An Open Petition to Congress

The most serious economic challenge facing America is the continuing jobs crisis, not the deficit or the national debt. Besides, we cannot stabilize our national debt over the long term unless we fix our economy first. A deeply misguided focus on budget austerity already has caused a “double dip” recession in Europe. More budget austerity in the United States could keep us from ever fixing what is wrong with our economy. Continue reading “STOP HOLDING WORKING FAMILIES HOSTAGE”

What’s Next in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate?


01/11/2013; Kelly Ross

It’s back! Just when you thought you might never hear the words “fiscal cliff” again, the sequel to this horror movie is about to be released. Look for it in your local theater, radio, television and website – non-stop, 24/7 – beginning sometime in February.

Yes, those irrepressible Republicans in Congress have cooked up yet another manufactured crisis and are once again holding the U.S. economy hostage. This time they are threatening to cause a U.S. government default unless they get their way. You know—the same stunt they pulled last summer. And what are congressional Republicans demanding as ransom to spare the economy? The same things they were demanding last time we went through this ordeal: benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Continue reading “What’s Next in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate?”

We are all vulnerable: Medicaid, health reform, and the 2012 election

Harold Pollack is a health policy wonk at the University of Chicago, but he has a street-level view of the health care system.

In a YouTube video published Thursday, Pollack explains that he and his wife took in her brother, who is developmentally disabled, eight years ago. They couldn’t have done it without Medicare and Medicaid, he says. Continue reading “We are all vulnerable: Medicaid, health reform, and the 2012 election”

Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings

Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings

It was a bold move for a government entity. In 2005, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania hired a private company to overhaul the archaic way it buys goods and services. It seemed simple enough, but what was innovative — and daring — was a key condition: 30 percent of the contractor’s compensation would come from the savings achieved. No savings, no payment.

Putting such a risk on the contractor paid off handsomely. Among other things, officials combined the buying clout and pricing data of all 89 executive branch agencies and departments to strike better deals. Without cutting a single program or service, Pennsylvania saved more than $140 million, or 21 percent, from its annual $700 million tab for everything from office and cleaning supplies to information technology services and tires. The savings far exceeded projections.

Pennsylvania is not alone. Similar value-based contracts enabled the New York City Board of Education to shave $86 million from its $720 million procurement budget, and state and local agencies are experiencing similar savings. Continue reading “Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings”

How the Party Platforms Differ

How the Party Platforms Differ

By Published: September 4, 2012

The platform that the Democratic Party plans to approve Tuesday at its convention in Charlotte, N.C., offers a stark contrast to the platform that Republicans approved last week at their convention in Tampa, Fla., especially on social issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage, the future of entitlements like Medicare and Social Security, and labor policy and taxes. Here is a look at some of the crucial differences.

Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A worker checked the stage at the Time Warner Cable Arena before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday. Continue reading “How the Party Platforms Differ”