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: What Wisconsin Means
OurFuture.org’s Robert Borosage: “Walker barely survived the backlash his policies caused. He lost effective control of the Senate even before last night’s recall returns are known. He had to go through a brutal recall, and watch his popularity plummet. I suspect that most Governors with a clue will see this as a calamity that they want to avoid … [But] Wisconsin is a clear warning to progressives. We’ll have to work harder, stretch more, educate more, reach out more and build more to match the increasing force of big money … while mobilized money is likely to sharpen the right-wing agenda, it is likely to dull the Democratic response. That puts even more of a burden on building an independent progressive citizens’ movement that can frame the stakes, make the case, and get out the vote.”
Big Money Wins
Scott Walker raised $30.5M. Tom Barrett raised $3.9, notes Mother Jones.
Recall election a warning sign says W. Post’s Greg Sargent: “It shows with crystal clarity that Republicans may very well be able to successfully use the new, post-Citizens United landscape to weaken the opposition in a structural way, and to eliminate major sources of support for that opposition.”
American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson reminds that the Wisconsin results do not negate what happened in Ohio: “…Ohio union activists had the ability to wage a timely referendum campaign, while Wisconsin law has no provision for referendums, and the recall—a more complicated question—had to wait more than a year before being put before state voters. Unions were also able, or inclined, to spend a lot more in Ohio than they were in Wisconsin. In Ohio, the referendum campaign against Kasich’s law raised and spent just under $30 million, while the campaign to support it raised just $11.4 million … So which lessons will Republican governors heed—the cautionary ones of Ohio or the bring-on-the-jihad message of Wisconsin?”
Exit polls show Obama commands big lead in Wisconsin. W. Post: “…the electorate that turned out today is backing Obama by a significant margin: 52 percent to 43 percent …”
Orgy of Obstruction
Sen. Maj. Leader Reid accuses GOP of economic sabotage by blocking transportation jobs bill. The Hill: “Federal surface transportation programs expire on June 30, and another short-term extension is likely if negotiators cannot reach an agreement … ‘You have heard, as I heard, that there’s a battle going on between Cantor and Boehner as to whether or not there should be a bill,’ Reid told reporters during his weekly press conference. ‘Cantor, of course — I’m told by others that he wants to not do a bill and make the economy worse because he feels that’s better for them. I hope that that’s not true,’ … ‘That’s bulls–t,’ Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.”
Bipartisan Senate duo sends House a transportation proposal. W. Post: “Diplomacy required that the thick document delivered by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) be called a proposal rather than a bill, to indicate that it was negotiable. In fact, it was a bill passed by the Senate that they said had been modified to incorporate some issues raised by the House … [Boxer] declined to release the proposal.”
Senate GOP filibusters equal pay bill. CNN: “The motion, which needed 60 votes to succeed, got only 52, not one from a Republican … Republicans remained largely silent about the issue in the days leading up to the vote, even as Democrats, led by the president, made an all-out push for the legislation. Only one Republican senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, who is in a tight re-election race against Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, spoke on the floor against the bill.”
“House Bill Takes a Scythe to Spending” reports NYT: “…the House Appropriations Committee is working hard to undo much of the president’s first-term ambitions — or at least provoke a showdown with the White House ahead of the fall election … The House’s spending bills still must be reconciled with Senate measures that will be considerably more administration-friendly. But by setting an initial bargaining level so low, Republicans are signaling they are preparing for battle. And that fight would come in the heat of the 2012 campaign, when the next fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.”
Republicans “playing games” on student loan rates, says VP Biden. W. Post: “‘We’re not going to trade off student loans for other vital, vital programs,’ Biden said … Congressional Democrats insisted the Republican proposals were a ruse to make it appear that they were willing to negotiate in good faith, even as they were prepared to let the rate rise and blame Democrats for the hike.”
Republicans admit they would keep parts of “ObamaCare.” TPM: “’It would be hard to write a 2,700-page bill and not have something in there that you like,’ [said] Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) … ‘We believe that the whole bill needs to be repealed,’ [Rep. Tom] Price said. ‘That being said, there are some things that have been instituted that a lot of folks have begun to rely upon and plan — make their family plans — based upon. Twenty-six-year-olds being on their parents’ insurance is one of them.’”
And that partial repeal would be a “mess.” The Hill quotes Rep. Roe: “[If] the court decides the mandate is unconstitutional but it is severable, then that’s a mess.”
Romney Hypocrisy On Jobs
Romney busted for hypocrisy on jobs. NYT: “[Romney aide Ed] Gillespie said it was unfair to judge Mr. Romney’s record on job creation by including all four years of his tenure … In fact, Mr. Romney’s criticisms of Mr. Obama’s economic record frequently focus on his first year in office … especially the months of February, March and April, when monthly job losses from the economic collapse were at 700,000 or higher … If Mr. Romney’s team were to ignore Mr. Obama’s first year in office — as Mr. Gillespie suggested should be done for Mr. Romney’s first year as governor — then the president would have added about 3.7 million jobs to the economy.”
Bain’s success buoyed by government. Bloomberg: “During Romney’s years as chief executive of Bain Capital LLC, companies owned by the firm received millions of dollars in benefits from a variety of state and local government economic development programs. In California, taxpayer money built one Bain company a conveyor bridge between two of its buildings. New York City gave another Bain company tax breaks and lower energy bills to discourage it from moving to New Jersey. And in Indiana, a county government issued bonds to help buy new equipment for a Bain-owned steel plant — a business success featured in a Romney campaign ad touting his private sector prowess.”
Eyes On Fed
Fed weighs additional stimulus. W. Post: “Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke could provide a hint of whether new stimulus is likely when he testifies before Congress on Thursday. The central bank could take a relatively modest step, such as a firm commitment to keep interest rates low for several years, or a much more dramatic one — for instance, printing hundreds of billions of dollars to purchase Treasury bonds and mortgage assets.”
Disagreement among regional Fed presidents. Bloomberg: “Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a speech in New York yesterday that ‘soft’ U.S. economic data call for ‘extremely strong accommodation,’ while Richard Fisher of Dallas said more easing through Fed purchases of bonds would be ‘pushing on a string.’ James Bullard of St. Louis said there’s time to assess the economy and a policy change isn’t needed now.”
CBO projects federal debt to exceed 70% of GDP reports McClatchy.
Except if current law remains in place. Jared Bernstein: “… look at the other line. Under that scenario, which in fact happens to be current law (meaning all the Bush tax cuts expire, for example), debt stabilizes as a share of the economy in a few years and then starts down a slow glide path … If we, as a nation, decide that we want to achieve fiscal sustainability and preserve the entitlement programs, along with gov’t’s other critical functions, it is well within our means to do so.”
“Six Flaws In The CBO’s New Report” from OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow.
Bleak picture of young people not enrolled in college full-time. NYT: “Only one in six is working full time. Three out of five live with their parents or other relatives. A large majority — 73 percent — think they need more education to find a successful career, but only half of those say they will definitely enroll in the next few years … most high school graduates without college degrees said they believed they would be unable to get good jobs without more education … Getting it is challenging, though, and not only because of formidable debt levels … Others surveyed said college was out of reach because of the cost or family responsibilities.”