Archive for catherine crier

ICYMI: PoliticsNation on April 22

Capture

From PoliticsNation

Case builds against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Former prosecutors Catherine Crier and Kelly Currie break down the charages against the 19-year-old accused of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Collective Net Worth of Congress Increased $390 Million from 2008 to 2012

Underreported… I’ll say. At the end of 2012, the editors of Time Magazine posted their picks for most overlooked news of the year, and I think the fourth-most underreported story deserves far more attention than it initially received.

According to Roll Call, the collective net worth of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives rose to $2.04 billion in 2012, up from $1.65 billion in 2008—an increase that averages out to nearly three quarters of a million dollars per congress member. Read the full story below, then share your thoughts.

From Roll Call

And Congress’ Rich Get Richer
Net Worth of Lawmakers Up 25 Percent in Two Years, Analysis Demonstrates

By Paul Singer and Jennifer Yachnin
Nov. 1, 2011, Midnight

Members of Congress such as Rep. Michael McCaul reported major increases in their net worth, and Congress’ collective net worth also increased. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms.

Nearly 90 percent of that increase is concentrated in the 50 richest Members of Congress.

Two years ago, Roll Call found that the minimum net worth of House Members was slightly more than $1 billion; Senators had a combined minimum worth of $651 million for a Congressional total of $1.65 billion. Roll Call calculates minimum net worth by adding the minimum values of all reported assets and subtracting the minimum values of all reported liabilities.

According to financial disclosure forms filed by Members of Congress this year, the minimum net worth in the House has jumped to $1.26 billion, and Senate net worth has climbed to at least $784 million, for a Congressional total of $2.04 billion.

These wealth totals vastly underestimate the actual net worth of Members of Congress because they are based on an accounting system that does not include homes and other non-income-generating property, which is likely to tally hundreds of millions of uncounted dollars. In addition, Roll Call’s tally is based on the minimum values of assets reported by Members on their annual financial disclosure forms; the true values of those assets may be much higher.

While wealth overall is scattered fairly evenly between the two parties, there is an interesting divide in the two chambers. Democrats hold about 80 percent of the wealth in the Senate; Republicans control about 78 percent of the wealth in the House.

And as protesters around the country decry the supposed consolidation of wealth in America, the trend can be seen starkly in Congress, a comparison suggested by American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar Mark Perry. The 50 richest Members of Congress accounted for 78 percent of the net worth in the institution in 2008 ($1.29 billion of the $1.65 billion total); by 2010 the share of the 50 richest had risen to 80 percent ($1.63 billion of the $2.04 billion total). The pie of Congressional wealth got bigger, and the richest Members are getting a bigger slice.

But there is still plenty to go around. Overall, 219 Members of Congress reported having assets worth more than $1 million last year; subtracting the minimum value of their liabilities brings the total number of millionaires in Congress down to 196 — again not counting any value on their homes or other non-income-producing property. If one were to assume that every Member of Congress has $200,000 worth of equity in real estate, the total number of millionaires would rise to 220 Members, just more than 40 percent of the Congress.

As with the general U.S. population, a few exceedingly wealthy people skew the averages for the rest of the membership. But still, by almost any measure, the average Member of Congress is far wealthier than the average U.S. household.

For example, dividing the total wealth of Congress by the number of Members creates a mean (average) net worth for each Member of about $3.8 million (excluding non-income-producing property such as personal residences). By comparison, for the rest of the country, based on statistics released by the Federal Reserve, average household net worth is around $500,000 this year (including personal residences), according to David Rosnick, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

But a handful of Members of Congress are worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars — the richest Member of Congress this year, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), is worth a minimum of $294 million, meaning that McCaul’s own wealth has the effect of raising the average of every Member of Congress by about $500,000.

So a better number for comparison is the median, the number where half the group is above and half the group is below. For Congress, the median net worth in 2010 was about $513,000. For regular households, the Federal Reserve Board pegged that number at about $120,000 in 2008, and that number this year is probably around $100,000, Rosnick said.

While it is hard to make an exact comparison between Congress and the rest of the nation, what is clear is lawmakers “are all a lot richer than anything you would call a typical American,” Rosnick said.

And Congress appears to be getting richer faster than the rest of the nation. Citing Federal Reserve data, Rosnick said, “From the end of 2008 to end of 2010, aggregate household worth increased
12 percent.” That is about half the increase Congress achieved during the same time period.

The cautionary note in any Congressional wealth analysis is that significant changes in apparent wealth of Members do not necessarily represent an actual change in net worth.

For example, Rep. Darrell Issa reported this year that his 2010 assets were worth at least $295 million, nearly double what they were the year before. The reason for the change appears to be in part because the California Republican moved some properties from a single account into separate accounts. An account that Issa had listed as having a minimum value of $50 million in 2009 dropped to a minimum value of $25 million in 2010, but he added 11 accounts with a minimum combined value of $38.2 million. Even if none of the actual account (or property) values increased, the minimum value of those assets on paper rises by $13.2 million, or more than 25 percent.

Alan Ziobrowski, a professor of real estate at Georgia State University, has produced studies of Congressional investment patterns indicating that lawmakers in both chambers tend to fare better in their investment portfolios than the average American, in part because “[t]here is no doubt in my mind that they are trading in some way on information that is there.”

But he also points out that the Membership of Congress has turned over since 2008, making it difficult to compare wealth over time. “You’ve got different people,” he said.

In the aftermath of the 2010 elections that swept Republicans to power, about 20 percent of the Members included in the 2010 survey were not included in the 2008 survey.

ICYMI: NOW with Alex Wagner on December 26th

It appears that Republicans are suffering from political amnesia as the year-end deadline for Congress to reach a budget agreement approaches. Instead of relying on knee-jerk ideology, we must make an honest assessment of our economic history and current predicaments. Do current economic policies serve the interests of our citizens and promote the nation’s well-being? Are these policies faithful to our political ideals?

On Wednesday, I joined Ari Melber, Jonathan Chait, Joy-Ann Reid, Nick Confessore, and John Harwood on NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss budget negotiations in Congress, gun control, and Chuck Hagel’s Secretary of Defense nomination. Watch the videos below for highlights from our discussion and share your thoughts.

From NOW w/ Alex Wagner

Where were we before Boehner’s Plan B?
The NOW panel – including New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, the Grio’s Joy-Ann Reid, the New York Times’ Nick Confessore, CNBC’s John Harwood and author Catherine Crier – discusses the latest in the fiscal cliff proceedings.

Gun regulation: One step forward, many steps back
Will new concern about gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre spur legislators into action, or will people’s concern dwindle with the media’s coverage? Nicholas Confessore, Joy-Ann Reid, Jonathan Chait, and Catherine Crier discuss the NRA’s agenda and whether or not they’ve artificially frozen the debate on gun control.

 

Cabinet caution: Does Chuck Hagel stand a chance?
By opposing George W. Bush’s 2007 Iraq surge, former Senator Chuck Hagel endeared himself to anti-war Democrats but lost a lot of Republican support. Now Hagel, potentially President Obama’s pick for the next Secretary of Defense, is getting flak from Republicans and even some Democrats for his views on Israel, Iran, and his previous comments on gay rights.

NOW’s Best Moments of 2012
From angry attack muffins to fetching holiday sweaters and how to get your “wag’ on, a look back at the year at NOW.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Frank Luntz: NRA not listening to public

Banning the ownership of assault and semi-automatic weaponry DOES NOT infringe upon the Second Amendment right to bear arms. NRA members polled by GOP strategist Frank Luntz suggest that a majority of gun owners are in favor of more sensible laws.

The NRA’s lobbying efforts are designed to protect the interests of gun manufacturers, not the public. When will capital-R Reason surmount the influence of big business?

Activists+Take+Part+Second+Amendment+March+DHjGLjn5kcQl

From The Huffington Post

Read more

Corporate Profits Reach Highest Percentage of GDP On Record as Total Wages Fall to Record Low

What’s good for corporations is not always good for the country, its people, or the capitalist system we allegedly defend; it’s time we make the distinctions. A little more than two years after the 2008 financial crisis, corporate profits were hitting record highs and our gross domestic product was growing again.

Today, our nation’s fiscal health depends more on increased consumption than on the production of goods and services. But average real wages for most workers have stagnated or fallen over the last thirty-five years, and good jobs are disappearing. Just look at the Commerce Department’s latest GDP report, which shows corporate profits have hit their highest percentage of GDP on record at the same time as total wages have fallen to a record low. Without employment or income, what’s the key to our economic recovery?

The Commerce Department's latest GDP report shows corporate profits have hit their highest percentage of GDP on record at the same time as total wages have fallen to a record low

From CNNMoney

Read more

ICYMI: PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton

When you take anti-choice policies such as Ohio’s heartbeat legislation to their logical extremes, the rhetoric goes way beyond pro-choice or pro-life positions—it endangers the health and welfare of women. We’re not talking about saying “stupid things” (as Bobby Jindal so aptly phrased it), we’re talking about doctors literally allowing women to bleed to death due to fear of prosecution.

On Monday night’s PoliticsNation, I joined Reverend Al Sharpton and Irin Carmon of Salon.com to discuss this and other issues. What are your thoughts on anti-abortion legislation currently being discussed in numerous state legislatures? Watch the following clip from last night and share your thoughts.

Republicans in Ohio are reviving a heartbeat bill that would ban all abortions after 6 weeks. It would be the most restrictive ban on abortion in the US. Journalist Catherine Crier and Irin Carmon of Salon.com talk with Rev. Al Sharpton about why the GOP is pushing abortion bills despite voters' rejection of their platform.

From PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton

Read more

Tune In: The Brenner Brief w/ Sara Brenner

I’ll join Sara Brenner at 9:50pET on The Brenner Brief to discuss Patriot Acts and the latest in current events. Be sure to tune in tonight on Blog Talk Radio or check back later for recorded audio!

From The Brenner Brief

Read more

I bid thee a solemn, yet joyous Veterans Day.

They fought fearlessly for our national pride. They served till the last breath. We salute and respect the spirit that binds our nation together.

In honor of those who have and are serving in our armed forces, thank you for protecting our people and country, and a Happy Veterans Day to all those who have cared, not for themselves, but for the nation.

Celebrated on November 11 every year, Veterans Day honors men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. The date marks the anniversary of the end of World War I -- which ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918.

From The Huffington Post

Read more

Pages: 1 2

Presidential Election 2012: Protecting Our Long-Term National Interests

In 2008, Republicans suffered a major political defeat while Democrats crowed and claimed a mandate from the voters. Two years later, the parties traded places again. The GOP declared that liberalism has been rejected and promised a conservative agenda that would put the nation back on track. Unfortunately, the political narrative this election cycle has been one in which both parties have been guilty of misreading the general-election voters.

In establishing our Constitutional Republic, the Framers realized that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, and their crowning achievement was to make a vigorous democratic process, not partisan ideology, our constitutional mandate. As you go to the polls today, remember to take a step back and vote for who you think will best protect our long-term national interests: the Constitution and our democratic principles. Read the following article on the most influential factors going into Election Day, share your thoughts, and—most importantly—VOTE!

When the race is done, the balloons have wilted, and the confetti has been swept up, Campaign 2012 may be marked more by its failures than its triumphs. | Tom Foreman, CNN

From CNN Politics

Read more

GOP Voter Fraud Accusations, or “The Wolf Who Cried Wolf.”

Over the past few months, Republican Party members have been tied to numerous reports alleging voter registration misconduct. Despite GOP claims that voter fraud is a widespread issue, the case for its effect on the 2012 election may have slowly become a story of “The Wolf Who Cried Wolf.”

The expansion of voting rights is essential to our democratic electoral process. Republican attempts to impose limitations on the franchise of Americans citizens have been repeatedly shot down by courts, so shady, even illegal suppression tactics are growing.

Republican officials, who have used hysteria about alleged voter fraud as an excuse to support measures that disproportionately block Democratic voters, are furiously trying to distance themselves from a growing number of GOP voter registration drives that either submitted false applications or threw away authentic ones. Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

From The Huffington Post

Read more

Pages: 1 2

Switch to our mobile site