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: Don’t Lower Taxes For Billionaires. Double Them.
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “It’s time to admit that we can’t rebuild our economy – or balance the Federal budget – without raising taxes on the very wealthy. That’s what Simpson, Bowles, and all their highly-funded friends won’t tell you: We need to raise their taxes a lot … Suddenly Chuck Schumer, the Wall Street-friendly New York Democrat, is now thought by some to represent the left flank of the tax argument. Schumer, who’s presumably manning the barricades with his fellow radical Warren Buffett, would use any additional revenue to cut deficits and not to provide needed services. What makes them think of Sen. Schumer as an obstructionist lefty? He wants to keep millionaire and billionaire tax rates at their pre-Bush-tax-cut, already insufficient level. Schumer’s proposal, like Buffett’s, is a cool solution to a hot problem. But at least neither one of them has drunk the Kool-Aid.”
Romney Shakes Up The Etch-a-Sketch Again
Romney campaign continues with the Etch-a-Sketch strategy. W. Post: “Campaign strategists … are retooling Romney’s stump speech so it has fewer red-meat lines that aim to stir up conservative partisans who attend rallies and more points that are intended to appeal to persuadable voters who will be seeing and reading snippets from the speech in news coverage.”
Now claims he won’t end middle-class tax deductions, still won’t say what deductions he’d end to pay for giant tax cut. NYT: “Although Mr. Romney has insisted that he would lower tax rates with no loss in revenue by closing loopholes, he has never specified which ones, opening him to charges that he would do away with popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. But in an interview with CNN, Mr. Romney said he would protect those deductions, at least for the middle class. The problem is that doing so would make it harder to collect enough tax revenue, deepening the federal budget deficit, independent budget analysts say.”
And flip-flops, yet again, on abortion. NYT: “He also said he had no plans to pursue new laws limiting abortion … the Obama campaign called it a ”lie,’ inconsistent with earlier promises to name Supreme Court justices opposed to Roe v. Wade.”
Yet “doubles down” on Big Bird, reports Politico: “… CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Romney whether he regretted mentioning Big Bird during last week’s presidential debate … But far from showing any sign of regret, Romney doubled-down … ‘Big Bird is going to be just fine, Sesame Street is a very succseful enterprise … I just think that PBS will be able to make it on it’s own, and it does not require us to go to China to borrow money to keep PBS on the air’”
Romney profits from Bain outsources to China. NYT: “Nine years ago, [Asimico] bought two camshaft factories that employed about 500 people in Michigan. By 2007 both were shut down. Now Asimco manufactures the same components in China on government-donated land in a coastal region that China has designated an export base, where companies are eligible for the sort of subsidies Mr. Romney says create an unfair trade imbalance … Since 2010, it has been owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mr. Romney, who has as much as $2.25 million invested in three Bain funds with large stakes in Asimco and at least seven other Chinese businesses…”
CEO tells employees Obama’s re-election means layoffs, but his business grew under Obama. CNN: “David Siegel, the resort CEO who is building the biggest private home in the country … sent an e-mail to all 7,000 employees of privately-held Westgate Resorts … ‘The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration,’ … Siegel actually has been hiring in recent years … Employment at the company dropped as low as 5,000 and revenue fell by 50% at the worst point during to the credit crunch. Jobs have bounced back by about 40% since then…”
Dems maintain voter registration edge in swing states, but at reduced margins. Bloomberg: “Democrats have the edge over Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. In Colorado and New Hampshire, Republicans outnumber Democrats, according to the analysis of state data. Three other battlegrounds — Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin — don’t report registration statistics by party … Independent voters collectively grew by about 764,000 in the six states reviewed. Republicans have added almost 195,000 voters in those states since the 2008 presidential election — boosted in part by a competitive primary campaign this year in which Mitt Romney emerged as the nominee — while Democrats saw a net decline of about 258,000 …”
Schumer Draws Grand Bargain Line
Sen. Chuck Schumer rejects “grand bargain” that further cuts tax rates for wealthy, but opens door to “entitlement reform.” W. Post: “…Schumer said lowering the rate paid by top earners makes no sense in an age of rising income inequality and soaring debt … He urged Democrats to ‘scrap’ the old approach and demand higher rates — not only for the wealthy but also for investment income. … Democrats, including Obama, want to let the top rate spring back up to 39.6 percent, but are generally open to lowering it as part of a broader tax code rewrite [involving] lowering rates by closing loopholes … Instead of lower rates, Schumer said, ‘the lure for Republicans to come to the table around a grand bargain should be the potential for serious entitlement reform.’”
Schumer sees cracks in GOP over taxes, notes TNR’s Timothy Noah: “The best part of Schumer’s speech is where he points out that Democrats are holding more cards in this game than is generally recognized. Polls show the public supports Democrats on taxes more than Republicans. ‘This is causing Republicans to rethink their approach,’ Schumer said. ‘Just look at Governor Romney. In recent weeks, he has gone to great lengths to moderate his tax proposal to appeal to a broader audience–going so far as to promise in last week’s debate that he would not reduce the net tax burden on the wealthy at all.’ Precisely. Schumer cites a headline in today’s Financial Times: ‘Republicans Shift On Taxing The Rich.’ I’ve been noticing that since the GOP convention.”
Gang of 8 is back, and meeting with Simpson and Bowles. W. Post: “… it’s unclear whether they’ll have any more success in bringing Congress to a deal this time around … Sources familiar with the group say that no breakthroughs were made at Tuesday’s gathering. But in the event that it does come out with a new bargain, there’s still a chance it could have an impact on future negotiations by setting new goalposts for the parties.”
The “fiscal cliff”‘ isn’t. NYT: “…policy and economic analysts projecting its complicated and wide-ranging potential impact said the term ‘fiscal hill’ or ‘fiscal slope’ might be more apt: the effect would be powerful but gradual … In the event that New Year’s Day came and went without a legislative fix, confidence, investment, markets and household spending would be hurt, analysts said. Still, there would be time for Congress to strike a deal before the economy started contracting. The economic effect would accumulate day by day, and much of it might be reversible.”