Tuesday, July 10, 2012
► In the Seattle Times — Tax cuts: The god that failed (by Jon Talton) — As an economic proposition encouraging growth and, especially, the creation and retention of middle-class jobs and rising middle-class incomes, tax cuts have failed. The dogma that taxes must always go down, and 30 years of tax cuts in states, have proven especially toxic. President Obama now proposes to let the tax cuts for the rich expire — they would revert to Clinton-era levels. Most Americans would see their cuts extended under his plan. A huge fight is guaranteed. Behind this is a legitimate argument over the role of government, but we probably won’t have a serious conversation. Today our universities are ravaged, social compact frayed, infrastructure stuck in the last century — the anti-tax dogma represents a retrograde movement across the board.
► In today’s NY Times — The need to agree to agree (editorial) — Speaking from the White House on Monday, it took President Obama less than 15 minutes to make a strong and sensible case for letting the high-end Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. Citing well-documented facts, he pointed out that tax cuts at the top have failed to promote economic growth and have blown a hole in the federal budget. In calling for cooperation from Congress, Obama said that the point is to “agree to do what we agree on:” extend the middle-class tax cuts. As a matter of fairness and responsible policy making, he said, the majority of Americans, and the broader economy, should not be held hostage again to another debate over the merits of tax cuts for the wealthy. Unfortunately, it is not a message Congressional Republicans want to hear, committed as they are to preserving tax cuts for the rich at all costs.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing lands another big deal on Day 2 of air show — Boeing said GE Capital Aviation Services has committed to purchasing 75 737 MAX 8s and 25 Next-Generation 737-800s. The deal is not yet firm, meaning that further hurdles and discussions need to be cleared.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aero suppliers to bring 175 jobs to county — Italy-based Umbra Group said it will move into a larger facility in Everett, which will enable the company to add as many as 100 employees. A subsidiary, Umbra Cuscinetti Inc., will relocate to a larger, 68,000-square-foot facility in Everett, just north of Paine Field.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Gubernatorial candidate McKenna visits Yakima — Speaking to the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce, McKenna said the reports that he believes Congress shouldn’t repeal the entire act and the individual mandate should be kept “for now” were a misinterpretation by “Seattle media” and that his position on the Affordable Care Act hasn’t changed.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Wha-? A recording of the June 28 news conference shows Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner clearly asking McKenna, “Do you support it being repealed?” McKenna’s answer: “No.” Damn Seattle media! Our attorney general is trying to play both sides of the Cascades the same way he plays both sides of every issue from health care to collective bargaining. His answers change depending on the audience, begging the question: Which Rob McKenna can voters believe?
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Dino Rossi appointed to fill vacant State Senate seat — Today, he’ll be appointed to fill the vacancy created when Republican Cheryl Pflug resigned to accept a governor’s appointment. He will serve until the winner of the Nov. 6 election is sworn into office.
► In today’s News Tribune — Charter schools aren’t the answer to state’s education problems (by Kim Golding) — Pro-charter school people want to hire or fire “at will” and turn personalized education into “business outcomes” that generate profits while paying inexperienced “new” teachers less. Thirty years of inadequately funding education must be addressed. Keep charter schools out of our neighborhoods. More than ever before, we need to support the schools we have, and we need to engage our community.
► At Huffington Post — AFL-CIO curbs Democratic Convention involvement as part of new strategy, memo says— The AFL-CIO has told its member unions that it won’t make significant contributions or host events at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., while it works to establish its political independence from the Democratic Party.
► In today’s Washington Post — Unions to hold own ‘shadow convention’ ahead of DNC — Union leaders plan to hold their own “shadow convention” in Philadelphia on Aug. 11 to promote labor issues they believe too many elected officials are ignoring. It was inspired by the anger many labor officials felt after Democrats decided to stage their nominating convention in North Carolina, a right-to-work state that is the least unionized in the country.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle council OKs Nov. 6 vote on bonds for rebuilding seawall — The seawall, built between 1916 and 1936, runs the length of the waterfront from South Washington Street to Broad Street. Engineers say it has been badly eroded and could collapse in a major earthquake or storm, causing widespread damage to property along the waterfront.
► In today’s NY Times — Business should collaborate with unions (by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler) — Without a more comprehensive system of lifelong learning, we can’t be competitive in the long run or close the gap with our key international competitors in providing worker training. By themselves, most employers will underinvest in worker training because they want to avoid the risk that employees, once trained, will leave. But when employers and workers in an industry come together through collective bargaining and regional partnerships, it becomes mutually beneficial to pool resources to train a work force industrywide. That’s the key to the success of worker training programs around the world.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Union members drop off TPP petitions — Union members and the San Diego CLC dropped off a stack of petitions (almost 90,000 signatures) to Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Monday, calling for a fair trade deal that works for Americans.
► From AP — Seasonal firefighters seek health care coverage — They work the front lines of the nation’s most explosive wildfires, navigating treacherous terrain, dense walls of smoke and tall curtains of flame. Yet thousands of the nation’s seasonal firefighters have no health insurance for themselves or their families.
► From AP — New law gives companies break on pensions — A new law will let companies contribute billions of dollars less to their workers’ pension funds, raising concerns about weakening the plans that millions of Americans count on for retirement.
► From AP — Pa. mayor cuts city workers’ pay to minimum wage — Unions representing workers in the northeastern Pennsylvania city of Scranton expect to file a federal lawsuit against the city after the mayor abruptly cut their pay to minimum wage.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Two local soldiers die in Afghanistan — Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers died in Kandahar province over the past week, bringing to 17 the number of local soldiers to die in Afghanistan this year. Staff. Sgt. Raul Guerra, 37, of Union City, N.J., arrived in Afghanistan in May to serve his fifth tour of duty to a combat zone. Cpl. Juan P. Navarro, 23, of Austin, Texas, was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. He was making plans to go to college after this deployment.
► So far in 2012, 176 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for a total of 2,040 since 2001.
► Also see the Washington Post’s Faces of the Fallen.
► In today’s News Tribune — Former Afghanistan commander says it’s time to bring back the draft— Gen. Stanley McChrystal says that the United States should bring back the draft: “I think if a nation goes to war, it shouldn’t be solely be represented by a professional force, because it gets to be unrepresentative of the population. I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”
► Union delegates at the Washington State Labor Council’s 2011 Convention approved a resolution supporting “a significant drawdown of military personnel from Afghanistan this year, setting a firm end date for total withdrawal as soon as that can be accomplished, but in no event later than the 2014 timeline previously announced by President Obama.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.