Ideology and Investment
By Paul Krugman
New York Times Opinion
Oct 26, 2014 – America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.
But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.
Some background: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to go. Borrowing to buy homes has recovered a bit, but remains low. Corporations are earning huge profits, but are reluctant to invest in the face of weak consumer demand, so they’re accumulating cash or buying back their own stock. Banks are holding almost $2.7 trillion in excess reserves — funds they could lend out, but choose instead to leave idle.
And the mismatch between desired saving and the willingness to invest has kept the economy depressed. Remember, your spending is my income and my spending is your income, so if everyone tries to spend less at the same time, everyone’s income falls.
Continue reading Time to Narrow the Target: It’s Not ‘Washington,’ It’s Rightwing Republicans
Tom Wolfe holds election rally at Aliquippa Elks Lodge
Tom Wolf, right, shakes hands with Beaver County commissioner Joe Spanik before an election rally on Sunday, October 26, 2014, at the Aliquippa Elks Lodge on Brodhead Road in Aliquippa.
By David Taube
Beaver County Times
Oct 26, 2014 HOPEWELL TWP. — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf visited Beaver County again on Sunday, calling the election a chance for voters to say what they are not and what they could be.
The York County businessman echoed a recent campaign statement that Pennsylvania’s job creation was the worst in the country since 2011, based on federal data, suggesting the state could capitalize on its port access as one economic possibility. He also repeatedly stated that residents shouldn’t take polls too seriously.
Speaking to 60-plus people at Aliquippa Elks Lodge 1221 on Sunday, he said the upcoming election is a chance to move Pennsylvania and the country in the right direction.
“If you want to look at Pennsylvania over the last four years, it’s really a clinical test of the last 40 years,” Wolf said. “What we’ve been told over the last 40 years is ‘The real world is an unfair place. Let that 1 percent take over, and they’re going to show us wonderful things.’
“It hasn’t worked,” he said.
Wolf has visited Aliquippa or Hopewell Township several times in the last few months, and Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker said Wolf’s third visit on Sunday meant he was now family. He visited Aliquippa Elementary School on Aug. 25 and the Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School on Oct. 13.
Continue reading Wolf Highlights Inland Port Infrastructure for PA Job Potential
Tom Wolf with Mayor Dwan Walker (Photo Credit: KDKA)
By Jon Delano
BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Students in Aliquippa had the day off — except for the undefeated football team hard at practice.
But that didn’t stop Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf from pushing his education plan at the high school.
“We’d like to welcome you all. If you’ve never been here before, this is Aliquippa,” quipped Mayor Dwan Walker.
Walker, with State Rep. Rob Matzie and school superintendent Dave Wytiaz, briefed the candidate before a short press conference.
“I’m here because this is important to me as a Pennsylvanian,” said Wolf.
“Education actually matters,” he added. “It doesn’t matter because I’m running for governor. It matters to all of us who want to build a business in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who want to build a family in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who actually care about a society where people can actually get a head. This is how we transform lives.”
By imposing an extraction tax on natural gas drilling, Wolf pledged to bring state funding of education back up to half of school spending
Continue reading At Visit To Aliquippa HS, Wolf Talks Schools And Taxes
By Andrew Gripp
Beaver County Blue via IVN-US
August 4, 2014 – Since President Obama’s inauguration and Rick Santelli’s movement-making call to action that inspired the tea party, national politics has been a triangular affair, with the Republican “establishment” caught in the middle between an anti-incumbent reaction and a seemingly united Democratic front. This triangular dynamic guiding policymaking in the past few years — from the credit downgrade to the fiscal cliff to the government shutdown – has led to the exclusion of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party from having much of a say in legislative affairs.
Like the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is not without its own internal fissure – one that could widen and surface preceding the presidential primary process when the Democratic Party will have to reinvent itself in the waning months of the Obama era.
An ideological and organizational X-ray of the Democratic Party in Congress reveals a surprising split: there are approximately 20 members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition in the legislature, while the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) boasts more than 60 members. With progressive and even nonpartisan outlets and pundits calling for progressive candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Governor Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) to run, progressives – much ignored in the fracas of the last several years — might begin to find venues to ventilate their ideas.
"The Better Off Budget promised to create 8.8 million jobs by 2017 — including 4.6 million after one year."
The CPC — founded in 1991 and currently led by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) — has been especially active since the 111th Congress took its collective seat in 2009 and has not been afraid to challenge the president during his politically-mandated drift rightward since taking office.
Continue reading Congressional Progressive Caucus Increasingly Vocal, Critical of Obama
Teachers, Parents and Students Spotlight School Cuts
By Allison Steele and Julia Terruso
Beaver County Blue via Philly Inquirer
June 10, 2014 – As many as 1,000 protesters, many angry about school funding, blocked traffic and waved signs in Center City on Monday afternoon, hoping to disrupt or at least deflect attention from a fund-raising stop by Govs. Corbett and Christie.
"Our members are here because they’re being mistreated," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Six people were arrested for obstructing the highway – a summary offense – after sitting down on 17th Street. Police did not use handcuffs as they led them away.
The names of those arrested were not available Monday night, but a statement from the coalition group Fight for Philly identified them as "parents, activists, and retired teachers."
The two Republican governors were scheduled to appear Monday evening at a private fund-raiser hosted by the Republican Governors Association. The association did not release details of the event, including its location.
Continue reading Six Arrested in Philly Protest at Corbett, Christie Campaign Stop