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 Richard Eskow:  "Two recent movements have transformed the political landscape. The Occupy movement literally operates in the light of day. The other movement operates in secrecy ... The Romney video offers us a rare glimpse of the other movement. This movement of the extremely rich is rageful, ruthless, and radical. And it's on the rise ... The country they seek is radically different from the one we all grew up in, or even the troubled one we live in today. It's a nation without a social safety net, with hungry and ill people in the streets, without free and fair elections, without basic legal protections for consumers or the environment -- a United States unlike anything we've seen in our lifetime."
Institute for America's Future launches "Smart Talk" economic messaging project:  "In the wake of the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression, we are stuck in an economy which is not working for working people. Americans must decide if they want to go back to the failed conservative policies that drove us into this mess or continue on the path of reform. That is a crucial choice – but the fundamental reforms vital to creating an economy of shared prosperity are still largely missing in action. It will require activists and citizen movements to challenge the limits of the current debate. We aim to help by providing tested and effective ways to talk about these broader reforms in the key economic debates you and the constituencies you work with face."
Romney tries to turn video flap into debate over government. NYT:  "Mr. Romney, who on Monday called the remarks inelegant, suggested on Tuesday that it was time for a full debate about dependency, entitlements and what his campaign characterized as a long history of Mr. Obama’s support for 'redistributionist' policies ... Some Republicans applauded Mr. Romney’s determination not to back away from his statements about taxes and entitlements ... some Republicans [were still] distancing themselves from Mr. Romney’s remarks."
President responds on Letterman. CNN quotes:  "One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country. If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone. What people want to know though is you're not writing off a big chunk of the country because the way our democracy works ... people disagree a lot but one thing I've never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."
Romney's stance signals end of GOP efforts to cut taxes for poor. NYT:  "Mr. Romney waded into an ideological clash pitting two strands of conservative thinking against each other: the longstanding goal of reducing the tax burden on the poor with tax credits versus the growing anxiety that the nation’s 'takers' are now overtaking its 'makers.' ... For a long time, cutting taxes for the poor was a major emphasis of the Republican Party ... The [earned income tax] credit was added to the tax code when Gerald Ford was president, and was expanded by Republicans and Democrats, including President Ronald Reagan ... President George W. Bush, for his part, doubled the child tax credit, and his tax cuts erased the federal income tax liability for millions of households ..."
This Congress least productive in modern history. NYT:  "The 112th Congress is set to enter the Congressional record books as the least productive body in a generation, passing a mere 173 public laws as of last month. That was well below the 906 enacted from January 1947 through December 1948 by the body President Harry S. Truman referred to as the 'do-nothing' Congress, and far fewer than even a single session of many prior Congresses."
Republicans holding up bill to help veterans get jobs. The Hill:  "A bill to put veterans to work preserving and restoring national parks and other federal, state and local lands has become mired in a political fight ... [It] has been amended to include a number of Republican-sponsored provisions ... But the bill last week faced attacks from several Republican senators ... Without 60 votes, the bill will be sent back to committee, a step that Democrats say would effectively kill the legislation."
Congress may gut key ObamaCare provision preventing profiteering, says Timothy Jost in Politico oped:  "[$1.1B in] rebates were paid out under the act’s medical loss ratio — or 80/20 — rule, which requires insurers in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of their premiums on actual enrollee health care claims and programs to improve health care quality. The large group market must spend 85 percent on this ... One administrative cost that insurers must cover out of their 20 percent is marketing their products ... The bill, H.R. 1206, which is being marked up this week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would allow insurers to subtract commissions from premiums before calculating rebates. This change would have reduced the rebates by 60 percent..."
Confusing voter ID ruling by PA supreme court. The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen:  "...the majority has sent the case back down for review to Judge Robert E. Simpson, Jr., the Republican jurist whose extraordinarily broad and factually weak ruling in August has jeopardized the ballots of perhaps hundreds of thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters. But Judge Simpson's mandate on remand is not clear, which is why some observers of this unfolding drama will label Tuesday's ruling as a futile one which only makes a bad situation worse ... This guarantees that the voter ID fight in Pennsylvania will last at least until mid-October."
"Why Hundreds of Pennsylvanians Braved the Rain to Get an ID"  from AFL-CIO's Jackie Tortora.
Chicago teachers strike ends. Chicago Tribune:  "Though the union did not achieve the 30 percent base raise it initially sought, CTU President Karen Lewis claimed several victories. She argued that the union had successfully rejected Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attempts to institute merit pay, fought off more stringent requirements in a new teacher evaluation system and secured a recall policy for top-performing teachers who are laid off because of school closings ...Emanuel solidified his No. 1 reform objective of lengthening what had been one of the nation's shortest school days and year. The mayor also managed to secure a deal that gives teachers smaller raises than they had received under their previous five-year contract, maintains principals' right to determine which teachers will be hired and institutes, for the first time, a teacher evaluation system set out by state law that takes into account student performance."
Diane Ravitch says the teachers won:  "...by taking a stand, by uniting to resist the power elite, these teachers discovered they were strong ... Without the union, the teachers would have been ignored, and the politicians would be free to keep on reforming them again and again and again."