Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to affect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Where Are The Breadwinning Jobs?
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah Poole: “There isn’t much cause for gloating in today’s unemployment report, with the number of jobs created during December—103,000—being lower than most analysts expected. But, more critically, we’re not even treading water on creating a sufficient number of ‘breadwinning jobs’ needed to grow and sustain America’s middle class. … Between January 2007 and November 2010, we’ve lost 2.2 million manufacturing jobs and 1.7 million construction jobs, and we’ve replaced them with 1.8 million education and health services jobs, and fewer than a half-million leisure and hospitality jobs. The manufacturing and construction jobs that were lost would today have paid an average annual salary of $48,200; the average salaries for education, health care and hospitality jobs range between $23,000 and $41,000.”
103K New Jobs In Dec.
Dec. jobs number treads water. NYT: “The United States economy ended the year by adding 103,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday … the unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent last month from 9.8 percent … Federal, state and local governments continued to shed jobs — cutting another 10,000 last month … More than 14.5 million people were out of work in December, among them 6.4 million who have been jobless for six months or longer … Economists generally estimate that the economy needs to add more than 120,000 jobs a month simply to absorb newcomers…”
W. Post’s Steven Pearlstein questions GOP love of tagging every Dem policy “job-killing”: “What’s so curious is that it’s hard to find almost any Republican concern about employment homicide during 2008, when George W. Bush was president and the economy was shedding 4.4 million jobs … What’s particularly noteworthy about this fixation with ‘job killing’ is that it stands in such contrast to the complete lack of concern about policies that kill people …”
Stimulus kept 4.5M out of poverty finds CBPP.
Health Care Repeal Piles $230B On Deficit
CBO finds health care repeal would raise deficit $230B in 10 years. GOP sticks fingers in ears. NYT: “… Mr. Boehner’s remarks held wider implications, effectively putting him on a war footing with the independent analysts whose calculations generally guide discussions about the projected cost or savings of any legislation.”
President formally pledges to veto repeal reports The Hill.
Even previous Dem “no” votes won’t vote for repeal. Politico: “‘There are some very good things in this bill that have already become law,’ [Blue Dog Rep. Heath] Shuler said this week, citing the ban on pre-existing conditions for children and steps to close the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole for seniors. ‘It is not just wrong but immoral to take those things away.’ Shuler was one of 13 Democrats who opposed their party’s top legislative achievement … but most of them say they won’t [repeal] it.”
TNR’s Jonathan Bernstein rebuts GOP claim that CBO should be dismissed because it didn’t incorporate separate issue of doctor reimbursements: “…the argument, such as it was, for including the doc fix as a cost of ACA really doesn’t work for ACA repeal. In fact, by that logic, the doc fix should count as a cost of repeal. … since ACA repeal also doesn’t solve that problem, it should surely be counted against the fiscal effect of repeal.”
Speaker Boehner claims he never promised to allow amendments to bills. Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky: “…Boehner dismissed questions about why Republicans refused to allow Democrats to offer amendments to the repeal provision that would retain some of the more popular consumer protections, saying, ‘I promised a more open process. I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.’”
Rahul Rajkumar and Harold Pollack deem individual responsibility provision essential in LAT oped: ” It guards against adverse selection, whereby large numbers of young and healthy people forgo coverage, which drives up premiums for everyone and makes insurance unaffordable for many who need it most … The Congressional Budget Office estimates that premiums would rise by 15% to 20% if the mandate were removed.”
GOP Begins To Blink On Debt Ceiling Bluff
Geithner warns Republicans consequences of not raising the debt ceiling this spring. NYT: “A failure to increase the limit in time would force the Treasury to default on legal obligations and payments to bondholders here and abroad ‘causing catastrophic damage to the economy,’ Mr. Geithner said, threatening the dollar and stopping payments for a range of federal benefits, including military salaries, Social Security and Medicare.”
House Budget Chair admits failing to raise debt ceiling would cause catastrophic default. Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo: “During an event today at the National Press Club, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that failing to raise the debt ceiling is ‘unworkable.’ ‘Obviously, you can’t default,’ he said. However, he is still trying to hold the increase hostage to unspecified ‘fiscal controls’ and spending cuts.”
Financial market isn’t taking GOP threat seriously. LAT: “‘They’re playing with economic fire,’ said William O’Donnell, a debt strategist at RBS Securities in Stamford, Conn … [But] O’Donnell said the bond market was not yet concerned, viewing the dispute as a political sideshow.”
Speaker Boehner, asked by NBC to name a program that needs to be cut, can’t come up with one: “”I don’t think I have one off the top of my head.”
Conservative budget math isn’t adding up in Texas. NYT’s Paul Krugman: “It was the state the recession supposedly passed by, thanks to its low taxes and business-friendly policies … [And] Texas is nearly demon-free: less than 20 percent of public-sector workers there are covered by union contracts … The truth is that the Texas state government has relied for years on smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of sound finances in the face of a serious ‘structural’ budget deficit … When the recession struck, hitting revenue in Texas just as it did everywhere else, that illusion was bound to collapse.”
Sperling To Replace Summers
Gene Sperling to replace Larry Summers as WH econ adviser reports W. Post.
HuffPost’s Shahien Nasiripour sees mixed picture in Sperling: “…a figure who is neither the Wall Street agent he is sometimes made out to be, nor the champion of the working poor he and his allies advance.”
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow underwhelmed: “Sperling’s returning to the job he held under Bill Clinton, which leads Ezra Klein to make the argument that Obama’s ‘running the government like a business,’ where ‘having done the job well before is the best predictor of being able to do it well now.’ But the Rubin/Summers/Sperling team didn’t do the job well. They helped deregulate Wall Street, and that led to disaster.”
GOP v. EPA
House GOP wastes no time introducing bills to prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. NYT: “The bills represent what is certain to be a concerted effort by the new House … Representative Darrell Issa … has asked lobbyists and trade organizations to identify the federal rules they would most like to see overturned, and the E.P.A.’s air quality regulations were high on the list.”
“Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she will ‘use every single tool available’ to thwart efforts by House Republicans to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations,” reports The Hill.
Coal state Dem Sen. Rockefeller splits with GOP Rep. Fred Upton on how to handcuff EPA on climate. E&E News: “Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) today defended his bid to delay U.S. EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions for two years, calling a House chairman’s proposal to use a little-known law to stymie regulations a ‘crummy’ way to legislate … … ‘What worries me is we’ll get so many votes, but we’ll also get a bill which abolishes EPA, strips them of all funding, and I’m not for that,’ he said, adding that Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has again pledged her support for his bill. ‘[EPA] has to do CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards; they have responsibilities. And mine is a targeted effort.’”
Swampland’s Mark Thompson explores Defense Sec. Gates battle with Marines over underwater assault vehicle: “Designed to ferry 17 troops over sea, shore and land to avoid facing enemy fire on bare coastline, its cost has doubled to more than $25 million a copy. Gates noted that the entire program, once fielded, could put only 4,000 Marines ashore — $4 million a head … , the amphibious assault mission has become, to some degree, less vital. The Marines haven’t done it since the battle for Inchon in 1950. But they have kept buying gear needed to do it. And that gets costly.”
Holly Petraeus formally named for consumer protection post. W. Post: “Treasury officials on Thursday officially announced that the wife of the top American general in Afghanistan will head up the creation of the Office of Servicemember Affairs within the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Insurer sues Goldman Sachs alleged fraudulent mortgage product. W. Post: “First, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman with civil fraud for creating and marketing Abacus, a complex mortgage investment that the agency said the Wall Street bank had secretly designed to fail. Next, lawmakers published a bruising report centered on Abacus that accused Goldman of acting against the interests of its clients … And on Thursday, one of Goldman’s clients announced it had sued the bank seeking $120 million in damages…”
Forthcoming China trade gap data heightens pressure before presidential meeting. Bloomberg: “…U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon ‘stressed the importance of effective efforts to reduce imbalances in both the global economy as well as in U.S.-China trade,’ a White House statement said Jan. 4. Hu is scheduled to meet with Obama on Jan. 19.”
WH offers concession on Mexican trucking ban. NYT: “The proposal, which the Mexican government greeted as a positive step, was the latest sign of a new willingness by the Obama administration to support free-trade measures backed by Republicans and by businesses despite objections from labor unions and other liberal constituencies … Under the plan, Mexican long-haul trucking operators could seek permits to operate in the United States so long as they agree to safety, insurance and other monitoring requirements. The proposal would not cover the movement of hazardous materials.”