Progressive Breakfast is the morning roundup of what progressive movement members need to know to start the day.
Meet The New Bosses. Obama and Biden to announce new national security team at 10:30 AM ET, expected to feature Sen. Clinton at State, Robert Gates to continue at Defense, Marine Gen. Jim Jones as National Security Adviser and Susan Rice for Amb. to the UN (restored as a Cabinet level position, making John Bolton cry.)
The Times (UK) says the team “delights the hawks,” as establishment pundits and Republicans — including Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard Lugar — swooned on the Sunday shows. But (contra Sirota), might Obama be holding the violin in his right hand, but playing with his left?
Sean-Paul Kelley at the Agonist and George Kenney at Electric Politics take the pessimist view, worried the picks foretell Iraq’s mistakes repeated in Afghanistan. But CAP’s Matthew Yglesias takes the optimist road, noting the team backs shifting major resources away from the military to the diplomatic and aid corps. While FDL’s Spencer Ackerman earlier deemed the Gates pick as a “masterstroke,” allowing the end of the Iraq war without unsettling the Pentagon brass.
Just In Time. Gov. Janet Napolitano is also expected to be named Sec. of Homeland Security today. Not a minute too soon. Sunday’s Boston Globe blares “Homeland Security in disarray, officials warn.” Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen flags that Obama is looking to revitalize the “beleaguered” FEMA.
Lost: Irony. The Globe quotes the conservative Heritage Foundation complaining about “dysfunctional” congressional oversight of Homeland Security. But no mention of Heritage’s Jan. 2001 counsel to incoming Pres. Bush to put blind loyalty over expertise when staffing the executive branch, which may have a little something to do with all that dysfunction. (See OurFuture.org and Open Left’s Paul Rosenberg for more.)
They Haven’t Finished Trashing the Place. The Sunday NY Times and W. Post updates Bush’s last-minute rule gutting, undermining workplace health, reproductive rights, auto safety and the environment. OpenLeft looks at how we can scrub their dirty work.
Sensing a Pattern. Yet another report about a failed Bush administration cabinet department. W. Post headline today: “Labor Dept. Accused of Straying From Enforcement.” (Where was this journalism during the last seven years?)
UAW president Ron Gettlefinger is fighting back against the scapegoating of workers. Crooks and Liars has video and transcript excerpts from CNN’s Late Edition of his beatdown of Mitt Romney: “If we want to throw our retirees our on the street, if that’s what Mitt Romney wants to do, let him do it. We’re not prepared to do that. And it’s hard for us to compete when we subsidize state by state the foreign brands to come in here.”
And he turns up the heat on the Big 3 CEOs. Reuters quotes: “‘They need to establish that executive compensation is something that they’re willing to curtail, as well as bonuses and ‘golden parachutes’ on exiting the business,’ Gettelfinger said. ‘They can also give the government an equity stake in the business.’”
Working Life’s Jonathan Tasini earlier noted: “And its not UAW pensions that are a problem. Its CEO pensions, for example, that are weighing down the auto companies, particularly GM.” Yet the NY Times today quotes a despondent GM worker: “‘I know one thing: If I lose my pension, I bet you Rick Wagoner’ — the G.M. chief executive — ‘and all those guys won’t lose theirs,’ said Mr. Hanscom, 56, who plans to retire in 2010.”
Getting Keynesy With It. Krugman: “Should the government have a permanent policy of running large budget deficits? Of course not … in the long run the government, like private individuals, has to match its spending to its income. But right now we have a fundamental shortfall in private spending: consumers are rediscovering the virtues of saving at the same moment that businesses, burned by past excesses and hamstrung by the troubles of the financial system, are cutting back on investment. That gap will eventually close, but until it does, government spending must take up the slack. Otherwise, private investment, and the economy as a whole, will plunge even more.”
And Reich: “So the government has to spend big time. The real challenge will be for government to spend it wisely — avoiding special-interest pleadings and pork projects such as bridges to nowhere. We’ll need a true capital budget that lays out the nation’s priorities rather than the priorities of powerful Washington lobbies.”
(Campaign for America’s Future calls for long-term capital budgeting to manage major infrastructure investment, in our new report: The Investment Deficit in America.)
UPDATE: Amping up the Keynes party, Sunday’s NY Times featured an important oped from economist Joseph Stiglitz: “There is an emerging consensus among economists that a big — very big — stimulus is needed, at least $600 billion to $1 trillion over two years. Mr. Obama’s announced goal of 2.5 million new jobs by 2011 is too modest … A large stimulus package can always be trimmed later if it’s not needed because the economy returns to health faster than most economists think. But we need to plan for what looks to be a deep and long downturn. By relying heavily on automatic stabilizers — expenditures like increased unemployment benefits and revenue sharing with states — we can dose out the medicine as needed. The deeper and longer the downturn, the greater the spending.”
Sugar For Your Cereal…
W. Post: “As Senate Democrats prepare for next year’s agenda, they are likely to have a working filibuster-proof majority on a variety of legislative issues that could provide early victories for President-elect Barack Obama.”
…And Some Wheat Germ
Effect Measure: Toxic toys: the gift that keeps on giving
Climate Progress: First commercial ship sails through Northwest Passage: “I didn’t see one cube of ice”
Economic Populist: Poverty Moves to the Suburbs