Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs and the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University. She is founder and president of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and a long time columnist and contributor to The Nation. She is also the co-host of The Nation’s System Check podcast. From 2012-2016 she hosted the television show Melissa Harris-Perry on weekend mornings on MSNBC and was awarded the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism. She’s penned regular columns for Essence and The Nation and served editor-at-large for Elle.com and ZORA, a Medium publication for women of color.
There has been a discernible shift in the economic news.
Wall Street rallied for several days. Developers are building homes again. Food prices have fallen. The New York Times is calling current economic data a "balm." This morning I even got a phone call from a political reporter who despite newspaper layoffs around the country, was lured by low interest rates into buying a new car.
The Federal Government is making confidence-boosting, citizen-regarding choices. The IRS is planning a tax break for those duped by Madoff. President Obama, like a smart quarterback, responded quickly and decisively to the AIG bonus scandal by dispatching Geithener to behave as a fullback, blocking the corporate executives from misspending taxpayer money.
The US Senate spent yesterday freaking out on Capitol Hill about the spending bill. Senators are wrangling about its passage because so many of the proposed spending items fall under the broad category "earmarks." Can we pause for just a minute? I need to point out that earmarks are not necessarily evil.
Let me say it one more time is this totally psychotic political environment: Earmarks are not necessarily bad.
An earmark is just a way of describing a government funded project where the spending is designated for a particular group or location.