Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: A Progressive Path Forward On Trade


...because China, Germany and others run persistent trade surpluses, we run trade deficits. We've run trade deficits every single year since the late 70s ... when we were persuaded that "free trade" will be great for all of us. These nations use an "export-oriented strategy to boost their manufacturing sectors," and "thrust upon us" a trade deficit ... We could, as [Jared] Bernstein writes, put "issues of excess savings back into the trade policy agenda," and ask other countries to please do the right thing to bring the world's economy back into balance. Or we could just move toward balanced trade policies with something like a "Buffett Plan" approach that says, "if you want to sell to us you have to also buy from us."


Voters poised to lift wages. American Prospect: “On the ballot in Washington state is an initiative that will raise the minimum wage from its current level of $9.47 an hour to $13.50 an hour by 2020. In Arizona, Colorado, and Maine, voters will consider raising the bottom wages to $12 an hour by 2020. In Arizona and Washington the measures that would establish mandatory paid sick leave. If passed, the increased minimum wages impact more than 2.1 million low-wage workers … most polls showing a majority of voters supporting the minimum wage measures. Unions and progressive groups have poured millions of dollars into ground operations while The Fairness Project, in additional to coming up with financing, has provided local groups with data-driven voter targeting models.”
CA voters may increase taxes and limit drug prices. Bloomberg: “Californians favor the measures to legalize marijuana, raise cigarette taxes and reinstate the nation’s highest income tax on the wealthy, according to polls … The USC poll found the measure on capping drug prices leading, while a majority were opposed to ending the death penalty … Los Angeles County’s ballot includes higher taxes for parks, public transit and housing for the homeless, while San Diego’s includes a sales-tax increase to expand mass transit and preserve open space. San Francisco voters will decide whether to increase their sales taxes, impose a levy on sugared beverages, and issue bonds for affordable housing.”


Dems file lawsuits against Trump charging conspiracy to suppress the vote. AP: “Democrats are accusing Republicans and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign of conspiring to intimidate voters in at least four states just days ahead of the election. In each lawsuit, the state’s Democratic party is seeking court action to preemptively block potential voter harassment or intimidation from Republican poll watchers or other observers.”
The Nation launches voter pledge effort: “… as Ari Berman has written at The Nation, the real threat to our democracy lies not from non-existent voter fraud but in voter suppression laws that threaten to prevent qualified citizens from exercising their right … That’s why The Nation and the Brennan Center for Justice have organized a voter pledge … The pledge asks Americans to take four simple steps, including voting oneself and spreading the word about 866-OUR-VOTE, a hotline available for anyone who has trouble at the polls.”


NYT digs deeper into Trump’s tax avoidance strategy: “…newly obtained documents show that in the early 1990s, as he scrambled to stave off financial ruin, Mr. Trump avoided reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income by using a tax avoidance maneuver so legally dubious his own lawyers advised him that the Internal Revenue Service would most likely declare it improper if he were audited. Thanks to this one maneuver, which was later outlawed by Congress, Mr. Trump potentially escaped paying tens of millions of dollars … Among the members of Congress who voted to finally close the loophole: Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.”
“Trump accused of tax fraud in Mexico” reports The Hill: “A Mexican government official filed a federal criminal tax fraud complaint Friday against Donald Trump in Tijuana, Mexico, related to Trump Ocean Resort, a real estate project that folded in 2009 … The complaint alleges that the development avoided paying taxes in Mexico on pre-development sales, which reportedly topped $32.5 million.”
EU begins corporate tax overhaul. WSJ: “The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, published a proposal last week for a uniform set of rules on taxing corporate profits … The commission and other European institutions are hoping to curb what they regard as creative tax reporting, tax dodging and sweetheart deals that some EU countries use to attract big employers.”


McDonald’s settles worker lawsuit. Reuters: “McDonald’s has agreed to pay $3.75 million to settle a lawsuit claiming it was liable for labor law violations by a California franchisee, marking what lawyers said was the first time the company has settled legal claims by a group of U.S. workers at one of its franchises … The settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge, comes as McDonald’s faces claims before two U.S. agencies that it is a ‘joint employer’ of workers at franchise restaurants, a designation that could make the company liable for legal violations by franchisees and require that it bargain with workers who unionize.”
Philadelphia transit workers strike. CNN:“Philadelphia public transport workers went on strike just past midnight Monday — raising concerns over voting problems with Election Day just a week away … Issues under negotiation between SEPTA and the Transit Workers Union Local 234 included pension reform, health care and wage improvements, the union said on its web site. The deadlock, though, appears to be over pension payments.”
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