Progressive Breakfast for October 24

Morning Message

From Secret McConnell Audio, 12 Destructive Things a GOP Senate Will Do

McConnell’s been frank about what the GOP would do with the Senate – at least when he thinks nobody’s listening. This quote comes from audio, obtained by Undercurrent’s Lauren Windsor, of a talk McConnell gave to a Koch Brothers group in August: “Most things in the Senate require 60 (votes) … but not the budget. So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. What does that mean? … No money can be spent to do this or do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board …” McConnell attacked the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill in further audio obtained by this week by Windsor, calling it “Obamacare for banks.” McConnell said he would “definitely” defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calling it “the biggest part of the Dodd/Frank bill.”

GOP Learns To Love Social Security

Republican candidates suddenly embracing Social Security near Election Day. W. Post: “Cutting federal health and retirement spending has long been at the top of the GOP agenda. But with Republicans in striking distance of winning the Senate, they are suddenly blasting the idea of trimming Social Security benefits … ‘[Obama] is no longer trying to achieve a grand bargain,’ said Roger Hickey, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future. ‘So now Bowles-Simpson is simply a way that politicians went on the record as being in favor of cutting Social Security and Medicare. And now it’s something that can be used against them.'”

Dems worry young voters won’t show up. The Hill: “Plagued by unemployment and an overall economy anxiety that has seen many take jobs beneath their qualifications, the generation of 18- to 34-year-olds feels a sense of disappointment in the party it helped boost in previous elections … Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist said … young voters [are] ‘very cynical about the political process and less likely to vote than they had in the past.’ Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, agreed… ‘With many of them still trying to put together a number of jobs and just trying to get by, the Democrats have failed to really lock in their support in any kind of realigning moment.'”

But “Republican Governors Just Might Save the Democratic Senate” says NY Mag’s Jonathan Chait: “North Carolina and Kansas are the two states where Democrats seem to be dramatically over-performing the fundamentals … North Carolina and Kansas have in common Republican governors who have enacted sweeping, controversial agendas that have turned their party’s Senate candidates into quasi-incumbents.”

Minimum Wage Momentum

Red states prepare to raise minimum wage. USA Today: “…on Election Day, five states — Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota — will vote on minimum wage hikes. All but Illinois are heavily Republican. Tellingly, the Election Day ballot measures have generated little opposition. Indeed, they have garnered support from some key Republicans … States with elevated minimum wages often find that the higher pay can boost worker income, modestly decrease disparities in wealth, and decrease the money spent on public assistance.”

Labor Secretary Perez slams NJ Gov. Chris Christie on minimum wage. Bloomberg: “‘Chris Christie’s got his head in the sand if he’s getting tired about the minimum wage,’ Perez said … ‘Chris Christie needs to talk to his economists, who will tell him that 70 percent of GDP growth is consumption.’ Christie [had said] he was ‘tired of hearing about the minimum wage,’ adding that parents ‘aspire to a greater, growing America, where their children have the ability to make much more money and have much greater success than they have, and that’s not about a higher minimum wage.'”

Breakfast Sides

Hillary Clinton dings big banks while stumping in MN. Politico quotes: “[Sen. Al [Franken] has pushed for more and better oversight of the big banks and risky financial activity. And there’s more work for him to do. Even before the big [economic] meltdown, a lot of us were calling for regulating derivatives and other complex financial products, closing the carried-interest loophole, getting control of skyrocketing CEO pay, addressing other excesses, and we’ve made progress. But there’s a lot of unfinished business to make sure we don’t end up once again with big banks taking big risks and leaving taxpayers holding the bag.”

EU sets high bar for carbon cuts as international talks churn. Time: “Leaders in Europe haveagreed that 28 nations will cut greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The deal comes a year ahead of international climate negotiations next year and is designed to set an example for the rest of the world.”