Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: When Moderation Fails
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “A great many moderately-minded individuals seem to have been lulled into accepting a Washington consensus in which the ‘new normal’ means accepting that only remaining choice is between a radical assault on the middle class and a moderately radical assault on the middle class. In that world, a ‘judicious’ assessment of Republican radicalism can easily turn into accommodationism. That can lead in turn to bad deals that create needless suffering … Ezra Klein does a lot of terrific work. But he and the other people we’ll be discussing represent a ‘reasonable’ form of liberalism that has begun to undercut common-sense policies – policies that are more popular, wiser economically, and far more humane and fair than those of Simpson and Bowles, the Gang of Six, or any other operatives who are carrying water for the right-wing austerity agenda.”
Speculation On Debt Limit Deal, But GOP Threats Escalate
House Majority Leader bluntly threatens to block debt limit increase and force America’s default. Politico: “…House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fired off a stark warning to Democrats that the GOP ‘will not grant their request for a debt limit increase’ without major spending cuts or budget process reforms … In the most recent budget battle — over a six-month spending bill — Republican leaders carefully avoided threatening to shut down the government. Now, Cantor says he’s ready to plunge the nation into default if the GOP’s demands are not met.”
Corporate lobbyists pushing new House members to approve debt limit increase. Reuters: “Yet there are signs the intense lobbying effort is falling flat. Many freshmen still insist they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless it comes with legislation to slash America’s $1.4 trillion deficit.”
Bipartisan Policy Center lobbying Congress to embrace “SaveGo,” a deeper cut than President proposed. The Hill: “The new law would then impose specific spending cuts for discretionary and mandatory spending. If Congress does not make those cuts, the law would require the Office of Management and Budget to make the cuts. The Center proposal says $4.2 trillion in deficit cuts, compared to the Congressional Budget Office baseline would be needed by 2021 … The president is seeking $4 trillion in deficit cuts by 2023 from an “adjusted” CBO baseline that assumes the middle class tax rates signed by President Bush are extended. The CBO baseline used by the Center assumes all the Bush-era tax rates are ended in 2013.”
W. Post’s Ezra Klein sees GOP pursuing budget process reform as linchpin of debt limit deal: “Most in the GOP have concluded — rightly, I think — that the debt limit debate won’t offer the time or the space for a comprehensive deficit deal. So the question is how the budget process could be remade going forward such that the next comprehensive deficit deal … is more to their liking. Many on the Hill and in the White House expect that the debate will ultimately come down to two alternatives: the McCaskill-Corker spending cap, which would hold federal spending at 20.6 percent of GDP — more than three percentage points lower than it is now, and much lower than it’s projected to be later — and the deficit-reducing trigger that the president included in his budget.”
Strengthen Social Security launches “Don’t Make Us Work ‘Til We Die” campaign.
GE holds similar proportion of debt as federal government, still carries top bond rating notes New Deal 2.0′s J.W. Mason.
President Doubles Down Against GOP Budget
President trashes notion that House Republican budget is “courageous” at Facebook town hall: ” The Republican budget that was put forward I would say is fairly radical. I wouldn’t call it particularly courageous. I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere. I think he’s a patriot. I think he wants to solve a real problem, which is our long-term deficit. But I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.”
The House Budget Chairman doesn’t understand monetary policy either, says Matt Yglesias: “One window into Ryan’s overestimation of inflation’s perniciousness comes from his reference to its impact on senior citizens. The thing about this is that most seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income and Social Security benefits are indexed to inflation. So it’s really only the interests of a minority of rich retirees whose concerns Ryan is addressing here. And the flipside, of course, is that tight monetary policy controls inflation by keeping unemployment high, thus preventing workers from seeing their wages go up. ”
Rep. Ryan booed at town hall after claiming wealthy are taxed enough reports ThinkProgress.
TNR’s Jonathan Chait debunks conservative claim that House Republican budget doesn’t cut taxes for the rich: “. Under current law, the Bush tax cuts are in full effect, but expire at the end of 2012. Keep Bush-era tax levels in place is not a tax cut compared with the tax code now, but it is a tax cut compared with the tax code in 2013 … [Furthermore,] Ryan’s plan includes the repeal of all the taxes in the Affordable Care Act, including the taxes on the affluent.”
Trade Push Unnerves Some Dems
Push for trade deals splits Dems. Politico: “For Democratic critics, the Colombia deal has raised the strongest opposition because of continuing concern over physical attacks and threats to union leaders … [But] support has been echoed by two influential Senate committee chairmen: Max Baucus (D-Mont.) at Finance, and John Kerry (D-Mass.) at Foreign Relations—a sign of the expected easy Senate approval.”
NLRB seeks to stop Boeing union busting. McClatchy: “The top lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday accused Boeing of union busting and retaliating against its Washington state workers for past strikes by moving to produce its new Dreamliner planes at a nonunion plant in South Carolina … The union claims that Boeing rejected new labor agreements in accepting almost $900 million in incentives and tax relief from South Carolina … Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., accused President Barack Obama of playing politics to appease his pro-labor allies.”
Immigrant advocates press President to pursue reform by executive order. NYT: “They are calling on Mr. Obama to use authorities they say he already has under current immigration law to defer deportations of illegal immigrant students who would be eligible for legal status under a bill known as the Dream Act … Religious and civil rights groups have asked Mr. Obama to expand waivers that would make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to fix their legal status without having to leave the United States … Mr. Obama ‘should not selectively enforce the law,’ said Elton Gallegly, Republican of California, who is chairman of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee.”
NYT on the lingering damage to the Gulf one year after the BP oil spill: “That tragedy is the ill and declining health of the Gulf of Mexico, including the enormous dead zone off the mouth of the Mississippi and the alarmingly rapid disappearance of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands … Eclipsed by the spill’s uncertain environmental impact is the other fallout: the vast sums in penalties and fines BP will have to pay to the federal government … But for people along the gulf, the issue of who pays the damages is less important than will they get paid.”
“Recall momentum” in Wisconsin. W. Post’s Greg Sargent: “When Democrats file petitions to trigger an election to recall Wisconsin GOP state senator Randy Hopper … they will be submitting nearly 24,000 signatures — over 150 percent of the total required … Dems have virtually guaranteed that elections to recall at least two GOP state senators will actually happen, despite expected challenges to the veracity of signatures.”
Koch Industries spreads misinformation to employees and presses them to vote Republican, reports The Nation: “On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise … Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual, although no longer skirting the edge of legality, thanks to last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations.”
Clinton Global Initiative to host “CGI America” jobs summit in June reports Politico.