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:  "No wonder the austerity crowd likes its knife and axe metaphors: The Simpson Bowles plan is worthy of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, the aristocratic mass murderer of the 16th Century. Contemporary legends claimed she bathed in the blood of virginal victims to retain her youth and beauty. In true Erzsébet fashion, Simpson Bowles would bleed most Americans dry to protect the aristocratic few, stripping the middle class of much-needed tax breaks while it's still reeling from the financial crisis and the last round of spending cuts. Not fair, say the Simpson Bowles hucksters: Our plan will make up for rich people's lower tax rates by closing their loopholes. Really? Politicians don't know how to cut rich people's loopholes, not with all those lobbyists hanging around. The ultra-rich will keep their tax dodges. And they'll continue to maximize them by using accountants like Mitt Romney's - I think the firm's called 'Báthory and Associates,' but I could be mistaken - to bend the rules."
Obama frames "the choice" on taxes and investment. W. Post:  "At appearances in Portland Tuesday and in Oakland, Calif., late the night before, Obama issued blistering attacks against Republican Mitt Romney’s plan to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans ... Obama also issued a new Web video outlining the choice he believes Americans have between Romney’s vision and his own — and claiming that only his plan to protect federal spending on infrastructure, research and education is good for the middle class."
Senate to vote on competing tax plans today. CNN:  "The Senate Democrats’ bill would extend the tax cuts just on incomes under $250,000 for a couple and $200,000 for an individual. That’s in keeping with their pledge to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, not the wealthy. Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all taxpayers, arguing any tax hikes while the economy is still weak would make a recovery more difficult. On Tuesday, Senate leaders jockeyed over procedure, and late in the day it wasn’t clear which proposals would get votes."
Democrats struggle to stay unified before vote. NYT:  "Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida who is up for re-election, reiterated his desire to raise taxes only on incomes over $1 million, but he would not say Tuesday how he will vote ... Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent who usually sides with the Democrats, was equally uncommitted ..."
GOP proposal would "Provide Windfall for Heirs of Largest Estates" says CBPP:  "Senate and House Republican leaders are proposing to provide extremely large tax breaks averaging over $1 million per estate to the heirs of the biggest 0.3 percent of estates — that is, to the heirs of the richest three of every 1,000 people who die."
Senate GOP leader moves a hair on revenue to avert automatic military cuts. The Hill:  "McConnell said in an interview with The Hill this week that lawmakers could use offsets discussed last year by a group led by Vice President Biden. Those pay-fors included mandatory and discretionary spending cuts, land sales and spectrum sales as well as increases in federal fees ... McConnell’s comments reflect a growing urgency among Republicans on Capitol Hill about finding a compromise to stop $55 million in spending cuts slated for defense programs in 2013. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and other Democrats have insisted that any replacement of the so-called defense sequester also reduce cuts to domestic programs and raise new revenues."
W. Post charges Geithner with failing to share key info about Libor while at NY Fed:  "[He] did not communicate in key meetings with top regulators that British bank Barclays had admitted to Fed staffers that it was rigging Libor ... Documents released by the New York Fed show that the agency chose to focus on structural problems with Libor rather than help to bring corrupt actions at Barclays and other banks to light ... it’s unclear from the documents whether he knew about numerous phone calls in which Barclays employees admitted to New York Fed staff members that the bank was manipulating Libor ... two people with knowledge of the matter said senior officials and investigators never heard an appeal from the New York Fed to investigate possible wrongdoing over Libor. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity..."
Though NYT notes NY Fed did relay "allegations of misreporting":  "...the New York Fed does not have enforcement power like many American regulators ... 'They focus on safety and soundness of the banks, which ultimately means they are not particularly focused on market manipulation,' said Sheila C. Bair ... when Mr. Geithner briefed other American regulators about Libor in May 2008, he did not disclose the specific wrongdoing, according to people briefed on the meeting. In later briefings, New York Fed officials did warn their counterparts about 'allegations of misreporting.' ... Despite mounting evidence of problems, the agency focused on policy solutions rather than the wrongdoing."
Geithner to testify to Congress today and tomorrow. Politico:  "The hearings were set up to discuss the annual report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expected to grill Geithner on the Libor interest rate manipulation scandal that occurred while he was at the Fed."
Supreme Court health care ruling limiting Medicaid expansion will save money but cover fewer people. The Hill:  "CBO said the federal government would save roughly $84 billion due to the Medicaid change ... repealing the law, as Republicans have proposed, would increase federal deficits by $109 billion in 10 years ... roughly 6 million people will likely lose their Medicaid eligibility because their states will not participate in the Medicaid expansion [but] half of those people would be able to buy private insurance through the law’s state-based exchanges, with help from a federal subsidy."
ObamaCare already saves seniors $687M in first-half of 2012. USA Today:  "...more than 1 million seniors and people with disabilities saved $687 million on prescription drugs in the doughnut hole — or the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the Part D drug benefit ... That's an average of $629 per patient.
"House GOP Flirts With Government Shutdown Over ‘Obamacare’" reports TPM:  "A majority of the House Republican conference is pushing their leaders to block funds for ‘Obamacare’ when government funding requires renewal on Sept. 30, a demand that could lead to a government shutdown weeks before Election Day."
House to vote on "Drill Baby Drill" bill today. The Hill:  "The GOP bill, H.R. 6082, would replace the Obama administration's plan to keep some offshore areas off limits for lease sales, and also require additional lease sales off Alaska's coast ... Democrats used the Tuesday debate to argue that the GOP bill once again plays up the need to develop oil and gas, but ignores the development of wind, solar and other energy sources."
Fed leaning toward more stimulus soon. NYT:  "A growing number of Federal Reserve officials have concluded that the central bank needs to expand its stimulus campaign unless the nation’s economy soon shows signs of improvement, including job growth. The question is expected to dominate the agenda when the Fed’s policy-making committee meets next week ... Republicans have urged Mr. Bernanke to refrain from taking additional steps, arguing that the costs were likely to exceed the benefits, while Democrats have pressed for a new round of stimulus."
Don't blame public worker unions for bankrupt CA cities. LAT's Harold Meyerson:  "What bankrupted Stockton and San Bernardino were the most severe housing busts in the nation. What bankrupted those two cities were banks peddling subprime mortgages to poorly paid workers."