Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WBUR: Senate Democratic Candidates Spar At Easton Forum

BOSTON — Five Massachusetts Democrats remain in the race to take on incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in next year’s election.

While Elizabeth Warren is considered a clear front-runner in the democratic race, the other candidates are not backing down. In fact, several are speaking out on some of the same economic issues that comprise the heart of Warren’s campaign.

Click to read/listen....

Some good stuff...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Move On: Your conservative uncle

Americans are talking about the economy—a lot. They're talking about Occupy Wall Street and the Super Committee, about an economy that only works for the 1% and about unemployment.

But thanks to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, lots of talk about the economy means lots of misinformation about the economy.

So if you're spending this Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, and want to be ready with the facts to gently correct any myths you hear (they are family and friends, after all), we put together a short guide with five common myths you might hear and easy-to-remember facts to respond to them.

Remember that you're the most important source of information for your family and friends, so check it out and then share it on Facebook or Twitter, or just forward this email. Happy Thanksgiving, and of course, thanks for all you do.

Daniel, Mark, Julia, Elena, and the rest of the team

MYTH #1: The congressional Super Committee failed because both sides refuse to compromise.

REALITY: The Super Committee failed because Republicans' number one, non-negotiable priority is to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying even one more penny in taxes.1 Democrats repeatedly offered to make deep spending cuts—far deeper than most progressives would like—in exchange for raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes, only to be refused again and again.2 So even though the vast majority of Americans say they want to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and raise taxes on the rich and corporations,3 that won't happen until Republicans put aside their extremist stance.

MYTH #2: Nobody knows what Occupy Wall Street is about.

REALITY: Occupy Wall Street may not have a formal list of demands, but anyone who's been paying attention understands the core problems that occupiers are protesting—that corporations have far too much power in our political system, that Wall Street banks crashed our economy but were never held accountable, and that the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans—156 million people—combined.4

MYTH #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job.

REALITY: As anybody who's looked for a job in the last few years knows, there just aren't jobs out there. That's a big part of why occupiers are protesting. In September, there were four times as many unemployed people as job openings.5 And for those who are lucky enough to find a job, median wages today are lower than they were a decade ago.6

MYTH #4: Occupy Wall Street is intent on provoking violence, especially against banks and the police.

REALITY: Occupations across the country have committed themselves to nonviolent protest, in the greatest traditions of protest movements. Some of their protests have been met with acts of police violence—tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets7—but in many cases, protesters have reminded police that the police officers are part of the 99%, too.8 And in the few cases when people have shown up at Occupy demonstrations and committed acts of vandalism, other protesters have even repaired their acts of vandalism.9

MYTH #5: The biggest crisis facing our country is out of control government spending.

REALITY: The two biggest drivers of our deficit—by far—are the economic crash and the Bush tax cuts.10 We have millions of people out of work, corporations hoarding cash, and factories sitting idle. If we put all those people back to work—rebuilding infrastructure, educating our children, and researching new technologies—it'll shrink the deficit and make our economy stronger for the long haul. And we can easily afford it if we make sure the rich—who are taking home a larger percentage of income than any time since 191711—pay their fair share.


1. "No, 'both sides' aren't equally to blame for supercommittee failure," The Washington Post, November 21, 2011

2. "Wonkbook: In supercommittee, Dems moved right and Republicans moved righter," The Washington Post, November 22, 2011

3. "CNN Poll: What The Super Committee Produced Is...Exactly What We Don't Want," Talking Points Memo, November 21, 2011

"Medicare, Social Security & The Deficit," National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, September 2011

4. "Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined," Politifact Wisconsin, March 10, 2011

5. "Fact: 4 job seekers per opening in U.S.," CNN, September 12, 2011

6. "Median household income," Wikipedia, Accessed November 22, 2011

7. "Occupy movement: police reaction in pictures," The Guardian, November 21, 2011

8. "Occupy Demonstrators Mark Two Months of Protests," NPR, November 17, 2011

9. "Occupy Oakland protesters assist in cleanup efforts," News 10 ABC, November 3, 2011

10. "Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 10, 2011

11. "Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY," The Huffington Post, September 14, 2009

Monday, November 7, 2011

Contrast is Clear or A Tale of Two Committees

Democratic City Committee Message to All Voters whether they be Democrats, Unenrolled, or Republican:

Get Out and Vote!

Newburyport Republican Committee Message to Republican Voters (actual letter delivered to Republican Voters in Newburyport over weekend of Nov 5 and 6):

Dear Fellow Republican Voter,

Please accept this reminder that the city of Newburyport will participate in local elections on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The Newburyport Republican Committee encourages every registered voter to exercise their right to vote. The polls are open from 7am to 8pm and polling locations are listed below.

Included in this packet is information about the Newburyport Republican Committee and the two registered Republican Candidates running for local office. Larry Giunta and Steve Hutcheson are candidates for the contested city councilor-at-large offices. Newburyport maintains five city councilors-at-large. In this upcoming election, there are 8 candidates running for these five positions.

Voters in the voting booth have the opportunity to vote for up to 5 city councilor-at-large candidates, but they do not have to vote for 5. Voters can even vote for just one or two. The 5 candidates with the most votes will become Newburyport City Councilors-at Large.

Please go to the Newburyport Republican Committee website for more information on the NRC and its role in this beautiful city.

We look forward to seeing all Republican voters at the polls on November 8 for this critical election.


NRC Executive Board

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rabbit-Hole Economics

Rabbit-Hole Economics


Reading the transcript of Tuesday’s Republican debate on the economy is, for anyone who has actually been following economic events these past few years, like falling down a rabbit hole. Suddenly, you find yourself in a fantasy world where nothing looks or behaves the way it does in real life.

And since economic policy has to deal with the world we live in, not the fantasy world of the G.O.P.’s imagination, the prospect that one of these people may well be our next president is, frankly, terrifying.

In the real world, recent events were a devastating refutation of the free-market orthodoxy that has ruled American politics these past three decades. Above all, the long crusade against financial regulation, the successful effort to unravel the prudential rules established after the Great Depression on the grounds that they were unnecessary, ended up demonstrating — at immense cost to the nation — that those rules were necessary, after all.

But down the rabbit hole, none of that happened. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because of runaway private lenders like Countrywide Financial. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because Wall Street pretended that slicing, dicing and rearranging bad loans could somehow create AAA assets — and private rating agencies played along. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers exploited gaps in financial regulation to create bank-type threats to the financial system without being subject to bank-type limits on risk-taking.

No, in the universe of the Republican Party we found ourselves in a crisis because Representative Barney Frank forced helpless bankers to lend money to the undeserving poor.

O.K., I’m exaggerating a bit — but not much. Mr. Frank’s name did come up repeatedly as a villain in the crisis, and not just in the context of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which Republicans want to repeal. You have to marvel at his alleged influence given the fact that he’s a Democrat and the vast bulk of the bad loans now afflicting our economy were made while George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled the House with an iron grip. But he’s their preferred villain all the same.

The demonization of Mr. Frank aside, it’s now obviously orthodoxy on the Republican side that government caused the whole problem. So what you need to know is that this orthodoxy has hardened even as the supposed evidence for government as a major villain in the crisis has been discredited. The fact is that government rules didn’t force banks to make bad loans, and that government-sponsored lenders, while they behaved badly in many ways, accounted for few of the truly high-risk loans that fueled the housing bubble.

But that’s history. What do the Republicans want to do now? In particular, what do they want to do about unemployment?

Well, they want to fire Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve — not for doing too little, which is a case one can make, but for doing too much. So they’re obviously not proposing any job-creation action via monetary policy.

Incidentally, during Tuesday’s debate, Mitt Romney named Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw as one of his advisers. How many Republicans know that Mr. Mankiw at least used to advocate — correctly, in my view — deliberate inflation by the Fed to solve our economic woes?

So, no monetary relief. What else? Well, the Cheshire Cat-like Rick Perry — he seems to be fading out, bit by bit, until only the hair remains — claimed, implausibly, that he could create 1.2 million jobs in the energy sector. Mr. Romney, meanwhile, called for permanent tax cuts — basically, let’s replay the Bush years! And Herman Cain? Oh, never mind.

By the way, has anyone else noticed the disappearance of budget deficits as a major concern for Republicans once they start talking about tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy?

It’s all pretty funny. But it’s also, as I said, terrifying.

The Great Recession should have been a huge wake-up call. Nothing like this was supposed to be possible in the modern world. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be engaged in serious soul-searching, asking how much of what he or she thought was true actually isn’t.

But the G.O.P. has responded to the crisis not by rethinking its dogma but by adopting an even cruder version of that dogma, becoming a caricature of itself. During the debate, the hosts played a clip of Ronald Reagan calling for increased revenue; today, no politician hoping to get anywhere in Reagan’s party would dare say such a thing.

It’s a terrible thing when an individual loses his or her grip on reality. But it’s much worse when the same thing happens to a whole political party, one that already has the power to block anything the president proposes — and which may soon control the whole government.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Newburyport Democrats Meet Wednesday, October 12

The next meeting of the Newburyport Democratic City Committee is Wednesday, October 12th at 7pm at the Newburyport Public Library.

All Newburyport Democrats are welcome to attend. Democrats wishing to be become members from their respective wards are welcome. For further information, email Ed Cameron, Chair of the Newburyport City Committee, at or go to

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Newburyport Democrats Meet Wednesday, September 14

Newburyport Democrats Meet Wednesday, September 14

The next meeting of the Newburyport Democratic City Committee is Wednesday, September 14th at 7pm in the Program Room of the Newburyport Public Library.
All Newburyport Democrats are welcome to attend. Democrats wishing to be become members from their respective wards are welcome. For further information, email Ed Cameron, Chair of the Newburyport City Committee, at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Credibility, Chutzpah and Debt

Credibility, Chutzpah and Debt
Published: August 7, 2011
America’s a mess, but Standard & Poor’s has no right to judge.

Key lines:

No, what makes America look unreliable isn’t budget math, it’s politics. And please, let’s not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they’re caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands.

The truth is that as far as the straight economics goes, America’s long-run fiscal problems shouldn’t be all that hard to fix. It’s true that an aging population and rising health care costs will, under current policies, push spending up faster than tax receipts. But the United States has far higher health costs than any other advanced country, and very low taxes by international standards. If we could move even part way toward international norms on both these fronts, our budget problems would be solved.

So why can’t we do that? Because we have a powerful political movement in this country that screamed “death panels” in the face of modest efforts to use Medicare funds more effectively, and preferred to risk financial catastrophe rather than agree to even a penny in additional revenues.

The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

The whole thing here:

Friday, August 5, 2011

From the Onion: Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition

Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition

August 4, 2011 | ISSUE 47•31

· Congress Continues Debate Over Whether Or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined

· 'Time' Publishes Definitive Obama Puff Piece

WASHINGTON—After months of heated negotiations and failed attempts to achieve any kind of consensus, President Obama turned 50 years old Thursday, drawing strong criticism from Republicans in Congress. "With the host of problems this country is currently facing, the fact that our president is devoting time to the human process of aging is an affront to Americans everywhere," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who advocated a provision to keep Obama 49 at least through the fall of 2013. "To move forward unilaterally and simply begin the next year of his life without bipartisan support—is that any way to lead a country?" According to White House officials, Obama attempted to work with Republicans right up until the Aug. 4 deadline, but was ultimately left with no choice except to turn a year older.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sorry, Elizabeth Warren, Wall Street Said No | The Nation

Sorry, Elizabeth Warren, Wall Street Said No | The Nation

Click the link above for the entire piece....
So much for the meritocracy. Despite an elite education, effusive charm and brilliant wit, Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, has ended up betraying his humble origins by abjectly serving the most rapacious variant of Wall Street greed. They both talk a good progressive game, but when push comes to shove—meaning when the banking lobby weighs in—big money talks and the best and the brightest fold.

The defining moment of Clinton’s capitulation was his destruction of Brooksley Born, the one member of his administration with the courage and prescience to warn him about the unregulated derivatives trading that ultimately led to the housing collapse. For Obama, it is his decision not to nominate Elizabeth Warren to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she fought so hard to create.

Obama’s refusal to take the fight to Senate Republicans by nominating Warren should be taken as the vital measure of the man. This gutless decision comes after the president populated his administration with the very people who created the financial meltdown.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dirty Energy Money Campaign

An interesting website pointed out by a member of the Newburyport Democratic City Committee....

The Dirty Energy Money Campaign aims to end all government handouts to oil, coal and gas companies and persuade our elected representatives to reject campaign contributions from these Dirty Energy industries.

You can find information on Newburyport's elected Federal officials here

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Newburyport Democrats Meet Wed, May 18

Newburyport Democrats Meet Wed, May 18

The next meeting of the Newburyport Democratic City Committee is Wednesday, May 18 at the Newburyport City Hall Auditorium at 7pm. All Newburyport Democrats are welcome to attend. Democrats wishing to be become members from their respective wards are welcome. For further information, email Ed Cameron, Chair of the Newburyport City Committee, at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deficit Solution: Get Americans Back To Work


Next, we'll hear an alternative view of the debate over the federal budget.


House Republicans and President Obama have offered competing plans to bring down the deficit.

MONTAGNE: A bipartisan group of senators is trying to work out a deal.

INSKEEP: All of their approaches share the stated goal of reducing federal dependence on borrowing over time. And Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz contends that all these approaches miss the point.

Mr. JOSEPH STIGLITZ (Economist): The most important thing for addressing the deficit is putting America back to work.

INSKEEP: Stiglitz wants to create more jobs, even if the nation builds up more debt.

Mr. STIGLITZ: If you're spending money for investments that increase the productivity of the economy - infrastructure, technology, education - that has two effects. It grows the economy today, puts people back to work, but it also increases the future potential output of the economy. And when you increase output, both today and in the future, that means more tax revenues, and that means it's money well spent, even from the narrow fiscal perspective.

INSKEEP: Mr. Stiglitz, isn't that the flip side of the Republican argument - or the conservative argument, let us say - which essentially is if you want to make the economy grow, cut taxes and ultimately the people will invest the money and there'll be so much more economic growth, you'll get more tax revenue coming in. Isn't that the same argument?

Mr. STIGLITZ: It sounds a little bit similar, and it - you know, all economists talk about demand and supply, but then you have to look at more detail, at the underlying hypotheses. So what they say is that if we only lowered tax rates a little bit more, tax the billionaires a little bit less, they would work more.

But the tax rates were lowered by President Bush. Did savings increase? No. The national savings rate went down, plummeted close to zero - some quarters it was actually negative. The evidence is very clear that those supply side effects on savings just aren't there.

INSKEEP: Does the argument for government investments, the argument you're making here, have the same basic weakness as the argument for tax cuts to spur the economy? Because in both cases what you're saying is I want to do something very definite and concrete now that will very definitely increase the deficit right now, in the hopes that eventually some of that money will be coming back, but I can't really be sure about that part.

Mr. STIGLITZ: Well, nothing in economic policy is ever done with certainty, so we have to do the best we can based on past experience, analytic studies. Right now the United States you might say is in a lucky position because we've underinvested in infrastructure, technology, education.

One concrete example, in 2000 we knew what were some of the key things we needed to invest in infrastructure. One of the things at the very top of the list were the levies in New Orleans. If we had made that few-billion-dollar investment that the engineers said we needed, we would have saved a couple hundred billions of dollars and our economy would have saved even more.

INSKEEP: So would you argue for running up even higher deficits than the ones we have now?

Mr. STIGLITZ: Yes, I would. I mean I - let's be frank about it. We are going to be running up deficits no matter what we do. But if we go into mindless austerity cutbacks, our deficits are not going to go down as fast as those people who argue for it claim. Because what's going to happen is, the economy is going to get weaker, tax revenues will go down, more people will be unemployed, expenditure for unemployment insurance will go up, expenditure for welfare payments will go up, and the savings in the deficit will be much smaller than they anticipated. We're already seeing, you might say examples, case studies, of this. The U.K. began its austerity package and the economy has gone into a double dip.

INSKEEP: Well, let me ask about that, because as I'm sure you know very well Standard and Poor's, the rating agency, has in recent weeks issued a warning about the security, the safety, of U.S. government debt. I wonder if the United States really doesn't have much of a choice in this matter for very much longer.

Mr. STIGLITZ: Yeah, that's sheer nonsense. First of all, we should say the S&P and the other rating agencies really have lost their credibility. They gave the A ratings to the subprime securities that brought our economy down. And if anybody, after that, really pays much attention to them, I find it actually striking.

We can't ignore the deficit. I mean, that's correct. The real question is we have to address it in an intelligent way. And an intelligent way means invest in the future, and grow the economy today. And a mindless response will actually put us in the road to those who lend to us not being willing to lend to us, because our economy will be weak.

INSKEEP: I wonder what you think of the proposals that, if I may, try to couple a mindful response with the mindless response. The White House, among others, there are various plans out there, that include some kind of trigger. If Congress doesn't figure out how they're going to reduce the deficit, automatic cuts begin kicking in, in order to provide them an incentive to do things in a thoughtful way. Would you favor that?

Mr. STIGLITZ: I haven't made up my mind on that. The reason is, across-the-board cuts are not an intelligent way of doing things. It's easy for a lot of people because it says we're not going to have to make the decisions, we're not going to have to annoy agribusiness that likes the ethanol subsidies, the oil and coal companies that enjoy the tax benefits. But I think we have to, unfortunately, annoy some people, and we have to make some of these painful political decisions. I think this is a little bit of a cop-out.

INSKEEP: You seem to think, based on your writings, that the political process here is being driven by a bunch of short-sighted rich people.

Mr. STIGLITZ: I think that's right. But it's more than that. There's ideology playing a very important role. Part of what is going on, you see it very clearly in some of the proposals for deficit reduction, is that they're really almost designed to cut back on the core functions of government.

So they're not asking the question, what kind of society do we want to create and how do we get there? What is the appropriate role of government and what does that cost and how do we best finance that?

There's certain things that we really do need government for. If we want to have a more equal society, we have to have public education. Quality of life, important to have livable cities, important to have parks. Rich people can have a big back yard, they can live in an isolated, gated community. Most Americans can't afford that, so we have to have public parks. That costs money. And we can go down the line and we can get a vision of what it is that is necessary to make our economy the kind of society that we want. We need to have a - as I say, a vision of what it is that we need the government to do. But it's not a question of the size of the government, it's a question of what it does, and that's what we need to have a national conversation about.

INSKEEP: Well, Joe Stiglitz, thanks very much.

Mr. STIGLITZ: Well, thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Joseph Stiglitz, one of many voices we have heard and will hear on the deficit. He served as chairman of the council of economic advisors under President Clinton and received a Nobel Prize for his work in economics.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How Does New Hampshire Do It? An Analysis of Spending and Revenues in the Absence of a Broad-based Income or Sales Tax

Interesting report from the Federal Reserve...

New Hampshire is unique in New England
in that it levies neither a broad-based income
nor sales tax. Although high property tax bills,
education mandates handed down by the
courts, and fiscal crises past and present have
led some Granite Staters to question the continued
feasibility of this approach, the state
has thus far maintained its course.
New Hampshire’s ability to avoid a
broad-based tax stems partly from the fact
that governments there simply spend considerably
less, on average, than their neighbors.
In fiscal year (FY) 2007, New Hampshire
state and local governments combined spent
$6,442 per capita—20 percent less than the
New England average. The difference is even
starker if we consider state government alone.
Observing New Hampshire’s lack of
broad-based taxes and low public spending,
other states around the region have asked
whether they can emulate the state’s fiscal
model. This paper explores the Granite State’s
spending and revenues, to shed light on how
it has avoided a broad-based income or sales
tax. The analysis examines the factors that
drive New Hampshire’s lower-than-average
per capita spending, and the revenue sources
the state relies on to pay for that spending in
lieu of an income or sales tax.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

6th Annual Democratic Three Towns & Two Cities Breakfast

6th Annual Democratic Three Towns & Two Cities Breakfast

The 6th Annual Democratic Three Towns & Two Cities Breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2011, at Nicholson Hall, 9 Harris Street, Newburyport, MA. Tickets are $25. Seating is limited.

There will be Coffee and Socializing from 8:30-9:00AM followed by the Program and Breakfast at 9:00AM.

The Democratic committees of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, and West Newbury join together to invite you to a hearty buffet breakfast with state and local political leaders discussing relevant issues.

Confirmed guests to date include Congressman John Tierney, State Treasurer Steve Grossman, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, State Senator Stephen Baddour, State Representatives Michael Costello, Governor’s Councillor Mary-Ellen Manning, Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and John Walsh, Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

US Senate candidates Bob Massie and Marisa DeFranco will also appear.

Bob Allison of Newburyport will provide musical accompaniment. HOBO Catering of Salisbury Beach will provide the buffet.

Proceeds from the breakfast will be used to support the sponsoring town and city committees. Sponsorships of $50, $100, and $200 are available. Those interested in sponsoring the event or in purchasing tickets should contact:

Amesbury, Jane Siebecker at,

Newbury, Jim Stanton at,

Newburyport, Ed Cameron at,

Salisbury, Lou Masiello at,

West Newbury, Kathy Pasquina at

Press: For more information about this event, please contact Ed Cameron at or call 978-518-0786.