Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to affect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
Conservatives Start Rolling Out Economic Plans
Mitt Romney’s new economic plan sized up by W. Post’s Ezra Klein:: “…mostly regressive tax cuts that might spur economic growth; massive legislation with huge implications but no details or obvious paths to passage (trade agreements, entitlement reform, energy bill); and cuts to public-sector jobs that will raise the unemployment rate … seems certain to hugely increase uncertainty.”
Robert Reich dubs Mitt Romney’s plan “wet noodle economics”: “For Romney, the key to America’s recovery is to cut taxes on businesses and on people who invest in them. … But anyone looking closely at the American economy today would see this is nonsense. American corporations have an unprecedented $1.8 trillion of cash. …In other words, businesses have all the capital they need … It’s pushing on a wet noodle. Businesses create jobs only if consumers are pulling the noodle from the other end.”
Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) fiscal “Roadmap” doesn’t add up, says W. Post’s Matt Miller: “If you’re supposedly willing to make ‘the hard choices,’ why wouldn’t you balance the budget as soon as the economy is back on track? What kind of ‘fiscal conservative’ has a half-century plan to balance the budget? … the [Medicare] vouchers it would offer, both via tax credits for younger Americans, and for seniors in a revamped Medicare, are at levels so far below current insurance premiums as to make it likely you’d be shifting costs to millions who can’t afford them.”
Rep. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) jobs plan dissected by Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo: “He even advocates rescinding the stimulus money that has yet to be spent, which amounts to a tax increase on the middle class … But Blunt’s concern about spending evaporates when it comes to having the federal government subsidize the real estate industry, as he calls for permanently extending the home buyers tax credit …”
Slate’s David Weigel finds “the stimulus has taught politicians to be vague”: “… neither [Missouri] candidate is doing what Democrats did in order to elect Obama and sell the 2009 economic stimulus package: getting specific with numbers. Want some idea of how many jobs might be generated if you vote for Blunt or Carnahan? Tough luck … Democrats sold the stimulus in 2009 in part by offering predictions of how many jobs it would create. … What lesson did both parties learn from those sales pitches? Never try that again … Yet it’s something that incumbents have to do with proposed legislation … they have to watch as the Congressional Budget Office assesses whether their plans add up or create jobs…”
Sharron Angle’s 1993 letter to Sen. Harry Reid reminds TNR’s Jonathan Chait that we’ve heard all these talking points before: “…the exact same thing happened in 1993 when Bill Clinton passed a deficit reduction bill that raised the top tax rate. It was class warfare, socialism or worse. Publications like Forbes and Fortune wrote stories urging rich people to give up their citizenship or flee the country in order to spare themselves Clinton’s punitive anti-rich policies. There were bumper stickers depicting the ‘C’ in ‘Clinton’ as a hammer and sickle … none of these predictions came true — the ballooning of the deficit, the collapse of the economy, the end of democracy…”
Conservatives whine about raising taxes on rich, while lamenting poorer Americans don’t pay enough. Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo: “… Fox Business’ Eric Bolling [contended] having the rich pay the same rates that they paid under President Clinton would somehow doom the economy. But he then went on to complain that ‘unfortunately’ 47 percent of households ‘don’t pay a dime in federal income tax’…”
Moneywatch’s Mark Thoma rejects view that we can’t do anything about high unemployment because it’s “structural”: “Fiscal policy can be used to create temporary opportunities for unemployed workers while the structural transformations are taking place … there are other things fiscal authorities can do to encourage structural transformations, e.g. investment tax credits, incentives to bring new businesses and the unemployed together by moving labor to the jobs or encouraging new businesses to locate where unemployment is highest, retraining programs … Creating more demand through an additional stimulus package would help to spur demand at businesses leading to higher profits, more confidence, and, importantly, more investment in structural transformation activities.”
Islamic Center Doesn’t Trump Economy
Manhattan Muslim community center issue not top voter priority, according to new Time poll: “Nearly three quarters of voters told TIME the issue will not have any impact on their decisions in the ballot box.”
Steve Benen says don’t overthink president’s poll numbers. It’s the economy: “The point is, if unemployment was 7% and falling, does anyone seriously believe we’d be having this conversation? … There’s some evidence that the media criticism in May on the BP oil spill had a negative effect on the president’s numbers, and it’s possible the Park51 story is costing him a little. Of course, if Osama bin Laden were killed tomorrow, Obama might get a bump in the other direction. But the larger truth is still unavoidable…”
W. Post suggests President has uphill battle defending economic record: “Almost two-thirds said the economy has worsened or remained the same since Obama took office — something statistically possible to refute, as Obama has vigorously attempted over the past three days, yet emotionally hard to challenge in large swaths of Wisconsin, California, Washington, Ohio and Florida…”
Banks Ready To Accept Warren Nom?
TNR’s Noam Scheiber sees banks giving in on Elizabeth Warren: “There are any number of ways to interpret this meeting [between Warren and bank lobbyists]. But the most obvious is that the inudstry has decided to play the Warren nomination pretty pragmatically–it’s assuming that she’s likely to be both nominated and confirmed, and has opted to sue for the best peace it can get, or at least not antagonize her beforehand.”
Now that Watt St. reform has passed, bank regulators must make decisions on executive pay. W. Post: “Shortly before the law’s passage, regulators issued guidance on bank pay. They can now decide whether to continue with that guidance, which outlines broad principles about how firms should pay their executives, or write specific rules dictating pay schemes … A number of leading academics … argue that banks need to tie compensation to a broader range of indicators than used previously.”
The Atlantic’s Joshua Green finds experts at Treasury housing policy summit support reform, unsure how: “…the clearest glimpse of the long road ahead came during a discussion on how to manage the transition from the government-dominated market to a private one. No one could quite envision how such a transition would occur, but they did agree that it would take many years — some thought a generation.”
BP Investigation Squeezing Govt Agency
Federal investigators at Chemical Safety Board forces overwhelmed by Gulf spill, suspending other investigations. USA Today: “… then-chairman John Bresland wrote this summer … the board would prematurely close some investigations, including into major explosions at the Kleen Energy power plant that killed six people in Middletown, Conn., in February, and the ConAgra Slim Jim facility that killed four people and injured 67 others in Garner, N.C., in June 2009 … The U.S. has about 200 serious chemical accidents each year that kill or injure workers, cause large evacuations or destroy property … he board typically has the staff to investigate 12 to 15 of those annually.”
Rep. Henry Waxman demanding BP reveal how much it has spent on ads reports Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says capping carbon is a “modern version of the rain dance,” reports Wonk Room’s Scott Keyes.
Tea partiers would change all sorts of stuff in the Constitution. LAT: “… a revival of some old ideas, such as the repeal of the income tax, as well as the emergence of some counterintuitive ones, such as the return to a Senate elected by state legislatures.”
Health insurers playing word games in attempt to undermine new law requiring revenue from premiums to be mostly spent on actual health care. Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky: “Insurers have seized on a single mention of ‘federal taxes’ in Section 2718 of the health law … to argue that they should be allowed to exclude all federal taxes from their revenue … a move that would save issuers millions of dollars and allow them to meet the MLR requirements without necessarily spending more on care … the six Democratic committee heads with jurisdiction over health care argued that they did not intend for issuers to exclude all federal taxes — only those that pertain to health care.”
Universities have heavily lobbied to weaken WH initiatives on college affordability. W. Post: “The latest focus is the administration’s proposal that colleges can qualify for federal student aid only if at least 35 percent of their graduates are repaying their loans, to assure that schools aren’t simply enrolling students to get the revenue from Pell grants and taxpayer-subsidized loans. For-profit colleges are pushing back, aware that, by the government’s count, many of them fall short of that 35 percent…”