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: Captured Government’s Increasing Irrelevance Shows #Occupy’s Importance
OurFuture.org’s Dave Johnson: “Our captured political institutions make themselves increasingly irrelevant by not addressing the problems of the 99%. Each day we see more examples of our government being “captured” by and serving the interests of the top 1% against the rest of us … This week the Senate sided with lobbyists and voted to block science-based recommendations protecting our kids’ health … This week the Fed is letting Bank of America transfer the risk of derivatives onto taxpayers … This week the government ‘settled’ fraud charges against Citibank – with no criminal charges for the fraud.
Senate Prepares To Vote On Hiring Teachers, First Responders
VP Biden turns up heat on Republicans resisting jobs bill. The Hill: “Biden said, ‘Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms, are you going to put 18,000 cops back on the street and 7,000 firefighters back in the firehouses? Or are you going to save people with average incomes of $1 million a one-half of 1 percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million?’ Reid took to the podium after Biden spoke and vowed to force Senate Republicans to vote on a motion to consider the Democrats’ $35 billion jobs bill on Friday.”
Biden warns crime will rise if state and cities don’t get budget help. NYT: “…Biden … said that crime ‘has gone through the roof’ in cities like Camden, N.J., and Flint, Mich., where the police forces have been halved because of budget cuts. More than 300,000 teachers and 10,000 law enforcement officers have been laid off in the last 18 months, and the result in many cities has been increased rates of murder, robberies and rapes and victims waiting longer for emergency responders, Mr. Biden said. Some school systems were eliminating kindergarten and increasing class sizes, he added.” Also from NYT: “Warning by States as Tax Revenues Fail to Rebound.”
Presidential pitch resonates with VA independent voter. McClatchy: “Michael Johnson, 53, a Chesterfield construction contractor and registered independent, said he’s undecided as to whether he’ll vote again for Obama. But he said he appreciated the pitch. ‘A house divided cannot stand,’ said Johnson, who attended the firehouse event. ‘This Congress has got to start listening and do some of the things the president is talking about.’”
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky pinpoints how far the GOP will go to prevent Obama from hiring teachers, cops and firefighters: “Senate Democratic sources say that of all the individual pieces of the larger jobs bill, this one polled the best … The funding mechanism is also highly popular. It is a 0.5 percent (don’t miss that decimal point!) surtax on dollars earned above $1 million—so, for example, a person whose salary is $1.2 million would pay … a whopping tax increase of $1,000 … in normal times …the minority’s leaders would have brought the price tag down … and we’d have had a deal. The minority would never have confronted the very premise.”
W. Post’s Glenn Kessler slams GOP claims its alternative would create jobs: “The 5 million figure cited by Paul, and echoed by other Republicans, is ludicrous. Even if one accepts the studies that came up with the figures, in most cases they indicate the GOP proposals would do little to create jobs in the near future.”
Super Committee Not Dead Yet
Super Committee shows “signs of life” reports Politico: “..there’s been a notable uptick in back-channel communications about a path forward … leadership is getting more involved …”
Negotiations remain behind closed doors. HuffPost: “The fundamental problem that the committee faces is that it is attempting to pass legislation that is widely opposed by the American people.”
Sen. Max Baucus claims Super Committee trying to avoid repeat of 1937 recession. USA Today: “The committee is considering what happened when President Franklin Roosevelt and the Congress focused too intently on the deficit and slipped the country back into a recession in the late 1930s, Baucus said … Avoiding a repeat of 1937 would be aided by including in the final proposal a short-term, jobs-creating plan along with the mid-to-long-term budget deficit reduction effort, Baucus said. ‘It would help if we had some kind of jobs provision that the committee recommends. Might be a highway bill…’”
Impasse remains on raising net revenue. W. Post: “Supercommittee members have discussed a two-stage process that would first cut entitlement spending and close several tax loopholes, such as a write-off for corporate jets. Then, the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate would be instructed to overhaul the tax code to lower rates and raise sufficient additional revenue … But that approach has been stymied by Republicans’ refusal to contemplate higher tax revenue except through stronger economic growth … Without a commitment to additional revenue, Democrats have refused to commit to specific entitlement cuts…”
The Nation’s Ari Berman explores “How The Austerity Class Rules Washington”: “The austerity class testifies frequently before Congress, is quoted constantly in the media by sympathetic journalists and influences policy-makers and elites at the highest levels of power. They manufacture a center-right consensus by determining the parameters of acceptable debate and policy priorities, deciding who is and is not considered a respectable voice on fiscal matters. The ‘balanced’ solutions they advocate are often wildly out of step with public opinion and reputable economic policy, yet their influence endures, thanks to an abundance of money, the ear of the media, the anti-Keynesian bias of supply-side economics and a political system consistently skewed to favor Wall Street over Main Street.”
Conservatives shrug off fiscal responsibility when it comes building fence to keep out Latinos. NYT: “Border security appears to be an area where some Republican candidates are ready to set aside their priority on fiscal discipline, since security analysts say very little research is available on how much a border-length fence would cost. Based on what studies do exist, the analysts say that building and maintaining a fence through the remote or hostile terrain along the border would run into billions of dollars, with no documented impact on diminishing illegal crossings.”
Obama administration successfully prosecuting Medicaid fraud. USA Today: “The federal government has more than tripled the amount of money it has recovered through efforts to stop Medicaid fraud in the past six years … Much of the money comes as the Obama administration, with bipartisan help in Congress, has increased spending on anti-fraud programs.”
Perry Falls Flat
Presidential candidate Rick Perry goes flat tax. NYT: “…it is expected to resemble a version previously advocated by the former presidential candidate Steve Forbes [which] featured a 17 percent tax rate … a flat tax would generally make the tax system more regressive, thereby reducing the percentage for high-income earners but increasing burden on lower-income groups … For some conservatives, however, the regressive nature is actually a positive result of the flat tax system.”
“You Don’t Need A Regressive ‘Flat Tax’ To Eliminate Deductions,” notes Matt Yglesias: “Our tax code differs from what Perry is proposing in two ways. One is that the definition of taxable income is complicated because you can deduct … A second is that we have multiple tax brackets … There’s nothing complicated about calculating how much you owe in taxes once you’ve calculated your taxable income. The second change just helps rich people pay less taxes.”
Both Perry and alleged libertarian Rep. Ron Paul hypocritical on energy subsidies. W. Post: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) pressed the energy secretary in 2008 to approve a federal loan guarantee to help an energy company hoping to expand a nuclear facility in Texas.”
Republicans to stop obstructing confirmation of Commerce Sec. nominee reports The Hill.