or our nation's constitution to enshrine in those documents an 'us' and a 'them,' instead of 'we.' ... I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all." In a press release, Senator Heitkamp said, "I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships. I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief." With these announcements, there are only four more Democrats to publicly support same-sex marriage rights, however 43 Republicans still oppose these basic civil rights. It's time for all our elected leaders to side with the majority of Americans, and stand up for marriage equality for all.
And finally... Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, police all over the country are still required to enforce the laws of Ronald Reagan's failed drug war. In a stunning bust this week, Texas Highway Patrol found nearly 4 tons of marijuana being transported in an oil tanker. The estimated value of the pot bust is over $3 million dollars. The driver has been arrested, and the Texas Department of Public Safety says more arrests may be forthcoming. This is a perfect example of why we need to legalize marijuana. Illegal trafficking would no longer be needed to move marijuana around the country, and our court system wouldn't be spending money on tons of non-violent offenders. Besides, 4 tons of pot could certainly provide a great way to increase tax revenue, and produce record profits for the snack-food industry.
And that's the way it is today – Friday, April 5, 2013. I'm Jim Javinsky, in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.