Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
The next drama shaping up in Washington is one almost all Americans don’t want—cutting retirement benefits earned over a lifetime. At least nine Democratic senators are lining up with Republicans looking for big spending and tax cuts.
“It’s a horrible negotiating position,” said Warren Gunnels, senior policy advisor to Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-VT, who has been appointed to the 2013 federal budget conference committee, where the debate is taking shape.
“You hear these people saying, ‘We have to be the adults at the table and the Republicans don’t negotiate. Aren’t we reasonable?’” he continued. “A more reasonable position is a majority of Americans don’t want Social Security, Medicare and Medicare cut at all. Why don’t we have one political party represent what a majority of people want?”
Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform project has experienced criticism concerning the social implications of his Universal Credit and the nationwide cap on benefits at £26,000.
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary is seeking to introduce a £26,000 household benefit cap. The new scheme, called Universal Credit, will dispose of the main existing benefits, replacing them with one integrated system; it aims to combine the main means-tested benefits and tax credits into one collective benefit with the intention of “making work pay”.
Benefits will be paid to claimants on a monthly basis (unlike the current fortnightly basis) to only one member of the household and will be predominantly IT based, with individuals needing to apply, claim and manage their account online.
What’s more, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) plan to introduce so-called “in-work conditionality”, which enforces reductions in claimant’s universal credit payments if they do not extend their hours upon starting work.
Ministers say that the £500 weekly cap – equivalent to the medium income of working households – will introduce fairness into the benefit system and provide more of an incentive for claimants to find work.
The government argues that it is unfair that families on benefits should receive more than the average working family.
Most people would accept that principle.
Claimant count falls in Swansea but rises in Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire | This is South Wales
In Carmarthenshire the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose from 3,606 to 3,689 in the same period.
In Neath Port Talbot the claimant count rose from 3,256 in September to 3,316 in October.
The news comes as American mining giant Walter Energy is consulting with 270 workers at the Aberpergwm Colliery on plans to suspend activities at the Neath Valley mine.
In contrast house builder Persimmon and regeneration specialist St Modwen officially started work on the second phase of housing at the Coed Darcy Urban Village at Llandarcy on Monday this week which is expected to create 880 construction jobs.
President Obama on Wednesday declared that he would not extend tax cuts at upper income levels but that Congress should quickly do so for the middle class, and he praised David H. Petraeus’s record while saying that national security had not been compromised during the intelligence official’s affair with his biographer.
Easily the most dramatic sequence in a rather strong press conference performance today by President Barack Obama was his vehement defense of UN Ambassador Susan Rice against attacks by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Those two worthies said that they would go all out to prevent Rice’s confirmation by the Senate should Obama appoint her to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This due to Rice’s comments on a Sunday chat show about the Benghazi disaster several days after. Rice said then that the attack grew out of a protest against the notorious hate-Islam video Innocence of Muslims.
Obama was outraged by the McCain/Graham attacks on Rice.
“Let me say specifically about Susan Rice: She has done exemplary work. She has represented the U.S. and our interests in the U.N. with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace,” said Mr. Obama. “If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? To besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
Clearly Rice was wrong, and just as clearly the attack was simply that, an attack. Nobody brings machine guns and rocket launchers to a protest demonstration. And of course, it turns out that not only was the protest not simply a cover for the attack, it turns out that there was no protest at all.
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has denied reports that the timeline for Universal Credit (UC) will be delayed.
The Financial Times claimed yesterday that the government is “prepared to delay its flagship welfare reform amid fears the complex changes may need to be more thoroughly tested”.
However A DWP spokesman said: “The timeline for bringing existing benefit claimants onto UC remains unchanged and we will roll out a pathfinder of the new benefit in April next year.”
The administration of the government’s welfare reform, due for completion in 2017, relies on payroll Real Time Information (RTI) data.
The mentally ill are still neglected and stigmatised – just as I found they were 10 years ago – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent
Ten years ago I spent six months touring the country observing the care provided to people with mental illness for a book I was writing. Pure Madness, published in 2003, described a system “driven by fear”, in which risk reduction and protection of the public was the priority, rather than the care of patients. The public and political focus on the tiny numbers who posed a risk had distracted attention from the “huge majority of frightened, disturbed people whose suffering remains largely hidden”, I wrote.
When I was asked to join the Schizophrenia Commission last year I was delighted to have the chance to look again at the mental health service a decade on from my earlier investigation. What I found was profoundly disheartening.
Despite billions of pounds of extra investment in the NHS, which had brought many improvements in resources, staffing and buildings, the plight of the patients and their carers seemed, depressingly, unchanged.
Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government
The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
Mitt Romney’s former economic adviser Glenn Hubbard published an op-ed in the Financial Times Tuesday calling for higher tax rates on the wealthy and urging Republicans to outline specific spending cuts rather than vague across-the-board reductions in government spending. Hubbard’s comments are noteworthy because Romney resisted both policies during his run for the presidency.
“What should those negotiating the fiscal cliff do?” Hubbard wrote. “The first step is to raise average (not marginal) tax rates on upper-income taxpayers. Revenue increases should first come from these individuals. This means closing loopholes … Republicans cannot argue for low tax rates without being clear about where [spending] cuts must come from.”