Progressive Breakfast for March 3

Morning Message

Real-Life Frank Underwoods: Netflix, ‘House of Cards’ and Third Way

Episode One’s credits list Jim Kessler as a consultant. Kessler is, as his IMDB biography notes, the co-founder of Third Way ... Third Way has consistently misrepresented the financial condition of Social Security ... Frank’s a Democrat, like all Third Way members, and his rant is filled with exactly the kind of misinformation and manipulation that we’ve come to expect from that corporatist crowd. “Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, every entitlement program that is sucking us dry,” says Underwood in his rant, “I want it on the table.” ... At least Underwood wants to use the money to create jobs, which is more than most corporate Dems are willing to do. That’s a little disturbing: Real-life Third Wayers seem less responsive to the public than a fictional sociopath.

End In Sight For Shutdown Standoff

House GOP leader suggests “clean” bill to fund Homeland Security will pass soon. The Hill: “‘I think a clean bill comes back from the Senate, probably arrives tomorrow, no later than the next day, and I think it’ll pass the House. I think it’ll go on the floor, there will be a significant bipartisan majority in favor of funding Homeland Security,’ [Rep. Tom] Cole said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’ …”

Politico reports vote could happen today: “The House GOP will discuss at their morning meeting Tuesday using a rarely used procedure — called Rule 22 — which would allow a Republican or Democrat to call up the Senate’s bill. Depending on the reaction … the legislation could be brought up as early as this afternoon … Rule 22 is complicated, but it essentially stipulates that since the two chambers cannot get to a conference negotiation before DHS funding expires, the House reverses its position of disagreeing with the Senate’s legislation and concurs with it.”

Funding Homeland Security might risk GOP revolt. W. Post: “If the House takes up the Senate’s bill, it could escalate GOP political tensions in the lower chamber … Speculation has run rampant in recent days about whether Boehner’s job is in jeopardy.”

Wall Street Feeling The Pinch

Consumer banks faring better than investment banks, reports NYT: “Investors are betting that banks like Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, which focus primarily on American consumers, will grow much faster than firms like Goldman Sachs, which are concentrated on Wall Street business. JPMorgan is a particularly stark indication of the trends because it has maintained dominant operations in both consumer and investment banking … while profits at JPMorgan Chase rose to a record level last year, profits from the investment bank fell 16 percent from the previous year to the lowest level since 2011 … The regulatory pressure on the investment bank remains strong…”

Warren Buffett slams investment banks. NYT: “Mr. Buffett used his annual letter not only to describe the performance of Berkshire Hathaway but also to warn — or educate — his faithful followers about ‘the Street’s denizens’ and how they ‘are always ready to suspend disbelief when dubious maneuvers are used to manufacture rising per-share earnings, particularly if these acrobatics produce mergers that generate huge fees for investment bankers.'”

Breakfast Sides

Robert Reich and Richard Trumka demand open debate on TPP, in LAT oped: “A fast-tracked TPP would lock in a rigged set of economic rules, lasting potentially forever, before most Americans — let alone some members of Congress — have had a chance to understand it thoroughly. If the administration gets fast-track authority, it could hand a completed deal to Congress, which must then vote yes or no, without amendments and little debate, within 90 days. It would be a grave mistake for Congress to authorize fast-tracking this giant trade deal.”

Republicans may try cutting food stamps again. HuffPost: “The GOP has discussed using reconciliation as a way to repeal Obamacare or to do tax reform. Now, some Democrats and food stamp advocates are warning that the Republican-controlled Congress could use the obscure budget maneuver to reduce food stamp assistance.”

Former GOP congresswoman Mary Bono pushes Congress to pass clean energy tax credits, in The Hill oped: “Congress should pass the Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension, extend the solar investment and biodiesel tax credits, and give the renewable energy industry the legal and regulatory certainty that it deserves.”