Friday, December 20, 2013

FDR Sends A Warning To Future Generations About Paul Ryan


The above FDR reelection speech from 1936 warning voters about GOP intentions towards the popular social insurance policies they had fought so hard against, is no less relevant today than it was then. Roosevelt went on to win 60.8% to 36.5%, taking every state but Vermont and Maine and winning the electoral college 523 to 8. Democrats continued winning seats in Congress and wound up with a margin of 334 (+ 10 left-leaning independents) to 88 in the House and 76 (+ 2 left-leaning independents) to 16 in the Senate.
"Let me warn you, and let me warn the nation, against the smooth evasion that says 'Of course we believe these things. We believe in social security. We believe in work for the unemployed. We believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die.

'We believe in all these things. But we do not like the way that the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.'"
Remind you of Paul Ryan trying to persuade saps he wants to help the poor? Republicans were all over corporate TV this week wailing about how minimum wage laws don't work and will never work and have never worked. They're demonstrably wrong and have always been. And overwhelming majorities of Americans disagree with them and see through their bullshit. Even half the self-admitted Republicans support raising the minimum wage!
Two-thirds of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support increasing the minimum wage, rejecting arguments that doing so could encourage layoffs and reflecting majority sentiment that current federal government policies favor the wealthy.

Those who support a higher minimum wage even have a recommended level: The average response in this group is $10.25 per hour, very close to the $10.10 proposal endorsed by Barack Obama and now before the U.S. Senate.

Support for raising the minimum wage is linked to broader concern about income inequality, a theme sounded by Obama in a speech Dec. 4. Sixty-four percent of Americans say federal policies currently favor the wealthy, and 57 percent say they’d support efforts to try to reduce the wealth gap in this country. Support for boosting the minimum wage soars in both those groups.

…64 percent say that federal policies currently favor the wealthy and 57 percent say the government should try to reduce the gap between the wealthy and those less well-off. These also are highly partisan views: Among Democrats, 81 percent say federal policies favor the wealthy and 76 percent support government efforts to reduce the wealth gap. Those dive to 48 and 40 percent, respectively, among Republicans.
This year 5 states have already raised the minimum wage, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. A study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that when this is done nationally (to $10.10 by 2016), it would return the federal minimum wage to roughly the same inflation-adjusted value it had in the late 1960s while it would either directly or indirectly raise the wages of 27.8 million workers, who would receive about $35 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period. The effect of that, despite tired right-wing lies, is that the GDP would grow by about $22 billion, resulting in the creation of roughly 85,000 net new jobs over that period. They also found that, despite the stereotypes perpetrated by the corporate media, among affected workers, the average age is 35 years old, nearly 88% are at least 20 years old, and more than a third (34.5%) are at least 40 years old. 54% work full time, about 69% come from families with family incomes less than $60,000, and more than a quarter have children. 

Over the Christmas break, grassroots Democrats plan to pressure GOP lawmakers and Republican voters over the expiration of unemployment insurance for 1.3 million workers who were kicked out of work because of GOP economic policies. Greg Sargent outlines the contours of the whole plan in his column this morning (linked in the last sentence). As he points out, "[M]ost House Republicans will just shrug at all of this stuff, since they are cossetted away in safe districts. A new Pew poll finds that Republican voters prioritize deficit reduction over maintaining current aid to the “poor and needy” by 55-35. But the broader public favors maintaining current aid to the poor over deficit reduction by 59-33, as do independents by 53-38. And so, with the deficit dropping away as a concern, Dems hope GOP leaders-- who don’t appear to harbor visceral opposition to unemployment insurance-- will come around to the view that continued resistance to extending benefits that are set to cut off just after Christmas won’t help the party’s overall national image. It’s a point of constant frustration for Democrats that in situations like these-- when one party favors extending benefits, and the other opposes it-- the media storyline is invariably that 'Congress' is failing to act. So one key goal of this campaign is to drive home to the public that 'Congress' isn’t letting down these one million or more Americans; Republicans are."

Thanks to conservative sabotage (on both sides of the aisle; good riddance, Max Baucus) of single-payer or even just a public option, Obamacare barely qualifies as an extension of the New Deal. But it's better-- even a LOT better-- than the lump of coal the Republicans would like to give Americans instead of healthcare. And Americans know it. In yesterday's Washington Post Greg Sargent took a good hard look at the new polling from CBS and the NY Times and reminds us that:
A majority of Americans says “providing access to affordable health care coverage for all Americans is the responsibility of the federal government,” by 54-43.

A majority says that “when individuals don’t have health insurance,” it “hurts the country,” by 70-22.

A majority says “providing health care coverage for the poor is the responsibility of the federal government,” by 53-41.

Only 37 percent support repealing Obamacare entirely, while 53 percent say there are good things in the law and that changes are needed to make it work better.

Only 41 percent say the law goes too far in changing the health system, while a total of 50 percent say it doesn’t go far enough (28) or is about right (22). All this, at an absolute low point.

All these things may be related. This is admittedly speculative, but one reason majorities may be unwilling to give up on the law, even though they disapprove and are skeptical of it, may simply be that many Americans support government doing something about the problems Obamacare is designed to solve, and don’t believe there is any other set of viable solutions out there. (With single payer being a political impossibility, they’re probably right.) Indeed, an October Kaiser poll found that only 13 percent want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a generic GOP alternative. In short: The Affordable Care Act is it.

…The new poll found that most Americans-- 55 percent of the general public and 57 percent of the uninsured-- disapprove of how President Obama is handling health care. Democrats in Congress got roughly the same rating, with 59 percent of the general public and 58 percent of the uninsured disapproving of their handling of the issue. Republicans in Congress were judged more harshly, with 73 percent of the general public and 70 percent of the uninsured disapproving of their handling of health care.
And don't even get me started on healthcare or this post will double in size. Wait… the next post will be like a continuation of this one-- except about what it means if the GOP ever gets its paws on the healthcare system. Republicans, as Chris Hayes pointed out on his show last night, have nothing left in their quiver but their hatred and disdain for working families. Watch:

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