Progressive Breakfast for October 27

Morning Message Dave Johnson

“Underbanked” Report Shows Need For Postal Banking

Millions of Americans can’t get bank accounts, so they can’t even cash a check ... These millions are forced to turn to predators like the payday loan and check cashing industry. Even those who can get full-service accounts are scammed by the likes of Wells Fargo. Meanwhile "We the People" are prevented by our captured-by-Wall-Street Congress from setting up the obvious solution that would solve so many problems: Postal Banking.

Trump Campaign Brags About Voter Suppression

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” Trump official tells Bloomberg: “Instead of expanding the electorate, [campaign cheif Steve Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it … Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters. The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women. And her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up…”

Electorate turns optimistic. CNN: “More Americans than at any time in Barack Obama’s presidency now say that things in the United States are going well … 54% say things in the country today are going well, 46% badly. That’s a reversal from late July … Among Clinton’s supporters, almost 9-in-10 say they’re going well … Obama’s [55%] approval rating now outpaces Ronald Reagan’s 51% approval rating at this time in 1988 and is nearly on par with Bill Clinton’s 57% mark in October 2000…”

Some state legislatures could shift to Dems. Reuters: “Republicans, who have dominated control of legislatures since the mid-term election in 2010, currently hold the majority in 67 of the country’s 98 partisan legislative chambers, while Democrats have 31 … More than 80 percent of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats are up for grabs on Nov. 8 … ‘More than three-fourths of the time the party winning the White House also makes gains in state legislatures.’ … said Tim Storey, a NCSL elections analyst.”

Conservatives Reeling

Kochs in trouble. Politico: “…, the deep-pocketed network’s forays into federal elections and policy fights had resulted in ‘very little success,’ the managers [of the Koch network] were told by top Koch official Mark Holden … Holden predicted ‘donor malaise’ in 2017, and said the network was consolidating its groups to become ‘more effective’ and to ‘avoid drama.’ … there are mounting questions about whether their vaunted political and advocacy operation may have peaked.”

Conservatives debate ousting Speaker Paul Ryan. Politico: “Some members of the [Freedom Caucus] are flirting with mutiny in private conversations with one another. Others are considering quitting the group if the caucus takes such an extreme measure. A third cluster wants to use its leverage over the upcoming vote for speaker to secure rules changes that would empower conservatives. But no one seems to have the slightest clue as to what they’ll actually end up doing.”

Union Divide Over Dakota Access Pipeline

Unions divide over Dakota Access Pipeline. The Hill: “A Wednesday letter from Terry O’Sullivan to the members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is the latest to highlight a wide rift … ‘The facts are on our side, yet in the past month, we have witnessed vocal opposition from groups, including some self-righteous unions, who know little about the project and have no job equity in it,’ O’Sullivan wrote to his members. ‘These unions have sided with THUGS against trade unionists.’ … The letter comes in response to a September missive in opposition to the project from the Communications Workers of America, National Nurses United, Amalgamated Transit Union, American Postal Workers Union and Service Employees International Union, all of whom O’Sullivan names specifically in his letter.”

Uber tries to avoid union organizing battles. Bloomberg: “…Uber says that by the end of the year, drivers in New York City will be able to appeal deactivations to panels of other drivers in meetings refereed by the American Arbitration Association … The drivers’ advocates will be provided by a quasi union called the Independent Drivers Guild, which Uber funds … Uber unveiled the IDG in New York this spring in partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers … The IDG isn’t a traditional union. Drivers didn’t vote for it. It has no formal collective-bargaining rights. And its very existence helps the company resist formal unionization…”

Cook County Approves $13 Minimum Wage

Cook County, IL approves $13 minimum wage. Chicago Tribune: “Suburban Cook County has joined Chicago in adopting a $13 hourly minimum wage, a move critics say is better left to the state but proponents contend is a response to the state’s inaction … The move, which comes more than a year after Chicago implemented the first phase of a minimum wage increase, adds Cook County to the growing list of government bodies seeking to help lift people out of poverty by raising the wages of the lowest-paid workers.”

Pascal Brixel of The People’s Lobby explains how organizers pushed it through, in “Victory is possible even in politically unfavorable circumstances—but only if progressive movements are prepared to make both radical demands and strategic compromises. In this radical and strategic spirit, the campaign that produced Wednesday’s minimum-wage increase was based on an original and challenging idea, which grew out of reflection on the connection between low wages and government budgets…”

Breakfast Sides

EPA pursuing drinking water regs. The Hill: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is outlining its plans to overhaul its regulations on lead contamination in drinking water … EPA officials published an 18-page white paper Wednesday previewing potential revisions … Changes the agency is considering include requiring more proactive replacement of lead water pipes, beefing up mandates for corrosion control technology, changing water sampling standards to better detect high lead levels, and putting a new focus on lead exposure to pregnant women and young children.”

The American Prospect’s Michael Stump proposes the “Progressive Tax Reform You’ve Never Heard Of”: “‘Profit shifting’ is the biggest lawful tax avoidance strategy in the United States and the world … There is a remedy that fixes profit shifting, adopts a territorial tax, and solidifies tax revenue, by adapting a variation of the corporate tax system already used at the state level. This approach is called ‘sales factor apportionment’…”