Monday, September 12, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People: Saving the Soul of Democracy


Millions of Americans ... are living on the edge. Yet the country has not confronted the question of how we will continue to prosper without a workforce that can pay for its goods and services. You didn’t have to read Das Kapital to see this coming ... You could instead have read The Economist ... I keep in my files a warning published in that magazine a dozen years ago, on the eve of George W. Bush’s second term. The editors concluded back then that, with income inequality in the U.S. reaching levels not seen since the first Gilded Age and social mobility diminishing, “the United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.” And mind you, that was before the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 ... The United States now has a level of income inequality unprecedented in our history and so dramatic it’s almost impossible to wrap one’s mind around.


Sanders and Warren hit the trail for Senate candidates. The Hill: “Sanders and Warren are launching their efforts by stumping for Democrat Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania … Warren and Sanders are also notably speaking at universities, making a pitch to the millennial voters who have flocked to their message [but] skeptics say a few visits to battleground states won’t be enough to sway outcomes.”
Democrats see House pickup opportunities. Politico: “Democrats — who would need a whopping 30 seats to win the House — are already targeting at least 18 of the 60 GOP districts with the highest share of college-educated white voters, many of which also have large numbers of nonwhite voters … The average district in the emerging House battlefield — which so far includes 45 GOP-held districts … is 10 percentage points less white than in 2006, and the white population in those seats is about 5 percentage points more college-educated than a decade ago.”


Democrats increasingly united around Social Security expansion. Roll Call: “On Friday, Democratic Reps. Linda T. Sánchez, Mark Pocan, and Michael M. Honda announced legislation to expand Social Security … the Progressive Change Campaign Committee released statements from incumbent Democratic senators and Senate candidates saying they supported Social Security and Medicare expansion. One of the co-signers was Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who said in a 2010 interview, ‘We can’t solve our budget crisis without dealing with our entitlements.'”
Clinton should go big on climate, says American Prospect’s David Atkins: “Clinton will not have the luxury of spending four or eight years taking baby steps toward carbon reduction … Clinton’s only option, as Obama’s has been, may be to use her executive powers … R.L. Miller [of] Climate Hawks Vote, a climate-focused PAC[, says,] ‘That means considering the climate test in approving all new fossil-fuel infrastructure, choosing an attorney general who will investigate Exxon and other fossil fuel companies for failing to disclose their global warming research in the 1970s, prioritizing renewable energy over natural gas, and pricing carbon.’ Miller also recommends a moratorium on any new fossil fuel projects.”


Trial of AIG’s Maurice Greenberg begins this week. NYT: “The charges date to an era when Eliot Spitzer, then the New York State attorney general, brought a barrage of cases accusing Wall Street research analysts of biased research … and insurance brokers of bid-rigging and kickbacks. Mr. Greenberg and A.I.G.’s former chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith, are accused in part of engineering bogus reinsurance transactions in 2000 and 2001 to bolster reserves to make the company’s numbers look better to Wall Street.”
Court ruling forces CT to confront school funding gap. NYT: “…Judge [Thomas] Moukawsher seemed offended by the irrationality of the state’s education system: He said its funding of new school buildings was driven not by need, but rather by how much clout individual legislators might have; he criticized the teacher evaluation system and said the high school graduation standards were all but meaningless. He told the General Assembly it first had to determine how much money schools actually need to educate children and then must allocate the funds in a way that met that goal.”
Senate to move first on measure to keep government open. The Hill: “Senate leadership is hoping to take up a short-term spending bill this week that would fund the government through Dec. 9 … House Republicans have not yet finalized a plan … GOP lawmakers, with the exception of the most hard-line conservatives, emerged from a closed-door meeting on Friday in favor of a plan to pass a CR into December and pass smaller packages of appropriations bills in the lame-duck session to avoid an all-encompassing omnibus bill.”
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