According to CBS News, "the number of people in the U.S. living in poverty in 2010 rose for the fourth year in a row, representing the largest number of Americans in poverty in the 52 years since such estimates have been published by the U.S. Census Bureau." MSNBC said, "The U.S. poverty rate remains among the highest in the developed world." Let's look at a few poverty facts.
Heritage Foundation researchers Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield laid out some facts about the poor in their report "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (9/13/2011). Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. Ninety-six percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry during the year because they couldn't afford food.
"The Material Well-Being of the Poor and the Middle Class Since 1980" (10/25/2011) is a research paper by professor Bruce D. Meyer of the University of Chicago and The National Bureau of Economic Research and professor James X. Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame. In it they report:
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a good catch phrase could stop thinking for 50 years. One of the often-repeated catch phrases of our time — "It's the economy, stupid!" — has already stopped thinking in some quarters for a couple of decades. There is no question that the state of the economy can affect elections. But there is also no iron law that all elections will be decided by the state of the economy.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected for an unprecedented third term after two terms in which unemployment was in double digits for eight consecutive years.
We may lament the number of people who are unemployed or who are on food stamps today. But those who give the Obama administration credit for coming to their rescue when they didn't have a job are likely to greatly outnumber those who blame the administration for their not having a job in the first place.
An expansion of the welfare state in hard times seems to have been the secret of FDR's great political success in the midst of economic disaster. An economic study published in a scholarly journal in 2004 concluded that the Roosevelt administration's policies prolonged the Great Depression by several years. But few people read economic studies.
Days ago, reports revealed that Ron Paul is in a dead heat in the Iowa caucus with Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Since then, Paul has also gained support in New Hampshire, where he is now in second place in the polls. A Bloomberg News New Hampshire poll reveals that Paul currently sits at 17 percent in New Hampshire, surpassing the new GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, who garnered 11 percent of the vote, and Herman Cain, who received just 7 percent. The only candidate ahead of Paul is Mitt Romney, who sits comfortably at 40 percent.
When it comes to the requisite familiarity with crucial issues of domestic and global importance, some are suggesting that the current GOP presidential front-runner might be “faking it.” Particularly in the areas of foreign affairs and domestic security, there are those making compelling arguments that perhaps the former Governor of Massachusetts is out of his league.
Imagine a world in which Americans weren’t remotely as susceptible to media manipulation as they currently are. Let’s call it “America 2.” In such a world, Americans would be more disposed to “think for themselves,” as we say, to think just a bit critically about the images and sound bites to which they are bombarded daily. The measured skepticism with which they would treat the media, especially its coverage of politics, would cultivate within them intellectual and moral virtues that, in reality, are sorely lacking among a good portion of the electorate. In this possible world, Americans would be far more fortified against intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy than are their counterparts in the real world.
It has been all the talk on Wisconsin political blogs, talk shows, and editorial pages for the past several months. Now it is official: on November 15 virulent opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially launched a recall drive against him, in what can only be described as a vindictive attempt at political payback for his success at reining in collective bargaining for state employees. But just who Democrats will choose to run against the popular conservative state leader — should they garner the half a million or so needed recall petition signatures — is still up in the air.
Almost a year ago exactly, yet another drunk-driving illegal alien killed another American citizen. This time, it was Sarasota, Fla., and the vehicular killer will spend 13 years behind bars. It’s a small price to pay for 26-year-old Daniel Garcia, the blotto border jumper who will be 12 years younger when he emerges from jail than Pamila Yoder, the 51-year-old wife and mother he killed without a moment’s thought of what might happen if he got behind the wheel.
The first hearing on Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) bill HR 3261, known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), was held Wednesday in Washington by the House Judiciary Committee, which Smith chairs. The bill was offered back in October by Smith along with 12 cosponsors, including Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) who stated:
Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws. This legislation will update the laws to ensure that the economic incentives our Framers enshrined in the Constitution over 220 years ago — to encourage new writings, research, products and services — remain effective in the 21st Century’s global marketplace, which will create more American jobs. The bill will also protect consumers from dangerous counterfeit products, such as fake drugs, automobile parts and infant formula.
The bill represents a modification of the Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act, which was reported out of committee last spring but hasn’t yet reached the floor of the Senate for debate.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million between 1999 and 2007 in "consulting" fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Bloomberg News reported November 16, even as Gingrich acknowledged for the first time that he had a larger consulting role than as a staff historian. The figure was more than five times the previously reported amount.
Gingrich, asked how he earned some $300,000 in consulting fees with Freddie Mac in a November 9 presidential debate, said his role was to offer advice as an "historian." Moreover, Gingrich denied acting as a lobbyist and claimed to advise the mortgage giant to end their practice of guaranteeing sub-prime mortgages. Freddie Mac and its sister organization, chartered by Congress, fueled the housing bubble in the last decade. "My advice," Gingrich said in that debate, "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible."
The Bloomberg report countered Gingrich's debate claims about his dissent from Freddie Mac's policies. "None of the former Freddie Mac officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Gingrich raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Mac’s business model." Gingrich told Bloomberg that he "offered them [Freddie Mac] advice on precisely what they didn’t do," but it's unclear during which stint as a counselor Gingrich offered this advice, if he offered the advice at all. Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac as a consultant from 1999-2002 and 2006-07 and his consulting firm, The Gingrich Group, earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees.
A report published in the New York Times suggests that the Syrian opposition forces are “buoyed” by increasing “international pressure” on the government of President Bashar al Assad to follow in the footsteps of other former middle eastern rulers and step down. As the story goes, the Arab League, Russia, and Turkey are all being wooed by forces seeking to oust Assad and end his “bloody crackdown” on political protestors.