On the News With Thom Hartmann: A Shooting in New York Leaves Two Dead, and More

In today’s On the News segment: A mass shooting around the Empire State Building in New York City leaves two dead and at least nine people wounded; the Tax Policy Center found that Mitt Romney’s tax reform plan includes a massive tax cut for the top 2% of Americans and transnational corporations – but it pays for the tax cut by raising taxes on the middle class; the Federal Reserve sold off its last remaining shares of troubled insurance giant AIG on Thursday; and more.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jim Javinsky here – In for Thom Hartmann – on the news…

You need to know this. A mass shooting is tragically the top story once again. This morning, a man opened fire around the Empire State Building in New York City. Early reports indicate that at least 9 people were wounded – and two dead – including the shooter. Witnesses describe a horrible, chaotic scene on the streets – and it’s believed the shooter was a disgruntled employee who had recently been fired. It’s too early to jump to conclusions – but this mass shooting, like all the others we’ve seen recently – are consequences of a decaying American society. The mix of economic desperation and easy access to guns – leads to these tragedies, which are occurring far too often in our nation.

If you’re in the middle class, then a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote against your best interests. The Tax Policy Center has taken another look at Mitt Romney’s tax reform plan and found that – not only does it include a massive tax cut for the top 2% of Americans as well as massive transnational corporations – but it pays for the tax cut by raising taxes on the middle class. The Tax Policy Center estimates that households with incomes below $200,000 could see as much as a $4,000 tax increase every year. Individuals could see their taxes go up by as much as $1,000. As the Center for American Progress points out, “Romney’s plan would shift at least $86 billion of the tax burden from households with incomes over $200,000, to households with incomes below that level…Romney’s unpaid-for corporate tax cuts would cost $96 billion.” One has to wonder, is Mitt Romney running for President just to make himself – and his buddies – rich? It sure looks like it.

In the best of the rest of the news…

While Republican states work hard to curb voting rights – California is about to take a major step forward in expanding voter rights. On Thursday, the California State Senate approved a measure that would allow for Election Day voter registration – allowing anyone to register to vote on the day of the election – and then cast their ballot. Under previous law, anyone who had not registered to vote within 2 weeks of the election would have been unable to vote. The California State Assembly passed the legislation as well – and Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it into law. Studies have shown that Election Day Registration increases voter turnout by as much as seven-percent – which could translate into hundreds of thousands of new voters casting a ballot. We need more laws like this around the country that promote American democracy – rather than restrict it.

The Federal Reserve sold off its last remaining shares of troubled insurance giant AIG on Thursday. In 2008 – as AIG threatened to bring down the entire economy – the Fed bailed it out with $182 billion buying a 92% ownership stake in the company to keep it afloat as part of the TARP program. Today, Fed officials are calling the move a huge success – saying taxpayers earned nearly $18 billion from the rescue. But is saving an irresponsible bank a benchmark for success? In rescuing AIG, banksters and shareholders were saved – yet millions of Americans lost their homes – and millions more are still in danger of losing their homes. As Neil Barofsy – the former Special Inspector General of the TARP program said – the American economy is “f’ed!”

Speaking of that, the ongoing housing crisis is hitting young homeowners the hardest. According to a new report by Zillow – nearly half of all home borrowers under the age of 40 are underwater on their mortgages. That’s twice the rate of older borrowers. It’s also the latest sign that lawmakers in Washington, DC aren’t doing nearly enough to help struggling homeowners and put an end to this housing crisis. Wall Street got bailed out and Main Street got sold out.

Oil corporations who plan to drill in the Arctic are being put on notice by Greenpeace. There are reports that six Greenpeace activists have climbed aboard a Russian oil drilling platform in the Arctic to protest oil exploration of the Arctic. One of the activists occupying the rig is Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo who tweeted out during the action, “Melting Arctic ice is a warning, not a business opportunity.”

Conservatives are pulling away in the SuperPAC game this election. In the month of July alone – Conservative SuperPACs spent $27 million in ads against progressives around the nation. That adds to the total of more than $137 million that Conservative SuperPACs have spent on this election so far. That’s more than $100 million more than the amount liberal SuperPACs have spent so far this election. And as we know all too well as Americans – TV advertising works – and if Republicans are advertising way more than progressives – then this will be a hard election for the good guys to win.

And finally… former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s comeback to power may get derailed. A German actress – simply known as “Queen Bee” – is accusing the 75-year-old political and media tycoon of impregnating her. Queen Bee was simply known as “Queen Bee” – is accusing the 75-year-old political and media tycoon of impregnating her. Queen Bee was responsible for planning many of Berlusconi’s infamous “Bunga, Bunga” parties – and Berlusconi is currently on trial for allegedly sleeping with an underage prostitute at one of those parties while he was Prime Minister. These latest allegations against Berlusconi shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – given the guy’s track record. But with austerity coming down the pike in Italy – voters in Italy might soon be missing all the scandal that came with Berlusconi and his Bunga Bunga parties.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, August 24, 2012. I’m Jim Javinsky – In for Thom Hartmann – on the news.