Morning Briefing: September 7, 2011

According to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, nearly one in three Americans who grew up middle-class have slipped down the income ladder as adults. This alarming increase in downward mobility is even more surprising given that the study did not cover years after 2007 when the recession hurt even more middle class families. “A middle-class upbringing does not guarantee the same status over the course of a lifetime,” the report says.

Nearly 100 current lobbyists are former employees of members of the debt supercommittee, and many now represent defense contractors, healthcare conglomerates, Wall Street banks, and other industries with the most at stake in the committee’s negotiations. Three Democratic and three Republican members also have former lobbyists on their congressional staffs.

A new AP poll finds that more Americans now say 9/11 had an impact on their lives than said so five years ago — 57 percent today compared with 50 percent in 2006.

In his jobs plan on Thursday, President Obama will renew his 2008 call for more stimulus spending to boost a sputtering economy. Administration officials say his proposals will be much like those he called for early in his administration, including infrastructure spending, housing aid, and new measures to assist the unemployed.


Obama will include a financial rescue for the U.S. Postal Service in the deficit reduction plans he will submit to Congress and, in the meantime, has asked legislators for a 90-day extension to allow USPS to pay mandatory retirement payments due at the end of the month. According to the postmaster general, USPS is currently operating “with a week’s worth of cash.”

As wildfires destroy over 700 homes, Texas may regret the fact that, under Gov. Rick Perry (R), it cut funding for volunteer fire departments by 75 percent this year. The “majority of Texas is protected by volunteer fire departments” with 879 volunteer departments and only 114 paid departments.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said “Tuesday that his country was suspending defense trade with Israel and that Turkish naval vessels would be seen in the eastern Mediterranean more often.” The move is part of the continued fallout from Turkey’s reaction to Israel failing to apologize for a raid of a humanitarian convoy last year that ended in the deaths of several Turkish activists.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) “on Tuesday signed into law a stricter, four-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits, prompting advocates for the poor to warn that tens of thousands of residents will find themselves without cash assistance on Oct. 1.” An advocate from the Michigan League for Human Services expects 41,000 people to lose their benefits next month, including 29,700 children.

And finally: Former GOP candidate Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN) showed up on The Colbert Report to discuss the real reasons behind his failed presidential run. Noting that finishing in third place behind Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Ron Paul (R-TX) is “enough for any one person to endure,” Pawlenty admitted he lacked an “entertainment component.” Colbert asked, “Did you think about learning to juggle?” To which he replied, “I thought about shooting sparks up my butt.

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