BREAKING NEWS — “Too few American families are living in economically secure households, with most workers unable to stretch their incomes over basic expenses and savings,” said Joan Kuriansky, Wider Opportunities for Women’s Executive Director. “The American Dream of working hard to support your family is being re-written by the growth of low-paying industries and rising expenses.”
According to the BEST report released by the Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) organization, “…jobs created in the coming years will not provide economic security wages to the majority of workers who do not have 4-year college degrees. Fewer than 13% of jobs the US Department of Labor expects to be created by 2018 are likely to provide economic security to a single parent raising two or more children. A small majority of new jobs are expected to pay economic security wages for single workers without children, and approximately 43% of the new jobs will pay economic security wages for two workers raising two young children.”
As Congress debates how to make ends meet, the following cuts are on the chopping block:
- Cuts to virtually all funding for Department of Labor job training programs this year, from the Workforce Investment Act to on-the job training for older workers.
- Cuts to the Community Services Block Grant, which provides access to employment, nutrition and other vital services that help low-income people find jobs and move into the middle class.
- Cuts to Medicaid, which covers health care for low-income families across the generations and is the major source of funding for long-term care. If turned into a block grant, as has been suggested by some, such cuts could result in loss of health care jobs as well as services for patients of all ages.
At the same time, Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News stated that the pay raises of some top CEOs received last year were nearly identical to the pay raises they received BEFORE the recession. Ouch.
In the race for the 1st Middlesex district, Chris Doherty (D-Lowell) and Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) will face off in their first debate tonight.
The debate is scheduled to take place today in Lowell. It is to be aired on radio station 980 AM from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Be sure to tune in as it is bound to get very interesting very quickly.
Both candidates have slightly different stances on the issues, so tonight will be the first chance for voters to discover what makes each candidate unique. So far, both are courting small business owners in an effort to win their vote. To that end, Doherty would likely support measures that would allow small businesses to delay payment of their filing fees in order to help them get off the ground. Donoghue is slightly more focused on helping local businesses by working with small businesses to drive down their costs associated with health insurance. In this sense, Doherty seems to follow more of a hands off approach (he seems to prefer small businesses work together on their own to increase competition), whereas Donoghue appears to take a more proactive role.
With the immigration debate being a big issue, protesters took action across Massachusetts. Opponents of Arizona law S.B. 1070 marched at the National Governors Association meeting that was held in Boston. The Boston City council backed off of its boycott of Arizona-based businesses after receiving heat. A poll conducted by the Boston Herald revealed that many residents were frustrated by the boycott.
July also saw the burgeoning Tea Party movement split in half. This division came to pass after several groups within the movement were associated with outspoken critics of the president and current policy. Mass.-based chapters seem determined to carry on despite the criticism the movement has received.
July also saw the expansion of unemployment benefits. For Massachusetts, that meant that approximately 70, 000 residents gained financial help for a few more months. The bill passed by a vote of 272-152 in the House. Senator Brown proposed an alternative funding source for the measure but his amendment was not passed.
On the casino gambling front, state legislators that supported the bill faced firm opposition. The problem seemed to have begun over the House’s introduction of slot machines at all of the race tracks, or “racinos”, which both Patrick and the Senate refused. The stalemate lasted until the last possible moment when the House and Senate agreed to slot machines at only two of the racetracks. Though that version passed just before the end of the session, its fate is not yet determined because Patrick doesn’t support the current version.
Just as the legislature was wrapping up its current session, both the House and the Senate passed measures in favor of a national popular vote. As a result, Massachusetts is now part of a “pact” with five other states to give all of their votes to the candidate that wins the national popular vote. A major sticking point, according to opponents, is that it ignores the stated amendment process contained within the U.S. Constitution.
The month of July started with president approval ratings holding steady at 46% for the first few weeks. By the second half of the month, President Obama’s ratings dropped down one percentage point. His disapproval ratings fluctuated throughout the month and ended at 47%, which was two percentage points higher than at the beginning of July.
According to Gallup editor Frank Newport, Obama’s 6th quarter ratings stood at 47.3%, which is on par with previous president’s ratings at the same point in their administration. In fact, Clinton’s (D) approval ratings for the 6th quarter were 46.1%, Reagan’s (R) was 44.2% and Ford’s (R) was 43.2%. Historically speaking, most presidents lose popularity the longer they are in office with a handful of exceptions. The most notable include JFK (D), Eisenhower (R) and Johnson (D). So much for the supposed “Obama paradox” which stated that President Obama was loosing popularity despite the legislation that was passed.
In Massachusetts, Obama’s approval ratings seems to be around 56%. This number seems to show a correlation between Democrats and Independents support of Obama and the local voting population. What this means is that the Bay state has one of the highest populations of independent voters in the country.
Congress fared worse than President Obama given that it’s ratings hit an all time record low. Though recent controversies might have probably played a role in these figures, chances are that this could be more due to political trends. Midterms elections are usually somewhat painful for the party in power, irrespective of whether it’s the Republicans or Democrats.
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In the race for the 1st Middlesex district, Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) is a familiar face with supporters from all walks of life as demonstrated two nights ago. Donoghue made an appearance at the home of Carolyn and Bob Gregoire, who hosted a party to recognize her bid for state senate. She is competing against new-comer Chris Doherty (D-Lowell) to get their party’s nomination.
“I support Eileen because not only does she stand up for what she believes in, but because she is very easy to connect with,” remarked Dorine Dupont. “I’ve known Eileen for many years and I know that she’ll do good things for the state.”
A former prosecutor, Doherty voluntarily left his job in order to work full-time on his campaign. Doherty collaborated with District Attorney Leone to advocate for legislation to strengthen the voices of concerned citizens with regard to protecting children from sexual predators. Before that, Doherty worked with former Congressman Marty Meehan. Doherty’s supporters call him a reliable candidate that focused on helping voters.
There are subtle nuances between the candidates’ health care policies. Voters could probably expect Donoghue to support legislation designed to put a cap on health insurance costs. This might mean reducing paperwork in order to decrease administrative overhead, which is one aspect of rising insurance costs. Alternatively, Doherty seems likely to support a small business consortium so that competition can drive down prices.
So far, the candidates have scheduled three debates. According to the campaigns, the first debate is scheduled for Monday, August 16th, which will be broadcast live on radio station 980 AM from 7 pm to 9 pm. A second debate will be held on Tuesday, August 31st, which is sponsored by the Democratic town committees of Groton, Dunstable and Pepperell. The Lowell Sun and the Westford League of Women Voters have agreed to hold one in Westford on Thursday, September 9th.
Former mayor Bill Martin apparently concurs with Dupont’s point of view. “When I worked with Eileen, she proved to be capable and effective in office,” stated Martin. “She’s been good to the City of Lowell so I know she’ll be good for the state.”