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: Stop The Apple Tax Dodge
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah J. Poole: “In one sense, Sunday’s New York Times story on how Apple avoids paying U.S. taxes is not a surprise. In 2010 Bloomberg News exposed how another technology titan, Google, managed to lower its tax rate to a measly 2.4 percent. And, as the New York Times story notes, the techniques both Apple and Google use to lower their tax bills are now typical among global corporations. What we need to do now is to build a national—and in fact, global—movement to shut down a tax dodge that is furthering the decay of the very communities that fostered the creation and nurtured the growth of these corporations. This is the reason why a strategy session on a ‘bold progressive tax strategy’ is on the agenda for the Take Back the American Dream conference June 18-20.
Prez Pushes Infrastructure
President chastises GOP for blocking infrastructure investment, at AFL-CIO rally. WSJ: “‘I’ve said now is the time to do this; interest rates are low, construction workers are out of work… and time after time, the Republicans have gotten together and they’ve said no,’ Mr. Obama told a packed ballroom at the Washington Hilton hotel. Still, he told the group that his administration has taken steps to speed up loans and grants for projects and reverse bans on so-called project labor agreements. His reversals allow federal agencies to require that contractors on large-scale public construction projects agree to union representation for workers.”
Romney campaign claims auto bailout was Mitt’s idea. ThinkProgress: “…Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said … ‘[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that… The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.’ … As industry experts have noted, however, exactly following Romney’s plan would have led to the collapse of the auto industry …”
Romney failing to attract small donors. NYT’s Micah Cohen: “More than half of Mr. Obama’s fund-raising total has arrived in donations of less than $200. Just 13 percent of Mr. Romney’s fund-raising has come in such small denominations … which could potentially mean not only less money but also fewer lawn signs and bumper stickers, fewer volunteers and, ultimately, fewer votes.”
Recovery not reaching “middle-skill” workers. Bloomberg: “Ninety-five percent of the net job losses during the recession were in middle-skill occupations, such as office workers, bank tellers and machine operators … The job growth since has been clustered in either high- skill fields inaccessible to workers without advanced education or low-paying industries … Robots are replacing factory workers. Airport kiosks are taking the place of ticket agents … software performs the work of accountants.”
Tea Party Congresspeople Funded By Big Banks
Bailed out banks now trying to bail out Tea Party congresspeople. Bloomberg: “…those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues … The political action committees of [the five biggest banks] have distributed $169,499 through March 31 to the campaign coffers of the 10 freshman Tea Party-backed lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee.”
Fed reportedly slams big banks over stress tests. Bloomberg: “The Federal Reserve criticized how some of the 19 largest U.S. banks calculated potential losses and planned dividends in this year’s stress tests … Flaws included marking down all housing prices at the same rate, rather than matching them to specific regions, and planning dividends that could drain needed capital.”
CBPP analyses the cost offsets in the competing student loan bills, finds the Republican version lacking: “One option, which the House approved last week, would eliminate a fund that promotes preventive health care. The other, much more sensible option (which the Senate will consider next week) would crack down on people who underreport their income to the IRS, thereby addressing a significant tax compliance problem …”
Decision delayed on Fannie and Freddie principal reduction. ThinkProgress: “Federal Housing Finance Agency head Edward DeMarco, who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will not make a decision on principal reduction before the end of April as planned…”
Republicans can’t agree what their health care position is. Politico: “A ruling against all or part of the legislation has the potential to reopen the health care wars of 2009, putting the differences among Republicans on full display. It’s a divide Democrats would try to exploit as they press Republicans on how they’re going to solve the country’s health care problems.”