The GOP does favor redistributing wealth… upward.
Easy Go: Two years ago the federal government reached out to the states with $90 billion to help with the increased load on Medicaid that the recession had caused (20% of Americans use Medicaid at some point every year). Now, though little has happened to alleviate the problem, the money has run out, increasing the load on the states by 10% - money the states do not have. Thus millions will be tossed from the program and millions more see increases in co-pay and reductions in service. Welcome to debt reduction – and note that it starts with the poor, the disabled, and the children.
Over There: Retail sales in the UK, responding to the government's deficit-cutting austerity measures, fell 1.4% in May (m/m). Somebody didn't read the memo.
Unprecedented Precedents: Researchers report that while none of the various weather extremes the nation suffered in April were – by themselves – unique, the concentration, variety, and severity of the winds, downpours, droughts, tornadoes, hailstorms and flooding had never before occurred in a single month. While “these things were clearly interconnected” it would be premature to credit these events to global warming. Not wrong, simply 'premature'.
More Or Less: Since 2009, the average compensation for workers has increased 1%, while his bosses pay went up 28%. Them that has, gets.
Watch What They Do: Ohio's legislature has passed Gov. John Kasich's budget, which cuts $8 billion from the state's 2011-2013 budget. The budget will cut 50% of the funds local governments were receiving from the state – forcing them to either drasticly cut services or raise taxes. The state's prisons will be sold off, endangering the income of current prison workers. Estimates are that over 50,000 state employees will lose their jobs, including 10,000 teachers. State universities (think Ohio State, one of the nation's largest) will have its funding cut 13%. And so on. But the estate tax (paid only by the top 8% of estates) will be abolished and income taxes on top wage earners will be slashed. Did I mention that the Legislature and the Governor are Republican? Right, that's why rural counties are prohibited from covering abortions in their employees' health care plans and any hospital receiving public funds is prohibited from performing abortions.
Now It Can Be Told! “The quarter when the economy was supposed to stage its comeback is looking just as bad as its disappointing predecessor.” And the GDP forecast – which was originally at 3.5% growth, has been lowered again, to 1.9%.
Backing Sideways: Florida Governor Rick Scott has (very quietly) suspended his order that all state employees undergo drug testing. Not because he has come to his senses, but because the testing is being challenged in court.
Mendacity: Just as the GOP cry that Social Security will be bankrupt in 2034 is false, their claim that Medicare will be “insolvent” by 2024 is false. Not true. A lie. Both will – on those respective dates – cease to have sufficient income and reserves to pay full benefits, but both will be able to continue to fund 90% of promised benefits. With Medicare, only Part A will suffer a shortfall, Parts B and D are “projected to remain adequately financed into the indefinite future.” A 10% shortfall is not scary enough for the Republicans, who still suspect someone, somewhere, may be getting away with something that could be turned into private profits.
Cutting Back: The percentage of US households that consist of a married couple with children has dropped from 44% in 1960 to 20% today. God is said to be disappointed.
Better But Not Good: Initial unemployment claims came at 414,000, 13,000 less than last week's report, making 10 consecutive weeks with claims over 400,000. 115,000 more of the long-term unemployed ran out of extended benefits, bringing the number of the out of work and out of benefits to 1.5 million.
Late Broken News: On June 6th, the FAA banned aircraft from entering the airspace within a two-radius of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. On June 7th a fire knocked out the cooling process for spent nuclear fuel rods at the plant. The Omaha Public Power District claims the FAA closed airspace over the plant because of the Missouri River flooding. That's pretty deep.