Protesters At Ryan Town Hall Slam His ‘Shameful’ Budget |
A small group of protesters gathered to protest the “shameful” budget authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) outside a town hall in Racine, Wisconsin this morning. About 10 protesters stood outside the townhall, where one of Ryan’s constituents, Kelly Gallaher, told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes that she agreed with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which denounced the deep cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs. “Paul Ryan’s budget is shameful,” Gallagher said. “The bishops are right. Expanding the military and cutting food stamps is immoral.” She added: “[It is] really shameful that the budget only asks for sacrifices from the poor, not the rich.”
Romney Sets Second Ridiculous Standard For Jobs Growth |
Slamming President Obama on today’s jobs report, Mitt Romney set the entirely unrealistic goal of creating 500,000 jobs per month this morning on Fox News, then added another unreasonable metric of 4 percent unemployment at a campaign event in Pennsylvania this afternoon. The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1 percent today, but Romney said in Pittsburgh, “Anything…over 4 percent is not cause for celebration.” Four percent would obviously be nice, but is hardly typical — the unemployment rate hasn’t been that low since December 2000, at the end of President Clinton’s second term. Meanwhile, there have only been 16 months since 1939 — and only four in the last 50 years — in which the economy added 500,000 jobs or more. It makes one wonder if Romney really has the economic understanding he claims to possess.
Our guest blogger is Michael Linden, the Director of Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
As of April, there are now more private sector jobs in the United States than there were in January 2009, when President Obama took office. You read that right. We have now replaced all of the private sector jobs lost while Obama has been president. And that was no mean feat, given that over the course of 2009, the private sector shed about 4.2 million jobs.
Unfortunately, the news is not nearly so good when it comes to the public sector, where there are currently 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office.
The chart below tells the whole story. Under President Obama, the private sector has experienced a relatively robust recovery, and is now back to where it started when he took office. The public sector continues to shed jobs, and as a result, the overall jobs picture in the US remains weak. If you want to understand why conservative efforts to slash funding for teachers, firefighters, cops is bad for the economy, look no further than this graph.
With the June 12 special election to fill the Arizona House seat left open by the resignation of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) fast approaching, the Republican nominee Jesse Kelly has just launched a new attack ad against his Democratic opponent Ron Barber. In the ad and a newly revised section of his campaign website, Kelly highlights his commitment to protecting entitlements for America’s seniors — a commitment that stands in stark contrast to the positions he took in his unsuccessful campaign against Giffords back in 2010 and as recently as last month.
In the ad, Kelly makes a widely-debunkedclaim that ObamaCare will “cut $500 billion from Medicare.” The legislation aims to achieve $500 billion in Medicare savings, which will extend the life of the program and provide better care.
But after his disclaimer, Kelly and his grandfather Hank Allgyer say:
KELLY: I’m committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”
ALLGYER: Don’t let Ron Barber cut my benefits, Jesse. I’ve earned them.
KELLY: Don’t worry, Grandpa. I won’t.
ALLGYER: I know you’ll protect us.
Watch the video:
On his website, Kelly says he supports “preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare” and does not support “privatizing, eliminating or phasing out these programs in any way.” He advocates actions to prevent Social Security from “going bankrupt” but lays out five principles that would seemingly prevent any real action to do that:
1. Any solution must be bipartisan
2. I will not vote for any solution that privatizes social security
3. I will not vote for any solution that raises taxes
4. I will not vote for any solution that cuts benefits
5. I will not vote for any solution that raises the retirement age
By ruling out changing the amount of money coming in to the Social Security fund (raising taxes) or the amount going out (cutting benefits or changing the retirement age), he seems to take virtually everything off the table. But he hasn’t always had this view.
And, the same article notes, in a 2010 debate, Kelly said the nation must take steps to reform, privatize, and phase out entitlements. “You need to fulfill your promises in the near future while phasing out future generations, taking steps to privatize, vouchers, everything,” he said. “It’s not an option of should it be done. It must be done.”
Kelly, a construction manager and Tea Party favorite, infamously hosted an M16 automatic weapons shooting campaign event to help supporters “get on target” to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office,” just months before a gunman went on a shooting spree at a Giffords community event in Tuscon, leaving six dead and a dozen wounded — including both Giffords and Barber. Giffords resigned her seat in January to focus on her recovery.
His issues page has since been changed to remove the phrase “The Second Amendment of the Constitution is not just about hunting. It is about the right of a free people to defend themselves.”
The Kelly website makes no mention of whether the nation has always been at war with Eastasia, but Kelly apparently does not think Arizona voters can remember all the way back to April 2012.
Calling JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon an outspoken critic of efforts to reform Wall Street would be an understatement. Dimon has slammed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the new regulations it contains, saying they would be “the nail in our coffin for big American banks,” and he led a group of Wall Street executives to Washington this week to personally lobby the Federal Reserve to weaken the Volcker Rule, a ban on risky proprietary trading at banks like his.
And yet, while accepting an “Executive of the Year” award at the University of Rochester yesterday, Dimon acknowledged that Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has called for new regulations and reforms and has protested outside his office, had some “legitimate complaints,” MarketWatch reports:
Asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement against financial greed and economic inequality, Dimon acknowledged that the protesters have some “legitimate complaints.”
Dimon either didn’t elaborate about which complaints were legitimate or MarketWatch didn’t report them. It’s safe to say, though, that he wouldn’t go as far as former Merrill Lynch banker Roger Vasey, who called the Volcker Rule “necessary to correct a mistake that poses a danger to our economy” or former Goldman Sachs trader Greg Smith, who decried the “toxic and destructive” culture that existed at firms like his. In fact, after acknowledging the legitimacy of some Occupy claims, Dimon seemed to rub in the fact that the biggest banks are only getting bigger. “Investment banking is going to have a bright future,” he said. “It will always be a highly paid industry.”
Food insecurity became a major problem during the Great Recession and through the economic recovery that has followed, with 17.2 million American households facing food insecurity last year alone. Nearly 50 million Americans live in households that are food insecure, and the number of hungry Americans increased 30 percent during the recession.
The increase for senior citizens was even bigger, according to a new report from Meals On Wheels authored by professors at the University of Kentucky and University of Illinois. The number of seniors facing the threat of hunger has spiked 78 percent over the last decade, and though the risk of hunger has declined since the end of the recession across the board, it is still increasing for senior citizens, the Huffington Post reports:
One in seven seniors in America — some 8.3 million people — faced the threat of hunger in 2010, a 78 percent spike since 2001, according to a study released today by Meals On Wheels, the nonprofit that delivers meals to the homebound.
The “Senior Hunger Report Card” found while the risk of hunger for the U.S. population as a whole has declined since the end of the recession in 2009, it rose for people age 60 and older, mainly among those earning less than $30,000 –- or one to two times the poverty level.
Hunger for senior citizens disproportionately affects women and minorities. Three out of every five seniors facing hunger are women, and African-Americans and Hispanics are twice as likely to face hunger threats as whites. Though the numbers for those groups have shrunk since the end of the recession, they have still spiked over the last decade.
The threat of hunger poses serious problems for the economy, posing nutritional risks that lead to higher health costs across the country. And the problems are only exacerbated by proposed cuts to the social safety net. More than half of the food insecure households participate in the three major food assistance programs, but the recently-passed Republican budget guts those programs and others — like Medicare and Medicaid — that help keep millions of Americans from sinking into poverty, and the hunger that often comes with it, every year.
The American economy added 115,000 jobs in April, and while that number fell well short of expectations, it represents the 26th consecutive month of private sector job growth. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was quick to harp on the report, appearing on Fox & Friends just minutes after the release to say that the economy should be growing at a much faster pace. The economy should be adding more than 500,000 jobs a month, Romney said:
ROMNEY: We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.
Romney’s call for 500,000 jobs a month would certainly make for a faster economic recovery. That sort of growth, however, is hardly “normal,” as Romney claims. As the chart below shows, there have only been 16 months since 1939 — and only four in the last 50 years — in which the economy added 500,000 jobs or more:
It isn’t the first time Romney has made unreasonable claims about the economy. Romney released a tax plan in March that would reduce federal revenues by more than $6 trillion because of its massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Despite that number, Romney says his plan won’t add to the deficit, but economic analysis of the plan shows the economy would have to grow 6.8 percent a year for five years — significantly faster than it has in any five-year period in recent history. As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden and Seth Hanlon said at the time, Romney’s plan is “implausible, to say the least.”
Economy Added 115,000 Jobs Last Month; Unemployment Ticks Down Slightly |
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added 115,000 jobs in April, well below expectations, while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.1 percent. The private sector added 130,000 jobs while the public sector shrunk. February’s total was revised up 19,000 jobs; March’s total was revised up 34,000. The broader U-6 measure of unemployment remained steady at 14.5 percent.
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy’s morning link roundup. This is what we’re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
Facebook wants to raise $10.6 billion in what would be the tech industry’s largest ever IPO. [Reuters]
American officials won economic concessions from China at annual meetings today. [New York Times]
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is taking on a more public profile in an attempt to rebuild the company’s image. [New York Times]
House leaders are nearing a deal to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and raise its loan limit to $140 billion. [Politico]
Germany could be the next European country to enter recession. [CNN Money]
AIG is inching closer to paying back the government bailout funds it received in 2008. [CNN Money]
BP will not face a trial for the 2010 Gulf oil spill until 2013, a federal judge said Thursday. [Wall Street Journal]
Nike says it will raise its labor standards at factories in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, where 90 percent of its shoes are made. [Bloomberg]