Monday, October 31, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Obamacare's Biggest Problem is Profit, Not Government


Richard Eskow
Obamacare's Biggest Problem is Profit, Not Government
It’s true: the Affordable Care Act is having problems. But Republicans who say those problems are caused by “big government” have it exactly backward. Obamacare’s current difficulties are grounded in our country’s political fetishization of the private sector – a fad that began in the Republican Party, but has unfortunately spread to much of the Democratic establishment. Government isn’t the problem here. It’s the solution.


Politico poll shows no change:Hillary Clinton has a slim three-point lead over Donald Trump one week before Election Day, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted entirely after FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of new emails … there is not yet evidence that the revelations have drastically altered the contours of the election … 33 percent it made them much less likely to vote for Clinton. But most of those voters are already aligned against Clinton”
Unions try to win white working-class votes for Clinton. American Prospect’s Justin Miller: “…organizers have adopted ‘deep canvassing’ methods that have had some success getting voters to explain their reasoning and then conducting a conversation that may persuade them to shift their perspective. If Clinton does pull off a win in Ohio … it will largely be due to efforts like those that slowly make inroads in the most frustrated white communities.”


“Slowdown in State, Local Investment Dents U.S. Economy” reports WSJ: “Such government austerity is unusual in the eighth year of an economic expansion, and it is acting as a headwind just as the worst effects of the energy-industry bust, a strong dollar and inventory drawdown are fading. State and local governments spent an annualized $248.47 billion on construction in August—the least since March 2014 and down nearly 11% from its recent peak in mid-2015. The decline depressed gross domestic product growth this spring and was on track to weigh on growth again in the third quarter.”
American Prospect’s Gabrielle Gurley asks “Can We Finally Think Big?” on infrastructure: “… neither Clinton’s five-year, $275 billion plan nor Trump’s ‘at least double her numbers’ calculation begin to address the trillions needed in leaky pipes, corroded tracks, decrepit trains, and faulty wiring, much less 21st-century smart grids, protections against sea-level rise, and innovative green investments … Launching transformative infrastructure investments begins with a philosophical shift that reworks attitudes toward government in order to identify the mechanisms required to unleash the trillions needed to start that work.”
Bryce Covert criticizes Hillary Clinton’s spending pledge in NYT oped: “[Clinton promised,] ‘I am not going to add a penny to the national debt.’ … interest rates on the country’s debt are incredibly low, hovering around 2 percent. That means we could borrow more money at a very low cost … New money could be put to incredibly good use, rebuilding deteriorating roads and bridges or investing in education.”


Federal Reserve meets, monthly jobs numbers released, this week. NYT: “Federal Reserve officials insist that their meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington will be like any other Fed meeting … the politics are fraught, and even proponents of a rate increase have said they do not see much difference in waiting a few more weeks … On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its report on the nation’s hiring and unemployment for October. This snapshot of the economy will be the last before Americans go to the polls on Election Day…”
Fed not expected to raise interest rates, but could soon with more inflation. WSJ: “…inflation is gradually coming back to life … it’s still below the 2% level the Federal Reserve targets, one reason the Fed is almost certain to leave interest rates unchanged when it meets this week. But economic circumstances and attitudes of policy makers have shifted in the past year in ways that suggest the likeliest path of inflation is up, not down.”
Economic growth still not reducing inequality, says NYT’s Eduardo Porter: “Despite last year’s gains, the bottom 60 percent of households took a smaller share of the income pie than four decades ago … Whether it is life expectancy or infant mortality, incarceration or educational attainment, countless statistics offer a fairly dark picture of the American experience … America’s rich are richer than the rich almost anywhere else. Its poor are still poorer than the poor of its peers in the developed world.”


A revamped trade policy needs to go beyond stopping “corporate capture” says W. Post’s Jared Bernstein: “All global income must be saved (by households, governments or businesses) or spent (consumed or invested) … they’re exporting savings and importing the demand for manufactured goods from other countries, notably the United States … putting issues of excess savings back into the trade policy agenda, we would be taking a step in favor of healthier, more equitable globalization.”
“Will Democrats Nuke the Filibuster?” asks TNR’s David Sarasohn: “…banning it on Supreme Court nominations would be the hydrogen bomb. But that may be necessary next year … [Said Sen. Jeff Merkley,] ‘If there’s deep abuse, we’re going to have to consider rules changes.’ … The expected incoming Democratic leader of the Senate, Charles Schumer of New York, has carefully said nothing about further changes. But he said in September, ‘A progressive majority on the Supreme Court is an imperative, and if I become majority leader, I will make it happen. I will make it happen.'”

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