By Jesse Russell
There is some good news on the cancer front. The cancer death rate for children in the U.S. dropped 20 percent from 1990 to 2004. The death rate declined by 1.7 percent per year according to the Center for Disease Control. The CDC cites better treatment for certain types of cancer including leukemia which is the leading cause of cancer death amongst children.
By Doug Cunningham
Supporters of abused Smithfield Foods workers will protest celebrity chef Paula Deen’s promotion deal with the hog processor on Monday in Savannah, Georgia. Deen promised to meet with workers about conditions at Smithfield but hasn’t so far. Smithfield worker Ronnie Ann Simmons says Deen is partnering with a company that’s hurting workers.
By Doug Cunningham
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says after sitting idly by for months while countless Americans saw their home ownership dreams sli away the Bush administration is now doing too little too late to address the crisis. Sweeny says a moratorium on sub-prime mortgage foreclosures for at least 6-12 months is needed – not just a limited freeze on some interest rates. Without such a moratorium on foreclosures so loans can restructured, Sweeney says, the record wave of foreclosures will crush the economy. The AFL-CIO says housing markets must be stabilized to prevent cascading defaults throughout the economy.
On the same day President Bush attempted to shine some sunlight through the dark foreclosure skies, a new report rolled in the darkest yet. Jesse Russell reports:
Another home foreclosure record has been broken. The Mortgage Bankers Association released data on Thursday showing that nearly 994,000 U.S. households are in the foreclosure process. 43 percent of the loans entering foreclosure in the third closure were subprime adjustable rate mortgages with the other 57 percent made up of higher quality loans. Late payments of mortgages are at their highest point since 1986. The news of the record increase of foreclosures was somewhat softened as President George W. Bush rolled out a quick fix for some homeowners. His new plan only covers adjustable rate mortgages resetting in 2008 if the homeowner is unable to continue making payments at the higher rate. An analysis of by investment banker Barclays Capital for the New York Times found that only 240,000 of the 2.2 million subprime mortgages resetting to a higher rate will be covered by the new plan.
This is a crosspost from Firedoglake. Seth Michaels, our AFL-CIO presidential website coordinator, joins me in writing this blog. Thanks, Seth!
So what if the 2008 primaries are literally days away? We still have work to do in the 2007 elections.
On Dec. 11, a special election in Ohio’s 5th Congressional District pits a hangover from the old Ohio Republican agenda against a progressive who’s willing to fight for working families. The business-as-usual state representative, Bob Latta, won a nasty primary to become the Republican nominee. Democrat Robin Weirauch opposes bad trade deals, supports the pro-worker Employee Free Choice Act and has spoken out against Bush’s maneuvers to deny health care coverage to millions of the nation’s children.
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The nation needs a bold plan to address the housing loan crisis, beginning with an immediate moratorium on foreclosures on subprime mortgages, and the AFL-CIO today unveiled the steps needed to be taken to prevent America’s home owners from disaster and the country from economic freefall.
Testifying today before Congress, AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Damon Silvers outlined our plan.
- Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures on foreclosures on subprime mortgages—any mortgage with a teaser rate structure.
- Restructure subprime loans for 30 years at the original low teaser rates
- Reward restructuring—not foreclosures. Loan servicers must renounce those servicing agreements that reward mortgage companies for foreclosing on homes rather than encourage refinancing or other workout strategies.
- Demand that mortgage servicers commit to publicly reporting company by company how many subprime loans they are servicing; how many have reset; how many have been restructured; and how many foreclosures are occurring and where.
- The federal government must reach out to subprime borrowers to let them know how they can keep their homes.
With election season heating up, we’re starting to see the same anti-worker, anti-government schemes from the extremist fringe voters repeatedly have turned down.
The first showdown comes this Jan. 29, when Florida voters will decide on a phony property tax “reform” scheme. The proposed constitutional amendment will benefit Big Business, part-time residents and wealthy beachfront property owners rather than working families. It also will force major funding cuts in education, police and fire protection and other essential services.
Fittingly, the toll-free number to aid struggling homeowners that President Bush announced today is….not working.
Repeated calls to 1-800-995-HOPE yield the kind of rapid-fire busy signal you get when the phone lines are down.
Bush announced the number as part of his plan to freeze interest rates on subprime mortgages scheduled to rise in the coming months, a plan that falls far short of real help for homeowners and the nation’s economy.
So, once again, the Bush administration has crashed the system.
Time to just hang it up..