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.
Take Back the American Dream speaker Katrina vanden Heuvel:  "House Republicans voted last week to break last summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default. 'We are here to meet our legal and our moral obligations to lead,' Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said of the occasion, without a hint of irony. The original debt deal required a bipartisan 'supercommittee' to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings, or 'sequestration' would automatically be triggered—an across-the-board cut of that same amount, $1.2 trillion, in each party’s priority: domestic programs and defense. Even under that self-imposed sword of Damocles, Congress failed to do its job, setting the cuts in motion. But House Republicans argued that the requisite cuts to defense funding would harm national security. Take the money from food stamps and health care for the poor, they cried, as they cradled the defense industry in their arms. Never mind that the Republicans are, as Jon Stewart said, turning a 'suicide pact' into a 'murder pact.' Is this fear-mongering warranted? Will the looming cuts to the Pentagon’s budget really threaten our security?" Click here to register for the June 18-20 Take Back the American Dream conference. 
"Democrats stiffen spine on sequester" reports Politico:  "...the former Vegas gaming commissioner is ready to risk tens of billions in automatic spending cuts in January rather than give in any longer to Republican demands that all deficit reduction come from domestic savings — with no revenues. In an interview with POLITICO, [Sen. Maj. Leader Harry] Reid said he was open to a compromise that would salvage about four-fifths of the Bush-era tax cuts. But absent some concession on revenues, the $110 billion in spending cuts ordered by the debt agreement last August would go into effect."
Pelosi pushes $1M threshold for Bush tax cut termination, WH sticks with $250K. WSJ:  "Democrats suggested the purpose of Ms. Pelosi’s letter [to Speaker Boehner] was to seek common ground with Republicans, and avoid another end-of-the-year cliffhanger on taxes. But the real goal appeared to be highlighting the GOP’s refusal to allow tax levels to go up for anyone, even the wealthiest Americans ... congressional Democrats have been edging away from the $250,000 threshold for some time. Some Senate Democrats began focusing on $1 million as the threshold for tax increases during 2010 ... the White House has gotten on board with its Buffett Rule, a kind of minimum tax for people earning more than $1 million, while maintaining its original proposal for tax increases on families over $250,000."
President pledges cuts won't damage military. NYT:  "Dismissing talk of national decline, he described an 'American century' in which the United States would continue to flourish. 'Yes, as today’s wars end, our military, and our Air Force, will be leaner ... [But we'll\ keep our military, and our Air Force, fast and flexible and versatile. We will maintain our military superiority in all areas: air, land, sea, space and cyber.'"
Alan Simpson displays his seriousness and civility again. HuffPost:  "In an April letter full of bad language, the pugnacious Wyoming Republican criticized the seniors group for a flyer that protested [his] deficit reduction plan ... 'What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very young people that we are trying to save, while the "greedy geezers" like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap...'"
Obama touts slow growth in federal spending. ABC:  "'I'm running to pay down our debt in a way that's balanced and responsible. After inheriting a $1 trillion deficit, I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law ... Since I've been president, federal spending has risen at the slowest pace in nearly 60 years.' ... Obama was referring to an analysis released this week by Rex Nutting, a reporter for CBS MarketWatch who ... concluded that Obama has presided over the slowest growth in federal spending in decades."
Romney makes Keynesian argument against big spending cuts. W. Monthly's Ed Kilgore:  "...when asked about why he’s not proposing big first-year spending cuts, he answered: '[I]f you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.' Keynesianism! Keynesianism! Call Jim DeMint! Romney’s not for immediately balancing the budget! Romney thinks public-sector jobs are real!"
Romney can't shake Bain. Bloomberg:  "That challenge was on display yesterday as Romney rolled out his vision for overhauling the public education system in a Washington speech -- the first of a series of weekly policy addresses his campaign has planned -- only to see his message muffled by continued questions about his role as head of the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC."
But Obama's criticism of Bain rankles his own donors. NYT:  "At stake are not only a political and policy relationship Democrats have nurtured over decades with the financial services industry, but the millions of dollars in campaign cash that have come with it. Already this year, securities and investment firms have given Republicans 57 percent of their donations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the party’s highest share since the center began tabulating campaign money. Mr. Obama has raised millions of dollars on Wall Street, but far less than he did four years ago."
"Romney Says His Policies Will Reduce Unemployment To Already Projected Rate By 2016" observes ThinkProgress:  "[Romney said] his policies would reduce unemployment to 6 percent by the end of his first term in 2016 ... [that's] exactly where multiple government agencies project unemployment will be at the end of that time frame."
Romney's health care proposal is to have less of it. TNR's Jonathan Cohn:  "He wants to scale back health insurance, so that it provides less protection from medical bills. In theory, this transformation will unleash market forces that restrain the cost of medical care. In practice, it will cause serious hardship, by exposing tens of millions of Americans to crushing medical bills or forcing some of them to go without necessary, even life-saving care."
Banking committees to investigate Facebook. The Hill:  "Lawmakers want to know whether institutional investors got a sneak peek at an updated analysis, written just before the initial public offering, that gave a more pessimistic assessment of Facebook’s future revenues. It’s that analysis that might have caused the hotly anticipated stock to tumble out of the gate, losing more than a quarter of its value in its first two days on the open market."
Morgan Stanley CEO helped set price. Bloomberg:  "The involvement of an investment bank’s CEO in IPO pricing discussions is unusual, and it reflects the importance that Morgan Stanley ascribed to its role as lead underwriter on the largest-ever technology IPO. The New York-based bank stands to generate about $67 million in fees for its role as the first among 33 banks handling Facebook’s IPO.
Some investors and analysts later said the company misjudged demand and set the price too high..."
Speculation begins about next Treasury Secretary. Reuters:  "Among Democrats, they include finance leaders like Larry Fink of asset management firm BlackRock and politically connected Washington insiders like fiscal expert Erskine Bowles. If the White House goes to the Republicans, Glenn Hubbard, a top Romney adviser, is considered a front-runner, as is Robert Zoellick, the outgoing World Bank chief ..."
Felix Salmon questions whether Obama would turn to Wall Street:  "I think the problem with Fink, though, is that the country has had enough of financiers at Treasury. I suspect that Obama will want Geithner’s successor to be a communicator — someone who can get through not only to the country at large (something Geithner’s never been good at) but also to Congress. And Fink is no man of the people."