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Archive for December 6, 2010

Labor Update: December 7 Day of Online Solidarity for Jobless

December 7: Day of Online Solidarity for Jobless


by Tracy Kurowski

To show solidarity with the 25 million unemployed or underemployed Americans, tomorrow morning, change your Facebook and Twitter avatar to this Jobless image.   

Update your status to “We are all Jobless” or whatever best expresses your thoughts on our economy which has returned record profits for the financial industry and enormous corporations and top income earners, but for decades has meant stagnant worker wages and for the past two years, a jobs crisis like none we have seen since the Great Depression.

When Congress failed to extend jobless benefits by November 30th, 800,000 workers and their families turned into income refugees. This was the first time ever that congress refused to extend jobless benefits when the unemployment rate has been this high for this long.

If Congress fails to act, by the end of December this number will grow to 2,000,000. By the end of January it will be an astonishing 3,000,000 people.  These numbers do not include the 99ers – those whose benefits expired this summer but who’ve remained without gainful employment for over two years.

This past Saturday, President Obama drew a line in the sand by pledging to fellow Democrats that he will refuse to pass any tax cut extension unless there are is also an extension of jobless benefits and populist tax cuts like Making Work Pay, a cut specifically targeted for the working poor; tuition tax credit for students; a child credit for the working parents; and a payroll tax credit for new hires.

The problem with this scenario, however, is why $30 billion in jobless benefits is being weighed against $700 billion dollars in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires is in any way a fair bargain?

 
The Democrat’s tax  proposal – which was shot down by Senate Republicans – gives tax breaks to 100% of Americans. 98% of Americans get the break on their entire income and 2% continue to get a break on the first $250,000 of household income they earn, but the surplus income reverts to 1990’s tax rates.  

~Tracy Kurowski has been active in
the labor movement for ten years, first as a member of AFSCME 3506, when
she taught adult education classes at the City Colleges of Chicago. She
moved to the Quad Cities in 2007 where she worked as political
coordinator with the Quad City Federation of Labor, and as a caseworker
for Congressman Bruce Braley from 2007 – 2009.



It’s The Media, Stupid..


Last Thursday,  FCC Commissioner Michael Copps gave an absolutely amazing speech that will convince you way better than any Blog for Iowa post ever could that citizens need to start focusing on media reform ASAP.  If you all read it and take notes, then send us an e-mail about when you or your group would like to get together with us to start work on bringing the public interest back to the media in Iowa, it would make us very happy. 

As Copps stated, “My challenge to you is to act as though your democracy depends upon it because it does.”  Here it is.

 

Watch live streaming video from columbiajournalism at livestream.com

Download the speech at the Columbia Journalism School here.

 

Another Free Trade Agreement Will Impact Iowans

Another Free Trade Agreement Will Impact Iowans


by Paul Deaton

Blog for Iowa has covered the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement since Colin Powell visited Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help dedicate the Iowa Korean War memorial at Veterans Stadium in early June.

Late Friday, the White House announced that modifications in the free trade agreement have been made and agreed between the parties. Key US concerns have been addressed pertaining to environmental and labor standards, according to the White House.

Back in August, BFIA wrote, “Proponents
of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement may get the treaty improved and
ratified by the US Senate. Yes, additional jobs would be off-shored to
South Korea. Yes, South Korean farmers would be impacted by the US
subsidies of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton as the Mexican farmers
were by NAFTA. Yes, the wealthy would increase their assets. And yes,
those of us in the middle class would feel additional pressure on our way
of life in the post-Reagan era.”

Read this one for yourself. President Obama's statement is here and a fact sheet on the agreement is here. Once you have had a look, think about whether this agreement will be good for jobs and for the middle class. It may be too early to tell, but I stand by my original analysis.

The treaty is expected to be signed by the parties and sent to the United States Senate for ratification.

~Paul Deaton is a
native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of
Blog for Iowa.
E-mail
Paul
Deaton