Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Perry’s Iowa Remarks Reveal Republican Strategy on Social Security
OurFuture.org’s Daniel Marans: “The question that prompted Texas Gov. Rick Perry to call Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and the beginning of Perry’s response—which have not been flagged in the flurry of media attention over Perry’s statement—shed light on rank-and-file Republicans’ support for Social Security and the delicate strategy Republican politicians employ in talking about how to “reform” the program. … Rank-and-file conservatives do not like so-called entitlements, but they do like benefits that are earned through hard work. … Republican pols must convince voters that they are not trying to cut the Social Security conservative Americans know and love, but another mythic, “entitlement”-style program with the same name.”
Job Growth Still Weak; Administration Plots Response
Private sector hiring worse than expected. CNBC: “The private sector created 91,000 jobs from July to August, a shade below expectations, according to a report from ADP that sets the stage for a likely weak report on nonfarm jobs the government will release Friday. DP and Macroeconomic Advisors said service-sector jobs rose 80,000, down from an average increase of 115,000 over the past two months, while the goods-producing sector saw a gain of just 11,000. … The ADP numbers came after a separate report showing that employers plan to cut 51,114 workers in August, 23 percent down on July’s 16-month high of 66,414, according to consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas which also said 2011 layoff figures are 47 percent higher than August 2010.”
President Obama speaks out against job discrimination against the unemployed, The Huffington Post reports. Obama: “…[W]e have seen instances in which employers are explicitly saying we don’t want to take a look at folks who’ve been unemployed. Well, that makes absolutely no sense, and I know there’s legislation that I’m supportive of that says you cannot discriminate against folks because they’ve been unemployed, particularly when you’ve seen so many folks who, through no fault of their own, ended up being laid off because of the difficulty of this recession.”
President Obama expected to make a major push for job training in his post-Labor Day jobs address. Suzy Khimm on Ezra Klein’s WaPo blog: “Obama recently praised GeorgiaWorks, which gives unemployed workers eight weeks of training at a workplace. The GeorgiaWorks program, which began in 2003, has shown some tentatively positive results. … But experts say it’s too early to tell whether the Georgia program is truly effective. They say the initiatives most likely to produce lasting results often take longer to ramp up—and cost more. … But even programs with bipartisan support and industry backing have fallen victim to budget cuts.”
Pushing the overdue surface transportation reauthorization bill is on Obama’s priority list. The Hill: “With recent fights in the transportation sector such as the funding for the Federal Aviation Administration devolving into partisan fights this summer, there has been speculation the highway bill could be the next impasse that causes a shutdown in Washington. But in a Rose Garden speech, Obama will argue this issue is too important to the fragile U.S. economy to not resolve quickly after lawmakers return from their traditional August recess. … The House and Senate are currently far apart on the bill that allows the money to be collected and appropriates it to road projects in states… ”
Also on tap: “new plans next week to revive the ailing housing market and reduce foreclosures,” Reuters reports. “The administration has been working for weeks on how to implement a mortgage relief program. President Barack Obama could include a nod to the plan in a speech on job creation next week, sources familiar with the administration’s plans said. The refinancing initiative would allow certain borrowers to refinance loans that are backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration, the sources said.”
Progressive coalition, including Campaign for America’s Future, urges President Obama “to move beyond half-measures designed to appeal to a narrow ideological minority” and adopt a bold jobs plan, reports The Hill and OurFuture.org.
More than 200,000 jobs lost due to state, local government cutbacks in 2010, with more to come. Reuters reports on new Census data. “According to the Census, local and state governments had 203,321 fewer full-time equivalent employees in 2010 than in 2009 and 27,567 fewer part-time employees. … The job losses have continued this year. John Lonski, chief economist for Moody’s Capital Markets Research told Reuters this month that “we are looking at the worst contraction of state and local government employment since 1981.” Analysts polled by Reuters expect a report on Friday to show governments dropped another 30,000 jobs in August, marking the ninth consecutive month of contraction.”
Jed Lewison at DailyKos runs the numbers on under whose administration government employment grew. The bottom line: “[U]nder Clinton and Obama, public sector employment actually fell … while under George W. Bush, it grew.”
Arianna Huffington wonders why we can’t respond to the jobs crisis the same way we responded to Hurricane Irene: “As Hurricane Irene first bore down on North Carolina, various government agencies sprang into action. Scientists and experts were called in to help. Models and forecasts were produced — then quickly acted upon. We knew what the economic and human consequences would be if we didn’t act, so we did. And then the media sprang into action. Reporters didn’t just give us the facts, they told us stories and created a sense of shared experience. … Contrast that with the dominant message about the jobs crisis: paralysis, acquiescence, resignation. Not a lot of windbreaker moments.”
Corporations Stingy On Taxes, Generous To CEOs
Twenty-five corporations found to pay less in taxes than they pay their top CEO. Politico: “For the 25 CEOs whose earnings exceeded their company’s federal income tax, pay averaged $16.7 million, a study by the left-leaning think tank the Institute for Policy Studies found. The report also revealed that many of the firms spent far more on lobbying than on taxes. … Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, immediately called for hearings on CEO pay after reading the study, Reuters reported. The New York times quotes the study: “[A]mple evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before.”"
Europe’s wealthy say tax us more, The New York Times reports. “Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of the French advertising firm Publicis, on Tuesday became the latest European business leader to ask for higher taxes on top earners … This month, 16 of France’s wealthiest people, including the chief executive of the energy giant Total and the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, signed a petition published in the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur urging the French government to tax them more. … A group of about 50 wealthy individuals in Germany, who have been campaigning for a higher top tax rate since 2009, said last week that it welcomed the French petition. “Austerity programs, which affect mainly the poor, are ill-suited to solve the crisis,” said the group, whose name in German means the Initiative of the Wealthy for a Wealth Tax.”
State tax coffers threatened as Internet commerce evolves. Bloomberg Businessweek: “The problem arises because cloud computing often transforms taxable goods into nontaxable services. Companies that once installed racks of servers in their offices and bought software on CDs are replacing them with offsite solutions sold by IBM (IBM), Amazon.com (AMZN), and Google (GOOG), among others. A company in New York can sell space on servers in North Carolina to an Illinois company with offices in Texas and Florida, leaving businesses, customers, and tax collectors to squabble over who should pay what to whom. … If they don’t figure it out, states stand to take a big hit in lost revenue.”
National Review attack on President Obama’s choice for Council of Economic Advisers debunked. Dean Baker writes: “In response to the nomination of Alan Krueger to head the Council of Economic Advisors, National Review Online’s “The Corner” blog has published an embarrassingly ignorant attack on minimum-wage research that Krueger did with David Card back in the 1990s. The post reheats the very stale talking points pushed by fast-food lobbyist Richard Berman circa 1995 and leaves NRO readers with the completely false impression that the story ended in 1995 and did so badly for Krueger. … [A]fter 1995 [Card and Krueger] replicated their earlier work using what is called ES-202 data. These data are employment and earnings reports filed every quarter by essentially every business operating in the country. … What did the new C&K paper, which was published in the American Economic Review in 2000, find? ‘Based on all the evidence now available, including the BLS ES-202 sample, our earlier sample, publicly available BLS data, and the BNW sample, we conclude that the increase in the New Jersey minimum wage in April 1992 had little or no systematic effect on total fast food employment in the state …”
Choice of Republican tax expert to be staff chief of Congress’s deficit “super-committee” raises speculation. Brian Beutler at TPM: “[Senior Republican Senate Finance Committee aide Mark] Prater is currently chief tax counsel for Senate Finance Committee Republicans—an interesting specialty if you’re running a panel that most expected would be devoted mainly to reducing spending on federal programs. He is respected, and considered non-ideological…But the fact that he’s a Republican will rankle Democrats and liberals who already worry the panel will recommend cuts to entitlement programs with little if any new money flowing into Treasury.”
Frank Rich in New York magazine identifies “the most consequential event of the past ten years” since 9/11: “the looting of the American economy by those in power in Washington and on Wall Street. … the key move Bush made after 9/11 had nothing to do with military strategy or national-security policy. It was instead his considered decision to rule out shared sacrifice as a governing principle for the fight ahead.”
Check out ProPublica’s guide to “the best stories on the presidential candidates, so you can get beyond the day-to-day coverage and get sense of each candidate’s actual record.”