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: Now’s The Time To Take The Social Security Pledge
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “Republicans actually managed to run to the left of Dems in 2010 by positioning themselves as Medicare’s defenders. Now observers are shocked – shocked! – that they’re is running to the left of the Democrats on Social Security too. They’re claiming that the payroll tax ‘holiday’ would ‘cut contributions’ to the program. (It would, but Democrats plan to replace them out of general revenues).They’re also claiming the plan would ‘drive (Social Security’s) Trust Fund into the red.’ (It wouldn’t – but by mingling the trust fund with general revenues, the ‘holiday’ weakens Social Security’s fiscal firewall and endangers its political security.) … Fortunately, there is a solution … a simple pledge which the President and all Democrats could sign, and which they could urge Republicans to sign too …”
Payroll Tax Cut Divide Widens
House Republicans feel better now that President promised to veto their payroll tax bill. The Hill: “The Speaker earned positive reviews for the revised payroll tax cut package he presented to the House Republican conference Thursday, a sharp turnaround from the resistance he faced from conservatives when he first outlined his plan last week … the turning point was President Obama’s threat on Wednesday to reject the payroll tax bill if the House attached a provision forcing administrative action on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. Boehner defied the president on the issue and won over many skeptics in the process.”
House is no rush to vote on their version. Bloomberg: “The House and Senate won’t hold votes today and most lawmakers are returning to their districts for the weekend. They face a Dec. 31 deadline to address the payroll tax cut or workers will receive 2 percent less in paychecks starting in January. … The House could vote on the Republican plan as soon as Dec. 13, Gingrey said. The House’s work won’t likely be completed if Democrats in the Senate block the measure, setting up possible back-and-forth maneuvering between the chambers next week.”
“I think Democratic senators should start wearing buttons that say, ‘We are the 52 percent.’” after payroll tax cut extension filibustered yesterday by minority of 48 senators, says TNR’s Timothy Noah.
The rich are not necessarily “job creators” too precious to tax, notes NYT’s Paul Krugman: “…the current orthodoxy among Republicans is that we mustn’t even criticize the wealthy, let alone demand that they pay higher taxes, because they’re ‘job creators.’ Yet the fact is that quite a few of today’s wealthy got that way by destroying jobs rather than creating them. And Mr. Romney’s business history offers a very good illustration of that fact … There’s no need, and no reason, to hate Mr. Romney and others like him. We do, however, need to get such people paying more in taxes…”
Extending the payroll tax cut via taxing the rich is the “real way to help small business” job creators, argues NYT editorial board: “… in the real world of small businesses — start-ups, corner stores, Main Street, small companies in large supply chains — a surtax on high earners that pays for a payroll tax cut would be helpful because that tax cut would put more spending money in customers’ pockets.”
NPR asks GOP to find some of those job creators. Dean Baker: “Morning Edition called the Republican party and asked to be put in contact with some tax burdened job creators. They were unable to provide anyone for NPR to interview. NPR then contacted several of the business lobbies who have been complaining that higher taxes would impede job growth. These organizations were also unable to find any job creators who would speak to NPR. NPR then put in a request to talk to job creators on Facebook. It got several responses from small business owners. The ones featured on its segment said that the personal tax rate would affect their disposable income but would have no effect on their hiring. This is pretty much what economic theory would predict.”
CFPB Nominee Filibustered by GOP
President slams filibuster of CFPB nominee. W. Post: “… the president charged that his Republican adversaries were not acting ‘on the level’ after they blocked, by filibuster, his appointment of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ‘This makes no sense,’ Obama declared. ‘Consumers across the country understand part of the reason we got into the financial mess we did is because regulators are not doing their jobs.’”
Minority rules, notes TNR’s Jon Cohn: “Remember, the Senate didn’t actually vote on Cordray’s nomination. The vote never took place because the Republican caucus, with one exception, are supporting a filibuster the nomination. Together, they do not represent a majority. On the contrary, 53 senators voted to proceed with the vote. Had the vote taken place, a majority likely would have voted to confirm him. But that’s the way the Senate works today: The majority doesn’t rule. The minority does. If you think that’s a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the U.S. constitution, you are quite right.”
Sen. Mike Lee Admits He Filibusted CFPB Nominee To Sabotage The Agency” reports ThinkProgress.
Karl Rove group tries to claim Elizabeth Warren is too close to Wall Street. CBS: “‘Really?’ asks a narrator following the clip of Warren’s remarks. ‘Congress had Warren oversee how your tax dollars were spent bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown. Bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle-class Americans lost out.’”
Romney Embraces House GOP Plan To Slash Medicare
Romney hugs anti-Medicare plan in hopes of dispatching Gingrich. W. Monthly’s Steve Benen: “In April and May, Democrats desperately tried to get Romney to endorse the Ryan budget plan, but the former governor kept dodging and eventually the questions stopped. But now it’s back, and the ambiguities are gone — Romney’s campaign is now on record supporting a radical budget plan that, among other things, replaces Medicare with a private voucher scheme, slashes taxes on the wealthy, and adds $6 trillion to the debt. This is the line Democrats have waited eight months for Romney to take.”
Will Euro Deal Save The Euro?
Euro leaders forge treaty to forestall currency crisis. NYT: “European leaders, meeting until the early hours of Friday, agreed to sign an intergovernmental treaty that would require them to enforce stricter fiscal and financial discipline in their future budgets. But efforts to get unanimity among the 27 members of the European Union, as desired by Germany, failed as Britain and Hungary refused to go along for now. Importantly, all 17 members of the European Union that use the euro agreed to the new treaty, along with six other countries that wish to join the currency union one day…”
Daily Beast’s Felix Salmon calls the treaty “half-baked”: “All of Europe’s hopes right now are being placed in something called the European Stability Mechanism … the ESM seems set to be capped at a mere 500 billion euros? That’s a lot of money, of course, but compare it with Italy’s total debt of roughly €2 trillion. And that isn’t even counting Spain, or Portugal, or Ireland, or whatever money Greece might yet still need.”
Euro crisis not about bloated government. W. Post’s Ezra Klein: “…my colleague Robert Samuelson wrote that ‘Europe’s turmoil is more than a currency crisis and was inevitable, in some form, even if the euro had never been created. It’s ultimately a crisis of the welfare state, which has grown too large to be easily supported economically.’ I don’t think that quite works. Take Germany … In 2007, Germany spent 25.2 percent of their GDP on [social spending]. Greece spent 21.3 percent on social policies. Yet Greece is in crisis, and Germany is fine.”
Dems try to stop USPS cutbacks. The Hill: “Democrats say Congress should have a say in a government action that could ultimately lead to more than 100,000 lost jobs at a time when the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. A group of 18 Senate Democrats have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) asking for Congress to postpone the Postal Service’s action.”
FAA bill stalled as GOP tries to block union election reform. Politico: “All other outstanding issues have been worked out by congressional negotiators, but talks over the 2010 National Mediation Board rule that changed how airline industry union elections are calculated has hampered a deal for months.”