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: Sabotage Is Unacceptable
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “… by demanding tax breaks for millionaires while blocking them for the middle class, Republicans have once again demonstrated their willingness to blow up the economy for self-serving purposes. The choice is either to back the highly flawed Democratic proposal or let the Republicans block it, which would plunge the economy into an even deeper hole than it’s in right now. Imperfect as the proposal is, the alternative is unacceptable. If it failed the already-wounded economy would suffer even more, and millions of jobless Americans would be left without the unemployment insurance they need.”
GOP Frays Over Payroll Tax Cut
Republicans divided over payroll tax cut extension. NYT: “Despite the fact that they have signed the now famous pledge not to raise taxes, many Republicans, particularly in the House, oppose the extension on basic principle, arguing that the reduction in the payroll tax paid by employees does not stimulate the economy … in the Senate … Republican support for the extension is growing, as long as it is paid for in a way that passes muster with the party … Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, said his party’s plan could involve a small increase in taxes for some high-income people who meet certain criteria.”
President to stump for payroll tax cut extension in PA today reports McClatchy.
GOPers fear losing jobs message war reports Politico.
Millionaire surtax would only affect 1% of small businesses notes W. Post’s Suzy Khimm.
“GOP Willing To Raise Payroll Taxes On 113 Million Households To Spare 345,000 Millionaires From Tiny Surtax notes ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo.
GOP congresspeople worry Dems have uppoer hand in spending talks. The Hill: “[This month's' Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Housing minibus measure attracted an eyebrow-raising 101 Republican “no” votes … The dynamic caused by the defections, GOP appropriators say, gives Democrats the upper hand on the anticipated omnibus spending bill in December."
Newt Gingrich scolds Americans for talking about inequality. W. Monthly's Steve Benen: "…, the Republican presidential candidate questions the patriotism of those who choose to draw attention to the problem. 'I repudiate, and I call on the President to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false.' … A disgraced multi-millionaire, who’s run an ethically-sketchy 'business conglomerate' while spending vast amounts of money on high-priced jewelry for this third wife, feels comfortable lecturing struggling Americans about even noticing the growing class gap."
Two More Occupations Evicted
200 arrested in LA. LAT: "Hundreds of police officers swarmed the large camp at City Hall’s south lawn shortly after midnight, encircling the demonstrators in less than 10 minutes. By quickly establishing a perimeter, police managed to take control of the scene in the first moments of engagement. No tear gas was used in the shutdown of what was the nation's largest remaining Occupy camp. More than 200 people were arrested in the operation that involved 1,400 officers."
50 arrested in Philly. Inquirer: "The occupiers responded by roaming around Center City, scattering and regrouping with police following their every move in a chaotic night of cat-and-mouse that ended before daylight. 'The Dilworth occupation is over,' Mayor Nutter said at a news conference just before 7 a.m. Crews were using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to clear up debris and fire hoses to wash down the plaza as he spoke."
SEC forced to reassess settlement strategy after judge's ruling. NYT: "Securities law experts say there are ways that the S.E.C. might be able to strengthen its enforcement efforts and make Wall Street fearful of penalties that sting. Jill Gross, a law professor and director of the Investor Rights Clinic at Pace University, said that as a result of the judge’s decision, companies were now likely to have to admit some kind of fault in their settlements … The S.E.C. has said that stiffer penalties will provide a greater deterrent. This week, the agency asked Congress to raise the amounts that it can fine companies for securities law violations."
Mortgage relief program set to be expanded. NYT: "Starting early next month … banks will begin using new criteria intended to make more borrowers eligible: raising the ceiling on how much owners can borrow over the value of their home as well as relaxing rules that might force banks to take back bad loans from the government. In announcing the change, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, carefully eased expectations, suggesting about 900,000 more homeowners would be helped, roughly doubling the size of the program to date. Analysts welcomed the change, but some criticized it for still not capturing nearly enough of the people who could benefit from lower interest rates."
Austerity Backlash Hits Britain
Massive strike in Britain to end austerity measures. NYT: "Public sector workers on Wednesday began Britain’s biggest strike in a generation to protest austerity measures, a day after the British government said that it was falling behind with its deficit-reduction plan and that the measures would drag on for two more years. Courts, schools, hospitals, airports and government offices could all be hit by the strike, which has come to be seen as an emblem of resistance to government plans to squeeze public-sector pensions and cut government spending to reduce debt. Education authorities across Britain said thousands of schools had closed because teachers were on strike, and many parents had taken a day off from work to look after children."
"Why can’t Europe save austerity for later?" asks W. Post's Brad Plumer: "Why don’t countries like Spain or Italy or France try to do what the Obama administration has proposed in the United States? Enact some stimulus this year, while the economy’s weak, and then cut future spending … Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics [says] the structure of European political institutions make these sort of timed cuts a lot more difficult. … Gagnon says. ‘In our system, a long-run budget cut is more credible. But in a parliamentary system, it’s much easier to undo.’ No one would believe Italy if it promised stimulus today and cuts tomorrow.”
Dems slam GOPers on proposed Medicare cuts. W. Post: “The offensive will begin Wednesday with a flurry of automated phone calls to voters in 30 Republican-held congressional districts, accusing the GOP of ‘forcing’ a supercommittee failure because they wanted to protect tax breaks for the wealthy by cutting Medicare … Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), chairman of the Democrats’ House campaign committee … sought to distinguish between the Medicare cuts Republicans proposed and the openness to change that top Democrats voiced, saying his party has ‘said we will negotiate to strengthen Medicare, improve Medicare and reform Medicare, but we will not negotiate the end of Medicare.’”
Pew poll finds, the Tea Party is over. NYT: “In Congressional districts represented by Tea Party lawmakers, the number of people saying they disagree with the movement has risen significantly since it powered a Republican sweep in midterm elections; almost as many people disagree with it as agree with it … In the 60 districts represented in Congress by a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, Republicans are now viewed about as negatively as Democrats … the Tea Party may be dragging down the Republican Party heading into a presidential election year…”
Newt Gingrich was a corporate lobbyist in all but name, finds NYT: “In a variety of instances, documents and interviews show, Mr. Gingrich arranged meetings between executives and officials, and salted his presentations to lawmakers with pitches for his clients, who pay as much as $200,000 a year to belong to his Center for Health Transformation … Mr. Gingrich and his aides have repeatedly emphasized that he is not a registered lobbyist … Even if he does not appear to have been negotiating legislative language, he and his staff did many of the same things that registered lobbyists do.”
“ObamaCare” opponents happily take money to implement it. W. Post: “Thirteen states were awarded nearly $220 million in federal grants Tuesday to help them erect the private health-insurance marketplaces that are at the heart of the 2010 health-care law — including eight led by Republican governors who opposed the legislation.”
Big jump in free school lunches. NYT: “The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase … Although the troubled economy is the main factor in the increases, experts said, some growth at the margins has resulted from a new way of qualifying students for the subsidized meals, known as direct certification. In 2004, Congress required the nation’s 17,000 school districts to match student enrollment lists against records of local food-stamp agencies, directly enrolling those who receive food stamps for the meals program. The number of districts doing so has been rising — as have the number of school-age children in families eligible for food stamps, to 14 million in 2010-11 from 12 million in 2009-10.”