Weekly Update September 13th, 2015

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Federal deficit falling to lowest in Obama presidency
By Susan Davis

The federal government's 2015 budget deficit will fall slightly this year to $468 billion, the lowest since President Obama took office, according to the annual budget outlook released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The annual deficit topped $1 trillion for each of Obama's first four years in office, including a record $1.4 trillion in 2009. Deficits have since fallen due to a combination of federal spending cuts and economic growth. The government had a shortfall of $483 billion in 2014.

"In CBO's estimation, increases in consumer spending, business investment and residential investment will drive the economic expansion this year and over the next few years," states the report.

CBO also projects the unemployment rate will fall further -- to 5.3% by 2017 -- as more people are encouraged to enter or stay in the workforce. The budget agency estimates that the number of U.S. residents without health insurance will drop from 42 million last year to 36 million this year, largely because the Affordable Care Act.

Top Democrats hailed the budget outlook as proof that Obama's economic policies have been effective. "Over the last few years as deficits have fallen, so too has the effectiveness of Republican rhetoric about a 'big government' boogeyman," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Read more at USAToday.
Robert Reich To GOP: Start Jailing Wall Street Crooks & Stop Obsessing Over People’s Sex Lives
By John Prager

Political economist Robert Reich slammed Republicans for focusing on regulating their version of morality in private lives while ignoring actual issues our country faces today. While you can’t throw a stone without hitting a conservative screaming about the sanctity of his or her eleventeenth marriage, it is quite irregular to find one of these patriots questioning the way the monied elite are funneling our money into their pockets.

“At a time many Republican presidential candidates and state legislators are furiously focusing on private morality – what people do in their bedrooms, contraception, abortion, gay marriage – America is experiencing a far more significant crisis in public morality,” Reich wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday. He pointed out that, today, CEOs make 300 times morethan the average worker. In fact, between 1978 and 2014, there is been a 997 percent increase in inflation-adjusted CEO compensation.

This presents an issue, of course, in light of Citizens United and the role it has played in allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to pump unlimited money — excuse me, “free speech” into whichever candidate whose loyalty they wish to purchase.

Read more at Occupy Democrats.
Lawmakers Who Hailed 9/11 Heroes Still Shun Bill To Help Them
Jon Stewart will ask them to make up for it next week.

By Michael McAuliff

Most members of Congress had something to say about never forgetting the heroes of 9/11 as the 14th anniversary of those attacks passed Friday, but by the end of the day, only about a third of federal lawmakers had signed onto new legislation to aid those ailing responders.

The old law to help those responders passed nearly five years ago. It begins expiring next month, yet legislation to extend that aid remains stuck in Congress. More than a dozen lawmakers threw their support behind the bill over the last week, but that brings the numbers to only 145 out of 435 House members and 37 of 100 senators.

That’s far fewer than the majority required to pass a long-term version of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and head off interruptions in care to more than 33,000 ill 9/11 responders around the country.

Yet many of the legislators who wrapped themselves in declarations of “Never Forget” on the Friday anniversary are among those who have not backed the bill, or even voted against the original measure.

Read more at Huffington Post.
Scott Walker's anti-union fantasy isn't working for him anymore
By John Nichols

There is modest irony in the fact that Scott Walker hopes to revive his collapsing campaign for the Republican presidential nomination with a scheme to follow the traditional Labor Day pivot point of the electoral schedule with a new push to position himself as the most ardently anti-union presidential candidate since Robert “Taft-Hartley” Taft mounted his failing bid for the Republican nomination in 1952.

In fairness to Taft, the late Ohio senator was never so unsympathetic to working Americans as the current Wisconsin governor. But Taft had attached his name to a legislative assault on the internationally respected right to organize unions and to collectively bargain — an initiative that invited Southern segregationists to enact so-called “right-to-work” laws, which dramatically undermined the Congress of Industrial Organizations’ “Operation Dixie” and related efforts to develop multiracial economic and social cooperation in the region.

Of course, Walker will not run as well as Taft did in his failed-but-credible attempt to wrestle the 1952 nomination from Dwight Eisenhower — a mainstream Republican who, as president, would renew the party’s historic commitment to respect, and in many instances aid, unions.

Walker’s campaign is in crisis. At the start of August, he was widely considered to be one of the top three contenders for the nomination. His poll standing was such that Fox News positioned him right next to emerging front-runner Donald Trump on the stage at the first debate. But Walker’s performance in that debate was dismal. His answers were vapid, and inquiries from the Fox hosts about his ever-changing positions and empty promises embarrassed a candidate who has always relied on Midwest-nice media to let him avoid questions about his competence.

Walker’s poll numbers plummeted nationally, in the first-primary state of New Hampshire and eventually in the essential first-caucus state of Iowa.

Walker’s circumstance is so dismal that pre-Labor Day polls had him falling to eighth place in the national competition, with just 3 percent support. He is now perilously close to dropping below the line of qualification for the main stage in upcoming debates. If that happens, Walker could find himself debating Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal rather than Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.

The D.C.-insider website Politico convened a panel of analysts who dubbed Walker “the biggest loser of the summer.” Noting the ridiculous title of Walker’s ghost-written campaign book, one political seer concluded that “‘Unintimidated’ has given way to ‘uninformed’ and ‘unprepared.’”

Read more at The Capitol Times.

Which Political Party Has Created More Jobs?
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by economist Steven Stoft, in the 75 years from Fiscal Year 1940 to Fiscal Year 2014, Democratic Administrations have generated 58 Million private sector jobs, while Republican Administrations  have generated 26 Million private sector jobs.

Other news highlights,
Friday, we honored the 2,997 people lost their lives in the deadliest terror attack ever to take place on American soil. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released a statement on this somber day of remembrance. “We have chosen to mark this anniversary as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Thus, by working together to help others, we show our enemies that they have not weakened us, but have instead strengthened the bonds and values that are what is best about America.” You can read our Chair’s full statement here

Earlier this week, GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush proposed a tax plan that would slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans and shift the burden onto the middle class. DNC National Press Secretary Holly Shulman responded, “Just as he did in Florida, Bush is embracing a disastrous economic agenda that benefits himself, and those like himself, while leaving the middle class out to dry.” Check out the full DNC response to Bush’s tax plan here.

In New Hampshire, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was unable to talk about what he would do as president. When asked this week for a concrete position on migration policy, Walker responded, “I’m not president today, and I can’t be president today. Everybody wants to talk about hypotheticals; there is no such thing as a hypothetical,” Our Factivists are back with more on Walker’s lack of a concrete position here.

It has been two years since the Bridgegate controversy that has dogged the candidacy of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The ongoing investigation has most recently led to the resignation of prominent Christie supporter, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek over his potential role in corrupt activities at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Check out more on the continuing scandal from our Factivists here.


State Superintendent Tony Evers 

invites you to attend the 

State of Education


Teachers of the Year Recognition

Friends of Education Awards 

Thursday, September 17, 2015 Noon - 1:00 pm

State Capitol

First floor Rotunda Madison, WI 

RSVP by Friday, September 11th via e-mail to: 


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