EasyJet’s budget Moscow flights are a perfect reason to check out the Russian capital’s underground haunts
EasyJet has made the Russian capital a budget break desination – and here are our Top 10 must-visits to keep you away from the crowds. (continue reading…)
Stuff, the world’s best selling gadget magazine, fills us in on the hottest tech news from the week.
Manchester City’s new manager could be handed a huge transfer budget to revamp the squad ahead of an assault on the Premier League title next season. (continue reading…)
It looks like Halloween has come early this year for Wall Street Democrats. Costume season is months away, but the trend of Third Way types disguising their plans to gut Social Security as “progressive” is hotter than ever. Exhibit A: financial executive Robert Pozen, whose 2005 Social Security proposal was so “progressive” it earned the support of none other than George W. Bush (continue reading…)
Neither party is serious about reducing the annual federal budget deficits, or the national debt.
People who do budgets usually focus on the big ticket problems. We don’t cut out the peanut butter when we want to buy a new car: we focus on things which can make a difference. Both Republicans and Democrats are fighting over the peanut butter, and hoping that we won’t notice that it all is a sham. Let’s look at what created the problem, and ways to deal directly with the causes.
The Bush tax cuts have not paid for themselves, as many Republicans seem to believe: they have added 3-4 trillion to the national debt in the last decade (continue reading…)
As these things go, the early days of the U.S. intervention in Libya have been a costly undertaking, as might be expected when U.S. forces are launching cruise missiles at Libyan targets at over $1 million a pop. Costs for the first day surely exceeded $100 million (continue reading…)
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger Faced with the nuclear crisis in Japan, governments around the world are confronting the vulnerabilities of their nuclear energy programs. And while some European countries, such as Germany and France, are already considering more stringent safety measures–or backing off of nuclear development altogether–in the United States, the Obama administration is pushing forward with plans for increased nuclear energy production. Ultimately, these questions are the same that the country faced after last summer’s Gulf Coast oil spill. As we search for more and more clever ways to fill our energy needs, can we write off the risk of disaster? Or are these large-scale catastrophes so inevitable that the only option is to stop pursuing the policies that lead to them? The risks of nuclear As Inter Press Service’s Andrea Lund reports, anti-nuclear groups are using the Japanese disaster as just one example of the disadvantages of nuclear power (continue reading…)
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
A “report” from Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee says that the path to job creation is cutting … the very things that create jobs. This is like saying that cutting taxes increases revenue (continue reading…)
Prison isn’t just about doing hard time. For many, it’s about working full-time, too. These days, state governments seem ready to squeeze their captive workforces to plug budget gaps on the cheap.
From the chain gang to the gulag, labor in the prison population predates our modern labor regulations and to this day, remains relatively untouched by the legal protections afforded to regular workers. So in most states, prison work has come to be seen as a hybrid between conscript labor and rehabilitation, putting otherwise “idle” inmates to work on farms, manufacturing plants, and janitorial jobs.
The New York Times reports that in many areas, laborers in prison uniforms are a growing presence at public work sites, suggesting that they’re being used to alleviate fiscal pressures that are now eroding common public sector services:
As we reported in December, prison labor conditions have sparked some noteworthy revolts (continue reading…)
Recently, I was lucky enough to attend Film Finance Forum West, presented by Winston Baker. They did an excellent job at rounding up some of the sharpest minds in the world of film financing, who collectively painted an interesting/optimistic/encouraging/bleak portrait of what it takes to get a movie made in today’s economic climate.
A lot of facts and figures were thrown around, and I felt my head starting to spin often as panelists discussed tax rebates, legal fees, risk mitigation, federal subsidies, gap loans, supergap loans, and more.
I’ll do my best to break it down as simply as possible. Without further ado, here are some of my top takeaways from Film Finance Forum West.
Do your homework and learn as much as possible. If you really want to produce films with a sizable budget, learn everything you possibly can about tax rebates, risk mitigation, federal subsidies, different forms of loans, etc (continue reading…)
The House Republican budget has a lot of flaws. For one thing, independent reports say the plan will cost 700,000 American jobs. (Talk about a job killer!) But let’s take a look at just one small group of cuts their plan makes–programs to help seniors stay healthy and independent.
Some examples of these cuts include:
Job training & placement for low-income seniors still able to work
Grants and loans to rebuild low-income seniors’ housing
Programs to help seniors with their nutrition
Home heating assistance for low-income seniors
Of course, don’t forget Republican plans to repeal the health care reform bill, which allows more seniors to get home and community-based alternatives to nursing home care.
I’ve been taking care of my elderly father for over a decade (continue reading…)
One of the greatest challenges of divorce is money. As a newly single parent, you might be overwhelmed, as I was, with more bills than you can afford. I can remember skimping on afterschool snacks and being generally in a very rotten mood (but trying to slap a smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor on my face for the kids) toward the end of every month. That is until I discovered the solution.
Cutting out cafe lattes and afterschool cupcakes will not improve circumstances at all, and the fact that you are trying to get things under control by eliminating all the fun just makes life sour (continue reading…)
At the beginning of a new century, a young president faced a financial crisis that threatened to cripple his nation. The New York Stock Exchange lost half of its value, while unemployment doubled. The president was simultaneously accused of socialism and “financial negligence” from opposing political corners.
President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt had his hands full with the Panic of 1907 (continue reading…)
Last week, Congress passed a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government while a compromise budget is reached and avoid a government shutdown. Since then, House Republicans have proposed a $61 billion in reckless budget cuts that will hurt our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and make economic recovery even more difficult.
No one denies the necessity of cutting government spending; our current economic situation demands it. But we need to cut in ways that are responsible — ways that will help to grow our economy while maintaining vital safety net programs for those who need them in these difficult times (continue reading…)
The current budget wars in Washington are exposing a rift in American politics that finally puts to pasture the long used and abused labels “conservative” and “liberal.” I propose a new set of political terms that more accurately reflect the ideological battle taking place as Congress debates how to spend American dollars in a tough economy. Just as Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon characters, the futuristic Jetsons and the Stone Age Flintstones, met up in the 1987 cartoon “The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones,” two camps with wildly different mindsets are meeting on the floors of Congress. This budgetary battle is being fought between the Jetsonians and the Flintstonians.
The Flintstonian-proposed cuts in environmental protection, family planning and health care, and their war on collective bargaining reveal an ideological agenda that belies fiscal austerity (continue reading…)
We must begin by acknowledging two current political realities. First, voters strongly believe that Washington needs to fundamentally change the way it does business. This manifests itself, in the abstract, in a robust appetite for fiscal discipline and cuts to government spending. A recent Gallup poll shows that a plurality of voters believe that even Republican proposals to cut spending do not go far enough (and just 25 percent think they have gone too far) (continue reading…)
The November elections sent a decisive message to our elected officials–or at least it should have. Here’s what I heard Americans saying: we are frustrated with a government that seems wholly disconnected from the challenges middle class families face. We want our leadership to focus on rebuilding an economy that creates jobs now, and opportunity for future generations. We expect you–our government–to do what We the People are doing in these challenging times: tightening our belt, cutting the extras and prioritizing the things that really matter (continue reading…)
There’s just one week to go before the current budget agreement expires. If a new agreement is not found, we face the prospect of something no one wants: a government shutdown.
My fellow senators and I are working hard to avert that, but so far, the debate has centered on so-called “domestic discretionary spending” — basically the 12% or so of the budget that goes to programs other than the military, Social Security, and Medicare.
And let me tell you: a bipartisan compromise simply will not be found in domestic discretionary spending cuts alone.
Just yesterday, the Senate defeated H.R. 1, the House Republicans’ scorched-earth spending proposal that sought to cut such critical national priorities as border security, cancer research, and food safety inspectors.
The defeat of H.R (continue reading…)
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
As the Great Blizzard of 2010 blanketed New York City, most residents were blissfully unaware that their city’s 911 system was on the brink of collapse. The system fielded 50,000 calls in a single day, and at one point the backlog swelled to 1,300 calls. The mayor was called to account for the slow service and promised that it wouldn’t happen again.
But David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick report in AlterNet that New York’s close call is an example of a much broader and deeper problem. Cash-strapped state and local governments are raiding funds set aside for 911 service, and the system is hurting badly:
Hundreds of millions of dollars are collected annually by states and localities to support 911 services and much of it is diverted to plug state budget holes and meet a host of other demands (continue reading…)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke knows it. Education and training are central to our nation’s economic competitiveness. In fact, he recently urged that budget deliberations recognize the benefits of programs that equip workers with needed skills — even when we must grapple with difficult decisions around balancing state and federal budgets.
But House leadership is taking action that will cut off our nose to spite our face. The House-passed Continuing Resolution, which would fund the government through the remainder of FY 2011, includes drastic cuts to adult, dislocated worker and youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (continue reading…)
Without Social Security, nearly half of Americans age 65 and older would live in poverty. And yet, the very foundation of Social Security is under silent attack.
About 160 million Americans contribute to Social Security through payroll taxes. In New York State alone, Social Security provides over $42 billion in benefits each year to one in every six residents – over 3.1 million people. That is equivalent to 4 percent of the state’s annual GDP in Social Security benefits alone.
In the congressional district that I represent, Social Security benefits total $1.68 billion to over 128,000 people (continue reading…)
America does not just have a budget problem — it has a problem with national deliberation and deadlines.
The NFL needs an extension until March 11th to settle its collective bargaining dispute. The president of the United States needs an extension until March 18th to come up with a budget plan to keep the government functioning. Even my 13-year-old wants an extension on his homework assignment (continue reading…)
In the short-term budget agreement reached last week by Congress and the White House, $75 million in housing aid for 10,000 homeless veterans was cut. At a time when we’re pushing American soldiers to the limit of endurance, we just pushed 10,000 of them out of safe homes.
This mistake must be corrected in the longer-term agreement now being negotiated.
For the last few years, as troops have been returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, advocates and nonprofit providers have leveraged resources to address an alarming increase of veterans who are without stable housing, including the chronically homeless and a significant increase in the number of women. Marginal living conditions, scarce employment opportunities, physical injuries and mental health issues have made veterans more at risk of becoming homeless. For female veterans, family reunification challenges and experiences of abuse during their service exacerbate that risk.
USA Today last month reported on a recent federal analysis by HUD and the VA, which found that in 2009, 136,334 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter — a count that did not include homeless veterans living on the streets (continue reading…)