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: Plutocracy With A Philanthropic Face
OurFuture.org’s Sam Pizzigati: “Koch-like plutocrats slide in and out of the shadows, bankrolling our society’s most reactionary and repulsive politicos, all the while railing against unions and taxes and government regulation. But plutocrats today don’t all spout crude libertarian bromides or even play footsie, as the Kochs have, with sloganeering from our segregationist past … These more enlightened plutocrats seem to obsess over philanthropy, not profits. They do their sliding in and out of foundation board rooms, pledging their support, at one high-minded symposium after another, for initiatives sure to bring ‘efficiency’ and ‘innovation’ to our society’s most pressing problems … What will this plutocracy really do, for — and to — us? We have one clue from the ongoing high-stakes battle over reforming America’s public schools.”
American Jobs Act To Be Sent To Congress Today
President to formally send American Jobs Act to Congress today. W. Post: “Obama will appear in the Rose Garden on Monday to call on Congress to approve the bill … Obama will tour a school in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to highlight the bill’s aid package to help communities hire teachers and rehabilitate aging school buildings. He’ll follow that with a trip to the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina on Wednesday…”
GOP caucus split on strategy for responding to President. Politico: “…despite public declarations about finding common ground with Obama, some Republicans are privately grumbling that their leaders are being too accommodating with the president … many Republicans are still placing their electoral bets on the public placing ownership of the economy squarely on the president in 2012 … But even some of his most conservative colleagues, like tea party freshman Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, made the case that they are willing to work for a bipartisan agreement, pointing to former President Bill Clinton as a model.”
Republicans struggle to convince public they actually care about jobs. The Hill: “As House Republicans embark on their fall agenda, they face a steep challenge: working out how a party that doesn’t believe the government should create jobs can best present a job-creation platform.
Wall St. likes American Jobs Act, but doesn’t believe Congress will pass it. The Hill: “[One analyst said] said Wall Street’s reaction to the package was mixed because of concerns that Republicans will block much of it. ‘Most people realize there are some proposals that won’t go anywhere,’ he said and cited the president’s call to spend $140 billion on infrastructure.”
AP suggests tax cuts will pass, infrastructure spending won’t: “…don’t expect Congress to funnel tens of billions of dollars into rebuilding schools and blighted neighborhoods, or helping local governments pay teachers and firefighters, or setting up an ‘infrastructure bank’ to leverage federal loans for roads, water systems and other public works projects.
‘Enough of the stimulus,’ Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday on CNBC …”
Some bipartisan opposition to expanding payroll tax cut. The Hill: “When Obama first pushed to include the proposal in a tax package in December, House liberals said the tax holiday would threaten the Social Security trust fund, which is maintained through the payroll levy. Now that he wants to extend and deepen the tax cut, a number of House Republicans are making the same argument.”
Christian Weller argues that payroll tax cut will address underlying cause of economic weakness, household debt, in TNR: “…the great thing about the payroll tax cut is that it allows us to have our cake and eat it, too. With the effective increase in their incomes, consumers will be able both to save more and spend at a faster rate: Faster income growth will allow families to reduce their debt burden (the ratio of debt to after-tax income) and thus facilitate spending and saving at the same time.”
President Obama has cut taxes more than President Bush in his first term, notes Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift: “The value of the Bush tax cuts were about $475 billion in those first four years, or about 1.1 percent of GDP . Obama’s total about $1 trillion, or 1.6 percent of GDP . … Unlike the Bush tax cuts, which were served up in a single wallop on April 15, the Obama tax cuts are what economist Jared Bernstein calls ‘slow drip.’ Paychecks fluctuate enough that workers didn’t really notice the boost in take-home pay of roughly $1,000 over the year.”
Corporations Increase Pressure For Deficit Reduction
Corporate leaders press Super Committee to “go big” on deficit reduction. NYT: “A group of at least 57 prominent business executives and former government officials have signed a petition in support of a greater deficit reduction … A higher deficit-reduction goal would increase pressure on both parties to address the two main drivers of projected high debt: the rapid growth of spending for the Medicare and Medicaid programs and an inefficient tax system unable to keep pace.”
Health care providers fear “go big” means bigger cuts for them. Politico: “Health care providers are warning that President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan could actually siphon jobs from one of the few industries still hiring — because the only way to pay for it would be to make deeper cuts in the health care entitlement programs.”
Super Committee members largely reviewing what past commissions proposed. Politico: “While that doesn’t sound terribly ambitious, it does create a pretty familiar road map for the deficit panel: tax code reform, including closing loopholes for special interests and overhauling the big entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Other cuts to domestic programs are also under discussion, though the Defense Department is fighting deep cuts to military programs. Indeed, many old ideas seem to have fresh legs…”
Super Committee member eyes higher capital gains tax. W. Post: “‘This is something that should be on the table,’ said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) … ‘There’s no strong economic rationale for the huge gap that exists now between the rate for wages and the rate for capital gains.’ Advocates for a low capital gains rate say it spurs more investment in the U.S. economy, benefiting all Americans. But some tax experts say the evidence for that theory is murky at best. What is clear is that the capital gains tax rate disproportionately benefits the ultra-wealthy.”
Perry Tries Fixing Anti-Social Security Position
Presidential candidate Rick Perry tries to recalibrate anti-Social Security position in USA Today oped: “We must have the guts to talk about its financial condition if we are to fix Social Security and make it financially viable for generations to come.”
USA Today edit board doesn’t buy it: “…Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s views on Social Security [are] both curious and troubling … he reiterated his view that the program is a ‘Ponzi scheme’ and ‘monstrous lie.’ In previous appearances and in his writings, Perry … has also called Social Security a failure and suggested it runs contrary to important constitutional principles. A Ponzi scheme? A failure? A lie? Really?”
Bloomberg reviews Perry’s cruel cuts to education in Texas: “At San Antonio’s McCollum High School, budget cuts pushed through by Texas Governor Rick Perry this year meant no money for a tutoring program that helped teenagers in one of the state’s poorest districts keep up … some say [Texas' job] gains have come from a low-tax environment that has strained the state’s educational system.”