If you’re having political déjà vu as Obama’s second term in the White House gets underway, you’re not alone.
The supposedly populist candidate — who won re-election promising to tax the rich, protect Social Security, and make the economy fair — has morphed back into an invaluable ally of the economic elite. Yet again, he’s willing to let you fall under the bus.
In carving out 2013′s first round of self-inflicted budget pain, President Barack Obama has laid the groundwork for much worse to come. By making most Bush tax cuts permanent, he gave away the massive bargaining chip he could have used to protect safety net programs in the next negotiating round. Now, thanks to his pre-emptive capitulation, austerity advocates hold all the cards.
While the deal extends unemployment insurance, this temporary relief is overwhelmed by massive, permanent gifts to the super-rich. Estate taxes have been repealed for all but the wealthiest 0.1 percent with a whopping $10.5 million per couple exemption. The agreement also locks in low capital gains and dividends rates of 15-20 percent, ensuring that billionaire bosses everywhere will pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.
Throwing the nation over the climate cliff will make our current fiscal challenges look like a minor bump in the road.
As the highly scripted stagecraft of the presidential campaign fades from the headlines, there's a new show in Washington. ”Fiscal Cliff” stars President Barack Obama, who urges Republicans and Democrats to agree on a ”grand bargain” that would soften the economic shock of the impending across-the-board tax and spending cuts. But that bipartisan handshake would be nothing to celebrate.
Jobs: Each of us needs work, yet now one of five of us is out of, or short of, work (shadowstats.com). Each willing worker should have a job open to them. This is only fair, since we must work for what we need.
Labor versus Resources: We now use resources to eliminate labor via clever technology, which, in a world empty of people and full of resources, brilliantly complemented limited labor. But now we live in a world full of people eager to work, and running empty of resources. We can use more labor and less resources and thrive more. This will reduce pollution from resource use, as well as provide more equal opportunity to work for the the less fortunate among us.
Growth versus Maturity: We relied on economic growth to provide more jobs, more opportunity for the less lucky, but now our world is full of us people, and more growth can't fit well. Like a growing child becoming adult, humanity as a species has become mature. Further physical growth of our society is unhealthy, since we must all fit together on this limited planet. We still have enough now for each of our needs, yet not enough for our greeds. And if we grow economically while not growing physically, we produce only needless inflation. Now what?
Perhaps the City of Boston could follow the footsteps outlined in Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article. The city would take underwater or to-be-foreclosed homes by eminent domain, paying the loan company the current market value of the home, while arranging a writedown of the previous mortgage, so that the residents can re-finance with the city, despite the banks, at the current, real value of the home. Then the city would sell the new mortgage on the mortgage market, I guess.
Does your state representative know you support mandatory mediation before any foreclosures, so unnecessary evictions no longer occu? Calls from supporters last week succeeded in adding the needed language to the MA Senate Bill. Your call today will help us add that language in the House.
Here's what your call today to your state rep can help bring about:
Mandatory mediation, like all of our other sister New England States
Transparency, so homeowners can understand the new procedures and obligations
consistency with Federal Standards
protect and preserve Homeowner rights
allow homeowners to rent after foreclosure, should that come to pass
Is this too much to ask for?
Of course not. So please, ask. Call today!
Just call the switchboard at 617-722-2000, and ask to be transferred to your state representative's office* to leave a message.
The person who answers the phone will be VERY polite, and won't get into an argument. They'll just take your message, and pass it on to your state rep. The one that's supposed to represent you, and who's job it is to listen. They want your call.
OK, I'm ready to make the call. What's the message?
A Conference Committee is looking at Foreclosure Legislation this week. Please ask your representative to do two things:
1.Sign-on to the dear colleague letter that Representative O’Day and 15 other legislators have sent to your office.
2.Speak to the Foreclosure Conference Committee and the Speaker of the House: Tell them you support:
·The Senate’s Mandatory Mediation: All the other New England states have this and it works!
·The provisions for
o Transparency so Homeowners can understand the new procedures and obligations
o Consistency with proven Federal Standards
o Preserving Homeowner Rights
·The Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies Taskforce to negotiate language to allow homeowners to rent after foreclosure.
2nd call, please call the Speaker Deleo (Leader of the House) at 617-722-2500
3rd call, please call Representative Costello, house chair of Financial Services who is leading up this bill, at 617-722-2220
Fact sheet from MAAPL follows.
PS. If you don't know who your State Representative is, go to wheredoivotema.com, enter your address, when the screen comes down, scroll down to "general court" and find your representative's name there.
Then you can call the switchboard at 617-722-2000, press 2 the 0 and ask to be transferred to your representative's office
NEW ROAD, a network of bank tenant associations, together with MAAPL, the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending, won important new protections in the MA Senate foreclosure bill passed yesterday. These included mandatory mediation and some important technical fixes in the foreclosure bill. An important priority, eviction protection for homeowners, is still alive.
We have more work to do now, to make sure the House adopts the Senate version and to make sure the homeowner protection comes up for a vote.
The foreclosure bill adopted by the Massachusetts House as H4096, lacking Mandatory Mediation and Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies (allowing former homeowners to continue as rental tenants) was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Senate version may be voted next week, so immediate calls to state senators are urgent.
The basic message is: • We need Mandatory Mediation and Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies (allowing former homeowners to rent while the bank owns the property) as a bill or an amendment! • We need the Attorney General's standard for all loans AND as part of Mandatory Mediation so that homeowners can start using it before foreclosure to help get a sustainable loan modification. • We need some fixes to the version of the Attorney General's bill they have so it is not more burdensome for homeowners than the present laws!
A rainy day did not dampen the spirits of a dozen or so Green-Rainbow Party members attending the Boston May Day events, including: Danny Factor, Isabel Espinal, Joanna Herlihy, Nadia Franciscono, Shirley Kressel, and Wes Nickerson. Some of them gathered at 8 am outside of Bank of America, leafleted passers by and marched through the financial district of Boston carrying the GRP banner.
About 200 people rallied at noon at Boston City Hall for a May Day program with several speakers, including Isabel Espinal. A statement by Chuck Turner was read also, followed by a chant of "Free Chuck Turner!" At all three rallies during the day, GRP members stood and displayed the banner on or beside the stage for everyone to see. The Green-Rainbow Party joined with Occupy, labor, immigrant, and social justice organizations. The GRP was the only political party to participate.
In the afternoon Danny Factor and Wes Nickerson marched with several hundred people in the Immigrant March, which began with a rally in East Boston and marched through Chelsea to an even bigger rally in Everett. In the following video there are three different marches. The Immigrant March is the second one. The Green-Rainbow banner becomes visible starting at about 3:45 minutes into the video. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate International Workers Day.
The Green-Rainbow Party is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the United States. It was founded in 2002 through the happy marriage of the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party. To contact us, send email to email@example.com, send mail to P.O. Box 87, N. Hatfield MA 01066 or call (413) 650-6542.