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This is an aggregate blog of our best material at A World of Progress, an online Magazine for the Progressive Human. AWOP covers politics, the environment, GLBTQ issues, living, historical context of the days news plus international coverage.


FEBRUARY 28, 2012 9:56AM

Progressive breakfast 2/28

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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: Why The Public Option Fight Mattered

Former Health Care For America Now director Richard Kirsch begins a series of excerpts from his new book, “Fighting For Our Health”: ”While the ‘public option’ did not make it into the final health care reform bill, the idea of providing a choice of regulated private insurance or a public insurance plan was crucial to building the movement to enact the Affordable Care Act. Without the public option, progressive groups would have remained torn between reform plans that offered either exclusively private or public insurance. The public option provided a point of unity that became a foundation for the coalition and grassroots campaign to enact health reform law. Click here to buy “FIghting For Our Health.”

Presidentials Stumble To MI, AZ Finish Line

Romney backed stimulus … when he was governor.’s Edward Mason:“As governor, Romney proposed more than $700 million in economic stimulus in a pair of packages over three years to right a sickly state economy that shed thousands of jobs before he took office, including offering to hand employers $30,000 for each worker they hired, even though he now bashes his Republican and Democratic foes over wasteful government spending.

Few rally behind Santorum’s anti-college stance. W. Post: ”Some GOP governors in Washington for the National Governors Association took issue with Santorum’s remark … Santorum also drew a tacit rebuke from the president, who defended his education policies Monday in an address to the governor’s group. He said his higher education plan includes a vision for those students who do not attend traditional universities. ‘I’m not only talking about four-year degrees,’ Obama said. ‘I’m also talking about going to community college to get a degree for a manufacturing job where you have to walk through the door to handle a million-dollar piece of equipment.’”

GOP Prepares To Defend Corporate Tax Loopholes

GOP prepares to attack President’s plan to close corporate tax loopholes. Politico:“A House GOP memo drafted late last week shows how Republican budget writers plan to poke holes in the president’s blueprint. Topping the list: the proposal to tax overseas earnings by multinational firms at a ‘minimum rate’ regardless of whether they bring that money back home. … The president’s plan ignores calls by the GOP and the tech lobby for a repatriation tax holiday and a transition to a territorial system, which would allow companies to largely avoid having foreign income taxed. The administration, and some tax experts, say the plan will clamp down on the biggest companies shifting income and investments outside the U.S. to tax havens. The blueprint has been applauded by some lawmakers and trade groups because it lowers the overall corporate tax rate, broadens the tax base and pumps up manufacturing and R&D.”

How much GE really pays in taxes hotly debated. WSJ: ”In a dispute that underscores the difficulty of overhauling corporate taxes … Citizens for Tax Justice said it calculated that GE’s effective federal income was 11.3% in 2011, undermining the company’s claim that its tax payments would return to normal after the recovery of its GE Capital unit, which suffered big losses during and after the downturn … GE said its 2011 tax rate in the U.S. was 25% and its global rate was 29%, up from 7% the year before.”

Americans Increasingly Go Hungry

Hunger on the rise, according to new report. ThinkProgress: ”According to a new report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), nearly one in five Americans report not having enough money to feed themselves or their family at some point last year, a slight increase over 2010. ‘Rising food prices, continuing high unemployment and underemployment, and flat food stamp benefit allotments all contributed to the high food hardship rate in 2011,’ said FRAC President Jim Weil.”

“Corporate Front Groups Battle State Minimum Wage Hikes” reports AFL-CIO’s Steve Cooper: ”As states like Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, and New York are looking to raise the minimum wage, they are meeting opposition from well-funded political groups who seek to increase corporate profit.”

Breakfast Sides

House GOP may back off anti-contraception crusade. W. Post: ”A bill sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would allow religious groups not to provide coverage they morally oppose is expected to come to a vote in that chamber this week as an amendment to a transportation measure. Yet the House version of the ‘conscience’ bill, which has more than 200 co-sponsors, has not been slated for a vote.”

Southern half of Keystone oil pipeline will be built. USA Today: ”Calgary-based TransCanada said the southern half of the $7 billion Keystone XL project will ensure that the glut of oil produced in the upper Midwest gets to Gulf Coast refineries. It said this portion, which won’t need a presidential permit because it does not cross a U.S. border, will cost about $2.3 billion and be completed next year … ‘Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production,’ White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday…”

Interest rates are so low that “many investors effectively are paying to lend money to the government,” reports NYT:“Investors buying five-year federal debt are accepting such low interest rates that inflation is on pace to reduce the value of their investments by more than 1 percent each year … The glut of cheap money has allowed the government to keep its annual deficits much smaller than it had expected … The Treasury Department, seeking to milk the moment, may start issuing debt with negative interest rates, making investors pay for the privilege of lending money to the government.”

Insurance companies prepare to serve customers with pre-existing conditions. NYT: ”One percent of patients account for more than 25 percent of health care spending among the privately insured, according to a new study. Their medical bills average nearly $100,000 a year for multiple hospital stays, doctors’ visits, trips to emergency rooms and prescription drugs … Under the federal health care law … [i]nsurance companies will be required to enroll millions of new customers without the ability to turn them away or charge them higher premiums if they are sick. They will prosper only if they are able to coordinate care and prevent patients from reaching that top 1 percent …”

FHA-backed mortgages to get higher fees. NYT: ” The goal, it said, is to help shore up its reserves, which had fallen sharply in the midst of the housing crisis, and to encourage private lenders to wade back into the still-struggling market … The higher fees will particularly affect first-time home buyers … the new fees will apply to homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, according to an F.H.A. spokesman, which may discourage some borrowers from taking out new loans …”

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