Economy

"We are the 99%," but the 1% Buy Elections, Reports Show

As the "Occupy" protests spread across the country with the slogan "we are the ninety-nine percent," two reports released this week demonstrate how the top one percent are playing an increasingly outsized role in American elections.

"I can't afford my own politician"The New Yorker reports on a conservative multimillionaire's successful efforts to buy North Carolina's elections, and a report from campaign finance reform groups describe how an elite group of donors have laundered unlimited contributions to presidential campaigns. Much of this influence was made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and anger over corporate influence in politics is helping fuel the populist uprisings in Manhattan, D.C., and around the country.

Darrell Issa Goes Postal, Job-Killing Retiree Bill Moves to the States

Save America's Postal Service Darrell Issa is going postal. In the name of "Saving the Post Office," the head of the House Government Oversight Committee is ready to knock off 200,000 jobs and put the U.S. Postal Service, founded in 1775, on the path to oblivion. President Obama's rescue plan is only slightly better -- 80,000 people might lose their jobs.

The bipartisan eagerness to sink the Postal Service has Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General under the Continental Congress, rolling in his grave.

On Lehman Day, Elizabeth Warren Runs Against “Wall Street’s Favorite”

Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren announced that she was running against Scott Brown for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts on the eve of the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. For many, Lehman's unthinkable bankruptcy September 15th, 2008 marks the day when the wheels came off the bus and the U.S. economy went over a cliff.

With 30 million Americans unemployed and underemployed, Social Security, Medicare and public workers under attack, Warren's video announcement got straight to the point.

"Middle-class families have been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don't think Washington gets it. Washington is rigged for big corporations that hire armies of lobbyists," she continued. "A big company like GE pays nothing in taxes and we're asking college students to take on even more debt to get an education, we're telling seniors they may have to learn to live on less? It isn't right, and it's the reason I'm running for the U.S. Senate."

Nurses to Obama: Heal America, Tax Wall Street!

Nurses Say Tax Wall StreetAs President Obama gets ready for his big jobs speech Thursday, America's nurses have a message for him. "Heal America, Tax Wall Street!" the signs read as nurses rallied in front of 61 Congressional offices this week. The nurses are proposing a bold alternative to the "cut, cut, cut" rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C.

Their proposal? "It's time for the Wall Street financiers who created this crisis and continue to hold much of the nation's wealth to start contributing to rebuild this country and for the American people to regain their future," explained Rosanne DeMoro, Executive Director of National Nurses Union (NNU), in a press release. The nurses are joining groups across the nation and around the world who are calling for a financial transaction fee on high-volume, high-speed Wall Street trades, to tamp down dangerous speculation and to raise revenue for heath care, jobs and other critical needs.

Nurses Take the Message "Heal America Tax Wall Street" to 60 Congressional Offices

Heal AmericaAcross the country on September 1, nurses will converge on local congressional offices to demand a tax on Wall Street financial speculation, a move they say is a step towards healing the nation, trimming the deficit, and preserving social programs.

National Nurses United (NNU) is planning a day of action in over 60 congressional offices in 21 states. In Wisconsin, the group is sponsoring a soup kitchen outside of Rep. Paul Ryan's Janesville office "to provide residents with the sustenance they are not getting from Paul Ryan," says NNU spokesman Charles Idelson.

Wisconsin Workers Feel the Bite of Walker Bill

After trying to have children, but finding themselves unable, Madison, Wisconsin resident Chris Bering and his wife were hoping to adopt. But then Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed a radical overhaul of public employee collective bargaining rights. Although the battle over the Walker proposal took place in the depths of winter, August 25th marked the first day that the payroll changes took effect for Wisconsin workers. The cutbacks will force public workers to change their daily spending habits and for many -- their vision of their future. As a public employee, Bering has estimated the family will see about a $400 decrease per month. The cuts mean that he and his wife are now unsure whether they can financially support a child and their dream of adoption may be put on hold.

Recall Walker? It's Up to Feingold

Popular T-shirts in WisconsinFor the first time in the state's history, Wisconsin recalled two sitting state senators simultaneously. While it was a difficult and historic achievement in two districts that voted for Scott Walker in 2010, it fell short of the three seats needed to flip the Senate from Republican to Democratic control and put the brakes on Governor Scott Walker's radical agenda.

While Walker's collective bargaining bill sparked the recalls, voters were also worried about the state budgetary moves which cut $800 million from local schools while giving out $200 million in tax breaks for big corporations. No jobs plan (other than tax breaks) has been proposed and, contrary to spin from the Governor, joblessness is growing in this state at twice the rate of the federal level.

To Save Billions, the Government Should Pay Doctors to Make House Calls

Dr. Bruce Kinosian still makes house calls, and he's proud of it. In fact, he introduces himself as a physician who goes to see his patients in their homes rather than insisting that they come to see him at his office.

Independence at HomeHe's convinced that if more doctors did what he does, we could eliminate billions of dollars we currently spend in this country in an often-futile -- and almost always incredibly expensive -- effort to get people well.

Much of that savings, he says, would accrue to the Medicare program, making it unnecessary for Congress to even consider eliminating benefits or raising the eligibility age.

Kinosian, associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, is a leading advocate of the Independence at Home (IAH) program, which quietly has been saving the Department of Veteran's Affairs (and taxpayers) lots of money -- and improving the quality of life for thousands of veterans -- for nearly three decades.

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