Progressive Breakfast for October 17

Morning Message

The Republican Outsourcers

In 2012, Republicans nominated for president a private equity firm CEO with a record of outsourcing jobs. It did not go well. In several states for the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans have done it again. And it may cost them three gubernatorial seats and possibly control of the Senate.

Clamor Rising To End Austerity

Anti-austerity backlash in Europe. NYT: “…many of the largest European countries are now rebelling against the German gospel of belt-tightening and demanding more radical steps to reverse their slumping fortunes … France, which has in modern times been Germany’s indispensable partner in European crisis management, is now in near revolt, and President François Hollande has joined forces with [Italy PM] Renzi, who has presented an expansionary 2015 budget that will cut taxes despite pressure from Brussels to meet deficit targets.”

Markets demanding more government, not less, observes NYT’s Paul Krugman: “…interest rates on long-term U.S. government debt … have fallen sharply. This tells us that markets aren’t worried about default, but that they are worried about persistent economic weakness, which will keep the Fed from raising the short-term interest rates it controls … markets are practically begging governments to borrow and spend, say on infrastructure; interest rates on index bonds are barely above zero, so that financing for roads, bridges, and sewers would be almost free.”

Wal-mart workers strike for better wages. NYT: “On Thursday, organizers of a group called Our Walmart took to the streets in New York, Washington and Phoenix to draw attention to their campaign to change labor practices in retailing and other low-wage industries like fast-food restaurants … 14 Walmart employees and 12 others … were arrested and charged with civil disobedience Thursday after staging a protest outside the Manhattan residence of Alice Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, demanding that Walmart set a base pay of $15 for all its workers…”

Cost of raising kids squeezing middle class, argues Drs. Adam Schickedanz and Neal Halfon in LAT oped: “Higher-income families spend six times more than working-class families on child care and educational resources … The public education infrastructure, designed generations ago to drive a strong economy and give every child an equal footing for success, is crumbling from neglect … Two-thirds of preschoolers don’t have access to high-quality child care … It’s time we made parenthood affordable again…”

Midterm Update

Contraception divide in Iowa Senate debate. W. Post: “[Democratic Rep. Bruce] Braley slammed [Republican Joni] Ernst for supporting a Supreme Court decision allowing some employers to opt out of covering certain contraception on religious grounds. Ersnt did not dispute that, but added that she supports women having access to birth control.”

Colorado Senate GOP nominee Rep. Cory Gardner struggles to explain past voting record. Denver Post: “Republican Senate hopeful Cory Gardner can’t recall voting for a single Democrat although he was one for eight years. Yuma County election records show Gardner registered as a Democrat in 1992 and switched his voter registration in 2000 … Democrats at the time speculated that Gardner, who had made it clear he wanted to run for office some day, realized he couldn’t get elected from the conservative Eastern Plains with a ‘D’ behind his name.”

Is Georgia turning purple? Slate’s Jamelle Bouie: “Nunn has opened a small margin over her opponent, Republican David Perdue, with a 3-point lead in the most recent poll of the race. And while polling averages still show her behind … Nunn has the advantage of a powerful ground operation and rapid demographic changes. … Regardless of how Nunn fares, it’s clear that Georgia will enter 2016 as a competitive state. And if blue Virginia was a serious wound for Republicans in 2008 and 2012, then purple Georgia will be a catastrophe for the party in 2016.”

Gas price drop doesn’t seem to help Dems. NYT: “If prices at the pump were rising, the political clamor would be deafening, yet falling prices have barely issued a peep … the driving force isn’t weak demand but supply … Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – has turned the United States from an energy consumer to an exporter, transforming its economy and flooding a global market … Democrats, wary of a left flank that is not enamored with the fracking revolution, have not exactly been claiming credit. Republicans, insistent that the Obama administration has held said revolution back, have let the trend go unmentioned.”