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: Time To “Take Back the American Dream”
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: ”The President’s new progressive moves aren’t enough, and they’re still watered down with unproductive and unpopular rightwing notions. But they are a move in the right direction. He deserves some credit for that. The progressive movement does too. So what’s next? … We need an independent movement to push for better (and more popular) policies. It should be centered around the kinds of positions reflected in the Contract for the American Dream – positions that end Wall Street recklessness, end two expensive and unproductive wars, create jobs, encourage growth, and rebuild the middle class … That still leaves a lot of questions unanswered: How should this independent movement be organized? How much of its efforts should be ‘inside the Beltway’ and how much should focus on the rest of the country? … Those questions and others are the reason why we’re gathering next week in Washington for the ‘Take Back the American Dream’ conference to have a series of in-depth conversations.”
Senate Lacks Votes For Jobs Bill
Dem Sen. Dick Durbin says votes not in hand to pass American Jobs Act reports WLS-AM in Chicago.
No evidence that Obama’s policies are the cause of the weak recovery, notes NYT’s Paul Krugman: ”The [Republican] answer, repeated again and again, is that businesses are afraid to expand and create jobs because they fear costly regulations and higher taxes … there’s no evidence supporting this claim and a lot of evidence showing that it’s false … Extended periods of ‘jobless recovery’ after recessions have been the rule for the past two decades. Indeed, private-sector job growth since the 2007-2009 recession has been better than it was after the 2001 recession.”
Latest House GOP appropriations bill loaded with ridiculous cuts, risking shutdown in November. AP: ”…House Republicans on Thursday unveiled plans to cut federal money for job training, heating subsidies and grants to better-performing schools … seeks to block implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, cut off federal funds for National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, and reduce eligibility for grants for low-income college students. Democrats and tea party Republicans opposed the bill, blocking it from advancing through even the easy initial steps of the appropriations process on Capitol Hill. Instead … the $153 billion measure is instead expected to be wrapped into a larger omnibus spending bill this fall or winter that would fund the day-to-day operating budgets…”
State pension funds improving, undercutting claims from deficit hysterics and anti-union forces. W. Post: ”The assets for the nation’s 100-largest public-employee pensions systems rose more than 1 percent during the second quarter, to $2.8 trillion … pension fund managers saw the report as good news. They said it underscores their view that though some pensions systems face dire funding problems, most should be able to recover without consuming large chunks of taxpayer money or gutting promised benefits to government workers.”
Conservatives Concede Government Can Mandate Health Coverage
Conservative lawyers challenging “ObamaCare” concede that government-mandated “MediCare” is constitutional. NYT: ”Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, one judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the majority in a 2-to-1 decision in June upholding the law, said the difference between the concededly proper approach and the disputed one was not enough to strike down a major piece of legislation. ‘Requiring insurance today and requiring it at a future point of sale amount to policy differences in degree, not kind, and not the sort of policy differences removed from the political branches,’ Judge Sutton wrote. Other judges have acknowledged the distinction but found it legally significant.”
Banks Seek To Fleece Customers, Blame Reform
Some banks trying to pass debit card reform costs onto consumers. NYT: ”Bank of America’s debit fee is steeper than most of its competitors’, reflecting the broader challenges the bank is facing after the financial crisis … Citibank is one of the few that said it would not introduce a charge for debit card use … Still, the bank has made it more difficult to qualify for free checking, among other moves.”
Dem Sen. Dick Durbin challenges BofA’s claim that Dodd-Frank law left it no choice. The Hill: ”The bank, the largest in the nation by assets, blamed its decision on the so-called Durbin Amendment, a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law put into place by Democrats in 2010 that set limits on the fees banks could charge retailers for swiping their debit cards … [Durbin] said the bank just wants to protect robust profit margins … ‘It’s overt, unfair and I hope their customers have the final say.’”
Failed CEOs still winning enormous severance packages. NYT: ”Several years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission turned a brighter spotlight on severance deals by requiring companies to disclose the values of the contracts in regulatory filings. More recently, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms required that public companies include ‘say on pay’ votes for shareholders to express opinions about compensation — including a separate vote for golden parachutes initiated by a merger or sale. Yet so far, few investors have gone to battle. Only 38 of the largest 3,000 companies had their executive pay plans voted down, according to Institutional Shareholder Services. Even then, the votes are nonbinding.”
Chu Takes Responsibility
Energy Sec. Chu takes responsibility for Solyndra decisions. W. Post: ”Chu spokesman Damien La Vera said in a statement that the secretary approved the restructuring agreement for Solyndra because it gave the company ‘the best possible chance to succeed in a very competitive marketplace and put the company in a better position to repay the loan.’ Also Thursday, a law enforcement official confirmed that the criminal probe of Solyndra is focused on whether the company and its officers misrepresented the firm’s finances to the government.”
“Chu’s message has been clear … he wanted to break through red tape” reports Politico.
Deadline to approve additional clean energy loan guarantees is today reports Politico.
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