Friday, January 8, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: "Bleeding-Heart," Or Just Bloody? The GOP Poverty Show

MORNING MESSAGE

Republican leaders, including six of the GOP presidential candidates, on Saturday will engage in one of their occasional displays of “compassionate conservatism,” in which they seek to convince voters that they actually do care about people struggling to climb out of poverty; they just don’t want to trap people in dependency the way they allege approaches favored by progressives have done ... As always, when you hear the rhetoric from this forum Saturday, it pays to watch what they do, not what they say.

Progressive Presidential Forum Tomorrow

“Saturday: Watch Live Video of the Iowa People’s Presidential Forum” urges OurFuture.org’s Roger Hickey: “Since the Democratic National Committee seems to sponsor Democratic presidential debates only once in a blue moon, progressive activists in Iowa have organized their own presidential forum in Des Moines – ‘Putting Families First’ – on Saturday … the big TV networks won’t carry it, but people all over the country can watch it live on streaming video . The live stream featuring the presidential candidates responding to questions will start at 1:30 p.m. Central time (2:30 p.m. Eastern).”

Jobs Up, Wages Flat

December jobs report shows strong job growth yet stagnant wages. NYT: “…employers added 292,000 workers to their payrolls in December, the government said on Friday, punctuating a year of healthy growth. The unemployment rate stayed at 5 percent last month, the Labor Department said, but that was mostly because large numbers of people went looking for work … the economy added 2.65 million jobs for the year, capping a two-year gain that was the best since the late 1990s … Despite the improving job market, sluggish wage growth remains a persistent thorn. Wages remained flat in December.”
Central banks should be careful, argues OurFuture.org’s Robert Borosage: “The December jobs report contains few indications of the storms battering stock markets over the past days … Central banks pride themselves on acting preemptively to forestall potential inflation even when it is not yet on the horizon. Now we need governments and central banks to act in coordinated fashion to fend off the threat of global stagnation that is already on our shores. The latter is a far greater and more imminent threat.”

Dems Spar Over Taxes

“Sanders, Clinton trade jabs over family leave plans” reports W. Post: “…the campaign of Hillary Clinton issued a statement … attacking Sanders for wanting to raises taxes on workers to pay for the benefit. ‘Hillary believes we can do this without asking working people to pay for it,’ said Clinton senior policy adviser Ann O’Leary … [Sanders’ plan] would be paid for by an increase in the payroll tax that Sanders says would amount to $1.61 a week … ‘Bernie thinks that’s a good investment,’ said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs…”
Sanders begins four-day Iowa swing. NYT: “Mr. Sanders will keep a full schedule, starting the trip on Friday with a news conference questioning what his campaign says is Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to support the Family Act, a bill dealing with paid family and medical leave. Over the weekend, Mr. Sanders is scheduled to meet with seniors, speak at the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, host forums on veterans’ issues and climate change, and hold several town-hall-style meetings.”
Bernie wants match-up with Trump. W. Post: “Trump told his audience that he would love to run against Sanders, calling the prospect ‘a dream come true.’ … ‘It would be a dream come true for me as well,’ Sanders said. ‘I would love, love, love to run against Donald Trump.’ Sanders proceeded to repeat several jabs he’s taken at Trump in recent days, including calling him ‘a pathological liar’ and mocking his contention from a couple of years ago that climate change had been created by the Chinese as a way to gain an edge over the United States in manufacturing.”

Obama Draws Line On Gun Control

Obama issues gun control ultimatum in NYT oped: “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.”
Moderate Dems keep their distance. Politico: “From his weeklong roll-out of a strengthened gun background check system to his handling of the environment and relations with Iran, the party’s shrunken moderate wing is showing increasing concern with Obama’s fourth-quarter agenda. They’re bracing for yet another round of criticisms in their next campaign over their support for Obama, regardless of who is president in 2017.”

Breakfast Sides

EPA advisers dispute fracking claim. The Hill: “The 31-member Science Advisory Board is taking issue with the EPA’s conclusion in a landmarkreport from June that there is no evidence that fracking has ‘led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.’ The panel came out with an initial 133-page draft of its report on the study Thursday, saying that the main conclusion of the EPA’s findings does not follow the actual data that it precedes.”
GOP considers filibuster rollback. Politico: “[Discussion] will focus on a proposal to potentially eliminate an individual senator’s power to filibuster a spending bill before it’s even debated on the Senate floor. Last year, Senate Democrats used just such a filibuster to force a bipartisan budget deal … Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is deeply skeptical of any move to gut the legislative filibuster, as are a number of Senate conservatives…”
Supreme Court oral arguments Monday in major labor rights case. The Atlantic: “[Teacher Rebecca] Friedrichs’ lawsuit argues that all activities that unions do are political in nature, including collective bargaining and representation in employer-employee disputes, and that she should not be forced to subsidize any union activities, including those that get her a raise or health insurance … A decision against unions in Friedrichs could severely weaken unions’ bargaining and financial power.”

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