Progressive Breakfast for July 21

Morning Message

Snakes and Ladders at Netroots Nation

At the emotional high point of this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Rev. William Barber II concluded his roof-raising opening-night invocation by asking, “Can I be a preacher for three minutes?” ... The reverend spoke of the “snake line,” above which dangerous reptiles cannot live ... “In America,” he said, “we’ve got to get our policies above the snake line! We’ve got to get to higher ground.” ... The word “snake line” immediately entered the conference lexicon. By late evening it was affectionately being used in everything from philosophical debates to bar conversation ... This small, lighthearted gesture rekindled the hope that an independent progressive movement still lives on, inside and outside Netroots Nation, in elevated places where reptiles fear to tread.

Republicans Prepare Child Migrant Proposal

House GOP set to introduce child migrant legislation this week. Politico: “The seven-member group established by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already missed a few self-imposed deadlines … The group is likely to recommend revising a 2008 anti-trafficking law to effectively speed up deportations of the migrant children, boosting National Guard troops at the border, and bolstering border-security measures …”

Flow of children starting to decline. NYT: “Bus operators here say they are noticing a decline in the number of unaccompanied children headed to the border. The police have detained fewer young migrants at checkpoints. And the United States Border Patrol has reported a dip in the number of children and families apprehended in Texas, where migrants have been arriving in droves for months … officials are hopeful that [the flow] may be slowing as new efforts by the authorities to stop the flow take root and as word spreads about the perils of the journey to the United States, where migrants are unlikely to find legal refuge.”

“US communities diverge on child migrant response” reports AP: “As thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into South Texas, community leaders from Dallas to Los Angeles to Syracuse, N.Y., have offered to set up temporary shelters to relieve the Army bases, holding cells and converted warehouses at the border. The outreach offers stand in sharp contrast to other places around the country, where some protested having immigrants from Central America come to their towns … Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday that HHS officials will review Camp Edwards military base on Cape Cod and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee to see if either is suitable for holding as many as 1,000 children …”

“FEMA is Seeking Empty Big-Box Stores to House Migrant Children” laments TNR’s Lauren Markham: “In recent weeks, FEMA representatives have sent mass emails to advocacy networks throughout the country soliciting potential detention facilities and offering guidelines for acceptable spaces … Suggestions for potentially workable locations? ‘Office space, warehouse, big box store, shopping mall with interior concourse, event venues, hotel or dorms, aircraft hangers’—provided that they are vacant and able to be leased. Since the failures of Hurricane Katrina, faith in FEMA to adequately respond to large-scale crisis situations has remained shaky at best. These pleas for empty big box stores do not restore much confidence.”

What Debt Crisis?

Media mentioning deficit less. W. Post’s Al Kamen: “A count by our colleague Alice Crites illustrates how the issue gained media traction – – especially after the Bush/Obama stimulus packages to mitigate Bush’s Great Recession – and how much it’s faded from the front pages. (We’re hearing that reporters who’ve had a great run covering this issue are quite glum these days.) So what happened? Simple answer, of course, is that the deficit is way down and, for now, no longer a big problem.”

There never was a debt crisis, says NYT’s Paul Krugman: “The budget office predicts that this year’s federal deficit will be just 2.8 percent of G.D.P., down from 9.8 percent in 2009 … there has been a dramatic slowdown in the growth of health care costs … As a result, despite aging, debt in 2039 — a quarter-century from now! — is projected to be no higher, as a percentage of G.D.P., than the debt America had at the end of World War II … what would it take to avoid any rise in the debt ratio? Surprisingly little … [It] wouldn’t require any fundamental change in our major social programs.”

JPMorgan Chase Threatens To Stop Offering Mortgages

JPMorgan Chase threatens Federal Housing Administration. Bloomberg: “The JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) chief executive officer, whose bank recently paid more than $600 million in federal fines for originating $200 million in flawed FHA loans, wants clearer rules spelling out when the government will demand … triple penalties. Without that, Dimon suggested on an earnings call last week, he might stop originating FHA mortgages altogether.”