Progressive Breakfast for November 21

Morning Message

What Is the True Cost of Inequality?

The world has never been richer, says Credit Suisse. Net worth worldwide has jumped a remarkable $16.7 trillion over the past year. So why aren’t people worldwide cheering? It's because that money has benefited only a precious few. The top 1 percent globally now hold 50.1 percent of the world’s household wealth, up from 45.5 percent at the start of the century. About half of these ultras, 49 percent, reside in the United States. And America’s top 1 percent, Federal Reserve researchers reported earlier this fall, now holds 38.6 percent of the country's wealth.

FCC To Gut Net Neutrality

FCC plans total repeal of net neutrality rules. Politico: “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will reveal plans to his fellow commissioners on Tuesday to fully dismantle the agency’s Obama-era net neutrality regulations, people familiar with the plans said, in a major victory for the telecom industry in the long-running policy debate. The commission will vote on the proposal in December, some seven months after it laid the groundwork for scuttling the rules that require internet service providers like Comcast or AT&T to treat web traffic equally. President Donald Trump-appointed Pai’s plan would jettison rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing web traffic or creating so-called paid internet fast lanes, the people familiar with the changes said.”

Nebraska Removes Last Obstacle to Keystone XL Pipeline

Nebraska approves path for controversial Keystone XL pipeline. CNN: “Nebraska officials voted Monday to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a key step toward the completion of the Keystone Pipeline network. The state’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the expansion pipeline, days after the existing Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. The Keystone Pipeline system transfers crude oil via a 2,600-mile route from Alberta, Canada, east into Manitoba, and then south across the US border to Texas, according to parent company TransCanada. The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would stretch from Hardisty, Alberta, southeast to Steele City, Nebraska, would augment other pipelines and complete the entire system.”

Trump To Force Haitians Out of U.S.

Trump administration ends temporary protection for Haitians. NYT: “The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. The decision set off immediate dismay among Haitian communities in South Florida, New York and beyond, and was a signal to other foreigners with temporary protections that they, too, could soon be asked to leave. About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990, and the decision on Monday followed another one last month that ended protections for 2,500 Nicaraguans.”

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s End To Sanctuary City Funding

Federal judge blocks Trump’s executive order on denying funding to sanctuary cities. WaPo: “A federal judge issued an injunction to permanently block President Trump’s executive order to deny funding to cities that refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials, after finding the order unconstitutional… Orrick, in his summary of the case Monday, found that the Trump administration’s efforts to move local officials to cooperate with its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants violated the separation of powers doctrine as well as the Fifth and Tenth amendments. “‘Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.'”

Tax Cuts Create Minimal Economic Growth

Tax cuts will only create small economic gain. Business Insider: “The Republican tax bill recently passed by the House of Representatives would produce little economic growth if it were to become law, according to an analysis released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center on Monday. One of Republicans’ major selling points on the bill, which allows for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, is that the cuts would pay for themselves in increased growth. The TPC’s analysis concluded that growth resulting from the plan would not be enough. The analysis did find that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Republicans passed last Thursday, would increase US gross domestic product over the next 20 years. The report estimates that the bill would directly boost GDP by 0.6% in 2018, an amount it said would taper to 0.2% by 2037. The analysis predicted that the growth would create $169 billion in new tax revenue in the first decade after passing and $136 billion in the second, well short of the amount needed to pay for the legislation.”

Pentagon Puts Arms Merchants In Top Jobs

Defense industry insiders get top jobs at Pentagon. NPR: “Former executives from some of the country’s biggest military equipment companies are occupying top slots at the Pentagon, their biggest customer. But there’s bipartisan pushback… Lockheed Martin is the biggest of the big five firms selling arms to the Pentagon. Raytheon is also in that group. And yet on Wednesday, McCain voted to confirm Raytheon’s top Washington lobbyist, Mark Esper, as secretary of the Army. At Esper’s confirmation hearing earlier this month, McCain noted that Esper had unequivocally promised to have nothing to do with his former employer… John Rood (senior vice president at Lockheed Martin International) might well heed those words if he’s to save his troubled nomination. Seventy percent of the Pentagon’s Senate-confirmed positions remain unfilled 10 months into the Trump presidency.”

More from OurFuture.org:

The GOP’s Tax Plan Will Deepen the Housing Crisis. Liz Ryan Murray: “During one of the worst housing crises in our history, Congress is proposing tax reform that would make it even worse – and in more ways than you may think. The GOP’s tax reforms will reduce new affordable housing by as many as a million units, and other changes will undermine access to safe and affordable housing for millions more. BUt the housing crisis we’re suffering through is not caused by just a lack of units, and it won’t be solved by addressing that alone. It’s about valuing people over profits.  And that is what these tax proposals – and the current budget proposals that are its companions – fail to do.”