In today's On the News segment: Today Senate Democrats will introduce a plan to replace the sequester, and propose $100 billion in stimulus spending; Missouri lawmakers voted to lower taxes on corporations and the rich, and offset the cuts by increasing the state sales tax; 43 GOP Senators have signed on to block any director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless Democrats scale back that agency's power; and more.
Jim Javinsky here in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. Today Senate Democrats will introduce a plan to replace the sequester, and propose $100 billion in stimulus spending. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray will present the plan, which reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion with a balanced approach of half spending cuts and half new revenues. The Democratic budget includes $275 billion in healthcare savings, $240 billion in defense cuts, $242 billion in reduced interest rates, and an additional $200 billion reduction in non-defense spending. The Senate plan balances those cuts with $975 billion in revenue, which would be raised by closing tax loopholes and cutting wasteful spending. And, most importantly, the bill includes $100 billion dollars in stimulus spending, which could be a huge investment in our nation. Already, Republicans have attacked Patty Murray and the Senate Democratic plan, calling it a $1 trillion tax increase. But, it's certainly a more balanced approach than the Ryan Budget, which slashes vital programs and destroys healthcare for as many as 35 million people. One hundred billion dollars would be a great start towards getting people back to work, rebuilding our infrastructure, and stimulating our economy. Let's help make this plan a reality. Call your Senators today and tell them to support the Democratic plan to replace the sequester.
In screwed news... On Tuesday, Missouri's Republican-controlled State Senate voted to give wealthy people a tax break at the expense of the poor. Despite strong objections by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri lawmakers voted 23-11, to lower tax rates on corporations and the rich, and offset the cuts by increasing the state sales tax. Gov. Nixon wrote a letter to the Republican state senators expressing his concern, saying, "everyday necessities, from clothing to Kleenex, would become more expensive." This regressive tax plan will hurt low and middle income residents, who typically spend all, or nearly all, of their income on basic necessities, while benefiting those who can afford to save rather than spend. This is just more evidence that Republicans only have one goal – to make sure their rich buddies never have to pay their fair share. Hopefully, next election Missouri voters will undo this sales tax scheme, and elect leaders who care about more than just the corporate fat cats.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Elizabeth Warren strikes again. In a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, Senator Warren slammed Republicans for blocking the nomination of Richard Cordray, to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-three GOP Senators have signed on to block any director to the CFPB unless Democrats scale back that agency's power, limiting the CFPB's oversight over big banks and big business. Warren didn't hold back her frustration over the GOP's filibuster, saying, "The American people deserve a Congress that worries less about helping big banks and more about helping regular people who have been cheated on mortgages, on credit cars, on student loans, on credit record." Republicans will continue putting the greed of big business over the needs of our nation, but with Elizabeth Warren on the job, they'll have a much tougher time doing the bidding of their corporate masters.
Almost every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against a law to crack down on gun traffickers. But, one surprising group of gun enthusiasts – the gun retailers - don't support the GOP's opposition to the new federal law. According to the Think Progress Blog, 88% of gun retailers recommend stronger sentences for gun trafficking. The retailers took part in a study by Professor Garen Wintemute at UC Davis, which surveyed 591 federally licensed gun retailers, and asked them about their views on gun trafficking penalties. What Professor Wintermute found was surprising... 478 of the retailers recommended a sentence of 10 years or a fine of $50,000. And nearly 80% of those questioned recommended both the jail time and a fine. Once again, we see that public opinion, even of those in the gun industry, is completely opposite of what the NRA and Republicans want us to believe. They don't represent gun owners, or even gun dealers. They only care about gun lobby money from major gun manufacturers. No report yet on how Wayne LaPierre is going to spin this new study.
And finally... No good deed goes unpunished. At least, that's what Paul Marshallsea must be thinking after wrestling a shark to save children from being attacked. The British man was visiting Australia on a two-month vacation, when his daring rescue was caught on camera. The heroic video made headlines back home in Wales, and his employer – the Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club – fired him and his wife after seeing the tape. The Telegraph reported that they sent the couple a letter of dismissal for being dishonest about work-related stress, which prompted the two-month vacation. Mr. Marshallsea said his doctor advised him to take the trip to Australia, and that his work-related stress was indeed real. "Where do I now get a job," he said, "There's not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil." His new skill may not be useful in his land-locked home town, but perhaps Mr. Marshallsea should look into a career in pro-wrestling.
And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, March 13, 2013. I'm Jim Javinsky - in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.