In today's On the News segment: A new report from the Federal Reserve of Dallas estimates the real cost of the 2007-2009 economic meltdown to be between six and 14 trillion dollars; Republican leaders quickly condemned Obama's new "grand bargain" jobs idea; the SNAP budget cuts proposed by House Republicans would leave five million people struggling without the nutritional assistance on which they rely; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Only hours after President Obama proposed a new "grand bargain" for job creation, Republican leaders quickly condemned the idea. On Tuesday, the President spoke at an Amazon.com warehouse in Tennessee, where he unveiled a new plan that paired corporate tax cuts with infrastructure spending, in an effort to gain bipartisan support. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was quick to criticize the president's proposal, saying, "It's just a further-left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago, this time with extra goodies for tax-and-spend-liberals." The Republican lawmaker refused to acknowledge that President Obama's plan did exactly what GOP leaders have been calling for – lower the corporate tax rate and simplify the tax code. Instead, Senator McConnell focused in on infrastructure spending, calling it "extra goodies," and ignoring the fact that it would put many Americans back to work. This out-of-the-gate obstruction is just more Republican economic terrorism. They will oppose anything that the President proposes, no matter how many Republican ideas are included. Republicans in Congress would rather create another manufactured debt crisis, so that they can blame President Obama for the damage that crisis inflicts on our economy. But, more and more Americans are recognizing that the goal of the GOP's insurgency strategy is not to help our economy, or put Americans back to work – it's simply to oppose anything and everything President Obama stands for. As the President said during a speech last week, it's time for Republicans to stop being against everything, and tell the American people what it is they actually stand for. Because as it looks now, the only thing Republicans will spend their time on, is making sure that nothing the President proposes ever actually gets done.
In screwed news... The Republican controlled House of Representatives wants to kick millions of people off food stamps. According to a new report from the Health Impact Project, the SNAP budget cuts proposed by House Republicans would leave five million people struggling without the nutritional assistance that they rely on. According to the report, the proposed $20 billion dollars in cuts would also increase poverty levels, and lead to a spike in illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure as people would be subjected to more stress and lower-quality food choices. The director of the study, Dr. Aaron Wernham, said, "The SNAP program has implications for health, and we wanted to make sure that health is part of the debate." However, it's unlikely that this report – or any – will sway Republican congresspeople far from the draconian cuts they proposed. As the debate in Congress continues over a farm bill that includes nutritional assistance, millions of Americans will be watching closely, hoping Republicans don't cut off the important food aid that they rely on.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The city of Richmond, California is getting serious about helping struggling home owners. Yesterday, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin announced a controversial plan to use eminent doman to address that city's foreclosure crisis. She said, "After years of waiting on the banks to offer up a more comprehensive fix, or the federal government, we're stepping into the void to make it happen ourselves." This week, city officials sent letters to 32 banks, offering to buy underwater home mortgages at a discounted price. If the banks refuse, the letter states that the city of Richmond may use the power of eminent domain to condemn the properties and seize them from the banks at a court-determined fair-market price. Of course, Wall Street opposes the idea, calling it, "unconstitutional, illegal and very bad policy." But, Mayor McLaughlin said that the goal of city officials is to stabalize the community and prevent additional foreclosures, and several other cities around our nation are considering the measure as well. It may be unconventional, but homeowners in Richmond, California are thrilled to see city leaders going to great lengths to keep residents in their homes.
A new report from the Federal Reserve of Dallas estimates the real cost of the 2007-2009 economic meltdown, and the actual number will blow your mind. According to the study, our nation lost between six and 14 TRILLION dollars from the loss of economic output, the steep decline in personal wealth, and from nagging unemployment. And, the authors of this study say that their figure is quite conservative, because less tangible effects of the recession are hard to quanitfy. Yet, even as we learn the true fallout from Wall Street gambling and the housing bubble burst, financial regulators say that they still haven't enacted the reforms that will prevent it from happening all over again. During a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White, said that important protections in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act "may" be in place "by year-end." Many Americans are happy to see that a few reasonable regulations will finally put some limits on the banksters, but most are frustrated that it's taken five years to put those minimal protections in place.
And finally... As the rolls of parents have changed in the past few decades, many more dads have taken to pushing their kids around in a stroller. So, one car maker in the Czech Republic has designed a more manly buggy just for dads. The stroller is equipped with a hydraulic suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a headlight for night-time walks. The car company SKODA dubbed the stroller the "ultimate accessory for new dads." As of now, the buggy is only a prototype, and there are no plans to start selling it. But, after the company got a huge response over the beefy baby buggy, a spokeswoman said, "you never know, there could be a market for it."
And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, July 31, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.