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Posts tagged ‘American Dream’

Portman: Senate GOP Jobs Plan Will Restore Economy.


A seven-point plan proposed by Senate Republicans will spark economic recovery in the United States, reduce unemployment rates, and help tighten the gap between wealthy and poor people, Sen. Rob Portman says in this week’s GOP address.

The Jobs for America Plan, the Ohio Republican said Saturday, “starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.”

Experts said five years ago the recession had ended, but for millions of people, the nation’s economic downturn has continued.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Story continues below video.

“We’re living through the weakest economic recovery since World War II, and a lot of folks are struggling to make ends meet,” said Portman. “Unemployment remains stubbornly high; the number of long-term unemployed is actually at record levels.”

“The wealthy are doing just fine in the Obama economy,” said Portman. But declining paychecks and with rising costs of healthcare, college education and even a tank of gas, “this middle class squeeze is strangling the American Dream.”

He pointed out out that 11 million Americans have given up looking for work altogether, and the average family is “now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago.

The Obama administration’s policies aren’t working, said Portman, because “Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress believed we could spend our way to prosperity, and I guess they still do.”

But despite some saying that “fewer people working, smaller middle-class paychecks, bigger government, never-ending deficits and record debt piled on our kids and grandkids” is the “new normal,” Portman said it’s time to trust the American people again.

“That’s what’s at the heart of Jobs for America, a seven-point plan put forward by Senate Republicans to bring back opportunity, spark an economic recovery and restore to every American a shot at the American Dream,” said Portman. “It starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.

For example, said Portman, it’s clear to “just about everybody, maybe except the president” that Obamacare isn’t working.

“Let’s replace Obamacare with reforms that put you back in charge of your own healthcare,” said Portman. “Decisions about your health should be between you and your doctor, not a bureaucrat and an insurance company. Let’s expand choice, rather than limiting it. Let’s create jobs, instead of destroying them. And let’s bring down the costs instead of driving them up.”

Bureaucracy and red tape are also hindering businesses and making it harder for them to create jobs, and Portman said Republicans have “proposed changes that will ensure that the benefits of regulations are worth the cost – that regulations do their job, without costing you yours.”

The nation’s tax code is also a problem, said Portman. It’s not just that it’s a “complex and expensive mess” that needs to be simplified, but also that “our out-of-date and inefficient corporate tax code is driving opportunity and investment overseas, creating jobs in other places that should be right here in America. Let’s fix the code so that every company pays its fair share while bringing those dollars back to our shores to expand plant, equipment, and jobs.”

Taxes should also be spent wisely, said Portman, and lawmakers need to “pass a balanced budget amendment to rein in the runaway, big government spending that drives our deficits.”

The United States also needs to expand overseas markets, said Portman. There are some trade agreements on hold for now, but the nation needs to be sure it is competing on a level playing field. This calls for giving the president the authority to open more markets for farmers and workers.

“We want to see people around the world buying products that are stamped, ‘Made in America,’ so we can create more jobs right here at home,” said Portman.

Jobs can also be created by making the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that is often discussed come through.

“We should wage a war on inefficiency, but not a war on coal,” said Portman. “We should expand all forms of American energy, including through offshore drilling and developing our shale natural gas. And let’s finally approve the Keystone Pipeline to create jobs and speed the day when North America will truly be energy independent.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Portman also said Americans should be able to acquire the skills they need to get jobs that are available.

“The federal government now runs 47 different, often overlapping, workforce-training programs, but they aren’t closing the skills gap,” said Portman, because they have too much bureaucracy.

“America’s best days can be ahead of us, just beyond the next horizon,” said Portman. “We just have to reapply some of the principles that have made America that beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world.”


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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Obama to Pitch Ideas in Speech for Spurring ‘Upward Mobility’.


President Barack Obama will urge the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to do more to help poor and middle-class Americans move up the economic ladder.

Both Obama and congressional Republicans view that issue as a high priority, a rare point of agreement between the two sides. But the Democratic president and Republicans disagree on the remedies, setting up a debate that Obama will discuss in his State of the Union address to Congress.

In the speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Obama will push an agenda for increasing economic upward mobility and propose aid to the long-term unemployed, an increase in the minimum wage and an expansion of early-childhood education.

After Obama’s speech, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, will deliver a response on behalf of her party. She will likely emphasize free-market ideas for improving prosperity.

Senator Marco Rubio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, two Republicans who are both seen as potential 2016 presidential candidates, spoke this month on proposals for helping people climb out of economic hardship.

Rubio has suggested shifting responsibility for many federal benefit programs to the states. Ryan has floated the idea of providing a single benefit to low-income families, modeled on one in Great Britain.

The problem of economic stagnation is expected to be a theme in congressional election campaigns this year.

Analysts said social mobility was a potent political issue because the United States has long seen itself as a place where anyone with grit and determination can succeed.

In recent years, however, the wages of many low- and middle-income workers have held steady or fallen on an inflation-adjusted basis. The slow growth after the 2007-2009 recession has exacerbated this trend.

At the same time, the wealthiest and most highly educated Americans, referred to as the “1 percent,” have grown more prosperous.

 

Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern about studies showing that economic mobility in the United States lags that of some other industrialized economies, calling into question the nation’s reputation as a land of opportunity.

More than 40 percent of American men born into the poorest one-fifth of earners remain there, a 2006 study led by Finnish economist Markus Jantti showed. In Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden, only about 25 percent of such men stay in that income segment.

American sons of low-income fathers are more likely to remain stuck in the bottom tenth of earners as adults than are Canadian sons, University of Ottawa economist Miles Corak said in a study published in 2010. In the United States, 22 percent of men born to low-income families stayed in that category, while the same was true of only 16 percent of Canadians.

In 2012, former U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger published a study that linked income inequality with low levels of upward mobility. He devised a chart he named “The Great Gatsby Curve” after the fabulously wealthy protagonist of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It showed the United States toward the upper end of the range of both inequality and low economic mobility, along with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. At the opposite extreme, with low inequality and high mobility, were Denmark, Norway and Finland.

A study from a group led by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty added a new wrinkle to the debate with its finding that American children’s chances of moving up the economic ladder had not changed much in the past few decades. The study also made clear that children’s prospects were tightly linked to their parents’ socio-economic status – more so in the United States than in some other leading economies.

“It’s not so much that we’re losing the American dream,” said Harvard economist Nathaniel Hendren, one of the study’s authors. “It’s did we ever have it, and do we want it?”

The focus on economic mobility builds on a pledge Obama has emphasized over the past two years: to improve the standing and security of the middle class.

The theme is newer for Republicans, who failed to capture the White House in 2012 in part because many voters perceived their party’s candidate, Mitt Romney, as dismissive of the struggles of the poor and working classes.

But analysts say a promise to boost economic mobility could resonate across the ideological spectrum.

“The idea of the United States being exceptional in its ability to promote economic opportunity or the notion of the nation being suited to help people rise is very much part of our national ethos,” said Erin Currier, director of economic mobility for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Americans feel strongly that the United States should be the land of opportunity.”

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

AP: 21 Percent of American Adults Become Rich at Some Point.


It’s not just the wealthiest 1 percent.

Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding outsize influence on America‘s economy and politics. This little-known group may pose the biggest barrier to reducing the nation’s income inequality.

The growing numbers of the U.S. poor have been well documented, but survey data provided to The Associated Press detail the flip side of the record income gap – the rise of the “new rich.”

Editor’s Note: Pastor Uses ‘Biblical Money Code’ to Help His Father Retire 

Made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles, the new rich are those with household income of $250,000 or more at some point during their working lives. That puts them, if sometimes temporarily, in the top 2 percent of earners.

Even outside periods of unusual wealth, members of this group generally hover in the $100,000-plus income range, keeping them in the top 20 percent of earners.

Companies increasingly are marketing to this rising demographic, fueling a surge of “mass luxury” products and services from premium Starbucks coffee and organic groceries to concierge medicine and VIP lanes at airports. Political parties are taking a renewed look at the up-for-grabs group, once solidly Republican.

They’re not the traditional rich.

In a country where poverty is at a record high, today’s new rich are notable for their sense of economic fragility. They’ve reached the top 2 percent, only to fall below it, in many cases. That makes them much more fiscally conservative than other Americans, polling suggests, and less likely to support public programs, such as food stamps or early public education, to help the disadvantaged.

Last week, President Barack Obama asserted that growing inequality is “the defining challenge of our time,” signaling that it will be a major theme for Democrats in next year’s elections.

New research suggests that affluent Americans are more numerous than government data depict, encompassing 21 percent of working-age adults for at least a year by the time they turn 60. That proportion has more than doubled since 1979.

At the same time, an increasing polarization of low-wage work and high-skill jobs has left middle-income careers depleted.

“For many in this group, the American dream is not dead. They have reached affluence for parts of their lives and see it as very attainable, even if the dream has become more elusive for everyone else,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who calculated numbers on the affluent for a forthcoming book, “Chasing the American Dream,” to be published by the Oxford University Press.

As the fastest-growing group based on take-home pay, the new rich tend to enjoy better schools, employment and gated communities, making it easier to pass on their privilege to their children.

Their success has implications for politics and policy.

The group is more liberal than lower-income groups on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, according to an analysis of General Social Survey data by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. But when it comes to money, their views aren’t so open. They’re wary of any government role in closing the income gap.

In Gallup polling in October, 60 percent of people making $90,000 or more said average Americans already had “plenty of opportunity” to get ahead. Among those making less than $48,000, the share was 48 percent.

“In this country, you don’t get anywhere without working hard,” said James Lott, 28, a pharmacist in Renton, Wash., who adds to his six-figure salary by day-trading stocks. The son of Nigerian immigrants, Lott says he was able to get ahead by earning an advanced pharmacy degree. He makes nearly $200,000 a year.

After growing up on food stamps, Lott now splurges occasionally on nicer restaurants, Hugo Boss shoes and extended vacations to New Orleans, Atlanta and parts of Latin America. He believes government should play a role in helping the disadvantaged. But he says the poor should be encouraged to support themselves, explaining that his single mother rose out of hardship by starting a day-care business in their home.

“I definitely don’t see myself as rich,” says Lott, who is saving to purchase a downtown luxury condominium. That will be the case, he says, “the day I don’t have to go to work every single day.”

Sometimes referred to by marketers as the “mass affluent,” the new rich make up roughly 25 million U.S. households and account for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. consumer spending.

While paychecks shrank for most Americans after the 2007-2009 recession, theirs held steady or edged higher. In 2012, the top 20 percent of U.S. households took home a record 51 percent of the nation’s income. The median income of this group is more than $150,000.

Once concentrated in the old-money enclaves of the Northeast, the new rich are now spread across the U.S., mostly in bigger cities and their suburbs. They include Washington, D.C.; Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. By race, whites are three times more likely to reach affluence than nonwhites.

Paul F. Nunes, managing director at Accenture’s Institute for High Performance and Research, calls this group “the new power brokers of consumption.” Because they spend just 60 percent of their before-tax income, often setting the rest aside for retirement or investing, he says their capacity to spend more will be important to a U.S. economic recovery.

In Miami, developers are betting on a growing luxury market, building higher-end malls featuring Cartier, Armani and Louis Vuitton and hoping to expand on South Florida’s Bal Harbour, a favored hideaway of the rich.

“It’s not that I don’t have money. It’s more like I don’t have time,” said Deborah Sponder, 57, walking her dog Ava recently along Miami’s blossoming Design District. She was headed to one of her two art galleries – this one between the Emilio Pucci and Cartier stores and close to the Louis Vuitton and Hermes storefronts.

But Sponder says she doesn’t consider her income of $250,000 as upper class, noting that she is paying college tuition for her three children. “Between rent, schooling and everything – it comes in and goes out.”

Economists say the group’s influence will only grow as middle-class families below them struggle. Corporate profits and the stock market are hitting records while the median household income of $51,000 is at its lowest since 1995. That’s a boon for upper-income people who are more likely to invest in stocks.

At the same time, some 54 percent of working-age Americans will experience near-poverty for portions of their lives, hurt by globalization and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs.

Both Democrats and Republicans are awakening to the political realities presented by this new demographic bubble.

Traditionally Republican, the group makes up more than 1 in 4 voters and is now more politically divided, better educated and less white and male than in the past, according to Election Day exit polls dating to the 1970s.

Sixty-nine percent of upper-income voters backed Republican Ronald Reagan and his supply-side economics of tax cuts in 1984. By 2008, Democrat Barack Obama had split their vote evenly, 49-49.

In 2012, Obama lost the group, with 54 percent backing Republican Mitt Romney. Still, Obama’s performance among higher-income voters exceeded nearly every Democrat before him.

Some Democratic analysts have urged the party to tread more lightly on issues of income inequality, even after the recent election of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made the issue his top campaign priority.

In recent weeks, media attention has also focused on growing liberal enthusiasm for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., whose push to hold banks and Wall Street accountable could stoke Occupy Wall Street-style populist anger against the rich.

“For the Democrats’ part, traditional economic populism is poorly suited for affluent professionals,” says Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University professor who specializes in political polarization.

Editor’s Note: New Video Exposes a ‘Great Retirement Heist’ 

The new rich includes Robert Kane, 39, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

A former stock broker who once owned three houses and voted steadfastly Republican, Kane says he was humbled after the 2008 financial meltdown, which he says exposed Wall Street’s excesses. Now a senior vice president for a private equity firm specializing in the marijuana business, Kane says he’s concerned about upward mobility for the poor and calls wealthy politicians such as Romney “out of touch.”

But Kane, now a registered independent, draws the line when it comes to higher taxes.

“A dollar is best in your hand rather than the government’s,” he says.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Rep. Fitzpatrick: President’s Policies, Obamacare Damaging Workforce.


President Barack Obama and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick agreed in weekly addresses on Saturday — themed for the Labor Day holiday — that America‘s workforce isn’t where it should be.

But while the president said his administration’s policies are helping the economy and workforce rebound, Fitzpatrick, in the weekly GOP address, said those policies are what is hurting workers.

“Nearly five years into the Obama presidency, the workers who drive our economy see nothing but roadblocks coming out of Washington,” said Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican. “But the president is still pushing more of the same tax hikes and ‘stimulus’-style policies that have left us with weak job growth, high prices, and stagnant paychecks. Again we have to ask: why?”

And Obama, in his weekly radio address, agreed that “any working family will tell you, we’re not where we need to be.”

The president said that for more than a decade, “working Americans have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar and the pay of a fortunate few explodes. For even longer than that, inequality has steadily risen; the journey of upward mobility has become harder.”

The president said that he’s been laying out his ideas for rebuilding the middle class, including “more chances for folks to earn their way into the middle class as long as they’re willing to work for it.”

But Fitzpatrick said that nearly five years into Obama’s presidency, workers are seeing nothing but roadblocks — especially Obamacare — coming out of Washington.

“[Obamacare is] driving up premiums, and forcing workers and their spouses out of plans that they like,” said Fitzpatrick. “Small companies say the taxes and government mandates make it more difficult for them to hire. Even doctors are warning that the law doesn’t come close to addressing the real problems in our healthcare system.”

He said Obama knows his program isn’t working, as he’s signed seven bills repealing or defunding it, and he’s handed out waivers and delays.

Obama’s energy policies are also causing concern, Fitzpatrick said.

“Republicans have an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will help lower prices, boost manufacturing, and improve our national security,” said Fitzpatrick. “But the president is blocking efforts to create jobs and make energy more affordable.”

He said the Keystone energy pipeline project is a prime example. It’s been five years since the project was proposed and since then it has passed environmental reviews and is supported by labor unions and enjoys bipartisan support in Congress.

“So why is the Obama administration still standing in the way of this ‘shovel-ready’ project?” he asked.

People are also concerned about the size and scope of the federal government, including the threat of higher taxes and red tape, said the Pennsylvania lawmaker.

“Republicans want to get spending under control and simplify the tax code – making it flatter and fairer for everyone,” said Fitzpatrick. “And we’ve passed several jobs bills to eliminate excessive regulations and bring common-sense oversight to the regulatory process.”

The Republican jobs plan focuses on breaking down government roadblocks, he said.
“We want to make sure that the workers we’re celebrating this weekend can keep doing what they do best: building. Creating. And preserving the American Dream for future generations,” Fitzpatrick concluded.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Under Obama 4 Out Of 5 U.S. Adults Struggle With Joblessness.


Shattering the American dream

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

obama-unemployment-4-out-of-5-americans-jobless

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused — on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines “economic insecurity” as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones.

“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty. He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.

“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” Wilson said. source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk

The New Definition of the American Dream.


The siren call of the American dream may not be as powerful as it once was, but we are still a nation of believers, new research shows. Like the American population, the demographics of those who believe in the dream have changed over time. But the majority of us still believe the U.S. is a place where anyone can achieve fame and fortune.

In fact, fame and fortune have replaced faith and family as the linchpins of the American dream, a survey of more than 500 U.S. adults over 18 discovered. The survey was conducted by JWT, amarketing communications company.

Almost two-thirds of Americans said the dream is different from what it used to be. The country is moving away from traditional notions of the ideal life — one centered around community and family, with religious faith and middle-class values as the guiding ethos — toward one focused on making and spending money and winning recognition, the survey found.

While the dream is very much alive and attainable, achieving it is more of a challenge, the survey found. Almost 7 in 10 respondents said the dream became harder to realize for middle-class people in the past five to 10 years, up from 4 in 10 in 2008. And some hold the conviction that white, native-born Americans have the cards stacked against them, even though statistics indicate otherwise.

The exceptionalism of the American dream is also being questioned by younger Americans. While a majority of older generations believe the dream is unique, only 4 in 10 millennials hold that view.

Despite everything, though, belief in the dream endures, dented though it may be.

“While the dream is losing its luster, and Americans recognize that it’s becoming significantly harder to achieve, the concept endures; 7 in 10 still believe in the idea, not much fewer than in 2008,” said Ann Mack, JWT’s director of trendspotting.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Ned Smith, BusinessNewsDaily Senior Writer | LiveScience.com

Voters React to Michelle Obama’s ‘Personal,’ ‘Real’ Speech.


First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Enlarge Photo

Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite – First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Yahoo! News asked voters to share their reactions to Michelle Obama’s address at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. In their own words, here are perspectives from voters across the nation.

***

Michelle Obama addressed a crowd that looked like the America I remember and the United States I want to live in, and she reminded us that she and her husband are real people, real people who had real dreams and real debt, real love and real obstacles. Yet there she stood, a role model, a mother, a wife, and our First Lady.

Though we’ve been told incessantly that the message of “Change” is tattered, worn, that it’s something we should discard as idealistic and naive, Obama reminded us that change does not come easily. It does not come without sacrifice.

It does not come without challenge.

“So today,” she said, “when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming — or even impossible — let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation.”

And once again, I felt a seedling take hold.

— Isa-Lee Wolf

***

Resplendent in rose-petal pink, Michelle Obama fired up the crowd with an impassioned, powerful speech at the Democratic National Party Convention’s opening night. Her non-partisan tone both expressed her family’s foundational principles, as well as her belief in Barack Obama’s vision of hard work, unconditional love and belief in the American Dream.

As a teacher and mother, I found her remarks deeply resonated with me. I also believe that how hard you work means much more than how much you make, and that living with unconditional love for your children, honesty, integrity, decency, humility and living by valuing everyone’s contribution and treating everyone with respect will make our country an even better place for our children and grandchildren.

— Jennifer Wolfe

***

Michelle Obama effectively delivered a speech that was not only formulaic, but also attempted to advance a philosophy that many Americans outside the convention hall find pernicious.

She praised ordinary Americans she has met in her career as a political wife — but all of them, from teachers to first responders to even people in the military, were employees of the government. Not one from the private sector.

When she delved into the political, defending her husband the president as well as her husband the man, she fell just a little flat. In Michelle Obama’s world view, all good things flow from government and all good things in government flow from President Obama. The crowd in the hall ate it up; it was served up with passion and finesse. But one suspects that the TV audience may have been a little skeptical.

— Mark Whittington

***

Michelle Obama’s message was personal: Her experience and Barack Obama’s experience is that of the American dream. We lived it, we understand it, and we are it. Her message was a mix of personal and policy — how America should treat everyone, no matter your color, your finances, your sex, or who you love.

And she was passionate. Michelle Obama said, “I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are. No, it reveals who you are.”

Obama gave a very good speech. She connected with me as a woman and a mother. It was a big speech and extremely well-done. Period.

— Laurie Jo Miller Farr

***

Evidently, I am supposed to be impressed by Barack Obama’s rusty car and poverty. It would seem I ought to feel some sort of kinship toward Mrs. Obama because her family had to take out loans to pay for her college tuition. It would seem that she is endeavoring to identify with me, specifically, as a middle-class woman, in her DNC speech.

Well, call me crazy, but I don’t. I don’t identify with Michelle Obama because I don’t want to be picked up in a rusty car. I want to drive my own car, and I would prefer it be a nice one. I also don’t think we ought to be encouraging all young people to take out student loans that will hang over their heads for a good portion of their adult life. Not all children want to go to college.

— Kathleen Ann

***

The genius of her speech was that it was not overly partisan, and it truly came from the heart. She also did something incredibly important: She humanized Barack Obama and brought him down to earth for everyone for and against him to see. The way Michelle sees it, being president hasn’t changed who Barack is but has instead revealed who he is, a man who is out to unite and not divide like many have accused him of doing.

Michelle’s speech was also a stirring reminder of how change is never easy and is accomplished over a long period of time. Many felt there was a lack of enthusiasm coming into the Democratic National Convention this evening, but the First Lady among other speakers gave rousing speeches that reminded voters that what they fought for in 2008 is still worth fighting for this November.

— Ben Kenber

***

As a first-generation college graduate struggling to make payments on my student loans, I felt Michelle Obama’s speech was extremely inspiring.

She mentioned in her presentation that the presidency does not change people; instead it reveals who they are. I completely agree because President Obama has not forgotten his lower-income background — because he lowered the percentage rate on student loans. I was already leaning toward voting for the Obama-Biden ticket, but Michelle’s speech clenched that decision for me, reminding me that Obama continues to help the middle class and that someone like me, who comes from a lower-income background, can still be very successful.

— Elizabeth Dorssom

***

Even the president would have found it difficult to follow Julián Castro’s speech, but First Lady Michelle Obama seemed to have pulled it off. She spoke about her travels across the country during the first few years in office. She mentioned the soldiers, business owners and regular people she met along the way.

She touched on many points to portray herself as an ordinary citizen, including her family’s struggles to overcome poverty. She said she still has concerns about how another four years would affect her daughters. She succeeded in representing herself as a regular person.

If I had any doubts about Obama’s sincerity, her speech would take them away.

— David Garrett Jr.

***

Michelle Obama told anecdotes showing President Obama’s personal side. “His prized possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster.” She spoke specifically about President Obama when he was still a senator. She told of the values instilled in her as a child — working hard to earn what you want out of life.

Ultimately, I must say, I was just as bored sitting through this speech as it seemed the convention-goers were. Even though there probably is not a better advocate for Barack Obama than Michelle Obama, I must admit I was not too moved by her personal accounts and insight in the Obama campaign. I was not inspired, after hearing this speech, to give President Obama my vote this November.

— D. Emile Delaney

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By  | Yahoo! Contributor Network

Michelle Obama: ‘Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it’.


(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE—First Lady Michelle Obama never once mentioned Mitt Romney‘s name. But in her speech before the Democratic National Convention speech Monday night, she offered a dramatic contrast between her husband, Barack Obama, and his Republican opponent, insisting he understands the struggles of average Americans because he’s lived through those tough times, too.

“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love,” Michelle Obama said. “He believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

It was a speech meant to bolster her husband’s legislative accomplishments — and it did, as the first lady touted the president’s push for health care reform, the auto industry bailout and efforts to keep down student loan interest rates.

But not unlike Ann Romney‘s speech on behalf of her husband at last week’s Republican National Convention, Michelle Obama also sought to humanize the president, and to remind voters of the working class background she and her husband came from. With tears in her eyes, she spoke of her father, a pump operator at a Chicago water plant, and how her husband was raised by a single mother and by his grandparents.

“We learned about dignity and decency — that how hard you work matters more than how much you make, that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. We learned about honesty and integrity; that the truth matters; that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules, and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square,” she said. “We learned about gratitude and humility; that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean, and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.”

Those are the values they are trying to pass on to their own children — and values that inform her husband’s job as president, she said.

“After so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are — it reveals who you are,” said Michelle Obama. “As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.”

Her husband, she said, “is thinking about folks like my dad and his grandmother” and is “thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day’s work.” It was a line meant to push back against Romney’s claims that Obama doesn’t understand how to create jobs because he’s never worked in the private sector. But it also offered a subtle contrast between her husband and Romney, who came from a well-off background.

She spoke of the student loan debts they incurred as a young married couple: “We were so young, so in love, and so in debt,” she said.

And she spoke of her husband’s skills as a father — which she insisted have been unchanged even despite the pressures of the presidency.

“People ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago,” she said, her eyes wet with tears.

Pushing back against GOP charges that her husband is driven by politics, Obama insisted there is no “us and them” for the president, that “he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or none of the above.”

She told voters her husband never lets himself “get distracted by the chatter and the noise.” He just keeps “getting up and moving forward,” she said.

“He reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once,” she said. “Many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.”

That has been the story of the American dream, the first lady said. “That is what has made my story, and Barack’s story, and so many other American stories possible.”

ARE YOU BETTER OFF NOW THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?

168,339 people have answered this question

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4%
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Not at all                             Very much so

Source: YAHOO NEWS.
By  | The Ticket

GOP OKs platform barring abortions, gay marriage.



  • Delegates celebrate with MITT! signs as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gets the necessary delegate votes to put him over the top and secure the Republican presidential nomination,<br />
during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)Enlarge Gallery
    Delegates celebrate with MITT! signs as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gets the necessary delegate votes to put him over the top and secure the Republican presidential nomination, during the second …more 

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs.

The document opens by warning that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.”

Both parties routinely approve platforms at their conventions every four years, meant to encapsulate their principles and goals. Much of their details are customarily ignored when it comes to actually governing.

Even so, a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found more people interested in the GOP platform than in the upcoming acceptance speeches by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. The survey found that 52 percent said they were interested in learning about the Republican platform, compared to 44 percent interested in Romney’s speech and 46 percent interested in Ryan’s.

“This ambitious blueprint projects a sea change in the way that government works,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who led the party’s platform committee. “It offers a solution for workers without jobs, families without savings and neighborhoods without hope.”

Democrats lambasted the platform and immediately sought to tie it to Romney, who has differed from some of its details. For instance, he has said he would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is threatened.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is among several Democrats in Tampa trying to get their party’s views heard, called the platform’s stances on abortion and immigration “draconian” and “extreme” and blamed Romney. “What you have seen from him is that he does one thing, he says another,” Villaraigosa said. “He has taken one position after another, time and again you know, and you can’t have it both ways.”

Here are key elements of the Republican platform:

JOB CREATION:

It states that the best jobs program is economic growth. “We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs.”

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SMALL BUSINESS:

The GOP pledges to reform the tax code to make it easier for businesses to generate more capital and create more jobs.

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TAXES:

“We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.”

It says a Republican administration would extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, pending reform of the tax code. It says the party would strive to eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains altogether for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. It also would work to repeal the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.

The party backs constitutional amendments to balance the federal budget and require a super majority for any tax increases.

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MARRIAGE:

The platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage. It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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VOTER INTEGRITY:

“Voter fraud is a political poison,” the platform says. It praises legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud.

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GUN CONTROL:

The party says it opposes legislation intended to restrict Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the assault weapons ban passed during the Clinton presidency.

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ABORTION:

The party states that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” It opposes using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.

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ENERGY:

The party is committed to domestic energy independence and an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, backing the exploration and development of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It criticizes the Obama administration for picking winners and losers in the energy sector and expresses support for new coal-fired plants that will be low-cost, environmentally responsible and efficient.

It adds: “We will end the EPA’s war on coal and encourage the increased safe development in all regions of the nation’s coal resources.” It calls on Congress to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations “that will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century.”

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MEDICARE and MEDICAID:

The platform pledges to move both Medicare and Medicaid away from “the current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.” It supports a Medicare transition to a premium-support model with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. Age eligibility in Medicare must be made more realistic in light of longer life spans.

Medicaid services for low income people would be transformed into a block grant program in which the states would be given the flexibility to determine the best programs for their residents.

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IMMIGRATION:

The platform makes clear that “we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it.” It demands that the Justice Department halt lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama and other states that have enacted tough measures against illegal immigrants. It says federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants. It advocates making English the official national language.

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HEALTH CARE:

It states that a Republican president on his first day in office would use his waiver authority to halt progress in carrying out the health care act pushed through by President Barack Obama and that Republican victories in November would guarantee that the act is never implemented. It proposes a Republican plan based on improving health care quality and lowering costs and a system that promotes the free market and gives consumers more choice.

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EDUCATION:

Republicans support consumer choice, including home schooling, local innovations such as single-sex classes, full-day school hours and year-round schools. It says Republicans renew their call for replacing family planning programs for teens “with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.”

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DEFENSE:

The platform says Republicans are “the party of peace through strength” and support the concept of American exceptionalism — “the conviction that our country holds a unique place and role in human history.” It criticizes the current administration for its weak positions toward such countries as North Korea, China and Iran and its reductions in military spending. The Republican national military strategy “restores as a principal objective the deterrence using the full spectrum of our military capabilities.”

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Alan Fram reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Peter Prengaman contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By ALAN FRAM and PHILIP ELLIOT | Associated Press

Michele Bachmann Running for Reelection.


Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is running for political office again.

Although the Republican conservative bowed out of the 2012 presidential race after the Iowa caucus, she filed for reelection to the 6th Congressional District in Minnesota on Monday.

Bachmann will run for her fourth term in Congress as a leader of conservative and common-sense solutions.

“Minnesotans see the slow recovery and sustained unemployment and they worry their children and grandchildren will never achieve the American Dream of independence,” Bachmann said. “The voters have said the economy is the number one issue of this election and they understand failed policies to spend our way out of this recession are simply not working.”

As she sees it, Minnesotans are ready for leadership that can create jobs, lower taxes and reduce government involvement in our businesses—and everyone is ready for America to get back to work, back to liberty and back to prosperity.

“From large projects like the St. Croix Bridge to personal issues like foster care, the sixth district has been my home for 40 years,” she said, “and I will continue to serve my constituents on the issues that matter to them.”

Bachmann is running in the sixth district that covers all of Benton, Sherburne and parts of Anoka, Carver, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties.

Bachman made history in Texas last week when she became only the second female candidate to win a GOP delegate—and the first in almost 50 years.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By Jennifer LeClaire

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