By Bill Scher
January 18, 2012 - 10:48am ET
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: Newt's Race Card
OurFuture.org's Terrance Heath: "It hardly matters that the facts don't support what Newt, Santorum or any of the Republican candidates have said (and will surely say again) about African Americans and welfare. It hardly matters that no Americans have been 'put on food stamps' by the Obama administration or anyone else, but have applied for food stamps out of necessity; while Newt's own party has spent more than a year obstructing every attempt to relieve the stresses of an economic crisis caused by conservative policies in the first place ... The most important take-away is what it says about the Republican party and its conservative base that statements like Gingrich's and Santorum's — not to mention the ongoing saga of Ron Paul's old newsletters — won't hurt Republican candidates in the primaries, and may actually help them."
Romney Admits Paying Absurdly Low Tax Rate
After admitting benefitting from an effective tax rate of 15%, Romney agrees to release return ... in April. W. Post: "At 15 percent, Romney would pay a smaller share of his income in federal taxes than most high earners. In 2009, the top 1 percent of earners paid an average of 24 percent of adjusted gross income in federal taxes, according to Internal Revenue Service data. Romney’s rate is lower because virtually all of his income is from profits on investments, rather than earned wages."
Gingrich thinks Romney is taxed too much. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson: "...don't expect Romney to hear much about carried interest from his fellow GOP presidential hopefuls. Under chief rival Newt Gingrich's tax plan, all investment income would be tax free and Romney's overall rate would fall quite near to zero."
The Hill compares the Obama and Romney tax plans: "While Romney would extend all of the Bush tax cuts, Obama would allow tax rates to rise on annual income above $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals. Obama would also hike the capital gains tax on wealthier households. Romney opposes raising the tax on capital gains; his tax plan proposes maintaining the current tax rate and eliminating it for individuals with an adjusted gross income below $200,000. But unlike some conservatives ... Romney said Tuesday he would keep some capital gains tax in place."
Gingrich rips Romney's business approach as not "good capitalism." WSJ quotes: "“Raising a question of judgment about a particular person in a particular company who has made that one of his two major claims running for president is hardly an attack on capitalism ... the Bain model is to go in at a very low price, borrow an immense amount of money, pay Bain a great deal of money and leave. Now I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism ... I think it’s exploitative. I think it’s not defensible. You’ll notice he doesn’t try to defend it.”
Buzzfeed posts the 200-page opposition research book on Romney from the 2008 McCain campaign.
"Food Stamp President" Charge Boosts Newt
"Food stamp president" charge re-igniting Gingrich campaign. W. Post: "To his supporters, his statement captures his appeal as a politician — his rhetorical skills and willingness to tackle politically tricky issues. But his critics see something more sinister in his language as he seeks to regain lost ground in South Carolina, where strains of racial antipathy linger and where candidates have sometimes resorted to racially charged attacks to gain favor."
CBS debunks "food stamp" charge: "While the number of people on food stamps is indeed at a record level, that's in part because of eligibility rules being relaxed under the administration of George W. Bush. It's also due in part to the economic downturn that began under Mr. Bush ... The percent increase in beneficiaries during Mr. Bush's presidency was higher than it has been under Mr. Obama: The number of beneficiaries went from 17.3 million in 2001 to 28.2 million in 2008 - an increase of 63 percent in years that are mostly considered non-recessionary."
Dems Stand Ground On Payroll Tax Cut
Dems hold whip hands as payroll tax cut extension talks resume. NYT: "'We feel all the concessions going forward need to come from them,' said one senior Senate Democratic official ... White House aides would look at 'the overall composition' of the final package to make sure that what they saw as “subsidies to high-income individuals and corporations” were mitigated. That could mean ending tax breaks for corporate jets or other revenue provisions that Republicans have weighed as possibilities but have so far balked at, aides say."
President Obama has not decided the threshold where taxes should be raised in upcoming budget proposal. The Hill: "Following historic Republican gains in the 2010 election, many congressional Democrats embraced the $1 million figure over fears that the GOP had gained the upper hand by criticizing [Obama's proposed] $250,000 mark ... There are pros and cons for Obama on both the $250,000 and $1 million thresholds. If he sticks to the former, his budget plan would haul in revenue that could be used for new initiatives and/or deficit reduction. But he could be criticized by conservatives for being to the left of Pelosi."
Americans say inequality bigger problem than over-regulation, in ABC/W. Post poll: "One key theme of the campaign is breaking in Obama’s favor. By 55 percent to 38 percent, more Americans consider inequality the bigger economic issue than over-regulation of free enterprise. A majority of independents say inequality is the bigger issue."
And most still blame Bush, not Obama for the economy.
President praises "Republican-leaning" ideas to create jobs from his jobs council. LAT: "Obama's jobs council on Tuesday called for overhauling the corporate tax structure and reforming federal regulations. Corporate tax rates should sink to 'internationally competitive levels,' the report recommended, and an 'all-in strategy' should be adopted to cut reliance on foreign fuels by expanding domestic drilling ... White House officials characterized the council's ideas as common-sense ones that the president has been working on for some time. Next week's State of the Union address is expected to contain more of the same. Obama doesn't agree with all of the job council's proposals, aides said, and will decide in the coming weeks which ones he will act upon and how."
Most cities have not regained the jobs lost to recession. NYT: "Less than a tenth of the nation’s metropolitan areas have regained the jobs they lost in the economic downturn, according to a report being released Wednesday by the nation’s mayors ... It will take at least five years for the 80 hardest-hit areas to recover the jobs they lost ... even the small sources of federal support that cities rely on ... are being scaled back as Washington has made cutting the deficit a priority."
GOP Prepares To Politicize Keystone Decision...
GOP considers options if President rejects Keystone pipeline. The Hill: "Two senior committee members said Tuesday evening that options include Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill that would place the permit decision in the hands of independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), taking it away from the State Department."
Pentagon consultant makes case for putting solar plants on military bases. NYT: "...introducing solar installations on nine military bases in the Mojave and Colorado Desert could generate 7,000 megawatts of power ... that amounts to the output of seven average nuclear plants or six large coal-fired plants. It would also amount to 25 percent of the renewable energy that California will require its utilities to produce by 2015 [or] two-thirds of what the Department of Defense consumes nationwide each year ... the military could earn as much as $100 million annually from such solar installations, from rental payments to discounts on power."
Some states trying to force teachers to deny climate science. McClatchy: "Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom ... the National Center for Science Education ... announced on Monday that it will launch an initiative to monitor the teaching of climate science and evaluate the sources of resistance to it."
Auto industry supporting new fuel efficiency rules. NYT: "...as a public hearing held Tuesday in Detroit showed. More than 90 people who spoke throughout the day asserted that the stricter fuel economy requirements would create jobs, reduce oil consumption, create cleaner air and save drivers money, all while helping automakers increase their profits."
...And Attack Regulating Wall Street
House GOP prepares to attack Volcker Rule. Bloomberg: "Consumer groups and supporters of the rule have leaned on regulators to stick to the implementation timeline and pushed back against assertions that the rule will damage capital markets. The arguments from financial firms 'are all founded on the irrational assumption that, once bank proprietary trading ceases under the Volcker Rule, others will not expand to meet demand,' Wallace C. Turbeville, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said ... Republican Representatives Spencer Bachus of Alabama and Randy Neugebauer of Texas, the chairmen of the full committee and the investigations subcommittee, respectively, have opposed the proposal from its inception ... Neugebauer, along with 120 of his House colleagues, called on regulators to resubmit the proposal and consider extending the implementation timeline."
"Time to consider mass mortgage refinancings" says W. Post's Allan Sloan: "We’re not talking about anything risky to taxpayers, or a magic fix for the housing market. We’re talking about picking some low-hanging fruit by doing one simple thing: helping borrowers who are current on their payments refinance high-interest mortgages on which taxpayers are already at risk. That would help taxpayers as well as borrowers, because lower monthly payments would stimulate the economy, support housing prices and reduce future defaults."
Help us spread the word about these important stories...
Email to a friend
Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future