NOTE: Today’s Breakfast was delayed because of the weekend power outage in the Northeast. Apologies for any inconvenience.
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: The Bankruptcy Of Modern Day Conservatives
OurFuture.org’s Robert Borosage: “Rick Perry’s candidacy reveals the essential bankruptcy of today’s conservatism. In a time of Gilded Age inequality, conservatives want to end taxes on wealth. As good jobs are shipped abroad, they would give corporations added incentives to move jobs and report profits abroad. In the midst of the Great Recession caused by Wall Street’s excesses, they would reopen the financial casino, and remove what limited safeguards were passed. With America’s boomers moving into retirement, they would undermine the basic promises the society made to them for retirement security. With the millennium generation flooding our public schools, they would gut federal support for public education.”
Conservatives Fail To Propose Actual Solutions To Anything
Republicans start to acknowledge income inequality, offer no new ideas. Politico: “Republicans are acknowledging income inequality. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is discussing it; House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has talked about wealth disparity; and rank-and-file Republicans have started to lace the phrase into talks and interviews. … The Republican response, however, is to push an old message — cutting taxes and regulations will boost small businesses and increase income for everyone, including those at the bottom of the economic scale.”
NYT’s Paul Krugman mocks conservatives who only embrace Keynes when it comes to the military: “…I welcome the sudden upsurge in weaponized Keynesianism, which is revealing the reality behind our political debates. At a fundamental level, the opponents of any serious job-creation program know perfectly well that such a program would probably work, for the same reason that defense cuts would raise unemployment. But they don’t want voters to know what they know, because that would hurt their larger agenda — keeping regulation and taxes on the wealthy at bay.”
Conservatives, businesses obstruct Wall Street reform rulemaking, hoping to kill it. Politico: “Federal agencies have blown about 77 percent of the rule-making deadlines for the massive overhaul, according to a recent progress report by the law firm Davis Polk — meaning key parts of the bill are far from implementation … Republican staffers [are] emphasizing that their goal is to dismantle the law.”
Health reform expert Jon Gruber debunks latest GOP attack on Affordable Care Act, in TNR: “…if the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits represent new spending, then so do large tax refunds that were put in place by the Bush tax cuts …”
LAT checks in on the GOP drive to suppress the vote: “In states where Republicans have taken majority control, they have tightened rules for registering new voters, reduced the time for casting ballots and required voters to show photo identification at the polls. The new restrictions were usually adopted on party-line votes and signed by Republican governors … ‘These laws will have an effect on the margin on who votes. And in a state like Florida, a small difference matters. It could easily decide the outcome,’ [election law expert Richard Hasen] said.”
Jared Bernstein once again attacks the deficit paranoia worsening the jobs crisis: “It can’t be emphasized enough that temporary spending measures, even large one, are not what drive the long-term debt problem. Note how the Recovery Act — all $800 billion of it — adds nothing to the growth of the debt/ GDP ratio starting around now. The culprit there would be the Bush tax cuts — it’s the permanent spending, not the temporary stuff that whacks you here. I’m all for laying the groundwork to get on a sustainable budget path once the private sector is back in the business of creating jobs for people here in America. For now, the question regarding budget deficits should be: are they large enough to help pick up the slack until that moment arrives?”
Mark Thoma gives his own answer to why there’s been no action from Congress on jobs” “To what extent is fear of inflation, fear of deficits, and other fears holding up more government help for struggling, unemployed households the result of the powerful interests who control Congress standing in the way? My answer … is that the imbalance in political power that comes with such a large degree of inequality is a large factor in the government’s tepid response to the unemployment crisis.”
The Fed is divided on next steps. NYT: “Three conservative members say the Fed has already done too much. Two liberals say the Fed needs to do much more. But it is still the chairman who determines whether the central bank should expand its campaign to stimulate growth for the third time since August, and lately Mr. Bernanke has been focused on an old theme: communicating the benefits of existing policies in order to increase their impact.”
“Super Committee” Stalled
Politico’s David Rogers sees little chance of a “Super Committee” deal: “…Washington shows every sign of heading backward, running away from once promising talks between Boehner and President Barack Obama last summer rather than trying to build upon them … the speaker was remarkably coy at his weekly press conference Thursday, saying nothing about the GOP’s own counteroffer that moves far to the right of where he stood last summer … there’s something darkly comic about watching so many Republicans buffaloed on the tax issue by the likes of Norquist, a Washington fixture who was caught up — just a decade ago — in the Indian gambling scams of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff … it was telling Friday evening when scores of business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released a letter to the supercommittee urging a still bigger deficit-reduction target but making no commitment themselves to accepting any of the pain of higher taxes.”
Social Security Works’ Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson appeal in HuffPo to “the 99 percent” to stop “the 1 percent” from cutting Social Security and Medicare: “The 1% is using the super-secret Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. the Super Committee), to reach directly into the pockets of the 99% and steal hundreds of billions of dollars from them. … the Supercommittee has proposed slashing benefits for current and future beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, notwithstanding that the current deficit has nothing to do with these programs. … Both the Democratic and Republican proposals represent a total hijacking of the Super Committee by the 1%.”
Some conservative millionaires get behind a millionaires’ tax. NYT: “…Terry M. Barr, president of Samson Oil and Gas, made a pitch to industry executives to donate to the Republican Party of Colorado so that they could defeat President Obama … [But he] agrees with a proposal by Congressional Democrats to impose a surtax on income over $1 million a year … ‘The United States needs a tax increase for the sake of its fiscal health,’ Mr. Barr said.”
President Continues To Use Executive Orders To Help Middle Class
Latest executive order from President Obama aims to increase access, lower prices to life-saving drugs. NYT: “It instructs the F.D.A. to do three things: broaden reporting of potential shortages of certain prescription drugs; speed reviews of applications to begin or alter production of these drugs; and provide more information to the Justice Department about possible instances of collusion or price gouging … Mr. Obama eschewed more ambitious proposals — like government drug stockpiling or manufacturing — that would have injected the government more directly into the nation’s drug market and cost more but that might have been more effective. Still, Mr. Obama’s order and others he has issued recently reflect his belief in the power of government to improve people’s lives.”
“Uncle Sam helps out with student loan debt” reports KC Star: “For an office worker with $60,000 in outstanding student loans and who earned $45,000 a year, the standard repayment rate has been $690 monthly. The 15 percent cap would have reduced her check to $358. But the newest plan knocks it down further to $239 a month. Also, now, if a borrower repays government loans for 20 years, instead of the old time-frame of 25, any remaining balance can be forgiven. For public service workers, it’s just 10 years of on-time repayment before forgiveness.”
Additional assistance with today’s Breakfast came from Isaiah Poole.