Progressive Breakfast for November 20

Morning Message

The GOP Tax Plan: Make America Grieve Again

Rather than "make America great again," Congressional Republicans will make America grieve if their tax plan passes, as even more family-supporting factory jobs get shipped offshore to take advantage of the new tax rate of zero. Under the GOP proposal, corporations like Carrier and Rexnord can benefit from protections provided by American patents, courts and armed forces, while moving their factories from the United States to Mexico. Or to other low-wage, high-polluting countries like China. Or to countries that charge little or no corporate tax. Once there, instead of paying the new, super-low 20 percent corporate rate Republicans propose for U.S-based producers, the expat factories will pay no taxes to the United States. Nothing. Not a cent.

How GOP Tax Cuts Would Reshape U.S. Economy

GOP tax cuts would reshape the US economy. New York Magazine: “”Tax policy is about a lot more than generating revenue. Every tax code rewards certain kinds of economic activity and disincentives others. In the United States, we are especially reliant on tax incentives for shaping our industrial policy and providing social welfare. The tax bills sprinting through the House and Senate would restructure these incentives, in ways that the public scarcely appreciates, and that even experts need more time to fully understand. This is what makes the Republican leadership’s haste so outrageous — and, also, unsurprising: When one examines the GOP bills’ likely effects, it becomes clear that extended exposure to sunlight won’t do the Trump tax cuts any favors.”

Tax Cuts Undermine Economic Resilience

GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington. Forbes: “The real economic insanity of the GOP’s tax bill will be felt in future years. Consider the following. The $1 trillion a year budget deficit will not be the result of cyclical changes that will be reversed when the economy improves. These will be permanent structural deficit increases. The tax hikes that will be needed to resolve the structural imbalance between federal spending and revenues will be impossible for political reasons. Whenever the U.S. economy grows more slowly than expected or there’s a downturn, an annual deficit of $2 trillion could easily become the norm. In other words, if the GOP tax bill is enacted, Congress and the president this year will give up almost all ability to deal with the U.S. economy for at least a decade even when, as almost certainly will happen, there’s a downturn. No one else will be able to fulfill this role. That’s almost a textbook definition of economic insanity.”

FCC Approves Monopoly Ownership

FCC votes to approve single-owner media. Common Dreams: “The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted on Nov. 16 to allow just one corporation to own the local newspaper plus nearly every commercial TV station in your town. Nifty way to reduce down to just one newsroom then dictate whatever information that corporation does — and does not — want you to know in this democracy. It’s exactly what’s happened with radio. Back in the day when lots of companies owned 40 radio stations, the broadcast industry made big promises that local information would be much more diverse if they could simply own many more stations. The 1996 Telecommunications Act resulted in a handful of corporations owning thousands of stations — and force feeding conservative programming down our country’s throats ever since, no debate, no opposing opinions allowed… Now the FCC is quietly trying to do the same thing to our local TV stations. In 2003, when they just tried to allow TV stations to own newspapers, 3 million people rose up and said “No!” Now they want to allow the newspapers plus all the TV stations in one town to have the same owner, and they’re not even asking for public comment.”

Thousands March To Demand Aid For Puerto Rico

Thousands march in show of support for Puerto Rico. PBS: “Thousands of people rallied in the nation’s capital on Sunday to protest conditions in Puerto Rico nearly two months after Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territory, leaving millions of American citizens without basic services… About 50 percent of Puerto Rico remains without power and some residents continue to struggle to find fresh water and medicine on the island of 3.4 million people. More than 140,000 Puerto Ricans have fled the island for the U.S. mainland after Hurricane Maria’s Category 4 winds tore through the island in late September, including at least 14,000 public school students, according to the Associated Press. On Sunday, demonstrators held Puerto Rican flags on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as speaker after speaker lined up to implore the U.S. government and Federal Emergency Management Administration to attend to the problems in Puerto Rico as quickly as they would for U.S. states.”

SCOTUS Case Aims To Sap Union Funds

Supreme Court case could drastically drain unions’ resources. Alternet: “Should Mark Janus prevail in his Supreme Court case, public-sector employees in California and other states who now pay agency fees instead of union dues will be able to opt out of any payment at all—even though they can still benefit from collective bargaining contracts and turn to the union with grievances, enjoying a free ride that drains union resources. The ruling would undermine the ability of public-sector unions—about half of U.S. organized labor—to set standards for wage and workplace conditions. The resulting financial pressure will hamper unions from taking lead roles in policy debates on such issues as health care. “The short-term [goal] is to reduce the ability to collect dues,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs. “The long-term aim is to weaken collective bargaining.”

Pruitt Dismantles The EPA

EPA Chief undermines agency’s mission. Politico: “The Environmental Protection Agency administrator came into office promising to discard his predecessor’s “overreaching” focus on climate change and concentrate on what he called the agency’s real mission: cleaning up the air, water and land. But instead, Pruitt has rolled back or stalled environmental protections, given the fossil fuel and chemistry industries more sway over public health decisions and taken steps that critics fear will undermine work on pollution cleanups, according to a POLITICO analysis of what he’s accomplished to date. He says he will be tough on environmental crimes, but his agency is also easing up on enforcement and collecting far less in penalties than previous administrations, according to agency watchdogs.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Republicans in Congress Think You’re an Idiot. Robert Borosage: “Republicans in Congress must believe voters are dolts. Nothing else can explain the tax bill that just passed the House with 227 Republican votes and no Democrats. No rational person would make the choices that are in this bill. As soon as they finish raiding the Treasury for big corporations and the wealthy, Republicans will push for more cuts in everything from education to Head Start. That isn’t just corrupt. It is criminal.”

Election Results Show When Democrats Win, ‘Education Reform’ Often Loses. Jeff Bryant: “When Democrats win big like they did in last week’s elections, Republicans understandably get nervous. But there’s another political faction that has something to fret about: folks who’ve aligned themselves with what’s come to be called “education reform”: the embrace of school privatization, standardized testing and tough-on-teacher measures. Although the reform campaign has long been marketed as a bipartisan cause, it’s increasingly apparent that the better Democrats do at the polls, the worse the education reform agenda does.”