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News for Working Families 7/21/2011


SPOTLIGHT: Where are the jobs, Governor Snyder?

DN: Michigan jobless rate hits 10.5%, highest since January
MDP: Facebook: Where are the jobs, Governor Snyder?

"Michigan has certainly got caught up in the soft patch that we've seen so far through the first seven months of 2011," said Robert Dye, chief economist for Comerica Inc. in Dallas. . . . From May to June, employment across Michigan dropped by 26,000, while the number of unemployed people rose by 8,000, and 18,000 left the work force, according to the state. . . . Ballard, though, said two consecutive months of declining numbers of employed Michiganians is cause for concern, and that the unemployment rate could have risen even more had the labor force not declined. "Certainly, if I were the governor, the Legislature, the chamber of commerce, anybody else following these issues, these numbers would perk up your attention and make you wonder if there's a big problem on the horizon," he said.


DN: Snyder faces recall effort over bridge - Tea party group vows to oust governor if bridge project OK'd
OP: Op-Ed by Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights: New bridge would help Michigan in many ways

The Willow Run group said it fears the Chinese could build the bridge, making it easier for Chinese products to enter the United States. It also doesn't want a government-owned bridge to compete with a private business. "We support (Ambassador Bridge owner) Matty Moroun and a private business building that bridge," Moore said. Moroun, through his Detroit International Bridge Co., has proposed building a second span next to the Ambassador. Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel confirmed the governor met with tea party leaders about three weeks ago. "(The governor) remains steadfast that the NITC is absolutely, positively in the best interest of Michigan," Wurfel said of the public bridge.

ANN: Snyder recall campaign hits streets of Ann Arbor for Art Fair with goal of collecting thousands of signatures
PAT: Macomb Twp. Adds Manpower to Snyder Recall Efforts
FJ: Genesee County Parks director Amy McMillan says it will try to work out a solution in ACLU lawsuit

"I signed it because he promised a lot to the people and, like Obama, he lied and we want him out," Luna said. "I'm getting my pension and he's threatening to take money away from me that I earned. We all worked for (our pensions) and we don't need this kind of abuse." Sam Berka, a retired county and state government employee from Sanilac County, also signed the recall petition today, but not because he's opposed to Republican policies. "He's not conservative enough," Berka said of Snyder, adding he's not happy with the new pension tax and he's thinking of switching his residency to Florida because of it. "He went in my back pocket," Berka said. "That's the reason I signed the petition. Right now I'm paying no tax and I'm going to pay a couple thousand bucks." . . . Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for the governor, commented on the recall effort hitting the Art Fair, saying "Ann Arbor wouldn’t be Ann Arbor without some kind of effort like this." She said Snyder stands behind his decisions to reform state government. "With our high unemployment rate, budget deficit and the only state in the union to lose population in the last decade, the governor knew full well the path ahead wasn’t going to be easy or popular," she said. "He remains fully committed to making the tough decisions that ensure Michigan turns the corner and sees brighter, stronger days for all."

DN: How citizens launch recalls is challenged
House speaker says petition review board setup is unlawful
House Speaker Jase Bolger has added a wrinkle to the spate of recalls under way this summer, by challenging the procedure citizens can use to throw lawmakers out of office. In what Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander calls a "summer of discontent," Bolger is one of at least 18 House and Senate lawmakers facing recall or who have recall language against them awaiting review by county elections commissions. Bolger contends the makeup of the boards is unlawful. After recall language is filed, a three-member county election commission determines if the wording is understandable to voters. The panel is made up of a judge, the county clerk and the county treasurer — which Bolger claims violates the separation of powers in government because board members are from the judicial and executive branches. . . . Wayne State University constitutional law professor Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who ran for secretary of state but lost to Republican Ruth Johnson, said the issue doesn't strike her as a legitimate challenge. "It's well established in law that (the county elections commission) is the board that reviews these claims," Benson said. "You're asking an official to evaluate the legality of language, which falls within the purview of what a judge does."

ADR: Third try for state Rep. Mike Shirkey recall, but not state Sen. Bruce Caswell


DFP: Michigan senior citizens struggling economically, report says|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

ARCHIVE: BTH: 50-something Michigan pensioners take biggest hit under new tax plan (7/12/11)

Taxpayers in just about every income group and age category will pay higher income taxes in 2013 under the tax overhaul Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature pushed through last spring. . . . Taking the biggest shot? A retired couple born after 1952 with more than $50,000 in income, including $48,000 in pension benefits, who now receive the full $1,200 refundable homestead property tax credit. Their taxes will be $3,130 higher in 2013 than they would have been had the tax law not been changed, according to the new analysis by the House Fiscal Agency. . . . Those with taxable incomes of $1 million would take a larger hit, but not by much -- $3,500 because the income tax rate will stay at 4.25 percent instead of dropping to 3.9 percent.

DN: Daniel Howes: We've seen this drama before
A new poll says a growing number of Michigan voters say they believe the state economy is bottoming out, yet the unemployment rate for June jumped two-tenths of a point Wednesday to 10.5 percent. In little more than six months, a new governor is bringing stunning legislative change and new financial discipline to Lansing, yet the same EPIC-MRA poll says more than 50 percent of the respondents think Gov. Rick Snyder is on the wrong track. The Detroit auto industry, just two years from the verge of collapse, is producing billions of dollars in profits, adding shifts and winning (mostly) rave reviews for its metal. Yet its leaders are preparing to essentially plead poverty in its upcoming national contract talks with the United Auto Workers, which is desperate to reverse a potentially terminal decline in membership. The beginnings of a turnaround for Michigan and its bellwether industry? No question. But the path isn't straight or trouble-free, and it can't begin without decisive leadership and positive direction — two components more plentiful in Lansing than in the nation's capital.’ve-seen-this-drama-before#ixzz1SjvAwm8B


FJ: Editorial: Medical marijuana law clarifications may be between two extremes
Attorney General Bill Schuette recently issued an opinion that outlaws the sharing of marijuana between patients and others. That restriction is one shared by all prescription drugs, but was not in the original act. On the other hand, the state Legislature is considering proposals that would strictly define the patient-doctor relationship when a doctor recommends marijuana as a treatment, and so makes it possible for people to get their medical marijuana registration cards from the state. Further definition of doctor-patient interaction isn’t needed. The act already says that a physician must examine a patient’s medical history and perform a medical examination before recommending marijuana use.

DN: Editorial: Disclose more political spending
New report highlights need for rigorous rules on both campaign and issue ad contributions

PRIDE SOURCE: Republican redistricting means trouble
Contact Gov. Snyder -- ask him to re-consider his support for the Republican redistricting plan:, 517-373-3400.

DN: Op-Ed by Lewis N. Dodak and Rick Johnson: Blanket Michigan, nation in broadband


DN: Water park plan sparks ire
Community leaders say closing Detroit site may hurt $30 million redevelopment efforts


DN: Michigan congressional delegation questions '25 fuel economy requirements
DN: Nolan Finley: UAW's King must stop wobbling in CAFE fight’25-fuel-economy-requirements#ixzz1Sk4CZP00


SAG: Editorial: Battery Innovation Act is good for Michigan, good for its workers
The next stage of evolution for the automotive industry is electric, with Michigan charging up to lead the world in building the batteries that’ll power cars and trucks of the future. That’s what is behind U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s $2 billion Battery Innovation Act — ensuring that Michigan is the center of automotive battery research, development and manufacturing. What former Gov. Jennifer Granholm hoped would make Michigan “the battery capital of the world.”

DFP: Urging of key officials prompted Hoekstra to run against Stabenow
DN: Hoekstra, Stabenow set up a tough fight
GRP: GOP leaders heartened by Pete Hoekstra's decision to run against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow
DFP: Mike Thompson: Hoekstra's running for the U.S. Senate

Studley was among several chamber members who encouraged Hoekstra to run, meeting with him two weeks ago in Grand Rapids when it appeared he might be convinced to do so. The meeting may have bridged a gap created last year when the chamber supported former state Attorney General Mike Cox, instead of Hoekstra, for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. . . . For now, Jennifer Duffy -- senior editor for the Cool Political Report in Washington, which handicaps political races -- is leaving the Michigan race a likely Democratic win. But she said Hoekstra's entry means she will watch it much more closely. "I think the opportunity is there, and they see the opportunity," she said of Hoekstra and his supporters. "My question for Mr. Hoekstra is this: What did you learn from losing the gubernatorial primary in 2010, and what are you going to change?"|topnews|text|Opinion

WILX: Video: Analysts: Hoekstra Represents A Serious Threat To Stabenow
"This is somebody who supported George Bush's effort to privatize Social Security, which would've wrecked it," Michigan Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer says. "He supported efforts to get rid of Medicare."

MUS: Steve Gunn: Look out Sen. Stabenow, you've got competition now
She is not an impressive speaker — I once heard a newspaper publisher say she comes across like a dedicated school nurse, but certainly not a leader — and she doesn't seem particularly intellectual.

MLIVE: @ThadMcCotter courts Tea Party in first-ever Twitter presidential debate


: It's the economy, not the debt, stupid

MSNBC: It's the economy, not the debt, stupid

This is how Washington gets its reputation for being out of touch. As the debate over the federal debt ceiling dominates talk on Capitol Hill, a new poll finds that most Americans are far more concerned with the economy and jobs than deficit issues. Nearly one-third of Americans said the economy is the most important problem facing the United States today, according to Gallup poll released this week. Unemployment and jobs was the second most common issue on people’s minds, with 27 percent saying that was the most important problem. The federal budget deficit ranks No. 3, with just 16 percent saying it’s the most important problem facing the United States.

GALLUP: Concerns About Economy, Jobs Outweigh Worries About Deficit

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans naming jobs as the top problem has been on the rise since the recent low point in April of this year, increasing eight percentage points between then and now, and is back to where it was in March.


: Opinion

HOL: Editorial: Compromise is needed to get a debt-reduction agreement

In many ways, it’s quite remarkable how much the political calculus about the federal deficit has changed. Here we have a Democratic president who has said he is willing to support a multi-trillion-dollar debt-reduciton plan that includes $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases and reforms the once sacrosanct Medicare and Social Security programs. We know President Obama hasn’t released any details, but even that statement represents a tremendous shift. Approving such a plan should be, as conservative columnist David Brooks wrote in The New York Times, the “mother of all no-brainers.” However, most House Republicans, especially the freshman class, have balked at the idea, saying they would not violate their “no tax increase” pledge. . . . Our first and overarching priority must be to raise the debt ceiling so that, come Aug. 3, the United States can pay for the obligations we have already incurred. We should do so whether or not we have budget reform in place. . . . No one likes tax increases, but if we can leverage increased revenue, not from higher tax rates but from fixing our Swiss cheese tax code, in order to win three or four times as much in spending cuts and take a serious bite out of the debt, we shouldn’t hesitate to do so. Ultimately, a swelling national debt will cost this country more in economic growth than the tax changes would.

DN: Editorial: Ganging up on the deficit

Bipartisan Senate plan could provide real debt reduction, break borrowing limit stalemate

The plan would cut corporate tax rates, while ending some credits, on the bet that lower taxes will encourage more business investment and bring home some of the money corporations are idling offshore. It also reduces individual tax rates, again while ending some credits. Overall, it purports to trim taxes by $1.5 trillion over a decade. That's a different approach than has been advocated by Obama and Democrats, who have been hell-bent on raising taxes on businesses and higher-income earners, despite warnings that it will discourage investment and slow growth. . . . It also focuses on real spending cuts — $3.7 trillion over 10 years — and includes the promise of reforms to keep Social Security solvent for 76 years.

DFP: Editorial: Stephen Henderson: Time runs short, but Gang of Six plan is worth pursuing

There's no reason this discussion had to reach the level of crisis it has. The need for deficit elimination has been obvious for some time, and it was President Barack Obama who engaged the debt commission in the first place. Yet Democrats didn't incorporate any deficit reduction ideas into their last round of budget discussions, wasting a lot of time. Republicans were no better, in that they seized on the issue of raising the debt ceiling (something Ronald Reagan did 17 times) to push their myopic anti-tax agenda.|topnews|text|Opinion

USAT: Editorial: Gang of Six offers balanced approach
USAT: Rep. Jim Jordan [R-Ohio]: Don't go with Gang of Six

Alas for Republicans who have taken the pledge created by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist— virtually every GOP member of Congress — anything that counts as a net revenue increase violates the pledge, killing any potential for a deal. There's a word for this; several in fact. But to be charitable, let's just call it boneheaded.

WAPO: E.J. Dionne: GOP leaders must free themselves from the Tea Party’s grip

Think about the underlying dynamic here. The evidence suggests that both Boehner and Cantor understand the peril of the game their Republican colleagues are playing. They know we are closer than we think to having the credit rating of the United States downgraded. This may happen before Aug. 2, the date everyone is using as the deadline for action. Unfortunately, neither of the two House leaders seems in a position to tell the obstreperous right that it is flatly and dangerously wrong when it claims that default is of little consequence. Rarely has a congressional leadership seemed so powerless. . . . Republicans need to decide whether they want to be responsible conservatives or whether they will let the Tea Party destroy the House That Lincoln Built in a glorious explosion. Such pyrotechnics may look great to some people on the pages of a novel or in a movie, but they’re rather unpleasant when experienced in real life.

NYT: Nicholas Kristof column: Bonuses for Billionaires

The first few times I heard House Republicans talk about our budget mess, I worried that they had plunged off the deep end. But as I kept on listening, a buzzer went off in my mind, and I came to understand how much sense the Tea Party caucus makes. Why would we impose “job-crushing taxes” on wealthy Americans just to pay for luxuries like federal prisons? Why end the “carried interest” tax loophole for financiers, just to pay for unemployment benefits — especially when those same selfless tycoons are buying yachts and thus creating jobs for all the rest of us? Hmmm. The truth is that House Republicans don’t actually go far enough. They should follow the logic of their more visionary members with steps like these:


: News

CNN: Congress curbs enthusiasm for 'Gang of Six' plan

"This great 'Gang of Six' would save $4 trillion over 10 years," Rep. Peter DeFazio, a liberal Democrat from Oregon, said sarcastically. "Seniors will pay more. Working people will pay more. Veterans will pay more. Rich people not so much. But it would save $4 trillion over 10 years."

SEIU: "Gang of Six" Proposal Falls Short, Cuts Would Hurt Our Most Vulnerable
AARP: Gang of Six Proposal Relies on Deep Social Security Benefit Cuts for Immediate Deficit Reduction

HUFF: Video: Progressive Groups Launch Debt Ceiling Ad Campaign At 11th Hour

In a sign of where politics currently stand on a vote to raise the debt ceiling, two progressive-leaning groups are launching a new ad campaign targeting four Republican lawmakers for flirting with default in an effort to block high-end tax breaks. The ad is the first of the debt ceiling debate to be sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the group Americans United for Change -– both organizational allies of the White House and DNC. It will air in four districts . . . and Traverse City, Mich., home of Rep. Dave Camp. . . . "Congress should be focused on creating jobs, not finding ways to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," Mary Kay Henry, president of the SEIU, said in a statement accompanying the new campaign. "Working families will not forget those who step forward for a balanced approach and those who wish to sacrifice the American Dream to satisfy an ideological agenda." Combined, the two groups will spend $30,000 total on the ads -- far from an intimidating sum of money, but money nonetheless.

JCP: U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg votes in favor of Republicans' 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' bill
DNC / CBPP: House Republicans’ Plan Would Cost 700,000 American Jobs
DNC: The GOP Plan: Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle Medicare

“This was a vote to make it easier and quicker than ever for Republicans in Congress to realize their goal of ending and privatizing Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid," Tom McMahon, executive director of the liberal Americans United for Change, said in a statement.


ABC: The Note: Benefit Of The Bully Pulpit: Obama Up, Romney Down

President Obama is holding onto a 7 point lead over his chief Republican rival, Mitt Romney, in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll. If the 2012 election were held today, 51 percent of adults said they would pick Obama compared to 44 percent who would support the former Massachusetts governor. (They were tied in early June.) Important to note, however, is that among registered voters, Obama's lead over Romney narrows to 49 percent to 47 percent. . . . “Obama looks to have turned the budget debate to his advantage,” writes ABC pollster Gary Langer. “His position on the deficit is more broadly popular, he’s taking less heat than the GOP for unwillingness to compromise and he’s got a sizable lead in the view that he cares more about protecting the middle class.”

POLITICO: Headline: Barack Obama's 2008 bundlers flee political 'machine'

Campaign officials deny that there’s any “enthusiasm gap,” and indeed the new operation appears to be on track to raise as much money as Obama did in his record-setting 2008 campaign. But the identity and mood of the campaign is very different. The shift among bundlers is part of a broader transformation of an insurgent candidate of hope and change to an incumbent president grinding out his re-election amid the very real and often daunting world of Washington politics.

IA: Bachmann’s migraines under control, doctor says

NEWSMAX: Audio interview: Pete Hoekstra: Obama Policies, Grass-Roots Support Drive Senate Bid



Space Shuttle Atlantis Makes Historic Final Landing, Ending 30-Year Era (VIDEO)

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