Happytown: The Home Defenders League tackles foreclosure in east Orlando and Tom Perriello tackles Mitt Romney's math
We're all poor now!
Published: October 17, 2012
Johns hopes that the Home Defenders League will shine a light on the cruelties of our new reality by going after the offending banks and scam artists, setting up "phone trees," rallying around victims and working with politicians and candidates to foster some sense of decency in the whole debacle. In other states, similar initiatives have included mass occupations of foreclosed homes leading to negotiated acquiescence from lenders. Here, the movement is still in its infancy, a fact evidenced on Thursday when only four of the 12 confirmed political hopeful (plus inbound state Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando) showed up to handle the tough questions.
"That was the most disappointing thing about the night," Johns says. "We showed that people in East Orlando care about this. How can voters be assured that [their representatives] are going to be on the side of the homeowners if they won't come out and show them?"
Speaking of showing things, our throbbing undercurrent of depression was only further rattled when former Congressman Tom Perriello, D-Va., popped into our headquarters on Oct. 12 to rattle through a wonkish deconstruction of now-"winning" Mitt Romney's ever-changing economic plan. Perriello currently leads progressive think tank the Center for American Progress' Action Fund, which means that he's been riding the fact-checking train of late, scratching numbers from his head in the wake of the October Surprise of Romney's grand bait-and-switch.
Specifically, Perriello was here to provide the "facts behind the facts," he said, as they relate to struggling Floridians. In order for us to reproduce the entirety of his mathematical message, we would need about four hours of your time and an economics degree. But, clearly, if Perriello is to be believed, Romney's cloudy vision could be a huge wet blanket for average Floridians.
Much of Perriello's message revolved around the now-notorious $5 trillion tax cut that Romney's been occasionally peddling – to be fair, Republicans are calling foul on that, saying it's merely a $3.8 million tax cut – and its fiscal favoring of fatcat millionaires. Casino magnate (and Romney's number one donor) Sheldon Adelson, by Perriello's calculations, would benefit to the tune of a $2.3 billion kickback over four years via a series of celebrations of wealth and outsourcing, while an average police officer in Tampa would end up paying an additional $1,480 in taxes.
It's not just taxes. Under Romney, the Center for American Progress found that Florida would suffer an average cut in federal grants of $11.7 billion (or $117.5 billion over a decade), leaving our already inept state legislature to fill the gaps by cutting programs that benefit the middle and working classes (hello, education). But perhaps the worst affected would be seniors. If Obamacare gets the knife on "day one," as Romney has promised, and Medicare is eventually reformed into a voucher system, current seniors would pay an average of additional $11,000 to ride out their retirement – for healthcare alone. And don't think you're immune. A 49-year-old could pay $124,626 more; A 29-year-old, $331,170. Getting old could get really expensive.
"Mitt Romney is asking everyone to pay more, and doing this not to pay down the deficit or to make a major investment in America's competitiveness, but for a tax code that allows his largest donor to get a $2.3 billion tax cut," Perriello concludes. "We think it's not cynical to suggest that we should take a candidate at his word, take our word against his, and let people know."
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