Saturday, February 28, 2015

Phony Crisis in Social Security

The Real Social Security Crisis Is Income Inequality

Richard Long
Date of Source: 
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Campaign for America's Future
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has called out his Senate Republican colleagues for “creating a phony crisis” with regard to Social Security while ignoring a real one – the income inequality that has eroded the long-term solvency of the Social Security trust fund.
Sanders joined a conference call with Social Security Works on Thursday to highlight the conclusions of a report on the impact of income inequality on the Social Security program. It was authored by Ben Veghte, policy director at Social Security Works.
“The peerless rise in income inequality has harmed Social Security financing,” said Nancy Altman, co-Director of Social Security Works. “When the amendments to Social Security were enacted in 1983, Social Security was projected to be able to pay benefits through 2057. Now benefits are being projected to be paid in full only until 2033. What happened? No one foresaw back then was the upward distribution of wealth that we have seen then.“
She said that while enemies of Social Security have tried to pit groups against one another in an attempt at misdirection, “Today with this report, we will return our gaze to where it belongs, on our income and wealth inequality.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

UC: Swapping Our Future

How Students and Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits
By Charlie Eaton, Jacob Habinek, Mukul Kumar, Tamera Lee Stover, Alex Roehrkasse, and Jeremy Thompson

This report examines the role of interest rate swaps in the University of California’s massive expansion of borrowing from Wall Street over the last decade. The report highlights the costs to students and taxpayers of UC’s interest rate swaps and debt-driven profit strategies. Such strategies have been called into question for Wall Street banks, let alone for public universities. Based upon our findings, we offer recommendations regarding renegotiation of UC’s interest rate swaps and the governance practices for UC’s overall borrowing program. Key findings include the following:
  • A UC management has more than doubled the university’s debt burden from $6.9 billion in May 2007 to $14.3 billion at the end of 2011. Rather than contributing to UC’s core mission, funds have been directed toward more profitable UC enterprises like medical centers and attracting out-of-state students. Medical center profits have increased steadily to $900 million annually last year. Out-of state enrollment has doubled across UC—increasing from 11% to 30% at UC Berkeley.
  • UC borrowing is often backed by student tuition, but profits on debt-funded investments have not been used to mitigate service cuts or tuition hikes. As a result, students are made to bear the costs and the risks of poor returns, but have not received benefits from positive returns: tuition has increased 300% since 2002 and total enrollment of freshmen from California declined by 10% from 2008 to 2011.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Progressive Alliance Supports Eric Guerra

The Sacramento Progressive Alliance supports Eric Guerra for Sacramento City Council, District 6.
Special election.  April 7, 2015.
Contract the Guerra campaign on Facebook.
The decision was made at our board meeting on Feb.21. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why the U.S. Needs a Populist Challenger

Polls show Democrats want a contest, not a coronation, for their presidential nomination. The press yearns for a primary contest, if only to have something to cover. A raft of reasons are floated for why a challenge would be useful, most of them spurious.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t need a contest to get her campaign shipshape. She’s already been central to three presidential campaigns, as underdog, incumbent and, disastrously, overwhelming favorite. She has every high-priced operative in the party. If she doesn’t know how to put together a campaign by now, an upstart challenger won’t help.
Some suggest a challenger could move Hillary to the left, as if Hillary Inc. were a bloated ocean liner needing a plucky tugboat to put it on the right path. But the Clintons are adept at running more populist than they govern. Hillary found her populist pitch in 2008 when it was too late to save her. She’s knee deep in pollsters and speechwriters. She won’t need a challenger to teach her the lines.
There are two compelling reasons for a challenge in the Democratic primaries: We need a big debate about the direction of the country, and a growing populist movement would benefit from a populist challenge to Hillary.
The Divide

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Progressive Alliance meeting; Feb. 21

Sacramento Progressive Alliance

Sacramento & Campus Progressive Alliance
February Organizing Meeting

Saturday, February 21, 10am-12pm
Camellia Room, 3rd Floor
 Sacramento State University Union
Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stop Fast Track - Sacramento

6:30 PM * February 18th, Sacramento, CA

Elk Grove Public Library, 8900 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove 95624
*Community Room

Keep our Medicine Safe! Protect our Climate, our Jobs and our Health!

The Trans Pacific Partnership endangers our climate, our health, our medicines, our jobs and our democracy. What is there to think about? This is a bad deal for our country but Representatives Ami Bera and Doris Matsui have yet to decide on this disastrous free trade agreement.

One thing is for sure FAST TRACK or TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY is completely unacceptable! We need to urge Rep. Ami Bera and Doris Matsui to speak out against this corporate power grab, which has little to do with trade!


Join us for Food, Speakers from the Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America and Citizens Trade Campaign.

Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority will erase Congressional authority and oversight for this massive trade agreement. We can stop it from happening, but we need to SPEAK UP!

Hosted by Communications Workers of America, Alliance for Democracy, SEIU local 1000 Environmental Committee, Sierra Club, Citizens Trade Campaign and Democratic Veterans Club of Sacramento.

For more information contact:


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

We need a pro worker- anti austerity agenda--Sanders

The good news is the country has made substantial economic progress in the last six years since President Bush left office. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month as we were during the final months of the Bush administration, we are now creating some 250,000 jobs a month and have seen steady job growth over the last 58 months.
Instead of having a record-breaking $1.4 trillion deficit as we did when President Bush left office in January 2009, the federal deficit has been cut by more than two-thirds. Today the 10-year deficit projection is now $5.5 trillion lower than what the projections were back in 2010.
Six years ago the world’s financial system, as we all remember, was on the verge of collapse. Today that is not the case. In fact, some might suggest that Wall Street is doing too well.
While we can take some satisfaction as to what has been accomplished in the last 6 years, one would be very naive not to appreciate there is also a lot of very bad news in our economy, especially for working families.

Bernie Sanders on Greek Crisis

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Choosing Democracy: It is Time for Civic Education for All

Choosing Democracy: It is Time for Civic Education for All: The Sacramento Bee editorial board was correct in their Friday Feb.6, 2015,   piece, “Civic Education is Essential to Democracy.”   I ...

Stiglitz: A Fair Solution to the Greek Debt

Stiglitz: A Fair Solution to the Greek Debt Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – When the euro crisis began a half-decade ago, Keynesian economists predicted that the austerity that was being imposed on Greece and the other crisis countries would fail. It would stifle growth and increase unemployment – and even fail to decrease the debt-to-GDP ratio. Others – in the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and a few universities – talked of expansionary contractions. But even the International Monetary Fund argued that contractions, such as cutbacks in government spending, were just that – contractionary.
We hardly needed another test. Austerity had failed repeatedly, from its early use under US President Herbert Hoover, which turned the stock-market crash into the Great Depression, to the IMF “programs” imposed on East Asia and Latin America in recent decades. And yet when Greece got into trouble, it was tried again.
Greece largely succeeded in following the dictate set by the “troika” (the European Commission the ECB, and the IMF): it converted a primary budget deficit into a primary surplus. But the contraction in government spending has been predictably devastating: 25% unemployment, a 22% fall in GDP since 2009, and a 35% increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. And now, with the anti-austerity Syriza party’s overwhelming election victory, Greek voters have declared that they have had enough.