From the Erie Times-News Published: November 20. 2009 12:01AM
Working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in state and local taxes than their wealthiest counterparts, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy.
In 2007, middle-class earners paid nearly double the share of their income in taxes than the very wealthiest Pennsylvanians. For minimum-wage earners, the share of family income spent on taxes was even larger.
Group forms to save Braddock Hospital
A working group of community leaders, elected officials and residents from the Braddock area convened last night at Heritage Health to discuss how the community might sway UPMC to reverse its decision to close the hospital there.
Since the hospital system announced the closing of UPMC Braddock, slated for Jan. 31, community members have mobilized efforts to change the hospital’s mind, starting last Thursday with a rally that drew a few hundred people.
The objective of the working group, facilitated by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, is two-pronged. Its first priority is to lobby UPMC against closing, and its second is to create a contingency plan should the hospital close.
Pennsylvania and Illinois Faculty Unions Endorse HR 676
Two faculty unions affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA) have endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Legislative Assembly of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) voted overwhelmingly to endorse HR 676. ASPCUF represents 6,000 faculty members at the fourteen public university campuses across Pennsylvania. Seth Kahn, Grievance Chair at West Chester University, said: “APSCUF recognizes the importance of single-payer healthcare for unions everywhere. We are pleased to offer our strong endorsement.”
In Chicago, Illinois, the Executive Board of the Roosevelt University Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) also voted to endorse HR 676 reports LuAnn Swartzlander, RAFO President. RAFO is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the NEA.
Something quite amazing happened yesterday in Congress: the House Finance Committee — in a truly bipartisan and even trans-ideological vote — defied the banking industry, the Federal Reserve, the Democratic leadership, and mainstream Beltway opinion in order to pass an amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, mandating a genuine and probing audit of the Fed. The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim has the best account of what took place, noting:
In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.
November 22, 2009
A group of twenty-seven Democratic Party activists met on Saturday morning at the Shaler Township library to discuss their shared disappointment with 4th CD Blue Dog Congressman Jason Altmire. Activists attended the November 21st meeting from Sewickley, Murrysville, Avalon, Ohio Township, Indiana Township, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Ross, Westview, Shaler, McCandless, Franklin Park, and Plum.
Ms. Terry Hartnett of Avalon Borough, and a Democratic Committee member, started the meeting with a welcome and briefly described a smaller previous meeting at which activists discussed the possibility of running a progressive against Altmire in the upcoming primary election.
Grijalva Emphasizes Health Care With Triggers, Opt-Out or Reproductive Restrictions Will Not Pass House
November 22, 2009
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva [Friday] announced his continuing support for health care reform with a strong public option available as soon as possible to all Americans, emphasizing that a final bill containing triggers, state opt-out language or excessive restrictions on reproductive rights will be defeated in the House.
“The American people have made clear their support for an effective public option throughout this process, and now it’s time to give them one,” Grijalva said. “Further watering down an already weakened public insurance program, either out of misplaced political calculation or a misunderstanding of policy, would be a profound mistake. Voters, including political independents, continue to back a public option by a wide margin, and anyone standing in the way will be held accountable.”
By: Jane Hamsher Thursday November 19, 2009
The President set an arbitrary $900 billion 10-year price tag for the final bill. In order to comply with this, the Senate bill delays the ban on excluding people from coverage for pre-existing conditions until 2014. According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, and it is estimated that medical costs contribute to 62% of all bankruptcies. This is a callous decision that has an enormous cost in human lives and untold suffering.
Recession causes more families to go without food
Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: November 17, 2009 10:58:56 AM
WASHINGTON — The number of U.S. households that are struggling to feed their members jumped by 4 million to 17 million last year, as recession-fueled job losses and increased poverty and unemployment fueled a surge in hunger, a government survey reported Monday.
These “food-insecure” households represent about 49 million people and make up 14.6 percent, or more than one in seven, of all U.S. households. That’s the highest rate since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began monitoring the issue in 1995.
Additionally, more than one-third of these struggling families — some 6.7 million households, or 17.2 million people last year — had “very low food security,” in which food intake was reduced and eating patterns were disrupted for some family members because of a lack of food.