The Coalition for Human Needs helps you tell Congress to pay for health care reform with responsible tax increases. And by "responsible" we mean "not on the backs of poor people." CHN makes only two suggestions -- making the Medicare tax more progressive, and extending the Medicare tax to investment income (excluding the first $50,000, or $100,000 for married couples) -- but you can probably think of others. And I don't believe that we need to raise taxes to pay for health care improvements, even a single-payer system. But in order to avoid raising any taxes, we'd need to a) cut wasteful defense spending and b) cut corporate welfare. Given the chances of getting a) and/or b) done, we might as well make sure taxes get raised responsibly -- meaning the folks who've benefited the most from Tha Bush Mobb's tax policies ought to cough it up.
The People's Email Network, not known for pulling punches, calls H.R. 2749 "the Gestapo Food Act." The bill itself makes Finnegans Wake look like bathroom reading, but the scuttlebutt isn't good -- the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund tells us that the bill would use a one-size-fits-all approach to policing food safety, with fees and fines that would break most small farmers, and wouldn't address the real problem with food safety -- large corporations and their animal mills. The FDA will also be able to search any and all farmers' records without a warrant; I guess Congress thinks the FISA Amendments Act sets all kinds of precedents. Here's the action page.
Meanwhile, from the "if you live long enough" file: the Supreme Court rules 5 to 4 that states can enforce their own financial regulations even if they conflict with federal ones. And the 5 in that 5-to-4 consisted of the Court's four nominally liberal justices and the court's most conservative justice, Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. (No, Justices Roberts, Alito, and Thomas are not conservatives, but reactionaries.) Justice Scalia probably wishes he'd been able to write that decision about a state that had more lax financial laws than the federal government, but at least he's honest enough to write the opinion he actually holds. Besides, what state has more lax financial regulations than the feds at this point in history? You'll find the usual whining from financial "titans," including the one who says the decision "will have a significant, negative impact on the ability of a national bank to offer a financial product uniformly throughout the country." Which is, for those of us who believe banks should serve communities rather than impose their will on them, kind of the idea.