Thursday, March 17, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Stoke Job Growth Or Choke It? The GOP Makes The Wrong Choice Again

The decision by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday to not increase interest rates right now beyond their current 0.25 to 0.5 percent range is a testament to the fragility of the slow economic recovery the United States is now experiencing. The response by the Republican-controlled and deeply conservative House Budget Committee later that day was to ignore a growing chorus of economists from around the globe who are saying that it is more important for the federal government to spend smartly on rebuilding the middle class and on the fundamentals needed by a 21st-century economy than to bull-headedly try to balance the federal budget by an arbitrary date, regardless of the consequences.
“LISTEN LIBERAL”: Join Thomas Frank Friday in Washington as he discusses his new book, “Listen Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?” Sign up here for the event, to be held at noon at the AFL-CIO headquarters. To learn more about the book and for tour dates outside of Washington, go to the “Listen Liberal” book page.


Some Republican senators will meet with Garland, consider lame duck vote. Politico: “Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake … said ‘yes’ when asked whether he would move to confirm Garland in the lame-duck session if Hillary Clinton … wins. … ‘I’d probably be open to resolving this in the lame duck,’ [Sen. Orrin] Hatch added.”
Politico explores “how liberal” is Garland: “…Garland has sided with President Barack Obama’s environmental regulators against mercury-spewing power plants, supported the administration’s crackdown on for-profit colleges and issued multiple rulings that pleased organized labor … [But he] blends a penchant for judicial restraint more frequently associated with conservatives with a deference to executive power more typical of liberals.”


Sanders campaign charts path ahead. Time: “The primaries just ahead in the calendar, Sanders aides argue … look more like the Northern states he has already won than the Southern, heavily African-American states he has lost. Arizona looks like Colorado, Wisconsin is like Minnesota, Washington is a bit like Vermont.”
It’s Bernie’s party, says Bloomberg’s Joshua Green: “…millennials, minorities, and single white women all favor a more activist and interventionist government, particularly in the economic realm, than do other Democrats … These groups not only favor more liberal policies, they’re growing impatient for them … Sanders is a vehicle, not the catalyst, for the increasing liberalism of the Democratic electorate.”
It’s Trump’s party, says The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: “… he has carried self-identified Republicans in every state he has won … he has built his winning formula from within the heart of the Republican coalition, particularly among disaffected voters drawn to his bristling insular nationalism … as the Republican nominee he could define it as the party of white backlash in the eyes of the growing Millennial and minority populations.”’s “Burning Issues” video series looks at lessons from Libya with Melvin A. Goodman, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.


MI Gov. Snyder fingers state enviro agency in testimony to Congress today. AP: “The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality repeatedly gave assurances that water from the Flint River was safe, when in reality it had dangerous levels of lead, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says. Snyder tells Congress that he did not learn that Flint’s water was contaminated until Oct. 1, 2015 – nearly 18 months after the city began drawing its water from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money.”
EPA chief will tell a different story. USA Today: “[Gov.] Snyder will say that the contamination of Flint’s water supply was a failure of government at every level: local, state and federal.
[EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy’s message will place the blame squarely on the state, criticizing decisions not only by state regulators but by Snyder’s hand-picked officials in Flint…”


California proving how to cut carbon emissions and grow the economy. Mother Jones: “Between 2003 and 2013 (the most recent data), the Golden State decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 percent while increasing its gross domestic product by 17 percent—and it did so under the thumb of the nation’s most stringent energy regulations.”
Coal giant Peabody may file for bankruptcy. Bloomberg: “Peabody has lost 98 percent of its market value in 12 months and watched as its main rivals — Walter Energy Inc., Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and Arch Coal Inc. — all filed for bankruptcy, crushed by falling demand, massive debt loads, mounting environmental regulations and competition from cheap natural gas.”


GOP budget advances. The Hill: “The House budget panel easily cleared its 2017 spending blueprint on Wednesday evening, despite a conservative rebellion that still threatens the bill’s fate … Without support from the 40-member House Freedom Caucus, the trillion-dollar budget proposal will come up short on the House floor.”
Systemic racism in charter schools. NYT: “Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as white students, according to a new analysis of federal education data. And students with disabilities, the study found, are suspended two to three times the rate of nondisabled students in charter schools.”

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