You need to know this. It's the third day of the government shutdown, and Congress appears no closer to a resolution. President Obama and Senate Democrats continue to call for a clean government funding bill, and Tea Party Republicans are still holding our nation hostage with a long list of demands. All the while, Republican leaders claim that the shutdown is the democrats' fault for being unwilling to negotiate. But, their claims are completely bogus. The so-called compromise that Republicans offer is about nothing more than undercutting Obamacare, even after the law has started to go into effect. And, the conference committee that Republicans say that they want is exactly what Democrats have asked for 18 times, in an effort to prevent our nation from reaching the economic brink where we now stand. Speaker John Boehner won't even bring a clean continuing resolution to the floor of the House, because he knows that democrats and moderate Republicans would vote to pass it. That is not compromise. That is not negotiation. The fact is, the Senate's version of the bill already included huge concessions to Republicans, like continuing the sequester, and proposed spending levels below the amount that the Tea Party has previously demanded. The Senate Democrats already compromised in an effort to keep our government running, and House Republicans demanded more. Now, the Tea Party's hostage-taking has led to the furlough of 800,000 workers, the closure of our national parks, and thousands of women and children wondering if they'll be able to afford their next meal. Americans deal with give-and-take everyday in their daily lives, and they aren't foolish enough to believe that this Republican list of demands is anything close to a compromise.
In screwed news... The rich have gotten richer since the 2008 recession, but most Americans are making less than they were before the crash. According to new data from PayScale, the largest salary profile database in the world, wages have gone down almost seven percent since the recession. And, that decline followed more than three decades of stagnant wages thanks to Reaganomics. Yet, corporate profits have skyrocketed, rising 18.6 percent over the last year alone, and those at the top have soaked up a larger and larger share of all income. The Great Recession, harsh austerity measures, and tax policies that only benefit the rich have exagerated wage inequality, and this government shutdown isn't going to help. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to make ends meet, you aren't alone, and it isn't because you're not working hard enough. The wealthy have rigged the system to profit more and more off the average worker, but people all around our nation are finally waking up and demanding better wages.
In the best of the rest of the news...
While House Republicans continue to hold our nation hostage, House Democrats are getting some real work done. On Wednesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a new comprehensive immigration plan, which she said is based on bipartisan policy. After the last attempt at fixing our broken immigration system, two key House Republicans left the negotiations, and it appeared that our chance to fix the system was put on hold. The new proposal contains much of the language from the Senate plan that was considered in the previous go-round, but Bob Corker's so-called “border surge” amendment, which would have put thousands of new guards along our Southern border, was stripped from the bill. The Democratic plan would provide immediate legal status to thousands of immigrants, and enact the controversial border security measures proposed by Republicans during the last immigration debate. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said, “Is it a perfect bill? It is not. But it is a bipartisan bill that we ought to be able to pass ,and we out to be able to pass [it] with our Republican friends.”
It looks like Mickey Mouse loves Obamacare. Thanks to the new healthcare law, the Walt Disney Company will offer full-time employment to 427 part-time employees in its Orlando theme park. The company already offers health insurance that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but part-time workers don't qualify for full benefits. Instead of using the new healthcare law as an excuse to cut hours, slash benefits, or lay off employees, Disney opted to promote these workers to full-time status. And, according to the Center for Economic Policy Research, Disney's decision is in-line with a recent survey of CFOs from large American employers. That survey found that American companies intend to increase their workforces by about two percent over the next year, rather than slash jobs as the anti-Obamacare crowd alleges. Disney is just ahead of the curve on making changes that many other companies say they plan to make as well. Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council Union that represents the Orlando employees, said, “Disney wants to be proactive. Disney is way out in front on this.”
And finally… For many sportsman, catch-and-release fishing is the only humane way to get the thrill of a hunt without killing an innocent animal. But, you have to be more than your average animal lover, to jump off a boat in open-ocean to care for the 300-pound bull shark that you just reeled in. That's what one nature-loving fisherman did recently in Gasparilla, Florida, during a chartered fishing trip. The man reeled in the shark, cleanly removed his hook, and dropped the shark back into the ocean, but the animal was too stunned from the whole ordeal to swim away. In an act of brave compassion, the fisherman jumped into the water to move the shark away from the boat, and coaxed it to begin swimming. No shark cage. No protection. Just bravery, and concern for the beautiful animal. The shark and the man both survived the ordeal unharmed, but it is amazing that the weight of the man's gigantic heart didn't pull him under.
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