Friday, September 2, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: How Much Will the War On Unions Cost You This Labor Day?


A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that income for nonunion workers fell substantially as union membership declined. And it hasn’t fallen because of some immutable economic law. It’s a casualty of war – cultural and political war ... Popular culture in the 1980s glamorized greedy Wall Streeters and celebrated the Gilded Age excesses of a tiny but highly visible ultrawealthy class ... tech entrepreneurs hijacked our national mythos with an internet-fueled ideological fantasy: that anybody with a great idea could become a billionaire on the Web ... Forget the “sharing economy”; get a union instead.


Job growth slowed in August. NYT: “[The pace of] hiring eased in August, with the government reporting on Friday that employers expanded their payrolls by 151,000 workers. The temperate performance is expected to bolster those within the Federal Reserve who favor a wait-and-see approach toward raising the benchmark interest rate when the central bank meets later this month … Average hourly earnings grew only 0.1 percent, bringing the 12-month increase in wages to 2.4 percent, modest though still ahead of inflation.”
Reduced factory activity also could delay rate hike. Reuters: “Factory activity contracted in August for the first time in six months … but a low level of layoffs continued to point to a pickup in economic growth in the third quarter … ‘Today’s disappointing number further weakens the case for a rate hike later this month, but we currently see no reason to change our Fed call and continue to anticipate a rate hike at the December meeting,’ said Harm Bandholz, chief United States economist at UniCredit…”


Trump campaign scripts planned interview with African-American pastor. NYT: “… instead of letting Mr. Trump be his freewheeling self, his campaign prepared lengthy answers for the submitted questions … The document includes the exact wording of answers the aides are proposing for Mr. Trump to give to questions about police killings, racial tension and the perception among many black voters that he and the Republican Party are racist … advising that he use lines such as ‘If we are to make America great again, we must reduce, rather than highlight, issues of race in this country’….”
Clinton to release plan to contain prescription drug prices. NYT: “…Clinton would create a team of federal officials that would seek to protect consumers by monitoring price increases. The plan also lays out several actions that the government would be able to make in response to ‘excessive’ rises in price, including taking steps to expand access to treatments and imposing penalties on drug companies, such as fines.”
Clinton has enormous fundraising month. The Atlantic: “The Clinton campaign announced on Thursday that the Democratic nominee raised a total of $143 million in August for her campaign and the national and state Democratic parties … all but ensures that Clinton will maintain her considerable money advantage over Donald Trump … Money for the state parties typically goes to turnout operations on the ground, adding to the advantage that Democrats have over Trump, who has opened relatively few field offices…”
TPP hit hard on campaign trail. NYT: “So dicey are the politics that Republican congressional leaders have been unwilling to commit to a vote even in the postelection lame duck Congress … Especially in several manufacturing states that are crucial to the Democrats’ quest to recapture the Senate, Republicans are caught in a vise between Democrats’ attacks and fear of alienating Mr. Trump’s antitrade, working-class voters…”


Incarceration rates down in big cities, up in rural communities. NYT: “From 2006 to 2014, annual prison admissions dropped 36 percent in Indianapolis; 37 percent in Brooklyn; 69 percent in Los Angeles County; and 93 percent in San Francisco. But large parts of rural and suburban America — overwhelmed by the heroin epidemic and concerned about the safety of diverting people from prison — have gone the opposite direction. Prison admissions in counties with fewer than 100,000 people have risen even as crime has fallen…”
Enviros press Clinton on possible Interior pick. Politico: “…Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper faces a green blockade that could dash his chances of leading her Interior Department … Environmentalists are sour on the Democratic governor for his outspoken defense of the oil and gas industry, in a state where two anti-fracking measures just failed to make the November ballot…”
California legislature passes public pension plan for private sector workers. LAT: “[The bill] requires all California companies with at least five employees to either offer their own retirement savings plan or enroll workers in the new California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. Secure Choice would be structured as an individual retirement account but operate much like a 401(k), with a small percentage of every paycheck automatically diverted into the program unless workers take action to opt out.”

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