A JOBS AGENDA. President Obama’s largely symbolic “pivot” to jobs in the wake of the debt ceiling deal is, yet again, unlikely to generate any. As I wrote in the Washington Post this week, we don’t need more symbolic gestures about job creation. We need action. Where both the president and Congress have failed, the grassroots are ready to take up the fight. The American Dream Movement is organizing thousands of people in 435 congressional districts pushing a jobs agenda and a job-creation plan written by 127,000 Americans. Representative Jan Schakowsky has also announced a plan to create 2.2 million “emergency jobs” paid for by higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. And then there’s the Progressive Caucus’s People’s Budget—a robust progressive plan that sets clear priorities for increased revenues and economic growth. With an ongoing cacophony of economists and experts in agreement about the need to create jobs to simultaneously deal with the economy and the deficit, what is required other than will? Great leaders, I wrote this week, when confronted by crisis, act. It’s time to act, Mr. President.
THE NOT-SO-SUPER COMMITTEE. Although the debt ceiling impasse that gripped Washington and brought the US to near default is, for now, behind us—the debate about how to fix the stagnating economy is far from over. In the deal cut between President Obama and Congressional Republicans, a Congressional “super-committee” will decide the fate of an additional $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by Thanksgiving, including quite possibly dramatic changes to entitlements. Contributing writer Ari Berman rightly explains this week, in “The Real Problem with the Congressional ‘Super-Committee,’” this newly appointed ”super-committee” wields too much power over the fate of the economy. Tasked with cutting more spending during an economic downturn, the idea of doing anything to stimulate the economy, writes Berman, is totally absent from its purview. He joined Current’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann this week to explain why the scope of the committee, rather than who’s on it, is the real problem.
WISCONSIN RECALLS: WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE. This week, DC correspondent and seventh-generation Wisconsinite John Nichols was on the ground in Madison for the historic recall elections that took place across the state. Nichols joined MSNBC Host Ed Schultz live in Madison among a crowd of cheering, mobilized Wisconsinites eager to oust six state senators most committed to Governor Scott Walker’s agenda of stripping collective bargaining rights. “This is what Democracy looks like!” exclaimed Nichols. While Republicans still hold a 17-16 majority in the State Senate, the Democrats could now form a 17-16 pro-labor coalition with moderate Republican state Senator Dale Schultz, who earlier this year voted against Governor Scott Walker’s attach on unions. Nichols joined Democracy Now! to explain why Tuesday’s election was a victory for progressives and whether activists will not try to recall Governor Walker.
2012 HEATS UP. Contributing Writer Ben Adler offers his assessment of Thursday night’s GOP debate in Ames, Iowa. In general, argues Adler, the debate featured unanimity despite loud, petty arguments—but Republican candidates failed to offer any concrete policy solutions. And now that Texas Governor Rick Perry has joined the presidential race, Adler has five questions that the Governor should have to answer. And Nation contributor Sarah Posner, a senior editor at Religion Dispatches, is on the ground in Ames, Iowa for the GOP debates and the highly anticipated Ames straw poll. Be sure to check-in at TheNation.com over the weekend for her coverage. You can also follow along on Twitter, here.