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Proposition 29 on the June ballot would raise taxes on cigarettes by a dollar a pack. That alone would decrease smoking, and the money would go to cancer research and anti-smoking campaigns. When smoking's a leading cause of cancer and other deadly diseases, why is at least one doctor appearing in TV ads against it? With the cigarette industry outspending supporters 10 to one, what are its chances? Also, will the big push for electric vehicles lead to a backlash against plug-in cars? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, American banks are bigger than ever.  Are they too big to fail?

Banner image by Tomasz Sienicki

Main Topic Cigarettes, Cancer and Ballot-Box Budgeting 16 MIN, 28 SEC

Proposition 29 on the June 5 ballot would raise California's tax on cigarettes by a dollar a pack.  The cigarette industry is prepared to outspend supporters by 10 to one. Since cigarettes are a leading cause of deadly diseases, the spokeswoman in one TV commercial against it might be a surprise: she's Dr. La Donna Porter, a family practitioner in Stockton and Sacramento, who helped defeat another anti-smoking measure in California in 2006. 

Reporter's Notebook The Oscars of the EV World 10 MIN, 23 SEC

At the Los Angeles Convention Center this week, Southern California Edison is sponsoring the International Electric Vehicle Symposium. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez says it's a gathering of nearly every company that matters in the EV world.

Saul Gonzalez, Host, 'There Goes the Neighborhood: Los Angeles' (@SaulKCRW)

Main Topic Will Dodd-Frank Protect US from Banks 'Too Big to Fail?'

167x120 image for tp120508will_dodd-frank_protDespite reassurances from the Obama Administration, many financial authorities say banks that are bigger than ever cannot be allowed to fail. Just five banks -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America -- now hold $8.5 trillion in assets. That's equal to 56 percent of the US economy, up from 43 percent six years ago. It's happened despite President Obama's call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system." Are pension funds and other depositors adequately insured?  Might taxpayer bailouts be needed all over again?

David J. Lynch, Bloomberg News (@davidjlynch)
Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)
Carroll Doherty, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (@CarrollDoherty)
Scott Talbott, Financial Services Roundtable (@scottfsround)
Dennis Kelleher, Better Markets (@DennisKelleher1)

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