In today's On the News segment: The Occupy Wall Street movement swelled to at least 20,000 people yesterday, at least one concrete reform that could come out of this outrage against Wall Street is a financial transaction tax, Steve Jobs died yesterday at 56, Republicans around the country are passing strict voter ID laws, Herman Cain is surging in the polls, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The Occupy Wall Street movement swelled to at least 20,000 people yesterday – as demonstrators peaceably marched through Manhattan alongside throngs of unionized workers. But as the sun went down – and demonstrators attempted to take their march to Wall Street – another police crackdown ensued. Using pepper-pray and swinging batons – police prevented protestors from accessing Wall Street – and they also closed the Wall Street subway stop. I guess that’s the what the banksters bought when JP Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon order a a $4.6 million donation contribution to the NY cops family and party fund, tax deductible and thus paid for by you and me. All in all – dozens were reportedly arrested – capping off a tumultuous 18th straight day of occupation in lower Manhattan. But the movement marches on – another huge demonstration is happening today – this one taking place in the streets of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.
At least one concrete reform that could come out of this outrage against Wall Street is a financial transaction tax. Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Tom Harkin have introduced legislation to implement a small tax on all stock trades. The tax will help curb excessive speculation and gambling on Wall Street – exactly what crashed our worldwide economy three years ago in the last year of Bush's administration. Not only that – the tax will help reduce our deficit – bringing in $150 billion a year – AND…it will keep the robots at bay. Most of the stocks traded on Wall Street today are through robot computers making millions of split second trades throughout the day. So if each one of those trades are now taxed – then we can cut down on the dangers of high frequency trading. Both France and Germany have embraced similar taxes over the screams of their banksters – and the United States used to have a similar tax in place through the middle part of the 20th century when our economy was thriving. National Nurses United – the nation’s largest nurses union – is also on board with bringing back the financial transaction tax. Now all we need to do is get the Wall Street bought-off Republicans on board.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Steve Jobs died yesterday at 56. As the founder of Apple – and the co-inventor of the gadgets that many Americans have on their desks and in their pockets – Jobs was a smart designer and businessman who made additional billions moving Apple's manufacturing offshore, even though Apple would still be a very profitable company if they did their manufacturing here in the United States. But Jobs was a businessman, not an advocate for working people – he even went so far as to say that K-through-12 teachers unions are, to quote him, “off-the-charts crazy.” Nonetheless, Apple is a good friend and colleague with Wall Street and the big media corporations in America, and has a very expensive PR department, so look for lots of Steve Jobs coverage in the mainstream media that fails to mention his dislike of unions or American manufacturing.
Republicans around the country are passing strict voter ID laws that they say will stop voter fraud – something that happens less often than people being hit by lightning. But as we just learned in Tennessee where one such law was passed – the only thing they’re stopping in poor, elderly, and minority people from voting. 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper applied for a new Voter ID but was denied because she didn’t have a drivers license or a marriage certificate. Cooper has voted in every single election except once since she became of age 78 years ago. But under these new laws – she – and about 5 million other eligible voters around the nation according to the Brennan Center for Justice – will be turned away from the polls in next year’s election.
Now that Herman Cain is surging in the polls for the Republican nomination – it’s worth taking a look at some of the policies he’s proposing – in particular the “999” plan he pushes incessantly. And that’s exactly what the Center for American progress did. Cain’s plan implements a 9% flat income tax on all Americans, a 9% corporate tax, and a 9% sales tax. That translates to a 900% tax increase on the poorest Americans – as well as a substantial tax increase on middle class Americans. But for the wealthiest Americans – it’s a massive tax cut. In fact – the wealthiest 1% would see their average tax rate fall from 28% down to 11%. But that’s not the worst of it – Cain’s “999” plan would EXPLODE the deficit – creating the largest imbalances in the history of this nation since World War 2. The Vice President for Economic Policy at CAP described the plan as, “the biggest tax shift from the wealthy to the middle-class in the history of taxation, ever, anywhere, and it would bankrupt the country.” Turns out the 999 plan isn’t a plan for prosperity in American – it's a poison pill that will economically destroy America.
Sarah Palin can no longer pretend she’s running for President – she officially announced yesterday that she’s out of the race. And a new book hitting shelves by former McCain campaign – Nicole Wallace – entitled “It’s Classified” might explain why Palin’s not running. In the book – Wallace asserts that Palin is “mentally ill” and that she was, “incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain’s running mate.” But the most shocking detail of the book is that McCain advisers were actually trying to figure out a way to keep Palin from being sworn in as Vice President if McCain won. Then again – the odd behavior that Wallace describes could just be dismissed as Palin being “Maverick-ey.”
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, October 6th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.