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: Building a Movement Big Enough To Win Nov. & Dec.
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah J. Poole: “At Netroots Nation, Van Jones called Saturday ‘to build a movement big enough to win in November and December’—a movement that can push back against right-wing efforts to expand their control of Washington, elect progressive champions to office and then serve as the independent force that pushes, rewards and punishes elected officials based on how well they serve the goal of rebuilding the American Dream for all people—especially in the epic battles that will immediately follow the election over tax and spending policy. Jones’ ‘win-in-November-and-December’ theme has become the central theme of the Take Back the American Dream conference on June 18-20. The conference will pick up where Netroots Nation left off, serving as the opportunity for progressive activists to focus on specific strategies for electing progressive candidates in November and then ensuring that progressives are no longer dissed and dismissed when elected officials are called to cut deals with moneyed interests that are against the interests of working people.”
“Grand Bargain” Brewing?
NYT checks in on secretive Senate “grand bargain” talks: “Senators who have been working fruitlessly on a budget deal since 2010, as the so-called Gang of Eight, say their efforts will get nowhere without help from Congressional leaders, especially the committee chairmen with the expertise to draft legislation Those people are starting to come on board … Republican leaders remain largely on the sideline [but GOP Sen. Jon Kyl] is making conciliatory comments on raising taxes, the issue that has kept Republican leaders from the table … On Monday, [Dem Sen. Max] Baucus will deliver a speech to the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington on the path toward a simpler tax code that could generate more revenue … Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, has begun drafting legislation on entitlements and tax policy that he hopes will be a template for talks in the coming weeks.”
Former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert and Dem Majority Leader Dick Gephardt push bipartisan tax reform, with lower tax rates, as part of ‘grand bargain,’ in FT oped: “In 1986, both sides agreed to a revenue neutral approach, which generated revenues just above 18 per cent of GDP . The Obama administration’s budget calls for revenues at 19 per cent within the next few years. The budget passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives calls for revenues at 19 per cent of GDP by 2030. This range is roughly where revenues were the last time the budget was balanced.”
Krugman, Stiglitz Criticize Spain Bank Rescue
Spain PM defends bank rescue deal. NYT: “[PM Mariano] Rajoy also insisted on Sunday that Spain was merely receiving ‘a line of credit’ and not a full-flegged bailout. The money would be channeled to its bank restructuring fund in order to replenish the reserves of its weakest institutions, a loan structure different from the bailouts and tough conditions negotiated by international creditors to help the ailing economies of Greece, Portugal and Ireland … [But] Mr. Rajoy also warned of more pain as Madrid pushes ahead with austerity cuts to clean up public finances. ‘This year is going to be a bad one,’ Mr. Rajoy said Sunday.”
Joseph Stiglitz pans. Reuters: “Europe’s plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country’s lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said … Instead, Europe should speed up discussion of a common banking system, he said. ”
NYT’s Paul Krugman criticizes failure to bail out unemployed: “…the whole story is starting to feel like a comedy routine: yet again the economy slides, unemployment soars, banks get into trouble, governments rush to the rescue — but somehow it’s only the banks that get rescued, not the unemployed … Spanish banks did indeed need a bailout … [But European leaders] were signaling strongly that they have no intention of changing the policies that have left almost a quarter of Spain’s workers — and more than half its young people — jobless.”
Romney Campaign Urges Germany To Keep Austerity
Romney aide writes German-language oped urging Germany to stick to austerity, ignore Obama. WSJ: “[Glenn] Hubbard urged Europeans to not follow U.S. counsel on the crisis, arguing the Obama administration is trying to force Germany to backstop financially strapped governments and banks in the euro zone … Mr. Hubbard’s piece ‘both discouraged essential steps that need to be taken to promote economic recovery and attempted to undermine America’s foreign policy abroad,’ said Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the Obama campaign.”
New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza explores what a second Obama term would prioritize: “The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change, one of the few issues that he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now. He also is concerned with containing nuclear proliferation … Obama’s advisers say it is more likely that the President would champion an issue with greater bipartisan support, such as immigration reform.”
Deportation Reform Has Little Impact
Little reduction in deportations. NYT: “In a strategic shift, immigration authorities had said they would focus on deporting criminals and people who cheated the visa system, while sparing illegal immigrants with clean records. But after an administration review of more than 288,000 deportation cases before the immigration courts, the total suspended by prosecutors so far is less than 2 percent.”
High school grad who grew up in US most of her life prepares to be deported. W. Post: “What should the United States do with illegal immigrants who come to the country as children, grow up here, break no laws and want to remain? In Mejia’s case, what should be done with an illegal immigrant who came to the country at age 4; who speaks better English than Spanish; who wants to attend Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and become a nurse; whose knowledge about modern Guatemala comes in part from what she’s read on Wikipedia?”
Health insurer plans to adopt reforms regardless of Supreme Court decision. NYT: “[UnitedHealth] says it will continue to cover adult children up to age 26 on their parents’ policies, offer coverage without lifetime limits and provide preventive health care services like immunizations or screening for diabetes without requiring patient co-payments … The company said it could work with other insurers to offer coverage to children with pre-existing medical conditions, which is currently required under the federal health care law. But UnitedHealth emphasized it could not take that step alone … It was unclear Sunday night whether other insurers would follow UnitedHealth’s move. But the rest of the industry is likely to feel some pressure to do so.”
Bloomberg autopsies federal housing policy: “Obama didn’t deliver on his vow that day to avert as many as 9 million foreclosures. While his plan was undermined in part by the weak U.S. economic recovery, it also lacked broad and aggressive measures. Relief programs have tinkered around the edges of the housing finance system because Obama’s advisers chose early on not to expend political capital forcing banks to forgive mortgage debt. Instead, they created homeowner aid programs with voluntary participation by lenders and strict rules to avoid rewarding speculators or irresponsible borrowers … [But] Obama’s housing officials can point to some successes. While falling short of the goal of reaching 9 million people, the two main federal programs for refinancing or modifying mortgages have reached 2.2 million borrowers. The free fall in home prices has slowed. There are bidding wars on properties again in some markets.”
House Education Cmte Chair John Kline opposes any government role in keeping student loan interest rates low, in Politico oped: “For too many years, politicians in Washington have been eager to pledge more hard-earned taxpayer dollars to help deal with the student debt load. But this doesn’t sit right with the many Americans who take pride in making fiscally responsible choices and paying off their loans on time … Let’s take politicians out of the college-cost equation and base student loan interest rates on the free market, rather than the whims of Washington.”