Day: May 8, 2012

Romney’s Auto Rescue Claims Don’t Hold Up

Romney’s Auto Rescue Claims Don’t Hold Up

So here’s the reason presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney now claims to have saved the auto rescue in Michigan:  Romney will be campaigning in Michigan for the next couple of days and needs to convince folks there, that he wasn’t against the bailout.  In fact he will try to convince them that he actually rescued the industry from demise.

TPM2012

With the general election in full swing, Mitt Romney is tacking to the center on the auto rescue with furious speed, with a top spokesman and then Romney himself both claiming he deserves a big “thank-you” for saving Detroit.

He doesn’t.

“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney told a Cleveland TV station while visiting a local auto plant Monday. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”

The trouble is that the people who helped craft the actual auto bailout — and not just on the Democratic side — have said Romney’s public position would likely have resulted in destruction of the industry.

This isn’t the first time Romney has courted credit. He applauded Obama in 2009 for showing “backbone” in implementing certain aspects of the initial bailout, and called it “a course I recommended a number of months ago.”Romney’s position was vague enough then, despite a high-profile “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed, to make a plausible case he and Obama were on the same page. But during the 2012 Republican primary he clarified that the measures he endorsed were nowhere near what actually was needed to fix the problem at hand.

Both Romney and Obama agreed the car companies should be put through bankruptcy, which is what ultimately occurred. But the key difference was who would pay to keep the companies alive as they restructured. Experts say that without the tens of billions of dollars in federal loans, the companies would likely have been liquidated, as the private financial industry was in a meltdown of its own and completely unwilling to step in with loans.

Romney danced around this issue while campaigning in the Michigan primary earlier this year, where his bailout position received a lot of attention, but ultimately sided with those on the right who insisted the private sector should sort it out.

“The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse,” Romney wrote in an op-ed in the Detroit News in February. “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

This squared with previous remarks: Romney told Piers Morgan in June 2011 that “the bailouts were a mistake” and suggested that the companies could have gone through bankruptcy immediately with minimal federal help.

Romney’s insistence in February that he would have saved Detroit drew some pushback from within his own party. Even while campaigning in support of Romney in Michigan, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) told reporters plainly, “There was no one that could have picked up those pieces other than the federal government.”

Steve Rattner, the “auto czar” responsible for managing the rescue, penned a New York Times op-ed savaging Romney for claiming credit for the most popular aspects of the bailout while disowning the loans that were necessary to make it work.

“[Romney’s position] sounds like a wonderfully sensible approach — except that it’s utter fantasy,” he wrote. “In late 2008 and early 2009, when G.M. and Chrysler had exhausted their liquidity, every scrap of private capital had fled to the sidelines. I know this because the administration’s auto task force, for which I was the lead adviser, spoke diligently to all conceivable providers of funds, and not one had the slightest interest in financing those companies on any terms. If Mr. Romney disagrees, he should come forward with specific names of willing investors in place of empty rhetoric. I predict that he won’t be able to, because there aren’t any.”

Democrats rushed to hold Romney to his original position after his latest comments Monday. The Obama campaign distributed a statement from Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), one of the strongest advocates for the auto rescue in 2009.

“Mitt Romney is on a hook of his own making because of his vocal opposition to the auto rescue, which saved General Motors and Chrysler from liquidation and prevented hundreds of thousands of job losses in a vital industry,” Levin said. “Governor Romney should have the courage and integrity to say he was wrong instead of trying to pull off another flip-flop.”

Romney will likely be asked to clarify his position further Tuesday as he returns to Michigan, the state most affected by the auto rescue. But at this point, he’s taken so many twists and turns, it’s impossible to have any clear idea what exactly he would have done.

Think Progress: Morning Briefing: May 8, 2012

Think Progress

The CIA thwarted an attempt by Al Qaeda to blow up a commercial airplane heading for the United States, according to the National Security Council. CIA agents uncovered the plot, which was supposed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death on May 1.

President Obama has given Congress a “to do list” for the rest of the year, urging job creation proposals and help for families who need to refinance their mortgages.

Democratic legislation that would prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling by eliminating some corporate tax breaks hits the Senate floor today. Republicans, who want to extend the lower interest rate by pulling money from a preventative care fund under the health reform law, have promised to block the White House-backed bill.

In a late-night email to supporters last night, Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney. While Santorum’s tone was tepid, he said Republicans should rally around the presumptive nominee,writing, “We both agree that President Obama must be defeated.”

At an event in Ohio yesterday, Mitt Romney was confronted by a voter “over $1.5 million in foreign tax credits” he received since 2000. Romney dodged, claiming to be “not familiar with that.” The crowd booed.

American taxpayers could make a profit of more than $15.1 billion from the government bailout of insurer AIG, according to a report from Government Accountability Office.

Major liberal donors are preparing to give up to $100 million to independent groups to help Democrats this fall, but instead of pouring the money into Super PACs, the donors are focusing on grass roots organizing, voter registration, and Democratic turnout efforts.

Three “pink slime” plants are closing following uproar over the ammonia-treated meat trimmings they produce. Production was suspended at the plants after a petition asking that they take pink slime out of schools went viral, but now the plants are set to close permanently at the end of the month.

And finally: DC has always been home to major scandals, and now a company will offer a walking tour of city to show you where they all went down. The two-and-a-half hour Scandal Walking Tour, which costs $15, promises to show you the strip club where a congressman held a press conference and teach you which politico shot his wife’s lover and got away with it.

50 Liberal Quotes Which Americans Should Remember

Addicting Info

Many Americans today tend to take the past for granted, and with that, we also tend to take the words of past leaders for granted. We forget what they told us, and as a result we lose our identity, we lose the values that make us who we are. Below is a list of quotes spoken by American leaders, heroes, journalists, and others. You’ll find common themes throughout this list. These are the messages from the American past that we should all remember if we hope to solve our own problems and bring America forward to a better future. The future that these people envisioned.

1.) “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
~John F. Kennedy

2.) “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” ~Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

3.) “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
~John F. Kennedy

4.) “The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

5.) “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
~Robert Kennedy

6.) “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

7.) “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

8.) “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

9.) “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln

10.) “Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”
~Robert Kennedy

11.) “It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
~Hubert H. Humphrey

12.) “I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

13.) “To impose taxes when the public exigencies require them is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people.”
~James Monroe

14.) “The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for … the protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

15.) “The laboring classes constitute the main part of our population. They should be protected in their efforts peaceably to assert their rights when endangered by aggregated capital, and all statutes on this subject should recognize the care of the State for honest toil, and be framed with a view of improving the condition of the workingman.”
~Grover Cleveland

16.) “It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

17.) “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.”
~Barry Goldwater

18.) “The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
~Thomas Jefferson

19.) “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

20.) “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
~John F. Kennedy

21.) “America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men.”
~Woodrow Wilson

22.) “If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

23.) “I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”
~Thomas Jefferson

24.) “While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.”
~Barry Goldwater

25.) “Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”
~Hubert Humphrey

26.) “In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

27.) “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
~George Washington

28.) “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

29.) “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”
~Ronald Reagan

30.) “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

31.) “We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate.”
~Ronald Reagan

32.) “Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

33.) “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
~Dwight Eisenhower

34.) “The Social Security Act offers to all our citizens a workable and working method of meeting urgent present needs and of forestalling future need. It utilizes the familiar machinery of our Federal-State government to promote the common welfare and the economic stability of the Nation.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

35.) “Few nations do more than the United States to assist their least fortunate citizens–to make certain that no child, no elderly or handicapped citizen, no family in any circumstances in any State, is left without the essential needs for a decent and healthy existence. In too few nations, I might add, are the people aware of the progressive strides this country has taken in demonstrating the humanitarian side of freedom. Our record is a proud one–and it sharply refutes those who accuse us of thinking only in the materialistic terms of cash registers and calculating machines.”
~John F. Kennedy

36.) “But let us begin. Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need – not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”- a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.”
~John F. Kennedy

37.) “We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference.”
~Rutherford B. Hayes

38.) “The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state or in the nation, should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community.”
~James A. Garfield

39.) “You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.”
~Harry S. Truman

40.) “I think that being liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, noncomitted to a cause but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen.”
~Walter Cronkite

41.) “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level – I mean the wages of decent living.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

42.) “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
~John F. Kennedy

43.) “For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.”
~Edward Kennedy

44.) “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

45.) “Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

46.) “The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.”
~Noam Chomsky

47.) “The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”
~Helen Keller

48.) “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

49.) “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
~Barry Goldwater

50.) “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

You’ll notice that the quotes by American politicians were not solely from one end of the spectrum. Quotes from Democrats and Republicans were included. There are even quotes from our Founding Fathers. Certainly there are more quotes that could be added as is the case with lists of this kind. But the fact remains that we must remember the words of our past and keep them with us as America carves out its future.