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: Take Back The American Dream. Day 1.
OurFuture.org’s Robert Borosage: “As progressives gather at the annual Take Back the American Dream Conference today in Washington, they are gearing up for what is a fundamental struggle about America’s future. Clearly, America’s modern day economy no longer works for working people. The financial collapse caused by Wall Street’s excesses comes after thirty years in which the few pocketed most of the rewards of growth, while most Americans lost ground. How do we get out of the box we are in? The Tea Party right, succored by mobilized money, offers one course. Progressives are now organizing around another … Progressives agree that the current system cannot be sustained. But the problem is not Social Security, our modest pension system, nor Medicare, nor our education funding which does not yet afford the basics to every student. Rather the most destructive ‘welfare’ that threatens America’s future is the corporate welfare that results from the predatory power of corporations and the wealthy to use money politics to entrench privileges and subsidies that stand in the way of change.”
Highlights From #takeback12: Day 1
The following are key panels from Day 1 of the Take Back the American Dream conference, convening at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. Registration available on-site. Watch livestream of key panels, and access full conference agenda, at OurFuture.org.
10:30 AM: Winning in November – So We Can Win in December and Beyond with Robert L. Borosage, Melissa Harris-Perry and Van Jones
1:45 PM Jobs First: Prevent the Fiscal Train Wreck in December with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Molly Katchpole, Damon Silvers and Roger Hickey
3:15 PM 98 to 2: Raising Taxes to Invest in America and Promote Fairness with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Frank Clemente, Guy D. Molyneux and Ellen Nissenbaum
Europe Elections Pro-Growth and Pro-Bailout
French Socialists strengthen anti-austerity position. NYT: “President François Hollande’s Socialists and their allies won an absolute majority in runoff parliamentary elections on Sunday … He will travel to the Group of 20 summit meeting in Mexico on Monday with his authority reinforced as a spokesman for the European left and a proponent for economic stimulus and job creation … [He won't have to] rely on the far left, which is more antagonistic to the European Union.”
Pro-bailout forces win in Greece. NYT: “The vote was widely seen as a last chance for Greece to remain in the euro zone, and the results had an early rallying effect on world markets … representatives of Greece’s creditors would discuss emergency loans and changes as soon as a government was in place. Much of the negotiations are expected to fall to Germany, a strong proponent of austerity.”
Greek crisis “far from over” says W. Post’s Brad Plumer: “It remains to be seen whether Europe will offer Greece a deal that allows the country to shore up its economy and get back on the path to recovery … a Greek exit from the euro is still a looming possibility down the road.”
NYT’s Paul Krugman says the onus is still on the European Central Bank to lead: “The only way the euro might — might — be saved is if the Germans and the European Central Bank realize that they’re the ones who need to change their behavior, spending more and, yes, accepting higher inflation. If not — well, Greece will basically go down in history as the victim of other people’s hubris.”
WH lowers expectations for G-20 meeting reports Reuters.
Romney dodgy on Face The Nation. NY Mag’s Caroline Bankoff: “…host Bob Schieffer tried — and basically failed — to get him to say whether or not he would undo President Obama’s immigration policy change if elected. … there will be no [European] bailout from President Romney … he stood by his primary season promise to reject the hypothetical $10 in spending cuts-for-$1 in tax increases deal …”
Keeps ducking how he’ll pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy. ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo: “2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney today again claimed that his tax plan — which would lower tax rates by 20 percent — would not disproportionately help the wealthy, because it would limit deductions for taxpayers at the top of the income scale. However, he has yet to lay out which deductions those would be, and he once again passed up an opportunity to do so during an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer…”
Other Republicans attack Obama’s immigration executive order as overreach. The Hill: “‘…the President of the United States is now dictating that certain laws will not be enforced,’ said [Sen. John] McCain … Rep. Steve King (Iowa) [said] he intended to sue the administration …”
Romney dances around individual mandates. Politico: “]Well, I think federally it’s unconstitutional, but of course what I think is going to be will be surpassed by what the Supreme Court thinks, ultimately,’ he said. ‘But states have under their constitution the right to require people to either go to school, or get auto insurance, or in this case to get health insurance.’”
Corporate Cash Catapults Calamitous Candidates
Strikingly weak Senate candidates kept afloat with corporate cash. Politico: “In battleground races across the country, a torrent of outside money is lifting the fortunes of GOP candidates by battering their opponents. In the past two weeks alone, American Crossroads and its affiliate group Crossroads GPS have unleashed $5.7 million to go after Democrats in nine states … it’s hard to glance at [Josh] Mandel’s headlines over the past few months and attribute his ascent to anything other than the carpet-bombing of [OH Sen. Sherrod] Brown. Mandel was forced to return $105,000 in suspect campaign contributions … Mandel had been the only state treasurer in three decades not to attend a single meeting of the Board of Deposit … the Dayton Daily News ran an exhaustive piece detailing how Mandel hired young, inexperienced campaign staffers for high-ranking jobs in the treasurer’s office. One 26-year-old staffer was dispatched to a beginner’s course to learn the fundamentals of municipal bond law.”
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson hits $71M spent on Republicans this election … so far. The Hill: “Adelson swapped his support to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, making a $10 million pledge to Romney’s super-PAC last week after the two met face-to-face in Las Vegas … ‘Much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign,’ [Romney supporter Sen. John] McCain said in an interview.”
Time Ticking On Student Loans, Transportation Jobs
Deadlines loom for student loan rates, highway construction funds. W. Post: “Unless Congress acts, the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, raising the cost of college for millions of students. On the same day, without congressional intervention, a short-term measure funding the nation’s highway and bridge-building program will also expire, forcing construction workers off the job … House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has already raised the possibility of another short-term measure if a deal can’t be reached, an agreement under which highway projects would remain funded for six months. That outcome would keep workers on the job but prove a bitter disappointment to lawmakers who fear another extension would let the nation’s Highway Trust Fund run nearly dry.”
Negotiations “stalled” on transportation bill. The Hill: “…the pointed shots taken recently by the leaders of the conference committee — that for a month has been attempting to negotiate an agreement between the House and Senate on the bill — has caused some transportation advocates to ponder whether a deal is any longer possible, even if Reid and Boehner assume the helm of the talks.”