Monday, November 21, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Taking on Trump: Lessons from the Reagan Years


Robert Borosage
Taking on Trump: Lessons from the Reagan Years
Democrats might learn something from the experience of an earlier Democratic Congress facing a shocking victory by an unlikely candidate. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was scorned as too inexperienced and reactionary for the presidency. Like Trump, Reagan ran a populist campaign laced with clear racial posturing. Like Trump, he was the outsider, defeating the establishment’s candidates ... Democrats were focused on legislation and on congressional vote counts. Reagan was transforming our politics, launching a conservative era ... [Democrats] can win battles and still lose the war.


Former VP Biden aide Ronald Klain tells Democrats Trump’s infrastructure plan is “a trap”: “…Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors … desperately needed infrastructure projects that are not attractive to private investors — municipal water-system overhauls, repairs of existing roads, replacement of bridges that do not charge tolls — get no help … Democrats should know that every dollar spent on the Trump tax scheme to enrich construction investors and contractors is a dollar that will later be cut from schools, hospitals and seniors.”
NYT’s Paul Krugman adds: ” If you want to build infrastructure, build infrastructure. It’s hard to see any reason for a roundabout, indirect method that would offer a few people extremely sweet deals, and would therefore provide both the means and the motive for large-scale corruption … Cronyism and self-dealing are going to be the central theme of this administration…”
Republicans still don’t know what’s in it, or how to pay it. Politico: “…despite its eye-popping $1 trillion price tag, it’s unclear to infrastructure finance experts whether his plan would involve much, or even any, additional federal spending on top of the five-year, $305 billion transportation bill that Congress approved last year. Trump advisers walking in and out of Trump Tower in the past week have floated some ideas on how to pay for the plan, which has also seemed to morph day-by-day. The Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore, one of Trump’s tax advisers, pitched GOP lawmakers Tuesday on a one-time 10 percent tax on offshore business income, the kind of tax break that Republicans maintain would encourage companies to bring their overseas earnings back to the U.S … Steven Mnuchin, a leading contender for Treasury secretary, told reporters the transition team was ‘looking at the creation of an infrastructure bank,’ … but Trump’s presidential campaign had blasted Clinton for proposing the same idea…”


Trump torn between two camps on trade. WSJ: “One group, which appeared ascendant in the closing weeks of the campaign, largely rejects mainstream economic thinking on trade and believes eliminating trade deficits should be an overarching goal of U.S. policy … The opposing camp is closer to the traditional GOP center of gravity on taxes and regulation and includes many policy veterans staffing the transition team and advising Vice President-elect Mike Pence … ‘It is the supply-siders versus the zero-sum crowd,’ said Andy Laperriere … Laperriere said markets aren’t taking seriously enough Mr. Trump’s tough talk on trade, in which he equates trade deficits with theft.”
Repatriation plan “Will Benefit Investors Not Jobseekers.” Bloomberg: “… It’s not a shortage of funds that has held back job creation by U.S. companies … Asked what he would do with repatriated cash should the Trump administration slash taxes on foreign profits, Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins said in a phone interview last week: ‘We do have various scenarios in terms of what we’d do but you can assume we’ll focus on the obvious ones — buy-backs, dividends and M&A activities.’ … It’s also highly unlikely that companies with factories overseas will shift meaningful production to the U.S.”
“Trump Brings in Wall Street Veterans to Talk Top Treasury Post” reports Bloomberg: “Meetings at the Trump National Golf Club [included] billionaire investor Wilbur Ross and Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone Group. David McCormick, president of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, also met with Trump … All three are in the running for Treasury secretary”
“Don’t Bet On a Crash From a Trump Trade War” argues Bloomberg’s Noah Smith: “…it’s no simple matter to predict the effect of trade restrictions on economic activity … “Strategic trade theory” suggests that while severe trade wars are bad, mild tariffs and other barriers can actually benefit the domestic economy. As is often the case in economics, no one really knows whether that theory is a good one.”


House Republicans draw up wish list. Politico: ” On the early to do-list, according to leadership insiders: repealing a host of late-issued Obama administration regulations,muscling through tax reform and dismantling Obamacare … House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a major push to repeal President Barack Obama’s most recent regulations, using the Congressional Review Act … The 1996 law is written such that the 60-legislative-day clock resets at the beginning of each Congress for all rules enacted in the 60 legislative days prior to the final day of congressional adjournment … That’s why leaders are already seeking to leave town early in December…”
But Republicans will be busy keeping government open. The Hill: “The House GOP caucus decided in a closed-door meeting Thursday morning to push back all major government spending negotiations until March … The decision to avoid any late deal making with President Obama was requested by Trump administration and cheered by hard-line conservatives. But it will create a major wrinkle in Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president, with spending bills eating up floor time that could be used for other legislation.”


Pushback against Ellison for DNC chair. Politico: “The Minnesota congressman and Bernie Sanders ally is facing growing resistance to the idea of electing another party chairman who is a sitting member of Congress … The real reason it’s being discussed, Sanders [said[, is because it’s a way for Ellison’s critics to undermine his candidacy. ‘I don’t believe it was being raised when Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] took the job.'”
WSJ on who votes: “The more than 400 DNC members who will choose the party’s next leader lean toward the party’s Clintonian establishment and are less likely to be swayed by insurgents like Mr. Sanders. The DNC membership is hardly a representative sample of the country. According to a roster of committee members published Nov. 17, only California, with 32, has more DNC members than the 26 from Washington, D.C. Democrats living overseas are represented with nine DNC members, while 36 states have eight or fewer. With so few voting members of the Democratic Party deciding the party’s leadership, the race is closer to a student council election than a Democratic contest.”


Obama may not stay quiet. Politico quotes: “… if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.”
Sen. Warren steps up. Politico: “…the irreverent first-term senator is one of the few with the stature to break through the muddle, and her move to promote her brand of no-apologies progressive warfare could have longer-term implications for the party’s direction, an emerging dynamic that’s cheered by liberals but far from embraced by the whole of the party.”


Dakota pipeline protesters attacked by police. NBC News: “Tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of 400 protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline late Sunday after clashes that authorities described as a ‘riot’ prompted by ‘very aggressive’ activists … Videos posted to Facebook by activists showed authorities spray a continuous stream of water over demonstrators in below-freezing temperatures but sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller told NBC News that no water cannon were deployed. He said the water was being sprayed from a fire truck to control blazes as they were being set by activists … Walker River Paiute member Atsa E’sha Hoferer, who identifies as a ‘water protector,’ said he was hit with tear-gas and sprayed with water. Hoferer said demonstrators were lighting fires to provide warmth in the 25-degree weather.”

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