On the News With Thom Hartmann: Radiation Levels at Fukushima Have Reached Their Highest Point Yet

In today’s On the News segment: The Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare, new study finds only 56 percent of students who enter American universities are able to graduate within six years, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan received a 600 percent increase in his salary from the year before, radiation levels at Fukushima have reached their highest point yet, and more.


You need to know this. The Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare – and within the next few months they’ll issue their ruling. Should the five right-wing justices on the high court do what many are expecting them to do, and strike down the individual mandate – then it COULD lead to the end of the for-profit health insurance industry as we know it. That’s because other reforms within Obamacare force insurance companies to accept Americans regardless of pre-existing conditions and also outlaw rescissions – WHERE health insurers drop their customers when they get seriously sick. That means a bunch of sick Americans will flood the private health insurance market, forcing companies to actually pay for care, cutting million-dollar payrolls for health insurance executives, and cutting the fat dividend checks health insurance companies pay their investors. The individual mandate was put in place to protect those private health insurers by giving them a pool of new, healthy, young customers to offset the influx of aging sick customers. So if the court strikes it down – President Obama isn’t the one who’s really screwed – it’s private health insurance companies. And in the irony of all ironies – expect those same private health insurers to begin lobbying the Republican House of Representatives for some sort of mandate to protect them – forcing Republicans to switch sides to please their corporate donors. This fiasco is just getting started – stay tuned.

America’s students are screwed. A new study by Harvard University finds that only 56% of students who enter American universities – are able to graduate within 6 years. Looking at 18 other OECD nation and their college completion rates – the United States ranks dead last – behind nations like Japan, Poland, and Slovakia. The Harvard study pins the low graduation rate on raising college prices that have sextupled since 1985 – driving outstanding student loan debt to over one trillion dollars for the first time in the history of the world. And to kick dirt in the eyes of already struggling students – the Republican budget proposed by Paul Ryan cuts the federal Pell Grant program for college students by $200 billion – ultimately snatching college grants from the hands of more than one million students. So much for trying to obtain a college degree to pursue the American Dream. Students might as well try to get lucky on Friday and hit the lotto jackpot – it’s their only hope of finding success in a nation that’s been ravaged by thirty years of Reaganomics and the destruction of America’s intellectual infrastructure.

In the best of the rest of the news…
Most CEOs who watch their corporation’s stock value drop in half get fired, or at the very least take a pay cut. But not if you’re a bankster. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan was given a big fat check for $7.5 million in 2011 – a 600% increase from the year before – despite the fact that Bank of America’s stock dropped 58% over the year. Not to mention – Bank of America had to pay out $335 million in a settlement against charges that it discriminated against minority homeowners – and is currently hard at work blocking mortgage aid for its customers. All the things that would get a guy fired on Main Street – is just business as usual on Wall Street…even and even gets banksters a raise.
More than a year into the nuclear crisis at Fukushima – radiation levels have reached their highest point yet within reactor 2 at the crippled plant. At ten times the immediate lethal dose – TEPCO is scrambling to find new robots and equipment that can sustain the radiation to locate and remove melting nuclear fuel. Their current robots and equipment cannot work within such highly radioactive environments. To make problems worse, levels of water within the reactors needed to keep the cores from melting down are getting dangerously low.
And finally…if Mitt Romney hoped the ghost of his old dog Shamus would go away before the general election – he’s going to be disappointed. Seizing on “dog on roof gate” – one Democratic operative – Bob McDevitt is launching a new SuperPAC called “Animal Lovers Against Romney” to make sure that all voters hear the story of when Mitt Romney decided to put his dog Shamus in a cage on the roof of his family car for a 12-hour road trip. The SuperPAC plans to target 10 battleground states and spend a million dollars in internet ads. Check out the group’s website atMittIsMean.com
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, March 29th, 2012. I’m Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.