UPDATED Thursday, Oct. 11: For Thursday night’s highly anticipated vice-presidential debate, focused on America’s big domestic concerns, here’s your topic-by-topic primer.
Economic Inequality and the “47 Percent” Video
- What’s this “47 percent” business really all about? It’s about this secret video, obtained by MoJo, in which Mitt Romney told wealthy donors what he REALLY thought of Obama voters and the 47 percent of Americans who, he claimed, pay no income taxes. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said. Here are some charts that flesh out who’s in that fabled 47 percent.
- It’s the inequality, stupid: Here are a couple of simple charts on the US economy that will make your brain go kaboom. And here’s the story of how we got there. (Back in 2009, Pulitzer Prize author David Cay Johnson wrote an open memo to Paul Ryan on how to tackle income inequality. Didn’t do much good.)
- More charts: America has the world’s luckiest billionaires.
- Thanks to Obamacare, the ranks of the uninsured fell this year—for the first time in a decade.
- Obamacare: How do you pay for it? Like so.
- Here are 11 debate questions for Mitt Romney on taxes—his, and yours—and nine things to know about Mitt Romney’s tax returns. And here’s the real trouble with Romney’s offshore investments.
- According to the Tax Policy Center, Romney’s plan increases taxes on 95 percent of Americans.
- Paul Ryan in six charts: Here’s how he’d bring Romney’s taxes close to zero.
- Mitt Romney has been dishonest about Obama’s jobs plans before.
- Paul Ryan has told some anti-Obama whoppers about jobs in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, too. Here’s an elegy to that town, and its empty warehouses.
- Romney, for his part, claims to have created “thousands” of jobs at Bain Capital. No, “tens of thousands.” No, “over 100,000″…
- As our Kristina Rizga found out in a yearlong investigation, American public school education is NOT in catastrophic decline.
- California’s once-top-notch public higher education system, though, is in crisis. A man-made crisis.
- Want a taste of Mitt Romney’s education policy? Check out Louisiana, and Florida, and…Michigan? Also, check out Romney’s education adviser, and his dropout scandal.
- Is climate change the sleeper issue of 2012? Could be, Chris Mooney writes. Romney, for his part, has joked about global warming and hired a spokeswoman who promoted climate change denial on behalf of Exxon. Obama has responded that climate change is not a hoax, and extreme weather is not a joke.
- Check out these five anti-environmental policies that Republicans don’t want you to notice.
- Polluters ran amok under Romney, a watchdog says.
- What the frick is fracking? Behold.
- “Coal country stands with Mitt,” but not necessarily by choice.
- What’s all the fuss about the Keystone XL pipeline? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a fascinating rundown of what mysterious maladies have popped up in the northern tar sands where the pipeline is supposed to flow from. Also, Bill McKibben recently explained to Mother Jones: “Why I got arrested over the Keystone XL pipeline.”
- Here’s a short and sweet side-by-side comparison of Romney’s and Obama’s Medicare plans.
- Does Obamacare really cut $716 billion in Medicare spending, as Romney and Ryan insist? Kevin Drum does some realkeeping on Medi-scare rumors.
Romney doesn’t just want to cut Medicare, he wants to cut Medicaid, too.
- Mitt Romney has said he’d defend Roe v. Wade tooth and nail. He’s also said he’d ban all abortions. Here’s a look at how a Romney-shaped Supreme Court could affect abortion rights.
- On a related note, Paul Ryan sponsored an abortion bill that would make Mitt Romney’s kids criminals.
- Is accessible contraception an infringement on religious freedom, as some conservatives argue? Not really.
- Mitt Romney loves a good gun conspiracy.
- More guns, more mass-shootings…coincidence?
- Here’s how the NRA, which supports Romney, and its allies helped spread a radical gun law nationwide. And here’s a compilation of the NRA surge’s results: 99 laws rolling back gun restrictions.