Budget cuts set to take effect on March 1 could seriously compromise the ability of the National Weather Service to provide timely, reliable weather forecasts government officials and industry leaders warn. Programs and staffing to support weather forecasting are set to be slashed.
An 8.2 percent across-the-board cut in spending, from the so-called sequester, will trim already financially-depleted programs critical for maintaining and improving the NWS’ weather capabilities.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” said outgoing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (according to Climate Central). “The sequester has the potential to wreak havoc with so many different things...”
The cuts loom large following a two-year onslaught of extreme weather, including Superstorm Sandy and continuing historic drought conditions in the Heartland. In 2011 and 2012, the U.S. experienced the most and second most number of billion dollar weather disasters on record.
Kevin Kelly, a lobbyist at Van Scoyoc Associates, who advocates for the weather enterprise told The Washington Post “This is a classic penny wise, pound foolish approach to deficit reduction that places lives and property in all parts of the country at greater risk."
President Obama speaks Tuesday at a Virginia shipyard on the danger of the sequester cuts, and lists ways the sequester would hurt the defense industry and the economy.
"The threat of these cuts has caused the Navy to cancel the deployment or delay the repair of aircraft carriers," he says. "Another might not get finished. Another might not get started at all."
"About 90,000 Virginians who work for the Department of Defense would be forced to take unpaid leave. That's money out of their pockets. That means a ripple effect... so it's not just restricted to the defense industry.
"All told, the sequester could cost tens of thousands of jobs right here in Virginia," the president says.
Obama also mentions damage to programs supporting college tuition and Head Start. He says prosecutors may be forced to close cases. Also on the list mentioned; airport delays; childcare problems; fewer cancer screenings and flu vaccinations.
"So these cuts are wrong... they're a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to happen," Obama says.
“Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer and Robert Reich, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, discuss the latest fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington. Robert Reich believes Democrats have the power in the budget battle, because the Bush tax cuts for the rich — which Republicans want to extend and Democrats oppose — will expire no matter what anyone agrees on come January.
“The question is, will the Democrats actually hold firm?” Reich asks. Reich also addresses whether limiting tax deductions instad of raising marginal tax rates on the rich could generate the $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues that Obama has set as a goal: “Just by limiting deductions for the wealthy you can’t get anywhere near the $1.6 trillion. … Now if you made the tax on capital gains equal to the tax on ordinary income, maybe that preference would get you closer. But nobody is talking about doing that, unfortunately.”
Reich said that Republicans would be the losers if Congress failed to negotiate a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
“I think we are moving in the right direction and we are moving in the right direction because the Democrats are holding most of the trump cards,” he said. “If nothing is done, remember, we go back to the Clinton tax rates of the 1990s, which were not all that bad, in fact the economy did quite well under those tax rates. If nothing is done, basically the Republicans lose.”
“And, if the Republicans try to make a case that they are not going to vote for an extension of middle class tax cuts unless the rich also get a tax cut that puts the Republicans in the position of showing America that they are going to hold the middle hostage and they sure are shills for the very rich -- something that a lot of people suspect anyway, but that kind of demonstration is not going to be good for the GOP,” Reich added.
Across-the-board spending cuts are set to go into effect at the beginning of 2013 if Congress fails to pass a budget that reduces the federal deficit. The Bush tax cuts are also set to expire.
Democrats have said they won’t accept any fiscal cliff deal that doesn’t let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire, however they want to leave tax rates for middle and lower-income Americans unchanged.
“Just by limiting deductions for the wealthy you can’t get anywhere near the $1.6 trillion,” Reich noted.
Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President-Elect Obama's transition advisory board. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet; and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His commentaries can be heard weekly on public radio's "Marketplace." In 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Ouch! This one has to sting, because it's all so true.
Mitt Romney's reinvention convention is starting with the theme "We Built It." Mitt Romney will try to sell himself to the American people as a "Mr. Fix It" who knows how to turn a business around. Of course, once you examine his record, it's clear Mitt Romney knows less about turning businesses around and more about running them into the ground.
Mitt Romney made millions of dollars bankrupting companies, shuttering factories, offshoring jobs and putting profits before people. The theme of the Republican National Convention paints a rosy picture, but the theme of Mitt Romney's time as a corporate raider is less flattering. Mitt Romney didn't build that -- he destroyed it.
"Mitt Romney: You Didn't Built That — You Destroyed It"
Paul Ryan is the mastermind behind the extreme GOP budget plan. It's a plan Mitt Romney endorses.
But what does that budget mean for America? The GOP budget plan hurts seniors, it hurts middle-class families, and it hurts students. All to pay for tax cuts for those at the top..
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: back to the failed top-down policies that crashed our economy.
Paul Ryan’s top-down budget plan is a sham
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney both support trillions in budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires that will result in tax hikes on the middle class and deep cuts in education and other investments we need to grow. Ryan’s extreme budget plan, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would make deep spending cuts now to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would weaken the recovery and cost the economy jobs.
According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Liebman, based on Mitt Romney’s own projections on the impact of deep spending cuts on the economy, Paul Ryan’s budget plan could cost the U.S. more than 1 million jobs.
Paul Ryan’s plan would raise taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for the wealthy
Ryan’s extreme budget plan would benefit the wealthy while raising taxes on middle-class families, slowing our economic recovery and hurting seniors and the middle class.
Deep tax giveaways for the wealthy:
Paul Ryan’s extreme budget includes a tax “reform” plan that would make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and give millionaires an additional tax cut worth over $250,000 a year. Paying for these tax cuts for the most fortunate families would require higher taxes on the middle class, gutting investments in our future, and ending Medicare as we know it.
Raise taxes on the middle class:
Just like Mitt Romney’s tax plan, middle-class families could pay thousands of dollars more a year in taxes to help fund tax cuts for millionaires. Ryan would cut or eliminate middle-class tax deductions like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and health premiums.
Paul Ryan’s plan would gut middle-class investments
To pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, Paul Ryan would gut investments critical to middle-class security.
This includes cutting Pell Grant scholarships for nearly 10 million students, cutting clean energy investments by 19%, and slowing scientific and medical research by eliminating tens of thousands of grants.
Paul Ryan’s plan would end Medicare as we know it
Paul Ryan’s extreme budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program which would increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 a year. Ryan has also proposed a plan that would have privatized Social Security, subjecting seniors’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market.
Paul Ryan is severely conservative
Like Mitt Romney, Ryan’s severely conservative positions are out of touch with most Americans’ values. He would take us backward on women’s health and equal rights.
Paul Ryan would take us backward on women’s health:
Ryan cosponsored a bill that could ban in-vitro fertilization, as well as many common forms of birth control, including the pill. It could also ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. He supported letting states prosecute women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.
Paul Ryan would take us backward on equal rights:
Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for equal pay for equal work. He voted against repealing the discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and supports writing discrimination into the Constitution by amending it to ban gay marriage.
If this isn't enough information on Paul Ryan, and what Romney & Ryan would mean for America, let me sum it up briefly:
Note: No senior citizens were harmed in the making of this video.
Mitt Romney is going to have some unwanted company on his upcoming bus tour across several swing states.
The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that it will stage its own four-day bus tour alongside the Romney campaign’s trip through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio. The tour, called “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus Tour,” will begin on Friday with a news conference in Alexandria, Virginia.
Organizers said they will highlight Mitt Romney’s record of failure as Governor of Massachusetts, the lack of support small businesses received from Governor Romney’s Administration and Romney’s proposed tax hike on middle-class families to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The DNC’s latest tour represents a reprise of the successful tour by the same name that the DNC conducted in June to respond to Mitt Romney’s tour at the time, which included stops in NH, PA, OH, IA, WI and MI.
“Throughout Mitt Romney’s career, middle-class families have frequently found themselves thrown under the bus as a result of his failed record and top-down economic policies,” the committee said in a news release. "When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, the number of business start-ups fell by 10 percent and hit its lowest point during his last year in office. Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation, and Romney hiked taxes and fees by $750 million a year in addition to saddling the Commonwealth with the highest debt per person in the country."
The committee further stated that "Policies Mitt Romney has embraced as a candidate would only further erode middle-class security. Mitt Romney would hike taxes on the middle class to pay for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans like Romney. Independent economists found that Romney’s plan would raise taxes on the average middle-class family with children by $2,000 in order to give hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires."
They also hammered Romney for favoring a tax plan that benefits millionaires and billionaires like himself while raising taxes on the middle class, as he continues to refuse to release more of his own tax returns. The DNC tour organizers insist that "Americans have a right to learn more about why Romney had a Swiss Bank Account, how low a tax rate he has paid and if he even paid taxes at all some years, and what his finances looked like while he was outsourcing jobs, offshoring his own money and laying off workers in the private sector."
Speakers on the tour include Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the committee, Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Chet Culver, a former governor of Iowa. Two state representatives from Massachusetts will speak at the opening news conference: Kathi-Anne Reinstein and David Linsky, both long-serving Democrats.
The Romney campaign announced its bus tour earlier this week, leading to speculation on what the itinerary might say about his pick for vice president. The final stop is in Ohio, the home state of the rumored front-runner, Senator Rob Portman.
The side of the committee’s bus features tire tracks over the words “Middle Class” and the slogan: “Romney Economics: Outsourcing, Offshoring, Out of Touch.”
Fight for better jobs, better wages, and the rights of all workers!
Across New York, our livelihoods are under attack. After years of massive layoffs and high rates of unemployment, wages and benefits are being cut from what used to be middle class jobs. On top of that, workers are working longer hours without overtime pay, health insurance or any retirement benefits.
Meanwhile minimum wage jobs are the fastest growing sector in the state growing ten-fold over the past five years.
A minimum wage earner employed full time makes just of $15,000/ year. That’s hardly enough to get by in New York. And many low-wage workers have tips and wages stolen by employers, forcing them to survive on even less.
Full-time work shouldn’t keep you in poverty. It’s time for workers to band together and demand respect in our work places. It is time to tell our elected officials that New York needs a raise. It’s time for broader prosperity across the country.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke spoke dire words during a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. Bernanke told senators that “economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat” and that “the reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow.” He did not say whether the Federal Reserve plans to do more to boost growth. He also warned lawmakers that federal spending cuts and tax hikes that automatically take effect in 2013 if Congress does not act to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, is the biggest threat to the nation’s economy. He urged lawmakers to “Do no harm.”
Blood flows down the face of an injured protester who was injured during clashes between supporters of Spanish coal miners and riot police as they ended a "Marcha Negra" (Black March) near the Industry Ministry in Madrid July 11, 2012 (Reuters/Paul Hanna)
At least 76 people have been injured in Madrid as clashes flared up between protesters and police, the latter using rubber bullets. Thousands of Spaniards turned out against new cuts introduced by the government.
Those injured include 33 police officers and 43 protesters – miners and their supporters.
Minor arrests have been made so far, with eight people being detained. Three of those arrested reportedly threw bricks at police, local El Pais newspaper reported. The police have confirmed that there were no miners among the arrested.
Witnesses and demonstrators claim that police started the attack without any warning.
Protesters disagree with a 63 per cent cut in subsidies to coal mining companies, major contributors to the Spanish energy market. Unions say the plan threatens 30,000 jobs and could destroy their livelihoods.
Miners, who were hiking from the north of the country for the past two weeks, have been joined by tens of thousands of Spaniards also protesting against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s tax hike.
The prime minister announced his decision to raise VAT by 3 per cent as part of the plan to trim the public budget by 65 billion euro over the next two-and-a-half years. Rajoy also declared a 3.5-billion-euro cut to local government spending.
Many protesters marched more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) from mines in northern Spain.
As protesters call for more demonstrations to make their voices heard journalist and writer Miguel-Anxo Murado told RT that the government seems to underestimate the protests.
On May 19, Mayor 1% Emanuel will bring to Chicago military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers.
They meet on behalf of the 1% of the world, the rich and the powerful, the bankers and generals. Their agenda is to continue to impose austerity, or poverty, by cutting social spending for workers and the poor to maintain profitability for the rich and to launch more wars to stop the rise of the poor nations of the Third World.
The people of this fine city do not want these summits. The mayor has his own agenda. In anticipation of widespread opposition to the war & poverty agenda of the NATOG8, Mayor Emanuel passed a set of first-amendment crushing ordinances, known as "Sit Down Shut Up", to stifle the exercise of free speech and assembly during the summits. The mayor single-handedly gave himself the abililty to issue no-bid security contracts and deputize out-of-town law enforcement while imposing harsh restrictions on parades, marches and demonstrations.
But we will not be silenced. We will stand up to this corrupt system and say enough! Join Occupy Chicago, Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8), the Midwest Antiwar Mobilization and many more as we gather in Chicago in May!