Democrats held onto their Senate majority but hemorrhaged House seats in midterm elections on Tuesday. Absorbing what he called "a shellacking" at the polls, a contrite President Obama spoke of compromise. Republican leaders in Congress were having none of it. They stepped up personal attacks on Obama and laid plans to unwind Wall Street reform and rescind the health care law that will insure 30 million Americans. "This business of reaching out and trying to find compromise is a totally absurd approach. They don't want to compromise. They want unconditional surrender. We have got to fight back. We've got to reconnect with ordinary people. They want us to move more boldly," Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday on The Thom Hartmann Program (listen to the 1st segment here). Meanwhile, unemployment remained stuck at 9.6 percent in October while Wall Street surged to highs not seen in the two years since the economy tanked.
Midterms The Democratic Party lost control of the House in midterm elections Tuesday. Republicans picked up at least 60 seats. In the Senate, there will be 45 Republicans, 53 Democrats and two independents when the new session of Congress begins in January. "Where do we go from here?" Sanders asked in an essay. "Should the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 percent be extended? What about Social Security? How do we create jobs and rebuild the middle class? What about deficits? These are tough times for our country. We need ideas and legislation which benefit all Americans, not just those with wealth, power and political influence." Read the essay.
Tax Breaks for the Rich? The White House on Thursday said Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, including special breaks for the wealthiest Americans, for a year or two. "At a time when this country has a $13.7 trillion national debt and the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country, I disagree with Republicans who believe that we should be providing tax breaks for the wealthiest people in our country," Sanders said.
Time for Compromise? Saying that "we can't afford two years of just squabbling," President Obama on Thursday invited congressional leaders to the White House. Meanwhile, the Senate Republican leader said his main aim is to make Obama a one-term president. The House Republican leader said Obama is "in denial." Asked about Obama's conciliatory approach, Sanders said, "It leaves the impression that the president does not want to rally the American people to confront right-wing extremism. It just saps the energy of some of his strongest supporters."
Unemployment Private-sector employers added 159,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday, but the unemployment rate, based on a separate household survey, remained at 9.6 percent. About 14.8 million people who want to work can't land a job. The jobless rate has been above 9 percent since May of 2009, just before economists say the recession "ended."
Economic Stimulus The Federal Reserve, in an effort to rev up a "disappointingly slow" economic recovery, announced on Wednesday that it will buy $600 billion of U.S. government bonds over the next eight months to drive down interest rates and encourage more borrowing and growth. Wall Street, which caused the worst recession since the Great Depression, welcomed the Fed action. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers two years ago.