Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Let’s listen to Warren Buffett! The billionaire – and one of the richest men on the planet – had some advice for lawmakers when it comes to taxes. In an article in today’s New York Times – Buffett argued for his own taxes to be raised – as well as others just like him. “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet,” Buffett wrote, “we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.” He continued, “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” Every single poll that’s come out on this issue shows that vast majority of American agree with Warren Buffett – that the rich need to pay their fair share in taxes. In fact – the only people who disagree seem to be the Republicans in Congress who’ve signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. And somehow – these are the Republicans that have wormed their way into the Gang of 12 – meaning Warren Buffet’s – and the American peoples’ – message will likely be ignored once again.
More and more Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. According to a new poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling – only one-third of Americans said they had $1,000 or more in their saving accounts – meaning if they confronted a rainy day – like a car wreck or an illness – they’d likely be washed out. Meanwhile – the nation learned last week just how much cash corporations they have in their coffers – more than one trillion dollars – a 59% increase since 2008. So how much longer do we have to wait for the so-called job creators to use their extra cash to put desperate American back to work?
In the best of the rest of the news…
President Obama’s poll numbers are plunging. A new Gallup poll shows the president’s approval rating at an all-time low – just 39%. That shouldn’t be too surprising since nearly ever piece of legislation he’s singed his name to this year has been written by the Republican Party to sabotage his own agenda. At the beginning of last year – President Obama famously said he’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. Unfortunately – he’s on the verge of being neither. And if he doesn’t start acting like Harry Truman soon – and take on the Republicans in Congress – rather than appease them – then he’ll be the nation’s next Herbert Hoover.
Even though stocks ended on a high note after a rough week last week – there is more volatility on the horizon this week. Fears of a deeper recession are growing – as 30% of the economists surveyed by USA Today say America is headed for another economic downturn – that’s twice as high as their estimates three months ago. Not only that – the European financial crisis is worsening. The chief of the World Bank – Robert Zoellick warned over the weekend that the global economy is entering a “new and more dangerous phase.” More than three following the financial crisis of 2008 – the damage the banksters did to the world economy is still being calculated.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transport authority – or BART – adopted the Hosni Mubarak strategy to prevent civil unrest last week. On Thursday – in response to a series of deadly shootings by BART officials – a protest was planned against the transit authority. But rather than letting people peaceably assemble and hold a demonstration – BART shut down cell phone service in the metro preventing protesters from communicating with each other. It’s the exact same tactic used by Mubarak and other Arab dictators to quell uprisings in their country – then again – Egypt doesn’t offer the same free-speech protections as we’re supposed to here in the United States. Expect this sort of attack on the first amendment to be more and more routine – as the security-state apparatus kicks into high gear to prevent anything similar to the riots we saw grip London last week from happening here – where desperation is growing.
At least 60 people were killed across Iraq today in a coordinated attack by insurgents using bombs and machine guns. The deadly attacks came on the heels of an announcement by the Iraqi government that it is in negotiations with US military officials to keep a majority of the 50,000 US troops in the country beyond the scheduled withdraw date at the end of the year. Violence has worsened in recent weeks both in Iraq and Afghanistan – putting in jeopardy the goals of ending either of those wars anytime soon.
The Republican love affair with Iowa is over – for now at least – as Michele Bachmann bested all the other Republican candidates for President and won the Ames Straw poll over the weekend. Ron Paul finished in second – less than 200 votes shy of Bachmann – and Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third – prompting him to immediately drop out of the race – bye-bye T-Paw. The front-runner – Mitt Romney – finished seventh at Ames – though he wasn’t spending too much time campaigning there. This is another reminder – that no matter how unqualified Michele Bachmann may seem at times – she cannot be counted out in this race.
Crazy Alert! A new take on customer service. Last week – the Hong Kong based airliner – Cathay Pacific announced it had fired two of its employees after photos surfaced of them…let’s just say…trying to enter the mile high club. Now – as the airliner deals with the indecency blowback – they are ditching their latest ill-timed advertising campaign – a slogan that says Cathay Pacific is, “the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special.” I’d say it adds a whole new meaning to the TSA’s groin check policy.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, August 15th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.