By Bill Scher
May 22, 2012 - 7:53am 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: The Real Bain Debate
OurFuture.org's Terrance Heath: "'Do you want a president who watches an American factory shut down and says, "Well, that's capitalism?"', asks Michael Tomasky. It recasts Romney's answer to questions about bankruptcies, shutdowns, and layoffs Bain left in its wake as a Rumsfeldian 'stuff happens' response ... But stuff doesn't just happen. Stuff happens because other stuff happens ... We are, as E.J. Dionne writes, not in the middle of a national argument about capitalism versus 'socialism,' but a much needed discussion about what kind of capitalism we want ... What's the alternative to the 'vulture capitalism' practiced by firms like Bain Capital? ... It's components are just beginning to take shape, as more people envision a capitalism that better spreads the benefits of the 'productivity revolution,' that regulates the worst of capitalism's 'creative destruction,' and incorporates a safety net to catch those left behind by the market."
President: Bain Is "What This Campaign Is Going To Be About"
President explains the difference between running a private equity firm and running a nation: "I think my view of private equity is that it is set up to maximize profits. And that’s a healthy part of the free market ... there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries. But understand that their priority is to maximize profits. And that’s not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers ... when you’re President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who got laid off and how are we paying for their retraining. Your job is to think about how those communities can start creating new clusters so that they can attract new businesses. Your job as President is to think about how do we set up a equitable tax system so that everybody is paying their fair share that allows us then to invest in science and technology and infrastructure, all of which are going to help us grow. And so, if your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you’re missing what this job is about."
Super PACs helping Romney gain on Obama. NYT: "President Obama’s once-commanding fund-raising advantage is declining as major Republican donors rally for Mitt Romney, conservative 'super PACs' far outpace their liberal counterparts and tax-exempt issue-advocacy groups swarm the political landscape ... Those figures do not account for all the money spent through tax-exempt issue-advocacy organizations that are not required to disclose their spending, like Americans for Prosperity, founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, who have reportedly pledged to steer at least $200 million to conservative advocacy groups by Election Day."
U.S. Chamber of Commerce pledges to keep donors secret. Politico: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not backing down on its promise to engage in the most aggressive campaign operation in its 100 year history, despite a recent court decision that would require disclosure of secret donors behind issue ads ... [Tom] Donohue also promised that 'we will not have to disclose where our funding comes from.' ... It is expected the group will spend more than $50 million, although Donohue declined to discuss specific numbers."
Push To Toughen Volcker Rule
"Obama faces pressure on Volcker Rule" reports W. Post: "Although he introduced and supports the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from gambling with their own money, regulators have yet to finish writing the rule and haven’t determined whether [JPMorgan Chase's bad] trading would have violated the draft version of the rule that has been released ... the authors of the Volcker Rule called on Obama to speak out in favor of a tougher version of it ... [Sen. Carl] Levin said he understood that the White House and the Treasury have only limited ability to shape the new rules, given that they are being written by officials at banking regulatory agencies that by law are independent."
Top regulator pledges action to regulate similar high-risk trading. Bloomberg: "The types of derivative swaps said to have led to a loss of at least $2 billion at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) may be the first for which the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission would require guarantees by clearinghouses under the Dodd-Frank Act, according to the CFTC chairman."
German voters still in an austerity mood. W. Post: "... more Germans than ever are ready to say goodbye to Greece as a common partner in the euro currency ... Merkel is walking an increasingly tricky tightrope to connect German domestic priorities and international ones. Though she has been making quiet concessions to leaders who favor stimulus over cuts, she has opposed grander proposals to prop up struggling countries, measures that will be under discussion Wednesday at an emergency meeting of the euro zone’s leaders."
NLRB judge rules against Target for interfering with union election. NYT: "...the election ... sought to make the Valley Stream store the first unionized Target in the nation. Judge Davis found, among other things, that Target managers had barred employees from wearing union buttons and distributing fliers, had improperly threatened to discipline employees who discussed union matters and had unlawfully threatened to close the store if the workers voted to unionize ... the company [is] evaluating its next steps, which include appealing the judge’s ruling to the full five-person labor board in Washington."
Public money being diverted private religious schools. NYT: "Spreading at a time of deep cutbacks in public schools, the programs are operating in eight states and represent one of the fastest-growing components of the school choice movement. This school year alone, the programs redirected nearly $350 million that would have gone into public budgets to pay for private school scholarships for 129,000 students ... While the scholarship programs have helped many children whose parents would have to scrimp or work several jobs to send them to private schools, the money has also been used to attract star football players, expand the payrolls of the nonprofit scholarship groups and spread the theology of creationism ... Most of the private schools are religious. Nearly a quarter of the participating schools in Georgia require families to make a profession of religious faith, according to their Web sites. Many of those schools adhere to a fundamentalist brand of Christianity."
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