The NY Times reports Higher costs spur the rise in U.S. consumer spending. “While consumers spent more in June, they did so because prices of food and energy were rising, and not because they were ready to spend freely again. Personal incomes sagged as employers continued to cut wages and reduce working hours. And the personal saving rate, which had been rising, dropped sharply from a month earlier”.
Meanwhile, Team Obama continues to wage the class war against the middle class. The CS Monitor reports Mixed signals from Obama team on middle class taxes. Obama’s economic advisors are considering breaking the president’s campaign pledge of no tax increases for those making $250,000 and under.
In a televised interview on ABC on Sunday, Secretary Geithner talked about the need to make “hard choices” to rein in federal budget deficits. And the president’s top economic policy adviser, Larry Summers, said on CBS that healthcare reform will cost money, and “it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out.”
Obama pledged during his White House campaign not to raise “one dime” of taxes on Americans earning below $250,000 a year.
“If you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increased by a single dime. Not your income tax. Not your payroll tax. Not your capital gains tax. No tax,” Obama vowed.
“It’s a pretty important campaign promise,” said Thea Lee, policy director at the AFL-CIO. But, still Team Obama and Congressional Democrats led by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) are floating a plan to tax employer-provided health benefits as opposed to increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Geithner and Summers are in the White House advocating for their rich friends, while the rest of America still continues to hurt.
The Washington Post reports For many Americans, there’s nowhere to go but down and the NY Times adds a person’s Income loss persists long after layoffs.
Economists, in fact, say income losses for workers who are let go in a recession can persist for as long as two decades, a depressing prognosis for the several-million people who have lost their jobs in the current recession.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports Antidepressant use in U.S. doubled over decade to 10% in 2005. “The number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled to 10.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2005 compared with 1996, increasing across income and age groups… An estimated 27 million U.S. people ages 6 and older were taking the drugs by 2005… according to Columbia University research.”
Coincidently surely, the LA Times reports Obama gives powerful drug lobby a seat at healthcare table. “As a candidate for president, Barack Obama lambasted drug companies and the influence they wielded in Washington. He even ran a television ad targeting the industry’s chief lobbyist, former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin, and the role Tauzin played in preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices.”
Now, Tauzin is Obama’s partner having been to the White House at least 6 times and where he says he’s “secured an agreement that the administration wouldn’t try to overturn the very Medicare drug policy that Obama had criticized on the campaign trail.”
“Drug companies — Washington’s leading source of lobbyist money — now have ‘a seat at the table’ at the White House and on Capitol Hill as healthcare legislation works its way through Congress.” Six months ago, Obama “criticized drug companies for greed now praises their work on behalf of the public good.”
Meanwhile, The Hill reports Liberals protest Speaker Pelosi’s comments on health deal. Pelosi (D-CA) said to reporters on Friday: “Are you asking me, ‘Are progressives going to vote against universal, quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans?’? No way.” Her response triggered laughter.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus have formally protested her remarks. “Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) said Monday she was unhappy at the idea that liberals were being ‘laughed at’ and not taken seriously.” The Progressive Caucus has vowed to oppose legislation that weakens or excludes a public option for health care.
Four at Four continues with Guantanamo inmate trial proposal and Obama’s Appalachian apocalypse.