By Bill Scher
October 26, 2012 - 9:41am 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: Europe's Agony Could Be Our Future Under Romney
OurFuture.org's Richard Eskow: "Austerity makes victims pay for other people's crimes. And the lesson of Europe confirms what we always suspected: It's not just morally wrong. It's self-defeating. Nations like Greece aren't just wracked with sky-high unemployment, endangered by full-scale depression, and experiencing the first throes of social disintegration. They're also struggling with soaring debt. That why even the International Monetary Fund, hardly a bastion of leftist dissidence, has turned against Romney-style austerity. The United States isn't immune from contagion if Romney and Ryan enact a full-blown austerity program. The riot-torn streets and malarial villages of Greece could become our nation's future."
BREAKING: GDP Ticks Up
Uptick in 3rd quarter GDP. NYT: "The economy grew at a annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, as more positive consumer activity and a healthier housing sector outweighed the effects of the drought, caution on the part of businesses and weaker exports ... It compares with the 1.3 percent pace of growth in the second quarter ... Consumer spending rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2 percent, compared to 1.5 percent in the second quarter. Residential investment increased at an annual rate of 14.4 percent in the third quarter, versus 8.5 percent in the second quarter, a positive sign for the housing sector."
Romney Spox Plays Race Card
Top Romney spokesman John Sununu dismisses Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama as race-based, on CNN: "I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."
Sununu tries to backtrack. Politico quotes: "... I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should."
Romney Recipe For Deep Inequality
Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz rips Romney plan as recipe for deep inequality, in NYT: "... the macroeconomic consequences of the Romney-Ryan economic program would be devastating: growth would slow, unemployment would increase, and just as Americans would need the social protection of government more, the safety net would be weakened ... Romney and Ryan have tried a hard tack to the center in their rhetoric in recent weeks. But let no one be deceived: their tax policies will lead to even more inequality at the top, the continued hollowing out of the middle, and more poverty at the bottom."
ThinkProgress' Pat Garafalo on "How Romney’s Tax Plan Denies $5 Billion In Credits To The Poorest Families": "...Romney’s plan calls for repealing an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, meaning that “a two-parent family raising three children on $30,000 of earnings would lose $1,076 a year.” Romney also wants to roll back an expansion of the Child Tax Credit that was included in the 2009 Recovery Act. "
Fresh lies about autos from Romney campaign. CNN: "Romney did not bring up the bailout, but did mention a Bloomberg report that suggested some auto jobs could be moved to China. 'I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers of this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China,' Romney said. 'I will fight for every good job in America. I'm going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it's fair America will win.' A spokesman for the Chrysler Corporation, which owns Jeep, had earlier emphatically denied that report."
Auto bailout reveals fundamental difference between Obama and Romney. TNR's Jonathan Cohn: "... it’s possible to draw from the auto industry rescue a pretty good lesson about the real differences between Obama and Romney. Obama understands that the market doesn’t always work on its own—that sometimes government must intervene in order to protect Americans from economic harm. Romney doesn’t. Obama is also willing to act in the face of political peril. Romney isn’t."
Many media outlets fail to fact-check Romney tax claims. TNR's Noam Scheiber: "Outside of one fact-checking piece, Politico alluded to Romney’s tax cut plan in six different post-Denver-debate stories without addressing the substance of Romney’s claims a single time. Instead, the stories typically covered the back-and-forth over the proposal as irresolvable ('the quibbling over numbers aside…' went one segue) or of purely tactical interest (Romney had reason to tone down the tax-cut talk, another story observed, because the “'tax cuts for the rich' message polls poorly with centrists'). And I hate to single out Politico. Many of the pundits up and down the cable dial are much, much worse ... if enough of the media refuses to sort out substantive claims, how many of us will walk into the voting booth November 6 knowing what it is we’re actually voting for?"
New study shows possible impact of Romney-Ryan Medicare voucher plan. TPM: "The study’s conclusion: healthy seniors tend to gravitate to private plans and sicker seniors gravitate to traditional Medicare. That’s because private insurers craft their plans to attract lower-cost patients and leave sicker, more expensive ones for traditional Medicare ... 'fee-for-service Medicare would gradually be a dumping ground for the sickest people and the premiums would go higher and higher'"
Obama also tells Rolling Stone Republicans would overturn Roe: "Governor Romney has made clear that's his position. His running mate has made this one of the central principles of his public life. Typically, a president is going to have one or two Supreme Court nominees during the course of his presidency, and we know that the current Supreme Court has at least four members who would overturn Roe v. Wade. All it takes is one more for that to happen."
Conservatives licking their chops at prospect of taking over Supreme Court. TPM: "Roger Pilon, director of the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies and a member of the Federalist Society, told TPM that one more solid conservative vote would pave the way for 'fundamental shifts on the Court' toward 'a revival of greater protection for economic liberty and a direct assault on the modern regulatory state.'"
Obama Signals More Wall St Reform In Second Term
Tackling executive pay tied to high-risk moves big on Obama's second-term agenda. Reuters: "In an interview to be published on Friday in Rolling Stone magazine, Obama said that despite passage of Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, there is more to be done to make financial markets safe after the damage caused by the crisis of 2007-2009. 'The single biggest thing that I would like to see is changing incentives on Wall Street and how people get compensated,' Obama said."
Obama mocks Ayn Rand to Rolling Stone: "Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up ... Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else ... that's a pretty narrow vision."
President Obama has already made most of the spending cuts in the Simpson-Bowles plan, reminds Jared Bernstein: "...Congress and the President have actually already cut $1.5 trillion ($1.7t including interest savings) in discretionary spending, not including war costs, over the next decade. That’s 70% of the Simpson-Bowles discretionary spending cuts! ... [Grover Norquist said,] 'When bipartisan deals are struck promising to cut spending and raise taxes, the spending cuts don’t materialize but the tax hikes do.' But Grover–dude!–a big start on the spending cuts has already materialized…so it’s tax revenue time, right? "
Early Vote Push May Make Difference
President votes early. Chicago Tribune quotes: "For all of you who have not yet early voted, I just want everybody to see what an incredibly efficient process this was thanks to the outstanding folks who are at this particular polling place ... all across the country we’re seeing a lot of early voting. It means you don’t have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast a ballot. If something happens on election day you will have already taken care of it. If it’s bad weather you won’t get wet ... this was really convenient."
Early voting helps get out unlikely voters. NYT: "Early voting is popular among those with inflexible work or transportation schedules, who often tend to be lower-income, elderly, or minority voters and are thus more likely to be Democrats. In North Carolina four years ago, more than half the black vote was cast before Election Day, compared to 40 percent of the white vote. In many states, black voters went directly to the polls from church on the Sunday before Election Day. Republicans have not been as successful in getting their voters to the polls early, which is why Republicans in several states have tried, occasionally with success, to eliminate or restrict the practice."
And early voting make break records. Daily Beast: "Early voting nationally appears to be on the rise compared to the 2008 campaign, in which about one-third of all ballots were cast before Election Day. That’s notable since the conventional wisdom among many election officials and political scientists has been that we were not likely to seeing very big early turnouts this year due to a lack of enthusiasm in the race, especially among Democrats. There are signs that the experts were wrong ... In Iowa, the lead is about 60,000, while it’s about 170,000 in North Carolina. If those are hints of things to come, there is reason for Mitt Romney’s camp to be anxious."
Obama campaign structure geared to turnout unlikely voters. NYT: "After using their huge database to increase registration among favorable voting groups in crucial states, they are now pinpointing people who ordered absentee ballots and need a nudge to send them, or sporadic voters who indicated they would vote for the president but may need to be pushed to show up at their polling place."
"Are the Polls Undercounting Latino Obama Backers?" asks Mother Jones' Adam Serwer: "During the fall [of 2010], Reid had looked like he was going to get swept away in the tea party wave ... Then something weird happened. Reid won—by almost 6 points. In Colorado, another state with a large Latino population, Democratic Senate candidate Michael Bennet eked out a 1-point win despite polls showing his GOP rival, Ken Buck, up by an average of about 3 points ... Latino voters, undersampled by pollsters and written off as unlikely voters, had made a huge difference for Democrats."
Mourdock further hurts GOP hopes for Senate takeover. NYT: "...Republicans are now in jeopardy of losing seats in Massachusetts and Maine. If they do, they will need to win at least five seats held by Democrats and hold three other Republican seats at risk to net the three needed to take the Senate if Mitt Romney wins the presidency. If President Obama prevails, Republicans will have to win at least one additional seat in a state where they are seen as slightly behind — in Connecticut, Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania."
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