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: Happy Birthday Federal Income Tax!
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “President Abraham Lincoln and the Congress of the United States are pleased to announce the arrival of the Federal income tax. Name: The Revenue Act of 1861. Date of birth: August 5, 1861. Place of birth: Washington DC. 1861: The Civil War was straining the Federal government’s budget. There were fears that the Confederacy would capture major Atlantic seaports, depriving it of a major income source from import tariffs. Lincoln conferred with members of his famed ‘Team of Rivals’ Cabinet about Constitutional approaches to taxation, and they agreed on a tax for high earners.”
Romney Can’t Shake His Tax Returns
Romney skirted Italian taxes in major privatization deal. Bloomberg: “Bain was part of a group that bought a telephone-directory company from the Italian government and then sold it about two years later, at the peak of the technology bubble, for about 25 times what it paid … the deals have spurred at least three books, separate legal and regulatory probes and newspaper columns alleging investors made a fortune at the expense of Italian taxpayers … Romney himself probably earned more than $50 million … Bain moved profits through a series of subsidiaries in Luxembourg, a country that makes it easy to get cash out without paying taxes…”
Sen. Maj. Leader Reid continues to stoke fire over Romney’s hidden tax returns. Politico: “‘They’re a bunch of cowards and they’re avoiding the issue,’ said David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff, in an interview with POLITICO on Sunday night. ‘Lindsey Graham, Reince Priebus – they’re a bunch of henchmen for Romney and they’re all reading off the same talking points … Who are these people to say Reid is not telling the truth?’, [noting] that he said in an interview with ABC News that he was going to provide additional information on his tax rate, but then failed to provide that data.”
Business Fear Austerity From Fiscal Cliff
Some businesses say they are cutting back because of “fiscal cliff.” NYT: “…the fiscal cliff’s total impact equals slightly more than $600 billion, or 4 percent of gross domestic product, and if no action is taken, the Congressional Budget Office projects the economy will shrink by 1.3 percent in the first half of 2013 as a result. With many Fortune 500 companies now setting budgets and planning for 2013, chief executives say they cannot afford to hope for the best.”
Democracy declining in Europe as ultrarich force austerity, argues W. Post’s Harold Meyerson: “…the leaders of the continent’s largest nations — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — have asked their fellow European leaders to relinquish control of their national budgets to unelected European Union technocrats and judges. Any nation whose budget deficit exceeds 3 percent of its gross domestic product will face (as yet unspecified) financial sanctions, which can be suspended only by a supermajority of other E.U. member nations’ leaders.”
GOP Voter Suppression Strategy Faces Courts
Obama campaign debunks charge that move to protect OH early voting harms military members. CNN: “Mitt Romney’s campaign said Saturday that a lawsuit filed by Team Obama against Ohio’s secretary of state targets military voters … Axelrod said the Romney argument distorts the facts. In Ohio, recent election reforms in the GOP-controlled legislature eliminated the three-day window running up to Election Day … from the early voting calendar. Those living overseas and members of the military, however, are still allowed to take advantage of those three days … The lawsuit, filed in mid-July, calls on the state to return the three-day voting weekend for all Ohio voters, not just members of the military.”
GOP voter suppression laws face judges. W. Post: “Lawyers in Colorado are poised to challenge the secretary of state’s proposed purge of noncitizens from voter rolls. A half-dozen suits are aimed at Florida’s raft of voting changes. A Pennsylvania judge is deciding whether a voter ID law there violates the state constitution. In Ohio, the Obama campaign has filed suit against a law passed by the state’s Republican leadership to shorten the early-voting period. And the separate issue in [U.S. District Judge Algenon] Marbley’s courtroom was whether Ohio must count provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct when the mistake was the fault of a poll worker rather than the voter.”
New study argues “revolving door” helps, not hurts, SEC enforcement. NYT: “The study, by researchers at Emory University, Rutgers, the University of Washington and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, found that S.E.C. enforcement lawyers who leave to join private law firms that specialize in commission matters actually produced tougher enforcement results than their peers while at the agency.”
MO Senate race shows influence of Citizens United. NYT: “Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, David and Charles Koch’s Americans For Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the 60 Plus Association have dumped as much as $15 million into the state since July 2011 to keep [Sen. Clare McCaskill] on her heels … The sustained campaign could become a textbook for future efforts in a new era of anything-goes campaign financing, both Ms. McCaskill and her opponents say.”
Elizabeth Warren says “I meant what I said” in Politico oped: ” I laid out how we all needed to invest in our country, to build a strong foundation for our families today, and make sure the next kid with the great idea has the chance to succeed. But too often, that kid can’t succeed because the system is rigged against him … We face a real choice in this country between the Republicans’ ‘I’ve got mine,’ approach and the belief that, as a nation, we reward success and hard work — keeping the playing field level so that everyone with a good idea, a dream of making it big and plenty of determination has a chance to make it.”