By Bill Scher
July 10, 2012 - 6:47am 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: Clear Choice On Taxes: Progressive Obama Or Regressive Romney
OurFuture.org's Bill Scher: "Obama is for letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire on schedule at the end of this year, returning the top rate to where it was in the 1990s, 39.6%. He also wants the capital gains tax to increase from 15% to 23.8% Romney is for cutting the top tax rate even more than Bush, down to 28%. And abolishing the estate tax on multimillionaire heirs. And cutting corporate taxes from 35% to 25%, without specifying any loopholes he would close to raise offsetting revenue. And giving multinational corporations a 'tax holiday' on their overseas profits..."
Obama Calls for End of Bush Tax Breaks to Wealthy
Democrats unite around President's tax plan, while Romney defends tax cuts for wealthy. The Hill: "[Romney's] campaign swiped at Obama for responding to last week’s unemployment report, which showed the economy added only 80,000 jobs last month, with a 'massive tax increase.' ... Democrats, who have been divided over how best to approach the Bush-era tax rates, rushed to show there was no daylight between congressional leaders and Obama."
Though some intra-party tension remains. NYT: "While most party leaders fell into line with Mr. Obama’s message, several rank-and-file members said they remained opposed to any tax increases. The No. 2 House Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, indicated that he would be open to a $1 million income threshold..."
Dems prepared to go over "fiscal cliff" in order to hold line on taxes. Bloomberg: "Obama telegraphed the approach yesterday through his spokesman Jay Carney, who said the president would veto a bill to extend lower tax rates for the richest Americans ... Senate Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Charles Schumer have been resolute in recent caucus meetings, warning members against voting for a compromise that fails to include tax sacrifice from the nation’s highest earners ... Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said talks will go into 2013 if there’s no agreement on revenue. 'This is the Republicans’ choice, either they can provide tax relief to 99 percent of the American people or we’ll get it done after the end of the year,' he said..."
Texas Rejects Medicaid Expansion
Texas becomes sixth state to refuse federal Medicaid expansion deal. NYT: "Mr. Perry’s opposition to the provisions, while not surprising, angered Democrats and community health advocates in Texas. According to the Texas Medical Association, 25 percent of the state’s population lacks health insurance — 6.2 million people, including 1.2 million children — the highest rate of any state ... 'Rick Perry could’ve brought billions in federal dollars to Texas, reduced the rate of the uninsured and improved the quality of life for Texans,' Rebecca Acuña, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said..."
Winning over states nothing new. W. Post: "While the stakes are high for the White House, the territory is by no means uncharted. Washington has twice faced off with states over federal health-care expansions, when Medicaid was created in 1965 and with the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997. Both times, all 50 states ultimately signed on — but not without some wrangling."
"ObamaCare" creates jobs, says TNR's Jonathan Gruber: "These newly insured individuals will demand more medical care than when they were uninsured. And while it takes many years to train a family physician or nurse practitioner, it doesn’t take much time to train the assistants and technicians (and related support staff) who can fill much of this need. In many cases, these are precisely the sort of medium-skill jobs that our economy desperately needs—and that the health care sector has already been providing, even during the recession."
Congress Probes Libor
Congress enters fray on Libor scandal. NYT: "On Monday, the oversight panel of the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to the New York Fed seeking transcripts from at least a dozen phone calls in 2007 and 2008 between central bank officials and executives at Barclays ... a British parliamentary committee grilled a top Bank of England official over his knowledge of wrongdoing at Barclays.
NYT's Joe Nocera argues for using eminent domain to write down mortgages: "It would be a way to break the logjam that keeps mortgages in mortgage-backed bonds — securitizations — from being modified. It could prevent foreclosures. And it could finally stabilize housing prices ... The securitization industry is up in arms about this proposal [in San Bernadino] ... Nothing has yet worked to stem the terrible tide of foreclosures. It’s time to give eminent domain a try."
"Many Wall Street executives say wrongdoing is necessary" reports Reuters: "A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow ... 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful. Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it..."
Citigroup changing behavior as Volcker Rule looms. Bloomberg: "Citigroup is seeking to raise money for a new hedge fund without putting its own cash into the venture, in a test of investors’ willingness to buy in when the bank isn’t sharing risk ... Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, 55, who helps oversee a group of company-owned hedge funds, is grappling with the advent of the Volcker rule, which seeks to restrict banks from owning more than 3 percent of any fund."
JPMorgan Chase secrecy practices challenged. Bloomberg: "JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s multibillion- dollar trading loss exposed an industry practice that U.S. regulators are now likely to clamp down on: Banks keep investors in the dark about how they calculate trading risks ... The dispute revolves around value-at-risk, the main and sometimes only empirical gauge that investors get as they try to fathom how much a bank could lose if its trading bets go bad. Wall Street firms routinely give only broad outlines of how their mathematicians calculate VaR..."
Dean Baker says Bowles is no better than Simpson: "In particular, people should have cause for concern about his track record as a director of Morgan Stanley, the huge Wall Street investment bank. Morgan Stanley is one of the major investment banks that played a central role in propelling the housing bubble ... This person, who was paid so incredibly well to oversee the operations of a bank that required a government bailout to stave off collapse, is telling us that we have to take a cut in Social Security and make Medicare less adequate."
Obama rail plan gets boost in CA and VA. The Hill: "The railways — a high-speed line in California and an extension of Metrorail in the Washington suburbs — were approved after months of contentious debate in the jurisdictions where the trains will operate. Both projects have received money from the Obama administration but looked touch-and-go before they were ultimately approved last week."
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