Thursday, April 7, 2011

  • Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Assault on Social Spending, Pro-Rich Tax Cuts Turning U.S. into Nation "Of the 1 Percent, by the 1 Percent, for the 1 Percent"


    This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%." Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. "It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer," Stiglitz says. "Actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing... And right now, we are worse than old Europe." [includes rush transcript]

  • Leading Health Advocates Decry GOP Plan to Privatize Medicare, Gut Medicaid


    The deepest cuts in the Republicans’ 2012 budget proposal come from programs that serve the poor, including nutrition, student loans, and especially healthcare. In one of the most sweeping changes, the budget plan would gut Medicare and Medicaid programs by turning Medicare from a guaranteed benefit into a system in which private insurers cover elderly Americans, and cutting $800 billion from Medicaid by turning it into a state block grant program. Medicare now pays most of the healthcare bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, and polls suggest that Americans overwhelmingly oppose the cuts. We speak to Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, and Elisabeth Benjamin of the Community Service Society of New York. [includes rush transcript]

  • Juan Gonzalez Wins Prestigious Polk Award for Exposing "Biggest Scandal of Entire Bloomberg Era"


    Today Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez receives the George Polk Award for Commentary for his columns in the New York Daily News that exposed a major scandal of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s CityTime program. The move to a computerized payroll system was set to cost $60 million in 2000, but grew to cost $700 million. "It’s actually the tip of the iceberg of what’s happening, I believe, across America, which is that governments are increasingly computerizing their operations to get rid of public employees,” says Gonzalez. “But the systems never deliver what they promise, always cost much more, and are often filled with fraud in the very process. So taxpayer dollars are basically going to private industry. And many of these companies are former defense or are defense contractors that are involved, that have now switched to computerizing government as part of their market operations.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Former Angola Prisoner Wilbert Rideau Receives George Polk Journalism Award for Exposing Sexual Violence Behind Bars


    Wilbert Rideau was imprisoned for 44 years at the Angola Louisiana State Penitentiary before he won his release in 2005. While he was in prison he was editor of The Angolite, a newspaper produced by inmates, and became an award-winning journalist. He received the George Polk Award for Special Interest Reporting in 1979 for his outstanding contributions to public understanding of the criminal justice and prison systems. More than three decades later, he will be honored today at the 62nd Annual George Polk Awards for journalists. "Back in 1979, the way [prison officials] portrayed sexual violence in prisons to the public was that this was something that was done by homosexuals," says Rideau. "And the sexual violence, what I did was essentially told what it really was. And it wasn’t the homosexual, it weren’t the gays; in fact, they were quite often victims. And it was the heterosexuals who were doing the raping and the violence and whatnot, and it was being done with the tacit approval of prison authorities." [includes rush transcript]