Progressive Breakfast for December 2

Morning Message

Clean Energy Victory In IL Shows We Can Still Win In The Age of Trump

On Thursday night, the Illinois General Assembly voted to approve the Future Energy Jobs Package, a bill which would more than double renewable energy generation in the state and allow Illinois to become a leader in creating green jobs, including low income solar jobs, and energy efficiency ... Our victory in this fight proves that we can still win, and win big, even in the age of Trump, if we build grassroots, people power around a bold vision. We need not cower in the corner if we organize ordinary people to name, claim and fight for the kind of world we know we deserve.

Carrier Deal Reverberates

Trump and Pence break from “free market” in NYT interview: “‘I don’t want them moving out of the country without consequences,’ Mr. Trump said, even if that means angering the free-market-oriented Republicans he beat in the primaries but will have to work with on Capitol Hill. ‘The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,’ Mr. Pence added, as Mr. Trump interjected, ‘Every time, every time.'”

WSJ edit board horrified: “Some conservatives will be tempted to tolerate bad policies that appear to be popular that they’d never accept from President Obama. Many Republicans stayed silent or supported Nixon as he imposed wage-and-price controls and created the EPA, only to regret it later. They shouldn’t make the same mistake with Mr. Trump.”

NYT edit board also unimpressed: “Mr. Trump campaigned against crony capitalism, but one-on-one deals like this are at best inefficient and at worst riddled with .. corruption … [But t]he Carrier deal stands as an interesting argument against longstanding Republican economic orthodoxy.”

“Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed,” says NYT’s Paul Krugman: “…the selection of Tom Price [for HHS] probably means that the Affordable Care Act is doomed — and Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters will be among the biggest losers … we’re probably looking at more than five million Trump supporters, many of whom have chronic health problems and recently got health insurance for the first time, who just voted to make their lives nastier, more brutish, and shorter.”

“Buy America” fight flares up in Congress. The Hill: “At issue is language included in the Senate-passed version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would require American iron and steel products be used in projects assisted by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Sources familiar with the negotiations say Speaker Paul Ryan(R-Wis.) is actively pushing to strip the provision from the bill. Supporters of the provision say Ryan’s push is at odds with President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to support American manufacturers and create jobs for the middle class.”

Jobs up, wages flat in November labor report. NYT: “[The job] gain … clears the way for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate when it meets later this month … The official unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than nine years, at 4.6 percent, from 4.9 percent the month before. But average hourly earnings ticked down 0.1 percent … Over the last three months, [job] increases have averaged 176,000 … some economists argue that fears of inflation are overblown and the Fed should hold off on any [interest rate] increase.”

Bloomberg’s Conor Sen proposes a Rust Belt bailout: “Pension costs are eating a higher and higher share of tax revenue … Congress [could] bail out the region, [wipe] the fiscal slate clean and give the Midwest the breathing room to invest in its future.”

Pence Promises Right-Wing Blitz

Pence predicts “ambitious” first 200 days in WSJ interview: “The new administration’s first priorities would include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and then replacing Mr. Obama’s signature health-care system, nominating a justice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and strengthening the military … By springtime, the Trump administration would work with congressional leaders ‘to move fundamental tax reform’ … Pillars of the tax overhaul would include lowering marginal tax rates, reducing the corporate tax rate … to 15%, and repatriating corporate cash held overseas, he said.”

Not every Republican may vote to scrap Obamacare. The Atlantic: “…there are already two question marks. One is Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the centrist Republican who voted against repeal in late 2015 … The other potential problem is Senator Lamar Alexander … Alexander voted for repeal last year, but in recent days he has made clear that he prefers a different strategy for ending the ACA: ‘replace and then repeal.'”

TNR’s Brian Beutler argues Dems ahve upper hand: “…that very desire to avoid responsibility for bad outcomes is the source of Democratic leverage. Republicans will have taken millions of insured Americans hostage, hoping Democrats would help them pick off the victims. By doing nothing, Democrats will turn the gun back on Republicans themselves.”

Bipartisan duo drafts bill to protect DREAMers. The Hill: “Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … are crafting a bill to shield children living in the country illegally from being deported if they grew up in the United States and have stayed out of trouble. The bill is likely to have the support of another Republican on the committee, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) … right now it looks like the sponsors are well short of the 14 Republican votes they would need to overcome a filibuster.”

DNC Chair Candidates Stump Today

DNC members audition candidates for chair at Association of State Democratic Chairs forum today. The Hill: “[Rep. Keith] Ellison … is the early front-runner … But he is expected to face a stiff challenge from [Howard] Dean … Several other buzz-worthy names might still join the race, including Labor secretary Tom Perez — a favorite in Obamaworld – and NARAL president Ilyse Hoge, who this week received the backing of influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas … ‘This isn’t a cinch for anyone right now,’ said Peter Corroon, the state Democratic chairman of Utah and first cousin of Dean. ‘It’s a wide open field.'”

Though Dean won’t attend in person. The Hill: “He will send in a video, while three other announced candidates – Ellison, New Hampshire chairman Raymond Buckley and South Carolina chairman Jaime Harrison – are slated to appear in person … several DNC chairs and party members … say they aren’t seeing the same kind of intense lobbying effort from Dean that other candidates are waging behind the scenes.”

Mixed Signals In Europe

Estonia dumps flat tax. Bloomberg: “…the Baltic nation adopted universal levies for business and personal income in 1994, a move that was later copied by peers including Hungary, Romania, and Russia. But what was lauded as a measure to boost the economy has fallen from favor, after inequality grew and rapid growth fizzled out.”

Brexit leader loses election. NYT: “In a surprise upset, a candidate of the centrist and pro-European Liberal Democrats defeated a prominent supporter of British withdrawal from the European Union in a parliamentary by-election … The victory, by Sarah Olney, delivered a badly needed lift to the Liberal Democrats, who were in danger of becoming extinct … ‘The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shock wave through this Conservative Brexit government, and our message is clear: We do not want a hard Brexit,’ she [said.]”

Italy referendum could bolster right-wing populists. NYT: “Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, only 41, once seemed to have solved the riddle of how to survive Europe’s populist, anti-establishment tempest. But with a critical national referendum on Sunday, the populist wave is now threatening to crush him … What should be an inward-looking referendum on whether to overhaul Italy’s ossified political and electoral system has taken on much broader import … Mr. Renzi’s supporters have taken to calling his opponents in the internet-born, populist Five Star Movement ‘Trumpisti.’ … With polls indicating that Mr. Renzi may fail, the possibility that he could resign, and force new elections or perhaps bring a caretaker government, has alarmed many leaders…”