Progressive Breakfast for March 31

Morning Message

Who Wins the Money Primary?

For presidential wannabes, the money primary has already begun, as aspirants troop from one gathering of the wealthy to another. Jeb – “my own man” – Bush hasn’t announced formally yet, but is expected to do well on the Republican side, tapping his family’s deep well of contacts. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is likely to set records, drawing on the Clinton funding circles. But they won’t be the big winners of the money primary. The big winner of the money primary, as a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates, is the money.

Fast-Food Worker Movement Aims High

“[T]he fast-food movement’s next big wave of protests … is now scheduled for April 15″ reports NYT: “…the organizers hope[ to] turn the fast-food workers’ fight for a $15 hourly wage into a broad national movement of all low-wage workers that combined the spirit of Depression-era labor organizing with the uplifting power of Dr. King’s civil rights campaign.”

Robert Reich details “The Rise of the Working Poor and the Non-Working Rich”: “The ranks of the working poor are growing because wages at the bottom have dropped … the pay of the bottom fifth is falling closer to the minimum wage … America’s legendary ‘self-made’ men and women are fast being replaced by wealthy heirs. Six of today’s ten wealthiest Americans are heirs to prominent fortunes.”

Katrina vanden Heuvel slams TPP in W. Post column: “The TPP is a classic expression of the way the rules are fixed to benefit the few and not the many. It has been negotiated in secret, but 500 corporations and banks sit on advisory committees with access to various chapters … Although corporations are wired in, the American people are locked out of the TPP negotiations.”

Rahm, Fueled By Big Money, Pads Lead

With one week to go, big lead for Mayor Emanuel in latest Chicago Tribune poll. Politico: “Emanuel leads Garcia, 58 percent to 30 percent … In the previous Tribune/APC Research poll, conducted March 6-11, Emanuel led, 51 percent to 37 percent … Emanuel’s ad campaign appears to have taken a toll on Garcia’s numbers “

Chicago Tribune maps Emanuel’s donors and benefits they’ve received from the city.

Garcia campaign may be model for future progressive challenges. Time: “Garcia, who until recently was a county commissioner with nearly zero name recognition, ran an unapologetically populist campaign and won enough of the vote in February’s mayoral election to force Emanuel into a runoff … Garcia’s unexpected success story has become a national rallying cry for liberals who would like to see a candidate challenge Clinton, the former Secretary of State and presumed Democratic nominee, from the left.”

Sen. Sanders endorses Garcia reports The Hill.

Breakfast Sides

Senate Democratic leader-in-waiting Chuck Schumer reaches out to liberals. The Hill: “Schumer has endorsed expanding Social Security and criticized a 12-nation trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration. The moves are meant to reassure liberals anxious about the prospect of Schumer succeeding Sen. Harry Reid … In saying they’d rather see a more liberal senator succeed Reid, Robert Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future, and other advocates cited Schumer’s support for raising the threshold for repealing the Bush-era tax rates for couples from $250,000 to $1 million … But Borosage noted that Schumer has responded to criticism from the left by adopting more populist stances, giving Warren or any other potential liberal challenger little room to attack.”

WH proposes major transportation funding bill tied to corporate tax break. The Hill: “The Obama administration is sending a six year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress with lawmakers struggling to beat a May 31 deadline to renew federal infrastructure spending … [The bill] would mostly be paid for with revenue from taxing corporate overseas profits. The proposal, known as ‘repatriation,’ would require companies to bring back earnings to the United States at a 14 percent tax rate, generating an estimated $238 billion in revenue … [Republicans] criticized the Obama administration’s proposal for making the payments mandatory instead of voluntary.”

WH plans 28% cut in carbon emissions. AP: “The United States will pledge Tuesday to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28% as part of a global treaty … Most nations will miss Tuesday’s informal deadline to convey their contributions to the U.N. … By announcing its commitment early, the U.S. hopes to dial up the political pressure on other countries to take equally ambitious steps to cut emissions … In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in December.”

Automatic voter registration catching on. Oregon’s Statesman Journal: “Gov. Kate Brown’s ‘Motor Voter’ law received significant national attention when it passed this month, and it has already found its first adopter in California, whose secretary of state said this week he plans to push for the same law … Brown signed the law on March 16, creating a new policy that requires the Oregon DMV to share information about potential voters with the Secretary of State’s office. Qualified people will be automatically registered.”