Economy

Tax cuts, unemployment and the deficit

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Fifty-five thousand people a day are losing their unemployment insurance because Congress won't extend benefits. Why? Well, gee, any federal spending will increase the deficit -- and like Herbert Hoover, everyone in Washington is talking about cutting deficits.Read more »

Workers rally against Newsom's layoff scheme

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By Jobert Poblete

Dozens of workers at San Francisco General Hospital rallied March 25 to protest layoffs there and throughout the city as ordered by Mayor Gavin Newsom. More than 17,000 city workers received layoff notices in the last few weeks, including hundreds at the hospital. The protest was organized by SEIU Local 1021, which represents around 12,000 city employees, 9,000 of whom have received pink slips. 

Many of these workers are expected to be re-hired as part-time employees, working 37.5 hours a week or less. The move is expected to shave $50 million from a more than $500 million budget deficit. The Mayor’s Office is calling this a “reorganization” that will minimize the impact on services and maintain employment. But the plan, which was proposed by Newsom last month without first consulting with the city’s unions, has met fierce resistance from employees and their labor representatives and is now the subject of negotiations between the mayor and 41 city employee unions. Read more »

Newsom's Orwellian doublespeak on city layoffs

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One of the things that irritates people most about Mayor Gavin Newsom is his Orwellian doublespeak, in which he makes claims that conflict with his actions, and that was on vivid display with his recent decision to lay off 15,000 city workers and then hire most of them back for shorter workweeks.Read more »

Protests demand more money for education

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Images from yesterday's protests by Charles Russo

Yesterday’s Day of Action to protest deep cuts in public education and other vital services was far larger – and occasionally more militant – than many had expected, sending a strong message to Sacramento that it’s time to pursue new revenue options instead of simply cutting the public sector to the bone.Read more »

Day of Action field reports

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We’re starting to get some field reports from today’s big Strike and Day of Action -- which culminates in a 5 p.m. rally in Civic Center Plaza -- from some Guardianistas who we have covering various marches. And it sounds like the turnout is big and lively.Read more »

Muni cuts spark popular backlash

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Tomorrow’s big showdown over the latest round of Muni service cuts and fare hikes seems to be galvanizing transit supporters and giving birth to a rejuvenated progressive advocacy effort, including a new transit riders union led by noted alternative transportation advocate Dave Snyder. And that hearing is just a prelude to a taxi medallion privatization plan that will be heard in the afternoon and another big Muni budget blowout on Tuesday.Read more »

Is Chevron lying about its crude plans?

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By Adam Lesser

William Rostov, the Earthjustice lawyer who represents three Bay Area environmental groups, broke it down: “The question is: will it be heavier and will that result in more pollution?” He was speaking about crude oil refining at Chevron’s Richmond refinery as he addressed California’s First Appellate Court in San Francisco this morning. Heavier crude oil is usually less expensive for oil companies to purchase but generates more pollution during the refining process.Read more »

Drinking the tea, ignoring the facts

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Listening to members of the Tea Party movement on KQED’s Forum this morning, I and many callers to the show were struck by the basic inaccuracy of their core beliefs, these revanchist delusions about what’s in the U.S. Constitution and how this country really operates.

There’s a lot of justifiable anxiety out there over the state of the country, and the Tea Party movement has tapped into that with bumper sticker slogans that are just broad enough to capture alienated Americans from across the political spectrum. One recent poll shows that 41 percent of respondents are sympathize with the movement, stronger support than either major political party now enjoys.

But facts should matter, and they just don’t to many teabaggers or their high priestess, Sarah Palin, who is headlining the current national Tea Party convention in Nashville. For example, the two self-described “patriots” on this morning’s show railed against all the unconstitutional actions of the runaway federal government in ways that reveal an astonishing ignorance about the document they claim to prize so highly.

Read more »