The daily Progressive Breakfast serves up what progressive movement members need to know to start their day
Announced Summit Renews Focus On Job Creation
LA Times reports on planned WH jobs summit and Senate jobs bills: "...Obama said he would gather chief executives, small-business owners, economists, labor leaders and others to discuss ways to create jobs and grow the economy. The move comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told colleagues this week that he planned to push a job-creation bill in the coming weeks ... [Sen. Jack] Reed has been pushing legislation to expand work-share programs, which exist in California and 16 other states. The initiatives entice companies to cut workers' hours instead of laying them off ... Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) is drafting a bill to provide a job-creation tax credit, based on a proposal by the think tank Economic Policy Institute. Lawmakers from steel-producing states have pressed for accelerated passage of a new multiyear transportation bill to build highways and other projects."
Krugman says look to Germany for jobs ideas: "Germany came into the Great Recession with strong employment protection legislation. This has been supplemented with a 'short-time work scheme,' which provides subsidies to employers who reduce workers’ hours rather than laying them off. These measures didn’t prevent a nasty recession, but Germany got through the recession with remarkably few job losses."
Open Left promotes funding any jobs bill with TARP money: "[A jobs bill] could range in size from $100 to $200 billion, which is a wide range ... we can play a role in determining how big it becomes. Some members of Congress, including the leadership, are open to using TARP bailout money (still $317 billion of it left) as the primary funding mechanism. This would make the bill a huge political winner, as the bailout is directed away from Wall Street and toward Second Street." Open Left also criticizes plans to reduce deficit with TARP: "Don't repay Chinese bankers with the $210 billion. Give Americans jobs."
L. Randall Wray proposes a "Jobs Guarantee" program in New Deal 2.0: "The federal government would ensure a job offer to anyone ready and willing to work, at the established program compensation level (including wages and a healthy benefits package). To keep it simple, the program wage could be set at the current federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour), and then adjusted periodically as that is raised ... A permanent and universal JG program should be decentralized, with projects created and administered locally–where the workers are, and for the benefit of their communities ... businesses would be protected from unfair competition because all JG projects would have to demonstrate they’d fulfill unmet public purposes. "
Deficit to be primary focus of Jan. State of the Union address. Politico: "President Barack Obama plans to announce in next year's State of the Union address that he wants to focus extensively on cutting the federal deficit in 2010 – and will downplay other new domestic spending beyond jobs programs..."
What's Reid's Health Care Tax Plan?
Reid's tax plan to finance health care reform still unknown. NYT: "James P. Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said the majority leader had not decided whether to include the [Medicare] payroll tax increase [on workers with incomes above $250K] in the bill he takes to the Senate floor. Several Democratic senators have urged Mr. Reid to propose extending the Medicare payroll tax to income other than wages, like capital gains, dividends and rental income. Such a change could generate substantial revenue from higher-income households, who tend to derive a greater share of their income from sources other than wages."
WH not backing specific tax plan, but retains optimism for passage. Bloomberg: "White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said he expects President Barack Obama to sign a bill to overhaul the U.S. health-care system this year, as lawmakers consider a new tax on capital gains to help fund it ... Orszag wouldn’t say whether the White House supports that approach. 'We have to see the package as a whole,' he said."
Consumer Watchdog calls out Dem opponents of reform for taking corporate cash: "Dems Who Voted "No" On Health Reform Received $568K From Health Insurers & $377K From Drug Companies In 2009"
Insurers pressing employees to oppose reform. W. Post: "UnitedHealth Group, which is based in Minnesota, sent an e-mail message to its 75,000 employees on Tuesday asking them to write their senators and local newspapers in opposition to a public insurance option, alleging that 'government-run health care' will force 'millions of Americans' to drop their current coverage."
Senate Financial Reform Mark-Up Next Week
CQ reports on Dodd's schedule to pass financial reform: "The Senate Banking Committee will begin debate next week on a sweeping overhaul of financial industry regulations, though votes on the plan won’t begin until December. The markup will start Nov. 19, but for opening statements only, according to a committee memo. A revised version of the draft legislation, unveiled Tuesday by Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., will be released Nov. 16. Dodd set a Nov. 23 deadline for the submission of first-degree amendments, with consideration of those amendments set for Dec. 2."
McClatchy reports former Fed officials differ on Fed's proper reg role: "[Dodd's] approach differs greatly from the Obama administration's and the legislation going soon before the House of Representatives. Both would empower two bank regulatory agencies and give the Fed more power, not less. Which approach is right? There isn't consensus, even among former Fed governors. 'I am with Dodd on this one,' said Alice Rivlin ... 'The Fed has not distinguished itself as a regulator.' Rivlin said that bank regulation is too fragmented, which creates opportunities for banks to shop for the weakest regulator ... On the other side, Rivlin's former colleague Laurence Meyer ... called the Dodd legislation 'political posturing' by a 'hate the Fed crowd.' He warned that taking the most experienced regulators off the supervisory beat 'increases the risk of crisis going forward.'"
Fed restricting some, but not all, debit card overdraft fees. NYT: "Under the rules announced on Thursday, consumers must be given a notice that explains the debit card policies, including fees. Without permission from the consumer, the card issuer cannot charge for overdrafts at retail stores or A.T.M.’s ... Because the new rules do not cover many other types of transactions, they were criticized by consumer groups."
China Pushes For Looser Trade Rules
China pushes for more trade deals, less rules. Reuters: "In a speech to business and political leaders in Singapore, [China President] Hu made no mention of the Chinese yuan, a hot topic in global financial markets ... Arguing that protectionism stood in the way of a global economic recovery, he called for a push to conclude the Doha round of trade liberalisation talks, which have been stalled for eight years."
Mixed signals on currency policy shift. Reuters: "China's central bank said earlier this week that it will consider major currencies in guiding the yuan, suggesting a departure from the peg. The country then signed up at the end of a meeting of Asia Pacific finance ministers in Singapore on Thursday to a statement that promised 'monetary policies consistent with price stability in the context of market-oriented exchange rates'. However, Thailand's finance minister threw cold water on talk that all this could signal a policy change was on its way."
Hopes For Preliminary Climate Agreement in Copenhagen
W. Post reports WH seeking "short-term climate pact" at next month's UN meeting: "At the heart of the interim pact ... are 'political commitments' from key nations outlining their targets to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions as well as the amount of money richer countries will spend to help developing nations adapt to global warming and curb their own emissions. Such an approach could provide the incentive for major developing economies such as China and India -- both of whose leaders Obama will meet this month -- to sign onto an international climate agreement, according to experts. Leaders of the European Union, U.S. environmental groups and developing nations have pushed for a binding [long-term] treaty ... But many accept that is no longer possible now that the Senate will not vote on a climate bill this year ... Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said Tuesday that he is still trying to provide negotiators with 'a sign of political commitment on the part of the United States' by issuing a draft in the next few weeks of the climate bill he is writing with Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.)."
Wonk Room's Brad Johnson criticizes 14 Senate Dems for pushing coal-friendly pollution permit system: "...a bloc of senators with powerful coal interests in their states called for 'fair emissions allowances in climate change legislation.' Their definition of “fair,” unfortunately, turns out to be full taxpayer subsidies for global warming polluters. They call for the free allocation of pollution permits to electric utilities to be distributed 'fully based on emissions' ... The signatories on the letter defending coal-heavy polluters are Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Roland Burris (D-IL), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Udall (D-CO), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)."
Climate Progress notes further evidence that Europe's cap-and-trade system is working: "Europe made a major commitment under the Kyoto Protocol that U.S. conservatives have been telling us for years it would never achieve. In fact, the Europeans are poised to surpass their targets under the terms of the Protocol. It is no longer plausible for those who don’t want a U.S. cap-and-trade system to point to the European Trading System (ETS) as a failure. Quite the reverse ... [Further,] the EU-15 will not need to rely on offsets to meet their Kyoto target."
Leading free-trader and fair-trader write joint W. Post oped embracing carbon tariff in any carbon cap bill: "We agree that it is politically unrealistic -- and unwise -- to try to enact a cap-and-trade system that puts manufacturers in the United States at a competitive disadvantage with those operating overseas that do not produce under comparable requirements. It makes no sense to impose a cost on those producing steel, autos and other goods, only to have them shift jobs and pollution to China or India -- which are wary of binding international obligations on emission reductions."