On the News With Thom Hartmann: Senate Republicans Voted Not to Extend Tax Cuts for Middle-Class Americans, and More

In today's On the News segment: Republican's effort to crash the economy suffered a serious blow today, Senate Republicans voted down extending tax cuts for middle-class Americans, Senate passed the defense authorization bill – with changes, Pew Hispanic Center highlights inhumanity of conservative plan to deport all undocumented immigrants, and more.


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. The Republican's effort to crash the economy suffered a serious blow today. New unemployment numbers for the month of November are out showing that the U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs – lowering the unemployment rate down to 8.6% – it’s lowest level since March of 2009. It’s the 21st straight month of private sector job creation. But Conservative austerity measures around the nation still left their mark – as the public sector shed 20,000 jobs in November thanks to mostly Republican Governors slashing budgets – and laying off government workers. And looking closer at the numbers – one reason for the drastic drop in the unemployment rate has little to do with how many jobs were created – and more to do with how many Americans have simply given up looking for jobs. So while these job numbers might seem like good news – there’s still enormous pressure on our economy – pressure that Republicans are working hard to exploit to make Obama look bad.

Working Americans are screwed. In a unanimous effort last night – Senate Republicans voted down extending tax cuts for middle class Americans. In essence, raising taxes on 11 million average working households by a $1,000 a year. Republicans opposed the Democrat’s plan to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut – because it also included a 3 percent tax increase on 335,000 millionaire and billionaires. In other words – they supported the interests of the 1% over the 99%. After the vote – President Obama slammed Republicans saying, “That is unacceptable. It makes absolutely no sense to raise taxes on the middle class at a time when so many are still tying to get back on their feet.” The Republican tax master Grover Norquist gave Conservatives cover before the vote – telling them that allowing taxes to go up on the middle class doesn’t violate his “no tax increase” pledge. Shortly after the vote – Republicans offered up their gimmick of a plan to extend the payroll tax cut by freezing the pay of federal workers and slashing the social safety net – in essence taking food off the table of Americans to put more money in their pockets. That plan was soundly defeated in a bipartisan vote. So now Republicans have made it clear what they plan on giving middle class Americans for Christmas – $1,000 in new taxes. You should call your Senators – especially if they’re Republicans – and let them know how you feel.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Yesterday the Senate passed the defense authorization bill – but with changes to the indefinite detention provision that sparked a heated debate among Democrats this week. Compromise language was inserted into the bill at the last minute to get wavering Democrats on board and try to avoid a White House veto. The compromise says that the new provisions will not trump existing law in the United States regarding the detention of U.S. citizens. As Senator Dick Durbin said, “The Supreme Court will decide who can be detained. The Senate will not.” In the end – the bill passed 93-7, since funding endless war is the only thing Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on nowadays.

Just as the Senate passed a $662 billion funding bill for our war machine – the American people are growing more and more war weary. According to a new Rasmussen poll released yesterday – 59% of Americans – nearly two-thirds – want to see all U.S. troops brought home from Afghanistan either immediately or within one year. Of course the current timetable for withdrawal has American troops staying in Afghanistan through 2014. So there’s a huge disconnect between what the people want and what our lawmakers are actually doing when it comes to war. That might be because millionaire and billionaire war profiteers spend millions lobbying for more war – silencing the rest of us. It’s time to get in the streets – and bolster the anti-war movement.

The Great Bush Crash of 2008 – resulted in a massive downgrade of the U.S. labor force. According to a new study out of Rutgers – only 7% of the millions and millions of Americans who lost their jobs during this second Republican Great Depression – have found a new job on par or better with the salary they were making before the 2008. The vast majority of Americans say they are now living diminished lifestyles – with some saying they’ve taken drastic pay cuts that they fear will be permanent. Meanwhile – it took less that two years for Wall Street to return to the same profit levels as before the crash. Still wondering why there’s a need for the Occupy Wall Street Movement? It’s because the 1% got bailed out – and the 99% got sold out.

New figures out of the Pew Hispanic Center highlight just how inhumane the Conservative plan to deport all undocumented immigrants would be. According to the study – more than two-thirds of all undocumented immigrants in the United States have been here more than 10 years. Meaning they’ve established themselves in communities, held on to jobs, and are raising families. In fact – nearly half of all undocumented immigrants have a child who is a minor living with them. That means a plan to deport them all – would literally break up families – and tear apart communities. The civil unrest sparked by sending the military in, house-by-house at gunpoint, and kicking entire families out would be unthinkable. But it seems to be the dominant thinking in every single Republican debate, which is frightening.

Crazy Alert! They want the gold! The UFO Science and Consciousness Conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa last week. And now, we finally know why aliens have been tormenting planet Earth…it’s because they want the gold! The dominant theory presented at the conference was that aliens first came to Earth 300,000 years ago in search of gold, and cloned their genetic makeup to give rise to humans. Ever since – the aliens have been periodically returning to Earth – to plunder it for gold. As conference organizer Michael Tellinger said, “They came to Earth looking for gold. We are all still obsessed with gold.” I guess their obsession with gold drove them to create a television network that is constantly trying to hock gold. That might explain why GOP TV's Fox so-called News devotes most of their advertising to hocking gold. It's Alien News!

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, December 2nd, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.