Category Archives: 21st Century New Deal

THE CASE FOR A 21st CENTURY NEW DEAL – A FAIR RETIREMENT FOR PEOPLE

Meet Chris. He has worked at Caterpillar for almost 40 years as a white collar employee in IT. He is approaching retirement; his traditional pension benefit will be about $1000 per month ($12,000 per year). When he retires, Chris will pay about $560 per month for health insurance benefits for he and his wife, even with Medicare. In 1974, the Caterpillar CEO made $325,000 per year and employees retired with a good pension which included health insurance at no cost. In 2013, the Caterpillar CEO made $12 million per year and he can expect a generous retirement package with almost all benefits paid thanks to Caterpillar; in contrast, employees’ retirement benefits have been cut and health insurance premiums have been increased including paying more for drugs. Chris has other investments that will help him during his retirement, but as he said, “without them I would have to keep working until I die.

Meet Ruth. She worked at IBM for 17 years. In 2001, IBM eliminated its traditional pension plan and went completely to 401K plans. Employees with a significant amount of time in the traditional pension plan ended up losing a significant part of their retirement savings even after winning a lawsuit against IBM. Employees with less time in the traditional retirement plan received a check for a couple of hundred dollars as a settlement. In 2002, IBM CEO Lou Gerstner retired with a $190 million package, and in 2012, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano retired with $271 million package. Ruth was laid off in 2004 and has no retirement from IBM; work has been hard to come by since then due to the economy. If and when she retires, she will have a meager Social Security check monthly and her savings and insurance from her husband’s death to live on.

Meet Dennis. He retired from Delta Airlines as a pilot. When Delta declared bankruptcy and divested itself from its pension plan in 2005, it turned its pension responsibilities over to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Dennis’ pension went from $1939 per month to $95 per month. In 2012, the Delta Airlines CEO pay package was $8.9 million.

Continue reading THE CASE FOR A 21st CENTURY NEW DEAL – A FAIR RETIREMENT FOR PEOPLE

THE CASE FOR A 21ST CENTURY NEW DEAL: MINIMUM WAGE AND BASIC INCOME

When was the last time American workers saw a real increase in wages? That would be back in the 1960s; since then, workers’ wages have been flat or falling along with record-high unemployment during the Second Great Depression of the Bush and Obama administrations (14 years running).

Productivity has increased up to 1000 fold during that time, but all the financial gains have gone to the corporations and their “shareholders”.

Who are the “shareholders”? Not the common stock holders; their returns are minimal if any at all. The “shareholders” are primarily the executives and their management team that have stock options. They run organizations like their own private plantations, in other words, it’s “plantation capitalism”.

And American workers get left out.

This is what America has become today. Rewards for the few and nothing for the rest, which creates the ever-widening inequality gap.

Don’t expect Democrats or Republicans to do anything; they’re paid to maintain the status quo in favor of corporations and the rich. Their bribes come in the form of campaign contributions and lucrative rewards after they leave office.  For example, former president Bill Clinton has made over $110 million in speaking fees since leaving office in January 2001 (in addition to his government pension and perks paid for by taxpayers).

The Supreme Court has also been overly friendly to Big Business in their decisions ruling in favor of corporations almost 100% of the time.

imagesWall Street and Big Business learned their lessons from the FDR years; now they completely own both parties (Republicans and Democrats), and in effect, they control the government. Almost every law passed has the corporate seal of approval. This, in effect, allows them to act with impunity and no fear.  During the Great Depression, the Pecora Commission investigated the Wall Street bankers and was instrumental in sending many of them to jail. Under the Obama Administration, in contrast to FDR, no bankers have gone to jail.  

The deck has been overwhelmingly stacked against American workers since the 1980s.

The NDP Proposal

The NDP goal is to ensure workers make at least $38,000 per year and workers with families make $52,000 per year.

Continue reading THE CASE FOR A 21ST CENTURY NEW DEAL: MINIMUM WAGE AND BASIC INCOME

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal – 5.1 Million Jobs for Revitalizing America’s Cities

Shining_City_Upon_a_Hill_by_hawk862
                  Once Again

As you may have noticed, towns and cities across the nation have been dying slow deaths for a long time. They are decayed and blighted because the neighborhoods around them have been hit with decades of rough times going back to the 1960s and 1970s. This is not only inner city, but suburbs too.  A lot of historic landmarks have been hit hard.

In the case of Detroit, hard times started when automakers began pulling up factories and sending jobs south to right-to-work states to pay lower wages. The effects cascaded locally from affecting the tax base to the loss of jobs. All that resulted in cuts for schools, an increase in poverty, more abandoned houses in neighborhoods, negative effects on local businesses leading many to close. People had less money to spend and the downward spiral started and grew.  Communities suffered greatly.

In Detroit’s case, it ended with the city in bankruptcy.

Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal – 5.1 Million Jobs for Revitalizing America’s Cities

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: Returning Excellence to Education with a Focus on Students & Teachers

1348727136_2096_educationAmerica used to have the world’s premier public education system that all other nations looked up to. And it was all within reach for all citizens to attend. That in turn led to a highly trained and educated workforce.

When WWII ended, President Truman passed the GI Bill so returning vets could get their education as a thank you for serving their country.

And it worked. That made the United States strong and made it the leader of the free world.

Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: Returning Excellence to Education with a Focus on Students & Teachers

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: Passing FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights

FDR’s Unfinished “Second Bill of Rights” and Why We Need It Now
by Democratic Underground, December 2, 2006

2ndbill lrgFranklin Delano Roosevelt first began speaking about our country’s need for economic and social rights to complement the political rights granted to us in our original Bill of Rights during his first campaign for President, in 1932. Through his whole twelve year Presidency and four presidential campaigns centered largely on advocating for and implementing those rights, it wasn’t until his January 11th, 1944, State of the Union address to Congress that he fully enumerated his conception of those rights in what he referred to as a “Second Bill of Rights”. The elements of that conception fall into two major categories – opportunity and security. Here is a partial introduction to and list of FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, as enumerated in his January 11, 1944 Message to Congress:

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all – regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are:

Opportunity

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job…
  • The right to a good education.
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies…

Security

  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
  • The right of every family to a decent home.
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: Passing FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: The Jobs Program

WPA 1The Economic Bill of Rights

FDR’s January 11, 1944 message to Congress:
...It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. …”

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: The Jobs Program

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: World Class High Speed Internet

High-Speed_InternetHere it is 2014, and those long ago visions of “high speed” internet and the “information highway“ are still just that in some areas of the country. Even in metropolitan areas, “high speed” internet providers still can’t touch some of the speeds Asian countries are providing.

Remember how this was all supposed to play out? Back in the 1990s, high speed internet was supposed to usher in a new era of creativity and productivity for everything from work to school to doctor visits to surgeons performing operations remotely. Health care was supposed to take a giant leap forward with you having a physical checkup over the internet a hundred miles away from your doctor’s office. People were going to be able to watch movies and tv shows unimpeded, do video chats, and start a whole new age with the internet’s technical capabilities. As they say, “the future’s so bright I’m going to have to wear sunglasses”.

Well, that was the dream anyway. Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: World Class High Speed Internet

The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: End the War on Drugs

How old is the War on Drugs?  

If you had said 42 years old based on President Nixon’s June 17, 1971 speech where he declared from the White House, “To wage an effective war against heroin addiction, we must have international cooperation.”, then you would be only partly correct.

The original War on Drugs in the U.S. kicked off 100 years ago in 1913 with the Harrison Act, which is considered the foundation of current U.S. drug law. The year before, the 1912 Hague International Opium Convention was signed by China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia (Iran), Portugal, Russia, Siam (Thailand), the UK and the British territories (including British India).

The convention consisted of six chapters and twenty-five articles, and it was in response to the the growing problems of Opium, Morphine, Cocaine, and Heroin among the societies. It served as a global declaration of how dangerous Opium and other non-medical drugs were becoming; it also was the inspiration for the Harrison Act. Today, the Hague convention has evolved into the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

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The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: A Presidential & Congressional Accountability Act

The past week saw the government shutdown and debt-ceiling limit fight come to an end. The cost of this particular episode of government irresponsibility is estimated at $24 billion with nearly a million jobs lost during the 16 days. Only a Congress helmed by a bunch of swivel-eyed loons would have gone down that road putting the nation at risk.

This amounts to financial terrorism against the country.

The NYTimes ran an article a couple of weeks ago that this government shutdown was planned for months beginning after the presidential election last year and was the work of the Koch Brothers, former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, Jim DeMint, and about three dozen conservative groups, and carried out by their foot soldiers Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, and crew. Michele Bachmann, when interviewed on TV, was enthusiastic about shutting down the government.

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The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: A Stronger People’s Post Office

Post Office

The United States Postal Service has always been a cornerstone of American society since Ben Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General back in 1775. That’s 238 years of continuous service to the public.

For over two centuries, it’s primarily been how we communicate with each other in addition to the telephone. Personal cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and what not. Bills received and paid. Advertising (sometimes too much advertising). Magazine subscriptions. Medicine. Throughout the country it varies: the Post Office in Alaska is a lifeline since people are spread out instead of right next to each other, includes delivery of groceries and more normal everyday stuff that UPS or FedEx decline to deliver.

Continue reading The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: A Stronger People’s Post Office