FDL Book Salon Welcomes Jennifer M. Silva, Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty

By: Saturday August 31, 2013 1:59 pm

Through 100 in-depth interviews Silva vividly pulls us into this world, mostly in Richmond, Virginia, and Lowell, Massachusetts, where her grandparents grew up. The most striking thing about these stories is that they’re not only about debt or empty checking accounts; they’re about small moments wherein our institutions have ignored, confused, or overwhelmed working class people. Isaac doesn’t apply for financial aid for community college because his mother feels uncomfortable providing her salary for the FAFSA. Christopher feels “tricked” for being taxed $400 for not purchasing Massachusetts health insurance because he was unemployed and didn’t know how to look for free health care. Eileen tries to collect welfare, but couldn’t despite her low income because she inherited a house from her mother.

These moments spark not only resentment in the “system,” but between different groups.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills: Recessions, Budget Battles, and the Politics of Life and Death

By: Saturday June 29, 2013 1:59 pm

David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu’s new book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills is a thorough examination of the toll that recessions take on people’s health. They show, convincingly, that there are many, many channels through which health outcomes can deteriorate when the economy goes into a deep recession. They also show that the manner in which the government reacts to an economic downturn is a critical factor in determining health outcomes. Deterioration in health in a recession, though common, is far from inevitable.

Richard Eskow Asks: Which Side Are You On?

By: Sunday December 23, 2012 6:45 am

I certainly hope that Nancy Pelosi cannot convince most Democrats to risk their seats and prepare the way for a Republican sweep in 2014 by voting to cut SS. The Republicans will respond to this by casting themselves as the protectors of SS, and while this is ridiculous, the Democrats will not be credible in claiming that they are its protectors, and they will lose their identity as the protectors of the safety net, a very high price to pay for the sake of raising taxes on the rich by an amount that is insignificant in the greater scheme of things.

Means Testing Emerges as a Social Insurance Pill Democrats Could Swallow

By: Friday December 14, 2012 4:34 pm

It certainly looked yesterday as if the White House had dropped any notion of using an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a bargaining chip in future negotiations on a grand bargain. While the White House has not ruled out increasing the age, some of its leading allies did, and Dick Durbin went so far as to say this was “no longer one of the items being considered by the White House.” But the Press

Tim Geithner’s Lead Negotiating Position on Fiscal Slope Should Cause Concern

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 6:08 pm

The White House absolutely wants the Treasury Secretary to be deeply involved with budget issues. But we know this because they’ve already designated current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the lead negotiating role on the fiscal slope. So while Lew may have the resume, Geithner already has the job, and he has indicated he will not step down until the negotiation gets resolved somehow.

Durbin Outlines Democratic Approach on Grand Bargain

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 4:16 pm

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has almost become the liaison to the left for cuts to federal health care programs in the grand bargain, gave a speech today at the Center for American Progress that included a couple important points…

Democrats Angling to Ignore Base in Fiscal Slope Deal

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 8:50 am

Somehow, the Democratic majority spent two years putting a health care bill together and they somehow forgot to restrain the growth in health care programs, even though that was the main watchword of the entire policy debate, is that what I’m to believe here? In fact, the Affordable Care Act committed the federal government to $800 billion more spending on Medicaid through 2022, 99% of the total federal-state costs in expansion. I support that as the major driver of coverage expansion in the ACA, and it’s all paid for. But now we’re told it’s completely unsustainable and needs to be dealt with RIGHT NOW, the base be damned.

Union Coalition Promotes “Jobs Not Cuts,” Directly Targets Democratic Senators

By: Tuesday November 20, 2012 9:35 am

A coalition of unions has released the first set of ads pressuring Democrats on the grand bargain, with an explicit message of “Jobs Not Cuts.”

Over the Weekend on the Fiscal Slopes

By: Monday November 19, 2012 6:52 am

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi laid out a bright line this weekend, echoing many other Democrats in saying that merely cutting loopholes to raise revenues would not be sufficient for a deal.

Mark Begich’s Plan to Stop the Effects of Inequality on Social Security Finances

By: Friday November 16, 2012 2:50 pm

I will be on Mark Thompson’s Make It Plain show on Sirius/XM – I’m actually on every Friday – and we tape early, so I can tell you that one of the things I’ll talk about is how Social Security’s long-term funding is an artifact of rampant US inequality. See, we have a payroll tax funding Social Security that gets capped at around $113,700 a year. That means that every dollar above that cap gets untaxed to pay for Social Security. When inequality widens, as it has, more and more compensation goes untaxed, draining the Social Security system of funds. Historically speaking, at least 90% of compensation gets captured by the Social Security system. Today that’s down to about 82%, the last I read.

So to the extent that Social Security needs to be fixed – and by “fixed” I don’t just mean brought into a 75-year balance, but made more adequate so less seniors slip into poverty – you need to raise that tax cap and capture more income. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) has an excellent piece of legislation that would do just this.

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