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 “B.S. Plan” To Take Us Over The Cliff, And The Mobilization To Stop It
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah J. Poole: “A constant drumbeat of the conference, reflected in its opening session, was that progressives have the dual challenge of winning the elections in November but the political fights of December … more than a few lawmakers [are] grasping for the Bowles-Simpson plan, or, as Rep. Jan Schakowsky told conference attendees she liked to call it, ‘the B.S. plan.’ … As Robert Borosage said when he opened the conference, a Bowles-Simpson ‘Grand Bargain ought to be known instead as the Big Heist.’ … The alternative set of policies that progressives must fight for have significant majority support among the American people, AFL-CIO’s Damon Silvers pointed out … The policies include massive investments in infrastructure, rebuilding our manufacturing base and rethinking our trade deals … These remedies, he added, have to implemented at a scale commensurate to the problem; for example, we should be thinking of infrastructure investments in trillions, not billions.”
Take Back the American Dream. Day 2.
The following are key panels from today’s Take Back the American Dream schedule, 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.
8 AM Progressive Breakfast with Jamelle Bouie, Adele Stan, Isaiah J. Poole and Bill Scher
8:30 AM 99 Elect: Building Progressive Power in 2012 with Sen. Sherrod Brown, Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Keith Ellison, Karen Ackerman and Gloria Totten
12:45 PM End This Depression NOW! with Paul Krugman and Chris Hayes
3:30 PM Taking On Wall Street with Alex Wagner, Eric Schneiderman, Richard Eskow and Heather McGhee
4:30 PM Plutocracy or Democracy: America’s Fateful Choice Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Eliseo Medina and Natalie Foster
GOP Checkmated On Immigration
Rubio drops bill, GOPers duck issue, after Obama’s DREAM order. The Hill: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday dropped his plan to push a DREAM Act through Congress before the election … Obama’s decision, which some Republican strategists were describing as a deft political move, highlights the dilemma facing Republican leaders, including presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney … [Said Rubio,] ‘People are going to say to me, “Why are we going to need to do anything on this now? It has been dealt with. We can wait until after the election,”‘ … Republicans close to Romney have also clammed up about the new immigration rules …”
Romney still can’t answer if he’d repeal Obama’s executive order. LAT: “‘He was going to deal with immigration, he said, in his first year,’ Romney added. ‘He was going to focus on that. Did he do anything on immigration while he had a Democratic House and Senate? … This is a president who’s said one thing and done another’ … In a Fox News interview, Romney dodged the question of whether he would reverse Obama’s deportation policy, just as he did in an interview that aired Sunday…”
W. Post’s Ezra Klein chronicles the GOP flip-flop on the DREAM Act: “In 2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — better known as the DREAM Act … His initial cosponsors included Sens. Sam Brownback, Larry Craig, Mike DeWine, Chuck Grassley, and Richard Lugar. When Hatch reintroduced the bill in 2003, Sens. Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Mike Crapo, Peter Fitzgerald, Chuck Hagel, John McCain and Ben Nighthorse Campbell joined the list … In December 2010, during the post-election lame-duck session, a tighter, a more stringent DREAM Act passed the House and came to the floor in the Senate … three Republicans voted for it … The internal politics of the Republican Party make it very difficult for Republican legislators to vote for anything that Obama publicly supports. But that raises the question: What, exactly, are Democrats supposed to do to compromise with Republicans?”
Austerity Isn’t Working
“What Part of ‘Austerity Isn’t Working’ Don’t People Get?” asks Jared Bernstein in Rolling Stone: “I’ve identified four viruses that have led to this illness: For Democrats, deficit reduction was a tactic that morphed into an intractable policy position … For Republicans, deficit reduction is a cudgel to bash government … [Some are d]rawing the wrong lessons from the Clinton surpluses … In Europe, there’s another dimension to this, something unique to their currency union: anti-bailout sentiment.”
“Austerity Doesn’t Pay As Debt Markets Ignore Rating Cuts” reports Bloomberg: “Almost half the time, government bond yields fall when a rating action suggests they should climb, or they increase even as a change signals a decline … The austerity policies prized by the rating companies have the global economy on the brink of renewed recession, according to Paul Krugman…”
NYT zeroes in on plight of the underemployed: “…adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage was lower in 2011 than it was a decade earlier … Good benefits are harder to come by, and people are staying longer in jobs that they want to leave, afraid that they will not be able to find something better … With stocks too risky for many small investors and savings accounts paying little interest, building up a nest egg is a challenge even for those who can afford to sock away some of their money. Expenses like putting a child through college — where tuition has been rising faster than inflation or wages — can be a daunting task … with many baby boomers unable to retire as early as they had hoped, there are fewer opportunities for younger workers to move up and take their places.”
“Catholic Nuns Kick Off Nine-State Bus Tour To Protest House Republican Budget Cuts” reports ThinkProgress.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce pushes Republicans to compromise on transportation jobs bill. The Hill: “The Chamber lays out areas it sees as ripe for compromise here. Not listed: The Keystone XL oil sands pipeline…”
Fed meets today and tomorrow to weigh more stimulus reports NYT and Bloomberg.
Cuts in government leads to distrust of government, argues NYT’s Catherine Rampell: “People lose faith in their government institutions, perhaps because those institutions are poorly run or because pundits declare that the institutions are poorly run (usually, some combination of the two, it seems). Voters and/or their politicians then sharply cut funds for those institutions. Insufficient funds and staffing then make these institutions even less effective, reducing confidence in them further and thereby prompting even more cuts”