Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: The Infrastructure Cure For The Economy

MORNING MESSAGE

So how do you increase demand in an economy? With jobs that pay well. How do you get jobs to pay well? Of course, raise the minimum wage, but another way is to make sure there are plenty of jobs. When there are so many open jobs in an economy that employers start having trouble finding people to work for them, they start to offer better pay. How do you make sure there are enough jobs in an economy? The way that has again and again proven to work is through the government hiring people to do work that needs to be done.

Progressive Presidential Forum In Iowa Saturday

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement hosts ‘Real People Ready for Real Solutions’ Issues Summit" in Des Moines Saturday morning, followed by a CCI Action “Putting Families First” Presidential Forum, “not to hear their stump speeches – our grassroots leaders will be on stage demanding real solutions from the candidates.”

Sanders Intensifies Wall Street Fight

Sanders challenges Clinton over Wall Street ties in major speech. NYT: “‘My opponent says that as a senator, she told bankers to “cut it out” and end their destructive behavior,’ Mr. Sanders said of Mrs. Clinton. ‘But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to cut it out. The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality, and as president, I will.'”
Sanders pledges to rein in exploitative interest rates and fees. The Atlantic: “…he’d push for a 15-percent cap on all credit-card interest rates and consumer loans, mirroring the rate cap credit unions must abide by for loans. And ATM fees, he said, shouldn’t be more than $2.”
Speech crystallizes choice for Democrats, argues TNR’s David Dayen: “…he recognizes the fundamental choice in financial reform, between a go-slow approach to tweak up weak points in the system and a radical alteration in design. That recognition matters, even if the Vermont senator doesn’t always focus on what’s currently wrong with the industry—and even if he cannot accomplish everything he laid out.”
Wall Street isn’t “feeling the Bern” says Bloomberg: “The largest banks are bracing for more public discussion of whether they should be dismantled after capital requirements and other rules enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis punished size without demanding breakups. The risk is that Sanders’s remarks could spur harsher rhetoric from others.”
Sanders campaign makes case it can win. WSH: “In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Sanders’s campaign advisers [said] Sanders is building an apparatus that can prevail … fundraising has surpassed expectations … The Sanders campaign pointed to polling that suggests Mr. Sanders would be no pushover in a general election showdown.”

Economy Is Awesome (Or Not)

Politico’s Michael Grunwald argues the economy is “awesome”: “The past two years have been the best two years for job creation in the 21st century … after-tax corporate profits are at an all-time high … wages actually grew 2 percent faster than inflation over the past year … cheaper gas, free birth control and preventive care … and much more—have put more money in the pockets of American families…”
But recession looms, frets W. Post’s Jared Bernstein: “Somewhere out there is the next recession. We are woefully unprepared for it … [The Fed] emptied the tank fighting the Great Recession and may not have time to fill it, constraining their ability to fight the next fire … That leaves fiscal policy, meaning taxes and government spending on ‘countercyclical’ interventions. And that, at least partially, invokes Congress. You see the problem.”

Breakfast Sides

Republicans won’t move quickly on TPP, despite corporate pressure. The Hill: “The National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable announced their support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week … The Chamber of Commerce is widely expected to endorse [today.] But McConnell’s office says his position hasn’t changed and that Obama shouldn’t bother to send the TPP to Congress until after the elections, when it might be possible to hold a vote in a lame-duck session … McConnell couldn’t move the TPP through Congress before September even if he wanted to because of congressional review requirements …”
Obamacare not sparking shift to part-time work. The Hill: “The study, released Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, examines the claim … The probability of working 25-29 hours a week has stayed essentially flat over the last few years, even after the employer mandate went into effect in 2015. The probability of working 30-34 hours also did not decrease.”

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