Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Obama Takes the High Road

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Senator Obama has responded to John McCain’s “Celebrity” ad calling it “demonstrably false”

“Is that the best you can come up with?… Is that really what this is election is about? Is that what is worthy of the American people? Even the media has pointed out that Senator John McCain, who started out talking about running an honorable campaign, has fallen back into the predictable political attacks, the demonstrably false statements. Here is the problem… These negative ads, these negative attacks, spending all this time talking about me instead of talking about what he’s going to do. That’s not going to lower your gas prices. That’s not going to help you stay in your home if you’ve fallen behind on the mortgage. That’s not going to help you find a job if it has been shipped overseas. It doesn’t do a single thing to help the American people. It is politics as a game. But the time for game playing is over.” -Senator Barack Obama, July 30, 2008.

Senator Obama in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 30, 2008

Senator Obama’s new “Low Road” ad in response to John McCain’s “Celebrity” ad

Obama in Missouri

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Senator Obama in Missouri to discuss our economic security and his stark differences from John McCain

Mike Marcello’s Campaign Kick-Off

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Mike Marcello officially announced his candidacy for State Representative of Cranston and Scituate last Tuesday night at the North Scituate Community House. Citing the state’s high unemployment rate, high tax burdens, corruption, and inefficiency in drafting laws, Marcello pledged to tackle the most pressing issues for the residents of Cranston and North Scituate:

“I am here to tell you that we can and must change, and it begins with the help of all of you tonight. In these time of crises, I have hope for the future because I have confidence that our citizens can meet any challenge, overcome any obstacle, and make the tough choices if they are just given all of the facts and told the truth.”

In addition to challenging the legislature to spend more time drafting clear and concise laws and denouncing legislative grants used to reward political friends, Marcello vowed to support a law mandating the state legislators to pay the same health care co-pay as the highest paid by any state worker. He also stressed the importance of Rhode Island joining the other 49 sates in adopting a school aid funding formula geared towards supporting teachers and staff, music, art and sports programs, and all other “extras” that benefit students. Marcello believes in fully funding our schools as a means of nurturing a better educated and more enthusiastic and creative generation to fuel economic development and job growth further down the road. Finally, he voiced the need to adopt a comprehensive economic plan to stimulate the economy and attract the high paying jobs Rhode Island “desperately needs.”

Marcello, an attorney at Morrison Mahoney LLP, ran against 3 time incumbent Carol Mumford in 2006 coming within 6 percentage points of defeating her. He is poised in the 2008 election cycle for a big win to take back the seat for the Democratic Party.

NY Times: “It’s the Economic Stupidity, Stupid”

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The New York Times has an interesting and insightful Op-Ed piece pertaining to John McCain and the economy.

Here is a brief look at Frank Rich’s article:

In 2000, he told an interviewer that he would make up for his lack of attention to “those issues.” As he entered the 2008 campaign, Mr. McCain was still saying the same, vowing to read “Greenspan’s book” as a tutorial. Last weekend, the resolutely analog candidate told The New York Times he is at last starting to learn how “to get online myself.” Perhaps he’ll retire his abacus by Election Day.

Mr. McCain’s fiscal ineptitude has received so little scrutiny in some press quarters that his chief economic adviser, the former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, got a free pass until the moment he self-immolated on video by whining about “a nation of whiners.” -Frank Rich (New York Times)

To read the article visit the New York Times online.

Note to Struggling Americans: ‘It’s All in Your Head’

Monday, July 14th, 2008

McCain and adviser Gramm proclaim America’s economic troubles are merely “psychological”, and that we should all stop “whining”

McCain campaign co-chair Phil Gramm recently ruffled voters’ feathers when he asserted that we, as a nation, are merely a bunch of “whiners” and have merely conjured up our economic struggles.

Realizing that the comments were both insensitive and ill-informed, McCain quickly sidestepped from Gramm’s comments at a recent appearance. However, McCain did echo that economic struggles are just a figment of our collective imagination.

“I think, psychologically — and a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological …A little psychological boost. Lets have some straight talk. Its not a huge amount of money… a little psychological boost, that’s what I think it would help.” -John McCain

Straight talk huh? Downplaying the exorbitant gas prices and devastating mortgage crisis makes you a ’straight-shooter’?…

In the video below, John McCain condemns Gramm’s comments while mirroring those assertions in one of his own speeches. This is yet another example of the desperate double-talk the American people are seeing from the McCain camp on a regular basis.

McCain unable to connect with American people

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Declining poll numbers and an unfavorable political disposition towards Republicans indicates John McCain has to do something more to better connect with the American people and maintain the Republican hold on key red states. And with record numbers of voters identifying themselves as Democratic nationally, McCain’s chances for the White House win are looking more and more dismal.

Senator John McCain’s energy plan focuses on off-shore drilling, a plan strongly reminiscent of Bush policies that benefit Big Oil. Such policies will further push the US behind countries such as Japan, Germany and Spain. Off-shore drilling would not contribute to a real change in gas prices instead only fooling consumers by providing what McCain called in an MSNBC article a “psychological impact.”

This new position goes against his previous stance form the 2000 election, when he opposed lifting the moratorium and campaigned against off-shore drilling.

Other energy ideas include McCain’s support of using Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a national dump site for both nuclear and radioactive waste. He also wants to create 45 new nuclear plants, which would only create more nuclear wasts. John McCain has a history of opposing incentives for renewable energy and green jobs.

Conversely, Senator Obama suggests a plan to create a new energy economy. He rejects McCain’s plans and denounces the Republican nominee’s claim of a psychological benefit as political posturing: “In case you’re wondering, in Washington-speak what that means is that it polls well. It’s an example of how Washington tries to convince you that they’ve done something to make your life better when they really didn’t,” the Senator said.

Polls indicate that Senator McCain has failed to break with the notion that he will uphold Bush policies, strengthening the already commonly held belief that his election will be nothing more than a third Bush term.

Top senior advisor to McCain, Charlie Black has only made matters worse for the presumptive Republican nominee by suggesting that another attack on American soil would help McCain’s campaign. On Monday, it was also reported that another top McCain advisor was quoted as saying Benazir Bhutto’s assassination earlier this year “helped us” in their campaign.

McCain also seems to be losing trust with voters as he repeatedly ignores and violates campaign rules; he violated multiple federal laws by taking a political trip to Canada, broke laws regarding the use of a corporate jet, and skirted around FEC regulations by withdrawing from the FEC’s matching funds program after using the program for financial gains for his campaign.

With more voters identifying themselves as democratic and with McCain’s inability to persuade the American people that his election will not result in a Bush third term, it seems as though McCain’s Bush-Rove tactics are finally catching up with him.

Reed, a Champion for Homeowners

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Senator Jack Reed continues to be a catalyst for rescuing struggling homeowners

As mentioned last week, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has been working extremely hard to salvage homeowners from the current mortgage crisis.

In yesterday’s Providence Journal, John Mulligan detailed the work that Senator Reed has been doing on Capitol Hill. As a member of the Senate Banking and Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Reed has worked to craft a revenue producing fee on leading lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The money from these fees would help create a federal housing fund that would go to finance federally backed mortgage insurance to alleviate the financial burden on indebted homeowners.
Senator Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Banking Committee, believes this new bill would raise roughly $500 million that would help stave off foreclosure for as many as 500,000 families.

The bill itself is built to adapt to the changing economic culture. The “rescue” function of the bill will eventually phase out and the new housing fund will remain to provide a source of subsidies for low-cost housing for the poor.

“Good housing is essential to families, not just for shelter but for whether they have a chance to live decently, whether they can hold a job, how they can hold a job with a permanent address, whether the kids can do well in school. It’s hard if you go to two or three different schools moving house to house.” -Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)

McCain’s Global Ad “Universally Misleading”

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

John McCain is expected to call for more offshore drilling today. His campaign recently released an ad meant to champion him as a supporter of renewable energy. The same day that ad was released, McCain left for Texas to meet with his friends at Big Oil.

During his last run for the presidential nomination, McCain supported a moratorium on drilling. He will also reverse his stance on the need for a windfall profit tax for oil companies. Just six weeks ago McCain said he was open to a tax on excessive oil company profits; tonight, he will take the opposite position when he rejects the tax.

His new ad claims to eliminate the US’s dependence on foreign oil by supporting renewable energy although he has repeatedly voted against such green jobs and technologies.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney attacks McCain’s new ad as “universally misleading”:

“How can we trust John McCain to confront soaring gas prices or break America’s dependence on foreign oil when he caved in to Big Oil on drilling and tax breaks when of his top economic advisors helped create the problem in the first place, and he has repeatedly opposed incentives for green jobs and renewable energy?”

McCain has not voted to promote renewable energy
John McCain has repeatedly voted against efforts to promote renewable energy, as with his vote against an amendment mandating renewable energy sources to produce a minimum of 10 percent of the electricity sold by electric utilities by 2020. Many bills failed to pass by only a few votes.

In 2007 alone, McCain missed numerous votes on the passage of energy policy legislation, including a missed vote on a bill that would increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Other missed votes included bills for tax credits for renewable energy production, for renewable energy R&D, and for energy related tax incentives worth $18 billion. [2007 Senate Vote #98, 3/22/2007; 2007 Senate Vote #223, 6/21/2007; 2007 Senate Vote #416, 12/7/2007; 2008 Senate Vote #8, 2/6/2008 2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006; 2005 Senate Vote #158, 6/28/2005; 2001 Senate Vote #125, 5/21/2001]

McCain blocked tax credits for green jobs
A 2008 economic study by Navigant Consulting found that “over 116,000 US jobs and nearly $19 billion in US investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by Congress.” The study shows that over 76,000 jobs are put at risk in the wind industry and 40,000 more are put at risk in the solar industry.

The Enron Loophole
Years after the Enron scandal, the loophole that helped bring Enron to its demise still lives on. McCain Campaign Co-Chair Phil Gramm tucked the Commodities Future Modernization Act into a separate piece of legislation which would later be known as the Enron Loophold. Evidence shows that investors looking to make an easy gain are causing prices in oil to rise faster than ordinary market forces could. The loophole allows unregulated trading on energy futures markets where investors can essentially “bet” on oil prices at a given point in the future.

Jobless Rhode Islanders Need Federal Aid, Whitehouse Says

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Press Release from the office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:

WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Sentaor Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took Senate Republicans to task today for blocking legislation that would extend unemployment insurance benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans, inclduing a former law clerk from Rhode Island who has applied for 65 positions since losing his job in January.

The bill would give extra help to several states with the highest unemployment rates, including Rhode Island, whose unemployment rate now hovers around 6 percent.

“These are difficult times for many, many families. But for millions of Americans who are looking for a job today, the challenges seem almost insurmountalbe,” Whitehouse said this morning in a speech on the Senate floor. He also joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) at a press conferenece today highlighting the importance of the bill.

Whitehouse told the story of Brian Peny, an East Providence man struggling to make ends meet while he searches for a new job. “Because he couldn’t afford to pay both his mortgage and his montly COBRA payments, Brian has been without any health insurance since the end of January,” Whitehouse said. “He says it’s become more and more difficult to afford groceries, and some nights, he goes to bed hungry. He could go to a food pantry, of course, but he has not-yet-because he think there are too many people who are worse off than he is.”

Unemployment insurance supports workers who are laid off, or whose companies go out of business, as they search for a new job. The system is funded largely by payments from employers. While unemployment benefits almost never replace the full amount a worker would have received in a paycheck, the assistance helps families make mortgage or rent payments, or meet other regular living expenses.

The federal unemployment insurance program generally funds 26 weeks of payments for workers, but in today’s worsening economy, many see their benefits run out before they are able to find another job. Last month, the national unemployment rate saw its biggest one-month increase in over 20 years, reaching a four-year high of 5.5 percent. In Rhode Island alone, there are more than 18,000 workers in need of a job whose benefits have already or will soon run out.

The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act (HR 5749) woud temporarily extend unemployment benefits 13 weeks beyond the ordinary 26-week eligibility period. In states like Rhode Island, where people have been hardest-hit, eligible job less workers would recieve twice that: up to 26 extra weeks of unemployment insurance. The bill passed the House of Representatives last week by a bipartisan vote of 274-137, but this morning, Senate Republican leaders blocked its consideration in the Senate.

“Millions of Americans go out pounding the pavement each and every day, looking for work to support themselves and their families,” Whitehouse said. “The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act could help over 3 million Americans pay the mortgage or rent or feed their families as they continue to navigate a periolous job market.”

Sen. Reed praised by NY Times

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

In an insightful piece in today’s New York Times, David M. Herszenhorn details Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) steadfast efforts to assist homeowners ravaged by the current mortgage crisis.

Here are a few snippets from the Times article:

“In the West End, with its 19th-century Victorians and clapboard triple-deckers, dozens of homes are up for auction and dozens more have been seized by banks. And Rhode Island, which has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the country behind Michigan, California and Alaska, is among the top 10 states for subprime foreclosures.

Rhode Island’s housing woes receive little notice compared with the more serious plight of states like Florida and Nevada. Similarly overlooked is Mr. Reed’s central role in clinching an agreement on a foreclosure rescue bill last month — the latest sign of his rising stature as a quiet dealmaker respected by colleagues in both parties. Mr. Reed’s name even appears on some lists as a potential running mate for Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

It was Mr. Reed who accompanied Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, to meet with Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the committee’s top Republican, when they brokered the final terms of the foreclosure rescue plan, which will widen access to federally insured mortgages without tapping taxpayer money.” (New York Times, June 17, 2008)

“He is to be commended for his tenacity, for his never-give-up,” said Mr. Shelby, who, like Mr. Reed, prefers to flex his legislative muscle behind the scenes.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a fellow member of the banking committee, said Mr. Reed pressed for years to create the affordable-housing fund, and finally found the perfect moment.

“Once again,” Mr. Schumer said, “Jack does it in his quiet, steadfast way, and it is extremely effective.”

“There is sometimes a tendency to assume that everyone in this great country has adequate housing. But when you go to certain places, certain neighborhoods, both urban and rural, you find out that’s not the case, and I think we have to do much more… Average Americans, you know, they don’t have any traction economically. That was always in the back of their mind and sort of part of their financial plan, which is, If I really got into a problem, at least I have the equity in my home, I can use that. Now, they don’t know if they do, and in many cases they don’t.” -Senator Jack Reed, (New York Times, June 17, 2008).