WSJ: Good news for job seekers: There were 3.3 unemployed workers for every posted job opening in November, the lowest ratio in more than four years.
….. despite fears of the then-imminent “Fiscal Cliff,” both workers and employers showed signs of confidence in November. Employers laid off 17,000 fewer workers than in October, and posted 11,000 more job openings. Some 46,000 more workers quit their jobs — a sign they see the job market as improving.
USA Today: President Obama will award a Medal of Honor to a staff sergeant who helped beat back one of the largest attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Clinton Romesha, 31, will the fourth living service member to receive the nation’s highest military award for valor in Afghanistan or Iraq; seven others who served in those wars have received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
ThinkProgress: Former Senator Jim DeMint, the new president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has decried Obamacare as “a cancer” that is “is fundamentally inconsistent with liberty.” During the Senate Obamacare fight, DeMint famously declared “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
But a new report from DeMint’s own organization suggests that, far from being incompatible with freedom, countries with health care systems with as much or significantly more government control over healthcare are the freest countries in the world.
Chicago Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be hosting the late-night post-inagural party on Jan. 21 in one of Washington’s newest venues, the Hamilton, just down the block from the White House. How late? Runs from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in an event billed as a “Chicago-Style after hours.” (More here)
The White House has officially responded to the ‘We the People’ petition to commit the US to building a Death Star. Best line: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” Next best: “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” which may represent a slight shift from the position of the previous administration.
The Examiner: When historians look back on the presidency of Barack Obama, one would hope that they view his legacy as more then just being the first African American President who succeeded despite having to overcome some of the worst treatment a President could withstand; or as more than the President responsible for the establishment of an affordable health care act ensuring healthcare coverage for all Americans; or responsible for having saved the U.S economy from a second depression; or for killing the number one mastermind terrorist in the world.
Indeed one would hope that that historians recognize that President Obama’s legacy is that of a true warrior for social justice ….. A steadfast true leader, who even when faced with obstruction from hostile political extremists on the right, is still ensuring that all Americans get a fair shake at the American dream….
NYT: With 2013 bringing tax increases on the incomes of a small sliver of the richest Americans, the country’s top earners now face a heavier tax burden than at any time since Jimmy Carter was president.
The last-minute deal struck by the departing 112th Congress raised taxes on a handful of the highest-earning Americans, with about 99.3 percent of households experiencing no change in their income taxes. But the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average family in the top 1 percent will pay a federal tax rate of more than 36 percent this year, up from 28 percent in 2008. That is the highest rate since 1979, at least.
By some measures, the tax code might now be the most progressive in a generation, tax economists said, while noting that every American is paying a lower burden currently than they did then….
TPM: The White House and gun control supporters are gearing up for a whirlwind month, with plans to pass reform legislation before outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre has a chance to fade.
While the fiscal cliff has dominated Washington’s attention in recent weeks, lawmakers and activists are laying the groundwork for their big push. Vice President Joe Biden, tasked with heading a commission to investigate gun violence, has been quietly meeting with experts, interest groups, and public officials and is expected to release a set of recommendations within weeks. Boston mayor Thomas Menino, co-chair of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told the Boston Herald this week that an optimistic Biden had assured him that Obama would sign legislation “by the end of January.”
President Obama has no public events scheduled on Saturday. On Sunday, he and first lady Michelle Obama will attend the Kennedy Center Honors. They will host the honorees beforehand at a White House reception.
Kennedy Center: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the selection of the seven individuals who will receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. Recipients to be honored at the 35th annual national celebration of the arts are: bluesman Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
Joe Klein (Time): The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obama’s opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. It’s getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.
…. It might have seemed “righteous” indignation when the GOP was deluding itself about representing a majority of Americans; now, it just seem puerile and petulant.
… What is difficult for the Fox talking heads to understand is this: We had an election. The President won. This gives him greater leverage than the last election we had, in 2010, when the President’s party lost…
…. the assorted Republican drama queens seem so two months ago, don’t they?
ThinkProgress: With Republicans balking at the prospect of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent of Americans, Democrats are losing patience. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that the House GOP will not hold a vote on a middle-class tax bill that excludes the top income brackets, even though the Senate has already approved one.
In response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that Democrats plan to bring the legislation to a floor vote next week no matter what. The Democrats plan to use a discharge petition, which can force a bill to the floor if it has been stuck in committee for 30 legislative days. In a new statement, Pelosi dared her Republican colleagues to reject the plan to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the country…
Gail Collins: You undoubtedly have heard that Barack Obama invited Romney for lunch this week…. …. You’d think they could have served meat loaf. Mitt’s favorite food is meat loaf. Also, Mitt loves practical jokes, and if Obama had really wanted to get in the spirit of things, he could have had Romney arrested by the Capitol Police in the lobby.
…. The makeup meal doesn’t even have to make the loser feel better. (In 2008, Obama had John McCain over for a postelection meeting in Chicago, and you can see what a healing effect that had on McCain’s ego.) …
…. [the president] elaborated at his first postelection news conference, saying that Romney “presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with.”
The “actually” didn’t sound all that enthusiastic. Also, when it came time to praise his former rival, Obama said Romney “did a terrific job running the Olympics.”