By Jesse Russell
The majority of Americans now believe the U.S. is headed toward a recession and that it could hit us in the next three to six months. A survey by America’s Research Group found that only 40 percent felt a recession was not likely. One-third of consumers feel worse off then they did last Christmas season with 21.5 percent expecting to spend less this year.
The dollar hit a major peak in 2001 – but since then it has been all downhill with the steepest decline coming during the past six months. Jesse Russell takes a look:
By Jesse Russell
George Washington lost ground to a loonie on Wednesday as the Canadian dollar jumped two cents on Wednesday breaking the $1.10 value mark against the U.S. dollar. In the U.K. the dollar also hit a 26-year low against the pound which now is valued at $2.10. And as for the Euro, that is now valued at $1.47. The dollar had been enjoying a steady climb that started in 1996 until it hit a wall in February of 2002. Since that time the dollar has lost 35 percent of its value with 12.5 percent of that drop in the last year and 1.5 percent of the drop in the last week alone. Why? The sleeping dragon is awake and seeking a new way to finance its treasure. According to UK’s Guardian Unlimited, on Tuesday the Vice Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress told a conference in Beijing that the country would be favoring stronger currencies over weaker ones. That was followed by comments from the vice director of China’s central bank who said the dollar was “losing its status as a world currency. Economists also cite skyrocketing oil prices, the collapsing sub-prime mortgage market, and a dependency on credit as additional reasons for the fall.
By Doug Cunningham
[Sweeney]: “Hundreds of thousands of working families mobilized to change the state’s direction and oust anti-worker governor Ernie Fletcher.”
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Steve Beshear, the labor-backed candidate for Kentucky governor, beat the incumbent Republican by a landslide and union voters provided that overwhelming margin of victory.
[Sweeney2]: “Candidates who don’t have working people’s best interests had better watch out, because I’ve never seen our members this enthusiastic and ready for change. And they want an America that works for working people.”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is running a radio ad attacking Democratic health care proposals. In it, he says he was lucky to have gotten cancer treatment through the U.S. health care system, claiming the prostate cancer survival rate of 82 percent here is twice the rate in England.
The only problem: The claim he’s making is completely untrue. As economist Paul Krugman notes:
You see, the actual survival rate in Britain is 74.4 percent. That still looks a bit lower than the U.S. rate, but the difference turns out to be mainly a statistical illusion. The details are technical, but the bottom line is that a man’s chance of dying from prostate cancer is about the same in Britain as it is in America.
So Mr. Giuliani’s supposed killer statistic about the defects of “socialized medicine” is entirely false.
And what’s more, Giuliani’s treatment came while he was covered by a plan provided through the State of New York—a plan not unlike one proposed by several Democratic candidates, proposals that Giuliani is attacking in this very ad.
Working Americans already know the results of decades of conservative rule: wages are stagnant, health care is too expensive if you can get it, children’s toys are toxic, food is unsafe and financial institutions are ready to foreclose on your home.
And the news isn’t getting any better. Today, oil prices hit a new record high, just in time for the winter heating season. Meanwhile, the value of the dollar is sinking. London Yank reports on Daily Kos the value of the dollar slipped by one-third and is still falling after reports that China, our biggest debt holder, will soon start dropping dollars like hot potatoes. At the same time, unemployment is worsening and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.
In an off-year election season, what happens when thousands of union volunteers take to the neighborhoods, worksites and phonebanks to talk with union family voters about issues? Dan Duncan, president of the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council had the answer yesterday.
We’re seeing presidential year turn out!
In Kentucky, anti-worker incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) is looking for a new job. Bluegrass State union members voted in former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, whose support for working family issues contrasts sharply with those of Fletcher, who cancelled collective bargaining rights for state workers, privatized the state’s Medicaid program and attacked workers’ wages.
Union voters supported Beshear by a margin of 77 percent to 21 percent, according to an independent election night survey. Union household voters were estimated to be one in four voters at the polls. (Find out what else Kentucky union voters have to say here, where we highlight the election night survey results.)
UPDATE: The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee has contributed $10,000 to help the striking nurses at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare.
After the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) hospitals forced 700 registered nurses out on strike more than five weeks ago, the nurses have stood strong in the face of management’s vitriolic anti-union campaign.
The nurses, members of the United American Nurses (UAN) at nine hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia, had sought to negotiate a contract with safer staffing levels and higher patient care standards.
Yesterday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka delivered a $20,000 check to aid the nurses on strike at the ARH hospitals (see video).
When working families vote, working families win. Yesterday, they did both.
In Kentucky, an unprecedented mobilization by the state’s unions helped fuel a landslide win—59–41 percent for Steve Beshear (D) who unseated incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) in a victory especially sweet for working families. Fletcher canceled bargaining rights for state employees, privatized Kentucky’s Medicaid program and took other anti-worker stands.
Virginia union members, who knocked on doors, volunteered at phone banks and talked to their co-workers, were instrumental in ending more than decade of conservative Republican control of the Virginia state Senate. The four-seat pickup gives Democrats a 21–19 edge.
Check back later today when we will have more details on the Kentucky and Virginia races, plus reports from New Jersey, where 51 union members were running for state and local offices and other key contests across the nation.