Daily Clips: February 28, 2017

US News ranks WA state as #5 in country: They ranked states in terms of infrastructure, economy, crime, opportunity, health care etc…MA came in first, while NH came in second.

Diversity rankings of US cities! I’m in a ranking sort of mood. Where do you think Seattle comes?

Solar now employs twice as many people as the coal industry: Hurray!

What a fed rate hike in March would mean:

On Monday, a combination of domestic and international factors contributed to a significant reassessment by market participants of the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in March. Now the markets are pricing in a more realistic probability of 52 percent, up from less than 40 percent last week.

 

Paul Constant describes what patriotism means to him: Progressives around the country are marking President Donald Trump’s first state of the union address with videos, tweets, and Facebook posts marked with the “#ProudPatriot” hashtag. Here, Mr. Constant wrote a moving Medium piece where puts forward a very admirable vision of patriotism.

It is our duty as Americans to make America better than it was yesterday.This can seem like an impossible task in a time when immigrants and trans Americans face life-threatening consequences from discriminatory, shoddily written executive orders. But I also see people every day who are working to improve the nation, from government employees doing their jobs in uncertain circumstances to protesters fighting for LGBTQ rights to politicians who are trying to do the best they can by their constituents.

Tweet of the day:

Daily Clips: February 27, 2017

George W. Bush: Media essential to democracy: We live in odd times.

The Treasury is considering 50-year bonds: 

Having a liquid market is valuable, but the market is telling other bond issuers that it wants lots more long-term debt. The Treasury should sell more 30-year bonds, and even 50-year or 100-year bonds to meet that demand.

Ireland, Belgium and Mexico have recently sold 100-year bonds. Ford, Disney and Coca-Cola have sold 100-year bonds as well. The Canadian Pacific Corp. sold a 1,000-year bond.

And many governments, such as the U.K., have issued bonds that have no maturity date at all: Called perpetuals or consols, these bonds continue paying a coupon year-after-year until the principal is redeemed. The U.K. recently redeemed the consols that had financed its earlier wars against Napoleon and the kaiser.

The subtle force of Tom Perez: I, for one, I am quite pleased with the Perez selection and I’m on the far-left flanks of the Democratic Party. Justin Miller at American Prospect has a very good piece on the DNC’s new chair:

Perez has proven himself an able handyman, steering a dizzying array of labor rules and regulations through Washington’s often-stymied bureaucracy despite constant political threats and general hostility coming from Republicans and the business lobby. Those include not only the overtime rule, but an expansion of federal labor protections to cover home-care workers; a long-shot crusade to establish new standards in the retirement-advising industry; an executive order to use the federal government’s contracting process to create good jobs; and a stern guidance aimed at stopping rampant worker misclassification.

These Iowans voted for Trump. Many of them are already disappointed: Morons. I’m not apart of the liberal crew that think we need to “level with” Trump supporters. I know this is a contentious position to hold. Charles Blow had a fantastic column the other day which summarized my feelings better than I could ever hope to articulate:

This is why I have no patience for liberal talk of reaching out to Trump voters. There is no more a compromise point with those who accept, promote and defend bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia than there is a designation of “almost pregnant.”

Trump is a cancer on this country and resistance is the remedy. The Trump phenomenon is devoid of compassion, and we must be closed to compromise.

Tweet of the day:

 

 

Daily Clips: February 24, 2017

CPAC attendees waved Russian flags: What is happening to the Republican Party?

How the Democrats can hijack the tax-reform debate: Harold Meyerson over at American Prospect puts together a deep analysis of the economy and how Democrats (particularly in ’18) can win the economic debate.

America’€™s monopolies are holding back the economy:

Monopoly is a main driver of inequality, as profits concentrate more wealth in the hands of the few. The effects of monopoly enrage voters in their day-to-day lives, as they face the sky-high prices set by drug-company cartels and the abuses of cable providers, health insurers, and airlines. Monopoly provides much of the funds the wealthy use to distort American politics.

Obamacare popularity highest in nearly seven years as repeal talk mounts: I cannot describe how frustrated this makes me.

Tweet of the day:

Daily Clips: February 23, 2017

Kevin Brady is this week’s Trickle Downer: I’m sure it’s very difficult to choose just ONE trickle downer per week, but somehow Justin Miller manages. This week he highlights House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. Brady and Paul Ryan are “hawking a “border adjustment” tax (BAT) that would levy what is essentially a tariff on imports and a rebate on exports.”

Trump again vows to bring back U.S. jobs, but offers few details: Has he ever offered any details?

Boehner: Republicans won’t repeal and replace Obamacare

Philly, PA: Soda companies, supermarkets report 30-50 pct. sales drop from 1.5 cent per ounce soda tax

While transit use declines elsewhere, it’s booming in Seattle

Tweet of the day:

Daily Clips: February 22, 2017

Trump may revoke transgender bathroom rules: Back to the closet you go! What is it with old white men and not being ok with different people?

Americans Are Drowning in Student Debt—Can Trump Save Them? Trump’s student loan “plan” actually is quite liberal. During the campaign, he suggested that loan  payments should be capped at 12.5 of a borrower’s income, with the ability to earn loan forgiveness after 15 years.

Top put this plan in perspective, Obama’s REPAYE plan “has borrowers pay 10 percent of their income over 20 to 25 years before qualifying for forgiveness.”

Ryan’s tax plan is headed for failure: Jennifer Rubin (who once was considered a Republican) criticizes Paul Ryan’s quite silly tax plan. Worth a read, if only to see Rubin lambasting the GOP’s rising star.

Mitch Mcconnell says, “Winners make policy, losers go home”: Could he be any more of a dick?

Tweet of the day:

Daily Clips: February 21, 2017

Resistance isn’t enough, says David Brooks:

The central task for many of us now is not to resist Donald Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to figure out how to replace him — how to respond to the slow growth and social disaffection that gave rise to him with some radically different policy mix.

Unions in the precarious economy: Wow. If you want to really understand unions and their place in the US economy, you should read this piece. Extremely detailed.

Washington drivers facing sticker shock in latest car-tab renewal bills: ST-3 was passed this November and to pay for the expansion, the car-tab tax will be raised by 0.8% based on a vehicle’s value.

Mark Cuban: Robots will ‘cause unemployment and we need to prepare for it’

Jay Inslee for president? Governor’s profile is on the rise: In my mind, there’s no way Jay is considering this opportunity. But it’s only 3 years until the election, so of course, let’s hype this story up.

How to watch Mayor Ed Murray’s State of the City address from the Idris Mosque

Tweet of the day:

Daily Clips: February 17, 2017

Inslee takes on Trump:

State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison is trying to play to those questions, suggesting that Inslee might be interested in running for president himself. It’s one of the oldest political tactics used against a governor who deals with national politics: Get people to wonder whether their governor is working for them or just raising his own political profile. Hutchison claims to have “sources.”

The West Coast is leading the way: Excellent podcast on Oregon, California, and Washington’s resistance.

Puzder out, Acosta in:

At the outset, Acosta appears to be a mild choice compared with Puzder. As a member of the Federalist Society and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Acosta is unquestionably a staunch conservative, but he also is well regarded in government circles as a thoughtful colleague with a sharp legal mind.

Democrats finally have a chance to take back the Washington Senate—and turn the state blue:

What’s more, Democrats just recruited a very strong candidate, prosecutor Manka Dhingra, while Republicans still haven’t figured out who they’re running. Rossi hasn’t made up his mind, though it sounds like he’s viewing the position as a placeholder job. But no matter who picks up the baton for the GOP, they’re going to have a hell of a time hanging on to a seat where Trump got just 28 percent of the vote.

Tweet of the day:

Andrew Puzder Was Terrible, but He’s Not an Aberration

BYE FELICIA

Carls Jr. CEO Andrew Puzder was supposed to sit for Labor Secretary confirmation hearings tomorrow. The Trump administration repeatedly pushed the hearing back—it was originally supposed to happen over a month ago—and Puzder openly complained about how difficult the process has been.

We should have known things were getting serious when Oprah got involved: Politico reports that four Republican senators who were on the fence about Puzder received visits from representatives of the Oprah Winfrey Network. OWN staffers showed the senators a rare video of Puzder’s ex-wife “level[ing] allegations of physical abuse against him” from a decades’ old appearance on Oprah’s talk show. Politico just made that video public this morning.

And news is breaking that Puzder officially withdrew from the nomination entirely.

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This is not because of the lack of Republican Senatorial support, though that is an issue, but because—poor baby—it’s too much work:

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Good riddance. Puzder was an incredibly bad choice for Labor Secretary. In fact, he was possibly the single worst person in the country to be head of the Department of Labor. Justin Miller at the American Prospect wrote a great explainer on why Puzder is such a bad candidate, beginning with the fact that he “made more in one day ($17,192) than one of his full-time minimum wage workers would make in a year ($15,130.)”

This goes further than Puzder’s stance against the $15 minimum wage or commonsense overtime standards. At Carls Jr., Puzder has cultivated a rampant culture of sexual harassment, of dangerous workplaces, and of wage theft. Previous Labor Departments have led to Puzder’s business paying “nearly $150,000 in back pay to workers and more than $80,000 in penalties.”

I want to make no mistake about this so I’m going to restate: Puzder was quite possibly the worst Labor Secretary nominee this country has ever seen. He openly cheers on automation, saying that robots are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.” He does not have the worker in mind. He is firmly on the side of the CEO and against the average American.

But I have to be clear about another fact, too: Puzder is not an aberration. Now that he’s whined his way out of the confirmation process, he won’t be replaced with a polar opposite. In fact, Puzder was perfectly in line with Donald Trump’s employment policies.

I’m not talking about President Trump’s labor policies; I’m talking about his actual history as an employer. Donald Trump doesn’t pay independent contractors. He cuts corners on his employee pensions. And this week, the news broke that Trump’s organization is hiring foreign workers for his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida:

According to the Palm Beach Post, Trump won approval from the U.S. Labor Department in October to hire 64 foreign workers through the H-2B visa program, which allows eligible U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary jobs… Trump will pay the staff wages comparable to what he offered last year. Though some will make less than they made last year, most will get a 1 percent raise.

So these foreign workers—many of whom will have immediate access to state secrets, if last week is any indication—are getting paid very little, even though Mar-a-Lago recently doubled a significant source of its income:

Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort owned by the Trump Organization, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 following the election of Donald Trump as president.

So the rich get richer while the poor get the shaft. That’s Donald Trump’s business philosophy. And even though Puzder didn’t get through the nomination process, that is what Trump’s going to look for in a Secretary of Labor. While today’s news that Puzder can’t stand the heat in this particular kitchen is heartening, we have to remember that the fight isn’t anywhere near over. It’s just beginning.