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.
OurFuture.org's Dave Johnson:  "Romney proposes to cap federal spending below twenty percent of the economy -- which by the way includes his military spending increases. He's picking some arbitrary number regardless of the need for government to do certain things. By tying spending to GDP, this is a plan to cut government exactly when it is needed most -- when GDP falls ... When government eliminates a program the need for the program doesn't go away. Either the need is left unaddressed -- a cost to those with the need -- or the cost of addressing that need is shifted from government onto individuals, on their own. This means that the cost to our larger economy is increased, but bearer of that cost is shifted ... what happens if Medicare is cut or eliminated, as Republicans have proposed (and passed in the House.) The need for health care for seniors doesn't go away, but without Medicare the cost is shifted onto the seniors and their families..."
Conservatives press Romney to pick Ryan for VP. NYT:  "In rallying around Mr. Ryan, a champion of cutting government spending and reining in the costs of programs like Medicare and Medicaid, conservatives are calling for Mr. Romney to select someone who can push their fiscal agenda, but they also are setting the stage for a possible letdown on the right if Mr. Romney chooses someone else..."
Ryan would make GOP plan to scrap Medicare front and center. Reuters:  "The case against Ryan, 42, is that he is a lightning rod for criticism of the unpopular cuts in government health programs for the elderly and poor he proposed as chairman of the powerful House of Representatives Budget Committee. That is not a weakness, the conservatives argued, but a strength. They want Ryan's budget to be the issue and they want Ryan there to defend it."
Federal investigations into Goldman Sachs end without charges. NYT:  "The announcements were also the latest indication that federal investigations into the financial crisis were petering out as the deadline to file cases approached. While the S.E.C. has brought more than 100 financial crisis-related cases, the agency was looking to take on a big case aimed at punishing Wall Street for its role in the crisis."
Goldman the latest target DoJ decided not to prosecute. ABC:  "There was the collapse of AIG and the role of the top executive at AIG Financial Products division, Joseph Cassano, and former Countrywide CEO Anthony Mozillo, who was fined by the SEC in an insider trading case. Citibank and JP Morgan both had multi-million-dollar settlements with the SEC over collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, tied to the U.S. housing market, but Justice has not brought any criminal cases ... Attorney General Eric Holder defended the Justice Department's record in pursuing high profile financial fraud cases. 'There have been, I guess, 2,100 or so mortgage-related matters that we have brought here at United State Department of Justice.'"
CFPB proposes new rules for mortgage servicers. NYT:  "The new rules would require the service companies to provide monthly statements to customers, warn them before interest rates are adjusted and offer more options to avoid foreclosures."
Obama's clean energy strategy is working, ahead of schedule. Time's Michael Grunwald:  "Before President Obama took office, the U.S. had 25 gigawatts of wind power, and the government’s 'base case' energy forecast expected 40 GW by 2030. Well, it’s not quite 2030 yet, but we’ve already got 50 GW of wind. We’ve also got about 5 GW of solar, which isn’t much, but is over six times more than we had before Obama. Mitt Romney has suggested that wind and solar are 'imaginary' sources of energy, but they can now power 15 million homes, and their industries employ more than 300,000 Americans ... The stimulus has financed the world’s largest wind farm, a half dozen of the world’s largest solar farms, the nation’s first refineries for advanced biofuels, a new battery industry for electric vehicles, unprecedented investments in cleaner coal and a smarter electric grid, and over 15,000 additional clean-energy projects."
First tidal-power turbine scheduled to generate electricity next month. NYT:  "The Department of Energy has put up $10 million of the roughly $21 million in costs, hoping that tidal power can establish itself as part of the country’s arsenal of energy alternatives."
Columbia Journalism Review's Trudy Lieberman slams AP:  "[The AP dredged] up a very old argument against Social Security—that workers pay more into the program than they later get back—and presenting it as fresh news ... the notion that people are not getting their money’s worth with Social Security has been around for about three decades. It’s revived by opponents whenever it seems there is a chance to privatize the system or cut benefits ... [But] giving people exactly what they paid in Social Security taxes has never been the goal of Social Security. It is insurance, not a savings account."
More from Dean Baker:  "...the study cited by Associated Press (Associated Press did not do a study) did not indicate that Social Security is paying out less than planned. The last cut in benefits was put into law 29 years. This means that if workers had looked at benefits they had been promised at any date since those cuts, they would be seeing exactly the benefits that they expected ... Also, the study showed that most workers would in fact get more than the standard return on the money they put into Social Security. It is only the top quarter or so of wage earners who could expect to get somewhat less than a normal return ... [But] the Bowles-Simpson plan, which is enthusistically supported by most of the Washington establishment, calls for further cuts to these workers' benefits."