On the News With Thom Hartmann: Detroit Will Now Be Ruled By an Unelected Dictator, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Detroit is the only major city in the United States that will now be ruled by an unelected dictator; Obama wants to make a $2 billion investment in our green energy future; people 40 and younger face more financial insecurity than seniors today; and more.


Shane Farnan here – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news…

You need to know this. For generations, the American ideal has been that each successive generation becomes more prosperous and successful than the one before it. But unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. A new study from the Urban Institute indicates that, while American wealth as a whole has doubled over the last 25 years, younger people have fallen behind as a group. Today, people age 40 and younger face more financial insecurity, and have a much bleaker prospect for retirement than seniors today. And according to the study, the trend started long before the Great Recession – as income for younger Americans flat-lined in 1999. Younger generations have faced ballooning student loan debt, a slow economy, and a housing market collapse in addition to stagnant wages. Urban Institute experts say that a stronger job market and rising incomes would certainly help many younger workers, but the delay in wealth accumulation may have a lasting impact on their lives. Ms. Mary McKernan, one of the study’s authors, said, “it’s a little bit of a tipping-point moment. If we don’t address it today, they [younger Americans] might never catch up.” The war on unions, the destruction of a low-cost college education, and the lunacy of trickle-down economics has finally wiped out the possibility of a financially secure future for an entire generation. The only way we can correct this now is through pro-worker economic policies. We can do this by bringing back good-paying manufacturing jobs. We can re-invest in our nation by providing free, high-quality, college education. We can help people struggling to pay down student loan debt. We bailed out Wall Street, and huge stock market gains show the banksters are doing just fine. It’s time to bail out the working people, so the next generation’s “The American Dream” isn’t just a fantasy.

In screwed news… Welcome to Detroit… the only major city in the United States that will now be ruled by an unelected dictator. Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr, an attorney who worked on restructuring Chrysler after bankruptcy, to be Detroit’s new Emergency Financial Manager. With his appointment, Mr. Orr now has broad-ranging powers – including the ability to override the decisions of the democratically elected officials in Michigan’s largest city. The emergency takeover is projected to last 12 to 16 months, but Mr. Orr says he hopes to turn the city around faster. This is completely contrary to “small-d” democracy. Instead of investing in the city, and helping to reduce their 18.2% unemployment rate, Gov. Snyder is turning the city into a dictatorship. The people of Michigan need to stand up, and fight for their city, before Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr start breaking it up and selling it off for scraps.

In the best of the rest of the news…

President Obama wants to make a $2 billion investment in our green energy future. White House officials say the President will propose using revenue from oil and gas leases to finance research on advanced, green-technology vehicles. As it’s unlikely Congress will approve the President’s climate change legislation, and the sequester cuts will have a huge impact on green energy research, Obama is being creative by pushing environmental research and development that doesn’t require new revenue. The Republicans will attempt to portray this new investment as a tax on energy producers, but the White House says the funding will come from leasing fees companies pay to drill on public land. It’s nice to see that the President is staying focused on protecting our environment, but there is a lot more work left to be done. President Obama can start by saying “No” to the Keystone XL pipeline, saying “No” to huge subsidies for Big Oil, and saying “Yes” to a green-energy future in our nation.

It was out-with-the-old, and in-with-the-new, at CPAC yesterday. Two of the GOP’s potential 2016 White House hopefuls fired a few verbal shots at the last two Republican presidential nominees. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names here, do we?” And Florida Senator Marco Rubio actively distanced himself from Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” comments, saying, “The vast majority of the American people are hard-working taxpayers who take responsibility for their families, go to work every day, they pay their mortgage on time, they volunteer in their community. This is where the vast majority of the American people are….they’re not freeloaders.” Both speeches highlight the current rift in the Republican Party. Long-time GOP members are at odds with their younger counterparts. It will be interesting to watch this play out over the next four years. Will the GOP unite behind one of the fresher faces, or will the party remain divided? Perhaps it wouldn’t be too bad if these candidates split the Republican vote…we’ll have to wait and find out. Stay tuned.

And finally… One Arkansas man says his stolen iPad is a “continuing fountain of entertainment.” That’s because the thief’s bizarre pictures are streaming in to Allen Ensgtram’s iCloud account. Mr. Engstram left the iPad on a plane after flying from Phoenix to Denver, and he figured it was gone forever. But then one morning, strange photos started popping up in his family’s iCloud account. In an effort to find a little amusement in the frustration, Mr. Engstram started posting the pictures to his social media accounts, which he captioned, “Hey Cool! This is an actual picture of the wonderful person who stole my iPad. No, I’m not kidding, this is really happening.” Thanks to the help of some social media friends, Engstram has been able to determine the thief’s location and Instagram user name. He has no idea if he’ll ever see his iPad again, but he’s not losing sleep about embarrassing the camera-friendly i-thief.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, March 15, 2013. I’m Shane Farnan – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.