You need to know this. Are Republicans really going to blow up the economy in the debt-limit fight? All signs point to yes. On Sunday, Republican Congressman Matt Salmon called on his colleagues to shut down the government, unless President Obama agrees to significant spending cuts to Social Security and Medicare Insurance. Also – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to say whether or not his party will shut down the government if they don’t get what they want in upcoming budget battles. Unlike government shutdowns in the 1990’s, allowing the United States to default on its debt, by not raising the debt-ceiling, would be catastrophic to the global economy. Just playing with the idea back in 2011 led markets to tumble and our national credit rating to be downgraded. But Republican hostage takers are undeterred – and the cable news media is giving them cover, by not calling out just how dangerous their brinksmanship is. President Obama must listen to Democrats in the House like Nancy Pelosi and Jerrold Nadler, who are pushing him to not negotiate with Republicans on the debt limit, and instead take executive action to raise the debt-limit on his own, either through invoking the 14th Amendment or by printing platinum coins at the Treasury. The United States has long had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Today – Republicans are acting like economic terrorists – and could do far more harm to our economy by defaulting on our debt, than al Qaeda could have dreamed of. They are not to be negotiated with.
In screwed news…public workers in America have had a historically rough couple of years. Thanks to relentless Republican austerity demands since President Obama took office four years ago, nearly 700,000 public workers – like teachers, cops, and food inspectors – have lost their jobs. That’s the largest four-year decline in public workers since 1944 to 1948, when World War 2 ended. Despite moderate job creation over the last three months, one government worker has been fired for every five new private sector hires. And this purge of government workers is dragging down our economy. As the Economic Policy Institute uncovered, every time a dollar is cut in the salary of public-sector workers, the economy loses 24-cents. Government spending and government jobs are desperately needed to fix the unemployment crisis in America. And every president in history who’s faced similar economic challenges – from FDR to Reagan – has increased government employment to get us out of a recession. But Republicans – who are still hell bent on crashing the economy and blaming Democrats for it – won’t let President Obama do what’s necessary to fix this problem.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The banks win again. As the Financial Times reports – international banks effectively killed new regulations that were intended to prevent another global financial crisis like 2008. Two years ago – international banking regulators proposed strict new requirement on banks, forcing them to hold on to assets in case they might need to survive another market crisis. But after years of lobbying by the world’s biggest banks, these new requirements were watered down – giving banks a lot more flexibility to take the exact same sort of risks they were taking, which brought about the financial crisis in the first place. The Financial Times sums up the new rules writing, “The results are largely good news for bank profits.” The question facing all of us is: “How long are we going to let international banksters run roughshod over our economy?” Enough with the European and American austerity for working people. It’s time for austerity for the banksters.
Republicans in the House picked up right where they left off…trying to pass unconstitutional legislation. This time – Republicans, led by Congressman Steve King, have put the Fourteenth Amendment in their sights - to end birthright citizenship. On the first day of the new House last week, King introduced legislation that would strip citizenship from anyone born in the United States to the parents of undocumented immigrants. This goes directly against the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” But Republicans are insistent on drawing attention to a problem that doesn’t exist – a problem they call “anchor babies.” In reality, it’s simply racism against brown people, that is motivating Republicans to strip citizenship of children born in America who aren’t white. And Republicans are more than happy to blow up the Constitution to satisfy their racism.
Could Texas be on its way out of the union? According to the Executive Director of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Cary Wise, the campaign to secede from the union in growing in the Lone Star state. Appearing on Fox so-called News, Wise touted that his organization’s website has received over 3 million hits since November. He also said that people in Texas “understand that we have a federal government that is completely out of control.” Meanwhile – a countermovement among progressives across the rest of the nation has begun, to try to force Texas to secede from the union. Just think of how much more progressive our nation could be, if you got rid of a bunch of crazy right-wing legislators down in Texas.
And finally…gun nuts in Georgia suffered a setback in their quest to have guns in every aspect of their lives. On Monday – the Supreme Court tossed out a challenge to a Georgia law, which bans the carry of firearms in churches. Gun groups – like GeorgiaCarry.org – challenged the law saying that their religious freedoms are infringed upon when they're not allowed to bring their guns in churches. The Supreme Court thought the argument was bogus and tossed out the case. So now, people in Georgia can go to church and not be too worried about their fellow worshipper accidently firing off the handgun in his pocket.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, January 07, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.