Progressive Breakfast for December 1

Morning Message

How The Clinton and Sanders Infrastructure Plans Measure Up

Clinton’s $275 billion infrastructure plan offers modest spending and contains few specifics. Contrast that with candidate Bernie Sanders, who has proposed a highly detailed, $1 trillion plan ... Clinton’s infrastructure plan says only that it will be paid for through 'business tax reform.' ... Similarly, Sanders does not yet have a specific individual and corporate tax proposal, but he has proposed a financial transaction tax and says he will close loopholes ... This is the key point to watch for ... Do they require the corporations to pay what they owe now or do they hand them tens or hundreds of billions by letting them repatriate the profits at a lowered tax rate?

Hillary Goes “Modest” On Infrastructure

Hillary Clinton offers more detail to her infrastructure plan. NYT: “The plan would increase federal funding for infrastructure by $275 billion, with $250 billion from direct public investment and $25 billion to create a national infrastructure bank. The campaign said the plan would be fully paid for by reforming the business tax code, but did not provide additional details. Mr. Krueger said parts of the plan, such as the reauthorization of the ‘Build America Bonds’ program to drive investment in infrastructure, would be set at a rate that makes them revenue neutral with respect to tax-exempt bonds. He added that the infrastructure bank would be highly leveraged.”

“Modest” says The Atlantic’s Russell Berman: “… the reaction from advocates of more robust infrastructure spending has been less than enthusiastic, a nod to the fact that the size of the Clinton plan falls well short of what studies have shown the country needs. ‘Secretary Clinton is exactly right to call her plan a “down payment,”‘ said Damon Silvers, the AFL-CIO’s director of public policy. ‘The reality of our infrastructure deficit is in the trillions, not billions.'”

Clinton renews defense of Wall Street ties. Politico: “[Clinton,] in an interview with Charlie Rose, again brought up 9/11 when asked whether her image has taken a hit due to her ties to the financial sector. ‘And so, yes, do I know people? And did I, you know, help rebuild after 9/11? Yes, I did … [But] anybody who thinks that they can influence me on that ground doesn’t know me very well.”

“Clinton, Sanders vie for the black vote,” reports The Hill: “Clinton on Tuesday will give the keynote speech at the commemoration of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama — just one week after Sanders visited The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, where he met with King’s daughter Bernice … More than 70 percent of the states with contests through Super Tuesday on March 1 have a Democratic primary electorate of at least 20 percent nonwhite voters…”

Corporations Back Obama On Climate

“73 more companies back Obama on climate pact” reports The Hill: “It’s meant to show opponents of Obama’s climate agenda, like congressional Republicans, that corporate America is on the president’s side.”

Report fingers Exxon and Koch brothers as main culprits in climate science denial movement. TakePart: “Justin Farrell combined several kinds of statistical, semantic, and network analysis—big data, in other words—to show that over the past two decades, climate contrarians funded byExxonMobil and the Koch brothers’ family foundations have been the most successful at spreading talking points on uncertainty about climate-change science into the U.S. news media and political discussions.”

Obama deals blow to ethanol. Politico: “The mandate that the EPA set on Monday calls for mixing 18.11 billion gallons of biofuels into the nation’s fuel market next year … well below the 22.3 billion gallons required under a 2007 law. The EPA put the target for traditional, corn-based ethanol at 14.5 billion. That’s 500 million gallons below its target under the law, which the corn lobby had defended and oil interests attacked in a massive advertising and lobbying blitz.”

Ryan Navigates First Shutdown Threat

Speaker Ryan tries to avert shutdown. The Hill: “The message to the GOP rank and file, delivered before most lawmakers had even returned to Washington from the Thanksgiving break, appeared clear: This funding fight needs to be different … [Ryan is] seeking to get buy-in from members at the front end of the process rather than dropping something on them at the last minute.”

Syrian refugee issue could still complicate funding bill. The Hill: “‘There is some discussion right now about putting my Syrian refugee bill onto the omnibus bill,’ [Rep. Michael] McCaul said in an interview … Both Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Texas) have said a number of legislative ‘riders,’ offered by both Democrats and Republicans, will be included in the omnibus. But speaking to reporters Monday, McCarthy wouldn’t identify any specific proposals.”

Progressives target campaign finance riders. Roll Call: “Opponents of the measures argue they would decrease transparency and would make it easier for ‘soft money’ to flow to the political parties. McConnell and other backers of rolling back limits on party-candidate coordination say it would help political parties compete in the campaign funding scene increasingly dominated by super PACs that can raise unlimited funds.”

Left Presses Fed

Left pushes Fed to hold off on interest rate hike. The Hill: “They argue that more can be done to boost the economic recovery and point to slow growth in wages as a sign there are still economic ills that require the Fed’s accommodation. And they argue that with inflation still well below the Fed’s 2 percent target, there shouldn’t be any rush to raise rates.”

Dems worry rate hike would impact 2016 election. Politico: “…Fed tightening the U.S. money supply while Europe, Japan and China are all easing credit [could create] a global ‘divergence’ that further drives up the U.S. dollar, hurting U.S. exporters and possibly creating big corporate defaults abroad for companies whose debt is held in dollars.”

Friday jobs report key. Politico: “It is expected to show another solid gain of 200,000 jobs and no change to the 5 percent unemployment rate. Anything close to that range would signal that the Fed will raise its target by a quarter of a percent this month, the first move in that direction since June of 2006.”