Social Security scam, Wal-Mart ♥’s McKenna, dog poo videos…
SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE
► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell your Senators CPI changes are scam to cut Social Security –There’s a plan floating around Capitol Hill that would slash Social Security benefits as part of a deficit reduction package even though Social Security does not contribute a penny to the deficit. That’s why you need to CLICK HERE to tell your senators “Do not cut Social Security.” Backers of the plan are disguising the cuts as so-called inflation adjustments. Don’t be fooled. Changing the way the Consumer Price Index is calculated will reduce the cost of living adjustments that Social Security recipients count on to keep pace with inflation.
► In today’s Washington Post — Seniors’ groups take to airwaves, Capitol Hill to protect Social Security, Medicare — It’s still unclear what provisions might be included in a final deal to raise the debt limit, if a deal ever comes. But it’s obvious that reductions to Social Security and Medicare are still on the table — despite furious efforts by seniors groups to push them off.
CAREENING TOWARD THE CLIFF
► In today’s LA Times — Obama ends tense debt ceiling talks with a warning — The president abruptly leaves a meeting, reportedly warning that Americans won’t be happy if both sides keep posturing and benefit checks and other bills aren’t paid.
► In today’s Washington Post — Congress hears outcry from business lobby over debt ceiling, deficit — A sprawling coalition of Wall Street and Main Street business leaders sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers Tuesday: Enough squabbling. Get the debt ceiling raised.
► At WashingtonPost.com — It’s Tea Party vs. Big Business in debt debate — The Republican coalition of business and tea party supporters that spurred the party to nearly unprecedented gains in 2010 is breaking down over the debt limit debate.
► In today’s Washington Post — Moody’s move step closer to downgrading U.S. debt — Moody’s Investors Service says it has put the U.S. government’s top-notch credit rating on review for a possible downgrade because of the risk that Washington will not raise the federal debt ceiling in time to avoid a default. The firm added that even a brief failure of the government to pay its bills would mean that the United States’s Aaa rating “would likely no longer be appropriate.”
► From Bloomberg– Moody’s will cut 7,000 municipal ratings if U.S. debt downgraded — At least 7,000 top-rated municipal credits would have their ratings cut if the U.S. government loses its Aaa grade, Moody’s Investors Service said.
► At Politico — Poll: Obama tops Republicans on economy, debt — If there’s no deal to raise the debt ceiling, the poll finds, voters would blame congressional Republicans over the president, 48% to 34%. Survey participants also would prefer to see two measures that Obama has pushed: tax hikes for the rich and closing loopholes. Sixty-seven percent say an agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include not just spending cuts but tax increases for the rich and corporations, while 25% disagree.
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing can’t be allowed to illegally take jobs out of Washington (column by Boeing employee Princie Stewart) — A strike is not an easy decision. I sat at home for all those days without any pay. Our families ate peanut butter and instant noodle soup and whatever we had to do to survive. But we did it because we believed we had the right to tell Boeing executives that they weren’t being fair, and doing so was our right under the law. And a company transferring jobs because its workers strike is against the law.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aerospace training to double — The aerospace training center will be able to accommodate 150 students. Certificate programs include aerospace manufacturing core certificate and aerospace assembly mechanic certificate. The center soon will begin offering an aerospace electrical assembly mechanic program as well.
► At Publicola — McKenna tops Inslee in out-of-state donations — One of Republican Rob McKenna’s top donors was Arkansas corporate giant Wal-Mart. He also has gotten $28,000 from 29 out-of-state donors, including $1,600 from Capital One, $3,200 from BNSF railroad, and $1,600 from DC-based lobbying firm Dickstein-Shapiro, which represents coal and oil (Peabody, DKRW Energy) tobacco (Lorillard) and chemicals (Dupont).
► In today’s (Vancouver) Columbian — Medicaid program hailed; saves taxpayers millions, protects seniors’ independence –A state Medicaid-funded program pays for low-income patients to receive a caretaker at home for a set number of hours instead of living at a skilled-nursing facility. In Sandra Morgan’s case, the state pays her niece for about 140 hours per month to assist Morgan in meal preparation, cleaning, shopping and other tasks Morgan can’t manage alone. It’s also one of the many programs nationwide that could be at risk under a pending proposal by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to reduce the federal government’s share of Medicaid spending. Without in-home care, Morgan, who lives on less than $700 per month of Social Security, would likely have to live in a higher-cost assisted-living center funded by Medicaid.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State money funds video telling people to clean up pet waste — The Washington Policy Center, which keeps a close eye on budget issues, questioned whether $27,000 should have been spent to make a video to tell people to pick up dog poop.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Should the state spending money to make dog-poo videos? No. But when corporate-funded right-wing think tanks make a big stink about it, the goal is not to save the state $27,000, it is to stir anger at government. And more importantly, they want to perpetuate the lie that the state has plenty of money and can afford to cut its way out of the state revenue crisis. “They claim they’re broke, but look what they’re spending your money on!” Instead of writing talking points for Tim Eyman and those who want to drown guv’mint in the bathtub, let’s simply stop making dog-poo videos. Please?
► In today’s Seattle Times — Business-friendly laws written for many states by one group – The basic text of laws and resolutions passing legislatures across the nation sprang not from state capitols but from a relatively little-known, D.C.-based group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Composed of more than 1,500 conservative state legislators and executives of some of the nation’s biggest corporations, ALEC collects millions of dollars in corporate contributions to generate a steady stream of bills and resolutions for state action.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Rep. Hinkle wants to return to Kittitas commission — Rep. Bill Hinkle (R-Cle Elum) announces his candidacy for Kittitas County Commission, saying he wants to be closer to his family. CWU professor Mathew Manweller will likely seek his seat.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — To pay or not to pay — City leaders are considering a range of painful options, from laying off nearly half the city’s firefighters to raising taxes in tough economic times, to pay for the Town Toyota Center. But some want them to consider another option: Skipping out on the $41.8 million debt altogether, and defaulting.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — USPS proposal to move mail sorting to Pasco causes stir — A cost-saving plan by the U.S. Postal Service to sort Yakima Valley mail in Pasco is causing a stir among postal workers and customers. The move could eliminate as many as 19 jobs and move up local pickup times.
► At LATimes.com — JP Morgan Chase surprises with $5.4 billion profit — The bank, the nation’s second largest, said Thursday morning that it made a $5.4-billion profit between April and June, up 13% from a year ago. Both the bank’s profit and revenue were better than analysts had expected.
EDITOR’S NOTE — $2.5 million every hour 24-7 in profit! Yay! Now maybe Chase Bank can afford to cash their own checks, instead of having their customers arrested because they are black.
► From Reuters — Walker’s critics say effort to recall Wisconsin governor likely to prevail — Wisconsin Democrats are increasingly confident that efforts to recall the state’s Republican governor in 2012 will succeed, a top official said on Wednesday, after the party scored an early win in its battle to unseat Republicans who backed a controversial anti-union law.
► In today’s NY Times — As immigration audits increase, some employers pay a high price — While the administration of George W. Bush focused on headline-making raids that resulted in arrests of immigrant workers, the Obama administration has gone after employers with ICE’s I-9 audits on the theory that employers who hire unauthorized workers create the demand that drives most illegal immigration.
► From AP — Nike faces claims of abuse from workers in Indonesia — Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia say supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them in the face and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brand’s owner, admits that such abuse has occurred among the contractors that make its hip high-tops but says there was little it could do to stop it.
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