Real Economy Project

Hide the Kids, the Elderly, the Sick & the Poor! Paul Ryan is Headed for the Cliff

After an electoral shellacking and exit polls that show the vast majority of Americans are on Barack Obama's side when it comes to the major issues of the day, Paul Ryan is headed back to Congress convinced that he espouses "very popular ideas" and calling the 2012 results "a very close election."

With this mind-set Ryan is prepping to turn the "fiscal cliff" austerity debate to the advantage of the Social Security bashers and Medicare slashers.

Newt Gingrich Says Freddie Mac is Just Like a Credit Union

Newt GingrichPresidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have been publicly going at it, trying to discredit one another in order to gain the frontrunner status in the GOP primary race. At the GOP debate in Florida, Romney accused Gingrich of being an "influence peddler" for his lucrative role consulting for the Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Freddie Mac, which many right-wingers blame for the subprime mortgage mess. In his response, Gingrich said "there are many different kinds of government-sponsored enterprises and many of them have done very good things" and likened Freddie Mac to electric cooperatives and federal credit unions.

But neither electric cooperatives nor credit unions are GSE's and this is the second time in recent presidential debates that Gingrich has used this line. Freddie Mac -- from which Gingrich has reportedly received $1.6 million in contracts -- is a quasi-governmental entity which the U.S. government backstops with loans and guarantees.
Very few institutions fit this description. On the other hand, credit unions are private nonprofit cooperatives, which are organized under charters authorized by either federal or state agencies. They do not receive funding from the U.S. government. In the case of Freddie Mac, the institution had to be bailed out by the Federal Reserve after its role in the subprime mortgage crisis, so now it is partially owned by the U.S. government.

While Gingrich has stated that he was not a lobbyist for the Freddie Mac, a recently released contract shows that Gingrich reported to Freddie Mac's director of public policy, essentially the group's top lobbyist.


Scott Walker’s Plutonomy: An Economy for the One Percent

While volunteer after volunteer from each of Wisconsin's 72 counties marched into the state's election board to deposit over one million signatures for the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Walker was nowhere to be found.

At the hour petitions were being deposited on January 17, Mother Jones revealed that Walker was scheduled to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in the heart of the New York's financial district at 339 Park Avenue -- the towering headquarters for global financial giant CitiGroup. The $5,000 per couple fundraiser was hosted by none other than Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, former CEO of AIG.

WI Recall Petitions Under Guard as "GAB CAM" Goes Live

So many signatures were delivered demanding the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other state officials, that one scribe dubbed it the "greatest popular democracy movement in Wisconsin history." Over 30,000 volunteers collected over 1.9 million signatures and delivered them to the state's nonpartisan elections board on January 17.

Volunteers exceeded all expectations, delivering 1 million petitions for the recall of Scott Walker, an amount equivalent to 46 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial race. Never had so many, in the history of the United States, petitioned for the recall of a governor.

One Million Petition for the Recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Photo: Ellen HollyThe petition drive to recall and remove Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has surpassed all expectations, collecting over one million signatures in just 60 days.

Petitioners were only required to collect 540,000 by law. They far exceeded this number, making a successful legal challenge of the recall highly unlikely. This is the largest recall in U.S. history. Volunteers also gathered over 845,000 signatures to recall Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, as well enough signatures for four of the state senators who voted for Walker's collective bargaining bill in March 2011, adding hundreds of thousands more petitions to a pile estimated to weigh over one ton.

The Governor was not immediately available for comment. At the moment the recall petitions were being filed, he was the guest of Citibank on Wall Street at a high-dollar recall fundraiser.

Spinning the Occupation

As winter sets in and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) encampments contract, the three-month old movement continues to have a big impact on the campaign trail. President Obama as well as some GOP candidates have adopted OWS concerns and language, while big bank lobbyists and GOP spinmeisters work hard to hold the line, defending U.S. economic institutions and the American "free market" system against what they fear could be a broad-based populist uprising.


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