In today's On the News segment: The Republican Party is set to try to force more extreme austerity measures on President Obama; a new report by the Associated Press looks at the overwhelming “economic insecurity” that plagues the growing number of unemployed Americans; and more.
Jim Javinsky here - in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. Republicans are gearing up to hold our economy hostage yet again. The last fight over the debt limit cost our economy $18 billion dollars, and despite that, the GOP is ready to do it all over again to try and force President Obama to accept even more extreme austerity measures. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said, "we're not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending. It's as simple as that." However, over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned against another manufactured emergency, telling CNN, "We've already done a lot of deficit reduction," and, "we need to get the debt limit extended in a way that doesn't create a crisis." He explained that we must start investing in our nation to "build our way to a better future," and said, "the President has made crystal clear, he's not going to negotiate over the debt limit." Lawmakers must reach an agreement by early November to prevent the government from defaulting on its debts, and both sides are preparing for a fight. Republicans are simply ignoring the enormous deficit reduction that has already taken place, and implying that the painful austerity measures hitting Americans weren't the "real" spending cuts that the GOP has been calling for. Americans being hit with reduced unemployment, fewer meals on wheels for seniors, and forced furlough days would certainly argue that the sequester cuts are, in fact, very real. This is shaping up to be another GOP-manufactured crisis to force the President to give in to economic terrorists' demands. Americans are fed up with Republican economic hostage-taking. As lawmakers head home for their 5-week summer recess, it's likely that they will hear just how frustrated Americans are. It's possible Republicans in Congress will actually listen to their constituents this time around, but it's more likely that we'll be facing yet another debt limit crisis in the coming months. Stay tuned.
In screwed news... For many of our fellow citizens, forget the American Dream – simple survival is a struggle. According to a new survey by The Associated Press, 80 percent of Americans face near-poverty at some point their lives. The study measured "economic insecurity" which was defined as being unemployed at some point in their working lives, relying on government aid for a year or more, or living on an income below 150 percent of the poverty line. While statistics are different among ethnic groups, new data shows that poverty now effects four out of five adults in our country, regardless of their race. This trend has left 15 percent of our population, roughly 46 million Americans, struggling to make ends meet. Thirty-two years of Reaganomics have sent jobs overseas, destroyed our unions, and left wages stagnating at pre-1980 levels. At the rate we're going, 85 percent of adults in the U.S. will be in poverty by 2030. President Obama recently spoke about a "better bargain for the middle class." If our lawmakers don't act fast, there may not be a middle class left to bargain for.
In the best of the rest of the news...
President Obama is standing up to Right-wing myths about the Keystone XL pipeline. In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, the President debunked the GOP talking point, that Keystone would create tens of thousands of jobs. President Obama said, "There is no evidence that that's true." He explained that after the initial construction, "we're talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people." The President also disputed the claim that Keystone XL would bring down gas prices, saying that prices may actually increase in the Midwest, as more oil is shipped to other countries. These two statements might indicate how the President might come out on the pipeline's construction. The Administration is expected to announce a decision on Keystone XL late this year, or early next. Pipeline opponents are hopeful that the President's comments will be among the list of reasons that the toxic tar sands project is rejected.
And finally... So far, twelve states have proposed or approved new health insurance rates, and they are busting the myth of outrageous premiums under Obamacare. Last week, Maryland released new rates available through that state's insurance exchange, and premiums were much lower than experts anticipated. According to the data, a 25-year-old in Maryland will be able to purchase a comprehensive policy for $114 per month, and a middle-aged adult can get full coverage for $260. The exchange also allows residents to select from nine different insurance carriers, and will provide tax credits to 75 percent of Maryland residents, which will reduce costs even further. Rebecca Pearce, Executive Director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said "in 2014 ... 740,000 Marylanders will have new access to health coverage with more robust benefits." Maryland now joins the list of states that are proving rates are lower because of the Affordable Care Act. Americans in at least 12 states will soon have affordable, comprehensive health insurance thanks to Obamacare.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, July 29, 2013. I'm Jim Javinsky - in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.