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Think for yourself

rubber_soul_logo.jpgYou may not have realized it, but this week marks the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in the United States, the law that upheld the fundamental right of voting for millions of our fellow citizens. But while we quietly celebrate, conservatives are busy trying to turn the clocks back to 1965 – and I’m not talking about the Beatles in Shea Stadium.

What am I talking about? Good olde fashioned voter suppression, but this time in the guise of “voter ID” laws.

Here's what's really going on: Republican politicians love to make these false allegations and cry wolf because they know it drums up support for their anti-voting laws. But in case after case after case, it turns out clerical errors, people pulling pranks, or simple explanations are at the root of the charges. It’s just the same old ideas dressed up in new names.

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Cut Cake, Not Benefits!

IMG_20120802_112104.jpgThis week, across the country, millions of people are celebrating the creation, 47 years ago, of two programs that have touched hundreds of millions of lives.  Medicare and Medicaid often help bridge the gap between someone dying of a curable, or at least manageable, ailment, or living a productive, fulfilling life.  When we talk about these two programs, we often focus on the number, the $25.6 Billion being spent on the elderly, children and adults.  But Medicare/Medicaid is really about people.

On August 2nd, Action NC, along with seniors, students and adults, celebrated the "births" of these two programs in style.  We had a good ol' fashioned birthday party, complete with party hats, music, cake and noise makers.  Everyone had a great time and a few people spoke about the ways they personally have benefited both from Medicare and Medicaid, and also from the Affordable Care Act. They want not just to support these programs, but to strengthen them.

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There's a (conservative) monkey on your back

Monkey.jpgHaving trouble getting out of bed this morning? It's probably that enormous tax increase House Republicans are cooking up for you.

If the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Republican plan this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for one year for households making over $250,000, the wealthiest 2.2 percent of North Carolina taxpayers in that income group could get a disproportionate 34 percent of the total tax breaks in their state. Their average tax cut would be about $28,000.  

In contrast, if Congress passed President Obama’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 in household income, the average tax cut for North Carolina taxpayers who make more than that amount would be about $13,000, or less than half of what they would get under the GOP plan. And the 31 percent of North Carolina taxpayers with income up to $25,000 would get larger average tax cuts under the Obama plan than under the Republican plan. 

Those are among the key findings of a new report released today by Action NC, “Time to Pay Their Fair Share: North Carolina Can’t Afford to Extend the Bush-era Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Few.” The report is authored by Americans for Tax Fairness, Citizens for Tax Justice and the National Women’s Law Center

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He said, "He said!"

quotation-marks.jpgIt’s been over a week now since President Obama made a speech for which conservatives, and particularly Mitt Romney, have been exhaustively hammering him. Was it a major address on foreign policy? An announcement of a new round of quantitative easing? Oh, we wish. No, it was a rather mundane campaign speech, which featured the words “You didn’t build that.”

Of course, it had lots of other words – but that doesn’t much seem to matter.

To say that Fox et al is manufacturing a controversy over the President's remarks that business owners rely on the roads and bridges that all Americans depend on is not too strong a statement, and now that the mainstream media is repeating the distortion, Mitt Romney is using it in a campaign ad that hides what the President actually said.

Here’s the kicker: Romney agrees with what President Obama actually said. But that doesn’t much seem to matter either.

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Potent combination

opportunity-center.jpgThere’s no denying that our economic situation is tough, and not getting much better.

You may have seen the heartbreaking piece this weekend about the future of poverty in America and some of its root causes. The statistics were grim, even for someone accustomed to looking at grim data on a daily basis.

Here are a few nuggets:

  • Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out.
  • Poverty will remain above the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent for many more years. Several predicted that peak poverty levels — 15 percent to 16 percent — will last at least until 2014, due to expiring unemployment benefits, a jobless rate persistently above 6 percent and weak wage growth.
  • Suburban poverty, already at a record level of 11.8 percent, will increase again in 2011.
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