Yes, The Economy Still Sucks

Yes, the economy still sucks… A month ago “first-quarter economic growth came in surprisingly weak,” and now “consumer spending — the largest component of the economy,” is “especially slow.” Stagnant wages and higher prices for gas and food are squeezing family budgets, while falling home equity hurts consumer confidence. That suggests more bad news to come. When consumers are constrained, so is hiring, because without customers, employers are hard pressed to retain workers or make new hires. A recent Labor Department report showed a greater-than-expected rise in the number of people claiming jobless benefits even as private-sector economic forecasts are being revised downward — both very bad omens for continued job growth. Things just look grim on the economic front… very … Continue reading

RIP Gil Scott Heron

RIP Gil Scott Heron: Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and recording artist whose syncopated spoken style and mordant critiques of politics, racism and mass media in pieces like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” made him a notable voice of black protest culture in the 1970s and an important early influence on hip-hop, died on Friday at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 62 and had been a longtime resident of Harlem. In The Bottle… Live at SOB’s (09/13/2007):

A Few Cutting Remarks: Ways to Balance the Budget

Throughout the country, the taxpayers have been revolting. Shocked by the enormity of the taxpayer revolt, and the untimely retirement of several hundred politicians, today’s current legislators, civil servants, and business executives have suddenly became the “people’s champions.” In a parallel universe, we can report the following, just since the latest election: — Congress got the taxpayers’ message, and cut tax-supported junkets to only 15 per member. “The people have spoken,” said Rep. Horace Sludgepump from the Bahamas where he was on a fact-finding tour for the Maritime subcommittee. However, Rep. Sludgepump cautions that forcing Congressmen to stay at home and work for a living could bring chaos to the nation. Nevertheless, he promises to cut expenses even further three … Continue reading

Palin Tries to Steal Thunder

Sarah Palin announced she was rolling out an exploratory committee tour and it was to start at the Rolling Thunder event in D.C. this weekend… But funny thing is, she was invited and some members are claiming she’s trying to steal their thunder: Does anyone even take Sarah Palin seriously? She’s media hungry, not a politician.

Capitol Idea: In A 2012 Democratic Wave, Beware Senate Wipeout

The election this week of a Democrat to a traditionally Republican seat in the House of Representatives is amping up what already have been percolating hopes for Democrats to retake their House majority in 2012. Make no mistake: I share the aspiration. But at the risk of casting a pall over the excitement before it’s barely begun, I’d like to inject a cautionary thought. No, I’m not going to waste your time by beating the drum for the old political disclaimer that one should not read too much in the result of one special election, such as the one just concluded in upstate New York which will send Kathy Hochul to Washington as the newest member of Congress. (If anything, … Continue reading

New GOP Budget: Hands Off Medicare, But Potentially Worse

The Senate may have defeated a House GOP budget that would have turned Medicare into a private voucher-based programs, but Republicans haven’t given up. But Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has proposed a budget that leaves Medicare alone, but is potentially worse, according to an independent analysis. Senators on Wednesday voted down the budget blueprint first offered by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats to block further consideration of the bill, which included the Medicare overhaul.     Under political pressure by President Obama and other Democrats, public opinion turned against the Ryan Medicare plan, evidenced most notably by a Democrat winning a special House election Tuesday in which the Ryan plan was a … Continue reading