Progressive Breakfast for September 16

Morning Message

The Middle Class and Working Poor’s Lifelong Losing Game, in 10 Slides

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. If that’s true, the following ten images could provide the lyrics for a thousand blues songs. The graphs are taken from series of recent reports which, when considered together, create a paint-by-numbers picture of the lifelong losing game faced by working Americans. The chorus to our blues song goes like this: The middle the class and working poor are increasingly trapped in a cycle of economic decline, a downward slope which stretches from their golden youth to their sunset years. And there’s no way out, unless we find one for ourselves.

GOP Ready To Keep Government Open

House GOP coalesces around bill to keep government open, fund Syria rebels. Bloomberg: “The House majority leader said he anticipates bipartisan support for a measure granting President Barack Obama’s request to arm and equip Syrian rebels under an approach that lets skeptical lawmakers register their concerns. The House plans to begin debate today on the measure offered yesterday as an amendment to a must-pass bill to fund the U.S. government through Dec. 11. Separate votes on the amendment and the bill, H.J.Res. 124, are planned tomorrow … The spending measure also will include a nine-month extension of the Export-Import Bank…”

“…but congressional leaders have signaled that they will postpone a full debate on the use of military force until after the midterm elections,” notes W. Post.

Gala 2014 banner PB/PMU-EB

Solving Climate Change Costs Nothing

Global commission finds climate crisis solution may cost nothing. NYT: “…an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure. When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money …”

W. Post sums up the report’s recommendations: “1. An end to fossil fuel subsidies, imposition of new taxes on carbon and the adoption of new rules to encourage the growth of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. 2. Financial innovations to encourage governments and the private sector to invest in badly needed upgrades of public infrastructure, which are likely to be more energy-efficient. And 3. More support for low-carbon innovators, including strong patent protections and more public spending on research and development.”

Bill McKibben and People’s Climate March organizers explain “Why We March”: “We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey…”

Breakfast Sides

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu urge more primary challenges, in Politico Magazine: “Our lesson to others is simple: Do as we did. We hope a new crop of Americans runs against other Democratic governors, members of Congress and local politicians who have abandoned their constituents …”

Inversion reform still possible, after Election Day. Reuters: “‘I am concentrating on building the proposal that can get Democrats and Republicans to stop the parade of inversions during the lame duck session,’ said Senator Ron Wyden, referring to the last session of this Congress in November and December.”

Rate of uninsured falling. NYT: “The number of uninsured Americans fell by about 8 percent to 41 million people in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2013, a drop that represented about 3.8 million people … Larry Levitt, a director at the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research organization, said the first-quarter findings ‘dramatically understate the effect’ of the law, as almost half of the people who signed up for insurance during the open enrollment period did so in March and did not get their insurance cards until later.”

“U.S. Said to Complain to China Over Anti-Monopoly Crackdown” reports Bloomberg: “U.S. expressions of concern that China is selectively applying anti-monopoly laws to discriminate against foreign companies escalated, with the Treasury chief sending a letter on the matter to his counterpart in Beijing. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in the note to Vice Premier Wang Yang that China is using competition law to force companies to cut prices its consumers pay for products relying on foreign intellectual property…”