TPM News

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), architect of the House GOP's budget, drew a resounding chorus of boos at a town hall appearance in his district after touting the benefits of tax cuts for the wealthy.

In a video posted by ThinkProgress, an attendee at the event this week told Ryan that he believes the rich should pay higher taxes to help close the deficit and strengthen Social Security.

"The middle class is disappearing right now," he said. "During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income, but yet today we are fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire?"

Ryan protested that "We do tax the top," before being drowned out by the audience's jeers.



Polls have shown increasing taxes on the wealthy enjoys strong public support across the political spectrum despite near-universal opposition from GOP lawmakers. Democrats have been hammering Republicans on the issue in recent weeks, jumping off Ryan's budget proposal, which cuts taxes for the rich while making major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

As the debate about how to deal with the federal deficit heats up, two new polls show that large, bipartisan majorities of Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy, as President Obama has proposed doing.

A central piece of Obama's deficit reduction plan calls for raising taxes on annual income above $250,000. Though tax hikes are generally thought to be unpopular, both a Washington Post/ABC News poll and a McClatchy-Marist survey found that a majority of Americans supported that proposal. What's more, even a majority of Republicans in the Washington Post/ABC News poll said they favored raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

In addition, both polls found Americans overwhelmingly opposed to a deficit reduction plan pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would ultimately privatize Medicare, the federal healthcare program for the elderly. Taken together, those findings show that in the looming deficit debate, Obama may hold an edge in public opinion.

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Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, the wife of former governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, has announced that she is officially exploring a run for Congress -- against the Republican loose cannon Rep. Steve King.

The Des Moines Register reports:

"It's important to listen to Iowa families about the issues they want addressed in Congress," Christie Vilsack said in a statement. "Hearing directly from citizens about their concerns and ideas is very important to me. Too often in campaigns, it's the other way around."

Her "Christie Vilsack for Iowa's 4th Congressional District" website, with a V logo, invites people to give her a headstart on fundraising "as I consider running."

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A powerful union is lobbying Democratic and Republican congressional negotiators to make sure they don't curtail worker rights when they finalize new FAA legislation.

A conference committee composed of a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen will soon sort out differences between two different versions of the bill. But the House bill contains a provision that would make it much more difficult for airline and rail workers to form unions. More on that provision here -- it would reinstate old rules that count abstentions as "no" votes in union elections, thus stacking the deck against pro-union workers.

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Senate Democrats eked out a slightly better fundraising quarter than their counterparts on the other side of the aisle, announcing today a $11.6 million haul for their campaign committee versus $11.2 million for the GOP.

Democrats touted the numbers, which included $5.6 million raised in March, as evidence their new strategy of tying Republicans to Rep. Paul Ryan's budget was exciting donors. "The Republican move to end Medicare and give more tax breaks to the very rich has fueled support from our base," Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

Republicans raised $5 million in March, which they noted was their highest one-month total in a non-election year. Rob Jesmer, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's executive director, noted in a statement that "we're still up against a Senate Democrat majority and the Fundraiser-In-Chief in the White House" but said they were on track to meet their goals.

The DSCC used the cash to pay off $3.75 million in debt, leaving them on the hook for another $4.89 million with $5.5 million cash on hand. The NRSC has $2.75 million in debt and $1.48 million cash on hand.

As Obama's approval rating has slipped in the past few months, so too have his leads over potential 2012 challengers.

In a McClatchy-Marist poll released on Wednesday, Obama posted a one-point lead over Mitt Romney, down from a robust 13-point edge just three months ago. Obama still notched comfortable leads on Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, though both Republicans have gained some ground since January as well.

That indicates that while Obama enjoyed a brief honeymoon to start 2011, the bump has quickly evaporated, and his reelection prospects remain far from certain.

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The first recall signatures against a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin are about to be filed, following four recall submissions so far against Republicans, as the battle escalates in the aftermath of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union bill.

Previously, Democrats have filed recall signatures against four Republicans, more than the three that would be needed to put control of the chamber in play if all recalls were certified to go forward: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf.

As WisPolitics reports, recall organizers have announced that they will file 21,000 signatures on Thursday against Dem state Sen. Jim Holperin, providing a buffer above the 15,960 minimum signatures that are legally required to trigger a new election. Holperin, along with the other 13 Democratic state Senators, had fled the state in February and early March, in an attempt to block a three-fifths budget quorum for Walker's bill -- a move that Republicans later circumvented through parliamentary maneuvers to pass the bill, though the law is currently bottled up in the courts.

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This is a map of everywhere I've been for the last months. Everywhere. I didn't carry around a tracking device. The FBI isn't sending goons in unmarked vans to track me. All I did was use an iPhone. And if you have an iPhone, you're being tracked right now, too.


It turns out that your iPhone is keeping a record of everywhere you've been since June. This data is stored on your phone (or iPad) and computer, easily available to anyone who gets their hands on it. Why? Apple won't say. We're creeped out.

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This is a map of everywhere I've been for the last months. Everywhere. I didn't carry around a tracking device. The FBI isn't sending goons in unmarked vans to track me. All I did was use an iPhone. And if you have an iPhone, you're being tracked right now, too.


It turns out that your iPhone is keeping a record of everywhere you've been since June. This data is stored on your phone (or iPad) and computer, easily available to anyone who gets their hands on it. Why? Apple won't say. We're creeped out.

Read More →

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