Progressive Breakfast for April 29

Morning Message

Where’s The Big Money Danger Now? Look Down-Ballot

If you’re tempted to think campaign megamillions no longer matter because maverick Republican Donald Trump is a self-financed near-nominee and Bernie Sanders has fomented a nationwide rebellion on a tide of two million small donors, take a look down-ballot ... The $707 million in super PAC funding is already double the level at this stage in 2012. And huge hunks of that campaign hoard are being rerouted into state races for senator, governor and Congress.

Democratic Tension Builds

Sanders criticizes Democratic Party’s commitments in Oregon address. NYT: “Sanders spoke at length about how Democrats had not spent enough time trying to help working-class people obtain adequate health care and higher wages. ‘The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big-money interests? … Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor? Or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?'”

“Clinton to take hard line with Sanders” at convention, reports The Hill: “Clinton supporters argue the former secretary of State has already been forced to the left by Sanders, and can’t risk moving further ahead of a general election … ‘We can’t do it,’ [a Clinton] ally said. ‘But there’s going to be a place for him to weigh in on the campaign and at the convention and he should have the satisfaction that he raised some issues that have been a part of the conversation.’ Sanders allies are frustrated … ‘He can’t demand anything but she’ll want his full cooperation,’ one Sanders ally said.”

Trump Firms Grip On Nom

GOP “resigned” to Trump, finds W. Post: “…many … now see him as the all-but-certain nominee and are exhausted by the prospect of a contested July convention, according to interviews this week with more than a dozen party figures …”

Trump is a “working-class fraud” says NYT’s Timothy Egan: “Wage stagnation is the most glaring symptom of a declining middle class. Trump’s solution? He believes that ‘wages are too high.’ … [Workers have] been protesting in front of his gilded [Vegas] monolith because he will not allow them to join a union, which could raise their pay an additional $3 an hour …”

Breakfast Sides

“T-Mobile Accused of Fighting a Real Union by Creating a Fake One” reports Bloomberg Businessweek: “For more than a decade, the Communications Workers of America has been trying to unionize T-Mobile … Now CWA is alleging to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that T-Mobile has adopted an anti-union tactic that’s been illegal since 1935: creating a company-controlled union to drain support for an independent one.”

Energy issues impact several Senate races. The Hill: “President Obama’s controversial climate policy is looming large in Ohio and Illinois, where the coal industry still employs thousands, while battle lines are being drawn in Colorado, pitting environmentalists against oil and gas companies over drilling. In New Hampshire, the Republican incumbent, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, is racing to shore up her credibility with green-minded voters, while hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, offshore drilling, and solar power could move a decisive number of voters in the race to replace Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida.”

Ad blitz for Garland. Politico: “To date, the outside allies have focused on the states with the five most vulnerable GOP incumbents (New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s Iowa. Now they’ll be expanding the map to cover three more incumbents up for reelection: Arizona’s John McCain, North Carolina’s Richard Burr and Missouri’s Roy Blunt.”

“Unpaid Annual Taxes Rise to $458 Billion” reports NYT: “…the I.R.S. said there were average unpaid annual taxes of $458 billion for 2008 to 2010, a slight increase from $450 billion in 2006 … the I.R.S. has been under pressure from congressional Republicans who have simultaneously cut its budget and excoriated the agency for operational deficiencies.”

Stronger budget tools needed to blunt next recession, argues CBPP’s Ben Spielberg in NYT oped: “Because interest rates are already so low, the Fed’s principal ammunition — the ability to further lower rates — is unlikely to have much traction when the next downturn rolls around … the prudent move would be to strengthen the ‘automatic stabilizers’ in the federal budget — programs like unemployment insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program … and Medicaid — that, without the need for congressional action, expand when the economy is weak…”