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Paul Giorgio: The State of Disunity

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

 

Last night, approximately one year after his second Inauguration, President Barack Obama laid out in his State of the Union address, the agenda for the remainder of his second term. In a shift from his usual above-the-fray approach, Obama has begun to remind Americans why he was elected and what he hopes to accomplish.

His goal is simple enough–raise the living standards of the working poor and the middle class-and in doing that he hopes to raise a generation of Americans out of poverty.

We have a disparity of wealth in this country, where the top one percent controls 40% of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 80% control just 7%. In most of the world, that would be called an oligarchy. That is wrong. I am not against wealth. It is just that this country cannot survive or thrive if this continues.

Unemployment and minimum wage

So what are President Obama’s goals for the coming year? They are to raise the Federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.75 per hour or $310 per 40 hour work week, and below our state wage of $8.00. The second goal is to extend unemployment benefits to millions of American who had them cut at the end of 2013. The third goal is to provide access to a college education for more of our young people.

These are laudable and simple goals to achieve. But not with a Republican controlled House of Representatives and a Senate where every action is blocked by Mitch McConnell. McConnell, the Republican Leader, said when President Obama was sworn in that his “only goal was to block anything this president tried to do.”

McConnell has kept his word, and, in doing so, has hurt countless Americans.
Barack Obama inherited the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. He has steadily worked to bring the economy back, without the help of the Republicans and without what Franklin Roosevelt had-World War II. Five years into his presidency, the economy is stronger, unemployment is dropping and the Dow Jones is at 16,000 up from the7949 on January 20, 2009.

How have the Republicans helped the situation? They voted against the jobs bill and the economic recovery act, then complained that unemployment was too high, then voted against extending unemployment benefits.

Will the Republicans reach across the aisle to help their fellow American and President Obama achieve his goals? I think not. They are already warning the President that if he tries to go it alone he will sacrifice whatever he hopes to accomplish. This is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

Executive action to help average Americans

President Obama has told us that he will use executive action, wherever and whenever it is permitted, to help average Americans. On Tuesday morning he raised the Federal minimum wage on all Federal contracts. More such extraordinary action is planned.

How have the Republicans shown that they want to help their fellow countryman and work with the President? In the days proceeding, last night’s Sate of the Union address, they are proposing an $8 billion cut in the food stamp program.

Cutting food stamps hurts the poor. But it also hurts farmers, farm supply companies and retailers just as hard. There is a multiplier effect to that money.

President Obama can thank the American Public when his plan succeeds, because they actually get it. They see the poverty around them. They see the disparity in wealth.

As usual, the President ended his speech with the words “The State of the Union is fine.” But we do need Congress to act to make the State of our Union great and fair.

 

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The Brothers Tsarnaev set off more than the two bombs they are alleged to have planted at the Boston Marathon a few weeks ago. In fact, it appears that they have also detonated a political bomb that will tumble candidates and shape debates through the next presidential election cycle.

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Chronic Absenteeism And What We Can Do About It

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Governor - Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

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One cannot help but be impressed by the things the Governor got right in his State of the State address this year nor avoid being disappointed by the things he seems to still misrepresent.

As the very famous Republican, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

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Where Do You Stay, Markey?

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With the 2013 US Senate primaries ended in Massachusetts, the residents of the Bay State have their choices to replace out-going (hardly outgoing) US Senator John Kerry: Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset, or Congressman Edward Markey of Medford, or is it Malden, or is it Maryland (Chevy Chase, to be precise, and this is no National Lampoon, either). Frankly, the first question Massachusetts residents ask has to do with his primary residence. In other words: "Where does Markey make his mark?" On the street, they would say: "Where do you stay, Markey?"

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Stephen Lynch’s Convictions Wilt in Democratic Primary

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Stephen Lynch has long been the most conservative member of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation. As Lynch himself crassly put it, “Calling me the least liberal member from Massachusetts is like calling me the slowest Kenyan in the Boston Marathon.”

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Last week I had the opportunity to have meet Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker and hear him speak on a number of issues facing the state.

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FlyORH: What Worcester’s Airport Needs Right Now

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Over the past few months, I have gotten a lot of feedback.

  • We need other destinations; for example, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Florida Gulf Coast destinations and New York City.
  • Tickets are lower out of Boston.
  • Direct Air had better prices.

First, starting November 7, 2013 daily service begins to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale with JetBlue. If we can make these two routes successful, I am sure all of these other destinations will look into ORH.

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Scott Brown is Sarah Palin in a Suit

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Let’s get this straight, Scott Brown is delusional. He is nothing more than Sarah Palin in a suit. No, scratch that--Sarah Palin in a Barn Jacket is more apropos. His latest gambit in his attempt to be relevant is laughable. '

Last week former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown showed up in Iowa ostensibly to test the presidential waters. Then again, maybe he might have thought that the Marshfield Fair didn’t offer corn dogs as good as those at the Iowa State Fair.

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By John Monfredo

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Will 2014 Be the GOP Year in MA?

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t's a perfect political storm: President Obama's popularity is down, voters are angry over his unpopular health care law, and Republicans are energized and excited about voting. Just the conditions a minority party like the Massachusetts GOP needs to pick up a governorship and send a couple of Republicans to Congress.

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