• John Edwards released his plan to help Americans with the rising cost of heating their homes this winter. His proposal calls for the government to release the 700 million barrels of crude oil and 2 million barrels of home heating oil that we keep in reserve to protect consumers, increase funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, create federal programs that work with non-profits and states to administer low- or no-interest emergency loans to families, and double the budget of the federal home weatherization program to $500 million a year. On the regulatory side, it calls for strengthening anti-trust laws, reversing the deregulation trends of the past seven years, repealing subsidies and tax breaks that benefit oil companies, and greater enforcement of the environmental standards already in place on carbon-intensive industries. It also calls for investment in clean, cheap renewable energy, as well as improved CAFE standards, increased appliance and building efficiency, and wider use of biofuels.
  • Mitt Romney went on the radio show of slavery denialist and recently named Discovery Institute senior fellow Michael Medved to talk about "the need for fiscal restraint." He called for cutting and consolidating economic development and teenage pregnancy prevention programs.
  • Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were busy sparring on health care policy over the weekend in Iowa.
  • Chris Dodd (who authored the Family and Medical Leave Act back in 1993) came out with his proposal for expanding that plan and addressing gender disparities in the workplace and in other areas of society. His plan includes measures like instituting paid family and medical leave, working with the Department of Labor to address income disparities between men and women of equitable education and experience, increasing access to high-quality and affordable child care, expanding the Child and Earned Income Tax Credit, and investing additional research dollars into diseases that disproportionately affect women.
  • Fred Thompson unveiled his plan for a voluntary flat tax. The plan would allow taxpayers to choose to pay a flat income tax, charged at 10 percent for joint filers with income up to $100,000 or $50,000 for individuals and 25 percent on incomes higher than that. It would also permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, repeal the inheritance tax, and reduce the corporate tax from 35 percent to 27 percent. The plan doesn't include figures on how much this would cost the government in lost revenue, or how he intends to pay for programs like Medicare and Social Security, which we hear are popular with the seniors these days.

--Kate Sheppard

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