Progressive Breakfast for September 29

Morning Message

The Missed Opportunity On Trade – And What We Must Do Next

The candidates discussed “trade” for a few minutes during the first presidential debate on Monday. Once again the opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on an important issue slipped away. Where do we go from here? That was the subject of a teleconference Wednesday night between activists from around the country and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) ... Sen. Merkley said that we have to “stop this gigantic trade deal, we have to stop it dead in its tracks.”

Sanders Praises Clinton

Sanders touts Clinton’s college affordability plan in joint NH appearance. The Hill: “Sanders promised that in his role on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he’d do everything possible to help ferry Clinton’s legislation through the Senate … ‘We are going to end the federal government making money off of lending money to students to get an education,’ Clinton said.”

Clinton gets pushback from college administrators. NYT: “Although the prospect of free public college sounds enticing for many, private institutions — which account for about a quarter of the higher education landscape in America — are starting to fret. Vast subsidies to public universities would most likely lure students away, forcing private colleges to alter their business models to survive … Clinton campaign officials are aware that some details still need to be worked out, but they insist that private institutions and schools that cater to minorities would not be left out.”

Democrats try to convince millennials to reject third-parties. NYT: “[Michelle Obama] had blunt words for anyone thinking about voting for a third party. ‘If you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don’t vote at all,’ she said, ‘then you are helping to elect Hillary’s opponent.’ … The stubborn popularity of the third-party candidates has become a concern to Mrs. Clinton and her allies. So far, the support for them has not softened, as it often does in the fall.”

Progressive groups eye 2018 primary challenges. American Prospect: “A clear focus not just of Our Revolution but also of such groups as the Working Families Party and People’s Action is to mount primary challenges, beginning in 2018, against congressional Democrats who oppose such reforms as a new Glass-Steagall … says George Goehl, People’s Action’s co-executive director[,] ‘I’m most encouraged about the number of people doing grown-up politics, preparing serious efforts to primary corporate Democrats.'”

Clean Power Plan In Court’s Hands

Both sides predict victory in Clean Power Plan case. The Hill: “The nearly seven hours of oral arguments showed little sign of consensus among the judges. But six of them were appointed by Democratic presidents and four by Republicans, and no judge appeared to stray significantly from the party line in court … Elbert Lin, the [West Virginia] solicitor general [said] ‘You had judges, I think both Democratic and Republican appointees, who were saying that they understood that this was qualitatively different from what’s been done before,’ … environmental groups that helped the EPA were equally optimistic … David Doniger, the climate program director with the Natural Resources Defense Council [said,] ‘The questioning from the court was very skeptical of many of the arguments from opponents,’…”

Opponents of CPP should complain to Congress, not courts, says Bloomberg edit board: “Congress’s refusal since 2010 to consider any climate policy at all forced the EPA to look for alternatives … A far simpler and more effective way to cut emissions would be for Congress to impose a tax on carbon … Until Congress acts, however, the EPA is obligated to use what tools are available.”

Renewable energy production jumps. The Hill: “The Department of Energy study concluded that the cost of five clean energy technologies — from wind and solar power to LED lighting — has declined between 40 percent and 94 percent, depending on the technology, since 2008. Wind and solar power, the report found, accounted for two-thirds of new electricity capacity installed last year, and together produce enough electricity to power 19 million homes.”

Wealthiest Get Most Tax Breaks

Top 1% get most tax breaks. Bloomberg: “The top 1 percent of Americans as measured by income rake in 17 percent of all U.S. income on an annual basis—before taxes [and] gets 27 percent of the tax breaks doled out by the federal government … the lowest-income households get just about 4 percent of federal tax breaks.”

CA Treasurer suspends ties with Wells Fargo. NYT: “The state treasurer, John Chiang, said he was suspending Wells Fargo’s ‘most highly profitable business relationships’ with the state for at least a year, including the lucrative business of underwriting certain California municipal bonds … ‘How can I continue to entrust the public’s money to an organization which has shown such little regard for the legions of Californians who placed their financial well-being in its care?’ Mr. Chiang wrote … [Chiang] is running for governor in 2018…”

House votes to block Labor Dept. rule expanding overtime pay. The Hill: “The Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act passed mostly along party lines by a vote of 246-177, delaying for six months the rule that makes 4.2 million Americans eligible for overtime pay … President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.”