Progressive Breakfast for July 6

Morning Message

The Greeks Say No

The Greek people have stood up. By an overwhelming margin, they rejected the harsh, unending, austerity that the “Troika” – the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank – dictated for them. They stood with the leaders they had elected to demand an arrangement that would offer some hope. The barely disguised effort of Europe’s powers to topple the Syriza government has failed. Events will move rapidly now. Here are four things to remember in the swirl of meetings, pronouncements and smash-ups...

Eyes On Germany After Greek Vote

Greece delivers resounding “No” vote, rejecting European bailout terms. NYT: “The no votes carried virtually every district in the country, handing a sweeping victory to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a leftist who came to power in January vowing to reject new austerity measures … Mr. Tsipras went on television briefly to say he would resume negotiations immediately. He said that the vote was not a mandate for ‘rupture’ with Europe.

Germany and France prime ministers meet today over response. WSJ: “… a deal might secure the required approval of the German parliament thanks to opposition votes and those of Ms. Merkel’s Social Democratic coalition allies, it would face considerable opposition in the chancellor’s own conservative ranks … A sweetened bailout … would invalidate the very rationale for Germany’s approach to the crisis: that it can only be fixed if uncompetitive economies are rebuilt and the eurozone’s fiscal rules never bent again.”

Greece finance minister steps down after vote. AP: “Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned Monday, saying he was told shortly after Greece’s decisive referendum result that some other eurozone finance ministers and the country’s other creditors would appreciate his not attending the ministers’ meetings. Varoufakis said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had judged that his resignation ‘might help achieve a deal’ and that he was leaving the finance ministry for that reason.”

NYT’s Paul Krugman praises Greek vote: “A ‘yes’ vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked … The landslide victory of the ‘no’ side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.”

Congress Faces Highway Cliff

Congress returns to grapple with highway funding, Ex-Im Bank. AP: “Near the top of the list is renewing highway funding before the government loses authority July 31 … The highway bill probably also will be the way lawmakers try to renew the disputed federal Export-Import Bank …”

Republicans are blocking nearly all of Obama’s judicial picks. Politico: “More than two dozen federal courts have declared ‘judicial emergencies’ because of excessive caseloads caused by vacancies … When the Senate returns after the July Fourth break, the chamber will vote to confirm its first circuit court nominee of the year, Kara Stoll.”

Debt ceiling may be reached in December. Politico: “Surging tax receipts are likely to push the deadline to raise the nation’s debt limit, once thought to come as soon as October, off until around December and maybe even beyond … The later date puts key congressional decisions on fiscal matters and the debt uncomfortably close to the start of the presidential-primary season …”

Expect More Dark Money

IRS expected to be lax about non-profit activity in presidential campaign. NYT: “…at least eight Republican presidential candidates, including leading contenders like Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have aligned with nonprofit groups set up to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters are considering a similar tactic … While the nonprofit groups are supposed to limit their political activity, the I.R.S. appears powerless to stop the onslaught of money coursing through them.”

Gov. Scott Walker racks up right-wing legislative wins in advance of presidential announcement. Bloomberg: “Among provisions likely to be passed in Madison during the closing days of the session are drug testing for some residents on public assistance, reduced tenure protection for university professors and a larger private-school voucher program.”

Some Republicans distance themselves from Trump on immigration. CNN: “Jeb Bush said Donald Trump doesn’t represent the views of most Republicans … ‘I was offended by his remarks,’ former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said … Huckabee softened his stance, saying he would ‘never besmirch all the people who come here.'”

Summertime Blues For Teens

Teens not finding summer jobs. NYT: “Since 2000, the share of 16- to 19-year-olds who are working has plummeted by 40 percent, with fewer than a third of American teenagers in a job last summer. Their share of the overall work force has never been this low, and about 1.1 million of them would like a job but can’t find one … Experts are struggling to figure out exactly why…”

Conflicting economic data on wage growth. WSJ: “Average hourly earnings, the best-known measure of workers’ pay, were $24.95 in June, up a scant 2% over the past year … But economists generally prefer a different measure of wages known as the employment cost index [which] showed labor costs rose 2.6% in the first quarter … the more robust figure could suggest broad-based wage gains for workers … That could boost confidence among Fed officials, who are looking for progress in the labor market and signs of inflation.”