Patt Morrison for November 24, 2009

Mercer 6051

Make war, raise taxes? Afghanistan surtax gains momentum

Instead of “pay as you go” Congress is considering a new way of fighting wars: “pay as you fight.” Several prominent Democratic members of Congress are pushing for a graduated surtax on individuals and corporations to pay for the Afghanistan war, especially with the looming troop increase. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee has even gone so far to tell President Obama that if he wants support for a troop surge in Afghanistan, he should be supporting the war surtax. Is the “Share the Sacrifice Act” merely an act of political rhetoric against the Afghanistan war, or a serious proposal to fund an increasingly expensive endeavor?
Mercer 6052

Maldonado - the new man in lieutenant governor's chair?

A Republican state senator who supported a tax increase in this year's budget grid-lock negotiations has been announced by Governor Schwarzenegger as his choice to replace John Garamendi as lieutenant governor. Some fellow Republicans are critical of the choice, citing his budget vote as being a major stumbling block to approval. Maldonado's appointment requires confirmation from both houses of the Legislature
Mercer 6053

Prison jobs saved by stimulus money -- not really…

State Auditor Elaine Howle is reporting that of the 18,000 jobs that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation claiming as saved by federal stimulus dollars, fully 13,000 may not have been at risk at all. How is she making that determination, and what other departments is she examining for this kind of misrepresentation?
Mercer 6047
With the ubiquitous nature of cheap, internet-enabled phones it was only a matter of time before this came along: a new cell phone application will help illegal immigrants cross the treacherous U.S.-Mexico border, with GPS guidance and directions to supplies of water and food along the way. The app, developed by a UC San Diego professor and activist, is intended to be apolitical, focusing on the safety of those immigrants who inevitably illegally cross the desert everyday; but obviously political controversy is surrounding the effort. Is it immoral to aid immigrants to safely break the law?
Mercer 6048
On Monday numbers were released on U.S. existing-home sales, showing that they’ve surged about 25% from January through September of this year—good news, right? On Wednesday new-home sales figures will be released, and they’re expected to continue to drop (the Commerce Dept. already announced that new-home construction sank 10.6% in October)—bad news, right? Throw in generally stabilizing home prices mixed with an expected jump in foreclosures and we have one seriously clouded picture of the U.S. housing market. What, if anything, can we make from the numbers?
Mercer 6049

A warm holiday meal

The Los Angeles Mission has been doling out Thanksgiving meals for the homeless and disadvantaged for nearly two decades and this year is no different....except they expect to feed more (close to four thousand) with fewer resources. We'll talk to the president of the LA Mission about need, poverty, volunteerism, and a warm holiday meal.
Plastic for paper

Playing “The Card Game”

Credit card companies have never been favorites in the eyes of the American public, but since the collapse of the economy and with it the consumer credit market the abusive and predatory practices of those companies have been in the crosshairs of lawmakers and an angry public. Frontline looks into the effort to corral credit card companies, especially in light of recent Congressional action that was meant to regulate insanely high interest rates; and that same legislation might have set off a host of new profit-making measures. Patt talks to Frontline and the major players in the war over control of your wallet.
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