Progressive Breakfast is the morning roundup of what progressive movement members need to know to start the day.
ALERT: Major Economic News 2:30 PM ET Today
Campaign for America’s Future will announce major economic news at 2:30 PM ET today on OurFuture.org.
“Bold Big Number”
Financial Times quotes economist Mark Zandi on Obama’s expected economic recovery package: “The Obama team should go for a bold big number because if they have to go back to Congress and ask for more that could be very damaging to confidence.”
The Hill finds typically anti-government conservative lobbies The Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers climbing on the infrastructure bandwagon … in hopes of getting more tax handouts in the process.
Debate ramps up on what should be in any package.
Grist’s David Roberts gets real: “I’m a huge proponent of green stimulus, but it’s a good time for everyone to get hard-nosed about where money can most quickly be injected … We’re talking about cramming an enormous amount of money into an enormously complex economy at an historical moment without clear precedent technologically, socially, or economically … Obama’s proposals seems directionally correct to me so far, so hurray for that. Let’s buckle our seatbelts.”
Jspot looks at the Jewish Community and the Green New Deal.
ataxingmatter rebuts the notion tax increases for the wealthy should be delayed: “I don’t think I agree. I still think that most Americans who are making more than $150,000 are well off and could carry a slightly heavier tax burden.”
Linda Hirshman in NYT oped stresses importance of investment in women-dominated industries since, y’ know, they’re part of the economy too. Echidne: “Isn’t it interesting how policies which on the face of it look gender-neutral are not really so, especially given the high levels of occupational gender segregation in this country?” Hysterical anti-feminist reaction at The Corner: “The Stimulus Plan Is Sexist!”
After conservatives complain that infrastructure investment takes too long to stimulate the economy, conservative David Brooks complains investment will happen too fast.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty tries to rally conservative behind a balanced budget amendment. Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen dubs it: “his bid to become the poster child of Neo-Hooverism.”
Chicago Workers Connect The Dots
The now 5-day worker sit-in is putting pressure on Bank of America — recipients of taxpayer bailout money — for cutting credit to Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors, leaving laid off workers without any severance.
HuffPost’s Peter Dreier: “Chicago aldermen have called for hearings on Republic, which received over $10 million in city redevelopment funds. They and Cook County officials suggested withdrawing hundreds of millions of dollars of government funds from the Bank of America…
“The bold factory take-over by the Republic workers in Chicago may be a fluke, or it just could be the opening salvo of a new wave of grassroots activism, not only by workers and their unions, but also by community groups, enviros, religious congregations, housing crusaders, and the millions of Americans inspired by Obama’s campaign who voted for the first time in November. Clearly the Republic workers’ protest has struck a nerve with the American people, including many who don’t share their plight but can nevertheless empathize with their predicament.”
Conservative RedState defends Bank of America: “The bank isn’t liable for a business failure, and they can’t flush their own money down a rathole, for a large number of very good reasons.”
But Chicago Sun-Times prints a timeline that taxpayer-financed Bank of America is no passive bystander but directly involved in these recent decisions: “demand[ing] a shorter shut-down period” and “reject[ing]” the company’s request to “issue vacation pay to all employees.”
$15B Auto Rescue Plan
Bloomberg details the conditions on the proposed automaker rescue plan: “By March 31, the automakers must submit long-term restructuring plans. The legislation requires automakers, as a condition of any loan, to abandon their lawsuits against California, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and other states that have passed laws to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. The seven-year loans would carry a 5 percent interest rate and the [presidential-appointed car] czar could compel early repayment if progress isn’t being made on restructuring plans. Shareholders, creditors, suppliers and dealers would work on the restructuring. ‘If they don’t meet the conditions of restructuring and the rest, there’s not going to be a continuous flow of money,’ [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi said…”
McClatchy adds: “Bondholders would be expected to take losses — a ‘haircut’ in industry parlance — but that would be better than having to fight for repayment in bankruptcy proceedings. Investors in Ford and GM, who’ve already seen shares drop to prices of half a century ago, also are likely to be hurt. Under virtually all scenarios, a bailout would put taxpayers at the front of the line in recapturing any money lent to the companies once profits return, pushing back existing shareholders.”
W. Post highlights the deal-maker: “A breakthrough came Friday, when Pelosi dropped her opposition to tapping the loan program established by Congress this fall to help the automakers retool factories to produce more-fuel-efficient vehicles. The Democratic proposal makes no provisions to replenish the loan fund, as Pelosi had hoped. But aides predicted that she would have little trouble adding the cash to a massive economic stimulus package President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to sign soon after he takes office in January. ”
LA Times finds another study concluding bankruptcy would be far costlier to taxpayers: ” a bankruptcy filing by two of the Detroit carmakers would cost taxpayers four times as much as a federal bailout and generate broad economic fallout.”
NYT runs a critical piece deriding the plan as de facto “nationalization,” and oddly asserts: “Government’s record as a corporate manager is miserable, which is why the world has been on a three-decade-long privatization kick, turning national railroads, national airlines and national defense industries into private companies.” The piece fails to mention our government’s successful temporary nationalization of freight rail company Conrail, and seems to consider the Halliburtonization and Blackwaterization of our military as praiseworthy.
The Big Picture: Ford Opts Out?
Bloomberg quotes Rep. Barney Frank that bill could be signed into law this week, but W. Post notes the Bush White House has not said they will sign.
The Hill finds support and opposition on both sides of the aisle in Congress..
Political Wire flags CBS poll showing public split on the proposal.
Liberals Critical/Not Critical Of Obama
NYT piece captures wide range of liberal views on Obama’s transition. Quotes CAF’s Borosage: “He ran on such a progressive agenda, if he’s not breaking away from that, if he’s getting centrists to implement it, we’ll take that.”
David Sirota criticizes Obama campaign aide Steve Hildebrand: “Most progressives questioning Obama have done so rather gently, and have done so on the pragmatic substance. …Are such questions really the inappropriate queries of a bunch of radical revolutionaries from ‘the left?’”
TPM’s Greg Sargent observes: “one has to ask if Hildebrand is really trying to reassure ‘the left wing of our party,’ or whether he’s trying to stir them up further out of some unknown political calculation or other. After all, many on ‘the left’ have also made Hildebrand’s point.”
Michael Tomasky goes positive: “I’m not nervous or flat-out angry or even concerned. I’m excited. And by the way, the vast majority of the people I know are excited, too.”