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: Time For $10/Hour Minimum Wage
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah Poole: “What [Tavis] Smiley and [Cornel] West call for is a minimum wage of at least $10 an hour; the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage is higher in 18 states and the District of Columbia, but the highest minimum wage in the country is $8.80 an hour, in Oregon. Smiley’s call for living-wage jobs was affirmed today by a new report by the National Employment Law Project that found that Americans are earning less in real terms than they did a year ago.”
European Austerity Backlash
Backlash against austerity in British local elections, leaders unmoved. NYT: “… the Labour opposition won a string of key municipalities in England while the Conservatives slipped back and the Liberal Democrats lost the most seats of all, punished, their supporters said, by their association with the Conservatives in the national government … Prime Minister Cameron said the results would not change government economic policies.”
NYT’s Floyd Norris contends US did better job than Europe on bank reform and monetary stimulus: “The American regulators applied stress tests that appear to have been adequate, while the first European round of stress tests assumed that sovereign debt was safe … The Federal Reserve’s purchase of large amounts of securities — known to some as quantitative easing — was critical in restoring liquidity to American banks and making it possible for them to continue lending.”
Yet nothing new from the European Central Bank at yesterday’s meeting. W. Post: “The ECB did not cut interest rates any further. Nor did it signal any new measures to support economic growth or hold down borrowing costs in Spain, which is battling to avoid the need for an international bailout.”
Inequality is preventing recovery, argues NYT’s Paul Krugman: “…the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation … also responsible for the degradation of our economic discourse … ”
“National Companies Act” proposed by Alex Marshall to stop gaming of tax system, in NYT oped: “Such an act would create a common corporate architecture for all American companies doing business across state lines and internationally … National companies would have to abide by national rules, and the option of shopping around for the most favorable laws or tax policies simply wouldn’t exist.”
“Feingold rips Pelosi for willingness to consider entitlement cuts” reports The Hill: “Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) on Thursday sent out an email through his Progressives United advocacy group criticizing Pelosi for saying she would support the Simpson-Bowles deficit plan … In a Twitter message on Thursday, Pelosi responded to Feingold without mentioning him by name: ‘ICYMI I’ve spent my career protecting Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid from GOP attacks — nothing’s changed, I will continue fighting,’ she wrote.”
US Optimistic After China Talks
US touts economic concessions by China. NYT: “… a senior administration official said in a telephone briefing from Beijing that China has gone further than ever in allowing competition with its powerful state-owned enterprises and creating consumption-led growth in its export-focused economy … Chinese policy makers said they would commit to removing advantageous financing and regulatory conditions to state-owned enterprises [and] would review its policy of providing attractive — and some companies say unfair — financing for its exports … the head of China’s central bank said that the two countries agreed that exchange rates should ultimately be market-determined.”
But also acknowledge China has “a ways to go.” W. Post: “… including doing more to allow its currency to appreciate against the dollar, making U.S. exports more competitive; providing legal protections for intellectual property; and opening up its system to market-based forces.”
69 congresspeople urge Obama to reject proposed treaty that would restrict “Buy American” government contracting policies. HuffPost: “Since the 1930s, the American government has offered preferential treatment to American producers in the awarding of federal contracts. If a domestic producer offers the government a more expensive bid than a foreign producer, it can still be awarded the contract under certain circumstances, but more recent free trade agreements have granted other nations the same negotiating status as domestic firms. The Obama administration is currently pushing to grant the several nations involved in the Trans-Pacific deal the same privileged status, according to the Thursday letter.”
NY and DE launch new mortgage investigation. Bloomberg: “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden are investigating banks for failing to package mortgages into bonds as advertised to investors, three months after a group of lenders struck a nationwide $25 billion settlement over foreclosure practices. The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages…”
“Republican National Committee used Philippines firm to set up call blasting Obama on unemployment” reports Chicago Tribune.