In December, seats in Congress will be reappointed based on each state’s population. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and possibly Minnesota and Missouri are set to lose a number of seats. This re-districting has become an important campaign issue in a number of these states. Based on which officials are elected, the districts will be re-drawn differently. The Illinois State Senate president “sent letters this month to fellow Democrats in Congress reminding them, he said, that helping to elect a Democratic governor in November would be key to keeping their voices (and seats) in Washington.”
The loss of seats also has lawmakers concerned about the region’s diminishing power in Washington. “Leaders worry that issues like protecting the Great Lakes,” according to the New York Times, “providing winter heat assistance for struggling families, and cleaning up old industrial sites will eventually be pushed aside, overtaken by the expanding Sun Belt’s clout and its unique worries. They fret about less influence in future presidential elections; fewer Congressional seats means fewer electoral votes. And, at its simplest level, these leaders worry that fewer federal dollars will find their way to the nation’s middle.”
The most recent job bill from Democrats failed yesterday after it was unable to clear a procedural hurdle. Some Democrats said the bill, designed to punish firms for shifting jobs overseas, would hurt the ability of American companies to compete in foreign markets. Senator Joseph Liebermann (I-Conn.), four democrats, and a united Republican front voted against the bill as it failed to reach the 60 votes needed to override the filibuster, 53 to 45.
“The bill under consideration Tuesday would have ended tax deductions for expenses incurred when companies shutter U.S. operations and shift the work abroad;” according to the Washington Post. It would have “imposed a new tax on products once made in the United States but now manufactured by foreign workers; and offered employers a two-year payroll tax holiday on jobs repatriated from overseas.”
Protests against the European Union have erupted all across Europe as union members rail against widespread cuts to national budgets, public services, and jobs. Union members in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Poland, Ireland, Romania, and Serbia are expected to stage some sort of strike. Around 100,000 people from more than 25 countries will attend a massive protest in Brussels against the European Union this afternoon.
“This is a crucial day for Europe,” said John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, the organizer of the Brussels protest. “Our governments, virtually all of them, are about to embark on solid cuts in public expenditures. They’re doing this at a time where the economy is very close to recession, and almost certainly you’ll see the economy go back into recession as the effect of these cuts take place.” Officials are skeptical that the protests will have any serious impact.
Just 52 percent of adults said they were married last year, the lowest recorded total in 100 years. “Marriage rates have been declining for years due to rising divorce and an increase in unmarried couples living together,” according to the Associated Press. “Demographers say the current downturn may now be causing more younger adults to postpone marriage as many struggle to find work and resist making long-term commitments.”
For the first time in U.S. census history, the number of adults, 25-34, who aren’t married, exceeds the number of those who are: 46.3 to 44.9 percent. “Given the scope of the recent recession,” said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau, “many more couples are likely to choose cohabitation over marriage in the coming years.”