Amy Lynn Smith: The Affordable Care Act Gives Virginia Woman The Freedom To Pursue Her Dream
Lisa Kaneff has always considered herself a writer. In fact, that’s how she’s always introduced herself to people. But she wasn’t living that dream to the fullest, until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it possible. After 12 years in marketing, Lisa says she woke up one day feeling “stuck” in a professional current, just floating along. She didn’t have any debt other than a small student loan, and being in her early 30s she decided the time was right. Lisa, who lives in Virginia, launched her business in March 2014 as a full-time writer. She works frequently with progressive non-profits and politicians. “Writing about candidates that supported the ACA was inspiring,” she says. “I felt like these people were fighting for me, too.”
Lisa has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that can lead to other health issues if left untreated. She also has a thyroid condition and has had multiple foot surgeries. These conditions require regular follow-up with her doctors. When Lisa tried to apply for insurance during her unemployment, she could not even get bare-bones catastrophic coverage because of her PCOS. A second insurer turned her down for the simple fact that she’d been turned down by the first insurer. Eventually, she was able to get insurance but it didn’t cover much for the price. Thanks to the ACA, everything Lisa needs is covered.
Amy Lynn Smith: Michigan Small Business Offers Competitive Employee Benefits Thanks To The ACA
Ryan Irvin and Amanda Stitt are the kind of small business owners who want to do the right thing for their employees. But they’re also business owners who need to pay attention to the bottom line. Fortunately, they’re able to do both. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace at Healthcare.gov gives businesses with less than 50 employees everything they need to find the right plan for their employees and get them all covered. Last year, Irvin and Stitt — who are married with a baby girl, Amelia — were paying for their own insurance after Stitt transitioned from her previous job to become chief executive officer of Change Media Group. They were also paying the premiums of one full-time employee who purchased her coverage at Healthcare.gov.
But setting up an employer plan through the SHOP Marketplace made a lot more sense, says Irvin. For Amanda, Amelia and myself, we were paying $1,282 in premiums last year. We’ll get to deduct those premiums from our taxes but we won’t get the small business tax credit offered through SHOP. Add on what we were paying for our employee’s coverage and we were paying $1,539 a month. For 2015, with our SHOP plan, we’ll be paying $1,448 a month for our family and that one employee, which is a savings of $100 a month in premiums. Plus, instead of a tax deduction of 25-30% for our premiums we’ll get a 40-50% tax credit to the business for the premiums we pay.
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting of the President’s Export Council at the White House. Flanking President Obama are Boeing CEO Jim McNerney and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. The President’s Export Council advises the President on policies and programs that effects US trade performance and promote export expansion
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. President Obama said the US will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq, set up joint operation centers
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Marine Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter took a blow from a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, sustaining major wounds including the loss of his right eye. He is the eighth living recipient to be chosen for the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan
Retired Marine Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter smiles as President Barack Obama speaks at a ceremony awarding Carpenter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry
President Obama’s signature on a wall in a health classroom at Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he attended a town hall meeting on health care, June 11, 2009. The physical education and health staff left a note asking the President to sign the wall for future students to see (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern)
10:50 President Obama meets with the United States Sentencing Commission, Roosevelt Room
1:50: Departs White House
3:20: Arrives Worcester, Mass.
4:0: The President delivers remarks at the Worcester Technical High School Commencement
7:0: Delivers remarks and answers questions at a fundraiser for House Democrats, private residence, Weston, Mass.
8:20: Departs Worcester
10:0: Arrives White House
Later This Week
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House. In the afternoon, the President will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals.
Friday: The President and the First Lady will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, they will travel to Palm Springs, CA.
Saturday: The President will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, D.C on Monday.
President Obama and Tumblr’s founder, David Karp
Adam Vaccaro: No, Obama’s Student Debt Executive Order Doesn’t Incentivize Colleges To Raise Tuition
When President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he would extend the “Pay as You Earn” federal student loan repayment program to older, previously ineligible debtors, it was met with a common contention. I’ve seen it in a few places, including the comments section in our article on the action. In short, people say that the order will make it easier for students to manage their debt, and that will incentivize schools to raise tuition. The assertion doesn’t make any sense. The Pay as You Earn program, which limits monthly payments to 10 percent of a borrowers’ income and can allow for loan forgiveness after 20 years of repayments, had previously only been available to new student borrowers. In order to be eligible, debtors could not have taken out a student loan before October 2007, and could not have stopped taking payments before October 2011.
In other words, the program was essentially put in place for the high school class of 2008 and later classes—meaning those currently in school are already eligible for the program. If the program incentivizes colleges to raise tuition—again, probably a fun debate, though it ignores that tuition was already skyrocketing well before the program was put in place—it was already happening. Obama’s action, meanwhile, extends the option to older borrowers—those who have already graduated and are making repayments, some at much higher rates than the program allows. The vast majority of those people are by definition already out of school. Who, then, would colleges raise tuition on that they couldn’t already?
Washington Post: Republican House Majority Leader Succumbs To Tea Party Challenger Dave Brat
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, was badly beaten in a primary contest Tuesday by an obscure professor with tea party backing — a historic electoral surprise that left the GOP in chaos and the House without its heir apparent. Cantor, who has represented the Richmond suburbs since 2001, lost by 11 percentage points to Dave Brat, an economist at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. It was an operatic fall from power, swift and deep and utterly surprising.
As late as Tuesday morning, Cantor had felt so confident of victory that he spent the morning at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill, holding a fundraising meeting with lobbyists while his constituents went to the polls. By Tuesday night, he had suffered a defeat with few parallels in American history. Historians said that no House leader of Cantor’s rank had ever been defeated in a primary. That left stunned Republicans — those who had supported Cantor, and even those who had worked to beat him — struggling to understand what happened.
Nick Wing: If It’s A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting
Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according to data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence. Including Tuesday’s incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting. The average school year typically lasts about 180 days, which means there have been roughly 270 school days, or 54 weeks, of class since the shooting at Newtown.
Cantor's loss is "stunning," "an earthquake," and so on. Another school shooting is, well, not so much.
With 74 total incidents over that period, the nation is averaging well over a shooting per school week. The data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety also shows that these shootings have occurred throughout the country. In all, 31 states have had an incident of gun violence at a school. Georgia has witnessed far more incidents than others, with 10 happening at schools there since Sandy Hook. There have been seven school shootings in Florida, five in Tennessee, four in North Carolina and four in California.
Caitlin MacNeal: Obama: ‘We Should Be Ashamed’ Of Failure To Address Gun Violence
President Obama on Tuesday slammed the failure to curb gun violence in the United States. “My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage,” he said during a Tumblr Q&A. “This is becoming the norm,” he continued about school shootings. “We should be ashamed.”
The President addressed lawmakers who blame mass shootings on mental health, not access to guns. “The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else,” he said.
The NFIB’s small business confidence index came in at 96.6 for May — the highest reading since 2007. That also beat expectations for 95.8. Pantheon Macro’s Ian Shepherdson says this index is more important than payrolls, and sees this jump to the as a major shift. “At last, small businesses are on the move. We have been waiting for four years for a clean break to the upside, and it’s finally here. The rise in the headline largely reflects a 9-point jump in economic expectations and a 5-point rise in sales expectations, but several other components rose too.”
“Eric is running on the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable principles,” Brat told a Tea Party audience. “They want amnesty for illegal immigrants. They want them granted citizenship. And it’s in the millions — 40 millions coming in. if you add 40 million workers to our labor supply, what will happen to the wage rate for the average American?” Brat’s appeal was frankly demagogic. Cantor was not supporting amnesty, and there are about 10 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Some of Brat’s Tea Party supporters took it a step further. Larry Nordvig, the head of the Richmond Tea Party, told a joke at Brat rally.
They'll use Cantor as a cautionary tale, but the real reason they can't budge on immigration is b/c the GOP base is xenophobic and racist.
“A politician, a Muslim, and an illegal alien walk into a bar, and you now what the bartender said? Good evening, Mr. President.” If he is elected in November, Brat may, of course, jettison the anti-Wall Street and anti-big business side of his politics. His actual economic views appear to be close to those of the Cato Institute and Ayn Rand. His solutions for America’s flagging economy consist in flattening the tax code and cutting spending – positions that will certainly not alienate the Chamber of Commerce or Business Roundtable.
Jonathan Cohn: The GOP Just Got a Wake-Up Call: Eric Cantor’s Loss Proves The Tea Party Refuses To Rest In Peace
It’s going to take a while to figure out precisely what happened Tuesday night in Virginia’s 7th House District. Nobody thought Eric Cantor, the second most powerful Republican in the House, would lose his primary campaign to Dave Brat, an anonymous college professor too busy grading exams to attend campaign events. Not too many people even thought it’d be close. Robert Costa of the Washington Post wrote about Brat’s surprising popularity a month ago, but the rest of the political press barely noticed.
still Obama's fault RT @jbouie: Any R thinking of working with Obama has just completely changed their mind. @ron_fournier, take note.
The obvious explanation for Cantor’s defeat is immigration. And in this case, the obvious explanation is probably right. Brat hammered Cantor for his supposed support of “amnesty.” Cantor swore the charge was untrue and, lord knows, he wasn’t doing anything to advance the cause of immigration reform publicly. It appears the voters didn’t believe him. Brat also attacked Cantor for his supposed cooperation with, and enabling of, Obama. This charge may seem strange to the White House and, for that matter, most sentient beings. Few Republicans have spent more energy fighting Obama and the Democrats. And Cantor played a pivotal role in killing the grand bargain that Obama was trying to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner in 2011
Julia Edwards: Obama Administration To Make Push On American Indian Voting Rights
Concerned that American Indians are being unfairly kept out of the voting process, the Obama administration is considering a proposal that would require voting districts with tribal land to have at least one polling site in a location chosen by the tribe’s government, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday. Holder said the Justice Department would begin consulting tribal authorities on whether it should suggest that Congress pass a law that would apply to state and local administrators whose territory includes tribal lands. The announcement came as President Barack Obama was expected to travel to an American Indian reservation in North Dakota on Friday.
Last Thursday, Holder addressed a tribal conference in the same state. Associate Attorney General Tony West on Monday will expand upon Holder’s announcement in Anchorage, Alaska, where he will address a conference held by the National Congress of American Indians. “Our proposal would give American Indian and Alaska Native voters a right that most other citizens take for granted: a polling place in their community where they can cast a ballot and receive voter assistance to make sure their vote will be counted,” West is expected to say, according a statement from the Justice Department.
Daniel Strauss: Cantor Conquerer Caught Off Guard By Policy Questions In Interview
David Brat, who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, was surprised when he appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday that he would be asked policy questions. In his interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Brat punted when Todd asked him both about the minimum wage and Syria. “Let me ask you a few other issue questions. Where are you on the minimum wage? Do you believe in it and would you raise it?” Todd asked. “Minimum wage, no, I’m a free market guy,” Brat responded.
Cantor's friends are FURIOUS, said he was told by consultants that he was up 20-30 points, didn't need to worry...
“Our labor markets right now are already distorted from too many regulations. I think Cato estimates there’s $2 trillion of regulatory problems and then throw Obamacare on top of that, the work hours is 30 hours a week. You can only hire 50 people. There’s just distortion after distortion after distortion and we wonder why our labor markets are broken.” Todd then pressed Brat on the question. “Um, I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one,” Brat finally conceded. “All I know is if you take the long-run graph over 200 years of the wage rate, it cannot differ from your nation’s productivity. Right? So you can’t make up wage rates.”
CBS News: Judge Strikes Down Teacher Tenure In California
A judge struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s public school teachers Tuesday, saying such laws harm students – especially poor and minority ones – by saddling them with bad teachers who are almost impossible to fire. In a landmark decision that could influence the gathering debate over tenure across the country, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that students have a fundamental right to equal education. Siding with the nine students who brought the lawsuit, he ruled that California’s laws on hiring and firing in schools have resulted in “a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.” He agreed, too, that a disproportionate number of these teachers are in schools that have mostly minority and low-income students.
The judge stayed the ruling pending appeals. The case involves 6 million students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The California Attorney General’s office said it is considering its legal options, while the California Teachers Association, the state’s biggest teachers union with 325,000 members, vowed an appeal. “Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools,” the union said. Teachers have long argued that tenure prevents administrators from firing teachers on a whim. They contend also that the system preserves academic freedom and helps attract talented teachers to a profession that doesn’t pay well. Other states have been paying close attention to how the case plays out in the nation’s most populous state. The lawsuit was backed by wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch’s nonprofit group Students Matter, which assembled a high-profile legal team including Boutrous, who successfully fought to overturn California’s gay-marriage ban.
Brian Beutler: Eric Cantor Lost Because He Exploited Conservatives, Not Immigration
Cantor practices a cunning, devious brand of politics. He played legislative strategy the same way he played intra-conference intrigue—devising too-clever-by-half schemes to seize momentary advantage, often at the expense of bigger picture goals. They frequently blew back at him. When Republicans took back the House, he advocated strategies that culminated in dangerous brinksmanship over funding the government and increasing the debt limit, exactly as conservatives demanded. But he also attempted to set the bizarre precedent of offsetting emergency spending for natural disaster relief with cuts to unrelated social spending programs. He never prevailed, but his position became extremely awkward when a rare and sizable earthquake severely damaged his own district in August 2011. After Obama’s re-election, Cantor had to reverse course and orchestrate ransomless debt limit increases, to the great dismay of Republican hardliners. He then pandered to those same hardliners in ways that frequently undermined John Boehner’s best-laid plans. These priorities were incongruous, and suggestive of an effort to situate himself as the Speaker’s heir apparent, rather than of a commitment to conservative causes.
Same folks who told us months ago immig reform was dead now say Cantor loss CHANGES EVERYTHING AND MEANS IT'S REALLY REALLY DEAD
Just two months ago, Cantor end ran around those same conservatives to secure passage of a bill protecting Medicare physicians from a substantial pay cut. For more than a year now, Cantor’s stable of influential operatives and former operatives have done battle with the purity obsessed hardliners and opportunists who tried to seize control of the party’s legislative strategy. Many of them sought retribution by taking aim at Cantor in his district. In the end the right’s beef with him—as with McConnell—was about more than just affect. It was about his willingness to use power politics and procedural hijinks to cut conservatives out of the tangle when expedient. The lesson of his defeat isn’t that immigration reform is particularly poisonous, but that the right expects its leaders to understand they can’t subsume the movement’s energy for tactical purposes, then grant it only selective influence over big decisions.
President Barack Obama introduces Maria Contreras-Sweet as his choice to be the new administrator of the Small Business Administration during an announcement ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, the founder of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, has a history of working with small businesses and has been an advocate for Hispanics. As California’s secretary of the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003, she was the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in the state and oversaw 40,000 state employees and a $12 billion budget.
In 2006, she founded ProAmérica Bank, a financial institution that aimed to assist small and mid-size businesses. Before that, she was president and co-founder of a private equity firm that provided capital to small California businesses. Contreras-Sweet would become the second Hispanic in Obama’s second term Cabinet. The other is Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. She would also become the eighth woman in Obama’s current Cabinet.
First Lady Michelle Obama gestures while speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House where she hosted a screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” a coming of age story about two inner-city youth who are left to fend for themselves in the Bronx.
Lesley Clark: First Lady Joins With Alicia Keys To Talk Education
First Lady Michelle Obama has earned accolades — and few brickbats — for her campaigns to improve the American diet and get people off the couch. She’s also championed hiring opportunities for returning veterans. And now, the first lady says, she’s adding another initiative to her roster: helping achieve President Obama’s goal that the U.S. by 2020 will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. (It once was No. 1 but has fallen to 12th, she said.) Still, Obama, who turns 50 on Friday, says she’s not giving up her “Let’s Move,” food and exercise program or her “Joining Forces” campaign to help military veterans and their families.
“Nothing is going away, we’re just adding more on,” Obama said Wednesday, talking to a room full of educators at the White House. “I’m going to be doing my very best to promote these efforts by talking directly with young people. That’s my focus. Everybody else is going to be talking about resources, but the one thing I can bring to this is the message that we can give directly to young people.” Obama’s remarks came after a White House screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” produced by the singer, Alicia Keys, who preceded Obama at the lectern in the State Dining Room.
Smithsonian political history curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy, left, and museum specialist Bethanee Bemis, show off First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown in a storage area at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The White House is lending Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s first ladies exhibition. It will be paired with Obama’s shoes designed by Jimmy Choo.
Smithsonian political history curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy shows off First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown in a storage area at the Smithsonian Museum of American History
WJLA: President Obama Visits Politics And Prose On Small Business Saturday
President Barack Obama is doing his part to support small businesses. Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha dropped in Saturday at Washington’s Politics and Prose bookstore and purchased what he said was a “long list” of books that included “The Kite Runner,” ”Harold and the Purple Crayon,” and “The Sports Gene”. The president said he bought a reader for every age, from 5 to 52 – his age. Obama sent a tweet earlier Saturday about the importance of supporting small businesses.
President Barack Obama continued what’s become an annual post-Thanksgiving tradition by stopping at a bookstore for Small Business Saturday. With his two daughters alongside, the President went to Politics and Prose in Washington to pick up a few books, telling reporters he bought a “long list” of titles for every age group, including his own. List of books purchased by Obama, according to the White House:
First Lady Michelle Obama walks with children past the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Nov. 30, 2011. Mrs. Obama welcomed military families to the White House for for the first viewing of the 2011 holiday decorations. (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
The President has no public events scheduled this weekend
America’s Voice: President And First Lady Visit “Fast For Families” On The National Mall
On day 18, “Fast for Families” welcomed the visit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, NAKASEC’s Dae Joong Yoon, DREAMer and Mi Familia Vota’s Cristian Avila, FIRM‘s Rudy Lopez and Sojourner‘s Lisa Sharon Harper, along with 22 other advocates fasting in solidarity, met with the President and First Lady in a private session at the “Fast for Families” tent where both listened closely to the fasters’ personal stories.
The President said that this fast and their sacrifice are receiving immense attention. He expressed great concern over their health, urging them as well to continue to pray over their decision on the time they intend to fast. During their meeting, the President also held the shoe of an immigrant who perished in the desert trying to seek a better life, which the fasters hold in reverence as a symbol of why they are fasting to underscore the plight and suffering of immigrants.
…. the Affordable Care Act is viewed more kindly by the congregation at First Baptist Church, located a few miles from the shadow of the Capitol, than by those within the governmental structure.
…. The Rev. Frank D. Tucker, who has been First Baptist’s pastor for nearly 38 years, used Sunday morning’s service to address Obamacare in terms its critics do not.
He announced that First Baptist, working with the city’s health-care exchange, DC Health Link, would host a health insurance enrollment fair on Saturday. He issued an emotional call to his congregation, young and old, to enroll in the program, resorting to language associated with the battle to win the right to vote.
Tucker noted the decades of unsuccessful efforts by several presidents to extend medical care to all Americans, including those living in dire circumstances beyond their control. Not sugar-coating the problems that President Obama has encountered in bringing about health-care reform, Tucker hammered at the obligation of the uninsured to enroll in the insurance program that Obama and other health-reform advocates have worked so hard to create. The Obama administration and its congressional supporters, Tucker observed, have been opposed every step of the way, taking a beating from people in Congress and around the country. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain by sitting on your hands, he contended. Get enrolled, he declared.
I’ve been following Fast for Families on twitter since day one. Unlike a lot of “keyboard activists,” these folks are showing their courage and commitment by putting it all on the line. I watched as union, faith and civil rights leaders visited these fasters in a show of solidarity. And then something interesting started happening. Gawd, I LOVE this President!!!!! Think about the last time we saw a POTUS provide this kind of support for an activist movement. I’ll give you a hint…never.
The law establishing Obamacare was officially titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And the “affordable” bit wasn’t just about subsidizing premiums. It was also supposed to be about “bending the curve” — slowing the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs. Much of the Beltway establishment scoffed at the promise of cost savings.
So, how’s it going? The health exchanges are off to a famously rocky start, but many, though by no means all, of the cost-control measures have already kicked in. Has the curve been bent? The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs has been dramatic.
Since 2010, when the act was passed, real health spending per capita — that is, total spending adjusted for overall inflation and population growth — has risen less than a third as rapidly as its long-term average. Real spending per Medicare recipient hasn’t risen at all; real spending per Medicaid beneficiary has actually fallen slightly.
CBS Denver: Judge: Sheriffs Can’t Sue Colorado Over Gun Laws
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Colorado sheriffs suing the state over new firearm restrictions don’t have standing to proceed with the case as a group, but the legal battle is far from over. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger in Denver doesn’t stop the lawsuit because 21 other plaintiffs who are suing do have standing. The court will still consider whether universal background checks and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds are constitutional, the judge said.
“If individual sheriffs wish to protect individual rights or interests they may do so … however, the sheriffs have confused their individual rights and interests with those of the county sheriff’s office,” Krieger said. The remaining plaintiffs include individuals and various gun groups. The laws that took effect July 1 were among a package of gun control legislation passed in response to mass shootings last year at a suburban Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
Pope Francis has ramped up the Vatican’s charity work, sending his chief alms-giver and a contingent of Swiss guards onto the streets of Rome at night to do what he usually can’t do: comfort the poor and the homeless. A few times a week, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski takes a few off-duty guards with him in his modest white Fiat to make the rounds at Rome’s train stations, where charities offer makeshift soup kitchens that feed 400-500 people a night. Often they bring the leftovers from the Vatican mess halls to share.
“Aside from their vitality, they know at least four languages,” Krajewski said of the guards in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “Above all, poor people need to be listened to.” He can’t do that so easily now that he’s pope, so he has tapped Krajewski to be his envoy, doling out small morsels of charity every day: sending a 200 euro ($260) check to a woman whose wallet was stolen, visiting a family whose child is dying.
Henry Blodget: Sorry, Folks, Rich People Actually Don’t ‘Create The Jobs’
“Rich people create the jobs.” Specifically, by starting and directing America’s companies, rich entrepreneurs and investors create the jobs that sustain everyone else. This statement is usually invoked to justify cutting taxes on entrepreneurs and investors. This argument ignores the fact that taxes on entrepreneurs and investors are already historically low.
Entrepreneurs and investors like me actually don’t create the jobs — not sustainable ones, anyway. What creates a company’s jobs, Hanauer explains, is a healthy economic ecosystem surrounding the company, which starts with the company’s customers. The customers of most companies are ultimately American’s gigantic middle class — the hundreds of millions of Americans who currently take home a much smaller share of the national income than they did 30 years ago
If that $9+ million had gone to 9,000 families instead of Hanauer, it would almost certainly have been pumped right back into the economy via consumption (i.e., demand). And, in so doing, it would have created more jobs. Hanauer estimates that, if most American families were taking home the same share of the national income that they were taking home 30 years ago, every family would have another $10,000 of disposable income to spend. So, if nothing else, it’s time we stopped perpetuating the fiction that “rich people create the jobs.” Rich people don’t create the jobs. Our economy creates jobs.
Washington Post: Obama To Issue A New Statement Of U.S. National Security Strategy
President Obama will formally present a new national security strategy early next year, identifying his foreign policy priorities for the remainder of his time in office, the White House said Friday. The new policy document will be the second of Obama’s administration and will likely update the previous one, released in May 2010, in several important areas. Those include policies for fighting the next phase of the war against al-Qaeda, the shift of national security resources to Asia and a plan to manage declining defense budgets amid fiscal strain.
The National Security Strategy document falls under a 1986 law requiring the president to present Congress with an annual strategic statement. Most administrations have been inconsistent in meeting that obligation. George W. Bush, for example, issued only two during his eight years in office. Obama’s first National Security Strategy ran 52 pages and set out a course for ending the U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Although the strategy asserted America’s central role in the world, it also warned that “when we overuse our military might, or fail to invest in or deploy complementary tools, or act without partners, then our military is overstretched.”
Rep. Emanuel Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., gestures to President Obama and a U.S. Secret Service agent after the President dropped by a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 30, 2010. The Congressman knows the agent (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with former President Jimmy Carter who was attending a meeting in National Security Advisor Tom Donilon’s office in the White House, Nov. 30, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Wilkes Barre/Scranton International Airport, November 30, 2011 in Avoca, Pennsylvania
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with members of the board of Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization working to end childhood obesity, at the Omni Hotel in Washington, D.C., Nov. 30, 2011 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama tours the Rodon Group, a manufacturer of toys in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, November 30, 2012
President Obama greets the audience after speaking at the Rodon Group, a manufacturer of toys in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, November 30, 2012