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Week in the News

Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

A television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the Federal Reserve interest rate decision, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. (AP)

Fire and flood from Moscow to Iowa to Pakistan this week. And big jitters on Wall Street as economic recovery shudders, globally. What comes next – not clear.

In primary votes around the country, Republicans continued to favor hard-right candidates. Will they sell in the midterms? In Washington, Congress passess$26 billion in aid to gasping states. And White House press secretary Robert Gibbs goes after the “professional left” and its expectations of the President.

All that, plus a new JetBlue exit strategy, in our weekly news roundtable.

Guests:

Michael Crowley, senior correspondent for Time.

Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

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  • AJ Mir

    Tom,

    I hope you and your panel would also discuss one of the worse catastrophes that has inundated Pakistan. I was disappointed to see no mention of it in your last Fridays program.

    Thanks

  • Zeno

    “A $26 billion jobs bill for teachers.” – Actually, it’s just money to keep public employees and their lavish pensions and benefits from being financially linked to a failed economy.

    Although I and everyone else value teachers, we despise the power of their union, which has caused my property taxes to continue to rise as my accessed property tax continues to plummet.

    If you’re a public sector worker you will be spared from the ongoing depression at any cost.

  • yar

    I haven’t heard anyone report about why the economy sputtered last month.

    I wonder if congress’s (The Republicans in the senate) delay in extending unemployment benefits for 2.5 million people was the major factor? What is the multiplier effect when 34 billion dollars is given to hungry poor people about to have the utilities cut off?

    June 2nd. to July 21st. may serve as an example of what not to do.

    Here is my long term stimulus plan.
    We should put kids (high school graduates)to work in a revised version of the civil conservation corp.(CCC) (a two year mandatory commitment. It includes a stipend and monetary credit toward higher education) I would have the CCC assist in education of K-12 students by leading activities such inter-mural sports, school maintenance, food preparation and other community building work. The CCC provides job experience to build the next “greatest generation”.

    Our youth are our only hope for the future, give up on them and we give up on ourselves.

    This is not a situation where our country can muddle through, we are in a crisis that has changed the fundamental dynamics of our economic system, and we must address that change with true leadership.
    I look to shows like ON Point to ask the questions to put us on the right track.

    Thanks for the work you do.

    When the people lead, the leaders will follow, eventually.

  • Zeno

    My stimulus for the economy: Ending usury by banks. The credit card interest rate should be fixed NATIONALLY to the prime lending rate at no more than 2 percent over prime…and that goes for all short term loans as well (payday, overdraft, etc.)

    No loan of any kind should be exempt from state or local usury laws.

  • cory

    Teachers as targets when the top 1% earn 40% of the wealth in America… How very sad.

  • Rob

    Zeno wrote “My stimulus for the economy: Ending usury by banks. The credit card interest rate should be fixed NATIONALLY to the prime lending rate at no more than 2 percent over prime…and that goes for all short term loans as well (payday, overdraft, etc.)”

    While I agree with your first comment regarding the arrogance of certain teacher unions, no bank in its right mind would ever issue a credit card (e.g. unsecured debt) to consumers at a permanent low rate of prime plus 2%. I think much our economic problems are caused by subsidized cheap credit so I disagree with your solution here.

    While I do support better federal oversight over our banking system (e.g. Paul Volcker has some good ideas as usual, American consumers also need to take a good hard look in the mirror and come to grips with the reality that they had large role in the housing bubble. Here is my list of factors that combined to cause this imperfect economic storm that had been brewing for at least 10-12 years prior to 2008.

    1)Complete breakdown of risk management processes at financial firms (whose primary job it is to manage risk)and the fact that compensation was tied to short term earnings, rather than long term shareholder value at these firms.

    2) Federal Reserve policy that ignored higher housing prices. In the early 1990s, the federal government’s inflation indices removed housing prices and replaced it with a renters equivalent index. These two indices really started diverging in the late 1990s and 2000s. Federal Reserve policy did not recognize housing prices as a inflationary bubble.

    3) Distortion of housing prices by federal tax policy and Fannie and Freddie

    4) Lack of savings (and entitlement mentality on the part of Americans)

    5) Excess of global savings (primarily from Asia) that was looking for a safe return. Throughout most periods, US housing back assets offered a stable return with minimal risk. Asian savers put their faith in US financial firms to manage risk, which failed them miserably.

    I know many people want to blame Wall Street for everything, but this is a gross distortion of the reality. Each of us is reponsible for performing our own due diligence and making our own life decisions, such as forgoing houses that we can not afford based on basic math.

  • Michael Fager

    I hope you will talk about the many things that the President has not done that has made the left angry that do not require congressional action. Environmental issues, Gitmo closing etc.

  • JP

    Conservatives swallowed the Beck/Limbaugh Stupid Pill that unions are a bad thing in America…

    … then, in the next breath, they’ll complain about low wages and a race to the bottom due to outsourcing to China!

    Pitifully ignorant and hypocritical.

  • John

    Wasn’t having that bigot Rick Warren at the inauguration enough of a Sister Soulja moment?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Why doesn’t the Obama administration use reconciliation (they can get 50 votes, if not 60) more (and recess appointments)? They have more support when they are more aggressive, not less.

  • CHRIS M

    Stupid comments like Mr. Gibbs only further alienate the President’s liberal and independent support base. If maybe he stuck to the narrative he drove during the election run-up and supported those things like Public Option, ending the wars, closing Gitmo, promoting green industied IN the US,like he said he would, maybe the Liberal base would’t be so upset with him.

  • Tommy

    As more and more politicians become polorized to the right or left, it’s interesting to me to see how many Americans become more in the middle. People want to become more involved in the process but are deterred by how unwilling our representatives are to compromise, NOT voting on party lines.

  • JP

    Reagan started conservatives down the anti-union path, and after 30 years of dissappearing productivity, a widening income gap, and a shrinking middle class, conservatives stupidity and short-sightedness has been thoroughly demonstrated.

    … still, they cling to the same idiotic ideas.

  • BHA

    The Tea Partiers have nothing until they have specific spending and cutting plans based on a budget. It isn’t enough to yell ‘too much tax’. Like Palin, they are all rhetoric and no substance.

  • Neil

    As a liberal I do acknowledge the significant accomplishments of the Obama administration during the first half of his first term. I suspect that the “Professional Left’s” frustration with the administration, like mine, is based on the observation that President Bush had less of a majority when the Republicans controlled Congress and seemed to have successfully executed more of HIS agenda. Why?

    There is also some resentment that there isn’t greater “push-back” against Republican positions. The President and leading Democrats should be all over the Country talking about how the Republicans are blocking efforts to assist the economy because they are more interested in winning seats than putting people back to work! Their “Concern” for the deficit is clearly disingenuous when they want to extend tax breaks for multi-millionaires when it has been clearly demonstrated that doing so does nothing to increase jobs.

  • JP

    What conservatives didn’t and don’t understand, is that after making unions impotent and obsolete in America, there was no one left with enough clout to fight the outsourcing agenda of big business and actually sway congress into policies that would have kept jobs in America.

    … now it’s too late, and conservatives have irrevocably screwed America, American productivity, and the average American worker.

  • Gary Schott

    I challenge Ben Nelson or anyone to read T.R. Reid’s book on health care and not come to the conclusion that the situation in this country needs to change. We spend more money and get less for our money than just about any other developed country. We’re being fleeced by the health care industry.

  • Arturo

    Regarding the young woman who called in minutes ago.

    Cathy, maybe we do not understand how the Senate works, but they (a.k.a., the pragmatists, and the realists) do not understand that the Congress has become a deeply dysfunfunctional institution.

  • John

    I’ve been patient with Obama considering the mess he inherited and understand that he has to deal with the cowardly blue dogs in the House, ineffective Harry Reid’s broken Senate, and Republicans determined to vote no on everything. The only campaign promise he hasn’t watered down has been escalating in Afghanistan.

    Obviously he has to continue to appeal to the middle but the middle is more focused on results than ideology. A too small stimulus program failed to deliver jobs. Pandering on increasing drilling and then a knee jerk reaction to BP with the drilling moratorium do not make him look like a leader.

    Unlike holding my nose and voting for Kerry, I was excited to vote for Obama. I’ll be holding my nose when I vote for him in 2012 unless things change. Insults from his press secretary aren’t helping me view his failure to achieve a more progressive agenda more sympathetically. If you can’t live up to your campaign promises they were “just words.”

  • JP

    @Niel,

    “the observation that President Bush had less of a majority when the Republicans controlled Congress and seemed to have successfully executed more of HIS agenda. Why?”

    … because Dems don’t react like a mindless block to anything their political leadership thinks might be in the party’s short-term interest.

    … Only Republicans act that way.

  • jeffe

    Gibbs sounded like a Republican. Tom just seemed to back him up. “Is that what you want Kathy, Canadian style health care”? I know I do. However this country is never going to support this. We would rather die than have decent health care.

    The Obama health care bill which was mostly written by the special interest, is a joke. It’s a joke because it tried to appease to many of the special interest It does not really deal with the real problems we have in this country in regards to health care. It does show me that special interest call the shots.

    This is why the Tea Party seems so absurd, the anger is misplaced and all over the place in terms of any political ideology. Sorry wanting to go back to the 18th century is not a real good idea.

  • BHA

    Single payer would be possible in the USA if people understood:

    How it would make it EASIER for businesses to compete in a global market by not having to haggle over increasing health care premiums every year.

    Medical services would be cheaper because the providers wouldn’t have to employ many people to handle all the different payment plans (no good for employment though :) )

    That the government would NOT be deciding what care you could get or which doctor you can use. How many people are ALREADY in a health insurance plan that includes only some doctors in an area? MOST! Under single payer, ALL doctors take insurance from ‘your carrier’. In network, out of network – all B.S.

    The government would NOT be deciding if Grandma gets to live

    etc

  • Steve Cotton

    Why is it when teachers receive a federal funds – it’s considered a BAIL-OUT –

    when, when Bush passes a 10 TRILLION DOLLAR tax cut — this is not considered a BAILOUT to the Wealthy!??

  • BHA

    The Republicans are ‘fiscally responsible’? ROTFLMAO

    Under George W. Bush it was “DON’T tax but spend anyway”. There was nothing responsible about the last administration’s fiscal actions.

  • http://www.originalpapercuts.com Leslie Miller

    8 years for the Republicans to get us into this fiscal mess and now all they can do is say,”NO-NO-NO!” to everything.

    Apparently this is quite effective.
    Which brings me to my point.

    Until we have a strong and supportive teaching force in a strong education system to teach students that they can actually think and ask questions, we will not move out of this feudal system with the moneyed people at the top and the rest of us struggling to survive.

    It behooves the wealthy to keepthe schools in rote learning for “tests” instead of educating a population to think and work and care about what is happening.

    Just listen to the Republicans, just listen, all they can say is,”NO!”

  • Chris

    So Beohner thinks teacher, police, & firefighters keeping their jobs is totally irresponsible? But out of control CEO’s can keep their jobs and the uber-wealthy deserve tax cuts. Huh?????

  • Ellen Dibble

    I agree with the Massachusetts caller who said couldn’t Obama at least be articularing the vision, the ideals he ran on, even if he is getting blocked in Congress?
    Looking at the election that (SOMEhow or other, thank you Supreme Court..) brought us George W. Bush, it was said Americans selected the man they would most like to have a beer with.
    So that gives us Huckabee. Even though there was the “beer summit,” that apparently went okay.
    I fear this America that votes for the most superfluous, as if it were America’s Got Talent that is on the ballot.

  • BHA

    “Biblical Floods” in an Islamic country?

    Maybe not exactly the best comparison :)

  • jeffe

    John Boehner is a hypocrite. It’s amazing how in one sentence he can talk about fiscal responsibility and in the next he says the Bush tax cuts should made permanent which would add to the deficit.

    What I also see is that the Republicans are feeding fear. They are moving into dangerous waters by promoting demagoguery.

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing here! Thank you Tom for showing your true colors and dismissing the last callers talking points that the Republicans are really nuts.
    What is happening is that the moderate and conservative wings of the party is being shut down. The leadership is taking up the fear mongering and demagoguery of the tea party. In short they are moving towards Palin and Gingrich (who is completely nuts) which will be a disaster for us a a nation.

  • michael

    “Newt cookie”

    Newt the guy who left his wife in the hospital with cancer for another younger women, than leaving her for a congressional aid. Who was calling obama a radical socialist and than saying the U.S. should act more like China(A communist county) in our economics.

    Its amazing that people still listen to this guy.

    So Gates plan to cut 200 million, well okay but when congress came back to vote there voted for 600 million for Defense so by gates cutting the defense budget it actually increased by 400 million. As well as that 30 billion plus approved before that.

  • William Maher

    I’m shocked. The lefty socialist utopia isn’t working so well–just so frustrating for the lefty NPR crowd. Isn’t it wonderful that we’re getting closer to becoming Venezuela with each day that O’Bama and his tax cheating socialists remain in power? Did he ever end up finding anyone to join his cabinet that didn’t cheat on his taxes. (I won’t hold my breath waiting for your answer)

  • michael

    were the tax cuts to expire the budget deficit would shrink by 30% what does the deficit hark republicans say

    lol

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-august-11-2010-laura-linney

    Check out Palin foolish comment.

  • michael

    “I’m shocked. The lefty socialist utopia isn’t working so well–just so frustrating for the lefty NPR crowd. ”

    I’m shocked someone could believe there been any lefty socialist utopia.

    Can you show examples of this Lefty socialist utopia that the lefty of so frustrated about.

    The only way to get the economy going is to get the economy moving.

    Brought to you by John Boehner house minority leader

  • Jim in Omaha

    Caller “Cathy” was spot on. Obama came in with an opportunity to go over the heads of Congress and speak dirctly to the people who put him in office and were really ready for true change. He didn’t, and in hindsight I have concluded it’s because he truly does not share the progressive principles that so many of his supporters do. We thought he would be take Wall Street’s money (along with a lot of others people’s) to get elected then refuse to pander to them. He didn’t.

  • jeffe

    BHA you’re asking people to think. That’s to much for people. They are told that single payer is socialism and that’s it’s bad. We just heard this pundit on today’s show
    say that 60 percent of Americans were against the health care bill. This went without one person on this panel challenging this false statement. The problem is people like me are not for this as I think this bill does to little and keeps all the power in the hands of the insurance corporations and big pharma.

    If you lump all sides into on group that does not support the bill you will get this number.

    That said, the opposition did a great job in demonizing the bill and scared a lot of people. What this showed me was how many Americans do little research on their own and that coupled with the huge distrust of government, (that has suddenly appeared, where were these people during the Bush years?) what this has shown me is that as a nation we are not capable of coming to any consensus on what would be a good thing for our nation. Funny thing is the same people who are against the government spending money on health care have no problem with the same government spending obscene amounts on wars to protect “our nation from terrorist”. Well if we as a nation get any sicker the terrorist wont have to waste their time, we will be killing our selves from lack of decent health care.

  • BHA

    Shouldn’t be hard for the Democratic party to shove Newt back into the pond. He originated obstructionist politics when he was Speaker of the House 15 years ago. The original “just say no” guy. Remind the voting public of that fact.

    Funny how things work. Nothing substantial gets done in the house and senate so the call is “throw the majority party bums out”. The reason nothing gets done is that NEITHER side is willing to agree to ANYTHING that is desired by the “other side”. Vote “the other side” in and what will get done – NOTHING.

    Stop pandering to the right AND left. The middle is the largest group, standard bell curve. Few people are strictly ‘right’ or ‘left’ on all issues.

    And get rid of “free trade” election laws. If you (a person or business) are not DIRECTLY represented by a person running for office because you live or do business in THEIR district, you should have NO say and provide NO money to their campaign nor influence over their time in office. Lobby the people who DO represent YOU. Likewise, NO influence over the passage of law in another district or state (CA Prop 8 for example)

  • Mary Elizabeth

    As one who holds so-called “liberal” values including desire for single payer health system, it seems naive to expect that a nation as large and diverse as this could move us out of the grip of the insurance industry into single payer in one swoop. Certainly not in one half term presidency. This is an immense dismantling that could lead to utter choas if not done methodically.
    I prefer to look at the glass a half full, be grateful that we have come this far, and push for a more universal approach over time.

  • Rob

    Regarding the midterm elections, New York Congressman Charles Rangel is turning into a huge political liability for President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Co. I know Rangel served our nation honorably during the Korean War and was well respected by his constituents for most of his tenure, but he is now one of many poster children for congressional term limits. If Congress is going to raise my taxes, it is really not too much to ask that its most senior members abide by the laws they impose on the rest of us (and not paying taxes on rental properties is most minor of his alleged infractions).

    On a more humurous note, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins (e.g. in my opinion second only to John Lindsay as the worst NYC Mayor ever) made a quite dignified public appearance last evening.

    FROM CNN
    Outside, protesters held up signs that read, “Rangel Resign” and “Just Say No to Incumbents,” prompting former New York City Mayor David Dinkins to flash them his middle finger. “He’s my brother. I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” Dinkins said of Rangel.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/12/pol.rangel.birthday.gala/index.html

    Such Grace, Mr. Dinkins!!!

  • Jean

    President Obama has surprised me as the type who opens his discussion with the car dealer with ‘We don’t expect to get much for our trade-in.’ Look how he opened the health care discussion. He gave away our hope for universal care. Given that what did he have to negotiate? So instead it became a division of the spoils among element of the industries and professions.

  • JCC

    Save the tone of disrespect for Sarah Palin. Ted Steven’s memorial is on Wed. We are all mourning his passing in Alaska, D’s and R’s and I’s and Non-partisans and Undeclared . . . The country should mourn too. It is the passing of an era for us but also for the nation–a time when Rs and Ds spoke to each other with respect.

  • Laurence Glavin

    If one cut from Tom’s interview with Mike Huckabee was going to be used, the most interesting statement he made was this: if he had been President in 2008, he would NOT have interfered in the commercial banking, investment banking, insurance and manufacturing industries whatsoever. He would have chosen a doctrinaire ultra-right Treasury Secretary and instructed him or her (probably a ‘him; Jesus chose no females apostles) to take a hands-off approach to the economy. Today, the stock index wouldn’t be 10-thousand…it would be 10.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.zapen David Zapen in Miami FL (WLRN)

    I’m glad for the teaching jobs saved from the jobless recession, but what about those lost jobs in 2008 between Florida’s overheated property taxes and the lost students who fled the taxes with the parents? Go to a teacher job fair to see the wasted talent; they happen sometimes in the same place and day as home improvement fairs and usually gets second billing to the home fair when televised. Floridians in January 2008 decided to lower property taxes when home values were high; it’s unclear that the rates were reset when the values plummeted. How has there been real inflation when real wages have been stagnant since 1973? They didn’t; that was just supply-side bubbles!

  • Rob

    By the way, it was not my intention to single out Charles Rangel as the only corrupt member of Congress. Here is a top 14 list to make your stomach turn and includes members of both political parties.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-14-most-corrupt-members-of-congress-who-arent-charles-rangel-2010-7#rep-vern-buchanan-r-fl-1

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    I’m interested in the concept of the capital strike that Jack mentioned, but I wonder if rather than an intentional plan, it’s more just a zeitgeist resulting from the way the rules of the game have been set up. It’s possible that the people who are busy making money don’t necessarily have enough time left to spend it. You hear of CEO’s making 400 times that of their employees. I don’t know how I could possibly spend that much money to keep it flowing back into the economy. Businesses trying to cut costs by reducing staff and having the workers remain pick up the slack, means that those who still have jobs are working harder, which gives less time to spend the money they earn. Meanwhile, those without steady employment have to spend the last of their savings, and the divide grows.

  • http://Donellmcdonell.com Donell McDonell

    What the heck kind of lies have you Americans been fed about Canadian health care?
    NO one in Canada is afraid to lose their home because of health fate costs! I pay theprovince 57 dollars a month care is outstanding!

  • Carlo Danese

    I am frustrated that Robert Gibbs had to sling some useless labels in response to criticism from progressives, but I understand his frustration, as well as theirs.

    The obstructionist Republicans have made it difficult, so Obama early on adopted a compromise posture. My own frustration is that he has not gotten his message out CONTINUALLY. Every day and night, either thru his staff or his allies in congress.

    People still say that the the public does not like the health care bill and it was shoved down our throats. It turns out people are not so against it. They were against the cartoon portrayal created by the Republicans, which was never properly rebutted.

    The Democrats need to make the American people understand that the Republicans are just plain LYING to the people. And they get away with it. Perhaps the Dems need to help people understand that you only lie to those whom you consider STUPID enough to believe you. That is what the Repubs have done.

    Two recent examples; Today I heard John ‘Ochre Joker’ Boehner call the bill to pay teachers and policemen a ‘bailout’. Yesterday another Repub called those two unions ‘interest groups’. Obama and the Dems need to set up a fast acting strike force to hit these comments IMMEDIATELY with a consistent message.

    The Repubs are lying to the people because they think we are stupid. They are playing the age old game of divide and conquer.

    It’s pretty well summed up in Bob Dylan’s song ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game’ which dealt specifically with lynch mobs but the concept covers EVERYTHING.

    Come on America, stop watching celebrity gossip, read the newspaper, get the facts and stand up for yourselves and your families and the future. Before it is too late.

  • BrettG

    Your DC villagers put down the public that we are “naive” about the political process.
    Their “conventional wisdom” has abetted Fox Opinion News, Rush Bimbo & far right wing talk radio in taking facts out of the discussion & calling lack of fact-checking, outright lies & mis-comprehension “reporting.”

    Both Mr. Crowley & Mr. York’s tunnel vision to the DC “Pro” line. Remember who Obama wouldn’t last through the Primary Process? Who are the dummies? The DC “conventional wisdom” Echo Chamber. We know things are complicated in DC.

    Those that are disappointed in Obama are disappointed that, despite his fighting rhetoric, he came in & started compromising & dealing before there were bills to debate on the floors of Congress. It’s one thing to lose good legislation after fighting for the best possible bill as hard as possible.

    It’s another thing to not even bother to put out a clear, distinct goals or fight for them. Instead Pres. Obama just dealt behind closed doors from the beginning with the aid of Rahm, Summers, Geithner,etc. These folks are Cllinton/DLC operatives who are still fighting Clinton wars, not our current cornucopia of Bush disasters.

    The WH lost their grassroots intelligence network when the Clinton/DLC Right of Centrists converted the Obama information network from bottom up information feed right from the precinct level instead of the Clinton-preferred -”Trust Us.”
    After GWB, no one on the right or left will accept “Just trust us.” as acceptable.

    The caller who was described as “She was knowledgeable, but there are very few like her.” is a great example of the lack of vision of DC reporters.

    Your DC panelists seem perfect examples of the lack of memory & willingness
    to “make narratives” instead of reporting the narratives that are out there, if they were listening to Citizens & those who correctly posited our current situation, yet have no punch in the WH (Dean Baker, Paul Krugman, Jeff Madrick, David Cay Johnson, etc.) in contrast to the current WH advisors (Bernanke, Geithner, Summers) and most of the aged and/or out of touch Rolodex pundits. (David Brooks, etc.)

  • BrettG

    Correction: The 5th graf should read “convert the Obama information (intel) network to a top down get the troops in line diktat system.”

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I must say Tom’s response to the caller who talked about the corporations sitting on their piles of money in order to keep unemployment high and thus discredit Obama was disappointing. He immediately brought up the dread word “conspiracy” which is code for “crackpot theory about how the world works.”

    There is no conspiracy necessary. As Gore Vidal, who knows the mindset of the rich and upper class from the inside out, has explained, they don’t need to conspire. They already all think alike.

    Also, all the panelists do injustice to those of us on the left who really wanted Obama to go all out for single-payer health care reform, and feel that he sold out to the conservatives. But then, some of us on the left have acknowledged that Obama really is a conservative Democrat himself, certainly not a socialist as the right would have us believe.

    One final suggestion: let us here and now declare that any politician on either side of the fence using the term “the American People” as though all of us thought alike should be called out for hyperbole and made to say what he really means: people like me!

  • Bob

    How many people, voters, in the United States can even recite this subset of the Obama Administrations accomplishments?

    • Financial regulation – Wall Street reform represents the toughest financial reform since the Great Depression

    • Health Insurance Reform. Eliminating pre-existing conditions and other coverage denials. It’s cutting taxes for small business owners that cover their employees, by up to 35 percent of the premiums they’re paying for their employees. It’s saying to young people, you can stay on your parent’s health insurance until you’re 26 so that there’s not that gap in coverage just as they’re starting their careers. It’s providing assistance to seniors, so that they can help to deal with that doughnut hole that was created by the prescription drug plan. There was no “public option” … keeping all the business in the private sector.

    • The stimulus bill pumped about $100 billion into the crumbling embarrassment of our national infrastructure and transportation system. It was the largest investment in infrastructure since Ike.

    • The stimulus bill also put forward $60 billion in spending and tax incentives for renewable and clean energy, also a historic investment.

    • The stimulus bill also funded a giant investment in science and tech, amping up the budgets at NASA, the National Science Foundation, and an experimental energy research agency that was created under President George W. Bush, but never funded until now.

    • President Obama also expanded state kids` health insurance to cover another four million kids.

    • He signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act amending the 1964 civil rights act for equal pay for equal work.

    • He signed a nuclear arms deal with Russia that would reduce both countries` arsenals by a third. He created a new global nonproliferation initiative to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.

    • He set forth an international way forward on the proposition of Ronald Reagan, a world without nuclear weapons. Then there are the legislative and policy achievements that don`t just build on previously-set precedents, but set new ones.

    • The Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act. It had languished in Congress for years.

    • The Food and Drug Administration permitted for the first time to regulate tobacco.

    • Obama fired two wartime commanding generals in little over a year.

    • Obama overhauled the astonishing stupidity of the student loan system in which banks were being subsidized to give loans that were guaranteed by the government anyway, a license to print money.

    • He canceled a weapons program that was bloated, unnecessary and totally irrelevant to either of our current wars, the F-22. Why even mention the cancellation of a single weapons system? Because that never happens. Weapons systems never get canceled. The F-22 did, which is itself a miracle.

    • The auto bailout ushered GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy with the goal of making them profitable and shifting toward more fuel-efficient vehicles. GM has repaid direct loans of nearly $7 billion, but the remaining $43 billion can be recouped only when GM returns to the public market.

    Love this administration or hate it, this president is getting a lot done. The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, you can believe in this administration.

  • Brian

    American CEOs are sitting on record amounts of cash on their balance sheet. Most US companies do not expect to spend any of their cash. (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/56e5f858-8228-11df-938f-00144feabdc0.html)

    Sitting on mountains of cash is the worst possible use of capital.

    By holding on to all this cash, American companies are anti-jobs, and anti-shareholder. (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-11/jobless-suffer-with-corporate-cash-climbing-to-1-19-trillion.html)

    They should be investing in the business or new products (innovation!!!), or they should pay out dividends, or they should buy back their own stock.

    Anything but sitting on the cash. All of the other uses of the cash would help the economy, stockholders, and their businesses.

  • Bob

    Another accomplishment I neglected to mention in my previous post is about the Gulf oil spill.

    Obama achieved results for the “people in need in the gulf” roughly 110 days, oil man George Herbert Walker Bush who presided over the Exxon Valdez spill – it took 20 years. More than 440 plaintiffs died waiting for a final settlement in the Exxon Valdez case. About 50 filed bankruptcy. And 4,200 liens filed by creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service and the state. ( http://www.adn.com/evos/stories/T99032267.html )

    The Obama administration brokered a deal where BP has created a $20B fund +$100M and brokered by an independent 3rd party. Obama showed incredible leadership in his swift action never before seen by the government. Especially with the funds coming from the liable party. The fund doesn’t limit BP’s liability for cleanup costs and economic damage, Obama said in June, and it doesn’t supersede the rights of individuals or states to sue the company. ( http://tinyurl.com/2bdef7s )

    Obama achieved results for the “people in need in the gulf” roughly 110 days, oil man George Herbert Walker Bush who presided over the Exxon Valdez spill – 20 years.

    How do you define leadership? I think Obama is proving his ability to lead.

  • Lee

    Forget Robert Gibbs’ pathetic attempt to marginalize progressives. The left doesn’t have to muzzle themselves to get progressive legilsation passed. Health care reform was not a “compromise” to get past a Republican filibuster. It passed with 57 votes, not 60 votes, precisely because Democrats realized they would never get Ben Nelson, nor any Republicans, to vote for health care reform.

    So, at long last they turned to the reconciliation procedure as a way of neutralizing the Republican and Democratic filibusterers. The problem was they got gumption so late that they couldn’t muster a last measure of commitment to use reconciliation to secure the best aspect of health care reform–the public option.

    What they ended up with was not a “compromise”–but a health bill that progressives feel is mediocre and that may be too little to withstand Republican charges that it’s not reform at all.

  • JonS

    Regarding the caller “Cathy’s comments—typical liberal elite mindset that there’s nothing wrong with the message , it’s just that the ignorant public hasn’t had it adequately explained to them by Obama or the Dems. Calling a $26 billion giveaway to teacher’s unions a stimulus program is an insult to the intelligence of most citizens. All this money will do is delay the day of reckoning for those fiscally irresponsible states that have governed for the benefit of public employee unions and not taxpayers, like Calif., NY, NJ, Illinois, etc. Do liberals have a program to stimulate the private sector? Or does the private sector even matter ( outside of GM , Chrysler , and “green jobs” (LOL)?))

  • JP

    Want to know about today’s Repugnican Party and get a glimpse into the upcoming political season?

    Google “Ben Quayle” for a good laugh at some of his recent gaffes!!

    The party of idiots, hypocrisy, and fear-mongering and lies never changes!

  • JP

    Better yet, take a look at this MS-NBC article which summarizes some of Quayle’s recent stupidities:

    Here’s the link

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38695343/ns/politics/

  • ThresherK

    Didn’t hear the whole segment. I hope our host noticed how many of those $26B are going to “red” states screaming fake-bloody murder about taxation and spending and secession, while at the same time touting their own “fiscally responsible” paths which led them to be net gainers of Federal tax money.

    If the Haley Barbours and Bobby Jindals want to keep their doors open, their teachers and cops and firefighters working, make these R governors beg for the money in front of a passel of TV cameras, and graciously thank a Treasury Dept employee for a big cardboard check.

  • mary elizabeth

    Great thanks to Bob for taking the time to remind us of President Obama’s many achievements
    The far left display an astonishing lack of maturity and an unprecedented sense of entitlement.
    Like the far right, they see themselves as victims, petulance and all.

  • Outraged American

    Once again, the Republican Party shows it cares little for the people on Main Streeet when its members voted for a 37 billion dollar military aid package for the War Machine in Afghanistan a week prior and refused to support an aid package to keep teachers and schools and small business going this week. Shame, shame…..

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Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

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