News April 9

Senator Sanders

White House Protest Sen. Bernie Sanders and leaders of organizations that oppose President Obama's anticipated assault on Social Security will go to the White House Tuesday to present petitions signed by more than one million Americans who reject the president's scheme to restructure cost-of-living adjustments in a way that would cut Social Security benefits for millions of seniors and veterans, John Nichols blogged for The Nation. LINK

Don’t Cut Social Security Whether a complete reversal of the values of the Democratic Party or a mystifying strategy that has many mainstream Democrats baffled and frustrated, the sentiment against cutting earned benefits such as Social Security is high. Sen. Sanders has promised to do everything in his power to block cuts to Social Security through backdoor methods such as changing how cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, CQ-Roll Call reported. LINK

Don’t Cut Veterans Benefits “As a military vet (retired), Social Security and Medicare beneficiary (all earned benefits), I feel significantly betrayed by congressional Republicans, some Democrats and the president for acceding and capitulating to Republicans’ intransigence and excessive demands … and I urge Bernie Sanders to rally strong and universal support against the chained CPI concept, Sam Conant wrote in a letter to the editor of the Rutland Herald. LINK

Big Banks Sen. Sanders and Rep. Brad Sherman will hold news conference today at the Capitol to announce legislation to break up big banks, according to The Associated Press Daybook. The 10 largest banks are bigger now than before a taxpayer bailout following the 2008 financial crisis and financial institutions have grown so big that the Justice Department has not pursued prosecutions for fear an indictment would harm the financial system.

Vermont Taxes Gov. Shumlin’s opposition to higher taxes on wealthy Vermonters was contrasted to Sen. Sanders’ and President Obama’s views in a column by Donald N. Horenstein in the Burlington Free Press. LINK


N. Korea North Korea warned foreigners in South Korea Tuesday to set up evacuation plans. Analysts dismissed the announcement as yet another threat by Kim Jong Un's belligerent regime, the Los Angeles Times reported. LINK


Obama Reportedly to Shield Veterans, Poor Seniors President Obama's budget on Wednesday will propose slowing the growth of Social Security and other benefits, but include measures to shield a broad range of Americans from the plan's full impact. A person familiar with the situation said very-low-income seniors and veterans would be shielded, but didn't say how, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Banks Healthy, Bernanke Says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Monday night that the central bank’s annual stress tests of major American banks were better able to detect risks in the financial system. He said the tests showed that the banking industry had grown much healthier since the financial crisis. This year’s tests showed that 18 of the biggest banks had collectively doubled the cushions they hold against losses since the first tests were run in 2009, The New York Times reported. LINK

Gun Safety President Obama came to Connecticut on Monday to remember the tragedy of 20 children and 6 educators slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School and put new pressure on Congress to honor them with gun-control legislation. Family members of the Newtown school shooting victims traveled to Washington, D.C. on Air Force One, The New York Times reported. LINK

Benefits Many young firms in Silicon Valley are providing fringe benefits to employees, creating debate over whether or not such free gourmet meals and snacks should be considered taxable income, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK


Sequestration The most tangible consequence of the sequester is the federal mandate that the state reduce unemployment benefits by 10 percent for the long-term jobless, Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan told VPR. The spending reductions will also affect the state’s workforce development division, the government agency that helps people get back to work. LINK

Small-Box Stores Residents in South Hero are organizing to fight a proposed dollar store in their community.  They join a number of towns where there is opposition to proposals to build the small box stores. According to Vermont Public Radio, two national chains, Dollar General and Family Dollar, have established a number of new stores in Vermont in recent years. LINK

Docs Protest Health Care Reform Vermont’s rate-setting panel for health care providers, the Green Mountain Care Board, has run into opposition from several private health practices. Some doctors traveled to the Statehouse last week to urge legislators to revoke that authority, VPR reported. LINK

‘Mind Boggling’ Drug Addiction in Rutland In a Monday news conference at the federal courthouse in Rutland, U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, Rutland Police Chief James Baker and others said they are going to work hard this summer to fight drug trafficking. They called the levels of drug addiction in the city “mind boggling,” according to Burlington Free Press. LINK .