Friday, July 11, 2008

Suck It, Phil Gramm!!!

This is from today Progress Report ... I'm so tired of RICH resmugnicans telling us that we're whining about the economy because they're the ones who screwed it up for us!!!:

Hurting, Not Whining

Yesterday, in an interview with the Washington Times, former Sen. Phil Gramm, the so-called "econ brain" of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), remarked that the United States has "sort of become a nation of whiners." "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day." "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," he said. Yesterday afternoon, McCain said that Gramm "does not speak for me," despite the fact that Gramm's comments mirror what McCain said in April: "A lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological." Gramm's apparent desire to keep to a minimum discussion of the real and painful effects of the nation's stalling economy is not surprising, given that he shares the same harmful conservative ideology as McCain and Bush. Gramm played a key roll in gutting many of the institutions designed to keep the economy sound. Serving Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee between 1999 and 2001, he "routinely turned down Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt's requests for more money to police Wall Street." Later, he "pushed to end oversight" of energy futures trading for a key campaign contributor and his wife's onetime employer, Enron. Around the same time, "Gramm pushed through a historic banking deregulation bill that decimated Depression-era firewalls between commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, and securities firms." The financial maneuvers enabled by Gramm's legislative measures would become "the heart of the subprime meltdown." More recently, it was revealed that Gramm was "being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy." But while Gramm is able to insulate himself, and even profit from, the negative effects of his legislative and lobbying record, the vast majority of Americans are not so fortunate. Here are 10 real examples of how Americans are hurting in the current economy:

HOUSING FORECLOSURES INCREASING: As a result of the subprime lending crisis, "housing foreclosures nationwide were up 50% in June compared with the same month in 2007." In California alone, foreclosures have reached an average of 500 per day.

HOMELESSNESS INCREASING: The number of homeless people in America over the age of 50 is "steadily increasing."

HEALTHCARE COSTS RISING: According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, "health-care costs are growing much faster than the economy." Costs are rising so significantly, some Americans are delaying retirement.

GAS PRICES RISING: The national average gas price is $4.09, up 33 percent from this time last year. Gas prices are now expected to hit "$4.25 by the fall and then stay at more than $4 a gallon until the end of 2009."

JOB LOSSES INCREASING: In the first six months of this year, a total of 438,000 jobs have been lost, bringing unemployment to 5.5 percent. The CEO of Bank of America commented, if unemployment continues to rise, "all bets are off."

FOOD COSTS RISING: "U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007" -- the fastest rise in 17 years -- and as a result, food stamps have considerably less buying power.

HEATING AND ELECTRICITY COSTS RISING: Heating oil costs across the North are expected to be "up 60 percent from last year," and utilities across the country are "raising power prices up to 29%."

REAL WAGES DECLINING: "Slower wage growth and faster inflation has led to falling real hourly and weekly earnings for most workers."

LEISURE SPENDING DECLINING: As a result of the rising cost of living, Americans are "tightening their belts and thinking twice about spending extra bucks on entertainment and leisure products."

VALUE OF DOLLAR DECLINING: The dollar "has been declining steadily for six years against other major currencies, undercutting its role as the leading international banking currency."


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