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 Terrance Heath:  "Whether they've chosen him, settled for him, or just got stuck with him, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the GOP's standard bearer from here on, and into the general election. [During the primary,] Romney's fellow Republicans said a lot about him. They got a lot right, too ... No attack on Romney was vicious or effective than Newt Gingrich's attack on Mitt Romney's career as a vulture capitalist ... [And] there's the lowest hanging fruit that Romney's Republican opponents picked, and then threw at him: the flip-flops ... contraception, health care reform, political action committees, Fannie Mae, climate change, immigration, green energy, abortion..."
President eviscerates GOP budget as "social Darwinism." W. Post:  "President Obama delivered a stern and stinging rebuke of the Republican vision for the country Tuesday, castigating the GOP as a 'radical' party that has strayed so far from the political middle that its policies represent an affront to core American values ... Obama said the House Republican budget plan, which has been endorsed by Romney and would slash entitlements and agency spending, is 'so far to the right' on the political spectrum that it makes the Republicans’ 1994 Contract With America 'look like the New Deal.'"
Romney defends budget on Sean Hannity. CNN quotes:  "This is President Obama being President Obama, which is finding a way to deflect blame and to mischaracterize the efforts on the part of very thoughtful and serious minded individuals."
Republicans ask NYT for bizarre correction of Paul Krugman. Krugman responds:  "... the Ryan people want a correction, because I said that his plan purports to raise trillions of dollars by closing loopholes, but they say his plan is revenue-neutral ... . The plan surrenders trillions of dollars in revenue by drastically cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Then it purports to make up for this loss by closing loopholes. That sounds to me like a plan to raise trillions by closing loopholes ... Are they just terrified that anyone might accuse Ryan of raising taxes? Or is it just general harassment?"
Conservative judge launches political attack on Obama from the bench. CBS:  "... when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges[, 5th Circuit] Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law ... [He said] the president's comments ... 'have troubled a number of people' ... The bottom line from Smith: A three-page letter with specifics. He asked DOJ to discuss 'judicial review, as it relates to the specific statements of the president, in regard to Obamacare and to the authority of the federal courts to review that legislation.'"
"This is nuts," says NY Mag's Jonathan Chait:  "Obama is not denying the right of judicial review, or threatening to disobey a ruling. He is expressing a legal analysis. The right has suddenly become hyper-protective of the judiciary’s independence ...
GOP plans to dredge up old failed ideas if Supreme Court overturns health reform law. NYT:  "Their approach is likely to set aside universal health insurance coverage as the main objective ... Republicans are dusting off proposals that date back more than a decade: allowing individuals to buy health insurance across state lines, helping small businesses band together to buy insurance, offering generous tax deductions for the purchase of individual policies, expanding tax-favored health savings accounts and reining in medical malpractice suits ... The budget office said that the  Republican proposal ... would have provided coverage to 3 million people, leaving 52 million uninsured."
Protests over USDA plan to replace federal poultry inspectors. Government Executive:  "USDA wants to expand a pilot program that replaces some federal poultry inspectors with inspectors employed by the processing plants themselves ... The program’s expansion also could result in the loss of up to 1,000 federal inspector jobs ... protesters outside USDA headquarters on Monday, including labor union members and watchdog groups, chose to protest the change for consumer safety reasons, holding signs that read 'Speed Kills,'..."
Federal regulators move to tighten oversight of hedge funds and private equity firms under Wall Street reform law. NYT:  "The 10-member council, headed by the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, voted unanimously to adopt a rule that will designate some of those firms as 'systemically important financial institutions,' and put them under stronger regulatory supervision ... The oversight council will now begin a three-part process of determining which firms are subject to additional scrutiny from regulators."
Brewing battle over student loan rates. Politico:  "The White House and Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to find funds to stop an expected doubling of student loan interest rates this summer, arguing that they’re heading off another potential blow to the economy. But the new House GOP budget doesn’t include the $6 billion needed ... At a time when the Federal Reserve is basically giving banks money for free, Treasury bonds are being sold at 2 percent and mortgage rates are 3.8 percent, Democrats say it’s outrageous to make college students pay 6.8 percent ... to maintain the cheap loans, another higher-ed program would have to face the chopping block, said [GOP spokeswoman] Jennifer Allen..."
State and local governments may start hiring soon. Bloomberg:  "After four years of shuttering fire houses, cutting school budgets and firing teachers and police, these governments are starting to steady as tax revenues rebound. Public employment at all levels declined by just 7,000 in the first two months of this year, well down from the 22,000 monthly average in 2011 ... State and local tax revenue rose 4.5 percent last year, the biggest gain since 2006, and property taxes have increased for two consecutive quarters ... Government employment has declined by 689,000 jobs since April 2009 after increasing by 756,000 the prior three years..."