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The Triggers of Economic Inequality. Perfect graph to show what is happening to the US wealth

The Triggers of Economic Inequality. Perfect graph to show what is happening to the US wealth | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
What purposeful political acts created and sustained the huge gap between the super-rich and the rest of America?


by Troy Oxford and Lauren Feeney, Moyers & Company


In recent years, the rich have seen their wealth grow dramatically while the poor and middle class have basically flatlined. It’s no accident, argue Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson in their book Winner-Take-All Politics. The infographic below, which draws from Hacker and Pierson’s book, explains how our politicians — on both sides of the aisle — fell under the spell of corporate dollars and re-engineered our economic system to favor the wealthy. The dark green line shows the income trajectory for the top 1 percent since 1970, while the light green line shows the bottom 90 percent. Click the orange triangles to learn about critical turning points that helped create the skewed system we have today.

 

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Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations for More Than 15 years

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations for More Than 15 years | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Jesse Drucker - Oct 29, 2012 12:01 AM ET, Bloomberg News


In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money.
Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.

The charitable remainder unitrust, as it is known, is one of several strategies Romney has adopted over his career to reduce his tax bill. While Romney’s tax avoidance is legal and common among high-net-worth individuals, it has become an issue in the campaign. President Barack Obama attacked him in their second debate for paying “lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less.”


In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity -- the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing -- to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefiting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request. [MORE]

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Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson Have Their Say - Truthdig

Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson Have Their Say - Truthdig | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
This week on Truthdig Radio: There’s an election Tuesday, and we invite the two main alternative candidates to make a case for why we should take a chance on them in an election that is already too close to call.


Excellent interview withj Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson.

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Vote With Your Vagina

Vote With Your Vagina | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

We are pissed about the conservative circus around women's health issues. You, too?

A few suggestions on how to use this site:
Help build this site as a resource. Head to ACT to send us a story to post or see what other advocacy groups are doing.
Visit "SHARE" to post a call out card on your Facebook wall, a friend's wall, or, say, your representatives' walls.
Register to vote here
Link with www.VoteWithYourVagina.com when posting articles about women's issues
Use #VoteWithYourVagina when posting on the Tweeter.

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Interviews with swing-state voters: The Democrat who thinks Obama has sold out coal

Interviews with swing-state voters: The Democrat who thinks Obama has sold out coal | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
More swing state interviews: The PA Dem voting for Romney: http://t.co/leD7SfTp The Ron Paulite voting for Obama: http://t.co/xPwtZ0S7...
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And If the GOP Doesn't Win, What Then?

And If the GOP Doesn't Win, What Then? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JAMES FALLOWS, The Atlantic


Nobody knows what's going to happen on Tuesday.


But let's do a thought experiment and assume that current probabilities hold. That would mean that Barack Obama is re-elected; the Romney-Ryan ticket is defeated; and even as the Republicans begin assessing their promising next tier of Christie-Rubio-Jindal-maybe Ryan-maybe Jeb-Bush candidates for 2016, they confront two discouraging realities. One is not having been able to beat a marginally popular president during a time of widespread economic distress. The other is seeing several big demographic blocs -- Latinos, blacks, women -- moving away from them.

What then? We're getting ahead of ourselves, but as a distraction here are several messages from readers. First, from someone in the aviation world:


Presuming Mr. Obama does indeed win, I think the more interesting question is what will the Republican party do to regroup?...

The question in my mind is "is this the end of the Karl Rove Party?"   He pioneered the strategy of shifting the party right to get an energized "base," also shifting it toward the new Know-Nothings they've become. [JF note: Rove and GWB also were careful to try to include Latinos as part of a new GOP big tent. That worked for them in Texas but has not lasted with their Tea Party-era, Tancredo-toned successors, which could prove one of the party's lasting vulnerabilities.]

It hasn't won.  Laura Ingraham's "if the GOP can't beat Obama with this economy, shut it down" strikes me as unintentionally prophetic.  The economy is now improving, Obama will never run again, and demographic trends are certainly against the current Republican message. What will the Republicans do?

The existence of the Tea Party faction makes this a nasty problem -- any attempt by Republicans to pivot toward the mainstream will cost them factional challenges, perhaps third-party rightist candidates on the ballot.  [MORE]

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Withdrawal of a Congressional Research Report on Tax Rates Raises Questions

Withdrawal of a Congressional Research Report on Tax Rates Raises Questions | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By JONATHAN WEISMAN, New York Times


WASHINGTON — The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording.


Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, center, and other Republicans raised concerns with an economic report that questions a central tenet of conservative economic theory.
The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.


But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation. [MORE]

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Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage And 'Voluntary Abortion' In Ohio

Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage And 'Voluntary Abortion' In Ohio | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Tamara Mann

 

On June 19, the state of Ohio declared that I had a voluntary abortion. My rabbi and my doctors disagreed. I simply wanted to be pregnant.

 

The ordeal began two weeks earlier; I was in stirrups. The sonogram technician needed more images. When she got them she looked ashen. "You should see a doctor today," she emphasized as she handed me the printed image of my 13-week-old baby or fetus, I still don't know what word to use. "But there is a heartbeat. Thank god there is a heartbeat," I mumbled. I had been here before. But last time, during my first pregnancy, there was no heartbeat.

 

I waited. I overheard the technician as she looked at the screen with the doctor, "this is bad, this is really bad." He wasn't my doctor, but he had a soft voice with a southern kick that I liked. He saw me, gestured for me to come to his office, and referred to the ailing life in my belly as a baby. "This isn't good," he whispered. "It's really not. Let me show you." He was kind but clear. "The organs are not inside the baby's body. The hands and feet are curled, actually one limb seems to be stunted or missing. The neck isn't right. This really doesn't look good." I looked at the expanded sonogram on his desk. I saw the hands turned in, the area that he referred to as the organs, the dead space where there should be a limb. Minutes ago, I had looked at this same image and smiled. "I don't understand," I replied. "What do I do now?" "Why don't you wait a week," he offered. "I don't understand," I repeated, "can the baby survive? Can these problems be solved? I don't understand exactly what you are telling me." "No, I don't think so," he said finally, "but there are always miracles."

 

I was withered, but functional. I knew this could happen and knew that I could recover. I had been blessed with a healthy child in between and felt, in my Nana's words, "Why should this be easy?" I decided to wait out the week. Looking pregnant, I returned to work, still hoping that maybe with more quiet time, with more love, next week the baby would be better. As I sat down at my desk, my own doctor called. To him, it was a fetus. "Tamara, I have looked at the scans and I have shown the scans to doctors in my office. I want to tell you that we all agree that this fetus is not compatible with life. It will not survive the pregnancy. You should get it removed immediately. The longer you wait the more risks are involved." I hung up the phone.

 

The idea of "removing" my baby, my fetus, while its heart was still beating was simply unbearable. Was it living? Was it still growing? Would I be stopping the heartbeat, cutting short its life? And what do I do after the operation? Do I bury it? I didn't understand what I had inside of me and I didn't understand what I should do. I called a dear friend, an Orthodox rabbi, who I knew would be both compassionate and firm. After consulting with his rabbi, he said the case was clear. In situations where the mother's health is at risk and the fetus (he explicitly said fetus) is not viable, Jewish law errs on the side of the mother's health. I should have the operation and I should not bury the fetus -- it is not a life.

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Latest Dark Money Tallies: $213 million in the general election and counting, 81% on behalf of Republicans; 34 races with $1 million or more

By Lee Drutman, Sunlight Foundation


This post was prepared in collaboration with Alexander Furnas and Amy Cesal.


Back in July, Senate Republicans successfully blocked the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required all organizations spending $10,000 or more to reveal their donors. Now we understand why.


Through Nov.1, at least $213.0 million has been spent in the general election by “dark money” groups to influence the 2012 elections. Of that, $172.4 million (81%) has been spent to help Republican candidates, as compared to $35.7 million (19%) to help Democrats. (By “dark money” we mean groups that do not disclose their donors and only are required to disclose their congressional race spending within 60 days of House and Senate elections and their presidential race spending following the national party conventions).

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Daily Kos: Breaking: Romney Paid Zero Taxes From 1996 To 2009

Daily Kos: Breaking:  Romney Paid Zero Taxes From 1996 To 2009 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Harry Reid was right.   Bloomberg finally cracked the story...

Using a tax shelter called a CRUT (charitable remainder unitrust)  that was held by the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons),  ...
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How America really chooses its president. Short video from the Economist magazine explaining our voting system.

How America really chooses its president. Short video from the Economist  magazine explaining our voting system. | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
How America's electoral college worksTHE electoral college is a relic of the 18th century that gives disproportionate weight to voters in smaller states and focuses...


[MORE]http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/05/daily-chart-5

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Mitt Romney: A New Direction for America

Mitt Romney: A New Direction for America | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MITT ROMNEY, The Wall Street Journal


After more than a year of campaigning, endless political advertisements, two conventions and four debates, the presidential election is almost over. The big decision of 2012 will soon be in the hands of the voters. The choice Americans make will shape great things, historic things, and those will determine the most important and intimate aspects of every American life and every American family. All presidential elections matter. This one matters a great deal.


It matters to the senior who needs medical care but, thanks to ObamaCare, can't find a doctor who is taking new Medicare patients. It matters to the men and women who once had good-paying jobs with benefits but now work part-time with no benefits just to put food on the table. It matters to the college student graduating this spring with a heavy load of debt and few opportunities to pay it back. It matters to the single mother who lives in fear of foreclosure as her employment prospects dwindle.


This election is about them. It is about all of us.


It is about the education of our children, the value of our homes, the take-home pay from our jobs, the price of the gasoline we buy, the choices we have in our health care. It is also about broader forces—the growth of the economy, the strength of our military, our dependence on foreign oil, our leadership role in the world.


After four years of disappointments, fixing America's problems requires a new direction. The path we're on hasn't led us where we need to go. In so many ways, it seems that things have gotten even worse. We can make excuses for what has gone wrong, and many have tried. But excuses won't turn this country around. Only leadership can do that.


I know something about leadership because I have led before. I have reformed businesses that were on the verge of collapse. I have helped to save an Olympics that was plagued by scandal. I have worked with men and women on both sides of the aisle in Massachusetts to achieve real change and real reform.


I can do it again in Washington. Republicans and Democrats in Congress may seem to share very little these days, but they share responsibility for the problems we now face. Just as it took both parties to bring us to where we stand, it will take both parties to get us moving again in the right direction. [MORE]


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Obama is good for Israel | Haaretz editorial

Obama is good for Israel | Haaretz editorial | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The outcome of the elections will be determined by the voters' decision as to which of the two candidates is good for America. But if any of them are vacillating in their vote over whether Obama has been a good president for Israel, the answer is yes.

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Virginia voter fraud case expands to focus on GOP firm

Virginia voter fraud case expands to focus on GOP firm | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Virginia officials are reportedly probing whether a company tied to top Republican leaders had engaged in voter registration fraud


by Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, The Washington Post


The investigation into the arrest of a man on charges of dumping voter registration forms last month in Harrisonburg, Va., has widened, with state officials probing whether a company tied to top Republican leaders had engaged in voter registration fraud in the key battleground state, according to two persons close to the case.


A former employee of Strategic Allied Consulting, a contractor for the Republican Party of Virginia, had been scheduled to appear last Tuesday before a grand jury after he was charged with tossing completed registration forms into a recycling bin. But state prosecutors canceled Colin Small’s grand jury testimony to gather more information, with their focus expanding to the firm that had employed Small, which is led by longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul.


State authorities are seeking to learn whether any of Small’s supervisors instructed him or any of his 40 co-workers in Virginia to ask potential voters about their political leanings during registration drives, the two sources said. Asking such questions could be a violation of state election law. [MORE]


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Warren takes aim at ‘too big to fail’: Reinstating Glass-Steagall a ‘top three’ priority

Warren takes aim at ‘too big to fail’: Reinstating Glass-Steagall a ‘top three’ priority | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story


Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said Sunday on a call with volunteers that restoring Glass-Steagall, the depression-era finance rule that prevented banks from becoming “too big to fail,” would be among the top three Wall Street reforms on her agenda if voters elect her to the Senate.


Warren, a Harvard professor who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) after the global financial crash of 2008, mentioned the depression-era rule in a response to a volunteer who asked, “What can we do to hold Wall Street accountable and keep [a collapse] from happening again?”


“We fought [the fight for Dodd-Frank] out in the open, to try and get financial reforms passed,” she said. “We finally got the consumer agency in place and got some reforms, and then after Dodd-Frank had passed they went back to the regulatory commissions. They were supposed to write regulations… I thought the fight was over. I thought that the good guys had won. But it turned out the lobbyists, the big financial institutions just decided to move the fight into the shadows.”


Warren said that what’s happened since is a case study in how Congress seems to function all too often: “They have been lobbying the regulators to try to weaken the rules, to put loopholes in them, to try to delay them and try to get rid of them outright,” she lamented. [MORE]

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Joe Conason: The Superstorm Blows Away Political Pretense and Ideological Nonsense

Joe Conason: The Superstorm Blows Away Political Pretense and Ideological Nonsense | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Joe Conason, Truthdig


The ruin and hardship inflicted by a natural disaster can reveal truths that political propaganda tends to obscure.


The ruin and hardship inflicted by a natural disaster can reveal truths that political propaganda tends to obscure. When Hurricane Sandy destroyed swaths of the Northeast, darkened our largest city and plunged a huge section of the nation into crisis, the anti-government ideology of the Tea Party Republicans—and of its panderers like Mitt Romney—was exposed as pretense and nonsense.


Suddenly responsible for saving their communities and their people, politicians of every stripe reached out for help from the big Washington government and the liberal Democratic president many of them had previously reviled. They were duly impressed by his alert, active and concerned response.


None of this should have surprised us. What we learned from Sandy is the same lesson that Katrina ought to have taught us years ago: The right wing disdain for government can imperil your health, your family’s safety and your nation’s security.


Yet we clearly needed to learn it all again—and the events of the past few days have been starkly instructive. [MORE]

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Chris Hedges: Why I’m Voting Green - Truthdig

Chris Hedges: Why I’m Voting Green - Truthdig | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Posted by Mike Stafford

The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us.

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Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit List Pictures | Rolling Stone

Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit List Pictures | Rolling Stone | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The top 10 targets for destructive drilling if Romney is elected...

If Mitt Romney is elected president, expect drilling for fossil fuels to explode. The Republican challenger has promised to double the number of drilling permits issued for federal lands. And that boom would go unregulated: Romney has blasted the current administration's "effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it."

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What I saw at the polling station - Rep. Elijah Cummings

by Annabel Park


Congressman Elijah Cummings tells a very moving story of what he saw at a polling station recently in his district in Baltimore. It captures beautifully what this election is about. A woman close to 90 years of age says she is voting for the last time in her life. She entrusts Rep. Cummings with the message she wants to pass on the baton to the next generation, and Rep. Cummings shares that message with us.


While expressing the reverence and love he has for this woman, Rep. Cummings also points woman would not have been able to vote with the kind of voter ID laws passed in some states this year.


A must for anyone who's thinking about not voting this year. This is part of my new documentary series, Story of America: A Nation Divided

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Voting machines remain worry in US election

Voting machines remain worry in US election | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Few want to even think about it, but the 2012 US election result could be clouded by problems with voting machines ... again.

Twelve years after the Florida punch card debacle in which thousands of votes went uncounted in the crucial state, some experts cite similar concerns about voting technology. "I'm not sure we've made forward progress since 2000," said Douglas Jones, a University of Iowa computer scientist and co-author of a book published this year, "Broken Ballots." "We've put a tremendous effort into changing the voting systems, but in many cases we've discarded systems too quickly and replaced them with systems that we haven't examined enough.
"

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Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Jesse Drucker, Bloomberg


In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money.


Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.

...


In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity -- the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing -- to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefiting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.

...


Nevertheless, "what's going to go to charity is probably close to nothing," Hesch said.

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Active-duty service members disenfranchised by Fla. voter purge

Active-duty service members disenfranchised by Fla. voter purge | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Report: GOP Gov.Rick Scott's push to scrub voter registration rolls has run afoul of 30 Tampa-area service members who have been erroneously barred from voting...
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Nov. 2: For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased

Nov. 2: For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Five Thiry Eight, , NY Times

Nate Silver's Political Calculus


There were 22 polls of swing states published on Friday. President Obama led in 19 of them, two showed a tie and just one, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida, showed Mitt Romney ahead.

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The Tea Party is the GOP’s own worst enemy

The Tea Party is the GOP’s own worst enemy | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Once again, Tea Party extremism is going to hurt Republicans in key legislative races.


by DAVID FRUM, National Post


The Obama-Romney contest will get the eyeballs, but the more important battle Tuesday night will be the battle for control of Congress.


Today, Republicans control the House of Representatives 242-193. Democrats hold the Senate, 53-47 (including two independents who caucus with the Democrats, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont).


Most House-watchers expect the Republicans to lose seats, but not enough to forfeit control. The mid-range scenario projects losses of between seven and 11 for the GOP. Losses on that scale would not jeopardize Republican control. They would, however, imply the defeat of almost all the more moderate conservatives in the Republican caucus. If Barack Obama wins re-election, he’ll meet a House even more hostile and intransigent than the House that nearly pushed the United States into default on its obligations in the summer of 2011.


The Senate outlook is even grimmer for Republicans. Earlier in the year, Republicans hoped they might win both the presidency and the Senate, restoring their post-9/11 united control of all three elected branches of government. Now it seems more probable that the Democrats will expand their Senate majority, most likely by picking up Republican held Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana, and holding once seemingly vulnerable Democratic seats in Virginia and Missouri.


How? Why?


The short answer is: The Tea Party struck again. [MORE]

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Barack Obama: Real Progress, But We're Not Done

Barack Obama: Real Progress, But We're Not Done | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by BARACK OBAMA, The Wall Street Journal


For the past few days, we've all been properly focused on one of the worst storms of our lifetimes. We mourn those who were lost. And we pledge to stand with those whose lives have been turned upside down for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild—better than before.


Because when hardship hits, America is at its best. The petty differences that consume us in normal times fade away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm—only fellow Americans. That is how we get through the most trying times: together.


In 2008, we were mired in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Together, we've battled our way back. Our businesses have created over five million new jobs in the past two and a half years. Home values are on the rise. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in 15 years. The American auto industry is back. Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. And Osama bin Laden is dead.


We've made real progress. But we're not done yet. On Tuesday, you get to choose between two fundamentally different visions of America—one where we return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy four years ago, and one built on a strong, growing middle class.


Our free market is the engine of America's progress, driven by risk-takers, innovators and dreamers. Our people succeed when they have the chance to get a good education and learn new skills—and so do the businesses that hire them, or the companies they start. We believe that when we support research into scientific and medical breakthroughs, new industries will start here and stay here. We grow faster when our tax code rewards hard work and companies that create jobs in America, and when quality health care and a dignified retirement aren't just achievable goals but a measure of our values as a nation. [MORE]


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